Let me preface my following responses by saying that I have appreciated your willingness to keep this dialogue going as long as you have. I have learned from our discussion and I thank you for your part in that.
O- If the outcome was a foregone and foretold conclusion then there is no freewill and in it's absence God is having a party all by himself. Even your objections are not your choice but built in into His game. You deserve no praise and no blame and of course, no dignity.
Which, may be the case. We do not know.
O-However, ME and my client
do not subscribe to such determinism, so the outcome at Eden was NOT inevitable and no one could have known, even God, the choices they would make. Just because I flip a quarter a million times, it is not certain that it will [b]ever
[/b] land on heads rather than tails.
It seems duplicitous for you to go on posing as a lawyer for beliefs that you do not yourself consider worthy of holding. It is a means of obfuscating rather than revealing the truth.
O-And as I said before (or did I?) the existence of doubt, of fear, inevitable consequences of our finitude, our utter reliance on faith, mean that, like the poor, the Satan we shall always have around. Satan presents that "minority report", that alternative to what is basically speculation. It is doubt that stops us in our tracks. It is the cauldron where resolution is steeled. One has to learn to overcome it, but it is not the cause of sin. You seem to think that ONLY Jesus could overcome Satan, that only the God-Man could resist his temptation, but the fact is that Jesus was always the example to follow. That is how he presented himself. He was not asking the impossible from his apostles, in his mind. He asks Peter to walk on water, like him, because walking on water is not the exclusive capacity of the God-Man. And as with water walking so with resistance. He quotes the scriptures to resist Satan, basically implying "this is nothing new; this is the wisdom that has already been delievered, if however forgotten. What he brings is nothing new but a fulfillment of what is already there.
The Christian standard is "not I but Christ". You apparently don't understand grace and so misrepresent the Christian faith.
O- Errr....My client
you mean? I am a negative theologist. To me no-thing is known, but for my client,
his case is that he has faith in scripture as the revelation of God.
Why do continue to waste time defending claims that you personally have found unworthy of belief? As I stated in my last post, I am tired of the "client " game. I will not play along with this " ruse any longer. You said to me elsewhere: "How about you present those religious feelings and expose them to the same standards you have used for those "cargo" religions? Just what exactly do you believe?"
O- But WITH God, what is the percentage? No one is just pre-determined to be righteous, but if you accept Jesus and receive the Spirit of God, you now have a possibility to be righteous. No one is righteous...in his time, in Paul's time. That does not mean that Job for example wasn't righteous. But those were righteous lives after harkening to God. By himself, then, no man is righteous, but the absence of God from a man's life is NOT a 100% certainty, but a choice he or she constantly makes. Wickedness, like righteousness, are conditions that we create through each choice we make and not a biological condition like a deformed foot.
If the Church recognized any possibility of not sinning I could agree. But what does their sacred text say "All have sinned." No exception but the God-man.
O- Alternatives are nice. I am presenting my client's case
and not alternatives to it. That said, other alternatives still present OTHER problems because existence is what it is.
In other words, you are wasting time repeating arguments that you yourself can't believe. Get real.
O- Nope. Just saying that any prediction is irrational at it's core, so don't be so quick to point fingers at the religious folks who outright affirm their tentative status by declaring that they only know by faith.
If the church holds these views tentatively why has it been willing to persecute and even execute people who think differently?
O- Theology matches it's findings to a revealed pattern. Science does much the same. Once something attains the value of a "law", however tentative, it is used to reach even more conclusions, not simply based on what is observed but on what the methodology SAYS that was observed.
One difference is that science has empirical evidence. Theology doesn't. It claims revelation. It's a significant different. Claiming they are the same is clearly wrong.
Oh come on Felix! I always have to take the opposite side. What fun would this site be if we did not present opposing arguments. I believe I grow from doing that, from walking a mile in another's shoe. And I have been clear from the beginning. And as far as the hostile thing, for one thing I thought that the voting was annonymous. Last time I participate on such a thing. And second that is what I felt at the time. Have I always seen you as hostile? No. But I think that maybe you're going through a phase, like Ehrman.
Bully for you. Fun? So this is a joke for you? You have walked a mile in somebody else's shoes time to wear the ones you own. Thank you for confirming that you voted that I am hostile toward religion.
You're hiding behind a facade. I'm not interested in you're mascarade. I am interested in beliefs, opinions, ideas, and arguments that you personally think are worthy of your own belief. Hopefully you are capable of tapping into those because I'm not going to play along with your "lawyer/client" game any more.
O- And you don't see hostility?
That wasn't hostility I was speaking from experience. I used to have to do those mental gymnastics myself and I know plenty of other people you admit that they did the same thing. If you want to belong to a creed professing church, you either have to believe every single tenet or you just have to shut up about the parts of the creed that you can't really believe in even though you may go to hell for your doubt.
O- Listen, a bit of empathy is all I propose.
Apparently you suppose that I don't have any. You have been pretending that these views are actually worthy of belief. Does someone have to delude himself to experience.
O- You want me without my client,
Are you whack? Cut the crap. You don't have a client. This is getting ridiculous. Snap out of it.
O-They are measures taken by historical and not theological necessity. They are the product of man and not of God. I deny much of scripture, but NOT the possibility that all was written as a reaction from a confrontation with whatever it is we call "Divine".
Then most of your post here have been largely canard.
O-That said, I have family that I love that consider themselves Christians; people that I admire, whom I consider intelligent. We are talking about doctors and engineers here. And they believe in much of what I have been defending here.
Then let them come on and defend them. What you have been doing is patronizing to them and to me.
O-And it is not because they do mental gymnastics. That retort, in MY opinion, shows a callow appreciation of religion.
I think you misunderstood. I clarified my use of that expression above.
O-You present a caricature and leave out the flesh and bone believer. I had to step in and give that person a voice. It is the right thing to do. I am afraid that until you get past such JUDGMENTS about Christianity, (which seems as one of a handful of religions you are actually hostile to) you will not see it as what it is.
I was raised a Presbyterian. I was born again at the age of 19. I was a member of a fundamentalist sect for 13 years. I still consider myself a Christian, although I have not been a church member for more than a decade. I think it is possible to be critical without being hostile. That is the line I am attempting to walk.
Your pose as a lawyer may have served a purpose. But we are discussing something here that has existential seriousness for people so I think it is time to go deeper if your up for it. If this topic is just a joke or an exercise in polemics to you, you need not continue.
O-Are there abusers of religion, those that forget it's tentative origins, that use it as a blugeoning rod rather than a feather to careess? Yes, of course, but not for that shall I stand and trade places with them, become them, and use a different rod for the same business of alienating and make them feel stupid.
You lost me with that second sentence. Is that logical? Do you have an identity problem?
O- Never was a necessity. Jesus in fact asks God if He would do it some other way, but resigned to do His will whether he understood it or not.
Not a necessity? According to Christian doctrine, if Jesus had not gone to the cross we would all be lost in sin. It is only necessary if humanity is to be saved. It is the only way humanity can be saved. As you acknowledge, it was God's will, in other words necessity. So necessary that Jesus the Son of God had to bow to his will.
O- Now I'll answer the rest in my voice, as you want.
O--When I was defending the orthodox view I reported on what they believe.
Or at least what you believe they believe.
O- But here is what I believe. The Bible is written with several points of view in play. even when a canon was proposed and approved it was only an opinion that it was one author, God, speaking through all the pages. This meant that you have, embedded in the pages, the history of an evolving idea, reacting to the world in which it grows.
I agree. Such understanding underlies my position that there are conflicting views embedded in the Christian conception of God.
O- However I believe that freewill is an underlying assumption. It was certainly defended well by Erasmus, who up until then was the voice of a typical orthodox. The inquisition that was ran by the orthodox was carried precisely because of the underlying assumption that the will is free. Augustine did address the issue and gave inroads to later protestant stances, but, for example Luther, still leaves room for the "mutability" of character. Even while asserting the omnipotence of God, these men had to leave the possibility open for man's culpability. St. Augustine became a saint for the church, I think, because he won for the Church the north of Africa from the predominant Donatist Church, but his central contribution to theology is not predestination, else, no schism would latter have arrived with Luther's thesis.
Both side of the conflict embedded in the Christian concept of God may be interpreted in terms of free will so it isn't of primary relevance to my thesis.
O- By itself, our will is not enough, is not strong enough, to go in either direction completely. God is seen as a booster.
You misunderstand the Christian doctrine of grace. God is seen as "all in all" not as a booster.
O-Those that ignore Him are thrown out, repulsed. While those that "listen to the Father and learn from Him" will come to Jesus, as it were, "drawn" by Him (John 6). There are so many nuances that are left out of theology. Each bit is lifted and made absolute, requiring the obliteration of countless other voices, and a myriad of other points. Is all of humanity predestined? Or did only a few get chosen in this way to serve as teachers for others? Instead of asking such questions, men reach simple and elegant conclusions because of prejudices they have about the truth and what it would look like. As a negative theologian I do not believe specially that which is too elengant and simple. It is not mental gymnastics, I want you to understand, but natural dispositions we hold as human beings. They reside in all human enquiries where something is presumed known.
You have stretched my phrase "mental gymnastics" beyond my use of it. I was referring to the situation in which people must claim that they accept the entire creed when maybe they cannot accept some point or two. Apparently you had some kind of emotional reaction that has clouded your thinking about me and my thesis.
O- No it doesn't! You continue on as IF THE POINT IS TO REMOVE THE CONFLICT. If there was no conflict then why is there a mystery about His will? Why assert that His will is not our will? Why obey when we can simply understand? What indeed is left to know perfectly in the afterlife if there is no conflict about the concept of God in this life? I have simply made the case of ignorance, not the case of perfect intelligibility.
In a truely monistic world view, there is no conflict. Maya is an illusion. In God everything is fine. All that is need is to wake up and see the harmony of things as they are. No conflict in the concept of God there.
O- The Catholic Church is in this world, last I checked. Is it therefore their argument that they are ruled by the devil? No? So there must be exceptions, yes? Those liberated by the power of God from the shackles of evil, da, da, da?
The New testament states that the devil is the ruler of this world and that the church is in spiritual warfare with the devil. So the church is a beachhead in the war against the devil, holding the fort until Jesus returns with the cavalry to save us. Why don't you know this stuff?
O- A "black swan"? Sorry, I have never heard that expression. What does it mean?
Here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiabi ... _inference
O- Just as scientist do not begin their explanation of string theory by a declaration of what they don't know.
Scientists haven't built a church based on string theory or killed anyone over it yet that know of.