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Is there really a "One True Church"? - Page 5

post #81 of 100
Smokering, I have questions about this part:

Now Judaism and Islam believe, and strongly affirm, that God ultimately is one. That is to say, he is a unity, and is also unary. They deny that he is several persons in one substance. While this does permit them to claim a unifying principle between propositions, since God, being one, is ultimately unity, it denies them the ability to have propositions themselves in any meaningful way. This is because propositions tend to describe things which are different—and if God, ultimately, is one, then how could plurality come about? This problem is only satisfactorily resolved by the Christian God; who, being three in one, represents an equal ultimacy of unity and plurality. Therefore, of the three religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), only Christianity remains viable, because God has revealed perspicuously in the New Testament that he is a trinity.

I don't understand what he means by propositions in this passage??
post #82 of 100
And then the immediate problems I have with his logic. First this:

If I can show that an aseitic and trinitarian deity must exist, then, given the existence of such a deity in Christianity and his absence from any other religion, I consider that sufficient to persuade the unprejudiced intellect.

This passage is on the subject of precluding "speculative deities".

Why is it illogical that no religion knows the true nature of God? (Esp when there are many other reasons to question the Christian idea of God?)

And this:

By definition, the mental entails a mind; and so universal, necessary mental laws therefore must imply a universal, necessary mental mind. We could otherwise phrase this by saying that such laws must imply an aseitic God.

I have read this logic before, and I simply don't understand. Why does a universal mental law require an other-than human mind? Why can it not simply be universal to the human mind? I just don't understand this leap that universal mental law = God???


And one more issue I have, that is not directly refuting anything....just something I wonder about since I am clearly not a philosopher. I know at least 2 people who are extremely educated in religion and logic who are not Christian. Why would that be, if it is so clearly logical? One is a university professor who holds a doctorate in Religion and Philosophy, and another is UU minister who holds a Master's of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Are they assumed to be prejudiced? Or simply dense?
post #83 of 100
sunnmama: I have forwarded your posts to Bnonn, and will pass along his replies when he gets around to writing them (hopefully tomorrow). In the meantime I'll answer as best I can, although of course he knows his book better than I do.

Quote:
I don't understand what he means by propositions in this passage??
He's talking about unity and plurality in this passage, so 'propositions' is a fairly broad term which could mean 'matter' or 'concepts' or, more accurately, both--stuff which exists in the universe. One could call anything from 'blue' to 'canary' to 'love' a proposition in this context.

Quote:
Why is it illogical that no religion knows the true nature of God? (Esp when there are many other reasons to question the Christian idea of God?)
Not 100% sure what you're asking--do you mean, why is it necessary that any one religion has to know the true nature of God (as opposed to God being entirely unknowable to the whole human race)? I'm not sure how that relates to the passage you quoted, but maybe I'm misunderstanding your question--help?

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I have read this logic before, and I simply don't understand. Why does a universal mental law require an other-than human mind? Why can it not simply be universal to the human mind? I just don't understand this leap that universal mental law = God???
Well, take for example the law of non-contradiction. Supposing all the human minds in the world (and there's no such thing as 'The Human Mind', really, in this context, just lots of human minds) became permanently brain-damaged through the consumption of non-organic beetroot, so that they were unable to recognise or assert the law of non-contradiction (which is one of logic's most fundamental laws). Would this mean that the law of non-contradiction ceased to exist? Or if humanity was wiped out from the earth by a massive avalanche of disposable diapers--again, would this mean that the law of non-contradiction ceased to exist?

Of course not. Which means that the law of non-contradiction is not dependent on humans minds--hence the term universal. If no humans existed at all, A could still not be both A and not-A at the same time and in the same relationship. Because that would be nonsensical. Make sense?

So if logic (I used the law of non-contradiction as an example, but obviously you could substitute any of the logical laws) exists independently of human minds, it cannot have originated from them. The question then becomes, from whom or what did it originate? As logic is a series of mental laws, by definition, a mind must have created them. While this mind does not necessarily correlate with the Christian God--ie, you can't say 'Logic exists, therefore the Bible exists'--calling the 'universal, necessary mental mind' God of some description is not a leap. Does this make sense? Bnonn will no doubt explain it better than I can, especially as it's late, but I hope that makes the argument... vaguely clearer.



Quote:
And one more issue I have, that is not directly refuting anything....just something I wonder about since I am clearly not a philosopher. I know at least 2 people who are extremely educated in religion and logic who are not Christian. Why would that be, if it is so clearly logical? One is a university professor who holds a doctorate in Religion and Philosophy, and another is UU minister who holds a Master's of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Are they assumed to be prejudiced? Or simply dense?
The Biblical answer to that is that nobody can come to faith without the Holy Spirit. Logical arguments do not convert anyone--the Spirit converts, although it may certainly use logical arguments (as in the case of my husband). In fact, the Bible would claim that the unregenerate are both prejudiced (enemies of God) and 'dense' (darkened hearts and understanding), and that these conditions are permanent and irrevocable without the power of the Holy Spirit. On a more practical level, few courses even in religion teach presuppositional theology, so Christianity is not necessarily studied at all from a philosophical/logical perspective. Even when it is, the presuppositionalist method of argumentation is deemed difficult or offputting by a large number of people, who simply don't like to think 'that way' or prefer classical apologetics.
post #84 of 100
Thanks for your responses Smokering.....I just want to say that this stuff really interests me; thanks for indulging me Like I said, I am no philosopher, but I do enjoy bending my brain around these puzzles (and, as an atheist-raised Christian-seeking some understanding of God that makes sense to me, I am personally helped by these exercises).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Well, take for example the law of non-contradiction. Supposing all the human minds in the world (and there's no such thing as 'The Human Mind', really, in this context, just lots of human minds) became permanently brain-damaged through the consumption of non-organic beetroot, so that they were unable to recognise or assert the law of non-contradiction (which is one of logic's most fundamental laws). Would this mean that the law of non-contradiction ceased to exist? Or if humanity was wiped out from the earth by a massive avalanche of disposable diapers--again, would this mean that the law of non-contradiction ceased to exist?

Of course not. Which means that the law of non-contradiction is not dependent on humans minds--hence the term universal. If no humans existed at all, A could still not be both A and not-A at the same time and in the same relationship. Because that would be nonsensical. Make sense?

So if logic (I used the law of non-contradiction as an example, but obviously you could substitute any of the logical laws) exists independently of human minds, it cannot have originated from them. The question then becomes, from whom or what did it originate? As logic is a series of mental laws, by definition, a mind must have created them. While this mind does not necessarily correlate with the Christian God--ie, you can't say 'Logic exists, therefore the Bible exists'--calling the 'universal, necessary mental mind' God of some description is not a leap. Does this make sense? Bnonn will no doubt explain it better than I can, especially as it's late, but I hope that makes the argument... vaguely clearer.
.

Ok this is clearer. But backing up (from the blog):

But we have just established that mental states do really have causal influence on other mental states. If they don't, then logical inference does not actually take place, and the relationship between premises and conclusions does not really exist.

But we agree that this relationship does exist. What is interesting about it, however, is that, although it entails a mind (because it is a mental relationship), it does not entail our minds. We could none of us exist, and yet we must acknowledge that this mental relationship would still hold. We perceive that it is a necessary one, and that it could not be otherwise; that it applies to everyone, and it is not a matter of convention, but of necessity. It is what we might call a mental law—or, really, mental laws, since there are several discrete relationships which we apprehend. We give them names, like noncontradiction and identity.

But mental laws do imply a mind. By definition, the mental entails a mind; and so universal, necessary mental laws therefore must imply a universal, necessary mental mind. We could otherwise phrase this by saying that such laws must imply an aseitic God.


This may sound simplistic....but I am having trouble with the bolded. If none of us existed, the Law would exist but it would not be a mental law. It needs to be processed by a mind to be a mental law. So I would argue that Universal laws stand without a mind to perceive, process, and understand them. If all the humans are wiped out by cell-phone radiation, the laws will stand without a mind to process them. Universal law does not depend on the existence of mental laws.

So in this passage:

We know, because we are immediately aware of it through introspection, that we believe Socrates is mortal because of the premises: that all men are mortal, and that he is a man. When we say because of, we are acknowledging a causal relationship between the premises and the conclusion. The relationship is real; believing the premises really does cause the belief in the conclusion. We therefore conclude that our mental state in which we apprehend that Socrates is a man, and our mental state in which we apprehend that all men are mortal, are both causally linked in some way to our mental state in which we apprehend that Socrates is therefore mortal. There is a real, non-physical relationship between these premises and the conclusion.

all this reflects our mental processing of Universal laws, but does not reflect the nature of universal law.
post #85 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Not 100% sure what you're asking--do you mean, why is it necessary that any one religion has to know the true nature of God (as opposed to God being entirely unknowable to the whole human race)? I'm not sure how that relates to the passage you quoted, but maybe I'm misunderstanding your question--help?
.

Not nec that God is unknowable....just that it is very possible that the true nature of God is unknown. That many religions have tried to explain the true nature of God, and all have failed to do so completely.

He is saying that if he:

A. proves that an aseitic God is necessary, and
B. proves that a trinitarian God is necessary, then
C. the Christian God (both aseitic and trinitarian) is proven necessary, since it is the only God described in religion that fits the bill. He further assumes that should be enough evidence for the "unprejudiced intellect".

But the logical alternative is that an aseitic God is necessary and a trinitarian God is necessary but that God is NOT the Christian God....but rather is a God undescribed by human religions.
post #86 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
He's talking about unity and plurality in this passage, so 'propositions' is a fairly broad term which could mean 'matter' or 'concepts' or, more accurately, both--stuff which exists in the universe. One could call anything from 'blue' to 'canary' to 'love' a proposition in this context.
.
And finally....the trinitarian nature of the Christian God defies logic, so it is difficult for me to talk about it in a logical way . But my feeling here is that this is largely semantics...are you saying that a unitarian God can not be everywhere and in all things, because it is only one thing? Could it be one thing that is everywhere?
post #87 of 100
Ok, I did a whole bunch more reading on your dh's site. And the conclusion I've come to is that his logical Christian God is so unappealing that He inspires atheism

But one more question about this passage, under "Salvation":

If he believes in God, then either he believes in the God of the Bible, which necessarily entails believing the Bible itself first; or he believes in some arbitrary, speculative God of his own creation.

What if a person believes that their understanding of God is derived through direct communication with God?
post #88 of 100
Smokering, you're Reformed?! Thanks for the blog link.
post #89 of 100
Without reading any of the responses.....

The church is a building or a group of like believers. I don't believe that any one Christian church is "the only way"..... It's Jesus Christ is the only way. If you follow Him (and only Him) and all His teachings (not the "church's teaching/ rituals)...that is the only true way.

I think there are different types of churches because different things appeal to different people. And I think we appeal to different things because each person is called to do something specific (their gift) in the body of Christ. When we follow Jesus Christ, we become one body. We can't all be hands, nor feet, nor eyes.....but we all work together for God through the common relationship we have with Jesus Christ. I think some Christian churches excel in different areas because they have specific gifts from God in that area....but all should evidence the fruit of the Spirit.

Have Scripture that back these things up....but the kids just woke up. So I don't have time to post them right now.
post #90 of 100
mommaduck: Yup, Reformed. You too? And I'm one of six homeschooled children as well, go figure.

sunnmama: I'm still waiting on DH's response to your first questions (he said he'll answer them as soon as he has his coffee! He spent much of yesterday updating the prettiness of his blog, hence the delay). Again, I'll answer your new questions the best I can in the meantime, but he'll no doubt do a better job later... (You can also add comments to his blog if you feel so inclined, incidentally).

Quote:
Not nec that God is unknowable....just that it is very possible that the true nature of God is unknown. That many religions have tried to explain the true nature of God, and all have failed to do so completely.

He is saying that if he:

A. proves that an aseitic God is necessary, and
B. proves that a trinitarian God is necessary, then
C. the Christian God (both aseitic and trinitarian) is proven necessary, since it is the only God described in religion that fits the bill. He further assumes that should be enough evidence for the "unprejudiced intellect".

But the logical alternative is that an aseitic God is necessary and a trinitarian God is necessary but that God is NOT the Christian God....but rather is a God undescribed by human religions.
Ah, OK. Yes, in theory. However (as you'll discover if you keep going through the book) there are other qualities to God which he also proves necessary, and which correlate with the Christian God. While it's possible to conceive of an unknown God who is ontologically identical to the Christian God, but not the Christian God, that is pretty much special pleading.

Quote:
And finally....the trinitarian nature of the Christian God defies logic, so it is difficult for me to talk about it in a logical way . But my feeling here is that this is largely semantics...are you saying that a unitarian God can not be everywhere and in all things, because it is only one thing? Could it be one thing that is everywhere?
The Trinity doesn't actually defy logic--as in, it doesn't break any logical laws. So it isn't illogical, just hellishly confusing. The problem is that to a truly unary God, the concept of diversity--multiple things--would be unknown, and therefore creation would be impossible.

Actually, Bnonn has just pointed out that you're quoting his opening statement to a debate he attempted to make (except that the other guy never fronted up). His book would probably make things a lot clearer, as he by necessity condensed his arguments a lot to fit his debate into 500 words.

Quote:
Ok, I did a whole bunch more reading on your dh's site. And the conclusion I've come to is that his logical Christian God is so unappealing that He inspires atheism
It helps to be Aspergic. But God isn't there to be a fluffy teddy bear, KWIM? Finding him unappealing isn't really an objection--particularly if you find Him morally objectionable, which of course requires an objective moral standard against which to compare His behavior.

Quote:
What if a person believes that their understanding of God is derived through direct communication with God?
Understanding of... which God? The God of the Bible? In that case their understanding of the Biblical nature of revelation is flawed. If not the Biblical God, then Bnonn would call any other deity arbitrary and speculative, unless it happened to coincide with the ontological necessities for God which he has outlined (such as aseity and unary/diversity (trinitarianism or what-have-you).

Oh, Bnonn just sent me his responses to your original questions. Shall I PM them to you or add them to the thread (which of course we've already taken wildly off-topic by now...)? His response to your more recent question, which confused me a little:

Quote:
This may sound simplistic....but I am having trouble with the bolded. If none of us existed, the Law would exist but it would not be a mental law. It needs to be processed by a mind to be a mental law. So I would argue that Universal laws stand without a mind to perceive, process, and understand them. If all the humans are wiped out by cell-phone radiation, the laws will stand without a mind to process them. Universal law does not depend on the existence of mental laws.

What it meant by "universal law"? Is it referring to a physical law? Because much of the argument I made demonstrated that physical laws have nothing to do with mental events. If "universal laws" are physical laws, then the relationship between premises and conclusions does not really exist. But of course, that is itself a conclusion based on premises, so obviously "universal laws" in this case are mental laws.

Unless something else is meant by "universal laws"; but I cannot think what.
--Bnonn
post #91 of 100
Smokey: yep!
post #92 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Oh, Bnonn just sent me his responses to your original questions. Shall I PM them to you or add them to the thread (which of course we've already taken wildly off-topic by now...)?
You can pm me--that would be fine. I apologize for derailing!
post #93 of 100
LOL, it was more me than you! PMing now...
post #94 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMcC View Post
Without reading any of the responses.....

The church is a building or a group of like believers. I don't believe that any one Christian church is "the only way"..... It's Jesus Christ is the only way. If you follow Him (and only Him) and all His teachings (not the "church's teaching/ rituals)...that is the only true way.
but everyone seems to be worshiping a different Jesus. how are we to know who the real Jesus is and who is worshiping the impostor? If we could really rely only on ourselves we would all be worshiping the same Christ and the same way (how He wants to be worshiped should not be a matter of our personal comfort level or our preferences.). You can't say the Bible because everyone on there own make the Bible say the same thing. you can't say the Holy Spirit because everyone claims that the Holy Spirits is speaking to them contradictory things. So while i believe the Holy spirit can lead us into all truth I think a lot of people are hearing whatever they want to hear from the scriptures and blaming the Holy Spirit. But someone is obviously listening to the wrong voices. If we were listening to the same Holy Spirit would he not be revealing the same thing to us? Is it not possible, when left to our own devices, that someone must be wrong. and if someone is wrong then someone must be right. Is it inconceivable that God has ordained a right way to worship and a right way to believe? and how will we know which way is right if we depend only on our self and our own desires?
post #95 of 100
and if someone is wrong then someone must be right. Is it inconceivable that God has ordained a right way to worship and a right way to believe?

I very much disagree with the first sentence here.....when it come to the true nature of God, and how God wishes (or if God wishes) to be worshipped, everyone could be wrong. And, no, it isn't inconceivable that God has ordained a right way to worship and believe...but it is inconceivable that he has not? Or that he ordained a different way for different groups?

I guess I don't understand the insistence that everyone worship the same, or else someone is wrong. Maybe God had different intentions for different groups? I am not Muslim, but here is a passage from the Koran that seems to suggest such a possibility:


Unity of All Submitters

[2:62] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
post #96 of 100
but it is not about fearing. None of the Christian chruch claiming to be the one true church think think that people outside the Church are in danger of going to hell. it is about wanting to worship God in fullness. Abount wanting the whole truth.
post #97 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
but it is not about fearing. None of the Christian chruch claiming to be the one true church think think that people outside the Church are in danger of going to hell. it is about wanting to worship God in fullness. Abount wanting the whole truth.
nak

not true. my mother's church (non-denominational, bible-studying kind....place she found after being raised eo) claims to have *the truth*, and believes that others who claim to be Christian may not be saved (may go to hell)....although they admit that entrance to heaven is ultimately for God to decide.

eta....thinking about it, the extreme position of my mother's church probably explains why I am so offended by the idea of a "one true church". The idea you are explaining, Lilyka, is not offensive to me at all. It would have been much nicer to be raised in a church like that.

But for some evidence of how my mother's church thinks, my mother took a Bible to her dying grandmother's bedside to be sure that she is "saved"....even though my great grandmother was a life-long practicing Russian Orthodox Christian (as are my grandparents and aunts/uncles....and my mother was raised that way as well...so she was familiar with the teachings! But her church had convinced her that those Orthodox family members were still at risk of going to hell
post #98 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
but it is not about fearing. None of the Christian chruch claiming to be the one true church think think that people outside the Church are in danger of going to hell. it is about wanting to worship God in fullness. Abount wanting the whole truth.
Yeah, this isn't true. Some churches do believe they are the only right way and anyone not following them will die in the end. This is what JW's believe, though officially they will say it is for god to judge, I can give you dozens of quotes from their literature that implies that only JW's will survive. And not even all JW's, but only the really good ones, the rest of the people in the world will be destroyed very soon at the hands of God himself. So it is about fear for some churches.
post #99 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
eta....thinking about it, the extreme position of my mother's church probably explains why I am so offended by the idea of a "one true church". The idea you are explaining, Lilyka, is not offensive to me at all. It would have been much nicer to be raised in a church like that.

But for some evidence of how my mother's church thinks, my mother took a Bible to her dying grandmother's bedside to be sure that she is "saved"....even though my great grandmother was a life-long practicing Russian Orthodox Christian (as are my grandparents and aunts/uncles....and my mother was raised that way as well...so she was familiar with the teachings! But her church had convinced her that those Orthodox family members were still at risk of going to hell

My mom's this way, too. :

So if we all treated one another with lovingkindness, compassion and dignity--everyone--not just those within our True Church, (BTW...I do personally know some Christians who behave like this. ) then we'd have no reason to resent the notion of One True Church. In fact, we'd all probably want to join the One True Church. (I won't say which one I'm hoping would win. But I would concede to the Orthodox. )

Chalk this one up to the human condition.
post #100 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
but it is not about fearing. None of the Christian chruch claiming to be the one true church think think that people outside the Church are in danger of going to hell. it is about wanting to worship God in fullness. Abount wanting the whole truth.
I agree with you, lilyka, that this is true for the Catholic and Orthodox churches. And the Roman Catholic Church is the church usually being referred to (in the US at least) as calling itself the One True Church.
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