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#271 of 288 Old 07-17-2008, 09:35 PM
 
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Well, not having read the biology textbook of which you speak... I'm going to go out on a limb and assume it doesn't cover philosophy of science. If it is methodologically naturalistic, as most scientific texts are, your worldview will be incomplete, as the book will fail to address metaphysical questions about, say, the existence of the supernatural--it will have a large 'No Comment' on questions about life after death, souls, God etc, and any belief you choose to adopt concerning those things--for or against--will be derived from some exterior source or influence.
Well, if the book does not concern itself with the supernatural, life after death, etc., but it does lay out the scientific method, can we not assume that all things supernatural can be investigated and explained using the scientifc method itself? For instance, the Bible does not concern itself with, say, purple people eaters, however, you can use your god-given gift of reason to assume that they do not exist (or if you think they exist, you can use your god-given reason to decide whether they are good/bad/evil/whatever.
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#272 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Freud: You're confusing 'reason' with 'the scientific method'. The scientific method applies only to physical (natural) phenomena, so it cannot--by definition--be used as a tool for determining facts about the supernatural. Reason can; but, as reason is also a mental concept, it is unlikely to be discussed in a scientific textbook.

eilonwy: You're failing to engage at all with the Christian worldview. You are conflating a specific interpretation of the OT prophecies with the prophecies themselves, and not acknowledging a central tenet io Christian Messianic theology--the Second Coming. In order to be internally consistent, Christianity need only provide logical alternative interpretations for the prophecies you suggest (or, indeed, question the cited texts as actual Messianic prophecy). My first principle is 'The Bible is the Word of God', not 'The Bible and traditional Jewish interpretations of parts of it are the Word or God'; so even if a prophecy has traditionally been interpreted one way, that does not affect my worldview. Jesus, in fact, spoke against certain traditional Jewish interpretations of the OT--He certainly did not believe that the Israelites always got the Scriptures 'right'.

So, that said, let's look at your objections:
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a) Well, let's start with being "of the Tribe of Judah." Tribal affiliation is patrilineal; Jesus' father was not supposed to be of Earth, correct? Therefore his father could not have been of the Tribe of Judah, and nor was he.
Tribal affiliation laws were obviously not designed with heavenly fathers in mind, that being an exception to events rather than the rule; however. Mary and Joseph were both of the tribe of Judah; hence, Jesus' lineage could be traced by birth and adoption back to David.

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b) He must be a direct male descendent of King Solomon and King David. Again, not possible for Jesus as his father wasn't supposed to be human.
See above.

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c) He must gather the Jewish people from exile and return them to Israel. Obviously hasn't happened yet, as there are Jews all over the world. If it hasn't happened, Jesus didn't do it.
d) He must rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Hasn't happened-- there's still only one wall there. Clearly Jesus did not rebuild the temple.
e) He will rule in a time of world peace. Clearly hasn't happened-- we're constantly at war with one another. Beating swords into plowshares? Not in the past 2000 years. Not in any of human history, sadly. Once more, Jesus didn't bring peace or "rule" in a time of peace.
f) He will rule in a time when all Jews respect and keep all of God's commandments. Definately not the case; Sadly, most Jews who *don't* keep all of God's commandments couldn't even begin to tell you what they're doing wrong. Again, though, as this is something that hasn't happened, clearly Jesus didn't bring it about or rule in a time when this was true.
g) He will rule in a time when all people worship one God. Definately not the case today; Not only do people worship different gods, but some people worship several different gods all by themselves. Jesus did not bring everyone together on any level whatsoever; He merely served as a divider.
Correction: He hasn't done it yet. According to Christian theology (which is what we're discussing, right?), Jesus hasn't finished being the Messiah. He has another 'Coming' to accomplish. Saying a prophecy has not yet been fulfilled is not the same as saying it will never be fulfilled. Jesus did not 'rule' during His first Coming, so complaining that His 'rule' did not occur according to prophecy is nonsensical.

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#273 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 01:14 AM
 
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eilonwy: You're failing to engage at all with the Christian worldview.
But I was only looking to engage with yours in particular.

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You are conflating a specific interpretation of the OT prophecies with the prophecies themselves, and not acknowledging a central tenet io Christian Messianic theology--the Second Coming.
Ah, the second coming! The second coming, in the NT, contradicts the information in the OT (by creating it at all) and is thus more fodder for my argument. So-- it is a problem for me not to recognize it, despite the fact that it creates a fallacy?

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In order to be internally consistent, Christianity need only provide logical alternative interpretations for the prophecies you suggest (or, indeed, question the cited texts as actual Messianic prophecy).
In other words... you reconcile the discrepencies between the OT and NT by saying that the illogical portions just need alternate explanations? How is that maintaining internal consistancy?

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My first principle is 'The Bible is the Word of God', not 'The Bible and traditional Jewish interpretations of parts of it are the Word or God'; so even if a prophecy has traditionally been interpreted one way, that does not affect my worldview.
We discussed translations earlier in the thread. It's not really my fault that you can't read Hebrew or Aramaic, is it? Having read what you call the OT in Hebrew, I'm inclined to lean toward Jewish translations. I have encountered, iirc, *one* Christian translation which seemed to accurately reflect the text; Unfortunately, I can't for the life of me remember what it was called.

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Jesus, in fact, spoke against certain traditional Jewish interpretations of the OT--He certainly did not believe that the Israelites always got the Scriptures 'right'.
Well, me oh my-- I'm not sure what, exactly, you're referring to, but I am talking about text, and not interpretations. Translations, yes, but not interpretations.

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Tribal affiliation laws were obviously not designed with heavenly fathers in mind, that being an exception to events rather than the rule; however. Mary and Joseph were both of the tribe of Judah; hence, Jesus' lineage could be traced by birth and adoption back to David.
The laws came from God, and are described in the OT. How could God have desined a set of laws without his own laws in mind? Likewise, adoption in this case is irrelevant-- if, as you say, laws were created without God in mind, it shouldn't matter that Jesus' lineage couldn't be traced back to David. If they were (as they are God's rules) then it should matter, and of course he can't (not having an Earthly *biological* father precludes that).

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Correction: He hasn't done it yet. According to Christian theology (which is what we're discussing, right?), Jesus hasn't finished being the Messiah. He has another 'Coming' to accomplish.
Again, this is a contradiction between the OT and the NT. How do you reconcile it?

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Saying a prophecy has not yet been fulfilled is not the same as saying it will never be fulfilled. Jesus did not 'rule' during His first Coming, so complaining that His 'rule' did not occur according to prophecy is nonsensical.
The OT says, "This will happen when the messiah comes." It doesn't say, "Oh, and if he doesn't do it all in his lifetime, he gets to come back and finish the job." That's the NT. Contradiction.

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#274 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah, the second coming! The second coming, in the NT, contradicts the information in the OT (by creating it at all) and is thus more fodder for my argument. So-- it is a problem for me not to recognize it, despite the fact that it creates a fallacy?
What? Does the OT specifically say that the Messiah will not come twice?
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In other words... you reconcile the discrepencies between the OT and NT by saying that the illogical portions just need alternate explanations? How is that maintaining internal consistancy?
Nice way of assuming the consequent. If there is a logical explanation, the discrepancies aren't discrepancies.
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We discussed translations earlier in the thread. It's not really my fault that you can't read Hebrew or Aramaic, is it? Having read what you call the OT in Hebrew, I'm inclined to lean toward Jewish translations. I have encountered, iirc, *one* Christian translation which seemed to accurately reflect the text; Unfortunately, I can't for the life of me remember what it was called.
Well, me oh my-- I'm not sure what, exactly, you're referring to, but I am talking about text, and not interpretations. Translations, yes, but not interpretations.
Again, huh? Interpretations and translations are different things.

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The laws came from God, and are described in the OT. How could God have desined a set of laws without his own laws in mind? Likewise, adoption in this case is irrelevant-- if, as you say, laws were created without God in mind, it shouldn't matter that Jesus' lineage couldn't be traced back to David. If they were (as they are God's rules) then it should matter, and of course he can't (not having an Earthly *biological* father precludes that).
Where in the OT does it say a man cannot be adopted into a tribe, if his father happens not to be human? It doesn't. Where does it say that a man with no earthly father cannot claim the lineage of his biological mother? It doesn't.
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Again, this is a contradiction between the OT and the NT. How do you reconcile it?
Again, where does the OT specifically preclude the Second Coming?
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The OT says, "This will happen when the messiah comes." It doesn't say, "Oh, and if he doesn't do it all in his lifetime, he gets to come back and finish the job." That's the NT. Contradiction.
Oh, good grief. Look up 'contradiction'. The OT does not mention that Jesus is coming back; but unless it states specifically that the Messiah is only coming once, it is not a contradiction; it is simply added info. Jesus made it clear while He was on earth that the OT prophecies were pointing to a future spiritual reality, not an earthly-kingdom-type salvation as previously thought.

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#275 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 01:56 AM
 
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What? Does the OT specifically say that the Messiah will not come twice?
It says that these things will be accomplished in his lifetime, yes. I'll have to ask someone else to look up the relevant verses, but they're most assuredly there.

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Nice way of assuming the consequent. If there is a logical explanation, the discrepancies aren't discrepancies.
And I'm saying, if the discrepencies exist, the logic which explains them is, by definition, faulty.

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Again, huh? Interpretations and translations are different things.
Which was exactly the point that I was making. You're talking about interpretations-- I'm not. I'm talking about translations. The interpretations don't come into play.

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Where in the OT does it say a man cannot be adopted into a tribe, if his father happens not to be human? It doesn't.
Of course it doesn't; What it *does* say is that this particular man, the messiah, will be a direct blood descendant-- a member of a particular tribe. Not adopted, not from an unknown or outside tribe, but *of* the tribe.

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Where does it say that a man with no earthly father cannot claim the lineage of his biological mother? It doesn't.
A man who doesn't know who his biological father is can't do the same. Tribal lineage is patrilinear; No father, no tribe, end of story.

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Oh, good grief. Look up 'contradiction'. The OT does not mention that Jesus is coming back; but unless it states specifically that the Messiah is only coming once, it is not a contradiction; it is simply added info.
As I said, what is specifically stated is that these things must happen within the messiah's lifetime, unless I'm forgetting something terribly important. Thus, the second coming is clearly an attempt to reconcile Jesus' failure to accomplish all the deeds of the messiah with the NT's assertion that he is, in fact, said messiah.

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Jesus made it clear while He was on earth that the OT prophecies were pointing to a future spiritual reality, not an earthly-kingdom-type salvation as previously thought.
Yet another attempt to reconcile two notions that are contradictory-- the OT clearly speaks of a physical reality, it expressly states as much. If the NT says something else, it's another contradiction, regardless of the techniques used to justify it.

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#276 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Let me know when you find the references to back up your claims.

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#277 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 03:19 AM
 
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Thao: Can you please list your personal definitions, separately, for these words: good, bad, evil, right, wrong, morality? (If you consider 'good' and 'right' to be the same thing, just repeat it). Are your definitions static, or do they change according to circumstance?
Well, I can try again, although it won't be different from what I've been saying all along. Maybe I can say it more clearly. Morality = codes of conduct created by humans based on the human conscience, which is an evolved instinct, an internalization of rules of social conduct that gave groups who had it a survival advantage over groups that did not. Good, right = that which (a) pleases the conscience or (b) is in accordance with a recognized moral code of conduct (see above). Bad, wrong = that which (a) is repugnant to the conscience or (b) goes against a recognized moral code of conduct. Evil = basically the same as bad and wrong but of higher intensity. These definitions do not change according to circumstance, although the particulars (what exactly is considered good or bad) can and do change.
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#278 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 05:04 AM
 
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Well, since my book doesn't discuss using reason to justify the existence of the supernatural, I assume that there is no supernatural, no afterlife, etc.
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#279 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Freud: Remember that all your assumptions must follow from your first principle; so in order for the assumption 'there is no supernatural realm' to be logical in your worldview, your biology textbook would specifically have to state 'there is no supernatural realm'. And I'd be surprised to find any textbook doing so, as the existence or non-existence of a supernatural realm is entirely outside the purview of science, which deals with physical phenomena. To analogise: you cannot deduce from a linguistics textbook the existence or non-existence of mathematics if it is silent on the matter. That's not its field.

I think there would be other problems with using a biology textbook as your first principle, but that's a pretty major one so I'll leave it at that for now--it is not complete enough to provide a holistic worldview. To either believe OR disbelieve in the supernatural, you'd have to rely on other sources than the textbook, in which case you'd be borrowing from someone else's worldview.

Thao: Thanks for restating your beliefs so clearly, I appreciate it.
I notice reason does not figure into this schema, and you have not postulated a method for determining what happens if an action causes a conflict between a) and b). If an action is in accordance with a recognised moral (survival advantage-giving) code of conduct, making it good, but is repugnant to the conscience, making it bad, how is one to determine the goodness or badness of the action? Does conscience trump societal codes of conduct, or vice versa; and why?

Looking at your definitions more closely, there seems to be a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation going on with your definition of morality:

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Morality = codes of conduct created by humans based on the human conscience, which is an evolved instinct, an internalization of rules of social conduct that gave groups who had it a survival advantage over groups that did not.
So, codes of conduct, based on conscience, based on codes of conduct. What were the second (original) codes of conduct based on, then, if not conscience? And why did some survival-advantage-giving behaviors become a matter of conscience and others not?

You also say evil is 'of higher intensity' than 'bad' or 'wrong'. What do you mean by that--something which is more repugnant to the conscience, or which goes further against recognised moral codes? Again, which trumps which in a conflict? Was a plantation owner who taught his slaves to read more or less evil than a plantation owner who freed his slaves, and why? How does morality progress if reason is not part of the equation?

I have more thoughts on this but it's late, and I'd like to hear your response.

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#280 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 02:51 PM
 
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I notice reason does not figure into this schema, and you have not postulated a method for determining what happens if an action causes a conflict between a) and b). If an action is in accordance with a recognised moral (survival advantage-giving) code of conduct, making it good, but is repugnant to the conscience, making it bad, how is one to determine the goodness or badness of the action? Does conscience trump societal codes of conduct, or vice versa; and why?
Wait a minute, you are slightly changing my definition here. I did not say that the moral codes of conduct that are created by humans necessarily give a survival advantage. I said that the instinct for creating codes of conduct gives a survival advantage. Based on that instinct, humans create all sorts of moral codes, some of which may or may not give a survival advantage. Do you get the distinction? A moral code that requires the stoning of a woman who has slept with a man before marriage probably doesn't confer any survival advantage on the group. However the reason why that particular cultural group came up with that code at all is because as humans they have an innate tendency to make up social codes. This tendency generally leads to codes which are conducive to group harmony (can you think of any universally-accepted moral value that is not?) but not always.

So: let's say the moral code you were raised with requires the stoning of women who have premarital sex. But your conscience doesn't sit right with that, and you have a conflict. How is it resolved? An individual might use any number of ways to resolve the conflict. They might decide based on the feeling that stoning women is repugnant to their conscience. They might apply reason to the issue. They might squash their pangs of conscience and go with what society sanctions. Now, I know I am not really answering your question because you want to know how, in this worldview, one figures out what is the *true* right or wrong. But that question again assumes a universal absolute for right and wrong, and so is meaningless under my presupposition. In my worldview, if there is a conflict all I can do is decide what *I* think is right or wrong and then try to persuade others to agree with me, because while we all have common ideas on morality due to our common humanity, there is no absolute RIGHT or WRONG.

Reason definitely has a place in this worldview. We have this innate ability to create codes of conduct, in particular codes of conduct which are conducive to group survival, but we also have reason. They both play a part. Let's go back to an analogy of another abstract concept that is based on a physical process: beauty. Beauty can be defined as that which is pleasing to the senses, right? We have an innate tendency to classify things as beautiful or ugly. There are certain things that pretty much everyone considers beautiful, without having to apply reason to it. However they are many other things that people may start out thinking are ugly or just plain, and after applying reason or gaining knowledge about it they may come to the conclusion that it is beautiful. Modern art, for example, or dissonant modern music. Note that people do not reason that the modern art or music is somehow closer to an absolute standard of beauty and so decide it is beautiful. They just learn more about it, or apply reason to it, and as a result of this they begin to feel that it is pleasing to their senses whereas it wasn't pleasing before. In the same way, humans apply reason, or empathy, or additional knowledge, or any number of other factors to things that they used to feel were moral/immoral and what once was felt to be pleasing/repugnant to the conscience may change. For example, the case of slavery, which was once thought to be morally pleasing because it was believed that the slaves came from an inferior race and so benefited from their subservient relationship to the superior race. As humans have gatherd more knowledge, learning that all races are equally intelligent, and applied empathy, realizing that "they" are "us", this feeling has changed until now slavery is almost universally condemned. So reason plays a huge role in determing moral codes of conduct, and in changing codes of conduct as society changes.

There are limits however; no one will every think that a steaming pile of dung is beautiful. Likewise, I can't imagine that we could ever use reason to convince our consciences that, say, mass murder is a moral thing.

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So, codes of conduct, based on conscience, based on codes of conduct. What were the second (original) codes of conduct based on, then, if not conscience?
This is a good point. The distinction between the former and the latter, I think, is that there are instinctual codes of conduct and then there are consciously created codes of conduct. We can observe instinctual codes of conduct in all social animals from wolves to ants to apes. As far as we know, humans are the only animal that developed self-awareness, so they became aware of these instinctual codes of conduct. They became aware that certain actions make them feel bad (=repugnant to the conscience) and others make them feel good ( =pleasing to the conscience). Based on this, along with multiple other factors such as reason, power dynamics, etc, they then consciously created codes of social conduct.

If your question is where did wolves and ants and apes and humans get those instinctual codes of conduct, then my answer is what I have said upthread: millions of tiny accidents. Natural selection.
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#281 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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Smokering, I'm getting a bit confused. Bear with me again.

Let's say a person is interested in your worldview, particularly your beliefs about the afterlife. Say this person asserts that there is a heaven, hell, and a place called 'hamfindel.' How would you determine the truth of this person's claims? Would you not consult your bible, which your worldview is formulated from, and tell the person that your bible does not mention the existence of a place called hamfindel, so therefore you do not believe that such a place exists in the afterlife? The bible does not state that this place exists, but it also does not state that this place does not exist.

Wouldn't this be similar to the fact that my biology book does not mention the afterlife, therefore I am assuming it does not exist.

My book does state the the scientific method can be used to investigate all things and to gain information about the nature of things, and it does not say that the scientific method *cannot* be used to study the afterlife. Therefore, if I try to study the afterlife and find no evidence for its existence (using the scientific method) then I can conclude that it does not exist.
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#282 of 288 Old 07-18-2008, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It would depend what 'hamfindel' was supposed to be. If it was a place that contradicted Christian theology, I would have to say it could not exist (as indeed I do with Purgatory). If it were a physical place (like London, which isn't mentioned in the Bible either) I could use naturalistic means of determining its existence. In other words, the Bible contains ways of determining knowledge about both natural and supernatural phenomena. A regular biology textbook does not; can not, because the supernatural is outside its field of study. That's methodological naturalism. In other words, if the book says you can study the supernatural using the scientific method it is in error--not just from my wacky Christian POV, but from the POV of secular science.

Does your biology book actually state that only physical world exists? If so it is philosophically naturalistic, and philosophical naturalism ('nothing except the physical world exists') is self-refuting (that statement being a proposition, not a physical thing).

Does that make more sense? Let me use an example: say a Catholic mystic has a statue of Jesus that weeps blood. Now, secular science (methodologically naturalistic) can certainly study the statue, and determine the physical cause of the statue's weeping blood--whether apparently real or faked. But what science cannot do is say 'This is real (or fake), and therefore God does (or does not) exist'. The most it could say even if the statue appeared to be actually, verifiably weeping blood would be 'no naturalistic cause has yet been found for this phenomenon'. Any philosophical 'therefore' is outside the ream of secular science. Similarly, if it were discovered that some rare physical phenomenon was causing the statue to weep blood, secular science could not say 'God didn't do it'--again, that's outside its purview, as whether or not God works through physical laws is a philosophical/theological question, not a scientific one.

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#283 of 288 Old 07-19-2008, 01:17 AM
 
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Why does my worldview have to include any beliefs (either for or against) an afterlife? If it's not in my book, which I have formulated my worldview from, and I cannot prove its existence using the methods outlined in my book (again I chose this book), then why do I even have to *comment* on the existence of an afterlife. I chose this book myself. It doesn't contain anything in there about the afterlife and so I hold no beliefs about an afterlife. Just like you and your Bible. It contains nothing in there about the afterlife place called Hamfindel, so you have no beliefs about this so-called place. It hadn't even entered your mind until I said the word. That's like me and the afterlife. I have no beliefs about the afterlife, it does not concern me, just like Hamfindel does not concern you.
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#284 of 288 Old 07-19-2008, 01:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Why does my worldview have to include any beliefs (either for or against) an afterlife?
I don't think you're getting my argument. The world as we know it does include people who believe in an afterlife/supernatural realm, and the fact that you're posting on a Religious Studies board indicates that you know that. Your first principle does not operate in a vacuum; it needs to describe reality, and reality (I assume you agree) contains people like me, who believe in an afterlife. So your worldview needs to equip you with the mental tools to deal with such a concept (even if those mental tools lead you to say 'There is no afterlife'); otherwise it is not a useful or complete worldview. Just as my worldview (and yours) needs to be able to deal with the concept of a place called Hamfindel, as I have shown it does. You can't build a worldview based on selective ignorance--one which only works as long as certain concepts 'never enter your mind'--and even if you could it's too late for you, as you've already been exposed to the concepts of a supernatural realm!

Another example: I don't know a lot about auras (not the epilepsy thing, the glowing purple light some people claim to see around other people). The Bible doesn't mention them; it doesn't claim their existence or lack of it. But, if someone were to mention them to me, I wouldn't be faced with a big mental 'Does not compute'--I could examine the concept using the mental tools of my worldview, which allow me to deal with naturalistic and non-naturalistic phenomena. The fact that auras (aurae?) aren't mentioned in the Bible doesn't mean I can't deal with the concept of their existence; similarly, your worldview must equip you to able to deal with the concept of the supernatural. Does that make more sense?

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#285 of 288 Old 07-19-2008, 02:01 AM
 
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ok, so, not that I wholly agree with every single point, BUT, I agree with the spirit of the rant for sure
Basically, if you (meaning the general 'you', not anyone in specific) if you don't understand or appreciate religion, you've got no business harrassing someone else about theirs, because you clearly don't get it.
AND, if you're not willing to talk nicely about it, well, then, go somewhere else.
I don't spend much time in the religious studies forum because so many people are so snarky and rude...and yet I really like learning about other religions and discussing these kinds of things. My best roommate ever was an Agnostic, former Baptist, who was getting a degree in world religions. (I'm LDS). We agreed on very little, but we had some GREAT discussions!

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#286 of 288 Old 07-19-2008, 02:07 AM
 
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Smokering...I've been doing some reading and found this article. I find it quite interesting, and though you might have a look at it and tell me what you think about it. You have mentioned that my biology-book-worldview could not be holistic because science cannot comment on the supernatural. I guess this article makes the opposite claim and it makes sense to me. So, if science can comment on the supernatural, then my biology book is okay to base my worldview on.



http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/v...an%202007).pdf
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#287 of 288 Old 07-19-2008, 03:55 AM
 
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As I said, my books are packed away; It will be some time before I'm able to find, in print, evidence to back up my statments. I'll have to pause that for a while (unless someone else feels compelled to jump in? . I did, however start a thread about my own religious predilections, as requested.

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#288 of 288 Old 07-19-2008, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Freud: Drat, I was in the middle of a long post and got distracted watching Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which then froze up the browser and I lost my post.

There are so many problems with that article that I'm hardly sure where to start, but the biggest problem is that it fails to distinguish between methodological and philosophical naturalism. Even if science is not necessary philosophically naturalistic, it is methodologically naturalistic, which eliminates supernatural causes from the get-go. The article then commits a basic philosophical blunder by assuming that a natural cause for an event on the physical level precludes a supernatural cause on the supernatural level (unless you believe a priori that there is no supernatural level, which is philosophical naturalism, which pretty much ends the discussion). For instance, saying 'This demonic-looking mutated lizard was caused by RMs' may be true, but does not say one way or the other if God caused the RMs.

The article also demonstrates extremely poor knowledge of Christianity, as evidenced by the ludicrous 'double-blind prayer experiment'. Not only does it entirely fail to grasp the nature and purpose of Christian prayer, but it's scientifically ridiculous (to demonstrate: I just prayed for the control group). It also presents some very weak arguments against Christianity--the argument from unbelief? Really? When the Bible specifically tells us to expect unbelief?--without rebuttal, while providing facile rebuttals to the for-God arguments.

It also demonstrates its bias towards philosophical naturalism by its use of the 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof' line. Obviously, what one determines as 'extraordinary' will depend entirely on one's worldview; it is a matter of subjective opinion, not scientific study. The author attempts to confuse the issue by using the teapot analogy, banking on the fact that most (all, AFAIK) worldviews would believe orbiting teapots to be extraordinary. But given that many worldviews would not consider the supernatural to be extraordinary, the argument only works from the position it is trying to prove. Half the article is based on this 'probability' thesis, which is both quasi-philosophy and quasi-science, being neither based on logic nor on empirical data.

If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.

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