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#264566 - 15/09/2005 20:31 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JeffS]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Quote:
Well, you're missing my point here, I think. I was trying to put you and I on the same side here.

Ah. I see what you mean. The difference being that what I'm talking about are provable scientific facts and what you're talking about are things that are, well, not. There are any number of things that I believe in on a personal level that I would want to instill in my children (if I had any or, in general, didn't despise children) but that I also believe have virtually no place in school. Of course, these are mostly things that I find entertaining as opposed to things that define how I should live my life.

I won't argue that it fails a lot of the time, but the point of school is to teach not facts so much as to how to learn. Okay, it fails most of the time, but that is what it should aspire to. Teaching faith (which you've already implied many times is impossible, anyway) doesn't fit in that curriculum. In order to teach faith, you have to simply tell students "this is how it is" without any sort of evidence.

Look at it this way: if you didn't have the (manmade) Bible to reference, how could you posit God from what you observe? I guess the point of ID is that some God must exist, otherwise where would all these amazing things have come from. But isn't that just taking the easy way out? You've decided that it's unknowable so you don't bother to look any further. What if people decided that magnets pointed towards the North simply because God made it so, ignoring the huge science of electromagnetism? Again, I have no problem with saying that God made the rules that made electromagnetism happen, but jumping the gun ignores a lot of observable information. In fact, if you're assuming that God exists and created the universe in general, simply saying "God made this" is never incorrect, is it? But there's so much more to be seen. Why would He have created this amazing place and then want us to ignore its beautiful details?

But this whole "easy way out" is a lot of what bothers me about modern Christianity. There's sort of a new Calvinism going on that has this notion that "God will sort it all out" and it implies an avoidance of personal reponsibility. That's obviously not the case with you or your compatriots here, but it is for a lot of people I observe. But that's more off the topic.
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#264567 - 15/09/2005 20:50 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JeffS]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Here's an interesting argument that implies that God must be interested in faith as opposed to proof. It's related to that Exorcism of Emily Rose movie, but you can largely replace possession and statue-bleeding with ID here for the purposes of our conversation.

Quote:
But man, religious people are weird. It always seems like they've heard of Occam's Razor, but they just don't quite get how it works! They kept saying things like, "God allows people to be posessed to prove to others that God exists". Well you know what, if God really wanted to prove that he existed, I don't think he'd have any trouble doing that, being God and all. Instead of making a statue bleed in front of some backwoods hick, why not make ten thousand statues bleed at the same time? It's fuckin' God! So the obvious, clichéd answer to that is that God doesn't actually want to provide proof, because he wants people to have faith (AKA "believing something for no reason at all"). In which case, posession proves nothing except that, well, God's kinda mean.
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#264568 - 15/09/2005 20:50 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: wfaulk]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
But this whole "easy way out" is a lot of what bothers me about modern Christianity. There's sort of a new Calvinism going on that has this notion that "God will sort it all out" and it implies an avoidance of personal reponsibility.
Yeah, I can agree with this (except the term "new Calvinism", since I don't believe Calvin supported abstaining responsibility, but that's off topic). In fact, this statement is bang on:
Quote:
Why would He have created this amazing place and then want us to ignore its beautiful details?
Science was created by God along with this world around us, and to abstain from studying it would be disrespectful at best.

Yet it is true that Christians take the easy road all too often, at least around here, refusing to really go deep, be it theology, science, or just how they look at the world around them. But after observing this for quite a few years personally, I don't believe this is an issue of modern Christianity per se. It seems that this is the condition of the average US citizen, and that as many non-Christians exhibit this behavior as do Christians.

It seems that we are increasingly embracing a "don't think about it, just do it" kind of mentality in faith, politics, work, and relationships. This is a problem for the church which has to deal with "cultural Christians" who attend because they always have (it's just what they do), but then fail to live out their faith in any practical way. Church attendese is a routine for many that doesn't go any deeper than being the familiar thing to do. But I see this ouside of the church too, like when people witness 9/11 or Katrina and have some earth shattering revealtion, only to return to the humdrum of their lives unaffected after a few weeks. In the end, it seem we don't really let these things get inside and affect us. Nobody really wants to go deeper than they have to and most just do what is comfortable and fits what they've seen before. And to question what is comfortable is unthinkable.

And yes, I see all of this in myself too. Point is, though, I think this is not a matter of Christian faith, but part of our culture that shows up in the church among other places.
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#264569 - 15/09/2005 20:54 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JeffS]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Well, the implication was sort of predestiny versus "God's in control", which amounts to almost the same thing.

And you get no argument from me about all of humanity taking the easy way out. But, largely, we don't pay attention to any of them except for the religious ones.
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Bitt Faulk

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#264570 - 15/09/2005 21:04 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: wfaulk]
bbowman
enthusiast

Registered: 12/05/2002
Posts: 205
Loc: Virginia, USA
As an X-religious person (who is now ~agnostic), I have been on both sides of this argument. I believe that it is true that ID is an attempt on the part of creationists to reconcile the evidence for evolution with their beliefs. According to my understanding of ID (And I haven't read the official declaration), It is a way to loosely quote evolution/big bang and tag on "and god created/started it all" on the end.

The fact is that when one has this kind of belief (creationism) one feels that one has no choice but to believe it. Therefore one must come up with "explanations" to make the belief fit with the new evidence that people have discovered through science - or to ignore the science completely.

The funny thing about it is that science has enabled us to do so many things - like to develop cell phones, empegs, and modern medicine. Most christians believe in those things. But when science starts to encroach on the sacred cow, then the tendancy is to discredit it or ignore it.

It is very difficult for a religious person to use science to challenge the validity of his own religious beliefs because the the person will always hold the religion as a higher light. The religious person would have to be willing to accept the premise that his religious beliefs could be flawed by what he would discover. That is the wall that science cannot break through because the person will not let it in.

Belief is a curious thing, it can inspire or it can hinder.


Edited by bbowman (15/09/2005 21:10)

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#264571 - 15/09/2005 21:05 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: wfaulk]
bonzi
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/09/1999
Posts: 2401
Loc: Croatia
Well said. The world is so beautiful, so amazing, and creationists are missing it all. As for hypothetical God the Creator, somebody here already said that creating the Universe so that it evolves intelligence is vastly more awesome than "micromanaging" it all the way.
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#264572 - 15/09/2005 21:11 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: wfaulk]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
Here's an interesting argument that implies that God must be interested in faith as opposed to proof. It's related to that Exorcism of Emily Rose movie, but you can largely replace possession and statue-bleeding with ID here for the purposes of our conversation.
Personally I'd never try to explain anything God does by saying He's trying to prove that He exists. God's purposes are largely unknown and I have a difficult time trying to speak on His behalf about His intentions.

There are examples in scripture of God allowing suffering so that He might be glorified through the healing, but this is not quite the same thing as trying to prove His existence. The people being addressed in this example definitely believed in God, just not in Jesus as the Messiah. And in these passages, Jesus does not focus on the "why's" of suffering (and even rebukes the desciples for considering such questions), but rather puts the emphasis on healing the suffering.

That suffering exists is one of the thorniest issues of faith, and the Bible gives no real answer to it. It does say that God allows suffering (rather than causing it), and that He works suffering for good for those with faith. It does not promise that this good will happen in this life though.

So I'd be red faced to try an explain why things like Katrian or 9/11 or people dying of desies or anything else happen. I do trust that God is working out all things for good for those with faith, but certainly there are those who have a terrible time of it in this life. My hope is in the afterlife, in which all suffering will cease and when compared to this life makes our time here seem only an instant.

As all of this relates to ID, my opinion is still that there are weighter issues within Christianity and that the best logical arguments of ID will lead very few to faith in Christ. Not that it isn't worth thinking about or adressing (clearly, since I spend a lot of time talking about this stuff with you all) but I think we do not do God an favors by placing so much emphasis on trying to prove that He exists. We should be able to answer questions and adress people's concerns, but in the end it's all about faith in Christ as the solution to our sin problem.
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#264573 - 15/09/2005 21:18 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: wfaulk]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
Well, the implication was sort of predestiny versus "God's in control", which amounts to almost the same thing.
Calvinism actually only relates to a person's decicion to follow Christ, not other aspects of life. So in Calvinism, God is soverign in the issue of salvation, but in all other areas we are our own free agents. And Calvin would also have said that we are responsible for the effects of our sin, but that we are helpless to rescue ourselves and must be dependent on God to save us entirely.

That some Calvinists have adopted an "it's all in God's hands so Ill just go with the flow" attitude does not mean it was Calvin's teaching or intent. Most of the Reformer held to the teachings for which Calvin is credited, and it would certainly be difficult to label those folks as "going with the flow".
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#264574 - 15/09/2005 22:45 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JeffS]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3153
Loc: Portland, OR
Quote:
As an aside- I really need to stop trying to make points with analogies. It's a bad habit and never as effective as I think it is going to be.

Oh, pooh. Jesus did it all the time!

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#264575 - 15/09/2005 23:27 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: canuckInOR]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
Oh, pooh. Jesus did it all the time!
Well yes, but he didn't necessarily do it to make his points more clear.

Besides, Jesus was teaching, not debating. I've been finding (just in general, not necessarily here) that when I make an analogy the conversation spends more time off track debating the analogy than actualy discussing the real issue.

A friend of mine who's a debate coach confirmed this when I told him I was trying to cut back on analogies. He had this problem with his debate students all of the time. He'd say "say I gave you a box. . . " and his kids would immediately start saying "why would you give us a box?" "what kind of box is it?" "Are you going to give us a present". Whatever he was trying to illustrate got completely lost. I've started to realize this is true in most debating conversations, though illustrations are great for teaching mature audiences.

Or at least that's what I think.
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#264576 - 16/09/2005 02:11 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: canuckInOR]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3494
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Quote:
Oh, pooh. Jesus did it all the time!

Having omniscience as a character trait generally lends itself to effective analogies. This is unfortunately something Jeff lacks.
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~ John

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#264577 - 16/09/2005 05:16 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JeffS]
bonzi
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/09/1999
Posts: 2401
Loc: Croatia
Quote:
Personally I'd never try to explain anything God does by saying He's trying to prove that He exists. God's purposes are largely unknown and I have a difficult time trying to speak on His behalf about His intentions.

Sadly, most people in politics (including ID proponents) invoking "God's name in vain" to promote their causes don't share your reluctance to express intimate knowledge of God's intentions...

Quote:
As all of this relates to ID, my opinion is still that there are weighter issues within Christianity and that the best logical arguments of ID will lead very few to faith in Christ. Not that it isn't worth thinking about or adressing (clearly, since I spend a lot of time talking about this stuff with you all) but I think we do not do God an favors by placing so much emphasis on trying to prove that He exists. We should be able to answer questions and adress people's concerns, but in the end it's all about faith in Christ as the solution to our sin problem.

Again, this is a view that we, regrettably, hear rather rarely.

Quote:
So I'd be red faced to try an explain why things like Katrian or 9/11 or people dying of desies or anything else happen. I do trust that God is working out all things for good for those with faith, but certainly there are those who have a terrible time of it in this life. My hope is in the afterlife, in which all suffering will cease and when compared to this life makes our time here seem only an instant.

Well, one does wonder why then go through the trouble of creating the stage for that mere instant, but, as we already established, God's intentions and motives are not to be questioned nor too much pondered (which seems to be a kind of universal answer to thornier questions of religion...)
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#264578 - 16/09/2005 05:17 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JeffS]
bonzi
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/09/1999
Posts: 2401
Loc: Croatia
Quote:
I think the genuine attitude here is, "I know God exists because of my personal experience with Him, and you can't prove He doesn't". It's not that Christians think that lack of verification proves the point, it's just that they know they are correct by other evidence and that carries over into their attitude. I often find it very difficult to debate these matters in light of my personal experiences because the answers are so obvious to me. I work very hard not to expect others to have the same "evidence" that I do.


So, no "Credo quia absurdum"?

You say you have personal experience with God, and I have no choice but to believe you. I don't have any such experience, and I don't feel that I (or you) have a "sin problem". Other people do claim to have personal, intimate "proofs" of a vast array of often quite incompatible Deities. So, for me the obvious conclusion is that those "experiences" must be caused by something other than objective existence of any deity. Strange....
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#264579 - 16/09/2005 12:44 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JBjorgen]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Quote:
Quote:
Oh, pooh. Jesus did it all the time!

Having omniscience as a character trait generally lends itself to effective analogies. This is unfortunately something Jeff lacks.


Okay, to derail this again, I've never heard anyone claim that one of Jesus', um, powers, was omniscience. In fact, the Bible shows him wondering and questioning often, and not always as a Socratic argument. In particular, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" comes to mind.

Personally, I find Jesus more compelling as a human, even if as an avatar. Which may explain my disdain for the magic inherent in your form of Christianity.
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#264580 - 16/09/2005 16:19 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: wfaulk]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3494
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Traditional theology states that Jesus was all man and all God (or God incarnate) at the same time (yeah...that's a brain buster.) So he had traits that are ascribed to God like omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. He clearly humbled himself to walk among us, laying his powers aside. At times, however, he took them up showing his omniscience (knowing the thoughts of the Pharisee's hearts) and omnipotence (walking on water amongst others).

Take from that what you will, just explaining the traditional theology .
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#264581 - 16/09/2005 19:50 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JBjorgen]
JeffS
carpal tunnel

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 2858
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Quote:
Traditional theology states that Jesus was all man and all God (or God incarnate) at the same time (yeah...that's a brain buster.) So he had traits that are ascribed to God like omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. He clearly humbled himself to walk among us, laying his powers aside. At times, however, he took them up showing his omniscience (knowing the thoughts of the Pharisee's hearts) and omnipotence (walking on water amongst others).

Take from that what you will, just explaining the traditional theology .
R.C. Sproul (a modern, well respected thologian) explains this here. One thing of note is that many of the miracles Jesus performed are ascribed to "the Father" and not Jesus himself. Like when a prophet would perform a miracle (say calling fire from heaven), it is not the prophet's power but God's power initiated by the faithfulness of the prophet. Though certainly Jesus had the power, He chose to not use it and instead rely on His relationship to the Father.
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-Jeff
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them.

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#264582 - 19/09/2005 23:39 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: JeffS]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yeah, well I think that Jesus said that any man can do the things he does, if they only had the faith, and I agree.

Personally, I don't see how anyone can not believe in God. How can the universe exist? It had to have been created, for instance by God. Well who created God then? It's a paradox. Our very existence is a paradox. It's impossible, by our understanding. So there must be a higher understanding, a higher being, that resolves this paradox.

As far as big bang theories and whatnot go, they change with time. A hundred years from now, scientists will have a completely new belief. But christians have believed the same thing for thousands of years.

No matter what you believe about the past, it's still based on faith because neither you nor I were there to witness it, and even if you were, you're only putting your faith in your eyes and ears. It's just a question of whether you put your faith in evidence from objects in the outside world, like rocks and stones, or whether you put your faith into what you feel in the depths of your own soul, which is the only place that you will find God.

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#264583 - 20/09/2005 01:53 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: ]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31160
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
How can the universe exist? It had to have been created, for instance by God. Well who created God then?

As I always point out when this one comes up, religion (or a belief in God) does not answer this question, nor does science. It's reducto ad absurdum no matter whether you look at it from a theistic or atheistic point of view.
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#264584 - 20/09/2005 02:20 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: ]
loren
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/08/2000
Posts: 3824
Loc: SLC, UT, USA
Quote:
So there must be a higher understanding, a higher being, that resolves this paradox.

Who says this "paradox" is even resolvable or needs to be?
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#264585 - 20/09/2005 06:21 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: ]
Cybjorg
addict

Registered: 23/12/2002
Posts: 652
Loc: Winston Salem, NC
Quote:
How can the universe exist? It had to have been created, for instance by God.


Don't go there. Many will argue that the universe didn't have to be created by anyone, but rather appeared by chance or [fortunate?] accident.

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#264586 - 20/09/2005 17:53 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: Cybjorg]
bonzi
pooh-bah

Registered: 13/09/1999
Posts: 2401
Loc: Croatia
Quote:
Quote:
How can the universe exist? It had to have been created, for instance by God.


Don't go there. Many will argue that the universe didn't have to be created by anyone, but rather appeared by chance or [fortunate?] accident.

Our ablility to intuitively grasp the world has evolved for "human scale" phenomena, in terms of size, time, energy scale... Very few people can visualize quantum- or cosmic-scale reality (I certainly can't), although we can describe them mathematically to a certain extent. Questions like "how was the Universe created", and certailny the answer that God did that are hopelesly anthopocentrically parochial, so to speak. It's like a termite searching a skyscraper for a giant queen, because the only structure it knows is a termite colony*. According to the best we currently know about the Universe, the question "what was there before the Universe" is meaningless, and the statement that God created the world has equal information content as any other "creation proposition": zero.

*) Jeff is right: analogies are not that good argument vehicles
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#264587 - 22/09/2005 12:37 Re: A college that trains young Christians to be politicians [Re: ]
bbowman
enthusiast

Registered: 12/05/2002
Posts: 205
Loc: Virginia, USA
Quote:
... So there must be a higher understanding, a higher being, that resolves this paradox


I think that the paradox is created by the assumption that a sentient being had to create it. Remove the assumption, and poof goes the paradox.

Quote:
But christians have believed the same thing for thousands of years.


I don't consider that to be a good thing. Where is the progress/growth. Science may not have the perfect answer now, but I think that it is on the right track. "Small Moves"

Quote:
...you're only putting your faith in your eyes and ears. or whether you put your faith into what you feel in the depths of your own soul


Feelings are not trustworthy. Many are the mistakes of humankind when their decisions are based on feelings and emotion instead of evidence found through sight and hearing combined with logic. Feelings come from learned associations that are not always accurate - especially regarding things that are difficult to know about (like the beggining of the universe).
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