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A ‘God Problem’ at the New York Times

When I saw that the New York Times had published an argument against the existence of God with a URL that contained the phrase “philosophy-God-omniscience,” it brought out my inner Catholic-apologist-geek. I became excited at the prospect of teasing out a philosophical puzzle.

But the only puzzle I came away with was this: how could a philosopher at a large public university publish a paper on the existence of God—in the nation’s most prestigious newspaper—that wouldn’t pass muster in a freshman philosophy class?

In his piece, titled “A God Problem,” Peter Atterton asks, “Does the idea of a morally perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing God make sense? Does it hold together when we examine it logically?”

Let’s find out.

Atterton first sets his sights on God’s omnipotence with the “paradox of the stone” as it often appears in the form of a question:

"Can God make a rock so heavy that not even he could lift it?"

Atterton notes, “If God can create such a stone, then he is not all powerful, since he himself cannot lift it. On the other hand, if he cannot create a stone that cannot be lifted, then he is not all-powerful, since he cannot create the unliftable stone. Either way, God is not all powerful.”

The answer to the seeming paradox depends on your definition of omnipotence. If you think it means God can “do anything” then he can make a stone he can’t lift and he can lift a stone he can’t make. But this solves the paradox only by throwing logic out the window (which as Atterton notes, some philosophers both past and present have been willing to do).

Fortunately, there’s no need to pay such a high price. When we define divine omnipotence correctly, as “the ability to make the possible actual” or “the ability to perform a logically possible task,” the paradox evaporates.

To put it another way: God can do anything but some strings of words don’t even count as “anything.” You might be able to say terms like “square circles” or “married bachelors” but those terms are as meaningful as a random string of letters like “jorshplat.” (Can God jorshplat? If you say no, is he therefore not omnipotent?)

The philosopher George Mavrodes notes that “a stone too heavy for God to lift” is simply another way of uttering the logically contradictory (and thus nonsensical) phrase, “a stone that cannot be lifted by him whose power is sufficient for lifting anything.”

But Atterton thinks even the “logically possible” explanation doesn’t work because God could have created a logically possible world without evil. “If God is morally perfect,” he writes, “it is difficult to see why he wouldn’t have created such a world. So why didn’t he?”

At this point, Atterton has taken his philosopher’s sights off omnipotence and switched his target to the attribute of omnibenevolence, or the fact that God is all-good, by appealing to the well-worn problem of evil.

Anyone with a basic understanding of it (much less someone with a PhD, as in Atterton’s case) should know that a suitable discussion of the problem of evil is going to take more than a paragraph. And yet that’s all he gives it. He writes, “The standard defense is that evil is necessary for free will,” and quotes Alvin Plantinga’s correct observation that creatures capable of moral good are also capable of moral evil. Atterton then replies to the free will defense by simply saying it don’t explain the problem of physical evil (like cancer or the harm earthquakes cause to humans) or the problem of animal suffering.

Atterton would have been better off dedicating his whole column to these problems instead of briefly discussing and then giving up the paradox of omnipotence or the problem of evil. If he had done this, then he would have had space to address one of the many replies theists have given to these problems including:

The answer to the problem of pain is the same as the answer to the problem of evil: an all-good God can allow evil and pain to exist if he has a good reason for doing so, and the burden of proof is upon the atheist to show that no such reason or reasons exist.

Even philosophers of religion (which is not Atterton’s area of expertise) who themselves are not religious agree that this burden cannot be met. The agnostic scholar Paul Drapersays that “theists face no serious logical problem of evil” and the late atheist J.L. Mackieadmitted, “The problem of evil does not, after all, show that the central doctrines of theism are logically inconsistent with one another.”

Finally, Atterton gets to the section I was most interested in hearing about: the alleged logical contradictions involved with God’s being omniscient. One of the most meticulous critiques of omniscience comes from philosopher Patrick Grim (though well-refuted, ironically, by atheist Jordan Howard Sobel), and I was hoping Atterton would offer a similarly well-thought-out argument.

But instead all we get is this relatively simple argument:

"If God knows all that is knowable, then God must know things that we do, like lust and envy. But one cannot know lust and envy unless one has experienced them. But to have had feelings of lust and envy is to have sinned, in which case God cannot be morally perfect."

Just as the paradox of the stone is resolved by providing a more coherent definition of omnipotence, the “paradox of sinful knowledge” is resolved by providing a more coherent definition of omniscience. For example, if you define omniscience as knowing only and all propositional knowledge (or truths like “Fred is six feet tall” or “E=MC2”) then there is no puzzle about God having sinful experiential knowledge like feelings of lust or malice.

But you can also define omniscience more comprehensively as the knowledge of all real or possibly real things. Since evil is an absence of good it is not a “real thing” for God to know but a privation or absence God recognizes. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, “by the fact that God knows good things, He knows evil things also; as by light is known darkness.” God perfectly knows our human emotions because he sustains their very existence. As a result, he knows when they lack something like charity that causes them to become evil.

However, since God is unlimited and perfect being that does not change it doesn’t make sense to say God has emotions or feelings. But this fact about God doesn’t detract from his attribute of being all-knowing. As I wrote in my book Answering Atheism, “Since the statement ‘God is afraid’ (and others like it) is meaningless, it can’t be true. If it can’t be true, it can’t be known. And if it can’t be known, then it can’t contradict God’s omniscience, which involves his knowledge of only all real or potentially real things.”

Arguments like Peter Atterton’s do serve at least one useful purpose: they show how a confused or incorrect understanding of God can lead to rejecting God. Atheist Richard Carrier correctly notes, “Arguments from [God’s] incoherence aren’t really arguments for atheism, but for the reform of theology.”

If our understanding of God seems to be illogical, all this may show is that we must commit to loving the Lord with all our mind (Luke 10:27) and seek his help to elevate our minds to understand him. The Catechism puts it well:

God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God—“the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable”—with our human representations. Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God (42).

Trent Horn

Written by

Trent Horn holds a Master’s degree in Theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and is currently an apologist and speaker for Catholic Answers. He specializes in training pro-lifers to intelligently and compassionately engage pro-choice advocates in genuine dialogue. He recently released his first book, titled Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity. Follow Trent at his blog, TrentHorn.com.

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  • Sample1

    But the only puzzle I came away with was this: how could a philosopher at a large public university publish a paper on the existence of God—in the nation’s most prestigious newspaper—that wouldn’t pass muster in a freshman philosophy class?

    Let me help! Because the audience for a NYT article is not a philosophy classroom? Because articles, unlike classrooms have word limits? Besides, he actually does touch on Aquinas, Descartes, Jerome and other philosophers in the actual article and how they approached these issues, leaving room for people to explore further.

    If our understanding seems to be illogical, all this may show is we must commit to loving the Lord with all our mind and seek his help to elevate our minds to understand him.

    But then you quote from the CC:

    God—the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable

    You simply can’t have it both ways if by understanding you mean hard-to-vary explanations rather than just an “understanding” that no explanation is possible with the incomprehensible.

    Thanks for the new OP on SN.

    Mike, excommunicated

    • Trent's writing is much clearer than Bonnette's, which is pretty much all that's been posted here in the last year. Thanks SN!

      • Rob Abney

        Jimmy we are always willing to help you with the issues that you have difficulty understanding.

    • I find the word 'unfathomable' helpful: you can drop a fathoming line, but it will never hit the bottom. The point seems to be that one will never run out of new aspects of God to understand; indeed the amount† of God one understands at any point in time might be miniscule. Enough, but miniscule. I believe that the better scientists are willing to believe this, even of their own area of expertise?

      † Not my favorite term, but I am for brevity.

      • Sample1

        I’ve no problem with that metaphor. If I was a believer I’d probably like it. I see those kinds of metaphors frequently used by the Bahá’í and other non-Western faiths. When I was a Catholic I once had such folks try to tell me their different faith tradition was like the sun in that we only feel a portion of the truth as radiating heat. Consider how you might feel about that claim.

        I’m in the camp who claims God is a vague and poorly defined concept. It’s susceptible to easy-to-vary explanations, the classic “God did it!” variety for currently unexplained phenomena such as biological or cosmological origins.

        I think the only similarity between scientific exploration and believers plumbing the depths originate from a shared human desire to know “what to do next?” and all the subtleties that go into trying to answer that seemingly innate human drive.

        Mike, excommunicated

        • I’m in the camp who claims God is a vague and poorly defined concept. It’s susceptible to easy-to-vary explanations, the classic “God did it!” variety for currently unexplained phenomena such as biological or cosmological origins.

          Yeah I presently have this kind of problem with @Jimthescott:disqus:

          JtS: Without a philosophical understanding of goodness then we might fall into relativism and volunteerism which are grevious errors.

          LB: How does "Good is convertable with Being." serve to keep us from relativism and voluntarism?

          JtS: [ignored]

          LB: I'd really rather you answer that question.

          I kinda-sorta expect a huge philosophical dump, with the implicit message that if I can't handle it, I should just obey the RCC authorities. But in this day and age, those authorities and those who laud them are having to do more and more persuading rather than ordering. They might say they did this all along, but I have a hard time believing that is true throughout much of the history of Christendom. I think the only compelling response is to better connect the abstractions and the embodied reality. This applies for plenty of academic disciplines in the secular academy as well, IMO.

          Now, are atheists any better when it comes to showing how their ideas of "goodness" work in embodied reality? IIRC, @Randal_Rauser:disqus's scathing review of a British Humanist Association video suggests that the answer might be "no". Another way of saying is that when @johnwloftus:disqus says this:

          Religious diversity stands in the way of achieving a moral and political global consensus. (The Outsider Test for Faith, 162)

          He should have said this:

          Religious Certain diversity in concepts of 'the good' stands in the way of achieving a moral and political global consensus. (The Outsider Test for Faith′, 162)

          The longer this goes from being publicly acknowledged by prominent atheists—or fixed (maybe I'm missing something)—the more I say others are warranted in accusing them of either (i) intentionally hiding something; (ii) being woefully ignorant on a matter which their evidence-respecting values say they should understand well. Or I guess one could call them 'fundamentalist' according to this technical definition:

          Resistances to pluralism have been conventionally subsumed under the category of "fundamentalism." I am uneasy about this term; it comes from a particular episode in the history of American Protestantism and is awkward when applied to other religious traditions (such as Islam). I will use it, because it has attained such wide currency, but I will define it more sharply: fundamentalism is any project to restore taken-for-grantedness in the individual's consciousness and therefore, necessarily, in his or her social and/or political environment. Such a project can have both religious and secular forms; the former concerns us here. (The New Sociology of Knowledge, 41)

          • Sample1

            Now, are atheists any better when it comes to showing how their ideas of "goodness" work in embodied reality?

            Theists can also support secular humanism, and do. It’s not just for atheists. I’d argue secular humanism provides the only safe space for religious traditions against other faiths who’d sooner use violence to exterminate them. As much as I’d like to see believing things irresponsibly vanish from our world (this doesn’t just include religion but medical quackery and conspiracy theorists too) I’ve no desire to use violence to achieve that end.

            Religions of many flavors have more or less dominated the thoughts and actions of our species for millennia. Secular humanism is relatively young in comparison. But we have evidence that since the Enlightenment, violence in a number of areas has decreased despite Big Faith’s efforts to thwart that progress. That claim, by Pinker and others, is that there is a meaningful correlation between the decline of violence and embracing cosmopolitanism, humanism, reason, and science.

            Is it a coincidence that environments of high religiosity also have more more serious problems with higher crime rates and corruption? Of those nations deemed more secular than religious (with very few exceptions like China) human well being metrics do score better within secular nations. This should alarm believers but far too many chalk any perceived differences as being God’s will or something about free will: all easy-to-vary explanations. If only people truly behaved as God wanted, such metrics would be better, is the common refrain.

            I do agree that if Christianity was able to bring about global declines in violence and raise the well being of nations (such as secularism) it would be more compelling as a philosophy to embrace minus the supernatural aspects. But that goes for Islam or any of the major faith traditions.

            I’m of the opinion that Christendom missed its chance to do this by becoming exclusionary. Jews and Buddhists have escaped that trap, where one can be an atheist for either while still embracing the philosophical ideas.

            But people being people, it would not surprise me if one day Catholicism figures out a way to have secular and naturalistic (atheist) Orders. If the motive is sincere and not a mere power-grab, it probably could work.

            Wake me when that happens. :-D

            Mike, excommunicated
            Edit done

          • Theists can also support secular humanism, and do.

            Agreed. But I'm not sure they'd want to; if secular humanism is committed to all value being 100% subjective and 100% individual in ontology, that has very profound consequences for what kind of deep cooperation can be generated between persons. John Milbank has some excellent things to say about a presupposed 'ontology of violence' which can be papered over by a secular state, but not necessarily well and probably not long-term. John Rawls' need to introduce the "fact of oppression" is, I think, an interesting bit of evidence for this. Another way to frame the objection is to agree with Charles Taylor's analysis[1].

            But we have evidence that since the Enlightenment, violence in a number of areas has decreased despite Big Faith’s efforts to thwart that progress.

            If you measure per capita and restrict to physical violence (vs. say emotional), yes Steven Pinker does seem to have that matter well-decided. That does leave open much room for questioning. For example, by the per capita metric, a massive galactic civilization composed of one quadrillion planets would could choose to obliterate the most criminal planet every year. This would be a drastically lower per capita rate of physical violence than we have on the earth today. But I'm not sure it is at all a desirable thing!

            That claim, by Pinker and others, is that there is a meaningful correlation between the decline of violence and embracing cosmopolitanism, humanism, reason, and science.

            On the other hand, Liah Greenfeld documents/​argues that certain mental illness may have started in the Enlightenment (Mind, Modernity, Madness: The Impact of Culture on Human Experience). Or rather, some mental illness which used to be acute is now frequently chronic. I think it is rather important to ensure that we haven't moved the problems of physical violence into the realm of the mental. And yet, semantic creep documented by Jonathan Haidt et al indicate that Western academia is starting to see mere speech as constituting 'violence'.

            Is it a coincidence that environments of high religiosity also have more more serious problems with higher crime rates and corruption?

            This observation is of very limited use without dealing with correlation ⇏ causation. I could similarly ask whether wealth and secularity are correlated with what Peter Buffett observes in his 2013 NYT piece The Charitable–Industrial Complex. And the refusal to theorize about the ontology of the human being has been linked to terrible means for fighting poverty: Missing Persons: A Critique of the Personhood in the Social Sciences.

            Of those nations deemed more secular than religious (with very few exceptions like China) human well being metrics do score better within secular nations.

            Again, a terrific amount of work needs to be dealt with to overcome the problems of correlation ⇏ causation. For example, I am told that in most secular EU countries, one ethnic group essentially gained dominance over all the others. This never happened in the US to anything like the same extent. If what I'm told is in any interesting way sufficiently correct, that would seem to matter quite a lot when talking about "human well being metrics". I would also be interested in what might happen to EU finances if the US were to drop its per capita military spending to, say, Germany's level (Germany doesn't even show up in this top 15). That nation you look down on seems like it was rather instrumental in keeping Europe from being a much worse place twice, and I suspect it might still be having a very nice, positive effect in that realm.

            If only people truly behaved as God ideology X wanted, such metrics would be better, is the common refrain.

            This is also true. Including where 'ideology X' = 'secular humanism'.

            But that goes for Islam or any of the major faith traditions.

            Double-edged swords cut in both directions.

             
            [1] Charles Taylor, riffing on de Toqueville, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche:

                The worry has been repeatedly expressed that the individual lost something important along with the larger social and cosmic horizons of action. Some have written of this as the loss of a heroic dimension to life. People no longer have a sense of a higher purpose, of something worth dying for. Alexis de Tocqueville sometimes talked like this in the last century, referring to the "petits et vulgaires plaisirs" that people tend to seek in the democratic age.[1] In another articulation, we suffer from a lack of passion. Kierkegaard saw "the present age" in these terms. And Nietzsche's "last men" are at the final nadir of this decline; they have no aspiration left in life but to a "pitiable comfort."[2]    This loss of purpose was linked to a narrowing. People lost the broader vision because they focussed on their individual lives. Democratic equality, says Tocqueville, draws the individual towards himself, "et menace de la renfermer enfin tout entier dans la solitude de son propre coeur."[3] In other words, the dark side of individualism is a centring on the self, which both flattens and narrows our lives, makes them poorer in meaning, and less concerned with others or society. (The Malaise of Modernity, 3–4)

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Actually, Christendom is what did it in the way that has spread around the world. Jeffersonian type Freedom of Religion and Separation of Church and State, along with secular University education was done to prevent religious conflict, not promote atheism. Moreover, he was not a mere "Deist," but a Deist Christian, using the definition of cultural origins and his very self-definition. He made his "rationalist Bible," not even a repudiation of Jesus Christ´s relevance.

            Thus, the Freedom of Religion is a Christian policy. As Catholicism goes, it speaks to the larger reality of God through Jesus represented by the Protestant Reformation and so on.

          • Sample1

            Did Jefferson reject the Trinity?

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Almost certainly. Without checking, I recall that his Bible rejected the Miracles. Still, that was all his own problem. The miracles of Jesus´ legacy, from St Anthony of the Desert up to George Fox founder of the Quakers, should have been enough to temper that inclination. But hey, to each their own in since he was on his own as an influential pseudo-aristocratic Protestant. The Trinity itself is a doctrinal issue in the end, and Jefferson´s rationalistic idiosyncrisies of belief were matched by persistence in affirmation of Jesus´ importance and high integrity ideas like the Freedom of Religion, and secularism as a supra-denominational strategy.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I’m in the camp who claims God is a vague and poorly defined concept.

            Not as vague & ill defined as your objections thus Far Luke. When you start sounding like the other Gnu Atheists & are channeling their aversion to study classic philosophy I worry.

            >They might say they did this all along, but I have a hard time believing that is true throughout much of the history of Christendom.

            So the Church Fathers relying on a ton of Greek Phiosophy? You missed that or do they not count as Christian because they are Catholic?

            > I think the only compelling response is to better connect the abstractions and the embodied reality. This applies for plenty of academic disciplines in the secular academy as well, IMO.

            This is an interesting vague and ill defined philosophical view you hold Luke? What is it Nominalism or Mechanism?

            >(The Outsider Test for Faith′, 162)

            It's another vague & ill defined concept. Loftus isn't a philosopher and he ran from Feser's blog when he showed his head there.

            > It’s susceptible to easy-to-vary explanations, the classic “God did it!” variety for currently unexplained phenomena such as biological or cosmological origins.

            What is it with you and Sample1 that neither one of you can get past your positivism?

            God-of-the-gaps is a Theistic Personalist problem and or people who believe in Paley. In spite of all my browbeating Sample1 refuses to learn that.

          • Not as vague & ill defined as your objections thus Far Luke.

            I'm not sure anyone other than you would label those objections as "vague & ill defined"; I would like to see someone else defend that label. I can guess well enough how you'd defend it—with your rigid categories which allow no exceptions or fuzz whatsoever.

            When you start sounding like the other Gnu Atheists & are channeling their aversion to study classic philosophy I worry.

            For someone who said to me "Your extreme either/or mentality is tedious.", this and some of what you say later in the comment is a bit surprising. I doubt a single Gnu Atheist would say I sound very much like them. But if they do I will be slightly pleased, as I am attempting to understand them charitably.

            My aversion to classic philosophy is based on a suspicion that a megadose of subjectivity is hidden within the underlined: "It provides an definition of good that is objective and can be applied objectivily across the board." I know a few things about social dynamics, you see. And if you meant to stay within the domains of 'pure reason', I will ask how one escapes that domain with 'pure reason' alone. If your answer is: "You need something more than 'pure reason'", then I will ask how that interfaces with embodied reality in a way that doesn't have a megadose of subjectivity.

            LB: I kinda-sorta expect a huge philosophical dump, with the implicit message that if I can't handle it, I should just obey the RCC authorities. But in this day and age, those authorities and those who laud them are having to do more and more persuading rather than ordering. They might say they did this all along, but I have a hard time believing that is true throughout much of the history of Christendom.

            JtS: So the Church Fathers relying on a ton of Greek Phiosophy?

            I'm sorry, but I don't see how this is a response to what I wrote. I think Jesus was including the Greeks when he said to not do things like the Gentiles do. (Mt 20:20–28)

            You missed that or do they not count as Christian because they are Catholic?

            That is completely out of line. This is the second extreme.

            This is an interesting vague and ill defined philosophical view you hold Luke? What is it Nominalism or Mechanism?

            This is the third extreme, and possibly a false dichotomy at that. As to the charge of "vague and ill defined": I think there is so much left to discover, and so it is important to not pretend we understand things more precisely than we in fact do.

            What is it with you and Sample1 that neither one of you can get past your positivism?

            I think you are the first person to ever accuse me of positivism. Four years ago, I thought I argued against positivism in a response to @EdwardTBabinski:disqus over on Rauser's blog. Suffice it to say that I don't understand your label when applied to me.

            God-of-the-gaps is a Theistic Personalist problem and or people who believe in Paley. In spite of all my browbeating Sample1 refuses to learn that.

            Care to point me to a comment where said "refuses" shows up?

          • Jim the Scott

            >I'm not sure anyone other than you would label those objections as "vague & ill defined...

            You would be surprised. They are not philosophical objections or defeaters thus they are worthless to me. You can't appeal to my feelings Luke to get me to believe the EPOE can be applied to Classic Theism. You need actual rational philosophical argument. I am not getting it so nothing you say is interesting.

            It's like watching someone denying evolution on scientific grounds and offering everything BUT a scientific critique of that theory. What is the point?

            >with your rigid categories which allow no exceptions or fuzz whatsoever.

            I hate fuzz almost as much as Theistic Personalism. It's just being intellectually lazy.

            >For someone who said to me "Your extreme either/or mentality is tedious.",

            Your proof texting my words is as tedious as your proof texting of the Bible and your attempted proof texting of Brian Davies. Would it kill you Luke stone dead if you just got straight to the point and put aside the flowery rhetoric?

            >this and some of what you say later in the comment is a bit surprising. I doubt a single Gnu Atheist would say I sound very much like them. But if they do I will be slightly pleased, as I am attempting to understand them charitably.

            You like them reject classic philosophy and make the question of God some type of scientific question. God is "vague and abstract" to you.

            >My aversion to classic philosophy is based on a suspicion that a megadose of subjectivity is hidden within the underlined....

            So it is based on a subjective feelings not a reasoned analysis? I don't care about your suspicion here. Show it to be true by rational argument. Otherwise what is the point? You reject classic philosophy another thing you have in common with the Gnus. This doesn't put you on our side. If anything it make you a liability.

            >I'm sorry, but I don't see how this is a response to what I wrote. I think Jesus was including the Greeks when he said to not do things like the Gentiles do. (Mt 20:20–28)

            More simplistic proof texting.

            >And if you meant to stay within the domains of 'pure reason',

            That is your Kantian Category not my scholastic one.

            >That is completely out of line. This is the second extreme.

            Your passive aggressive dismissal is what is out of line.

            >I know a few things about social dynamics, you see.

            I am sure you can make use of it in your Christian life but it cannot convince me the EPOE can be applied to Classic Theism.

            >This is the third extreme, and possibly a false dichotomy at that. As to the charge of "vague and ill defined": I think there is so much left to discover, and so it is important to not pretend we understand things more precisely than we in fact do.

            Luke I am still not getting the bug up your butt? Are you offended by my gruff and sour manor? Do you think me unkind? Just say it and stop with the flowerly rhetoric. You are not going to fix my personality flaw man . I already have a wife God bless her to do that.

            >I think you are the first person to ever accuse me of positivism. Four years ago, I thought I argued against positivism in a response to EdwardTBabinski over on Rauser's blog. Suffice it to say that I don't understand your label when applied to me.

            Lovely but you use a lot of words and manage to say little.

            >Care to point me to a comment where said "refuses" shows up?

            You want a comment to show my over all evaluation of my interactions with Sample1? Whatever dude....

            What are we talking about again?

          • You can't appeal to my feelings Luke …

            Non sequitur. (you wanted succinctness)

            It's like watching someone denying evolution on scientific grounds and offering everything BUT a scientific critique of that theory.

            Disanalogous. I never attempted to disprove anything philosophical with anything empirical.

            I hate fuzz almost as much as Theistic Personalism. It's just being intellectually lazy.

            As long as your 'clear and distinct' categories allow you to ἀγάπη God and man, onward!

            Your proof texting my words …

            In that case, I have no idea what you meant by "extreme either/or mentality".

            You like them reject classic philosophy …

            Not sure that's true.

            God is "vague and abstract" to you.

            If you can show me how those words are different from "incomprehensible", please do. When there is incredible interpretive flexibility in applying something intellectual in embodied reality, I claim the intellectual "formal system" is "vague" and "abstract" in an important sense—probably the most important sense. So for example, I am not sure whether these actually contradict:

            In virtue of our pastoral office committed to us by the divine favor we can under no circumstances tolerate or overlook any longer the pernicious poison of the above errors without disgrace to the Christian religion and injury to orthodox faith. Some of these errors we have decided to include in the present document; their substance is as follows:⋮20. They are seduced who believe that indulgences are salutary and useful for the fruit of the spirit.⋮33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.⋮37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon. (Exsurge Domine)

            Religious freedom, in turn, which men demand as necessary to fulfill their duty to worship God, has to do with immunity from coercion in civil society. Therefore it leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ. (Dignitatis Humanae)

            If the deliverances of natural theology can easily lead to the former or the latter, then it is difficult to see how natural theology can act as a bulwark against "relativism and volunteerism". An intellectual system which can lead to #33 of Exsurge Domine or that snippet from Dignitatis Humanae would appear to be "vague and abstract". Do you disagree?

            LB: And if you meant to stay within the domains of 'pure reason',

            JtS: That is your Kantian Category not my scholastic one.

            I'm not sure of any meaningful differences between that and what you have variously called 'natural theology', 'philosophy', and 'general revelation'. But I'm happy to use those terms if that would make you more comfortable.

            … it cannot convince me the EPOE can be applied to Classic Theism.

            I am no longer attempting to do so, something which I have told you multiple times; here's one:

            LB: When I come across the evidential problem of evil in the future, I will challenge atheists to construct it without a "Theistic Personalist God". If they seem to be interested in that, I'll point them to you and you can come up with a different term to describe what they're doing.

            So for example, @Sample1:disqus might be an example. But I need a precise comment to work off of, because I like working off of what people actually said instead of making generalizations which might not match up with the evidence. I know, I'm weird that way.

          • Jim the Scott

            >In that case, I have no idea what you meant by "extreme either/or mentality".

            It is a sterotype we Catholics have of Protestants like (why do you Catholics pray to Mary and not go directly to Jesus). It's not either/or it is both and.

            >Not sure that's true.

            Your beliefs are amibigious then.

            >If you can show me how those words are different from "incomprehensible", please do.

            The definitions concerning God are clear enought what God is as God by definition cannot be comprehended by human beings. Otherwise how is He God?

            Luke you are all over the place.

            >When there is incredible interpretive flexibility in applying something intellectual in embodied reality, I claim the intellectual "formal system" is "vague" and "abstract" in an important sense—probably the most important sense. So for example, I am not sure whether these actually contradict:

            ????????????? I give up.

            >So for example, Sample1 might be an example.

            Sample1 keeps bring up criticisms of Theodicies after I have told him Classic Theism doesn't rely on them and they can't be applied to them in principle since they presupose a moral agent deity. He doesn't want to move beyond polemics against an easy fundamentalist anthopomorphic deity. I wash my hand of him and the other Gnus.

          • It is a sterotype we Catholics have of Protestants

            But surely you believe that the evidence warrants applying that stereotype to me. Surely you are not seeing me merely as "a Protestant" and nothing more?

            Your beliefs are amibigious then.

            Well I don't know more about classical theology or natural theology because it has not been shown to me that shifting my priorities would help me better ἀγάπη God and man. The first thing Paul says is "ἀγάπη is patient and kind"; if you do not appear to exemplify these things and you focus on classical theology, what am I supposed to conclude? Well, I conclude that there is no demonstrated connection between what you have been arguing and ἀγάπη. Maybe others can connect them; if so I should be talking to them.

            JtS: God is "vague and abstract" to you.

            LB: If you can show me how those words are different from "incomprehensible", please do.

            JtS: The definitions concerning God are clear enought what God is as God by definition cannot be comprehended by human beings.

            My mind is boggled.

            ????????????? I give up.

            As far as I can tell, your intellectual understanding of 'goodness' is equivocal with any understanding of 'goodness' which helps you ἀγάπη humans.

            Sample1 keeps bring up criticisms of Theodicies

            Feel free to point me to a specific comment and I will have a go with him if he's up for it. I suspect he would be a good counterexample to your rigid categories.

            He doesn't want to move beyond polemics against an easy fundamentalist anthopomorphic deity.

            [citation needed]

          • Jim the Scott

            >Well I don't know more about classical theology or natural theology

            Then I bid you good day till you do your homework.

          • LB: Well I don't know more about classical theology or natural theology because it has not been shown to me that shifting my priorities would help me better ἀγάπη God and man. The first thing Paul says is "ἀγάπη is patient and kind"; if you do not appear to exemplify these things and you focus on classical theology, what am I supposed to conclude? Well, I conclude that there is no demonstrated connection between what you have been arguing and ἀγάπη. Maybe others can connect them; if so I should be talking to them.

            JtS: Then I bid you good day till you do your homework.

            Do you have any suggestions of authors who show classical theology or natural theology helping Christians better ἀγάπη God and man? Emphasis on the "and". I take your response to indicate that you have little interest in helping me with this connection between intellect and praxis.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Do you have any suggestions of authors who show classical theology or natural theology helping Christians better ἀγάπη God and man?

            What an esoteric request? You might as well ask for a Book on the science of Mathmatics that teachesm men to be socially conscience and not litter.

            >I take your response to indicate that you have little interest in helping me with this connection between intellect and praxis.

            At this point you have bored to tears. You went round and round and round and I don't get you point. So I am not going to try anymore.

            Good day sir. I said good day.

          • LB: Do you have any suggestions of authors who show classical theology or natural theology helping Christians better ἀγάπη God and man?

            JtS: What an esoteric request? You might as well ask for a Book on the science of Mathmatics that teachesm men to be socially conscience and not litter.

            Huh, I wonder if @dennisbonnette:disqus and Feser would agree with that "esoteric" label. Anyhow, this helps greatly in understanding why our previous conversations went as they did; thank you.

            At this point you have bored to tears.

            My apologies. I find most things worth doing involve sections of boredom like that, but perhaps you have found differently. If so I wish I knew your secret, but I'm guessing you are reticent to share.

            Good day sir. I said good day.

            Good day to you as well. May God and man teach both of us to better ἀγάπη God and man.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Huh, I wonder if Dennis Bonnette and Feser would agree with that "esoteric" label. Anyhow, this helps greatly in understanding why our previous conversations went as they did; thank you.

            It's a weird question. You want Catholics books that teach theology and love? Anything by St Maximos the Confessor or Thomas Merton.

            God bless you too & I forgive you for boring me. I am magnanimous that way and ever so humble about it......;-)

          • David Nickol

            Anything by . . . Thomas Merton

            Really? I'm surprised.

          • Sample1

            Me too!

            Mike, excommunicated

          • Jim the Scott

            Merton had the soul of a Thomist IMHO. His views on evil as a privation. Hell and damnation as being a living contradiction(as opposed to the crude views of it being a mere giant oven or something out of a Clive Barker film). He was not only a very excellent mystic and spiritual writer but an awesome classic theist and theologian in his own right.

          • I don't see how the mind/intellect/whatever can be compartmentalized in the way you appear to be presupposing.

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't see making careful distinctions as compartmentalizing.

          • But you can make careful distinctions without setting up a firewall between natural theology and ability to ἀγάπη. Being a silly Protestant, I think that when John writes θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν, reasoning which gets at who/​what God is should be deeply connected to ἀγάπη.

          • Jim the Scott

            I am not doing that. I presupose love of God. Focusing on one aspect of theology to lay the groundwork doesn't preclude all other aspects in the greater scheme of things?

            How is that not obvious?

            Even with focusing on natural theology alone(for experimental purposes) to love is to will the good & or to be attracted to the good. If natual theology teaches us God is not so much a being who is maximally good but in point of fact Goodness Itself how then can you not rationally conclude you must love Him?

            It is a short hop, skip and a jump to love of brother and it is woven into nature before we even open a Bible.

          • If God is ἀγάπη, then learning about God should help one ἀγάπη. That seems like basic logic. And yet:

            LB: Do you have any suggestions of authors who show classical theology or natural theology helping Christians better ἀγάπη God and man?

            JtS: What an esoteric request? You might as well ask for a Book on the science of Mathmatics that teachesm men to be socially conscience and not litter.

            I'm confused; maybe I'm just broken and one should not be confused if one is rational.

          • Jim the Scott

            >If God is ἀγάπη, then learning about God should help one ἀγάπη. That seems like basic logic.

            As a matter of course if you are interested in learning about something you might grow to love it. Read speeches by Carl Sagan or his wife's waxing elequent about the Cosmos.

            >I'm confused; maybe I'm just broken and one should not be confused if one is rational.

            You are not confused Luke. You are merely being a smartarse. I almost admire it. It's worthy of moi. ;-)

            Happy Pasach & God Bless.

          • As a matter of course if you are interested in learning about something you might grow to love it.

            This is rather anemic in comparison to what I wrote.

            You are merely being a smartarse.

            If I am, I don't recognize it and don't know how to change it. I actually believe that θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν, and so to learn about θεὸς means to learn about ἀγάπη. You have yet to explain how natural theology can be about θεὸς, be about ἀγάπη, and yet justifiably yield this response:

            LB: Do you have any suggestions of authors who show classical theology or natural theology helping Christians better ἀγάπη God and man?

            JtS: What an esoteric request? You might as well ask for a Book on the science of Mathmatics that teachesm men to be socially conscience and not litter.

            Now, you're always welcome to say that I don't understand what θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν means. But I think my logic is pretty tight and your only response is a non-response. I really want to know how that "esoteric" is rationally justified. I want to know how it is justified with zero vagueness and zero ambiguity—or as little as you can muster.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yep smartarse. You are a master sir.

          • Or, you don't want to deal with a flagrant contradiction in your own thinking. It's simple:

                 (1) Natural theology tells us about God.
                 (2) God is love.
                 (3) Therefore natural theology tells us about love.

            You apparently want to reject the logical conclusion and instead accuse me of making a category mistake.

          • Jim the Scott

            Something short and too the point? Alright pal who are you & what did you do with Luke?!? I am calling the cops......(No I am kidding. You gotta laugh & I am in a rare good mood)

            >(1) Natural theology tells us about God.
            (2) God is love.
            (3) Therefore natural theology tells us about love.

            That doesn't actually follow. We might be able to conclude God loves us in some fashion since He causes our existence and wills good things for us. But it is clearly limited which is why you need revealed theology to tell us more.

            Natural Theology is not exhaustive. I don't know why you think I am giving that impression?

            >You apparently want to reject the logical conclusion and instead accuse me of making a category mistake.

            Well you make a lot of them. Nobody is perfect & nobody is sinless save Jesus and Mary.;-)

          • You seem to be responding to a different version of what I actually wrote:

                 (1′) Natural theology tells us everything we can know about God.

            I did not write that, and for good reason. But I can be more explicit:

                 (1″) Natural theology tells us a little bit about God.
                 (2) God is love.
                 (3″) Therefore natural theology tells us a little bit about love.

            Better?

          • Jim the Scott

            >Natural theology tells us everything we can know about God.

            Which is nonsense.

            etc....

            >Better?

            Works me.

          • Ok, so you're left explaining how your response here:

            LB: Do you have any suggestions of authors who show classical theology or natural theology helping Christians better ἀγάπη God and man?

            JtS: What an esoteric request? You might as well ask for a Book on the science of Mathmatics that teachesm men to be socially conscience and not litter.

            can coexist with your response here:

            LB: But I can be more explicit:

                 (1″) Natural theology tells us a little bit about God.
                 (2) God is love.
                 (3″) Therefore natural theology tells us a little bit about love.

            Better?

            JtS: Works me.

            I don't see the category mistake you accused me of making.

          • Jim the Scott

            Dude I have been sick as a dog for 3 days. What are you meandering about now?

            >Ok, so you're left explaining how your response here:
            can coexist with your response here:

            Where is the contradiction? You are all over the place Luke. I got one ambiguous statement with little substance & I reacted accordingly. You revise & make three clear to the point explicit statemenst and I agree with them.
            What is your problem?

          • Sample1

            Sick as a dog. I wonder what the origin of that phrase is. It’s really a peculiar idiom because dogs don’t really get sick like humans do with our seasonal viral colds. Dogs can also eat and drink garbage that would land humans in a hospital if not kill us, so stomach maladies don’t fit either.

            Dogs do get sick, of course. And they vomit (not usually from illness though diabetes and allergies affect dogs too which can cause vomiting).

            I know this is an obscure rant. I suppose I’m just not-so-subtly displaying a bias of appreciating dogs by flinching when they are associated with negativity. Through many avenues, dogs have contributed to human wellbeing, not just in companionship, but through medicine, military, science generally.

            Maybe we should just say, sick as a human. Or sick as a cockroach, but then some Hindu mystic might get offended.

            First world thought problems. Sorry to barge in. Carry on with Luke. Stay hydrated.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • Jim the Scott

            Thank you.

          • Michael Murray

            According to the Great Google the expression dates back at least to 1705 at which time dogs were not as highly regarded as now and sick or dying dogs were common sights.

            https://www.quora.com/Where-did-the-phrase-sick-as-a-dog-originate-and-why

            EDIT: Oops missed the fact that was 5 months old !

          • Sorry to hear you were sick; I just got over a nasty sore throat combined with allergies powered by record amounts of rainfall and what inevitably follows.

            My problem is that you won't explain how classical theology or natural theology helps us better ἀγαπάω God and man. Even "a little bit". Perhaps this problem will go away?

          • Jim the Scott

            You have exausted my good will Luke. Good day.

            It's not me it's you. I wish you well.

          • Sample1

            When I was a kid and began taking an interest in hockey, I first picked up a book and started reading about it. My friend, who was an excellent player already, just laughed when he saw me reading. As if to say, “really?”

            And he was right. I couldn’t really learn hockey from a book, I had to get on the ice.

            Same with love.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • I was raised to agree, but The Lost Art of Listening helped me quite a bit, as well as the book on "love languages".

          • Sample1

            Hmmm. Without clarification the syntax of this response can be reasonably inferred as disagreement with my comment (partial or complete). Let’s leave that aside for now.

            Tell me, are you of the opinion one can understand love by a book or books alone?

            Mike, excommunicated

          • No, not alone.

          • Sample1

            I lean toward that as well. It would be cruel to set up an experiment isolating, from birth onward, a human from all contact with anything physically sentient.

            Would the claim that an immaterial being could be sufficient to keep such a described isolated individual healthy and in love sound compelling to you?

            Mike, excommunicated

          • Depends on whether that individual is dead-set on unnecessarily harming other individuals. Is it healthier to explore the error of that way by harming real individuals or simulated individuals?

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            That reminds me of what I read about Alex Selkirk, one of the inspirations for Robinson Crusoe. He was stranded on an island where he survived by hunting goats and the like. He also had a Bible and recited verses like Psalms. When he was rescued some four years later, he was found to have a tranquility and was valued. Keeping a life as a sailor, his tranquility gradually wore off. Instead of being a kind of "Gandhi" figure, he became more like a sailor.

            In any event, I´d say it depends on the background of the individual and context. Bouts of isolation are spiritually healthy, and part of the implicit teachings of Jesus. Forty days in the desert for example. The jail time of people like Gandhi and MLK demonstrates other kinds of inspiring results, in context.

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Among the various issues you discuss, I find your attention to the issue of linking abstractions to embodied reality, i.e. empirical reality. The irony of atheist positions is a good one. Its implications for resolving the definition of God issue are also key. I´ll claim that I´ve got it resolved. "God is the Universe´s facet (the Creator Entity) understood (etc) by spiritual-religious practices."

          • Hmm, I'm not sure I understand your position. Would you be able to tell me which of the following you'd most agree with:

                 (1) creation is God
                 (2) creation is part of God
                 (3) creation is something God created, outside of Godself
                 (4) something else?

            ? Also, I don't see why you'd restrict "knowing God" to "spiritual-religious practices". Plenty of scientists throughout time have thought that in studying creation, they have "thought God's thoughts after him". If God created creation like a master workman—option (3)—then we as apprentices would get to know God at least in part, by getting to know what God created. But this would by no means be a comprehensive kind of "knowing"; in a crucial sense I'm inclined to say it is exterior to the heart of God.

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Well, I suppose 1 has an ultimate ontological claim. However, I think 2 captures the fact that we humans in Western Christian culture, now being globalized, in particular experience our identity distinctly and are able to experience it in relation to God. Scientific materialism and Corporate profiteering materialism have been interacting in particular in such a way that the Universe is perceived, separate from God, and outright denial of God is not uncommon. So, I can recognize the quality of 3 in people´s experience of the Universe.

            My spiritual-religious practice combined with my love of well-balanced education keeps me pretty well grounded in 2.

            Still, the fact that humanism is important, meaning personal effort, as well as activism for sustainability and justice, then 3 is in fact a component of my experience.

            And it is Science, i.e. Scientific Philosophy, that elaborates the experience of a mechanistic reality that creates an artificial disconnect from God by means of focusing on the created Universe.

            Thus, the definitions of God, uninformed by this modern challenge, are part of an experience of disconnection. My definition starts from the point of view of Scientific Philosophy, and prevalent modern consciousness, which is consistent with my own path to God through Jesus.

            You refer to scientists referring to knowing God through Science. Indeed, I think it is a strong argument, or identifiable and applicable context. Except, we need to be clear that it is not Scientific Philosophy that we are talking about. Scientists waxing metaphysical about knowing the mind of God are shifting their approach out of the scientific epistemology into the spiritual-religious epistemology, and treating Science like a meditation.

            It is then my special pleasure to point out that modern Science is a Christian development.

            To be clear, I´m an interfaith Christian, Unitarian Universalist. As for "comprehensive knowing," Science is one epistemological form of Philosophy. Comparative Religious Studies is just as important, as is interdisciplinarity with the Social Sciences and Humanities. That´s how we can generate activism for sustainability, our major challenge.

        • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

          I´m ready to claim that I´m breaking that "sound barrier" of the God definition issue. I´m a Bio Anthropologist by undergrad, for starters. The first thing is the firm establishment of knowledge domains, as Stephen Jay Gould tried to do rather courageously and almost innovatively. However, he was also rather narrow in his approach.

          • Sample1

            Listening.

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Gould referred to NOMA, Non-overlapping Magisteria, using the latter term that he drew in fact from a papal document, I was reading. That is in this case between Science and Religion. There are multiple referents involved here, I´d say, which accounts for the sh*tstorm that apparently arose, and the relatively little headway that was made despite the distinction of the argument. I don´t know what the cited Pope´s original context was, come to think of it.

            Regardless, the issue of "Magisteria" is a kind of neologism that seems necessary because of inadequate attention to its related referents. I´m just a streetwise guy with a masters and a piercing gaze who wants to be unstoppable, and a Bio Anthro degree in my undergrad tank. In my growing competence in analyzing the Science/Religion question, it occurred to me that, for example, WL Craig brilliantly engages in Cosmology, but is not primarily engaging in Science. Rather, he is putting Science in its true context of Philosophy, and kind of playing with it like a cat. His atheist adversaries, well I´ll focus on his scientific ones, like physicist Sean Carroll, are kind of unwittingly caught in Craig´s mousetrap and its Mobius Strip mechanism. They argue Scientific Philosophy, but don´t quite understand that Science is Philosophy. Moreover, Craig is arguing Metaphysical Philosophy and adeptly drawing on Scientific Philosophy all the while. Until, say, his argument of the Creator Entity that includes Him/Her/It as a timeless, non-abstract mind.

            That is, Science is not itself the Absolute Truth, but a form of Philosophy. That gets me, and us, into the realms of knowledge domains, including but not limited to, Religion. Have I lost you, are you still with me, or what?

          • Sample1

            I’m listening.

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            So, knowledge domains are poorly identified, I´m finding. Science vs Religion is hardly made clear, while Science vs the Social Sciences and Humanities might also occasionally be made clear, while in fact the issue gets resolution pretty much in every academic subject we can talk about. Religion is a knowledge domain, an epistemology of its own, in the Social Sciences and Humanities, as is Psychology, History, and so on. And all forms of Philosophy, to be clear of the use of ancient Greek Philosophy, and often enough, supplemented by modern Science, i.e. Scientific Philosophy itself, and to avoid reification.

            As knowledge domains, academic subjects, as primary examples, are tailored forms of Philosophy, and specific subsystems of epistemology. They are all epistemologies. I have read that "social epistemology" is given some recognition in the direction that I am driving at. Education, meanwhile, applies "epistemology" in terms of student psychological learning.

            And Gould used "Magisteria," which can be analyzed in terms of "epistemology."

          • Sample1

            Still listening.

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            So, spurred on by atheist denialism that presumptuously challenged, "Prove God exists" and reflexively negated it, "That´s not proof," I had started early on articulating the Historical Sociological argument. I see now that in terms of traditional and well-established positions, it´s an extension of the Argument by religious experience.

            That HS argument gave me clarity about the coherence, consistency, and other qualities that characterize the HS phenomena. I´m a Bio Anthropologist undergrad, and more, and used some Zen, 12 step Recovery Movement, and St. Anthony of the Desert theosis-type serenity to focus on the ideological atheist position. Scientism. And religion´s own orientation. K Armstrong has been identifying it as "mythos," I found out afterwards, and contrasting it with what she calls "logos."

            Scientism was and is pretty much a significant term, and it was only later that Gould´s/ a Pope´s "Magisteria" and Armstrong´s "mythos" and "logos" came to my attention. At one point, so did Ravi Zacharias´ "coherence" and "correspondence with reality," which resonated strongly with my own HS argument.

            And then there´s Therapeutic and Transpersonal Psychology, and the Anthropology of Shamanism. And no less Developmental Psychology and its basic frameworks, cognitive and affective/relational.

            Epistemologies. Because they matter.

            Still with me here in the "body of the essay"?

          • Sample1

            I’m still here.

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Buffing up on the Scientism issue proved empowering to me and my argument´s perspective. The American Assoc for the Adv of Science has a Scientism page. That´s pretty intriguing. They do cite EO Wilson for committing it, and Ian Hutchinson, a theist scientist, for laying it out. I studied with EO in my Bio Anthro program, so I had a special motivation to see him used instead of the more volatile recent personalities. "Just saying...."

            At that time I began looking at the relational question. If "Science" is the rather mechanistic examination of the Universe, then what is God if not a relation to the Universe itself? Religion is the relational form.

            And a guy dedicated to the insightful idea of the "Wave Structure of Matter," G Haselhurst also has a quote of Tolstoy on Religion as "that relationship with the infinite world around him, binding him and guiding him." (from Confessions). Tolstoy also wrote The Kingdom of God is Within You, which is more explicitly about Jesus, at least. Haselhurst has some great material overall, but Jesus is just a forgettable entity, and so is his personal relationship with God. If I wanted that, I would have stayed with Buddhism and said, "Screw you, Christian hypocrites!" I also would have ignored how Einstein, valued highly by Haselhurst, became a rather demented and obsessed workaholic when his second wife was given a prognosis of impending death.

            The soup is simmering. How´s your sense of smell?

          • Sample1

            Oh...my sense of smell is just fine.

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Well, that´s nice. But, it´s the fishy smell of Gould´s narrow definition of "Non-overlapping Magisteria" that I´m reworking into the essential necessary definition of God. With the elements that I´ve introduced, that definition then becomes operationalized as follows. God is the Universe´s facet related to and understood through spiritual-religious practices.

            I like Aristotle´s Unmoved Mover, and DesCartes´ "perfection" and all, and Spinoza´s "Nature," but my concerns about sustainability just make all the dispassion, perfection, and pantheism a little unbearable.
            Can we get a little real, please? Aquinas gets a free pass, but I make him sit at the same table as George Fox and Mary Baker Eddy, which brings me to Social Constructivism, Social Constructionism, and then detailed referents like Greenpeace, Equal Exchange´s organic and Fair Trade foods, and Coldplay´s Oxfam support activism. Max Oelschlager´s Caring for Creation, I suppose, makes the more formal kind of conceptual bridge. He argues that the severity of the ecological crisis, as of 1994 no less, and the paucity of response argue for the need for an invigorated religious response.

            Now, perhaps a smelling salt will help, if none of that did the trick.

            As an excommunicant, perhaps you know of Matthew Fox?

          • Chris Morris

            Just as a point of information, the article on 'scientism' which mentions Wilson was written by Thomas Burnett of the John Templeton Foundation, a religious organisation with an agenda based on the questionable philosophy of Alvin Plantinga.

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            "Scientism" is not just a Fundamentalist Christian rhetorical tactic.

            The AAAS webpage on Scientism caters a bit to scientist interest in funding, watering down its own seriousness a bit.

            Whatever your interpretation of the JTF and Plantinga, I suspect your own assumptions that are clouding your clarity, and apparent Scientistic inclinations.

            You might want to check out Merriam-Webster, definition 2.
            ": an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)"

            https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scientism

            As definition "2´s" go, it´s definitely too close to call in terms of frequency of use. Personally, I don´t know of any use of definition "1," that they cite, for the record. "Scientific" is all I´ve ever heard.

            As far as I know, JTF and Plantinga haven´t infiltrated M-W as they apparently have the AAAS, according to you.

            As for Fundamentalism, ther own behavior as in "Intelligent Design" deserves its own name, I would suggest for your consideration. I´m calling such fallacies "epistemological," but "Religiositism" has a ring to it for that specific instance. That won´t work in, say, the Scientism abuses in Therapeutic Psychology, however.

          • Chris Morris

            I'm impressed by how much you've read in to my very small piece of information.
            "Scientism" is, certainly, not just a fundamentalist rhetorical device. The Christian apologists who write about 'scientism' can hardly be described as 'fundamentalists' but it does seem to be only apologists who really see it as a serious threat.
            I've no idea why the AAAS would have an article about 'scientism' written by Burnett on their web site; perhaps they're going out of their way to present a balanced view.
            I have no inclination towards 'scientism'. I'm happy to disagree with any opinion which claims that science can produce extremely reliable law-like generalisations in every area of human reality and I agree with such apologists as J P Moreland and others who've published extensively on this subject that it is very easy to show those type of opinions to be very weak. My question to those apologists is always, given that it is so easy to disprove, why do they feel the need to spend so much time producing such detailed analysis.
            I agree with you that definition 1 in Merriam Webster is very odd. Perhaps we should worry about something called 'Dictionaryism' - an exaggerated trust in the definitions that people who write dictionaries create based on academic articles they've read analysing views which academics think actually exist because they've read definitions of them in dictionaries.

          • Michael Murray

            The AAAS seem to have a wide range of interests such as:

            Building on AAAS's long-standing commitment to relate scientific knowledge and technological development to the purposes and concerns of society at large, the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) facilitates communication between scientific and religious communities.

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Funny you should try to get snarkey and generate the term "Dictionaryism." It´s very much an issue of the well-established term Hermeneutics, meaning textual interpretation. More on that later. However, your diversion from the legitimacy of the term Scientism is noteworthy. Your attempt to ridicule and invalidate the term has been refuted, yet you are dishonest and merely play it off, leaving your discredited argument in the air as if it were Wile E Coyote who has just run off a cliff. Don´t look now, but there is a down

            But don´t worry. My own love of Science empowers me to apply Science´s discipline appropriately to supplement my scientific curiosity. I identify Science´s actual nature as Scientific Philosophy, a form of Philosophy, and its place in the University-based panoply of academic disciplines among others, especially along with the Social Sciences and Humanities, as I´ll help you to understand in more detail. Scientism is a term that has emerged out of the development of rationalism Cartesian and otherwise and positivism.

            It would appear that your extensively published guru has blinded himself, you, and God knows how many adoring acolytes, to the intellectual historical foundations of Scientism´s pretensions and delusions. You should check the possibly less extensively published work of P Fabiani and others on GB Vico. While Plato presented the apparent conflict between Philosophy and Poetry, Vico responded to the spread of DesCartes´ scientific principles of observation and verification, in particular the problem of Cartesian excesses which led to the crude disdain for other knowledge domains and epistemologies. That was in 1710. Vico argued for creation and invention as tests of truth, an antecedent and early version of Piaget-related constructivism.

            Peter Hamilton´s Knowledge and Social Structure might help you appreciate Monstesquieu´s insights and the rise of Antipositivism in response to similar movements as A Comte´s postivism. W Runciman on Max Weber and and D Levine on G Simmel would help you understand a bit of Interpretivism and Hermeneutics in the Social Sciences and Humanities. There´s also HP Rickman on W Dilthey on Hermeneutics. Then you´ve got your neo-Kantians like H Rickert, and E Husserl who developed Phenomenology. Frankfurt School critical theory in the likes of J Habermas gave a new boost to such antipositivist hermeneutics. Sociologist Z Bauman refers to the "moral concerns" and identify with Others´ wants and, presumably, needs that are stifled by postivistic Science. Rationalism is another peachy topic in this mixing bowl, and Philosopher J Cottingham has noted how Rationalism, a methodology, became blurred with atheism, a worldview.

            So, I recommend taking some of those eggs of yours in JP Moreland´s and o´s basket, and put them in an analytical perspective rather than an ideological one. The problem with trying to characterize others as "weak" is that it requires you to overcome your own projection fallacies. Failing to recognize the reality of Scientism as a problem is rather crude. But my sketch of the historical scheme of the issue might help you overcome the weaknesses that afflict such myopia.

          • Chris Morris

            I'm not sure that a mildly humorous remark about the somewhat incestuous nature of academic ideas can really count as "snarkey" but perhaps hermeneutical analysis of your cultural situation could open an interesting reality in front of that text.
            However, I suspect from your reply that my comments were not expressed clearly enough for any hermeneutic to make sense of them.

            "Failing to recognize the reality of Scientism as a problem is rather crude." That's an interesting claim. Can you provide some evidence to show what sort of problem 'scientism' presents?

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Your skewed inclination to ignore the significance of the dictionary definition alone puts "snarkey" laurels on you, along with your appeal to authority to characterize the mere reference to Scientism as "weak." I also had pointed out that whatever the source of the Scientism material at the AAAS site, it certainly is not expressed with any distortion of the material that you deny like a kind of alcoholic, and even caters to the rather petty concern of scientific funding rather than intellectual honesty and the very de facto subordinate position of Science in society as a tool, whether for dysfunctional profiteering or for sustainability activists at various levels. So, stew in the weakness of your own projection and authority appeal fallacies a little as you try to wrestle with the problem of your denial where you try to impose "incest."

            Ah, a hermeneutical analysis of my cultural situation would lead you down a road you might regret if you couldn´t repent from such pretension. My Long Island suburban upbringing like Ron Kovich of Born on the 4th of July fame, Harvard education, time teaching Science in Africa, working in Social Services in Harlem, and interviewing staff at a Berlin Greenpeace office are all part of a sustainability activist orientation worthy of a Paulo Freire crossed with a Franz Fanon, JB Cobb, and a Herman Daly, if that means anything to you in terms of empirical heterodox theoretical explanatory power. As they might say in the inner city, "Bam!"

            Well, I provided at least two kinds of examples in my other comment of anti-ecological perspectives, which is particularly poignant because of how it represents clearly the conjunction of corporate profiteering and technically oriented Scientism.

            The other example I drew on fairly explicitly was W Cecil´s recognition of popular evaluation of beauty in terms of numerical ranking. It is a form of objectification and hierarchization that ignores the underlying value issues and assumptions. Singer Colbie Caillat makes a nice point with her song Beautiful, for example.

            My all time favorite pet peeve is the Scientism of pharmaceutical Psychiatry, in which depression is treated with pills. Don´t you worry none that child abuse, dysfunctional families, denial, addictions, and unsustainable lifestyles are looming over society and wielded by corporate profiteers, now, ya hear? I could start my preliminary lecture on Freud, Jung, up to Carl Rogers and the late John Bradshaw. But, that might cure your "incest" issues.

            Now, let´s see how your Scientism apologetics dictate your responses here. Anybody taking a bet on denialism? I´ll take that for 1,000, though sure bets are for show purposes only.

          • Chris Morris

            That is, indeed, impressive feedback. Feedback on what, I'm not entirely sure.
            One thing that does, perhaps, begin to emerge from all of these ideas and vague, unconnected references, swirling around your posts is that you seem to be unable to clearly differentiate between the opinion that "science can explain everything" which I think is the standard strawman that Christian apologists waste a lot of time arguing against and what we old hippies used to call the "Military-Industrial Complex" (I don't know whether you young chaps still use that phrase), a lack of clarity that inspires you to argue so ferociously against even people who are agreeing with you.
            As someone who first became a member of Friends of the Earth in 1976, I applaud your environmentalism but I think your grasp of philosophy still has some way to go. Feel free to peruse the conversation here:
            https://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2019/09/05/the-task-of-the-revolutionist-creator/

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Having laid out a sketch of Scientism´s broader psychosocial and intellectual history and character, I thought I´d add a note on concerns about Scientism.

            What we see in the case of the celebrity ideological atheists is the sloppy use of negative stereotypes and blurred distinctions to attack the entire knowledge domain of Religion. Dawkins and Hawkings are examples of those who push confused notions that appeal to poorly informed notions of Religion.

            I got my bachelors in Bio Anthropology, including taking the initiative to look closely at the evolution of human symbolic capacity, and so began to see issues in terms of Sociobiology, with EO Wilson attacked for pushing genetic determinism. Other lovely terms describing very real problems include "reductionist materialism." I saw that as I educated myself on Therapeutic Psychology and worked in Social Services for some time.

            The pretension of trying to disdain Christian philosophers, "apologists," by pooh-poohing "Scientism" presumptuously is noteworthy of an apologetic stance. "Scientism as the misuse of Science? Why, there´s nothing Science can do wrong!"

            Now that your own pretensions are characterized a little more clearly.
            One example of Scientism as been the diminution of ecological science in relation to technical science, and the ignoring of ecological science as the life support system of humankind. Philosophical analysis of priorities was challenged as Rachel Carson famously used her writing skills to publicize concerns about the pesticide DDT. The chemical industry, for its part, tried to use images of people, actors or not, dressed as scientists to present lab science as superior to ecological concerns. A tragic and familiar form of Scientism.

            The bete noir in all that is the use of Science by corporate profiteering interests, demonstrating the problem of emphasizing Science as "successful" and the inclination of powerful groups to try to abuse that "success."

            Humanities prof W Cecil has made a fine lecture and observation of Scientism including the valuation of "beauty" by numerical rankings.
            Yeah. Very scientific.

          • Chris Morris

            For some reason, I can't see both of your replies at the same time (Disqus works in mysterious ways) so I'll have to respond to them separately.

            I entirely agree with your characterisation of "celebrity ideological atheists". My view is that they and the Christian apologists both fall back on the same false dichotomies in order to push their ideologies.

            I had to chuckle at "Now that your own pretensions are characterized a little more clearly." 50 years ago I used to make the same mistake of assuming I knew more than the people with whom I was arguing. Don't worry, we all tend to grow out of that eventually.

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            That´s funny. I´ve got the same problem. The Disqus God has got a mysterious glitch, that´s for sure.

            Well, if you agree with my characteriSation (I get the impression that this is a long distance call to the UK, and actually I´ve been based in Brazil, for that matter....lol) of the celebrity ideologues, then your notions antithetical to Scientism gain an additional contradictory element.

            The Christian apologists are not all the most cutting edge in all respects, but many are sound in important respects, and even staunch in avoiding basic and serious errors, stereotypes worst of all, being bandied about by the "Religion is nothing but social control" and "Miracles can´t happen" ideological atheists. The Christians also sustain the question of key psychosocial and cultural elements that need to be addressed more precisely to break the existing barriers. To the atheists credit, they are at least pushing the tension that exists in the need for further insight in theism.

            But now that brings me to the point where I have to say, that´s what I´ve been doing. Getting clear about the problem of Scientism is one angle that you are now helping me fortify a little bit more, to your credit.

          • Chris Morris

            "but I am among you as he that serveth." You're welcome.

          • Sample1

            No, can’t say that I do.

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            His books, like Original Blessing in the 1980s, got then Cardinal Ratzinger set on him. Fox was Dominican, and took his innovative Theology elsewhere. The Episcopalians opened up to him, but in one book he refers to himself as a "post-denominational priest." In the 2000s he did a neo-95 Theses with ecological, feminist, and other themes. He´s also rather interfaith. He inspires me a lot.

            How do you view yourself as an excommunicant? Reflecting on myself, I was raised by an ex-Catholic father atheist/secular humanist. I found Unitarian Universalism and scholar Huston Smith early on, and casually strolled on down the road. Although officially a Unitarian Universalist, I am so gung-ho on Jesus in a pluralist sense that I normally identify as an interfaith Christian.

          • Sample1

            How do you view yourself as an excommunicant?

            Why would that so heavily interest you?

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Because I have a superpower that lets me lift a rock so heavy I can´t lift it. Just kidding. It´s hardly a question of "heavily," but more a reflection that my spiritual path´s intellectual firepower derives from my dedication to social justice and lifting my little pinky in compassion and friendship.

            It´s my curse being dedicated to resolving the problem of unsustainable lifestyles, even though that is quite scientifically laid out. While Jesus said, "No man lives by bread alone," it refers not just to God and the internal aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to its social aspect. My bad, in short. I recognize you as a "human being."

            Of course, your reply strikes me as standoffish, and as someone who has indulged in the fundamental wisdom of Psychology, and it leads me to infer that you yourself are faced with a number of challenges as an "excommunicant."

            Me? I can tell you amicably or in your face that I am an interfaith Christian. Jesus´ suffering is sometimes portrayed as superhuman in nature. Thanks to Psychology, Buddhism, and my interfaith spiritual path back to an interfaith, in your face Christianity, I know suffering and the psychological defense mechanisms that dance around it. My efforts in activism have served me well in hardening me in the steely ways of solidarity. Not to be confused with Steely Dan, Aja?

            And that´s a nutshell of how to get a handle on unsustainable lifestyles, and the need for sustainability, at which point I reckon, questions of theism, atheism, anti-theism, spirituality, doctrine, heresy, and idiosyncrisy will have been advanced in a society-wide manner. I don´t hold my breath, I breathe mindfully, except when I need to remember to. Can you Zen that?

            That heavy enough for you?

          • Sample1

            I don’t know. So far all I can say is that I would not have imagined in a million years writing what you have. What are you trying to illustrate?

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            My interfaith Christian view resolves a number of issues that I´ve come across as I´ve started engaging on the theist-atheist issues. I´m originally a sustainability justice activist of longstanding, and have found my logical development into the realm of spirituality and religion.

            My banner is spiritual modernization to address Fundamentalist errors, mainstream non-Fundamentalist hypocrisy, and secular extremism.

            The angle in this case was your mentioning the issue of the poor definition of God. I´ve run through some mention of the logical issues in addressing the problem in terms of ideological atheism´s knowledge domain problems in Scientism and the like. That brings me to the issue of God, which indeed is a bit of a sore spot to a modern mind.

            True to Zen and Taoist wisdom, as applied in my non-doctrinal, decidedly empirical approach to spirituality and Christianity, the resolution is not in insisting on God´s ineffability. Science as Philosophy supplements all this wonderful mosaic of University-based learning, and the beauty of the poetry of God the First Cause, God the Uncontingent, and God the perfect source, just needs to be operationalized and identified in terms of the Universe that Science has made so understandable. God the Creator of the Universe, when looked at from the viewpoint of an empirical theist, is a facet of the Universe. Perceiving that facet of the Universe occurs in its own knowledge domain, Religion and Spiritual/Metaphysical Philosophy, and the key behavior related to that domain is clear.

            Matthew Fox was a Dominican priest who reconceived the Original state and the doctrine of Original sin for himself and his audience in his book, Original Blessing. He got excommunicated for that.

            Meanwhile, Karen Armstrong was a nun who became a scholar, and has started an interfaith group doing some kind of study and practice.

            They are doing spiritual modernization in their work, and that is what I am getting my thoughts organized to do myself.

            Ultimately, I think your own approach will involve you addressing your more specific needs for knowledge and experience. You seem oriented differently than I am, and so I just wish you good luck with your interests, and thanks for your level of interest.

          • Sample1

            Well, my comment was to someone else and you decided to run with it without ever stating why until now.

            Take care.

            Mike

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            You have a funny way of interpreting my initial statement, to paraphrase "I have identified a clear definition of God" and my conscientious developmental statements of identifying the issue of knowledge domains.

            Self-awareness is a powerful tool of spirituality, and my fundamental paradigm of "spiritual modernization." It helps avoid projection fallacies.

            Glad you could register my, certainly more elaborated, statement of purpose by this time, at least. That´s why communicating merely "listening" on your part didn´t make me think you were actually paying much attention, which was confirmed by your total lack of substantive feedback.

            My focus is always first on my own purpose, which makes me willing to share a little more easily at first. However, I enjoyed the spiritual creativity and communicativity of checking on the level of your involvement with metaphors like the soup cooking and how it smelled to you.

            As for your being an excommunicant, I think you have an interesting opportunity to explore the semantics of spirituality. My dad gave me the gift of atheism early on, and my return to theism was as natural and unforced as a feather. I struggled at one brief point with the notion that I am a "heretic" to many hardened doctrines. That passed quickly though like chalk on my shirt. My main Church is the University education aspect of the University-based system, along with especially the disciplines of Therapeutic and other forms of Psychology, Sociology, Comparative Religious Philosophy, extra-University Unitarian Universalism, and the 12 step group Recovery Movement. I may be repeating myself, but this is why feedback counts, and mine is as good as anyone else´s, if not better. All the best to you, and let me know if any of issue of substance actually interests you enough to converse with me about.

          • Chris Morris

            In order to allow you to demonstrate how good your feedback is, would you care to respond to the question I asked as feedback on your comments to me?

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Rushing me, are we? Actually, more like, a wee bit impatient, are we? This comment is already outdated!

      • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

        I like a number of things in the sense you use to draw on "unfathomable" in relation to understanding God. However, only in part. Since we can very much understand important basic things about God, starting with important aspects of what Jesus taught, we can understand that God is the Creator (Entity) and Ultimate Agent, merciful, forgiving, Truth, Spirit, and Love, for example. He is "unfathomable" in being the source of complexity theory and all the forms of lawfulness in the created Universe, not being an Aristotelian "Unmoved Mover" who is only understood intellectually, if at all.

        There is also the issue of human psychological projection in perpetuating the separation from God through materialistic conditioning.

        God´s "unfathomability" will reflect not only the grandeur of his status as Creator Entity, but any given person´s level and self-imposed limitations and even resistance to "fathoming" his or her relationship to the Creator.

        I´m no Catholic Christian in the sense of limiting myself to any institutional doctrine, nor affiliate primarily with any doctrine other than Unitarian Universalism or the United Church of Christ´s open kind of heuristic doctrine.

        So, wherever anyone falls on that kind of institutional scaling is part of that projection issue. Ultimately, "fathoming" God´s will is what Matt 7:21, "Not everyone who says 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who do my Father in Heaven´s will, will."

    • hard-to-vary explanations

      Did you get that term from David Deutsch? According to Wikipedia:

      In 2009, Deutsch expounded a new criterion for scientific explanation, which is to formulate invariants: 'State an explanation [publicly, so that it can be dated and verified by others later] that remains invariant [in the face of apparent change, new information, or unexpected conditions]'.[9]

      A bad explanation is easy to vary. —David Deutsch[9]: minute 11:22

      The search for hard to vary explanations is the origin of all progress. —David Deutsch[9]: minute 15:05

      That "the truth consists of hard to vary assertions about reality" is the most important fact about the physical world. —David Deutsch[9]: minute 16:15

      (WP: David Deutsch)

      • Sample1

        Correct. The principle escapes what can sometimes become a trap of circular reasoning within a singular discipline (risking anthropomorphism) because it is essentially applicable to all disciplines (science, philosophy, metaphysics, et al.). It does so by drawing distinctions between good and bad explanations. That’s the crux.

        You may like his books for the more fleshed out philosophy. You escaped YEC, by valuing knowledge and following the evidence. I have hope for you in that you are likely still thirsty for more. :-)

        Mike, excommunicated
        Edit done. Final.

        • I wonder if there are any weaknesses to always prioritizing "hard to vary explanations"—that is, if this is the only way one has to think scientifically. Here is one possibility of how the error can show up:

          As he tried to further understand how people deal with dissonant data, Dunbar conducted some experiments of his own. In one 2003 study, he had undergraduates at Dartmouth College watch a couple of short videos of two different-size balls falling. The first clip showed the two balls falling at the same rate. The second clip showed the larger ball falling at a faster rate. The footage was a reconstruction of the famous (and probably apocryphal) experiment performed by Galileo, in which he dropped cannonballs of different sizes from the Tower of Pisa. Galileo's metal balls all landed at the exact same time — a refutation of Aristotle, who claimed that heavier objects fell faster. (Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing up)

          I won't spoil what happened and I don't want to quote enough text to do it justice. But there is a bit about our dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) deleting discordant data from consciousness, shielding us from anomalies.

          Not only do people delete discordant data in my experience, but when the discordant data are close enough to their currently believed "hard to vary explanations", they will warp those data so that they seem to fit right in with said "hard to vary explanations". Sometimes categorization has to be a bit sloppy like this, but the problem comes when the warping is not a consciously done thing which is noted for future reference. My ideal understanding of rationality is that one would always keep track of anomalies and warpings, to see when enough have accumulated to refine one's understanding of reality. But in my experience, virtually nobody does this.

          My sample data for the above paragraph, by the way, is heavily biased toward physicists and computer scientists—those who can best afford to work with "hard to vary explanations" in their work and achieve considerable success while not having to keep track of anomalies or warpings. Perhaps everyone does this, but it seems to show up most prominently in physicists and computer scientists, in my experience.

          You may like his books for the more fleshed out philosophy. You escaped YEC, by valuing knowledge and following the evidence. I have hope for you in that you are likely still thirsty for more. :-)

          One of the data points for my previous paragraph has repeatedly suggested chapter 7 " Conversation about Justification" of The Fabric of Reality, so I've read it multiple times. I'm afraid I found the writing rather bad. And his chapter "Time" in TFOR is just philosophically wrong: construing physics as requiring a block universe is rather contentious. See for example Dan Falk's 2016 Quanta article A Debate Over the Physics of Time—a debate by about 60 physicists. I say a much more objective treatment of causality (which shows up in "Time") can be found in David Bohm's Causality and Chance in Modern Physics. Maybe Deutsch is good for some, but he seems dogmatic and patronizing to me—and narrow-minded in that he consults no psychology in "Time". Hard sciences or bust?

          • Sample1

            . Here is one possibility of how the error can show up.

            You’ve stepped on the path of answering your own question about “weakness.” If you agree with me that human beings are fallible explainers then we are of the same mind about error.

            A block universe explanation may or may not be an accurate model of reality. Some think it is. You are free to disagree with Deutsch about anything you like, his temperament, his lacking rigor by your opinion, and many others things you object to. None of that negates our principle that humans can err, rather you explicitly endorse it by your questioning.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • Fallibility is entailed by most Christian doctrines of sin, regardless of how it started or is transmitted. You might have noticed me poking a few of the Catholics here about how they apply their rigorous A–T philosophy to gritty, empirical reality. So much works nicely and simply in theory, but we don't live in theory. (Thank God for that.)

            But I don't see how this answers my question:

            LB: I wonder if there are any weaknesses to always prioritizing "hard to vary explanations"—that is, if this is the only way one has to think scientifically.

            If one truly believes that ultimate reality takes the form of "hard to vary explanations", then why won't one edit experience appropriately, as Jonah Lehrer describes people doing in Accept Defeat: The Neuroscience of Screwing up? It's not clear that merely adding in the axiom "I could be wrong" actually helps very much—the DLPFC can edit experience subconsciously. Something more seems needed, something not captured by "hard to vary explanations".

          • Sample1

            Fallibility is entailed by most Christian doctrines of sin, regardless of how it started or is transmitted.

            This is a knowledge claim that is either true or false. If you have an explanation for fallibility as it relates to most Christian doctrines of sin we can investigate that. Without one, it’s just a naked assertion taking up unearned explanatory space.

            If one truly believes that ultimate reality takes the form of "hard to vary explanations"

            I don’t know what taking the form means. A hard to vary explanation is a model of the territory ever open to improvement because we are fallible, not necessarily an ultimate form of anything. Nature is nature, not an equation or explanation. Nature does not need explanations or equations to do what nature does. We use equations and explanations to understand nature and as has been evident since the scientific revolution, those tools have allowed progress that eluded thousands of previous generations.

            Something more seems needed, something not captured by "hard to vary explanations".

            I don’t think so. Whatever study you offer, like your link, can always be improved upon. Indeed, the article vindicates the success of thinking scientifically for certain problems even though it weirdly takes a “ha, ha, you scientists aren’t so smart narrative.” It’s an article that itself can be improved, never even addressing how understandings of reality (such as Einstein’s) involve new modes of thinking. I’m not sure what value you saw to bring it into discussion (you wasted my time unless you explain) and, well, regarding the “scientists aren’t so smart narrative,” we know we aren’t! most scientists are practical fallibilists.

            What tool or mode of thinking are you proposing to understand reality that does not entail continual explanatory improvements by way of reasoning out its hard-to-vary parameters? Without one, it’s just another naked, insipid assertion.

            Mike, excommunicated
            Edit done.

          • This is a knowledge claim that is either true or false. If you have an explanation for fallibility as it relates to most Christian doctrines of sin we can investigate that. Without one, it’s just a naked assertion taking up unearned explanatory space.

            Tell me how you sample and weight doctrines of sin (e.g. if one person writes a blog post on it, does that count equally with what John Calvin wrote?) and I'll consider whether I want to support that meaning of the sentence. I was largely thinking of the vast influence of Augustine on the rest of Christianity, over against Pelagius.

            Now, I will take this response of yours to apply symmetrically to every single empirical generalization you make. Including the applicability of "hard to vary explanations" to all the various sciences out there—if you have claimed or necessarily implied that.

            I don’t know what taking the form means.

            See the correspondence theory of truth. If you mean "hard to vary explanations" in a purely instrumentalist way, then that's a different matter. But then all you can say is that "hard to vary explanations" give us more power over reality—you don't get to say that they're telling us all that much about reality.

            A hard to vary explanation is a model of the territory ever open to improvement because we are fallible, not necessarily an ultimate form of anything.

            The Copenhagen interpretation of QM is harder to vary than de Broglie–Bohm mechanics. I just found out that under de Broglie–Bohm, the Born rule is not axiomatic; instead there is the possibility of quantum non-equilibrium, which would allow for FTL communication and unsharpness relation-violating measurements. So, should we prefer harder-to-vary or slightly-easier-to-vary?

            LB: Something more seems needed, something not captured by "hard to vary explanations".

            S1: I don’t think so. Whatever study you offer, like your link, can always be improved upon.

            There seem to be two general ways to improve upon a hard-to-vary explanation: (i) throw it away and replace it with something new; (ii) slightly alter it so that it can explain the new phenomena. And yet, the very sense of "hard-to-vary" makes (ii) problematic. Improvements end up being saltations and punctuated equilibrium. Oh this is just too good: "Some critics jokingly referred to the theory of punctuated equilibrium as "evolution by jerks",[78] which reportedly prompted punctuationists to describe phyletic gradualism as "evolution by creeps."[79]"

            Indeed, the article vindicates the success of thinking scientifically for certain problems even though it weirdly takes a “ha, ha, you scientists aren’t so smart narrative.”

            First, "thinking scientifically" ⇏ "preferring hard-to-vary explanations". Second, I only know how to explain your narrative one way: via an idealistic conception of "how science is done" smashing into reality. My wife is a scientist and what I read in that article is just how things work. Just like every other disciplined human endeavor, "how the sausage is made" in science is rather disgusting. If you consider learning that "wast[ing] [your] time", I'm afraid I won't apologize for giving you the article.

            What tool or mode of thinking are you proposing to understand reality that does not entail continual explanatory improvements by way of reasoning out its hard-to-vary parameters? Without one, it’s just another naked, insipid assertion.

            I'm not suggesting we remove the hammer from the toolbox; I'm suggesting instead that we add screwdrivers and hack saws and tweezers. So for example: Linnaean taxonomy almost certainly contributed to better understanding of reality, without being anything like the hypothetico-deductive model. In the human sciences, hermeneutics is indispensable. A social science project studying how models and data travel (or "are traveled") from lab to lab just finished up and just yesterday I discussed a draft of the report with the postdoc and one of his advisors. Case in point, the attempt to define exactly what a "model" is has actually stymied this kind of research in the past. There is in fact a tremendous amount of variety in how scientists communicate and that variety appears to be growing year over year.

            Mike, you seem to have the kind of understanding of "how science is done" which is destroyed by Paul Feyerabend in Against Method. In that book he criticized a very strong dogma in the field; apparently he paid for his impetuousness: "Some have seen the publication of Against Method as leading to Feyerabend's isolation from the community of philosophers of science, who objected to his view that there is no such thing as the scientific method.[11]" (Against Method § Scholarly reception)

          • Sample1

            You’re trading on the value of hard to vary explanations as a principle with something else, I’m not exactly sure. What exactly are these hacksaws and tweezers you describe that transcend the principle?

            Mike, excommunicated

          • S1: A hard to vary explanation is a model of the territory ever open to improvement because we are fallible, not necessarily an ultimate form of anything.

            LB: The Copenhagen interpretation of QM is harder to vary than de Broglie–Bohm mechanics. I just found out that under de Broglie–Bohm, the Born rule is not axiomatic; instead there is the possibility of quantum non-equilibrium, which would allow for FTL communication and unsharpness relation-violating measurements. So, should we prefer harder-to-vary or slightly-easier-to-vary?

            S1: [ignored]

            I think I presented a very good test case for your stance on "hard to vary explanations"; I am saddened that you decided not to engage it.

            S1: What tool or mode of thinking are you proposing to understand reality that does not entail continual explanatory improvements by way of reasoning out its hard-to-vary parameters? Without one, it’s just another naked, insipid assertion.

            LB: I'm not suggesting we remove the hammer from the toolbox; I'm suggesting instead that we add screwdrivers and hack saws and tweezers. So for example: Linnaean taxonomy almost certainly contributed to better understanding of reality, without being anything like the hypothetico-deductive model. In the human sciences, hermeneutics is indispensable. A social science project studying how models and data travel (or "are traveled") from lab to lab just finished up and just yesterday I discussed a draft of the report with the postdoc and one of his advisors. Case in point, the attempt to define exactly what a "model" is has actually stymied this kind of research in the past. There is in fact a tremendous amount of variety in how scientists communicate and that variety appears to be growing year over year.

            S1: You’re trading on the value of hard to vary explanations as a principle with something else, I’m not exactly sure. What exactly are these hacksaws and tweezers you describe that transcend the principle?

            I gave you three examples, two of which are very concrete. I can justify the third with concrete instances if you'd like. You on the other hand haven't provided a single concrete example of "hard to vary explanations", not to mention the kind of representative sampling which would be required to demonstrate that said principle should in any way be dominant in the practice of science.

          • Sample1

            I think I presented a very good test case for your stance on "hard to vary explanations"; I am saddened that you decided not to engage it.

            Nonsense.

            Mike

          • Such succinctness is rather anti-rationality, anti-inquiry. But perhaps I can start more simply: do you think de Broglie–Bohm mechanics is a hard-to-vary explanation?

          • Sample1

            It’s one interpretation among many. I’m not a physicist but have been told by other physicists that it’s got certain classical mechanics pitfalls that haven’t been ironed out completely, making it much less compelling than other QM interpretations on offer.

            Those pursuing it know they have work to do to. And they will likely do that work in the framework of making each component of the theory functional and explainable.

            It has every opportunity to be abandoned or accepted fully. Time will tell. The question you should be thinking about is how does a hard to vary explanation differ from an easy to vary explanation.

            Here is a short article to whet your appetite. It explains the subtle difference between hard to vary and Occam’s Razor. The better teacher here is oneself. I’ve no preconceptions that my explanations will sway you. If it’s of interest to you, you’ll do the continuing work yourself.

            https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/jzibHBxczkZuTKY93/david-deutsch-a-new-way-to-explain-explanation

            Mike, excommunicated
            Edit done. Final.

          • I laid out the facts above but I'll make it clearer:

                 (I) de Broglie–Bohm: Born rule doesn't have to hold
                (II) Copenhagen: Born rule is necessary

            So, de Broglie–Bohm is easier-to-vary. True, or false?

          • Sample1

            You’re exercising poor judgement. Do you realize this? You should ask such questions of those working in the relevant fields.

            What you might want to explore is how myth provided easy-to-vary answers (more accessible subject for the layman though you could also find experts if needed). Then work with various holy books of the world and see if there are similar easy to vary explanations about reality in them.

            Then find a hard to vary explanation such as I’ve relayed from Deutsch: axial tilt for explaining seasons versus the goddess Demeter’s sadness.

            That’s my advice. Good luck!

            Mike, excommunicated

          • You seem to be making a major category mistake: the story of Demeter was not intended to be "scientific". If you want to talk religion instead of physics, a much better domain would be the kinds of explanations which justify various societal configurations—a chief concern of people in ages past. I'll provide an example.

             
            In the Babylonian creation myth, Enûma Eliš, humanity was created from the blood of a slain god, to do manual labor for the gods, with a divinely-appointed human to manage the slaves. That human (an emperor, king, or pharaoh) would be the only one to bear the divine image. Contrast this to the Hebrew creation myth:

            Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

                So God created man in his own image,
                    in the image of God he created him;
                    male and female he created them.

            And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26–28)

            Is that a hard-to-vary explanation, with regard to how humans are to relate to one another? It seems hard-to-vary to me; I'm less sure about using the term 'explanation'. If all bear the image of God and the image of God is what lets you subdue and have dominion, then humans don't get to do this to each other—unlike what the Babylonian creation myth endorses.

             
            In other words: The Bible is not a science textbook. Nor are most ancient texts AFAIK. A big reason we make the mistake of thinking the Bible is a science textbook is because science gained tremendous epistemic authority in the 19th century. What we're increasingly finding out is that having extremely powerful means is dangerous if one cannot channel them with sufficiently powerful ends. One needs more than science textbooks. And in fact, sufficiently instable society does not permit the endeavor of modern science. Something else is a prerequisite for writing science textbooks in the first place. Now, how do "hard to vary explanations" function in that domain?

          • Sample1

            I chose not to read this reply after the first sentence. You are a barely a new student of this topic, at best, not even interested in Deutsch. And you’re going to take the reins?

            Good grief.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • You are a barely a new student of this topic, at best, not even interested in Deutsch.

            Deutsch builds on Karl Popper and I've read a decent amount of Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery, plus bits of some of his other books. I know about falsification and Popper's thoughts about auxiliary hypotheses, which make a theory easier-to-vary. I have talked about the value of "brittle explanations" in the past, which is a metaphorical version of "hard-to-vary". So actually, I probably have a decent amount of insight into what Deutsch means by "hard to vary explanations". I thought I could deepen that insight via dialogue with you, but perhaps you are unable and/or unwilling.

            And you’re going to take the reins?

            You took the reins by shifting from science to religion; I was following on that sudden—some might say extreme—shift of domain.

            Good grief.

            Indeed.

          • Sample1

            Nonsense, you are asking for my help. You gave me the reins but cannot let go of them. That’s a dumpster fire maneuver.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • If the only places you were going to go with the reins is to establish that holy texts make bad science textbooks and what religions do are worse at scientific inquiry than what science does, then I shall agree with you straightaway. That is not—and never was—their intent. Where else might you want to go?

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            I think psychological strategies to improve learning and IQ´s probably offers some interesting challenges in this question. In the book Superlearning, one researcher found that the affirmation, "I am one with mommy" had a powerful impact on learning! Louise Hay´s affirmation system includes, "I love learning...."

            I personally also think of Buddhism´s goal of achieving Nirvana with a person´s perceptive mind, and Piaget´s notion of assimilation, accommodation, and schema. Those notions have been exceptionally useful in my experience of mercurial environments.

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            Well, I´d say your assessment of Deutsch as narrowminded reminds me of the relevance of Goedel´s Incompleteness Theorem. And that very issue emerges in the hard to vary statement, "Science is not the Absolute Truth, but a form of Philosophy." Doh! Suddenly, Science is Scientific Philosophy again like it always has been, as the result of a hard to vary truth statement, and very much requires the realm of Psychology. Incidentally, so many times capital letters for "Physics" while "psychology" doesn´t pass muster in your comment. Just saying. I´m out to change that kind of discriminatory relativity. lol.

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  • Alexandra

    So heartbreaking about the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral today.

    Moving video showing Parisians singing near the Cathedral:
    https://youtu.be/ZRWFTJFut-w

  • >The philosopher George Mavrodes notes that “a stone too heavy for God to lift” is simply another way of uttering the logically contradictory (and thus nonsensical) phrase, “a stone that cannot be lifted by him whose power is sufficient for lifting anything.”

    But Arterton notes this too:

    >"The way out of this dilemma is usually to argue, as Saint Thomas Aquinas did, that God cannot do self-contradictory things."

    As well as noting:

    >"Not all philosophers agree with Aquinas. René Descartes, for example, believed that God could do absolutely anything, even the logically impossible, such as draw a round square."

    Sounds pretty fair to me. But from Mr Horn's critique you'd never know!

    >At this point, Atterton has taken his philosopher’s sights off omnipotence and switched his target to the attribute of omnibenevolence, or the fact that God is all-good, by appealing to the well-worn problem of evil.

    No, the problem of evil deals with omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience. I.e. given the world we have either gid lacks the power to create a world without evil, he doesn't know how (or he isn't aware of evil), or he doesn't care.

    >Atterton would have been better off dedicating his whole column to these problems instead of briefly discussing and then giving up the paradox of omnipotence or the problem of evil.

    Maybe, or maybe he is just writing a brief summary of some counter-apologetics.

    >and the burden of proof is upon the atheist to show that no such reason or reasons [for god allowing all suffering to occur exist.

    Not on the evidential version of the problem, which is a key term used by both Draper anda Mackie. And I think it's not fair to place this burden on atheists. Theists are the ones who believe this god exists and has these reasons why god let's children die of cancer. How the heck should we know? Seems like after centuries of pondering theology, Catholicism can't think of any good reasons why God doesn't intervene.

    >the “paradox of sinful knowledge” is resolved by providing a more coherent definition of omniscience

    Or redefining the term because we've shown there is knowledge god could logically have, but contradicts theology.

    >However, since God is unlimited and perfect being that does not change it doesn’t make sense to say God has emotions or feelings.

    So there is all kinds of knowledge god doesn't have. That's fine you can define a god any way you want but you can't say god knows how it feels to be a parent and watch your kid learn something, or how it would feel to have a child die. Maybe that's why doesn't prevent these harms? He's an unfeeling unthinking ground of existence that defines virtue by pure abstraction?

    >God is afraid’ (and others like it) is meaningless, it can’t be true. If it can’t be true, it can’t be known. And if it can’t be known, then it can’t contradict God’s omniscience, which involves his knowledge of only all real or potentially real things.”

    But the question isn't "can god have no emotions and be afraid". The question is, is there such a thing as knowledge of what it feels like to be afraid? If yes, and you define omniscient as knowing all things it is possible to know, then you can't call god omniscient.

    It's like saying Tom is black, so Tom can't know what it's like to be white. So because it leads to a contradiction to say Tom knows what it means to be white, Tom's lack of this knowledge does not mean he's not omniscient.

    >Arguments like Peter Atterton’s do serve at least one useful purpose: they show how a confused or incorrect understanding of God can lead to rejecting God.

    No they don't. it's not an argument, and it's a piece that accurately notes a few critiques of some versions of theism.

    >If our understanding of God seems to be illogical, all this may show is that we must commit to loving the Lord with all our mind (Luke 10:27) and seek his help to elevate our minds to understand him.

    It doesn't, it just seems wrong.

    • Mark

      Most theists on this blog are classical theists, not theistic personalists. Nearly every bit of what you just wrote is strawman. Arteman doesn't differentiate either, fine, it's an opinion piece to get click through advertising.

      Feser: Theistic personalists... tend to begin with the idea that God is “a person” just as we are persons, only without our corporeal and other limitations. Like us, he has attributes like power, knowledge, and moral goodness; unlike us, he has these features to the maximum possible degree. The theistic personalist thus arrives at an essentially anthropomorphic conception of God.

      Nearly everything I read in your post and the article denies divine simplicity.

      • >Nearly every bit of what you just wrote is strawman.

        Such as?

        • Mark

          No, the problem of evil deals with omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and omniscience. I.e. given the world we have either gid (God/Good?) lacks the power to create a world without evil, he doesn't know how (or he isn't aware of evil), or he doesn't care.

          Anthropomorphic god. God does not lack power or knowledge nor does He have human indifference.

          But the question isn't "can god have no emotions and be afraid". The question is, is there such a thing as knowledge of what it feels like to be afraid? If yes, and you define omniscient as knowing all things it is possible to know, then you can't call god omniscient.

          It's like saying Tom is black, so Tom can't know what it's like to be white. So because it leads to a contradiction to say Tom knows what it means to be white, Tom's lack of this knowledge does not mean he's not omniscient

          Anthropomorphic god. Racial knowledge is a limitation of human intellect. God is knowing of all limitations of knowledge.

          No they don't. it's not an argument, and it's a piece that accurately notes a few critiques of some versions of theism.

          -Some versions of an anthropomorphic God. This type of refutation doesn't work for classic theists because you're not refuting what we call God. Having said that it works for many theists because they are not classical theists. But it's a non-starter for Horn; he is a classical theist. Refute the God he is referencing, not the ones you find refutable.

          • George

            > God does not lack power or knowledge

            Is this a conclusion you reach, or a presupposition?

          • Mark

            The classical theist God is a conclusion not a presupposition. My presupposition is that the intelligence of the reality that my senses perceive is real.

          • David Nickol

            Anthropomorphic god.

            Doesn't the Bible present us with an anthropomorphized God pretty much from start to finish? I would like to see classical theists rewrite the Bible to eliminate all the anthropomorphizing of God. Zen asks, "What is the should of one hand clapping?" Perhaps classical theists can answer what is the "sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day"? The constant depiction of God as a "heavenly father" is certainly anthropomorphizing.

            I am not suggesting that anybody (including classical theists) are required to read the Bible literally. But it seems like one of the favorite themes of classical theists here is denounce anthropomorphizing God as an error. And yet it seems to me that both in the Bible and in everyday piety, one of the most characteristic ways to talk about God is to resort to anthropomorphism.

          • Mark

            Literary anthropomorphism ancient Hebrew used in the OT to understand a metaphysical existence is rather different than logical anthropomorphism to disprove His existence with strawman arguments. But I'm pretty sure you know that David. I also don't disagree that most Catholics have a false sense of the One True God. Most Catholics are lukewarm. I spent most my adult life as one. You also know the goal of Catholic prayer and piety and it has nothing to do with making God the Father less than what He is. Imperfectly conceptualizing the One True God suffices for some, it brought me to my knees. I'm a better man for it. Sometimes you have to die to rise.

          • >Anthropomorphic god. God does not lack power or knowledge nor does He have human indifference.

            Ok, well whatever you think the god you are talking about, it either has all knowledge it is possible to have or it doesn't.

            Now there exists knowledge of what it feels like to be a human. Either the god you believe in has this knowledge or it doesn't .

            I guess you are saying it's a strawman that god possess all knowledge it is possible to have, I guess you mean that he only has all the knowledge it's possible for the kind of thing he is to poseses?

            You also don't believe in a god that has the ability to relate to the circumstances of humans. Or think or experience pain?

          • Mark

            BGA you seem to want to double down on your understanding of the classic God. I'm not falling prey to any arguments from false premise. If you want an understanding of how Catholics differentiate the literary anthropomorphic analogies from the philosophical anthropomorphic god:

            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01558c.htm

          • In 20+ years of looking I just can't connect that non-anthropocentric god with anything resembling trinitarian christianity

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            For what it's worth, I find it easier to make that connection when I try putting myself in the sandals of the biblical writers.

            After a long day of philosophizing while herding your goats, philosophizing buttressed perhaps by some mystical experience that came upon you as you found a bit of shade and water in the middle of a long hot day, you have developed some awareness of what will one day be called "the God of the philosophers". Now comes the "writers challenge": you are sitting around the campfire later that night, and you want to convey your new awareness to young and old, to wise and dim-witted, left-brainers and right-brainers, men and women, etc, and you want to do it in a way that is not merely analytical but also evocative of your transcendent experience of that depth of reality. Might you perhaps try to convey your findings with words like: "When Elohim began to create heaven and earth, and the earth then was welter and darkness over the deep and God's breath hovering over the waters, God said, "Let there be light". And there was light." (Robert Alter's translation)

            ? Maybe not, YMMV. But I think in any case that some sort attempt to sympathize with the perspective of the biblical writers is necessary.

          • Jim (hillclimber)

            Oops, sorry, that is not Robert Alter's translation exactly. I substituted in Elohim where he used "God". (I didn't want the modern baggage of the word "God" in this context, and I just incautiously guessed that it was Elohim at some point.)

          • I'm not doubling down on anything. I'm happy to accept whatever version of deity you want to advance. I think all I'm doing is oointipo out an apparent contradiction between two central properties of the deity I was thinking Catholics advance. Omniscience and simplicity. What I see you doing is defining down omniscience to fit in with simplicity. This is us understandable given cosmological apologetics and Aquinas' ways .

            However it does result in a deity that can have knowledge in a very different way than humans do. It means god works as an immaterial ground of being but is not capable of learning, or having anything like an experience in any way similar to human conscious experience.

            I know there are long laboured attempts to reconcile this notion of an abstract transcendent necessary whatever with the god as a human that died, loved, and experienced pain that no doubt is being sold in churches worldwide this weekend.

          • Mark

            God is immaterial. There is no contradiction unless you presuppose He has the limitations of material knowledge such as pain or evil. He isn't a moral agent. It only reasons He allows pain or evil to exist materially in order to bring about greater Goodness. Trinitarian theology is the next step of reason for Christians. If God reveals himself to humanity what might that look like. Whatever that revelation is it cannot contradict God as reason precedes faith. Thats more in the lane of theology. I prefer not to go there. I wouldn't try to teach someone algebra that doesn't believes in math.

          • K thanks bye .

          • michael

            What greater goodness is brought from kids getting abducted, tortured, and raped?

          • Mark

            When did God do that? Again, He is not a moral agent. He created moral agents that could and gave them free will. Some of those use their free will to align with evil and rape and torture and some align their will with God and work to enact universal human rights and feed the poor and shelter the homeless and provide for the needy. Some humans look at the atrocities of wicked and devote their life towards prevent further atrocities and help those affected by them: psychiatry, police, lawyers, judges, rights activists, ministers. If no evil existed, none of those professions would either.

            Again you are strawmaning your god because of your bias or ignorance or malcontent toward classic theists. It does nothing to contribute to the conversation, mostly it gets old. While the POE is the best evidence against a theistic personalist god, it doesn't carry weight against Catholics and classical theists; like you, we don't believe in that god either.

          • David Nickol

            You have already conceded that God allows evil. The Catechism says so very explicitly.

            311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:

            For almighty God. . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.

            Michael asked, "What greater goodness is brought from kids getting abducted, tortured, and raped?" You did not answer his question.

            It doesn't seem to me that the proposition that God never allows evil unless he can bring a greater good from it is purely a matter of faith. I don't see how it can possibly be demonstrated.

          • michael

            Why does'nt he interfere to prevent these crimes? You realize that it's easy to prevent a crime without messing with free will, right? Also: "If no evil existed, none of those professions would either." That'd be a GOOD thing! Talk about putting the cart before the horse!

          • Mark

            He's not a moral agent nor superhero crime stopper. And yes preventing every bad human choice or their consequences would be contrary to free will. But you know that already and your inaccurate portrayal of God is getting dull. If you want to refute God you're going to have to take initiative to understand what the classic God is and what He isn't.

          • David Nickol

            And yes preventing every bad human choice or their consequences would be contrary to free will.

            The problem is that God (allegedly) prevents some bad human choices and not others. If God always respected free will, I can see that there would be no problem. But the fact that God intervenes—if only some of the time—makes it legitimate to ask why he doesn't intervene at other times.

            Saying that God is not a moral agent doesn't get him off the hook. If his interventions are good, then his noninterventions need to be explained.

          • Mark

            And you have the materialistic cipher to tell when God intervenes or nonintervenes it creates evil. Let me hear your legitimate extrapolations of data. I'm all ears.

            David you've been around this conversation long enough to know you're barking up the wrong tree.

            Mostly the problem is that saying God is a moral agent is asinine in the way Catholics understand God. You say it doesn't get him off the hook. That's your hook, not mine, nor Aquinas, nor Aristotle, nor any philosophically inclined orthodox Catholic.

          • Jim the Scott

            David is hopeless at this point. Thought I was justly pissed at him for his little virtue signalling stunt a while back I would normally be the first to say he has a better grasp of Catholicism then most Atheist/Agnostic/Skeptics here. But on this he has blind spot.

            >Saying that God is not a moral agent doesn't get him off the hook. If his interventions are good, then his noninterventions need to be explained.

            By definition it does since given God's nature and relation to creation it is incoherent to put upon him any moral blame. David knows this but him and his fellows don't get the idea of a non-starter objection. For example if you could plausibly come up with strong philosophical defeaters for every Cosmological Argument it would be meaningless to a Pantheist. Why? Because Cosmological Arguments presuppose either a creator or at worst sustainer God who causes creation. A Pantheistic view of divinity doesn't postulate that sort of deity.

            A God who is not a moral agent need not justify His Actions.

            > If his interventions are good, then his noninterventions need to be explained.

            No they don't. God is not obligated to intervine in the first place and any act of intervention on the part of God is by definition gratuitous. Not obligatory. Aquinas taught us all rather clearly God's acts of goodness towards his Creatures are gratuitous.

            >But the fact that God intervenes—if only some of the time—makes it legitimate to ask why he doesn't intervene at other times.

            Here David confuses the mystery of Evil with the problem of evil. Why God allows any particular evil is unknowable and has nothing to do with the problem of evil.

          • michael

            Not preventing crime when you can is ontologically bad and not good. By your logic, the whole idea of polcie is to mess with free will. But these actions would only mess with freedom of action, not free WILL. Someone can WILL something and be unable to do it.

          • Mark

            I think the ontology of God is beyond you. I'm trying to be charitable. The conversation only goes forward if we both understand the properties and relations associated with the classic God. You keep pounding your fist, I keep shaking my head. I would love to will you understanding of God, but I'm unable to do it... because both you and I are moral agents.

          • michael

            Thomas Jefferson said the reason cannot act upon that which cannot be understood. IN the same quote he also said this is why ridicule is the only way to get people to stop believing in The Trinity.

          • michael

            When did God do that? Just yesterday a 4-year old got raped in a Mcdonald's playground bathroom. God could've intervened to prevent it. If a person saw that about to happen and did nothing, that person would be COMPLICIT.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer Kung Fu is strong my son. Well said. A Classic Theistic God needs a Theodicy like a fish needs a skateboard.

            Cheers.

          • David Nickol

            From the old Catholic Encyclopedia you link to:

            . . . . when He is said to have repented of having made man, we have an extremely forcible expression conveying His abhorrence of sin. The justification of this language is found in the fact that truth can be conveyed to men only through the medium of human ideas and thoughts, and is to be expressed only in language suited to their comprehension.

            It is unclear whether "His abhorrence of sin" is intended to refer to the anthropomorphized God of Genesis or whether the Encyclopedia is telling us that God abhors sin so much that his abhorrence must be communicated by anthropomorphizing him, in which case saying that God abhors sin is itself an instance of anthropomorphizing. (It is unclear to me how the God of classical theism could be said to abhor sin, or anything else. But perhaps I am missing something.)

            In any case, it seems to me the story of Noah and the Ark is an excellent text for some of our classical theists here to examine and try to explain what is figurative and what is (in one way or another) literal. The Catechism of the Catholic Church appears to treat Noah as a historical figure, although I suppose the Catechism itself may be interpreted to be using figurative language. The old online Catholic Encyclopedia says the following:

            Many difficulties have been raised, especially in our epoch, against the pages of the Bible in which the history of the Flood and of the Ark is narrated. This is not the place to dwell upon these difficulties, however considerable some may appear. They all converge towards the question whether these pages should be considered as strictly historical throughout, or only in their outward form. The opinion that these chapters are mere legendary tales, Eastern folklore, is held by some non-Catholic scholars; according to others, with whom several Catholics side, they preserve, under the embroidery of poetical parlance, the memory of a fact handed down by a very old tradition. This view, were it supported by good arguments, could be readily accepted by a Catholic; it has, over the age-long opinion that every detail of the narration should be literally interpreted and trusted in by the historian, the advantage of suppressing as meaningless some difficulties once deemed unanswerable.

          • Mark

            Abhorrence when defined is a material human emotional intellectual state. It's used here as a way to communicate to the human intellect an imperfect analogous material understanding of the immaterial relationship of Pure Good to the privation of Good.

            If a Catholic wants to believe the flood took place and Noah saved animal species on earth by loading them 2 by 2 and died at the ripe old age 950 yo they can. If a Catholic wants to view the story as allegorical or poetic parlance they can. What a Catholic shouldn't do is dwell upon the difficulties of which opinion or any hybrid version is wrong. It's not the either/or thing a skeptic or fundamentalist may raise. It's really mostly beside the point. The point is, "As a Christian what is God trying to reveal to his ancient chosen people?" How one answers that question is mostly a non-concern thing for the Catholic or Magesterium; unless one imports non-dogmatic interpretations like, Noah was a demi-god or an anthropomorphic god that hovers in the clouds with eyes watching humans in Gen 6:11 "But the earth was corrupt in the view of God and full of lawlessness." God doesn't literally see any more than He abhors.

            Did the people of ancient Mesopotamia, (likely where the story of the flood came from; i.e. the Sumarian flood story) believe in that version of God? Very likely yes. But as a Catholic I'm not bound to import their limited knowledge of God in light of the revelation of Christ.

          • David Nickol

            What a Catholic shouldn't do is dwell upon the difficulties of which opinion or any hybrid version is wrong.

            You seem to be saying that Catholics should either (1) accept the story of Noah as historical as a fundamentalist would or (2) accept it as an invented story such as a parable or allegory—either one or the other, but nothing in between. That seems strange to me. It is certainly not the way the Catechism deals with the story of Adam and Eve.

            390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

            If the account of Noah and the Ark in Genesis 6ff "uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event" (a "reboot" of the human race!), then I would say it is important to know what is literal and what is figurative.

            The point is, "As a Christian what is God trying to reveal to his ancient chosen people?"

            That's not the point, but rather an important question. The answer to the question might be the point. Also, I believe the OT is considered by Catholics to be for everyone, not just the ancient Israelites. It is for all ages, isn't it?

            But what is the answer to the question? Remember that according to Catholics and most other Christians, the story of Noah was written under divine inspiration. It is believed that we have assurances from God himself that the story is true. It would seem that the message of the story had to be more than how much God abhors sin. Inspired scripture says that God regretted his creation of mankind, determined to wipe out every breathing thing on earth (including innocent bunny rabbits, puppies, and kittens), carried out the plan, and then when it was all over declared he would never do it again. We have some extremely dramatic actions on the part of God, and it is all described in anthropomorphic terms.

            Did something actually happen? Or did some ancient writer take a very common bit of lore circulating in the ancient world and make a religious morality tale of it?

          • Mark

            I never hinted at the dichotomy you propose. In fact I saw it coming and denied it before you even had a chance to pose it. I affirm there is an actual event for which the story was told, I referenced what event I thought it was in regards to the flood. I don't care if a Catholic wants to believe in the literal event or a non-literal version of the event as long as it serves the purpose of Magesterial teaching for Christ. Catholics deny the existence of an anthropomorphic god regardless of how much literary anthropomorphic words are used by OT writers to describe God. Again everything in the OT is viewed through Christ's revelation. That's the point.

          • David Nickol

            Well, what is the point of the story of Noah? God abhors sin? The biblical writers could have just said that. What does the story of Noah mean to the Catholic Church? Why is the inspired word of God so heavily dependent on anthropomorphizing God? And why did the OT authors not only depict God anthropomorphically, but depict him killing every breathing creature outside of the ark?

          • michael

            "What a Catholic shouldn't do is dwell upon the difficulties of which opinion or any hybrid version is wrong."

            That's called not listening to reason.

          • Mark

            Using formalist criticism rather than historical criticism for the literature is not listening to reason.

            If you're trying to determine the precise location, place, and time of the "road less traveled" to determine its existence you're missing the point, purpose, and nature of the literature. Whether or not Frost actually described a literal road, imagined road, or a storied road of his ancestors doesn't matter and I'm not being unreasonable to assert so. Edit done.

  • Grimlock

    Fortunately, there’s no need to pay such a high price. When we define divine omnipotence correctly, as “the ability to make the possible actual” or “the ability to perform a logically possible task,” the paradox evaporates.

    An interesting consequence would, then, be that God cannot create anything that could not later be unmade. Such a sad lack of permanence. Right?

    • Grimlock

      Replying to myself. Could God then enact a state of affairs that has permanent moral consequences, i.e., a state of affair whose moral consequences could not be unmade? I think not.

      • Rob Abney

        Can you give an example?

        • Grimlock

          I could try. I'm just tossing out an idea, to play around with the consequences of a stance.

          But could God then do an action that is unchangeably good or bad? Like, if God used His powers to heal the sick, that action could at some point be considered morally neutral, rather than good?

          There might be a relevant distinction between performing and then possibly unmaking a task, and having the task's moral aspect be susceptible to change.

          Am I making sense? I feel like I'm trying out some ideas here, that I haven't quite made sense of myself yet.

          • Rob Abney

            I think you are attempting to make God as a force or person that makes things/tasks/actions, but the way I see Him is as Goodness in full actuality, not as an agent to produce goodness but as Goodness. He cannot be morally neutral.

          • Grimlock

            I'm not trying to make God anything. I'm simply going by the definition of omnipotence in the OP. You might have a different conception of God, and that's fine by me. But then your conception is a bit of a divergent subject from the OP, would you not agree?

          • Rob Abney

            You are correct about the way it is stated in the OP. From my perspective then, it should be that God is omnipotence rather than God has omnipotence.
            To consider healing the sick as less than good would be to say that life is not considered good or that “to be” is not good.
            To suffer or to be a martyr can qualify as good but only with the proper circumstances and intentions, such as to give your life for another.

    • How does that logic work? It seems to me that the definition provided, when combined with "being is convertible with goodness" and "evil is the absence of being", entails "God cannot do evil".

      • Grimlock

        Which logic are you referring to, precisely?

        • Your "interesting consequence". I took that to be a logical consequence; was I incorrect?

          • Grimlock

            Right. What's everything but the first sentence of your previous comment got to do with it?

          • It suggests that you were employing the “the ability to perform a logically possible task” definition while contradicting the “the ability to make the possible actual” definition.

          • Grimlock

            I see. That's not quite what I had in mind. Let me put it this way: Can God create anything that could not later be unmade?

          • Can you think of a concrete example of "unmade" that can happen via “the ability to make the possible actual”?

          • Grimlock

            I prefer to employ the other definition of omnipotence, as I'm not that familiar with Thomistic jargon. In that case, then yes.

            However, I would first like to know if you agree that the "unmade" thing I mentioned is analogous to the "a rock so heavy God can't move it" thing.

          • Ficino

            I don't know how relevant is the following, but Aquinas holds that God creates some things so as to resist natural corruption: angels, since they are not composites of form and matter, and heavenly bodies, since their matter (aether) has no contrary, and corruption is into the opposite contrary. An angel or a heavenly body cannot undergo corruption by any natural process, although heavenly bodies will cease their motion after the Second Coming.

            God can, however, always withdraw the act of existence from anything other than Himself. So God can unmake any thing He has created. God cannot destroy Himself.

          • Grimlock

            Oh, that's very relevant. It sounds, then, as if Thomism is consistent with the idea of God being unable to make something that cannot be unmade.

            Do you know how the idea of God withdrawing the act of existence goes along with the idea of evil in Thomism? My impression is that evil in Thomism is the absence of being, and so on my naive view, God withdrawing existence seems to be a tension with God not being able to do evil.

          • Ficino

            The God of Thomism cannot make another God of Thomism because there can be only one being that is pure act. The only created thing that could not be unmade would be a thing whose existence were identical with its essence, a thing that would be pure act. But by definition there cannot be any created thing that is pure act. Therefore God cannot make something that cannot be unmade. And nothing that is not first made can be unmade.

            Evil in Thomism is not the absence of being tout court. It is a privation of a good, which "should" be present. Blindness is an evil for a creature that by nature is sighted; it is not an evil for a creature that by nature does not have the power of seeing. ETA for a naturally unsighted creature, lack of sight is not a privation.

            God is held to sustain all created things in being at every moment they exist. That's held to be a way in which God manifests His goodness. If God were to cease to sustain some created thing's act of existence, though, that would not be an evil attributed to God, since the thing's existence is itself totally gratuitous - God is not obligated to cause existence in anything.

          • Grimlock

            I see. That does at first glance seem quite coherent.

            Though I have to admit that the idea of defining evil in such a way does appear to make evil and goodness arbitrary - as it seems pertinent to ask why is the nature of a being so, instead of so?

          • Ficino

            I think the answer comes down to, because God so willed it.

            A consideration is the Thomist doctrine of the six transcendentals: being, one, good, true, thing, something. These are all held to be convertible, or one might say, inter-entailing. To the extent that something exists, it is also good, true, a thing, etc., and so for all the other transcendentals. They are so called because they cut across all ten categories of being.

            From this arise various rebuttals to arguments from evil. Die-hard Calvinists, on the other hand, will just tell you that God creates evil but is not evil.

          • Grimlock

            Interesting indeed! That does appear to he one way in which Thomism falls victim to the Euthryphro dilemma - the arbitrariness part.

            How does what you outline work as a defense (or foundation for such) against some of the variants of arguments from evil? (Which is not to say that I don't think they do - I don't know nearly enough to form a well-informed opinion.)

  • Mark

    One thing that I appreciate about Aquinas and Mackie; both tried to understand and represent the dissenting opinion in as charitable manner possible. Neither had to worry about publishing click-bait material for minds that lose interest after 140 characters.

  • Raymond

    "The answer to the problem of pain is the same as the answer to the problem of evil: an all-good God can allow evil and pain to exist if he has a good reason for doing so, and the burden of proof is upon the atheist to show that no such reason or reasons exist."
    Nope. The burden is on the theist. You can't prove a negative. Nice try though.

    "We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God—“the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable”—with our human representations. "

    In other words, shut up, Shut Up, SHUT UP!

    • So if I say that science fails because there are many things it has yet to explain, how would you respond? I mean, isn't it the responsibility of scientists to explain those things, right now? (I'm attempting to tease out a hidden premise, here.)

      • Raymond

        My response is that you are mis-characterizing science. There are many things that it does not explain, either because no one is studying it in particular, or because the evidence is inconclusive, or because new evidence is found that challenges the original premise. I dont know if that constitutes your hidden premise or not.

        But the difference between science and whatever it is we are talking about is that the premise that God allows pain and evil because there is an underlying purpose is offered without evidence or even examples. Unless you want to bring up the thing about the agony and death of a child from cancer or violence is secretly intended to bring the survivors closer to God, which is one of the most evil ideas I've ever heard.

        • So the problem is not unsolved issues, but lack of solved issues? Because even science has currently-intractable problems. If science had been required to predict the weather out to 10 days with 75% accuracy right from the get-go, what would have happened? The weather is almost certainly child's play compared to the full complexity of good and evil!

          • BTS

            Perhaps we cannot solve the weather problem yet, but I have confidence that, given 10,000 years and some new instruments, if humanity survives, we may get a decent 10 day forecast.

          • BTS

            In other words, science is playing the long game

          • And so can Christianity. You know what really screws things up? Bigotry and prejudice, such as was finally admitted here:

                Serious defects that often stemmed from antireligious perspectives exist in many early studies of relationships between religion and psychopathology. The more modern view is that religion functions largely as a means of countering rather than contributing to psychopathology, though severe forms of unhealthy religion will probably have serious psychological and perhaps even physical consequences. In most instances, faith buttresses people's sense of control and self-esteem, offers meanings that oppose anxiety, provides hope, sanctions socially facilitating behavior, enhances personal well-being, and promotes social integration. Probably the most hopeful sign is the increasing recognition by both clinicians and religionists of the potential benefits each group has to contribute. Awareness of the need for a spiritual perspective has opened new and more constructive possibilities for working with mentally disturbed individuals and resolving adaptive issues.    A central theme throughout this book is that religion "works" because it offers people meaning and control, and brings them together with like-thinking others who provide social support. This theme is probably nowhere better represented than in the section of this chapter on how people use religious and spiritual resources to cope. Religious beliefs, experiences, and practices appear to constitute a system of meanings that can be applied to virtually every situation a person may encounter. People are loath to rely on chance. Fate and luck are poor referents for understanding, but religion in all its possible manifestations can fill the void of meaninglessness admirably. There is always a place for one's God—simply watching, guiding, supporting, or actively solving a problem. In other words, when people need to gain a greater measure of control over life events, the deity is there to provide the help they require. (The Psychology of Religion, Fourth Edition: An Empirical Approach, 476)

            That book was recommended to me by atheist James Lindsay, by the way.

          • Sample1

            I feel bad for so many that have these weather gripes. I live in an ocean influenced climate (not that the whole world isn’t influenced by oceans to some degree) and our weather, while often fickle, isn’t that hard to predict. If it’s coming from the SE, rain is more likely. If it’s coming from the N, clear skies are typical. Many locally are adept at reading radar from NOAA sites to anticipate with decent accuracy what is coming our way because we use the ocean for travel, a lot.

            I mean, the way these weather gripes sound, it’s as if someone is expecting warm sunny weather and instead gets lightning and tornados followed by snow. Or, they said .5 inches of rain but instead we got .7! Idiots! Those forecasters.

            Forecasting is challenging but it’s not so unreliable as to essentially make it out to be voodoo! Of course, I’m biased, my dad was a meteorologist in the Air Force, though he did drop that after leaving and became a civil engineer.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • Sample1

            Hmmm, this reminds me of a Louis CK joke which I’ll slightly add to. Onboard a flight to LA, someone is checking the weather app saying sunshine only to see rain upon landing at the airport, becoming upset. (Increase the volume of this sentence to LCK level) NEVERMIND that you are on a fucking machine safely flying 500mph while checking your pocket computer via WiFi, and wiping genetically modified food off of your face.

            This is where you say, “touché.”

            Hahahaha,

            Mike, excommunicated

          • Yup, and so we need some way to measure how much progress we've made against suffering and for human flourishing, and then try and figure out what led to that so we can do more of it. And then we might find that not understanding everything right now is similarly "problematic". Without doing such groundwork, the criticism @disqus_2hTSc19yhC:disqus is making seems hasty. We might indeed be traveling at 500mph. I'd like to make it to the stars myself, but one step at a time.

          • Sample1

            I will never call you a trivial thinker Luke!

            For what it’s worth I can’t forget something that Hitchens once said to a perplexed Dawkins. Don’t remember the video but I’m pretty sure the short scene was both of them sitting together in the back of a car being filmed.

            Hitchens remarked that he wouldn’t want a world completely devoid of, for lack of a better word, irrationality. Dawkins was taken aback. Dawkins further reasoned that that’s because Hitchens would lose his foil. Hitchens didn’t clarify but Dawkins’ response didn’t do it for me. It seemed a selfish reason about a weighty topic.

            Reminds me of the Jewish tales of the need for imperfection. Once God did make a perfect world and it simply didn’t function. I think that’s what the Wachowski brothers pulled from when they had Agent Smith explain to Morpheus that at first the Matrix had no suffering and that program was a disaster.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • Hmmm, is Satan a nontrivial thinker? :-p

            Hitchens is, without a doubt, a deeper thinker than Dawkins when the whole of human being and humans-in-society are involved. (We all have our strengths and our weaknesses.) I'll bet Hitchens could see that a world of total order would be somewhat like the world of Equilibrium, a cult classic movie I encountered when visiting WPI as a prospective freshman. Without that which does not match our understanding of 'rationality', what would we do with ourselves? The failure of Whitehead and Russell was a breath of fresh air to every mathematician who wanted to be creative.

            So this perfect world the Jewish tales said didn't function—that's where The Wachowski brothers got their idea? I'll have to check them out. I have a friend who loves comics and he has repeatedly noted that the comics don't know what it would be like to conquer evil, once and for all. What interesting stories could then be told? Nozick's experience machine and the original series Star Trek episode The Menagerie also wrestle with this. I don't buy any of the answers on offer; I suspect there's something we're not seeing. But I simultaneously realize that I probably wouldn't value a theological discovery if it didn't take work and perhaps even suffering to achieve it. Same goes with the "tools for scientists" project I'm working on. Something weird is going on.

          • Sample1

            I don’t actually know if that’s where the creators of The Matrix pulled that Agent Smith line from, just that is resembles it.

            Dawkins, in his defense, is a biologist who got caught up with a movement. I don’t begrudge his involvement at all. He’s a smart cookie (which seems ridiculous to point out). But yes, Hitchens was an intelligence of a different mold.

            It is not at all lost on me that a purely rational world automatically equates to maximal human well-being. People are people. We carry loads of selfish evolutionary baggage. But as Jacob Bronowski once said (paraphrasing), humans are not part of the landscape we are shapers of the landscape.

            I have a little bit of confidence that hard-to-vary explanations are probably better for our species in the long run than easy-to-vary ones. Unlike other animals, we are able to fly off the perch of strict Darwinian evolution when we want to.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • But as Jacob Bronowski once said (paraphrasing), humans are not part of the landscape we are shapers of the landscape.

            Hmm, have you ever noticed how much philosophy prioritizes perception over action? I think it's part of the prioritization of timeless universals over particulars, but it also (I think) created the measurement problem in physics. Why didn't we realize that every action produces an equal and opposite reaction, so we can only measure things in the shape of how we can "push" on them, and with sensitivity only down to how careful we can "push"? We are the instruments with which we measure reality! The idea that you can sit back and just have evidence imprint on your senses is to not learn the lesson of the two kittens. Also I bet no mother would believe that you can sit back and learn that way.

            I have a little bit of confidence that hard-to-vary explanations are probably better for our species in the long run than easy-to-vary ones.

            But what are the hard-to-vary explanations which are critically relevant to our shaping of the landscape? So much seems contingent on our shaping! And, it seems to me, we actively deprive ourselves of the tools to understand much of that shaping. (One can go conspiracy theorist, but I'll stop there.)

          • Sample1

            Sorry Luke, while I’m tempted to have this discussion (almost every idea you’ve touched on is interesting), I don’t have the chops in all the relevant areas to last beyond a few replies which could be wrong.

            Mike, excommunicated

            Aw hell: only briefly:

            -The Everett interpretation of QM arguably doesn’t have a measurement problem. Don’t have the expertise to get into this.

            -The mother of a theologian might disagree...

            -A hard-to-vary explanation uncovers more reliable knowledge than easy-to-vary explanations. What we do with that knowledge isn’t guaranteed and what people deem critical is up to them.

          • Like I have much of any chops in the relevant areas. :-p

          • The Everett interpretation of QM arguably doesn’t have a measurement problem. Don’t have the expertise to get into this.

            Oh I'm aware that a lot of work has been done on interpretations of QM and the measurement problem. I was just talking about the possibility that bad philosophical choices made it a problem in the first place.

            The mother of a theologian might disagree...

            Do we have any such records? I'll bet they'd make for interesting reading!

            A hard-to-vary explanation uncovers more reliable knowledge than easy-to-vary explanations. What we do with that knowledge isn’t guaranteed and what people deem critical is up to them.

            But what's an example of such an explanation in the social sciences? It's not like E = mc² helps us convince people that climate change is real and we could actually do things about it. There's just so much of human existence which seems rather orthogonal to e.g. Sean Carroll's The World of Everyday Experience, In One Equation. Were we to assemble all of the known "hard-to-vary explanation[s]", how much else would we need to make practical decisions in most of life?

          • Sample1

            Now I’ve lost interest.

            Mike, excommunicated

          • That is unfortunate; you hooked me with the term "hard-to-vary explanation", which appears to be a term of yours given that you used it in a top-level comment as well over at RD—and in an earlier conversation with me, as it turns out. If you have elaborated or are ever interested in elaborating, I'm all ears.

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            "But what´s an example of such an explanation in the Social Sciences?" Oh, I can´t resist this one, again, sort of. "Science is not the Absolute Truth. It is one form of Philosophy." I say that from what perspective? Empirical Epistemological PHilosophy, I reckon.

            As for Carroll´s equation, it´s entertaining. I like how he said, "There´s nothing in Physics keeping you from caring for others."

            I carry with me a longstanding fascination for the work of the late Eliot Chapple, an Anthropologist who was working on hard concepts for emotional-interactional rhythms, extensions of Behavioral type dynamics.

            I grasped the phenomenological implications of conditioning and social context, and like to think that I can get some good mileage pretty much on that. In terms of understanding, say, the cause of corporate profiteering, for example. The US flag is based on the British East India Co. flag. Whoa.

            However, what my spiritual path has informed me is that my Tai Chi, Zen Buddhism, Therapeutic Psychology, and other related interests are all related to the dynamics demonstrated by, say, Al Gore. He already set his sites on environmentalism in the 1980s when he called NASA´s Jim Hansen to testify. Hansen apparently was ignited, and has demonstrated an activist ethical sense since then. Al Gore, meanwhile, has showed some gumption in both leaving the conservative-turned SBC and in his film projects.

            Modern Western Christian-derived Civilization has activist activity that correlates with subgroups´ legacy in its history, like George Fox´s Quaker Friends, that leads back to Jesus Christ. There´s a hard-to-vary explanation that isn´t addressed by Physic´s parameters because Physics is the wrong epistemology.

          • michael

            What would it take to convince you to call it quits on Christianity and religion in general?

          • What is the equivalent question for you, from your point of view? State it, claim you'll answer it, and then I'll post my answer to your question first, as an act of good faith.

          • michael

            God would have to create the universe and give everyone The Beatific Vision FOR FREE, with no tests, no temptations, no suffering, and especially no Hell. Just a perfect, peaceful blissful utopia.

          • Erm, so your position is in principle unfalsifiable? Were you expecting me to give an in principle unfalsifiable answer as well?

          • michael

            I'm not sure what you mean. So just give an answer.

          • If I were to find a superior source of goodness than I find in my faith (which does not merely build on that faith), I would leave it. This is what Saul did on the road to Damascus. If I found out that Jesus could not possibly have existed, that would do it as well.

            I see a major problem with the goodness you describe: it is so far from lived experience that you have to question whether lived experience is a proper guide. After all, your moral intuitions were shaped by life in this world, which is [apparently] exceedingly far from that world. But if our world is so screwed up, then wouldn't your moral intuitions be so screwed up?

          • michael

            Second paragraph makes no sense and seems incoherent. the last sentence seems to imply that we hsouu'nt rely in intellect to judge good and evil, which is contrary to the Catholic teaching of "The Natural Moral Law'.

          • If you live in a bad world, and your moral intuitions are shaped by that bad world, why do you think they reliably indicate a better world?

          • michael

            Why not? If I know something smells bad because it smells bad , there is nothing wrong with my intellect.

          • You've been evolutionarily conditioned to find some smells "bad". What does that have to do with truth? Imagine that scientists never used chemicals and compounds that smell bad.

          • michael

            If scientists didn't do that, they might mis out on some experiments, but that's their own choice not a divine command.

          • michael

            Smelling bad is a mental reaction, therefore it does'nt need exterior existence outside of my brain to be true. If it offends me when I smell it, that fits the definition of smelling bad. Smell by definition is something that is experienced by mind, it does'nt exist in some "Third realm" outside of the mind or external physical things. And besides there are instructions from God in The Bible that my intellect knows must be immoral even if from a deity. To say "God says it's good or bad, so it must be true" is naive.

          • Sorry, what such instructions do you think are relevant for this discussion? I want to reiterate that if you truly believe this:

            m: God would have to create the universe and give everyone The Beatific Vision FOR FREE, with no tests, no temptations, no suffering, and especially no Hell. Just a perfect, peaceful blissful utopia.

            —then the God of this world cannot be omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect from your point of view. That impacts quite a lot in your argument, I think? Immediately, you cannot trust your intuitions or the Bible to give you the kind of solid guide needed to say the above. And evolution isn't going to help you reason properly about an omni-God.

          • michael

            Cannot trust my intuition? If I can't trust that I cannot trust anything, much less The Bible or Vatican!

          • Trust is not binary. I trust my wife to do some things well and not others. I trust myself to do well where I have proven myself; the further away I get from there, the less I trust myself to do well.

          • michael

            Imagine if God just told us everything off the bat! We wouldn't even need experiments! Then we'd be better off.

          • How do you know we would be better off? I'm married to a scientist and when the humans aren't being obnoxious, the science can be quite exciting!

          • michael

            The Beatific Vision would make up for that.

          • I am not convinced you are correct. I get that the Beatific Vision is better by definition, but I have learned not to unquestionably trust definitions.

          • michael

            Suppose you've been conditioned by God to find some smells bad. How is that less reliable than being conditioned by evolution? It's NOT.

          • To the extent that I've been conditioned by an omniscient, omnipotent, morally perfect God, yes. But you have denied that that could possibly be true in this world:

            m: God would have to create the universe and give everyone The Beatific Vision FOR FREE, with no tests, no temptations, no suffering, and especially no Hell. Just a perfect, peaceful blissful utopia.

            So, by your lights, God if he exists is unreliable and evolution is, well, good at evolution things. That excludes preparing us to think reliably about omni-*.

          • michael

            I sure would never be happy worshiping a being who torments people in Hell day and night forever and ever. Are you a psychopath?

          • I have no idea how that connects with what I've actually said. For the record, I think eternal conscious torment is appropriate for those who think eternal conscious torment is appropriate, for as long as they think it is appropriate.

          • michael

            I meant to type "I would sure never be happy".

          • I don't recall what you wrote before and I still have no idea how that connects with what I actually said. My previous comment stands.

          • michael

            I said that because you are saying that something more happy than Christianity would convince you to change your mind. I replied by describing how miserable going back to Christianity would make me. Even when i was a Christian it was huge strain on my sense of mental integrity, something I did'nt realize until afterwards. Definitely happier being rational instead of listening to Catholic Answers or other apologists try to Ad Hoc away serious problems with their theology and also with The Bible.

          • It sounds like I would have rejected the 'Christianity' you have encountered as well. When I read the Bible, I find that God's own people have a habit of being hypocrites and evil—even outdoing the nations around them. It is depressing reading. But it breaks with the standard tribalism which says that the in-group is always right. And if you look around the world, don't you see a depressing number of tribes thinking that they are right? That way lies madness.

            As far as I can tell, the Bible is unique in saying that those who claim to respect it and its God could be arbitrarily evil. Knowledge of the Bible is not necessarily an asset, just like possession of the Ark of the Covenant was not necessarily an asset. When Jesus arrived on the scene, virtually everyone had gotten the heart of God massively wrong. He presented a very particular way to show this, a way which involved him executing exactly zero heretics. He did a lot of arguing and he even overturned some moneychangers' tables, but that was it when it came to coercion of people.

            One reason I spend so much time on atheist-dominated sites (such as A Tippling Philosopher) is because I don't want to hand-wave away evidence or suppress logical flaws. I know that my in-group is prone to do precisely those things, so I go to out-groups in order to get the severest criticism possible. I've been doing this for about 20 years now, and I've probably dumped more than 20,000 hours into it. They have found plenty of problems in what I believe and I have found plenty of problems in what they believe. It has been frustrating at times, but overall very rewarding.

            What I've found, so far, is that there is greater intellectual coherence and empirical adequacy in following Jesus (including heeding the Bible) than in any other path. I've rejected plenty of what passes for "Christianity" in the process, but my taking the Bible seriously led me to expect that, virtually from the get-go. (Being a product of the Reformation greatly aided this.) We humans are fickle creatures, often unwilling to take our beliefs to their logical conclusions, willing to change on a dime with zero repentance, and happy to depart uncomfortable arguments rather than grind our minds against logic and empirical evidence. We lack integrity while pretending we have more integrity than ever before. Because this can only be plausibly believed by tribalism, we increase tribalism. If we continue on this path, we are headed to violence and war.

            A psychopath has no respect for the emotions and well-being of others. In a key sense, I'm an inverse psychopath, caring remarkably little for my own emotions and my own well-being. This is how I have been treated by many of the atheists I engage online, something I was prepared for by a K–12 life in public education where my emotions were but a plaything for the cool kids. The result is that I am able to contain with myself incredible amounts of brokenness without lashing out (or in!) in vicious anger. This includes my own brokenness and the brokenness of others. The longer I can contain this brokenness without snapping, the more I learn about how it is broken and how to heal it. Or should I say, the more Jesus teaches me? The author of Hebrews says that Jesus "learned obedience through what he suffered". I am sure he too was mocked as a child, appearing to be born out of wedlock and perhaps not even of Joseph. Jesus' refusal to play tribalism probably resulted in him getting flack from both sides; I think this is why Jesus says "blessed are the peacemakers". (The most dangerous activity for police officers is to intervene in domestic violence.)

            For more on my thinking on hell, I suggest my reply to @disqus_s4ylzQ9exo:disqus, and perhaps the previous reply. Hell, in my view, is a doctrine to protect the accused from the accusers. Humans love to create hell for other humans; escaping this hell is often nontrivial. Deny any theological doctrine of hell and you remove crucial words and concepts for people to understand human-made hells.

          • michael

            What problem does eternal conscious torment solve rather than cause?

          • It lets people offload that to God, so that they don't feel compelled to take out their best vengeance. If they later find out that it was wrong to want such a terrible fate, God can say it's ok, he was willing to be thought of badly in order to save the people who would have suffered from the vengeance.

            I've come across Miroslav Volf saying that in war-torn territories, when they hit you, either you hit back or you truly, deeply believe that God will take care of it. Weak-sauce responses just let you be walked all over.

          • michael

            Vengeance is selfish. Certainly not a justification for endless torture.

          • What if God, after vengeance is his, decides not to deploy the eternal conscious torment theorized by humans? What if he never planned to, but let them think that so they would give him rights of vengeance instead of execute those rights themselves?

          • michael

            That's called "heresy".

          • Whelp, I'm not a Catholic. You are welcome, however, to show me where Jesus exemplified the burning of heretics.

          • michael

            He did'nt, but that's still heresy. If someone said "I believe Mary was not a virgin when she conceived Jesus", that, by definition, is heresy.

          • Why are you, an ex-Catholic, so interested in defining 'heresy' by what the RCC says?

          • michael

            Because that is also how the dictionary defines heresy. How would you define it? Is it not heresy ot say "Mary was not a virgin when she conceived Jesus"?

          • Who gets to define what is "orthodox Christian doctrine"? We're talking about "hell" here, which has quite a bit more variability than the virgin birth as far as I know.

          • God.

          • michael

            Carefully read this a view times. Like ice in summer, dumb ideas jsut can't last forever in the light of good ones. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/freethoughtnow/easter-challenge/

          • What doctrine is different, with the different variations Dan Barker notes? We should expect people to remember what is important, right?

            There's a fun juxtaposition which can be made between this need for every detail in the Bible to be perfectly correct, and the way general equations in physics are valued much more than "Why were the initial conditions what they were?" This is a preference for abstract, universal truths, over getting each nitty gritty detail explained. So the most solid version of "truth", per many people, would be completely ok with the variations Dan Barker documents. I sense double standards. Crucially, physics made tremendous progress without getting every precise detail of the initial conditions correct. And yet, a single contradiction between eyewitness accounts is supposed to sink the Bible? A double standard, I say.

          • michael

            Did Jesus meet the apostles at Galilee and tell them "go out to every nation, I am with you unto the end of the age" or did he bring them to Bethany, say "don't go out unto the nations until several weeks form now when I give you the Holy Spirit that I already gave you towards the end of John's gospel, stay in Jerusalem until then, but then after that go unto every nation, I am with you until the end of the age"? And no one says the gospels are eyewitness accounts, Luke and Mark weren't apostles and there are scenes in the gospels that would've had to have been given to them second hand. Also notice that Barker emphasizes the Easter Story in the article and points out the biblical basis for why The Resurrection is THE CORE DOCTRINE of Christianity.

          • Did Jesus meet the apostles at Galilee and tell them "go out to every nation, I am with you unto the end of the age" or did he bring them to Bethany, say "don't go out unto the nations until several weeks form now when I give you the Holy Spirit that I already gave you towards the end of John's gospel, stay in Jerusalem until then, but then after that go unto every nation, I am with you until the end of the age"?

            The Gospel of Matthew simply seems to be a more compressed account; the Gospel of Luke conveniently has the Acts of the Apostles to follow it, which details Pentecost. Are there any Christians who hold that the Holy Spirit isn't necessary for Great Commission-type work? If not, then I don't see what the doctrinal difference would be.

            And no one says the gospels are eyewitness accounts, Luke and Mark weren't apostles and there are scenes in the gospels that would've had to have been given to them second hand.

            Ok? If I tell a story and the ice cream was chocolate instead of vanilla, probably that difference isn't going to matter. In oral traditions, people are going to work a lot harder to preserve the important details than the unimportant ones. They're going to work a lot harder to reconcile conflicting eyewitness testimony† when it matters. There is research which shows that oral traditions can have excellent integrity, so remarks about the "telephone game" are completely off-base.

            † Studies today show that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. We don't actually know whether people would have been better at remembering things back then, as how our neurons are used has changed. I can probably find studies on both points if you insist, but I'd rather not unless your case breaks if I'm right and you think my case breaks if I'm wrong, on this matter.

            Also notice that Barker emphasizes the Easter Story in the article and points out the biblical basis for why The Resurrection is THE CORE DOCTRINE of Christianity.

            Yes, and you picked one example which could possibly be relevant, doctrinally, if you look at it cockeyed and suppose that there's specific church history based on a disagreement about that matter—history I have never heard of existing—and further suppose that there wasn't a pretty objective resolution to that disagreement.

            Getting obsessed about details is counter-productive when the details do not matter.

          • michael

            The Bible says all scripture s God-breathed (Timothy), not base don fuzzy memories of earthquakes and shining angels like lightning and an empty tomb and a dead man coming back to live.

          • Do you think a crystal-clear scripture, where there is zero ambiguity everywhere and an analytic philosopher could find nothing that even sniffed of a[n apparent!] contradiction, would be a helpful guide to the world we live in today?

          • So you think the Bible is just a mere "guide" meant for modern democrat party followers to "interpret" now?

          • No.

          • How sure are you?

          • You will have to earn the right to ask that question.

          • you are a consummate coward. not just Intellectual coward. it comes from your fear of admitting you are wrong and therefore have gone insane to the point of pretending h*ll doesn't exist; because how could you be held accountable, right?

            you hate God with every fiber of your delusional gnostic self. the question is answered by your evil, mr "delicious ambiguity" when you think you can hide your sin behind wishful thinking.

          • [citation needed]

          • every single post you make, all the times you deny sin or h*ll. Or every time you attack me for Absolute Truth and calumniate and project by despair, and lie and attack.

            then there are the little conversations/dialogues you make up to misrepresent me. that is new.

            I have yet to see you support any sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance outside of blasphemy, so I don't know if you are the most evil person I have ever met.

            you are certainly the most vile and disingenuous, or tied for #1. even the other never made up pretend dialogues.

          • NT: you are a consummate coward. not just Intellectual coward. it comes from your fear of admitting you are wrong and therefore have gone insane to the point of pretending h*ll doesn't exist; because how could you be held accountable, right?

            you hate God with every fiber of your delusional gnostic self. the question is answered by your evil, mr "delicious ambiguity" when you think you can hide your sin behind wishful thinking.

            LB: [citation needed]

            NT: every single post you make, all the times you deny sin or h*ll.

            Unlike you, when God has criticisms, he makes them clear, articulate, and specific. You seem to have a very strong preference for vagueries and hand-waving. I just don't see how such behavior honors God. The mature Christian constantly practices discerning between what is καλός and what is κακός. I do not see you doing this; am I missing something?

            then there are the little conversations/dialogues you make up to misrepresent me.

            [citation needed]

            I have yet to see you support any sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance outside of blasphemy, so I don't know if you are the most evil person I have ever met.

            Could you explain a bit more what you mean by the underlined? I'm not sure what you mean by "support any sin" in that context.

            you are certainly the most vile and disingenuous, or tied for #1.

            May I ask whom do you judge to possibly be "tied for #1"?

            even the other never made up pretend dialogues.

            [citation needed]—for the idea that I've "made up pretend dialogues". Note that if you start deleting comments or editing them, any possible evidential support for what you claim will become rather dubious.

          • I cannot respond when you consistently respond ow what you wished I had said, not what I have said. you think because you can copy/paste a half-sentence, you can change reality.

            Limited yourself to one this time, demon?

            you will answer in Eternity. it is our only hope that the wicked are cast into h*ll. otherwise you turn everywhere you are into h*ll.

          • I cannot respond when you consistently respond ow what you wished I had said, not what I have said.

            I do try to interpret charitably, which may be a weakness when engaging you. (But I'm not so sure—even God took A&E at their lying word in the Garden and treated them accordingly.) Care to show the best instance you can, carefully separating between:

                 (A) what you meant to say
                 (B) what I wished you had said

            ?

            you think because you can copy/paste a half-sentence, you can change reality.

            I do think discerning what is καλός and what is κακός can change reality.

            NT: you are certainly the most vile and disingenuous, or tied for #1.

            LB: May I ask whom do you judge to possibly be "tied for #1"?

            NT: Limited yourself to one this time, demon?

            I think my linguistic construction permits multiple people to be "tied for #1", so my request stands. If you were responding to something else and not "tied for #1", my bad.

            you will answer in Eternity. it is our only hope that the wicked are cast into h*ll. otherwise you turn everywhere you are into h*ll.

            So much for:

            And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17–19)

            Are you perhaps aligned with the nine disciples in Mk 9:14–29?

          • you call it charity to mortally sin and sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance in the desparation to bend reality into your ugly image and disingenuously attack me?

            Charity is you still having your head. you try to project your evil onto me, and good onto yourself; the mortal sin of despair.

            you now blasphemously try to claim the Authority of the Church upon yourself. that is a main prot tenant, you only tried so once earlier when you blasphemously tried to claim the "Holy Spirit" for yourself.

          • michael

            YES

          • Interesting. I don't. The history of what currently passes for 'fundamentalism'† is evidence in my favor. The core of fundamentalism is that there is one legitimate perspective in reality. But … what if that's just 100% wrong?

            † Sociological definition here:

            Resistances to pluralism have been conventionally subsumed under the category of "fundamentalism." I am uneasy about this term; it comes from a particular episode in the history of American Protestantism and is awkward when applied to other religious traditions (such as Islam). I will use it, because it has attained such wide currency, but I will define it more sharply: fundamentalism is any project to restore taken-for-grantedness in the individual's consciousness and therefore, necessarily, in his or her social and/or political environment. Such a project can have both religious and secular forms; the former concerns us here. (The New Sociology of Knowledge, 41)

          • michael

            So Luke, what makes you so sure Christianity would make you happiest? Have you ever tried looking at things through an atheist's point of view, or a eeew's or muslim's? Have you tried doing the "say 'There is no god but God & Muhammad is his prophet' in Arabic five times a day while bowing towards Mecca" thing? Besides, saying you follow Christianity because it makes you happiest is a fallacy called Appeal to Emotions.

          • So Luke, what makes you so sure Christianity would make you happiest?

            Where did I say I have such confidence or employ such reasoning?

            Have you ever tried looking at things through an atheist's point of view …

            Yes, excepting the part of actually becoming an atheist and eviscerating all religious belief like Nietzsche said humanity had yet to do in his time. Multiple very smart atheists have told me they've been able to get much further with me in discussion than pretty much any other religionist, so I think I've demonstrated some success in this endeavor.

            As to the rest—have I tried all religions—no person can do that. So that can't be the selection criterion and in my observation of atheists and theists, that isn't the selection criterion.

          • michael

            Then what would get you to reconsider your belief?

          • m: What would it take to convince you to call it quits on Christianity and religion in general?

            LB: If I were to find a superior source of goodness than I find in my faith (which does not merely build on that faith), I would leave it. This is what Saul did on the road to Damascus. If I found out that Jesus could not possibly have existed, that would do it as well.

            m: So Luke, what makes you so sure Christianity would make you happiest?

            LB: Where did I say I have such confidence or employ such reasoning?

            m: Then what would get you to reconsider your belief?

            Erm, "superior source of goodness""happiest". The concept of 'goodness' I advance is critically objective (e.g. it cares about affective forecasting), whereas 'happiness' I see as too easily a pure derivative which cares not if the final trajectory is toward death/​disintegration/​permanent injustice.

          • michael

            What makes you sure the Quranic god or Jewish or Hindu concept of god isn't the just kind instead of the Christian God?

          • What makes a psychologist sure enough to pick one of the multiple paradigms one can find in the the table of contents of Luciano L'Abate's 2011 Paradigms in Theory Construction? Does a psychologist have to carefully survey and study each available paradigm for multiple years before choosing?

          • michael

            I don't know what those are.

          • Do you know anything about Kuhn's ideas about scientific revolutions and paradigm shifts? That would give you a sense of the term 'paradigm'.

          • michael

            Suppose someone says "Jesus didn't rise from the dead.". Would that be a doctrinal difference? And besides, would you apply this reasoning to judge the validity of the Quran?

          • Yes & you'll have to say more.

          • So you deny Scripture now too?

            Apostles are the Last Prophets of the Old Covenant, First Bishops of the New & Eternal Covenant, AND are the Adopted Sons of God and Adopted Brothers of Christ.

            there are not mere fallen humans like you are, of which you arrogantly assume none can be above you, demon.

            The Church is everything, your ego is nothing.

          • David Nickol

            Apostles are the Last Prophets of the Old Covenant, First Bishops of the New & Eternal Covenant, AND are the Adopted Sons of God and Adopted Brothers of Christ.

            Why is it that virtually nothing of any significance you say is to be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (or in the old online Catholic Encyclopedia)? Forgive me if I am mistaken, but I believe you have claimed to be a Catholic. I see no evidence of any Catholic influence in you posts here. Can you cite some Catholic sources in future messages to demonstrate your thinking is in harmony with the Catholic Church?

          • @dennisbonnett:disqus
            Forgive you for attacking me and my Faith over such a fundamental thing?

            I generally identify myself as an agnostic, but that doesn't prevent me from greatly respecting Jesus and the Gospels.

            There we go, that's why. As Chesterton said, the "agnostic" is someone who insists others cannot possibly know more than them.

            I am simply speaking of reality. Catechisms are not Magisterial, and so therefore have no need to be comprehensive or even accurate; they are often (like in cases of defining sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance or mortal sins), but on cases like sodomy and mohammedanism the most recent one purposely softpedals (or even speaks heresy).

            The Apostles are the Last Prophets of the Old Covenant and the First Bishops of the New&Eternal Covenant. This is just how they were seen before and after the Resurrection. How did you miss it?

            I generally identify myself as an agnostic

            yeah-yeah, we get it.

            They have the same ability and Charism as the Prophets, which is why their works are included in the Bible, which is the writings of Prophets. Also why their Successors, the Bishops, can give their Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. Bishops cannot add to Scripture because they are not Prophets as that is an Old Covenant Title and Bishops are exclusively New&Eternal Covenant; the Apostles existed at the end of the Old and beginning of the New&Etrernal.

            The Apostles in their letters refer to themselves as the Adopted Brothers of Christ, which would mean Adopted Sons of God. Christ gave over His Mission to them on Holy Thursday, how can you carry on the Mission of God Himself without also being Divine and Sons of God? Because of this, they can Act in the Person of Christ, meaning they can administer the 7 Sacraments (the 7 Graces of God). Their Successors, the Bishops, can do the same; and even delegate to Priests just as the Apostles did.

          • David Nickol

            As Chesterton said, the "agnostic" is someone who insists others cannot possibly know more than them.

            Could you provide the exact quote and a source? This doesn't exactly make sense. I know Chesterton did say the following:

            Complete Agnosticism is the obvious attitude for man. We are all Agnostics until we discover that Agnosticism will not work. Then we adopt some philosophy, Mr. Blatchford’s or mine or some others, for of course Mr. Blatchford is no more an Agnostic than I am. The Agnostic would say that he did not know whether man was responsible for his sins. Mr. Blatchford says that he knows that man is not.

          • Feel free to ignore my tangent, or engage if it strikes your fancy. :-)

            Wow, "whether man was responsible for his sins" is a very interesting choice of example. A few months ago I was asked to give a talk on Arminianism to a community group at my church which leans Calvinist; the leader is a staunch Calvinist. So I did some research and found that William Perkins was having fun with the divine attributes over in London and in particular was hyper-focusing on predestination. Even though the Second Council of Orange condemned double predestination in 529, Perkins reintroduced it. It was at this point that Arminius, who had gotten a glowing letter from none other than Theodore Beza praising his theological integrity, blew a gasket.

                 God does not sin.
                 God does not cause sin.
                 God does not "render certain" sin.
                 God does not "ordain" sin.

                 Humans sin.

            I've been studying Genesis 1–3 with a friend to try to give René Girard's understanding of the atonement a better origins story, as well as to make it more theological. When we came upon Adam & Eve's excuses to God, we started wondering whether their denial of agency was actually the worst thing they did. Girard's theory of scapegoating can be seen as the allocation of unattributed agency to a person or group—which is then executed or driven away. We humans do not like to take responsibility for our actions!

            What was perhaps the most interesting to me is the fact that sin is the one act that we can claim that humans definitely make, that God does not. In any other case, one can claim that God was acting through a person, treating that person as a robot. Calvinism often seems that way to me. But this cannot be done with sin! It's really weird to me that it's sin where human individuality and agency shows up most strongly. I don't think it has to be this way, but if we are prone to denying our responsibility for actions (good or bad), maybe it's the only way out?

          • Just noticed by your evil what the demoniac you were responding to was trying to get at. you noticed something I ignored because of absurdity. you -like all devil worshippers- are incapable of admitting your own sin. goes with your repeated denial of h*ll

            As is said in the Church about "Vatican 2" pseudo-protestants, those who deny h*ll are going there.

            sin is division from God, heretic.

            your fundamental delusion as with all protestantism (and therefore atheism, marxism, satanism, that are directly based on protestantism) is that God is equitable to you as a mere being like you are.

          • LB: [Arminius:]

                 God does not sin.
                 God does not cause sin.
                 God does not "render certain" sin.
                 God does not "ordain" sin.

                 Humans sin.

            NT: you -like all devil worshippers- are incapable of admitting your own sin

            Sorry, were you under the impression that I think I'm anything but human?

            As is said in the Church about "Vatican 2" pseudo-protestants, those who deny h*ll are going there.

            Sorry, would you say more on the underlined?

            sin is division from God, heretic.

            There's a delicious ambiguity in what you say:

            (A) 'division' as in "I'm not the same being as God"

            (B) 'division' as in "I have broken my relationship with God"

            Did you mean (A), (B), or something else?

            your fundamental delusion as with all protestantism (and therefore atheism, marxism, satanism, that are directly based on protestantism) is that God is equitable to you as a mere being like you are.

            There's a delicious ambiguity in what you say:

            (1) God never condescends/​accommodates to us.

            (2) God is utterly different (and profoundly better) than us.

            Do you mean (1), (2), or something else? BTW, I deny univocity of being, except whatever similarity imago Dei asserts.

          • V2 was designed to try to deal with protestants and appeal to protestants. step 2 of the infiltration.

            I was pointing out your desperate fixation on the idea you are not responsible for your sin. you beelined to that part in the quote, I didn't even see it.

            That goes alone with your love of novelty and denial of h*ll.

            you are not only fisking, you have been (for two days now) falsely attributing my posts to the wrong parts of your posts. All because you want to "freeze, polarize, politicize." this is just the next advanced step after you ignored entire posts to respon to half-sentences out of context.

            you are contingent upon God, sin is division from God. I assume your demon is the one saying "delicious" in regards to sin, where you think you can insert "ambiguity" (aka heresy) where you think it will justify your damned gnosticism.

            you then use the word "delicious ambiguity" (meaning you think you can "freeze, polarize, politicize" Absolute Truth into whatever you want by wishful thinking) when I said God is not a mere being like you are. God is not a "being" (created, contingent thing) AT ALL.

            you are a created, contingent being. just like the demons that are controlling you or that you serve without need of them controlling you.

            God is the Uncreated, Uncontingent Prime Mover.

            you are trying to claim you are equal to God, just like other gnostics claim you are competitor to God.

            thw more I push, the more desperate you are, and the more you out yourself as demonic.

            P.S. that is the creepiest thing I have read in a while, demon. you seem to be totally not self-aware.

          • LB: [Arminius:]

                 God does not sin.
                 God does not cause sin.
                 God does not "render certain" sin.
                 God does not "ordain" sin.

                 Humans sin.

            NT: you -like all devil worshippers- are incapable of admitting your own sin

            LB: Sorry, were you under the impression that I think I'm anything but human?

            NT: I was pointing out your desperate fixation on the idea you are not responsible for your sin.

            Where's the evidence of this alleged "desperate fixation"?

            NT: As is said in the Church about "Vatican 2" pseudo-protestants, those who deny h*ll are going there.

            LB: Sorry, would you say more on the underlined?

            NT: V2 was designed to try to deal with protestants and appeal to protestants. step 2 of the infiltration.

            That's an interesting hypothesis; is the RCC open and honest about this? If so, where can I read more about it? If not, then it would seem to be in violation of:

            Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 4:1–2)

            That which is darkness insists on staying in the darkness. That which is light is revealed. True, or false?

            That goes alone with your love of novelty and denial of h*ll.

            [citation needed] × 2

            you are not only fishing, you have been (for two days now) falsely attributing my posts to the wrong parts of your posts.

            What does this even mean?

            NT: sin is division from God, heretic.

            LB: There's a delicious ambiguity in what you say:

            (A) 'division' as in "I'm not the same being as God"

            (B) 'division' as in "I have broken my relationship with God"

            Did you mean (A), (B), or something else?

            NT: you are contingent upon God, sin is division from God.

            I agree with the "contingent" bit, but I have the same question about the "division" bit.

            I assume your demon is the one saying "delicious" in regards to sin

            Projection.

            LB: Did you mean (A), (B), or something else?

            Do you mean (1), (2), or something else?

            NT: you then use the word "delicious ambiguity" (meaning you think you can "freeze, polarize, politicize" Absolute Truth into whatever you want by wishful thinking)

            Asking for clarity on what you mean constitutes ≈ Rule #13? Seriously?

            LB: BTW, I deny univocity of being, except whatever similarity imago Dei asserts.

            NT: when I said God is not a mere being like you are. God is not a "being" (created, contingent thing) AT ALL.

            In other words … we agree in rejecting univocity of being? For more on that, see Brad S. Gregory's 2008 No Room for God?.

            you are trying to claim you are equal to God

            False—unless you consider this a claim to be equal with God:

            Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

                So God created man in his own image,
                    in the image of God he created him;
                    male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26–27)

            ?

            P.S. that is the creepiest thing I have read in a while, demon. you seem to be totally not self-aware.

            The more you say things like this, the more I learn!

          • projecting your projection again.

            do I need to stop spacing my posts out to make them easier to read (not like you have ever tried) so you can't keep fisking and k*lling your soul by made-up dialogues?

            demon, I appear to have hit a nerve. Normally you limit yourself to one falsified, calumniating, soul k*lling made up-conversation meant to smear me.

            this message of yours has FIVE.

            you even obliviously ask what me calling this out "even means" AND THEN DO IT FOR THE THIRD TIME IN THAT MESSAGE ALONE.

          • LB: [Arminius:]

                 God does not sin.
                 God does not cause sin.
                 God does not "render certain" sin.
                 God does not "ordain" sin.

                 Humans sin.

            NT: you -like all devil worshippers- are incapable of admitting your own sin

            LB: Sorry, were you under the impression that I think I'm anything but human?

            NT: I was pointing out your desperate fixation on the idea you are not responsible for your sin.

            LB: Where's the evidence of this alleged "desperate fixation"?

            NT: [ignored]

            At this point, all the evidence points to you being a liar with respect to the two underlined bits. More evidence:

            NT: you are claiming that I am totally at fault for the evil actions of others

            LB: Where did I claim this? Please precisely quote & link, or repent. Only a follower of the Father of Lies would do neither.

            NT: you posted a very snooty phrase by St Paul, claiming that I am somehow why people deny or attack God.

            LB: I did not claim that you were a hypocrite, but I did suggest that hypocrisy of those who claim to know God could drive people away from God.

            NT: [ignored]

            LB: So which is it:

                 (1) Show where I claimed the underlined.
                 (2) Repent.
                 (3) Show yourself to be a follower of the Father of Lies.

            ?

            NT: I have yet to see you respond to a single post of mine.

            LB: Surely you don't wish to choose (3)?

            What have I missed? (Can you point to anything specific?)

          • This is new, you went from posting multiple pretend dialogues to posting exclusively pretend dialogues.

            you have consistently denied fault of evil ones. I didn't know you were doing so because you actively deny h*ll and hope you can rationalize away your sin.

            Now, you seem to think that will "save" you, and that God will subordinate Himself to your ego. No, your denial of sin and h*ll only damns.

          • This is new, you went from posting multiple pretend dialogues to posting exclusively pretend dialogues.

            [citation needed]

            you have consistently denied fault of evil ones.

            [citation needed]

          • And now you are denying the conversation took place. Soon.

          • Phil Tanny

            Hi Luke,

            I've moved my participation over to a forum. Stop by sometime if you feel like it. See ya there maybe!

            http://www.suscipedomine.com/forum/index.php?topic=22677.0

          • Hmm, from reading the first few pages of that thread, it doesn't seem to be the right place for a Protestant and … whatever you are :-p, to discuss things.

          • Phil Tanny

            You got a point there!

          • That is a lot you just ignored.

            Of course you would try to find a quote you think is sympathetic to you instead, which ironically it is mocking you.

            the heretic who replied to you pointed out something that I missed, that you posted that quote because you think it implies you are not responsible for your sin. I know why one would want to think that (reprobate mind, evil cannot recognize evil), but how could you?

          • So you deny Scripture now too?

            What am I denying? I suggest you give an answer to the following:

            m: Did Jesus meet the apostles at Galilee and tell them "go out to every nation, I am with you unto the end of the age" or did he bring them to Bethany, say "don't go out unto the nations until several weeks form now when I give you the Holy Spirit that I already gave you towards the end of John's gospel, stay in Jerusalem until then, but then after that go unto every nation, I am with you until the end of the age"?

          • you actively denied that Scripture is inerrant because you claimed eyewitness testimony is "unreliable." you also missed every other word I wrote; which is a pity as what I already said answers you here (maybe that's why you ignored it).

            Is the last part your attempt at a loaded question? The Church was created at Pentecost, this is the Holy Spirit Descending upon the Apostles to give them the Church. They were transformed from the Last Prophets of the Old Covenant (which was just Fulfilled and abolished by the Resurrection) into the First Bishop of the New&Eternal Covenant.

            Apostles are the Last Prophets of the Old Covenant, First Bishops of the New & Eternal Covenant, AND are the Adopted Sons of God and Adopted Brothers of Christ. they are not mere fallen humans like you are, of which you arrogantly assume none can be above you, demon.

            The Church is everything, your ego is nothing.

          • LB: … In oral traditions, people are going to work a lot harder to preserve the important details than the unimportant ones. They're going to work a lot harder to reconcile conflicting eyewitness testimony† when it matters. There is research which shows that oral traditions can have excellent integrity, so remarks about the "telephone game" are completely off-base.

            † Studies today show that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. We don't actually know whether people would have been better at remembering things back then, as how our neurons are used has changed. I can probably find studies on both points if you insist, but I'd rather not unless your case breaks if I'm right and you think my case breaks if I'm wrong, on this matter.

            NT: you actively denied that Scripture is inerrant because you claimed eyewitness testimony is "unreliable."

            NT: So you deny Scripture now too?

            LB: What am I denying? →

            NT: you actively denied that Scripture is inerrant because you claimed eyewitness testimony is "unreliable."

            What I said at † can be verified by consulting peer-reviewed science. You seem to have ignored the rest of what I said there—why? You claim to hate being fisked—"you also missed every other word I wrote"—so why do you do it to others?

            LB: ← I suggest you give an answer to the following:

            NT: Is the last part your attempt at a loaded question?

            Not sure what you in particular mean by "loaded question"; I am interested in why you think Mt 28 omits Pentecost and any talk of the Holy Spirit.

            The Church was created at Pentecost, this is the Holy Spirit Descending upon the Apostles to give them the Church. They were transformed from the Last Prophets of the Old Covenant (which was just Fulfilled and abolished by the Resurrection) into the First Bishop of the New&Eternal Covenant.

            Can you point me to Roman Catholic material on the underlined? I'm very interested in the particular word you chose, "transformed".

            Apostles are the Last Prophets of the Old Covenant, First Bishops of the New & Eternal Covenant, AND are the Adopted Sons of God and Adopted Brothers of Christ. they are not mere fallen humans like you are, of which you arrogantly assume none can be above you, demon.

            Can you point me to Roman Catholic material on the underlined?

            The Church is everything, your ego is nothing.

            My ego is, indeed, nothing. Good thing God loves not because we deserve it, but because he is good.

          • Pentecost clearly happened. Therefore the Church. you continue to eat away at your foundation like a mouse, because you think you can control reality by wishful thinking.

            The Apostles are the Last Prophets are because they served the purpose of the Last Prophets. Their words are in Scripture, which is the Written Word of Prophets. Do you deny this as well, mr mouse demon?

            fisking is what you are doing here. taking a list of half-sentences and responding to them individually.

            you ignore the vast majority of my posts to do just that. I do not want to play your stupid games, but you have gone so irrational that you have yet to post anything but these games.

            God Loves what is Lovable, God hates sin with Perfect Hatred because of that. you hate God, or you would if you had any idea who He is.

          • h*ll is the greatest act of Love of God, as it frees us from the wicked permanently. you are bargaining with your own d*mnation.

            the default is h*ll, you were only allowed to be born here for a short while to Repent.

          • h*ll is the greatest act of Love of God, as it frees us from the wicked permanently.

            Yikes, this doesn't at all seem to be the attitude of Jesus Christ who happily ate with "sinners".

            the default is h*ll …

            Were I to invert your comment so that the default is heaven, that could go interesting places …

          • It is reality, not your delusion of a crossless anti-christ. you aren't concerned with reality though. just like you always want to "invert" things like your demons must do.

            you care about one thing: the delusion that overthrowing God's order will apotheosize you (impossible on both accounts).

            you were allowed to be born here to give you a chance to Repent. the world will end when all the spots in the Hierarchy of Grace left by the fall of the demons is filled by Mankind. For the rest: h*ll (limbo if you have no mortal sin and are outside the Church).

          • you care about one thing: the delusion that overthrowing God's order will apotheosize you (impossible on both accounts).

            Wait, I thought the present order was not God's order:

            And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1–3)

            Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10–12)

            That's what explains Satan's ability to take Jesus to the top of a mountain and promise to make Jesus ruler over it all. Are you going to dismiss the above because of your ridiculous association between Paul the author of most of the NT, and the Paul in GK Chesterton's Tremendous Trifles?

          • Reality itself is God's order. All is God's.

            you are trying rather desperately to mince words, demon. Again, bargaining with your fate; you could have simply chosen to not be a heretic but you prefer your ego.

            you are trying to overthrow Love, Absolute Truth, and Natural Law. just like you are trying so hard to "freeze, polarize, politicize." What I am speaking about is reality, not your delusion of a crossless anti-christ. you aren't concerned with reality though. just like you always want to "invert" things like your demons must do. you care about one thing: the delusion that overthrowing God's order will apotheosize you (impossible on both accounts).

            you were allowed to be born here to give you a chance to Repent. the world will end when all the spots in the Hierarchy of Grace left by the fall of the demons is filled by Mankind. For the rest: h*ll (limbo if you have no mortal sin and are outside the Church).

          • One would think that the person so quick to call others "demon" is the one less interested in love or absolute truth. I don't recall Jesus calling a single person "demon". When you wander the internet or IRL, do you just see demons everywhere, Nigel?

          • demons are everywhere. there are enough for every human that will ever get to Heaven. billions, who knows how many.

            St Padre Pio who could see them, said there were so many you could not see the sun and they clogged every inch of the earth's atmosphere.

          • demons are everywhere. there are enough for every human that will ever get to Heaven.

            Umm, why would you talk about what is "enough" for humans going to heaven, in terms of # of demons? Surely you're not saying that a human needs to be occupied by enough demons in order to make it into heaven? Or tormented by enough demons? I'm really at a loss here, if refuse to invert any of your terms (e.g. 'heaven' → 'hell').

          • please, read.

            Those in Heaven are to take a spot in the Hierarchy of Grace originally occupied by a demon. Once it is filled, the world ends.

            The more attacked you are, the more dangerous you are to them.

          • Those in Heaven are to take a spot in the Hierarchy of Grace originally occupied by a demon. Once it is filled, the world ends.

            Where on earth does this come from?

            The more attacked you are, the more dangerous you are to them.

            This is true regardless of which side you're on.

          • I am explaining to you basic Dogma of the Church as well as the singular "meaning of life." It is above your level, but you asked.

            demon, you serve no threat to demons because you share their beliefs, that is why you seem to be such a fit here.

          • NT: Those in Heaven are to take a spot in the Hierarchy of Grace originally occupied by a demon. Once it is filled, the world ends.

            LB: Where on earth does this come from?

            NT: I am explaining to you basic Dogma of the Church as well as the singular "meaning of life."

            Could you perhaps link me to a page which explains this dogma?

            demon, you serve no threat to demons because you share their beliefs, that is why you seem to be such a fit here.

            You realize that if you ever attribute activity of the Holy Spirit to demonic activity, that will never be forgiven you—right? You whip out that term rather frequently, so I wanted to make sure you are aware of what Jesus said on this matter.

          • I will do what I must to destroy evil. you are evil. I have already done so much, but you ignored all of it, and now you are onto the mortal sin of despair of trying to project your evil onto me in the hopes I am damned in your place.

            you actually are demonic. you kept claiming I was demonic simply because I am Catholic and as a "I know you are but what am I" sneer. you got in here because you think denial changes reality, like all gnostics.

            prot heretic, you deny h*ll and attack the most basic Dogmas of the Church.

            I will assume you mean your ego of the demon inside your head when you blasphemously refer to the "Holy Spirit." that is a common thing among prot heretics; and this is usually where to try to call the "spirit" in your head upon me in a curse.

            Then I send it back to whence it came in increasing severity of you persist. I have done this more times than you can imagine.

          • I have already done so much, but you ignored all of it …

            So my asking you to source your claims about RCC theology constitutes "ignored"?

            you actually are demonic.

            Curious, because we have the following from @dennisbonnette:disqus himself:

            DB: I want you to know that that is precisely how I view you -- as a fellow Christian. It is like we live in the same apartment building and disagree as to whether there is a pent house or not and, if there is, who is living in it. But we are undoubtedly in the same building -- and I don't see any fellow dwellers who are atheists. They may live next door, but it is definitely a different building.

            I guess he's just wrong? Surely you know more than he on such matters, Nigel.

            you kept claiming I was demonic →

            False.

            ← simply because I am Catholic →

            False.

            ← and as a "I know you are but what am I" sneer.

            False.

            prot heretic, you deny h*ll and attack the most basic Dogmas of the Church.

            [citation needed]

          • This message did not appear in my feed. All in the Church comes from God. heretics are not a part of the Church, so he is beyond wrong. you are demonic, very standard; what makes you exceptionally evil is that you somehow pretend to be Christian while doing it but you aren't good at pretending).

            you are not interested in Truth, you only care about fisking and taking things you think you can twist out of context.

            you spent days claiming I am like a demon because I dare call out sin and devilry. now you try to project this onto me be the mortal sin of despair hoping that an inversion will be what you need to novelty me away. No, you will not novelty me away.

            your post to michael and to me was about how you deny h*ll and claim that "all men are saved" by default. you claimed h*ll was only a meaningless threat, not the actual real place that is the Perfect Expression of God's Love by Permanently removing the evil and wicked.

            I do know that when gnostics (like yourself) project your projection, that is the second to last step before you leave; you did this in your last message. the final step is ALWAYS them denying the conversation took place at all, which is what you are doing in this message.

          • NT: I have already done so much, but you ignored all of it …

            LB: So my asking you to source your claims about RCC theology constitutes "ignored"?

            NT: This message did not appear in my feed.

            This isn't the only time you've claimed I have ignored all of what you've said (unless you're distinguishing "said" from "done"?), and it isn't the only time it's been false.

            you are demonic, very standard; what makes you exceptionally evil is that you somehow pretend to be Christian while doing it but you aren't good at pretending).

            Do you think your Vicar of Christ agrees with you? Or we could start from your priest and go up the chain of command. I'm calling your bluff.

            you spent days claiming I am like a demon because I dare call out sin and devilry.

            I recall two comments: one where I said it sounded like a demon might say something like that and another where inverting a term from 'heaven' → 'hell' possibly made more sense of it. Neither case logically entails that you are a demon. If you think two comments like that constitutes "spent days", well …

            now you try to project this onto me be the mortal sin of despair

            Huh?

            your post to michael and to me was about how you deny h*ll and claim that "all men are saved" by default.

            Sounds like a distortion of what I said. I would have said something like: "I hope that all are saved but I cannot plan on it." My suspicion is that your Vicar of Christ would agree with that.

            the final step is ALWAYS them denying the conversation took place at all, which is what you are doing in this message.

            Denying that I said what you claim is not the same as denying that there was a conversation which you have almost certainly distorted.

          • as usual, you affirm what you deny, demon. you started by calling me a demon simply because I call you out to call me as blaspheming the "Holy Spirit" (what you seem to call the demon in your head) simply because I call you out.

            the mortal sin of despair is when you try to project your evil onto another in the hopes they are damned in your place. this is based in the capital sin of pride, and it seems to found all your messages.

            As I keep saying, and you keep denying, the Pope is an umpire. What this Pope agrees with can only out him as a heretic as you are, he cannot change anything or do anything outside of assert the Timeless Magesterium

            you ignoring all I have said in order to fisk (reply to convenient, out of context half-sentences) is a singular point.

            your message not appearing in my feed and only in my email at first is a separate point.

            All in the Church comes from God. heretics are not a part of the Church, so he is beyond wrong. you are demonic, very standard; what makes you exceptionally evil is that you somehow pretend to be Christian while doing it but you aren't good at pretending).

            I will assume you mean your ego of the demon inside your head when you blasphemously refer to the "Holy Spirit." that is a common thing among prot heretics; and this is usually where to try to call the "spirit" in your head upon me in a curse.

            Then I send it back to whence it came in increasing severity of you persist. I have done this more times than you can imagine.

            I do know that when gnostics (like yourself) project your projection, that is the second to last step before you leave; you did this in your last message. the final step is ALWAYS them denying the conversation took place at all, which is what you are doing in this message. you seem to be panicking and are trying to repeat the process.

          • you started by calling me a demon

            False.

            when you try to project your evil onto another

            I did this, where?

            As I keep saying, and you keep denying, the Pope is an umpire.

            I'm happy for the Pope to be your umpire.

            you ignoring all I have said in order to fisk (reply to convenient, out of context half-sentences) is a singular point.

            Truth cannot be built on falsehood/​lies. You could try claiming much less in a given comment, and not claim I said anything I might object to unless you quote exactly the text from me with a link to it. But you seem to want to go far too quickly for such carefulness.

            you are demonic, very standard

            Would Pope Francis agree with you?

            NT: the final step is ALWAYS them denying the conversation took place at all, which is what you are doing in this message.

            LB: Denying that I said what you claim is not the same as denying that there was a conversation which you have almost certainly distorted.

            NT: the final step is ALWAYS them denying the conversation took place at all, which is what you are doing in this message.

            LB: Denying that I said what you claim is not the same as denying that there was a conversation which you have almost certainly distorted.

            you seem to be panicking and are trying to repeat the process.

            There is indeed repetition in the above quote chain, with you saying the same thing in two subsequent comments and me replying by quoting what I said the first time 'round. Is that what you're talking about the "repeat the process"? For someone who whines about not being listened to, you do an awful lot of ignoring.

          • so now you are projecting again?

            I repeat myself because my previous reply is already an answer.

          • You are welcome to show me where I was projecting. Perhaps I was, but I'm not going to just accept your word on it; your word has proven too unreliable in my experience. For example, you say that some denying that a conversation took place will happen; exactly when will that happen? I can question whether a conversation went down just like you claim; because this is the internet, we can easily check what was said. There is some ambiguity introduced by the 7-day edit window Disqus permits, but as long as a comment was never edited and none is deleted, there is no ambiguity.

          • "delicious ambiguity" demon, you openly reject reality and try to replace it with your ego that has no right to exist. you therefore find "ambiguity" wherever you want it, ESPECIALLY in what is most clear. you save "delicious ambiguity" for things you think you can sneer away eternity in h*ll.

            you are projecting your projection onto me, the second to last step before the gnostic bolts. you even then follow that up with the last step you denying any conversation took place at all.

            the mortal sin of despair is marked by projection of evil in the hopes another is damned in your place. this is what all of your recent posts to me are based upon.

            It is hard to tell what I am more disturbed/disgusted/insulted about you, but your pretend conversations where you try to frame half-sentences of mind to whatever you think will discredit me the most, as if they were direct responses, is new. I have never seen that before just like I never saw someone claim heresy and delusion as "delicious."

          • you openly reject reality and try to replace it with your ego that has no right to exist.

            Reminds me of George Herbert's A Dialogue-Anthem:

                                          Christian, Death

            Chr.   ALAS, poor Death ! where is thy glory ?          Where is thy famous force, thy ancient sting ?Dea.   Alas, poor mortal, void of story !          Go spell and read how I have killed thy King.Chr.   Poor Death ! and who was hurt thereby ?          Thy curse being laid on Him makes thee accurst.Dea.   Let losers talk, yet thou shalt die ;          These arms shall crush thee.Chr.                                           Spare not, do thy worst.

                      I shall be one day better than before ;          Thou so much worse, that thou shalt be no more.

            Such a great poem.

            you therefore find "ambiguity" wherever you want it, →

            False.

            ← ESPECIALLY in what is most clear.

            Pretty sure God is always happy to further articulate for those honestly wanting to know. Demons, on the other hand, might not be able to articulate too far before getting caught up in logical contradictions or flagrant mismatches with empirical reality. At least, that's a hypothesis of mine.

            you are projecting your projection onto me, the second to last step before the gnostic bolts.

            So are you going to bolt at some point?

            you even then follow that up with the last step you denying any conversation took place at all.

            [citation needed]

            the mortal sin of despair is marked by projection of evil in the hopes another is damned in your place.

            I'd rather neither be damned. But sadly, some may choose the serpent-god over the One True God.

            I never saw someone claim heresy and delusion as "delicious."

            [citation needed]

            It is hard to tell what I am more disturbed/disgusted/insulted about you, but your pretend conversations where you try to frame half-sentences of mind to whatever you think will discredit me the most, as if they were direct responses, is new.

            I learned it from Eve's failure to properly chop the serpent's statements up into the true parts and the false parts. So for example, there was ε of truth in “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”, because one out of the possible infinity of trees was prohibited. In “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”, the serpent may have been alluding to God's willingness to resurrect. He was right that A&E's eyes would be opened, but only to their finitude and vulnerability. He was right about θέωσις being the destination, but wrong that the path to it was to become suspicious of God.

            I like to put statements in vices to discern what is καλός and what is κακός. So do you, if you are a [sufficiently mature] follower of Jesus.

          • not ironically, you try to use the devil's own tactics. or is a demon just using you?

            demon, you see only what you want to see, and you think reality changes by your delusion. I called this out from the first post I saw of yours, but never did I think it could get this bad.

            projecting your projection again, and also calling me a demon again because I try to speak Absolute Truth.

            oy vey, you even claim that my posts are now true and false dependent on your ego (and whatever is convenient to whatever smear you want to use next). God help you, monster.

          • demon, you see only what you want to see, →

            [citation needed]

            ← and you think reality changes by your delusion.

            Can faith move mountains?

            calling me a demon again

            False.

            oy vey, you even claim that my posts are now true and false dependent on your ego

            I do think at least some of your posts have elements of truth in them. Is that such a bad thing?

          • you are so close to running, I can taste the relief. you are now denying the conversation ever took place.

            you are evil.

            I remember right before you really went mad, I was praying a Rosary so some evil one's eyes be opened or they be permanently closed. I mentioned your name as well, which was right after you started sending me messages. you disappeared for a while, and that was great, but then you came back getting more-and-more unhinged.

            I can see why now.

          • you are now denying the conversation ever took place.

            [citation needed]

            you are evil.

            I can certainly acknowledge that you, @nigelteapot:disqus, consider me "evil". I wonder how many humans consider your judgment on such matters to be trustworthy.

            I remember right before you really went mad, →

            Ahh, when was that? I'm interested in as precise a location in time or text as you can muster.

            ← I was praying a Rosary so some evil one's eyes be opened or they be permanently closed.

            Wow, I'm not sure I can construe anything in scripture as wanting anyone's eyes to "be permanently closed"! Can you point to anything from the Magisterium which teaches such a prayer? I myself am reminded of:

            First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:1–6)

            “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” (Ezekiel 18:30–32)

            Your prayer that the eyes of anyone "be permanently closed" seems heretical to me. I could probably find some RCC priests to ask about this if you want to maintain that you are being 100% obedient to the Magisterium in praying for that.

          • you have a St Benedict Prayer and St Michael Prayer to return your curses back to whence they came. your eyes will be opened or they will be permanently closed. you will never harm another again.

            evil is decay caused by sin. your entire life is marked by this total lack of any awareness due to a reprobate mind. it is why you can affirm what you deny, and assert something then deny it when I point it out directly.

            you then project by the mortal sin of despair to try to absolve yourself.

            is gaslighting a mortal sin? I would think so under calumny, maybe even blasphemy.

            you, accuser, are looking for a word called Precatory Prayer. That means I ask God to remove a problem before it gets worse. I didn't know you needed one just for you. Seemed to really wing your demon, because I also ask your curses be returned back to whence they came (that means back to h*ll). your demon does not want to go back there, so you attack.

            That is the most common one, and many of the Psalms in the old Office are based on them.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Luke, when did you start growing horns?

            I know that we have some profound Protestant-Catholic differences in beliefs and I know that there is no way to detect horns on someone unless they post a picture of themselves on the thread, but I must confess never noticing anything in our previous dialogues which would make me think you would have difficulties getting your hat on. :)

          • Sssh, they're retractable!

            You remind me of a discussion my wife had with a Notre-Dame de Paris docent, when we were on a "Tower Tour" during our honeymoon—before the horrible fire. We were observing the nasty-looking gargoyles and my wife asked the docent a question in French. Excited, he talked at length about how the French had gone through a phase where they were exceedingly suspicious of beauty. And so, IIRC, the ugly gargoyles were to drive away the wolves in sheep's clothing. In contrast, you have Jesus described this way: "he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, / and no beauty that we should desire him." Given how … discombobulated my ideas can sometimes come out in the first version, I find that verse comforting. I'm sure the Pharisees excelled at presenting polished messages with nary a contradiction or ambiguity—or place for further exploration. Makes me wonder whether the "plant yielding seed" snippet in Genesis 1:29 indicates that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil had fruit without seeds, which looked pleasant but inside had no possibility of life. My wife, a biophysicist / biochemist, was quick to point out that means there would have only been one such tree.

          • ever your love of novelty.

            gargoyles and grotesques are there to show the demons that the Church is here to destroy.

          • that is because you are no threat to him or his demon, I imagine.

          • Phil Tanny

            Well, Disqus is obviously a demon, so we do have proof that demons exist. :-)

          • Michael Murray

            So let's dodge the question of why God let evil into the world in the first place and congratulate Him on possibly having a plan to remove it. Theologians must really be the worlds first political spin doctors.

            Or just possibly we could accept the obvious answer to the problem of evil. There are no Gods. There is no damnation. There is no after life.

          • you let evil into the world by being evil. you deny God because you know you have wronged God.

            evil is decay caused by sin (division from God). it is not a thing like cold isn't a thing: it's an absence.

          • michael

            Can you try rephrasing that first paragraph please?

          • When people perceive they have been wronged, there is an urge to strike back. Not infrequently, this leads to escalation and cycles of violence which are very bad for humankind. If instead one believes "Vengeance is mine, saith the LORD", one will not strike back. One can believe God will impose eternal conscious torment on those one thinks has wronged oneself.

            Now, to the extent we're wrong—maybe we weren't truly wronged, or maybe we were going to strike back too hard, or maybe our chosen response was not going to fix the situation—not acting on that error is a distinct benefit. Any errors in our beliefs about what God will do are much less harmful there, than going out and maiming or killing people. And maybe God is more ok with us making errors about his character, than us maiming and killing people.

          • Phil Tanny

            What would it take to convince you to call it quits on Christianity and religion in general?

            If I found out that Jesus could not possibly have existed, that would do it as well.

            If religion is based on experience instead of ideas such threats would not exist.

            The experience of love usefully addresses one's fundamental human condition or it doesn't, independent of whether Jesus lived or not, was divine or human or both, what he said or meant, what somebody says he said or meant and so on.

            If religion is based on ideas, then we need somebody to tell us what the right ideas are, and if the credibility of that authority is undermined, then the whole thing collapses. If religion is based on experience, all such problems go away.

            What did Jesus do? He went in to the desert, he reached for and found experience.

            Regrettably, Jesus then came back in to town and began running his mouth, when he probably should have just directed his followers to do what he had done, go to the desert, find your own experience.

            If one seeks to find God in the real world, the logical place to look is the real world.

          • David Nickol

            Regrettably, Jesus then came back in to town and began running his mouth . . . .

            It's a shame you weren't there to give Jesus spiritual advice.

          • Phil Tanny

            Jesus was 30 years old. How many 30 year olds do you know who have matured enough to give spiritual advice?

            That said, thanks for clogging the discussion with lazy little gotcha quips, I enjoy that hobby too, as you can see. :-)

          • David Nickol

            Jesus was 30 years old. How many 30 year olds do you know who have matured enough to give spiritual advice?

            I don't see the point of this rhetorical question. Are you implying we can dismiss the teachings of Jesus because he wasn't old enough to give spiritual advice? Shouldn't his teachings be judged on their own merits, not on how old he is reported to have been? I don't know any brilliant young physicists, but that doesn't mean Einstein didn't revolutionize 20th-century physics when he was 26.

            . . . thanks for clogging the discussion with lazy little gotcha quips . . .

            Lazy? You might be surprised to learn the amount of time and thought that went into that brief response. I generally identify myself as an agnostic, but that doesn't prevent me from greatly respecting Jesus and the Gospels. So when someone here says that "regrettably" Jesus "began running his mouth," I find it offensive enough that I take great care—including a fair amount of self-censorship—in responding.

          • Phil Tanny

            Ok, good.

          • If religion is based on experience instead of ideas such threats would not exist.

            As far as I know, religion based on experience cannot tolerate the kind of radical disconnect from God's understanding of good and evil which humans experience, as argued by Augustine against Pelagius. (I like Alistair McFadyen's articulation of this in Bound to Sin.) Either you take yourself (or your tribe) to be the standard of justice and righteousness such that the world would only be better if you imposed yourself on it, or you need to appeal to something that isn't just your own subjectivity in order to obtain righteousness and justice. If you abdicate from the collective enforcement of justice, then injustice will flourish. So I see a big problem here for purely experiential religion.

            The experience of love usefully addresses one's fundamental human condition or it doesn't, independent of whether Jesus lived or not, was divine or human or both, what he said or meant, what somebody says he said or meant and so on.

            This seems to be a pretty direct rejection of "We love because he first loved us." I myself just don't believe that humans have, purely within themselves, infinite resources for love and mercy and grace. I think God wants to pour such things into us, and have us channel them into the world. But as far as I can see, this is very different from what you're advocating.

            If religion is based on ideas, then we need somebody to tell us what the right ideas are, and if the credibility of that authority is undermined, then the whole thing collapses. If religion is based on experience, all such problems go away.

            Erm, have you come across the Manifesto of the Ninety-Three? Liberal Protestantism not only failed to speak against WWI and WWII in Germany, but it actively supported war. To resist evil up to and including letting evil kill you takes profound internal resources. But perhaps those internal resources come from outside oneself …

            What did Jesus do? He went in to the desert, he reached for and found experience.

            Can you say a bit more? The Gospels record that Jesus was tempted by Satan and withstood the temptation—were you talking about that or something else?

          • Phil Tanny

            Hi Luke, nice to meet you!

            I'm finding your posts articulate and interesting, thanks for that, but this comment technology (worst I've seen in 25 years) is really making writing here quite unpleasant. It's just too lame for words....

            Do you perhaps participate somewhere else? Same question to all readers and posters.

            I had planned on being a very active contributor here and help to build the site, but now I'm thinking it would be better for all of us to bail on this site and find another place to have these conversations, which deserve more than this mess.

            Sorry to be so far off topic, but this is the most constructive suggestion I can make at the moment. Fix this place or bail.

            I might be willing to set up a forum, but I'd need to see real interest, and I'm not trying to take over anything. I'd be just as happy, happier really, to move to another site that actually works.

            Any interest?

          • Phil Tanny

            PS: have tried to contact site owners by various methods, no reply.

          • You're welcome and likewise! As to Disqus, it really slows down when you get hundreds of comments; this page has over a thousand! I'm not sure what we would discuss at length; you could start by emailing me (see my Disqus profile) to see if it's probably worth the investment of finding or creating an alternative location for discussion. You might note an article I last updated ten years ago, Thoughts on Forums. You may be the kind of person I have been looking for to work on such a thing together …

            I mostly participate on Disqus-powered blogs these days; I like the fact that I can get notifications for only where people reply to my comments or @ mention me. WordPress comments, Blogger comments, and forums like vBulletin just notify you when anyone response to anyone in a blog post / thread, which I find obnoxious. I also dislike software that doesn't have nice <blockquote></blockquote> abilities and formatting.

          • Phil Tanny

            Hi Luke, the simplest solution to the problem presented by the popularity of this site and the incompetence of Disqus is forum software. A better solution would be moderated discussion in forum software.

            But, the most realistic solution is probably just for me to let go of my interest in this site. Working on that, making progress...

            I did reply to the substance of your post above, but as is fairly common here, that reply is now nowhere to be found. Anyway, sorry, all this complaining is way off topic, not that it matters as this post will likely vanish too. :-)

          • I did reply to the substance of your post above …

            If you go to https://disqus.com/by/philtanny/ and ensure you're logged in, can you see some red-backgrounded text next to any comments which indicate they're somehow being moderated?

          • Phil Tanny

            Thanks Luke! I do see what you mean. All I see on this site is that some of my posts have been marked as spam, which as best I can tell is an automated error.

            However, thanks you, I was able to rescue one of these spam posts, which I'll now re-post at the very top of the comment section, should you be interested in a bit more detail of what I'm honking on about. :-)

            PS: Just replied to you over on the Secular Outpost site, thanks for the introduction to that.

          • Phil Tanny

            Can you say a bit more? The Gospels record that Jesus was tempted by
            Satan and withstood the temptation—were you talking about that or
            something else?

            Jesus went in to the desert and experienced God. That's what interests me, experience.

            Honestly not too interested in temptation, sin, Satan and so on. Even the God part is not so important. The experience matters, what we call it, not so much.

            This is simple. A hungry man needs food, not a book about food.

          • Your plan would appear to leave one with rather impoverished options for experience. Books are kinda neat for increasing human understanding and power, thus opening up new vistas of possibility.

          • Phil Tanny

            Well, impoverished options wasn't what happened to Jesus in the desert, was it? Jesus went to the desert, not to a library, seems pretty simple really.

          • Jesus read plenty of scrolls at temple. Are you suggesting that his desert experiences would have been the same or better had he never stepped foot in a temple and read any Tanakh?

          • Phil Tanny

            I'm suggesting it is the experience of God which mattered, and that the scrolls he read were just explanations.

            Explanations can sometimes be helpful, for example, maybe one of the scrolls gave Jesus the idea to go to the desert. If so, ok, thumbs up for that scroll.

            Put simply, if one seeks to find a real God in the real world, books are not the logical place to look for such a thing.

            As example, if one is physically hungry only real food can satisfy that hunger. A book about food is useful to a hungry man only if it points directly to where food can be found.

            If the book author gets confused and starts thinking that it is his book which is the food, then we arrive at the mess of modern Christianity, and many other religions as well.

          • I'm sensing a bit of Emerson's The American Scholar in what you write (e.g. "Hence, instead of Man Thinking, we have the bookworm."), plus perhaps Aquinas' "All that I have written seems like straw." But what you say just doesn't match my sense of an apprentice getting to know his/her master in part by carefully exploring what the master has done so [s]he can continue it—“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And we're talking reproducing the Garden of Eden environment in spirit if not in form—there was no template for crushing oppression, yet.

            Where I can perhaps most connect is the need to get regular refreshing, which Jesus did—often in desolate places. (Partly perhaps because that was how he could escape the crowds, but I think there is something to YHWH being God of the wilderness, not city.) Perhaps also there is the sense of advancing the boundaries of what is known and experienced; unpopulated areas are by definition desolate. One of my focuses is that of the 'hardened heart', where the ancient Hebrew 'heart' was "the seat of the understanding". I like how Yuval Levin puts it: "Ignorance brings learning, but knowledge breeds rigidity of mind." (Tyranny of Reason, xviii) A nice example would be the confidence that Gilbert N. Lewis had when he told Ilya Prigogine to "study equilibrium as everyone else does". (The End of Certainty, 68)

            Jesus says that one way to experience him is to reach out to the poor and oppressed and vulnerable. Does that count as "desert", to you?

          • Phil Tanny

            Yes, "all I've written seems like straw" sounds right. I feel that myself, but find I was born to make straw, and so humor seems the best remedy. :-)

            Yes, study what the master has done. Know one by his works. And that is exactly what I'm suggesting when I talk about examining the real world. Read the "book" that God wrote, not what somebody said about the book that God wrote. Go for first hand information. Like Jesus did in the desert.

            Yes to knowledge brings rigidity, agreed. Embraced ignorance can bring experience, as the symbols in our heads are seen to be straw, thus liberating focus for the real world.

            Yes to your final question. The experience of love is the real Christianity, everything else is just talk.

            I don't mean that everyone should be "good". Never mind about that. I'm not talking about morality.

            I mean the experience of love addresses the fundamental human condition, the illusion of division and separation.

            If the Apostle John was right when he said "God is love" then the path to experience of God seems obvious.

          • I'm going to ask questions in a negative register because I really don't know what you're arguing against with your focus on "experience". So I'd like to try to rule out options which presently seem ridiculous to me, and then see where that leaves us.

            Read the "book" that God wrote, not what somebody said about the book that God wrote. Go for first hand information. Like Jesus did in the desert.

            What if I'm trying to learn how we maintain a tension between:

                 (1) what we think is the case
                 (2) what we think should be the case

            —without snapping it (becoming cynical or pollyannish) and without distorting one toward the other? Are you suggesting that I, for example, think about that while I go on a bike ride? 'Cause that's what I'm doing in about five minutes given this ridiculous SF heat.

                … as the symbols in our heads are seen to be straw, thus liberating focus for the real world.

            How is this different from evacuating our minds from many lessons learned over the centuries?

            The experience of love is the real Christianity, everything else is just talk.

            Surely you can't say that pursuing justice is "just talk"?

            I mean the experience of love addresses the fundamental human condition, the illusion of division and separation.

            Is this a rejection of individuality which can grow deeper, the more deeply it is immersed in community?

            If the Apostle John was right when he said "God is love" then the path to experience of God seems obvious.

            If agápē builds people up, surely that requires wisdom, knowledge, expertise, etc? Unless you aren't building very far …

          • Phil Tanny

            ....I really don't know what you're arguing against with your focus on "experience"

            Imagine you're sitting on your couch reading a book about Jesus and someone knocks on your door. You open the door, and it's Jesus!

            So which do you choose? Do you close the door and return to your book about Jesus? Or do you let Jesus in and hear from him directly? That is, do you choose second hand information about Jesus, or first hand information? Do you choose the symbolic, or the real?

            I'm arguing against the trend in Christianity (and most religions) to put so much focus on explanations instead of experience.

            As example, where are the articles on this Catholic site about Catholic Charities? Best I can tell, there are none.

            And more telling, after doing this for years I see the same lack of interest in Catholic Charities across the Catholic web. Instead everybody wants to talk dogma, doctrine, policy, interpretations, explanations etc, just as we see on every page of this site.

            Here's a question for you, or anyone. Do you believe God is real? If yes, what is the logic of looking for such a God in books??? If someone believes that God is real, wouldn't the real world be the obvious place to look? This is just common sense, isn't it?

            If one travels that far, the next question would appear to be, how to look?

            If agápē builds people up, surely that requires wisdom, knowledge, expertise, etc?

            Does it? Doesn't everybody already know what love is? Don't children know what it is? Isn't the question really just, we do it or we don't?

          • If experiencing Jesus 24/7 were really optimal for us, I would expect Jesus to replicate so that all of us could in fact spend 24/7 with him. You seem to have set up an antithesis between records (and analysis) of experience and experience itself. Would you prefer we rewind to before modern science—which could only happen because many people pored over records of experience, carefully analyzing them? If not, perhaps you are arguing for a different emphasis, a different balance between experience and records of experience?

            If we accept that followers of Jesus are actually his body—with Jesus as "head"—then interacting with followers of Jesus would be to interact with Jesus. In fact, wanting to only hang out with the head would seem to be the very thing you are criticizing!

            Your comments about "interest in Catholic Charities" are vulnerable to sampling bias: what if the people doing most of the charity work aren't talking about it online but just doing it?

            Finally, I just don't buy that humans are born with arbitrary expertise in loving. I don't see the evidence for it and it seems antithetical to the idea of us being finite beings who can be made more by love, by agapē. I'm pretty sure we're finite beings, with possibly infinite potential.

          • Phil Tanny

            If experiencing Jesus 24/7 were really optimal for us, I would expect Jesus to replicate so that all of us could in fact spend 24/7 with him.

            Catholic doctrine states that God is ever present in all times and places. If true, then we are already spending 24/7 with Jesus.

            But we typically don't feel like that is happening. That's because we're very distracted by all the thoughts going round and round in our heads, thoughts primarily about "me".

            And so Jesus suggests we love, that is, die to be reborn, surrender the little prison cell of "me".

            "Die" and "surrender" are verbs, they imply action, experience. A wonderful theory about dying and surrendering doesn't get the job done.

          • Catholic doctrine states that God is ever present in all times and places. If true, then we are already spending 24/7 with Jesus.

            I don't see why you are saying this, since you seem to think that my reading a book means I'm not experiencing Jesus—at least not at the intensity I could if I went out into the desert.

            But we typically don't feel like that is happening. That's because we're very distracted by all the thoughts going round and round in our heads, thoughts primarily about "me".

            I have some ideas of why that is generally the case. (For example: people need solid enough identities to act on and if they're not helped to establish solid enough identities, there's going to be a lot of desperate waving of arms.) Do you think that is the case for the person to whom you are presently talking? If so, why?

            And so Jesus suggests we love, that is, die to be reborn, surrender the little prison cell of "me".

            That seems subtly different from denying oneself and being born again. Where do you see "die to be reborn" in Jesus' words? As to your last clause, I would replace that with having a confident enough understanding of oneself that one generally doesn't need to spend much time tending it. That would allow us to spend more of our efforts on building others up, increasing our ability to build others up, and spending time with Jesus. (The last can easily include the first two.)

            "Die" and "surrender" are verbs, they imply action, experience. A wonderful theory about dying and surrendering doesn't get the job done.

            And yet, without any definition of the terms, they mean nothing to the hearer.

          • Phil Tanny

            I don't see why you are saying this, since you seem to think that my reading a book means I'm not experiencing Jesus—at least not at the intensity I could if I went out into the desert.

            When we read the book we are experiencing ideas about Jesus. That's like reading a cookbook instead of eating the food. If the cookbook says, "Put down this book and eat the food" it's a pretty good cookbook.

            It's this simple. If I want to hear what you're saying I have to first shut up. While I'm thinking I'm not shutting up, I'm talking in my head. The books, and my posts, encourage us to think, think, think, talk, talk, talk, and while we're making all this noise Jesus can't get a word in edgewise.

            For example: people need solid enough identities to act on and if they're not helped to establish solid enough identities, there's going to be a lot of desperate waving of arms.

            Personal identities are made of thought. They're a very distracting form of noise. Inevitable, but hopefully not taken too seriously.

            And yet, without any definition of the terms, they mean nothing to the hearer.

            And by the time we analyze all this to death for centuries it means nothing to the hearer too, because it's become little more than a pile of words.

          • When we read the book we are experiencing ideas about Jesus. That's like reading a cookbook instead of eating the food. If the cookbook says, "Put down this book and eat the food" it's a pretty good cookbook.

            Erm, the cookbook tells you how to cook the food that you'll then eat.

            It's this simple. If I want to hear what you're saying I have to first shut up. While I'm thinking I'm not shutting up, I'm talking in my head. The books, and my posts, encourage us to think, think, think, talk, talk, talk, and while we're making all this noise Jesus can't get a word in edgewise.

            What you say seems sometimes true, but not always true. You do remind me of two key passages:

            Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10a)

            And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11–13)

            The Sabbath was supposed to be a time where the Israelites would become still enough to hear that low whisper. Catholic theologian Josef Pieper wrote a whole book on this matter, called Leisure: The Basis of Culture. Pieper lived in Nazi Germany and was on an "enemy of the people" list. Afterward, he saw the German work ethic at play and worried: what happens if the Germans, after devoting 110% of their efforts to work to rebuild, keep doing that after they've rebuilt? What if they never engage in the kind of high-quality leisure that allows flashes of insight—which he thought were gifts from God—to arrive and be noticed? I came across Pieper's book via UW faculty David Levy's Google Tech Talk "No Time to Think" (paper version):

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHGcvj3JiGA

            There are a lot of requirements in order to "be still", to quiet your own voice(s). There are several anxious people in my life and sometimes I can feel the anxiety pressing in, trying to shatter my own carefully created … ¿sanctum?. There's this weird feeling I sometimes get of being squeezed from all sides. So far, I've been pretty good at resisting it.

            Personal identities are made of thought. They're a very distracting form of noise. Inevitable, but hopefully not taken too seriously.

            See, I think this is just all kinds of wrong. Freud saw narcissism as the failure to distinguish between self and world. You certainly can experience in that fashion, but I'm not convinced it's healthy for anyone other than babies and small children. I sense I am opposing a long tradition of Eastern mysticism here, but I have yet to see any compelling argument against what I'm saying. The noise and clamor of constructing a good-enough identity can die down and create the silence described, above.

            And by the time we analyze all this to death for centuries it means nothing to the hearer too, because it's become little more than a pile of words.

            Is there no between?

          • Phil Tanny

            Here you go Luke, something of mine to chew on should you so wish.

            https://strangenotions.com/god-problem/#comment-4614362280

          • Whoops, did that get sent to spam? If you give me a list of URLs to comments of yours that got sent to spam, I can shoot an email to the moderator to get that fixed. It happens once in a while, even to regulars.

          • Phil Tanny

            Yes, just had another one go to spam on the Secular Outpost. Don't worry about all the spam I'm shouting :-) but if you know how to contact a moderator I'd love to see a conversation about dumping Disqus and moving to forum software.

            FYI, I worked online as a tech since 1995, sold a startup to a big dog, and have coded my own blog and forum software from scratch. I'm knowledgeable on these issues, and blog software and Disqus is simply the wrong tool for what this site is trying to accomplish.

            I'm retired now, not selling anything. Just hoping such interesting conversations might happen in the software designed for them.

            Well gotta go, back to spamming, don't you know! :-)

          • Phil Tanny

            Just had another post declared spam on this site. For the 2nd time. We're wasting our time with this broken software. Gonna bail again for awhile, see if I can break the habit.

          • greenpeaceRdale1844coop

            I guess I´ve imagined that human society full of decent University experiences. People with comprehensive minimum levels of a range of senses of responsibiity committing faux pas´ because they´re human, yet getting highly developed. I think Marx touched on it, despite his fallacies, and JS Mill, who at least didn´t dismiss the co-operative business model. Too bad Engels didn´t realize that fundamental error and revise Marx posthumously, even.

            I suppose I have to add a 12 step group plot device to the University design. Perhaps an Alan Watts character as well, and a Michael Harner, Al Gore, and say, Fannie Lou Hamer. Star Trek has simply gone too far in rejecting theism and acting relatively New Atheist. Well, it´s easy to forget most of the time, and season 2 of Discovery had the religious references and imagery. Easy to forgive that way.

          • michael

            If people are being tormented for eternity in hell forever and ever ande ver, no quantity or quality of "greater good" could ever justify that. It's IRRATIONAL, not supranational, to say otherwise. If you disagree you are just a naive sheep.

          • "If"

          • michael

            The Bible says Satan and his angels and the phrases who plundered the houses of widows will DEFINITELY go to Hell. DEFINITELY is not a matter of "if".

          • yes, demons have no ability to escape h*ll because they knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

            Humans are ignorant of what we are doing, so we can be reconciled.

          • Sample1

            Do you think saying if is a “win” for your side? Make me vomit again why don’t you.

            Mike

          • There is not one monolithic "side" among Christians, when it comes to the nature of hell. Why would God continue the existence of creatures who have no opportunity left to be reconciled to him? Hell is helpful for humans who would otherwise carry out vengeance themselves; it's helpful to catch error at the theoretical level so that said error is not turned into suffering. Past that, I think we should engage our minds and hearts, rather than being "a naive sheep". Maybe there's a role for purification, although that's generally held by Catholics, not Protestants.

            I think those who will face eternal conscious torment are precisely those who think that eternal conscious torment is an appropriate thing for God to do. "For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." I believe they can change their minds at any point. I don't see how else God could be "good" in an unequivocal (but not necessarily univocal) way.

          • Sample1

            Interesting, you completely misunderstood an important reality.

            Mike

          • Very possible; I am only a finite being and I believe God has given others important perspectives on Godself and God's creation which I cannot replicate but poorly, myself. If you'd like to share your perspective, I would be very appreciative.

          • So you once more blaspheme by denying h*ll.

            the vast majority of mankind is damned outright thanks to mortal sin. being outside of the Church and having no mortal sin (just about an impossibility outside of young, unbaptized, non-aborted children) leads to limbo.

            There is also NO Salvation outside of the Church.

          • David Nickol

            The existence of limbo is not official Catholic teaching, but "theological conjecture."

            You seem to have a Feeneyite view of the Church's role in salvation. Here is what the Catechism says.

            "Outside the Church there is no salvation"

            846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

            Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

            847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

            Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

          • Limbo is more ancient than 1960's so it escapes you.

            The Transcendent clearly escapes you. The singular use of the Church is to bring people to Heaven, if people can get there otherwise then God is a cruel liar. God is neither cruel not a liar, and the Church is the only way to Heaven as one's entrance into Heaven requires no mortal sin (need the Sacrament of Penance for that) and for a Catholic to fulfill a spot in the Hierarchy of Grace.

            Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Sallus. There is no Salvation outside of the Church, period. None of the protestants you pretend are Catholic can change there.

            So you claim I am a heretic simply by asserting the Magesterium older than grunge music?

            an agnostic

            Of course, back to you assuming none can know more than you do.

          • There is also NO Salvation outside of the Church.

            What did Vatican II say about this? Does Pope Francis think that I, a Protestant, am going to be eternally consciously tormented after I die?

          • Who cares what either say? They are submissive to the Magesterium, not the other way around.

            do you have mortal sin?

          • Who cares what either say? They are submissive to the Magesterium, not the other way around.

            I am skeptical of your interpretation of the Magisterium, especially since you almost never quote or cite it specifically. Your extra Ecclesiam nulla salus appears to be the exception that proves the rule. And even that needs to be interpreted.

            do you have mortal sin?

            Not that I know of—but that is the nature of mortal sin, isn't it? The "noetic effects of sin" are real, yo.

          • mortal sin is k*lls the soul outright. your message as are based on them, that is when you aren't Bing them of the third worst sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance of blasphemy.

            More ignoring of everything I say but a half sentence. At least you aren't committing the mortal sin of calumny by not putting words in my mouth by pretending whatever you feel like is a direct response to whatever you feel like.

            The Magesterium is the combined Teachers and Teachings of the Church. there is no interpretation needed. you are accusing me of what you are guilty of, as the marxists stole from their parent evil the prot heresy.

          • mortal sin is k*lls the soul outright.

            Where does the Magisterium teach this? You have me intrigued.

          • do you not know what "mortal" means? Like "mortal wound?"

            you know nothing of the Magesterium, so what is your point?

            you have been rejecting Absolute Truth to try to replace them with poorly-written stories for so long you seeming forget what words mean. Or is that because you openly reject what words mean to try to make up whatever definition is convenient at the time?

            I would say both, demon.

          • do you not know what "mortal" means? Like "mortal wound?"

            Like the "mortal wound" in Revelation 13?

            NT: mortal sin is k*lls the soul outright.

            LB: Where does the Magisterium teach this? You have me intrigued.

            NT: you know nothing of the Magesterium, so what is your point?

            To see if your statement is truly supported by the Magisterium.

            you have been rejecting Absolute Truth to try to replace them with poorly-written stories for so long you seeming forget what words mean. Or is that because you openly reject what words mean to try to make up whatever definition is convenient at the time?

            Interesting hypotheses. Do please teach me more of what you believe!

          • you seem to have nothing else in your life, so you attack.

            then I remembered your denial of h*ll and how you called "delicious" the idea you could hide your sin behind wishful thinking. you are in a grave, trying to pull me down in with you to try to take my place.

            you honestly think you are eternally salvaging yourself by doing this.

            if you were to support sodomy or abortion, you would be the #1 evil without question. this gaslighting is absurd.

          • you seem to have nothing else in your life, so you attack.

            Says the one who has called me "demon" … how many times, now? :-D

            then I remembered your denial of h*ll

            This appears to be one of the things you remember, which never happened.

            how you called "delicious" the idea you could hide your sin behind wishful thinking

            False. If you do not repent of this, it will become describable as a lie.

            you honestly think you are eternally salvaging yourself by doing this.

            False. If you do not repent of this, it will become describable as a lie.

          • beast of h*ll, is your demon as dull as you are? Why are you still here... and using emoticons?

            you deny all you assert, in alinskyite fashion.

            you are truly evil, and the most insulting person I have dealt with.

          • beast of h*ll, is your demon as dull as you are? Why are you still here... and using emoticons?

            I'm just trying to imagine Jesus talking to me this way. For some reason, it isn't working. Perhaps you can show where I'm tithing dill and mint and cumin while neglecting the weightier matters of the law?

            you deny all you assert, in also sluice fashion.

            [citation needed]

            you are truly evil, and the most insulting person I have dealt with.

            Wow, you must be the most sheltered person on the internet.

          • Imagine St Paul or St Padre Pio telling it to you; I am not God, but I am something you do not understand. Though you would have to multiply the aggression by multiple hundreds of times if it was St Paul or St Padre Pio telling it to you; Prophets are MEAN because they represent the Perfect Hatred of God for sin.

            What Christ will tell you if you do not Repent and Convert will have Eternal consequences, so meeting Christ should frighten you.

            your demon must hate you, or you got a new one. Like last time, you disappear for one whole day, then come back even more irrational and even more demonic. At first you seemed like a "boomer," now you keep seeming younger and more immature.

            I have never met someone so desperate to use alinsky tactics and gaslight.

          • Imagine St Paul or St Padre Pio telling it to you; →

            Why would I imagine St. Paul saying this, when you yourself said:

            NT: I agree with Chesterton, St Paul was worthless and lost his head because he did not understand his place in the Universe. St Peter always did and so he is the Rock.

            ?

            ← I am not God, but I am something you do not understand.

            I am well-aware that you are not God, but if you are a Christian, you have God inside you and God is shaping you to be more like Jesus Christ. True, or false?

            … Prophets are MEAN because they represent the Perfect Hatred of God for sin.

            Jonah was indeed MEAN. Fortunately, the Ninevites surmised that God was better than that—they were right. Or do you side with Jonah? (after the aquabarfing)

            your demon must hate you, or you got a new one.

            You do seem to know a lot about demons. I wonder why …

          • Because St Paul is a Prophet.

            you have taken this "spirit" "inside you" thing in a strange direction. Spoiler: God not a spirit (or any other created, contingent being), demons are spirits though.

            The Ninevites Repented because they knew what awaited them. you do not on either account.

          • NT: Imagine St Paul or St Padre Pio telling it to you; →

            LB: Why would I imagine St. Paul saying this, when you yourself said:

            NT: I agree with Chesterton, St Paul was worthless and lost his head because he did not understand his place in the Universe. St Peter always did and so he is the Rock.

            ?

            NT: Because St Paul is a Prophet.

            Is St. Paul … a "worthless" prophet? I'm trying to understand that older claim of yours I quoted. It seems to me that you're just flatly ignoring it, but perhaps there's some nuance I just can't see.

            NT: … Prophets are MEAN because they represent the Perfect Hatred of God for sin.

            LB: Or do you side with Jonah?

            NT: [ignored]

            I'd rather you actually answer the question.

          • I said St Paul was worthless, as in mistaken on such matters and not helpful. He saw himself out of place and therefore was eager to attack Catholics themselves rather than the enemy.

            St Paul's Good work was done mostly after his Martyrdom. Like with turning away the huns at the gates of Rome along with St Michael. Or helping to defeat and mocking the swedes attacking Jasna Gora during the Battle of Czestochowa.

            I do side with Minor Prophet Johah.

          • NT: Imagine St Paul or St Padre Pio telling it to you;

            NT: I said St Paul was worthless, as in mistaken on such matters and not helpful. He saw himself out of place and therefore was eager to attack Catholics themselves rather than the enemy.

            Sorry, where is St. Paul helpful and where is he worthless, according to you and your MAGE-sterium? [Edit: You were directing me to him and now I'm confused about why, given where you seem to set the valuable/​worthless boundary.]

            St Paul's Good work was done mostly after his Martyrdom. Like with turning away the huns at the gates of Rome along with St Michael. Or helping to defeat and mocking the swedes attacking Jasna Gora during the Battle of Czestochowa.

            Does the Magisterium agree with this? If so, are you capable of citing that agreement? (I'm guessing the MAGE-sterium agrees.)

            I do side with Minor Prophet Johah.

            I've not heard of a Minor Prophet Johah, but I am aware of the Minor Prophet Jonah. Can you confirm which one you're talking about? Individual letters seem to matter with you, and maybe even individual strokes—like the difference between καλός and κακός.

          • Michael Murray

            Why does Luke get to be #1 evil ? That's not FAIR ! I support sodomy and abortion and deny hell AND gods! That's more evil than Luke. Why can't I be #1 evil ? MUUUUUUUUUM, Nigel won't let me be #1 evil!!!!!

          • you are a common devil worshipper. If you do not Repent, go to h*ll, demon.

            "breuer" pretends to be some form of heretic, but not in any way I can tell. he writes like a mix of an alinskyite / marxist gaslighter and a common gnostic / atheist.

            evil is decay caused by sin. evil acts seek to destroy Good.

            "breuer" had convinced fools he is Christian (I couldn't tell how), and this lets him attack others or make you feel secure in your personal evil.

          • people are being tormented in h*ll by these three things (in order):
            1) shame over knowing you have wronged God and that you will never see Him again.
            2) h*llfire
            3) torture of demons

            it is the Greatest Act of Love by God as it frees us from the wicked. everywhere they go turns into h*ll.

          • God is Perfection, and Perfection is the default. Everything will return to Perfection once the Hierarchy of Grace is filled by formerly fallen Humans.

            sin, division from God, is the only imperfection and it is a doozy. sin is also limited to a certain time because of the capital sin of pride. After the Final Judgement, not only will sin not exist but pride will no longer be possible.

          • michael

            Why can't Raymond say you are hasty? "God works in mysterious ways" is the cliche you are giving here, and no rational person is satisfied by it. Only sheep are.

          • LB: Without doing such groundwork, the criticism @disqus_2hTSc19yhC:disqus is making seems hasty.

            m: Why can't Raymond say you are hasty?

            I was originally claiming that Raymond was being hasty; I'm not sure what the obvious reciprocal criticism is, so I don't know what you're talking about.

            LB: If science had been required to predict the weather out to 10 days with 75% accuracy right from the get-go, what would have happened? The weather is almost certainly child's play compared to the full complexity of good and evil!

            m: "God works in mysterious ways" is the cliche you are giving here, and no rational person is satisfied by it.

            Would you be a bit more specific about what precisely I'm saying refers to the following:

            “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
                call upon him while he is near;
            let the wicked forsake his way,
                and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
            let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
                and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
            For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
                neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
            For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
                so are my ways higher than your ways
                and my thoughts than your thoughts.
            (Isaiah 55:6–9)

            ? I provided a sample option in the quote history; is that it, or at least close enough?

          • michael

            Weren't you saying ramyonc was hasty for dismissing God on the basis of not having the means to understanding him

          • Kind of. My recent reply to @dcleve:disqus over on Secular Outpost is relevant to this. Very briefly, I think it is unfair for physics to be permitted dark energy and dark matter to magically account for all but ~5% of the universe's matter–energy, while Christians must account for 100% of moral/​ethical conundrums right now. Instead, it should be acceptable for Christians to establish beachheads, just like scientists do. Beachheads mean much is left un-conquered, un-explored, and un-explained.

          • Raymond

            All I've asked for is an example of an apparent evil being used by God for good. If you want to call that a beachhead, that's fine.Science has established a lot of things with a high degree of certainty, even though there is a lot that is still murky and poorly defined.If you're saying you can't even provide a beachhead into this discussion, then I'll just declare victory and go on to something else.

          • All I've asked for is an example of an apparent evil being used by God for good.

            I was grossly mistreated by my peers in K–12. Rationality was useless against the cool kids, because they'd just mutually agree on changing reality (in a split second), e.g. via saying that it was opposite-day. Any emotion I expressed was opportunity to mock me. The experience was brutal. But nowadays, I can see that this is how Trump works. I'm rather shocked that others don't understand this social logic, and I conclude that perhaps they have never spent significant portions of time having zero social power, instead getting tossed to and fro on the constantly-changing, socially-defined reality of those in power. The evil I experienced growing up—which almost ended me—taught me to see it more clearly than apparently many people do.

            In short, I was given personal training in seeing the brokenness of the world, as well as clues for how to fight that brokenness. I'm currently leading a Bible study of sorts on how to identify destructive lies that people try to inject into others' minds, or that we are tempted to believe ourselves. (Example 1: "Sticks and stones / may break my bones / but words will never hurt me." Example 2: "He will never change." Example 3: "I will never overcome this weakness.") Why did the brokenness arise in the first place? I have ideas but I won't go into them unless asked.

          • Raymond

            Thank you

          • Phil Tanny

            Very briefly, I think it is unfair for physics to be permitted dark
            energy and dark matter to magically account for all but ~5% of the
            universe's matter–energy, while Christians must account for 100% of
            moral/​ethical conundrums

            Well put! I made essentially the same point on a science forum while talking to a science big shot who works at the Fermi labs. They banned my butt pretty much immediately. :-)

          • Hmm, I wonder how many pseudoscientific cranks use the same discussion tactic, such that it is easy to dismiss you as one of them.

            To be fair, it's ok for your understanding to have gaps if you're making progress. So perhaps the true, underlying objection to Christianity is that it doesn't seem to be making moral or ethical progress—if anything, there appears to be regress, at least if you go by the mainstream media in the West and especially in America.

            Now, how Christians are truly doing compared to all others is a matter I generally don't see discussed well. The conversation is so often tribal, where my side is clearly more righteous! When I point out that [primarily:] Democrats in the latter half of the twentieth century opposed the one source of electrical power which could have appreciably helped avoid pumping CO₂ into the atmosphere and which could have let China and India have plentiful power for industrializing that doesn't fill the air with soot—I get mostly silence. When I point out that the many claims that the laws of physics permit US nuclear power plants to melt down like Chernobyl were anti-scientific—I get mostly silence. So while the Israelites in the OT sometimes acted worse than the surrounding nations, I'm not convinced that is true of Christians in the West.

            But the above paragraph should probably be largely irrelevant to Christians, on the basis that being about as good or a little bit better than those without the power of God is kind of pathetic. Isn't God rather more awesome than that? This would seem to imply that Christians are being rather pathetic, and I believe that is largely the case. But I see no hope from anywhere but Christianity, because the secular world clearly doesn't give a rat's ass about facing hypocrisy and self-righteousness and repentance head-on. Christians and Jews, at least, have a history of being willing to face those things head-on.

          • Raymond

            So you're not even going to try? Meteorologists are working on the weather thing.

          • On what evidential basis do you conclude that I am not actively trying?

          • Raymond

            you haven't offered any examples. Would you please?

          • My reply to @ElizabetBrown:disqus over at Rational Doubts is an example. Note that because of libel from @johnwloftus:disqus, I have restricted myself to five comments per day, there. So if you try to converse with me there, I will have to choose rather judiciously.

          • michael

            "So the problem is not unsolved issues, but lack of solved issues? ". that's the same damn thing dude........

          • WP: List of unsolved problems in physics ⇏ "physics has delivered nothing of value"

    • Jim the Scott

      >Nope. The burden is on the theist. You can't prove a negative. Nice try though.

      The burden of proof is on the accuser and in this case the Atheist is the accuser claiming there can be no good reason for God to allow evil or any particular evil. If you cannot prove it then in principle the problem of evil is a non-starter. As long as it is possible there is a good reason in principle then any theist is justified in appealing to Theistic Skepticism. We need not know the reason.

      >In other words, shut up, Shut Up, SHUT UP!

      Translation: No fair you confess some incomprehensible ineffable concept of divinity(Classic Theism) and not some overly anthropomorphic meta super human with a white beard. I only know how to mock the later & cannot make an informed critique of the former. NO FAIR!

      To bad sonny cry me a river.

      • Raymond

        We can go back and forth about where the burden of proof lies, but the bottom line for me is that I asked for an example of how the agonizing death of a child can have an underlying good, and I haven't gotten an answer.

        And the "shut up shut up" comment is intended to be the theist response to my question. Changing the subject, finger pointing, and "humans can't understand the mind and purpose of God" all boil down to covering your ears and going "la la la la la".

        • Jim the Scott

          >We can go back and forth about where the burden of proof lies, but the bottom line for me is that I asked for an example of how the agonizing death of a child can have an underlying good, and I haven't gotten an answer.

          Well for me unless it can be shown there can't be any underlying good in principle then I don't need to know the specifics as to why this particular evil & what possible underlying good there could be. Of course full discloser I don't believe in Theistic Skepticism. I just thought yer glib dismissal was weak sauce. I hold the the view of all Classic Theists that God is not a moral agent. Ergo He needs a Theodicy like a fish needs a skateboard. Theodicy is for Theistic Personalist or Neo-Theistic views of God that hold God is a moral agent unequivocally comparable to a human moral agent. Since God in the Classic Sense cannot coherently be that then Theodicy is quite unnecessary.

          >And the "shut up shut up" comment is intended to be the theist response to my question. Changing the subject, finger pointing, and "humans can't understand the mind and purpose of God" all boil down to covering your ears and going "la la la la la".

          Rather you Ad Hoc dismiss the idea of ineffable divinity & insist God has to be completely comprehensible. It is not changing the subject it is stating a fact. If God is completely comprehensible then screw the bastard. I wouldn't waste my time or my life worshiping such a limited being. If God is not Ineffable He is not God and not worth the time of day from me.

          You have to offer polemics to the God I believe in not the one you wished I believed in otherwise you beg the question and waste everybody's time.

          • Raymond

            *I* have to offer polemics to the God *YOU* believe in? Actually, I don't. If your train of thought is over there, and my train is over here, and there is no intersection, that's fine. You are in fact wasting my time.

          • Jim the Scott

            >*I* have to offer polemics to the God *YOU* believe in? Actually, I don't.

            Then you doom yourself to never saying a single intelligent thing in your pursuit of anti-religious polemics as all your arguments will del facto devolve into red herrings, non sequiturs and question begging.

            > If your train of thought is over there, and my train is over here, and there is no intersection, that's fine. You are in fact wasting my time.

            No sir you are the one posting impotent and anti-intellectual polemics HERE on this forum. I am not the one going let us say, to a forum run by philosophical Platonic Atheists and started banging on about the incoherency of reductionist materialism while all the while pretending Platonic Atheists and Materialist Atheists are the same thing just because they share the common referent "Atheist". They are not and if I did such an undertaking I would look as foolish as you do now.

            Reasoning and thinking are learned skills. Just because you deny gods doesn't automatically make you rational.

            But hey waste everyone's time. I will enjoy the luz pointing it out.

          • michael

            Believing in something the intellect cannot comprehend doesn't sound like a requirement for saying a single intelligent thing...rather it sounds irrational and counter-intuitive, opposed to the human intellect and in favor of naive submission and sycophancy to the unproven.

          • Jim the Scott

            You are looking at yerself in the mirror when you type this shite right? Because it's not intelligible otherwise.....

          • Faith, the highest form of thought, is the basis of all thought as it is founding oneself in God.

            without that, you have no thinking, and your intellect is blind. As CS Lewis said, you cannot recognize Good or evil because evil destroys your senses.

          • michael

            The Intellect doesn't rely on faith but logic.

          • Logic is the lowest form of though. you put yourself upside down.

          • michael

            Raka! You fool!

          • demon, why do you waste my time?

            Faith is the highest form of thought. Basing oneself in God.

            Reason is the broadest form of thought. blind without Faith.

            Logic, lowest form of thought. Requires the senses.

            you have yet to show any thinking at all.

          • michael

            "A married bachelor cannot exist' isn't something arrived at via observation with the senses said efomr knowing the definitions of the words involved.

          • That would be reason, not logic.

          • michael

            Except for knowing the definitions of the words involved.

          • you do not.

          • michael

            What would it take to convince you to become nonbeliever? Don't say "nothing" since that' would imply you believe for no reason.

          • you are a Creation of God and God owns you. you only live / exist because God is holding you to Him despite you being fallen.

          • michael

            "Well for me unless it can be shown there can't be any underlying good in principle then I don't need to know the specifics as to why this particular evil & what possible underlying good there could be.". That is not critical thinking. That is Ad Hoc, submissive, naive blind faith and sycophancy. it does not show a premise to conclusion chain of logic but presupposition.

          • Jim the Scott

            Wrong!

            It pretty much is all the critical thinking I require for the subject or problem at hand. As long as I understand the laws of aerodynamics and how it keeps a plane in the air it does not follow I also need to know how the engine was built. Unless it can be shown there can't be any underlying good in principle then I don't need to know the specifics as to why this particular evil & what possible underlying good there could be.

            I don't confuse the problem of evil with the mystery of evil unlike some of us.

          • michael

            " Unless it can be shown there can't be any underlying good in principle then I don't need to know the specifics". That's like saying "As long as I don't have proof there are no fairies in my backyard, I will keep on believing in the fairies and you have the burden fo proof against me, not the other way around.". Logicians call that "begging the question.".

          • Jim the Scott

            Actually if you show fairies are logically impossible then there is no reason to ever suspect there are faries in the back yard but in principle if you can't show that well there might be even if you never find one. Bertrand Russell was an Agnostic for a reason. But showing something is logically impossible eliminates any potential for rational belief.

            But then again that is why skeptical theism is limited and I prefer Davies to that solution. Still Skeptical Theism places the burden of proof on the Atheist. It is not question begging. The Atheist can concede there is no logical proof and like Rowe come up with an evidentialist argument from Evil which Brian Davies destroys by showing God is not a moral agent so it's all moot.

          • michael

            Not showing something is impossible is not a reason to suspect it is true. I don't know if the house a few blocks over and across the street has a dog inside, and I don't suspect that there IS'NT a dog in there, but that's no reason for me to suspect there IS a dog inside.

          • Jim the Scott

            Thank you Captain Obvious for that. But again what part of "But then again that is why skeptical theism is limited and I prefer Davies to that solution. Still Skeptical Theism places the burden of proof on the Atheist. It is not question begging. The Atheist can concede there is no logical proof and like Rowe come up with an evidentialist argument from Evil..etc" do ye not understand goober?

          • so you are comparing God to a dog out of novelty, now?

          • michael

            What?

          • Did you not read your own post?

          • michael

            Did you not read Jim's posst that I was responding to?

          • No, I did not.

            I was responding to your post directly, which it is in context of.

          • michael

            Show an evidentialist argument for the "Mystery of Evil" instead of the "Problem of Evil" then.

          • Jim the Scott

            That statement makes no sense? If you want to read about the The Evidential Problem of Evil go read the Atheist Philosopher of Religion William Rowe. You might actually be able to craft some intelligent polemics against Theism if only the false & inferior Theistic personalist versions of it that treat God as a Moral Agent.

          • michael

            Prove that God is above The Law first.

          • Jim the Scott

            No. Not interested. Go read some Rowe you might learn from a proper Atheist thinker rather than idiots with dumb cartoons mocking the lowest common denominator fundamentalism on their boobtoob channel.

          • What Law?

            the law of man? who cares about that?

            Natural Law? God based it on Himself.

            The Law of God? God defines it according to the reality He Created. He makes things that work fundamentally.

          • michael

            Catholics teach God did not create the standard for good and evil but is himself the standard.

          • Good is anything as God created it to be.

            your bad and evil acts are due to you being fallen. "breuer" says you left the Church. you no doubt did so out of sexual sin.

          • michael

            No, I left because the inconsistency of The Bible with itself and the resemblance of Biblical stories to fairy tales in terms of their believability were overwhelming. I was twenty-four at the time and less than 2 months from receiving The Sacrament of Confirmation.

          • So you fornicated or something similar.

          • michael

            No, nothing I said indicates that.

          • sexual sin is usually the case with those like you.

        • That is what you are doing, and by your demon marx you "accuse your enemies of what you are guilty of."

          sin must be answered. when a person is so reprobate as yourself, punishing you will be meaningless as you cannot recognize yourself.

          So instead someone near you is punished in your place. That is why you are afraid of when children suffer as Christ: because it shows you what you deserve. you gladly abort children otherwise.

          • Raymond

            Nigel darling,I have decided that you are a troll and I’m no longer going to feed you. Good luck with all your future endeavors.

          • so you run like a coward. if only you listen.

      • michael

        Why can't saying "There can be a good reason for god to allow evil" (Such as the infinite evil one endless torment) be an accusation too?

        • Jim the Scott

          How is it an accusation? Unless words don't really have any meaning to you and you just need another excuse to equivocate? Geez man you are a nominalist on crak at this point.

          • michael

            Luke was accusing Raymond of begging the question by saying there cannot be a good reason for God to allow evil, which is hypocritical.

          • Jim the Scott

            Luke is a nice guy but he is a Protestant and not a scholastic....so save some of yer yob for the views he holds that I reject. Stop confusing us it is insulting.

    • @disqus_5RaCi55XON:disqus @minaraparobinson:disqus @huskyfaninmass:disqus

      evil is decay caused by sin. you are sinful, and you drench yourself in sin, so you decay into being a walking corpse.

      God does not allow evil, you allow evil.

      as for pain, you hate that because it proves you are not God or a "competitor" to God.

      The only one screaming "shut up" is you to anyone with Virtue because it reminds you what you are.

  • BTS

    It seems Trent wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He writes:
    "...since God is unlimited and perfect being that does not change" and then quotes the catechism to further his point:
    God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God—“the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable”—with our human representations. Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God (42).

    "If we are not to confuse our image of God"...What? Um, how can it possibly get any MORE confusing than 'ungraspable?'

    Given the above descriptions of God, I ask how can we possibly claim to know anything at all about God? For, it seems, to me, playing apologetics with really smart people always descends into a case of word games.

    Those who are better at moving the verbal chess pieces around the board celebrate with a sense of triumphant smugness, but at the end of the day no one is the wiser.

    Horn goes on to say: "Arguments like Peter Atterton’s do serve at least one useful purpose: they show how a confused or incorrect understanding of God can lead to rejecting God."

    To that I would reply: And definitions of God such as the "Ground of Being" serve a useful purpose as well: to make God so utterly ineffable and impersonal as to be unknowable and impractical.

    I come to Strange notions as a struggling Catholic who is unfortunately(?) having his eyes opened and finding the agnostics and atheists on this site to be making the most compelling arguments.

    edit: grammar

    • Given the above descriptions of God, I ask how can we possibly claim to know anything at all about God? For, it seems, to me, playing apologetics with really smart people always descends into a case of word games.

      While I agree with your sentiment, I think rigorous analysis of what constitutes 'knowledge' in science will present a problem for you. The question is simple: what do scientists know is unquestionably true? That is, I want you to describe what they think is truly the case—not an approximation that's close enough in some domains for some purposes. Ostensibly, scientists are building up knowledge, right? Well, show me a piece of that knowledge which will never be overturned or qualified.

      The above thought experiment demonstrates, I think, that what is fully true cannot actually be said! It is paradoxical only if you believe that ultimate reality is finitely complex and we can discover the equation or computer program which perfect specifies it. But what if the creation, following the creator, is infinitely complex? Then perhaps we can only grasp it in an imperfect, approximating, piecewise fashion. So for example: Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality.

      Now, science is modeled after René Descartes' 'clear and distinct idea'. Descartes prioritized syntactic precision over empirical adequacy†. That's fine; we did a great number of excellent things by working with formalisms that purposely screen out almost all the variety of reality. We humans can only learn so much per unit time; we must find some way to make the infinite, finite. But what if we want to have a different way of speaking, where you have empirical adequacy at the expense of syntactic precision? I'm thinking of something like the dialectic of top-down and bottom-up design—although I'd say we generally start in the middle.

      † This isn't quite what I want to say; Nancy Cartwright gets it better in her How the Laws of Physics Lie. I can make a more extended argument based on impoverished mathematical systems which distort phenomena, after the pattern of Robert Rosen's critique in Life Itself. (He rigorously argues that we must supplement differential equations with category theory. But a key function of category theory is to screen out implementation details!)

      Those who are better at moving the verbal chess pieces around the board celebrate with a sense of triumphant smugness, but at the end of the day no one is the wiser.

      Do you think that if there are imperfections in us—the instruments with which we measure reality—then our measurements would manifest those imperfections? And if we extrapolate wildly ("anthropomorphize"), might those imperfections be wildly amplified? By the way, there are at least two kinds of imperfection: contradiction and lack of requisite understandings in requisite detail. Per Grossberg 1999 The Link between Brain Learning, Attention, and Consciousness (partial tutorial), we may never become conscious of phenomena as those phenomena if we don't already have patterns which sufficiently well-fit them. (We may become conscious of component parts, but if the parts make a whole where you have holism/nonseparability issues, then you cannot merely reassemble the parts.)

      This isn't to deny that some people just love moving those chess pieces around. But even that might not be as useless as you think:

          Medieval theologians engaged in a new and unique genre of hypothetical reasoning. In order to expand the logical horizon of God's omnipotence as far as could be, they distinguished between that which is possible or impossible de potentia Dei absoluta as against that which is so de potentia Dei ordinata. This distinction was fleshed out with an incessant search for orders of nature different from ours which are nonetheless logically possible. Leibniz's contraposition of the nécessité logique (founded on the law of noncontradiction) and the nécessité physique (founded on the principle of sufficient reason) has its roots in these Scholastic discussions, and with it the questions about the status of laws of nature in modern philosophies of science. But medieval hypothetical reasoning did not serve future metatheoretical discussions alone. The considerations of counterfactual orders of nature in the Middle Ages actually paved the way for the formulation of laws of nature since Galileo in the following sense: seventeenth-century science articulated some basic laws of nature as counterfactual conditionals that do not describe any natural state but function as heuristic limiting cases to a series of phenomena, for example, the principle of inertia. Medieval schoolmen never did so; their counterfactual yet possible orders of nature were conceived as incommensurable with the actual structure of the universe, incommensurable either in principle or because none of their entities can be given a concrete measure. But in considering them vigorously, the theological imagination prepared for the scientific. This is the theme of my third chapter. (Theology and the Scientific Imagination, 10–11)

      Crazy, eh?

       
      P.S. I'm a Protestant, not a Catholic. :-)

      • BTS

        Luke, I followed your first two paragraphs. You're going to have to dumb the rest down for me. I'm no slouch - I have a graduate degree, 5 years of Latin under my belt, and a *mind-blowing verbal SAT score - but I can't follow your linguistic pyrotechnic display. Or, well, I have confidence that I COULD follow your line, given about 1,000 hours of playing catch-up in a university library first. But I don't have time for that at present. Maybe when I retire in 20-30 years.

        *may be a slight exaggeration for comedic effect

        • Hmm, I was trying to be succinct, not give a verbal pyrotechnic display. What I'm getting at in the third paragraph is that attempts to explain must simplify, as a map simplifies the territory. But that means the map omits a great deal of detail about the territory. This makes a map good for some purposes (like navigation) and terrible for others (such as understanding complex ecological dependencies which occur among constantly-moving animals). There is a precise syntax for topographic maps for example; I still remember making one in eighth grade and getting everything right except for putting the cliff on the wrong side. It is probably because I was focusing so hard on getting the syntax right that I totally screwed up on the semantics. Furthermore, the map I made did not say "there is a cliff on the East side". Instead, it specified an exact cliff, down to the specific contour lines I drew. The verbal description was vague, and so it wasn't a one-to-one correspondence.

          Imagine that a scout comes back and says, "There is a cliff on the East side." It would be wrong to draw a very specific cliff on a topographic map and hand this to a superior officer as an accurate report. What I'm saying is that it is important to have a way of speaking which can tolerate this vagueness, and much more vagueness, and yet still say something. But there is a school of thought which hates on the kinds of diagrams biologists are known for drawing, insisting that everything show up like the physicist's differential equation. I'm pretty sure Descartes belongs to this school of thought. It's a school which cannot deal well with vagueness and the possibility of multiple interpretations. That isn't always wrong—humans hide much deception in vagueness. But sometimes we just don't know with precision and it's wrong to pretend we have more precision than we do.

          Does that help? I can also rework the paragraph talking about us being "the instruments with which we measure reality", if you want. That's one of those matters where I haven't gotten anywhere near the engagement I'd like from atheists. They don't quite want to reason with the possibility that us having moral defects might screw with our moral judgments and moral extrapolations to "omnibenevolence".

    • I come to Strange notions as a struggling Catholic who is unfortunately(?) having his eyes opened and finding the agnostics and atheists on this site to be making the most compelling arguments.

      Be careful. The pattern I repeatedly see with atheists on the internet—and I have argued with them for tens of thousands of hours—is that when the going gets difficult, the atheists get silent. So for example, see my comment on "evidence for God's existence" over at Rational Doubt. I questioned whether their understanding of "evidence" can distinguish between God and Satan. While my other comments got so much play I had to restrict myself to five comments per day on that website, this one has been very carefully ignored. I suggest asking "Why?". Perhaps I'm just an idiot theist as the atheists keep saying (note that no atheist pushed back against @johnwloftus:disqus's comment), or perhaps they have learned that silence can make you seem more knowledgeable and wise than you are. See also Trent Horn's debate with Raphael Lataster; I commented on a part of it.

      If you're going to show problems in atheist's reasoning—or anyone's, really—you have to systematically probe it in a charitable way. I find that few theists are willing to do this and those who do, do not report back on what they've learned in a particularly helpful way to us laypeople. That, or I've not encountered the right people. (John Milbank is a shining counterexample I think, although I don't know how many of those whose ideas he's critiqued would say that he charitably interpreted them.)

      • BTS

        I find that few theists are willing to do this and those who do, do not report back on what they've learned in a particularly helpful way to us laypeople.

        Did you mean theists here? or atheists? I'm confused.

        • Theists in general (time, place, academic or layperson) and Christians in particular (I know little about Islam, a tiny bit more about Judaism, and essentially nothing about other monotheisms).

  • Grimlock

    But it's not Nonsensical Notions, now is it?

  • BTS

    Jeremy, pleased to make your acquaintance.

    Also, I'm not trying to accuse you of lying, but you say in your comment that you're a struggling Catholic, but your profile description calls you an open-minded Skeptic (I tend to assume that Skepticism implies that you're not a theist). Which one is true?

    The above strikes me as a cheap shot. Poisoning the well right out of the gate by using the well-known Ciceronian technique Praeteritio. My profile is accurate. Shall I add "Oh, and by the way, I am not a liar" to my profile?

    Catholics can, and should be, skeptics. If not, we'd all be considering converting to Mormonism, as it has the more recent divine revelation. I was raised Catholic and graduated from a little-known Catholic University in South Bend. A couple years ago I decided to find out what the heck people mean by "just have faith." I went on a quest to find out if I'd be a Catholic had I been raised without religion. Not going too well thus far.

    Furthermore, why does it matter what my profile says?

    To answer your question, I am currently a theist, but I think all religious folk are going to be fairly surprised at what God is really like. That is a charitable way of saying everyone is probably wrong.

    I think Trent's point here was just that the NYT was confusing God by anthropomorphizing him, in the same way that many of the New Atheists and Intelligent Design sympathizers do- turning him into a very strong watchmaker rather than the ground of being itself

    That is exactly what I meant by having his cake and eating it, too. If God is the ground of being, why do the Old and New Testaments spill endless ink telling us we are made in his image and that God walked in the Garden, etc. In that manner, Apologists spend the bulk of their time talking about Jesus, who was, well, a man, I think. This is a Catholic website, is it not? So any argument for God's existence on this site is also an argument, I presume, for the Judeo Christian God? Which means it is an argument for an anthropomorphic creator.

    I would recommend reading some of Dr. Bonnette's posts, as he's better established in Catholic philosophy about God than Trent Horn is- at least, I think so.

    I have read Bonnette's work. I read his entire piece on Strange Notions about Adam and Eve. It was good, but not convincing. If I remember correctly his thesis was that science has not disproven the possibility of a real flesh-and-blood Adam and Eve. I would just add "Yet." Science has not disproven it yet.

    You also recommended that I look deeper. I have. I have found that run-of-the-mill apologists tend to be cherry picking charlatans with weak arguments and disingenuous agendas. The ones like Sean McDowell nauseate me. The more educated ones, as on this site, tend to engage in endless debates involving Thomistic wordplay and torturous philosophical exercises about the meaning of a single word that lead nowhere. Isn't there anything better out there?

    edit: grammar

    • Michael Murray

      You've set yourself on an interesting quest. Should you want atheists to talk to (some of whom are ex Catholics) there are a bunch of people over at

      http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/

      who used to be here but have nearly all been banned.

      • BTS

        Thanks, Michael. I have read some of the posts over at outshine and I need to read more. I do prefer your style of discussion and the posts of say, Sample1 & David Nichols to the somewhat belligerent style over at outshine. I love David Smalley's podcast Dogma Debate and David Johnson and Andrew over at the Still Unbelievable podcast. I also enjoy Bishop Barron's videos but I find his response and reasoning to old testament violence to be substantially lacking.

        edit: grammar

        • Sample1

          Haha, you’re too polite. I definitely modify my behavior here. There are, lately, less drive-bys merely dropping opinion bombs resulting in bombing back. A few of us now having engaged for years. Make no mistake, my candor towards some claims can rise to ridicule and mockery! And does elsewhere, though I seldom leave the SN/OTS venues.

          The New Atheist phenomenon is evolving, since the attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, with the Reason Rally of 2012 (which I attended) perhaps being a turning point for many.

          It’s time to start digging deeper by talking about secular humanism instead of just atheism (a one sentence definition) and other ways of building thriving moral societies based on natural understandings of reality rather than supernatural understandings.

          Mike, excommunicated

        • Mark

          I've listened to many of Smalley's podcasts. It took him forever to get a Catholic on Dogma Debate. He is very good at dismantling theism with the Bible contradictions. Unfortunately that approach never gains much traction with orthodox Catholics. He is a fairish host, I listened to him debate a prot who was using reasoned belief for God. It was horribly long; he admits philosphy is boring to his listeners. I was super pleased to hear he was open minded enough to in theory believe/not deny the logic in the UCC/deist cosmos, but that of course is a far cry from Christ rising from the dead for him. He is very intellectually honest that way. Anyways, the Catholic v Smalley podcast were good. I believe the Catholic was Goomer from the Chasing Foxes podcast, but he declined to give his real credentials. If you haven't listened to the two Catholic v Smalley you should. He did them last Decemberish.

    • Ficino

      Hello, BTS. FWIW I am ex-Catholic, now do not affirm that God exists.

      I spent an enjoyable two weeks at Notre Dame c. 25 years ago working on materials in their medieval institute.

  • BTS

    Hi Jeremy, BTS again. I would like to push back or at least get some clarity on the definition of atheism you are espousing here. I think what you are defining is "hard" atheism. In my recent studies, reading and research most of the atheism I am encountering from modern commentators is "soft" atheism where the 'a' in atheism indicates a lack of evidence. Folks are reviewing the evidence and finding it wanting.

    I think the reason for this is manifold but perhaps a strong factor is the (what I think reasonable) atheist alignment with the scientific method. If atheists claim unflinchingly that there is no god they leave themselves open to arguments they have breached the scientific method. Moreover, they leave themselves more vulnerable to the argument that atheism is a belief system requiring faith. (An argument which I find to be quite off base).

  • Raymond

    Jeremy, you're not reading very carefully. We aren't talking about the problem of evil as an argument for atheism. It's the premise that God allows pain and evil because there is an underlying good purpose for it. This proposition most certainly requires proof from the theist. I'm looking forward to the example that allowing a child to die in extended excruciating pain somehow brings the family closer to God.

    And when the OP says we must "purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect" he is trying to reject out of hand any statements that challenge his concept of God. By putting his hands over his ears.

  • BTS

    I will check out Bentley Hart, thanks. And, begrudgingly, Feser. What little I have read was, er, opaque.

    • Jim (hillclimber)

      If you want a quick and gentle intro to David Bentley Hart, there are about 5 or 6 "ObjectiveBob" youtube videos with him, each about 7 or 8 minutes long. FWIW, I found them all to be very good. Here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS2runp4XcQ

      • Sample1

        Good video and I agree within the scope addressed. Kuhn has a good series of wide ranging interviews with great guests.

        What isn’t discussed, however, is the a priori assumption behind the reasoning that we are somehow entitled to ask a why question and assume it is justified. If science teaches us anything it’s that nature has no obligation to care what humans find important. That’s a hard pill to swallow for many. Is it indicative of our largely human-centered, earth centered, theistic past? Maybe something else?

        As Sean Carroll explains, once, the number of planets was thought to be the most important question of the day hundreds of years ago. Today we don’t place much care upon that question. In a few centuries perhaps some of today’s questions will also be viewed similarly.

        It’s wonderful to find something out. But we mustn’t confuse our vast record of scientific knowledge as an omnipotent sort of method. Likewise, theology and philosophy (and mathematics) shouldn’t presume as true, purely logical arguments without corroborated observable facts.

        I’m willing to accept that some questions may not have answers. As a fallibilist and scientifically literate person, that’s my humble duty.

        Mike, excommunicated

        • Jim (hillclimber)

          the number of planets was thought to be the most important question of the day hundreds of years ago

          Just as a sort of side question, out of curiosity ... when exactly was this considered to be "the most important question of the day"? I'm willing to trust Sean Carroll on matters of physics, but I'm a little more skeptical about his ability to speak authoritatively on intellectual history.

          What isn’t discussed, however, is the a priori assumption behind the reasoning that we are somehow entitled to ask a why question and assume it is justified.

          I think you are on to something important there, though I get off the bus at a different point. I think that every sincerely asked question does indeed betray an implicit faith that the question has some answer, even if we may never know that answer. That is an implicit faith in the intelligibility of reality, a faith that I believe we all share. I agree that we don't know one way or the other whether that faith is ultimately justified, but most people seem to act as if they do have that faith. I think that's an interesting phenomenon to reflect on.

          • Sample1

            Fair enough. I should have clarified that Carroll was referencing this in the time of Kepler for Kepler. Kepler’s question of the day was figuring out the number of planets. Astronomers today don’t really have that same concern like Kepler, there are planets in other solar systems seemingly everywhere now. Big deal. It’s still a big deal but of a different context than Kepler.

            The point being, some questions lose importance over time. This may or may not be the case for the areas of nature that science is progressing only slowly at it or not at all, like origins or consciousness. It could be that in a thousand years these questions will be like Kepler’s questions. No big deal. Or, they may remain as thorns for science. But I do find the stance of not assuming we have any right from nature to know how she works as reasonable.

            Mike, excommunicated

  • BTS

    What isn't reasonable, though, is thinking that we can only find truth via empirical means, which at least some atheists (hard and soft) seem to hold.

    I must admit the truth of this statement above is something with which I am wrestling. The purported supernatural elements of the world have not come knocking on my door yet. What are the other means of which you speak? Thanks.

  • Raymond

    Thank you.

  • Sample1

    Anyone who tables a proposition, incurs the responsibility of explanation or they can be reasonably ignored.

    Counter apologetics isn’t about proving anything. It’s not math. It’s about giving reasons to deny the veracity of certain claims.

    Words don’t have intrinsic meanings. They have usages. As such, it only matters to me that the parties involved for any proposition understand what they mean by certain words.

    Mike, excommunicated

  • Trent Horn, I'd like to express my appreciation for an older discussion about "evidence for God's existence", where you grilled Raphael Lataster:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFaW01dZ7m0&start=3350

    Have there been any further developments in this area? I've been doing my own explorations as to what could possibly constitute "evidence for God's existence" with atheists and so far, I've gotten zero up-take. (most recent attempt, old attempt on SN (update)) This shouldn't be surprising given Modernity's deep philosophical acceptance of the fact/​value dichotomy, but I find it rather curious that atheists won't face this head-on: mere miracle-power cannot distinguish between God and Satan.

    • michael

      For me, I would be convinced agod exists if he ams the universe and instantly gave everybody The Beatific Vision for free.

      • Do you think you would value the Beatific Vision if it were free in that way? After all, ostensibly he gave us everything we have now and you don't seem to value that in anything like the same way.

        • David Nickol

          Do you think you would value the Beatific Vision if it were free in that way?

          The Beatific Vision is unearned (at least by their own merits) by baptized young people who die before the age of reason (according to the Catholic Church). It may even be available (we may hope) to infants who die without baptism (again, according to the Catholic Church). Surely "earning" the ability to look upon the face of God—of the Infinite—wouldn't be shrugged off as unimportant by those who received it as an unmerited gift.

          (Of course, in some sense, everything is an unmerited gift.)

          • There is a difference between earning something and refusing to take it for granted. Is it possible that the Beatific Vision will not be given to those God knows will take it for granted?

        • michael

          Yes would value it. I would not value a creator whose creation has Hell and Ebola and Cholera in it.

          • Yes would value it.

            If you only believe things based on the evidence (feel free to say you don't), then what justifies your "yes"?

            I would not value a creator whose creation has Hell and Ebola and Cholera in it.

            Ok, let's strike Ebola and Cholera. Ostensibly you'd replace them with something else. Let's cut to the chase: what's the maximum amount of 'evil' you think could exist, and have you value the creator thereof?

          • michael

            None.

          • Thanks. @davidnickol:disqus, thoughts on the answer of "None."?

            [Edit: I initially @-ed BGA instead of DN.]

          • michael

            Any other response would've been tantamount to saying "It's OK to do evil os that good may come of it". Pretty much the definition of sin.

          • Ok for whom to do evil? One way to read Adam & Eve's excuses in the garden was to deny their own agency. I often see this one in theological discussions with atheists; God is the only de facto agent. I haven't worked out the logic rigorously, but I think that position is self-defeating, because you can't actually object unless you have agency. But if God never let us do the tiniest bit of evil (I can imagine much worse evil than Ebola), would we be able to understand him and his creation nearly as deeply?

            Stepping up to a more abstract meta-level, I don't think evil would happen if everyone were to take the extreme position you have taken. (I respect you for stating it outright; I don't see that often from atheists/​agnostics/​skeptics.) But others choose differently, and thereby produce a reality with nonzero evil. Incidentally, if you take the problem of other minds seriously, it is completely possible for God to replace reality with a simulation—for them—the instant they decide to harm another human being.

          • michael

            For whom ? God. And yes, Beatific Vision for free we'd logically be able to understand him satisfactorily.

          • Who says God is the one doing the evil?

            As to the Beatific Vision, see what I asked David:

            LB: There is a difference between earning something and refusing to take it for granted. Is it possible that the Beatific Vision will not be given to those God knows will take it for granted?

            I'm suggesting that some choices do not constitute 'work', as in "saved by works". To recognize that God is good—indeed the standard of goodness—and to be thankful to him are choices that I would not characterize as 'works'. Supposing you are taking an incredible amount of goodness for granted; why would a good God give you even more? Wouldn't you just take that for granted, too?

          • michael

            Now I won't understand what you're talking about. You seem to think something has to be earned in order to be appreciated. That is not what I'm saying at all. I believe an all-powerful god granting people The Beatific vision fo free would inevitably hav people appreciate him. Otherwise he would not be all powerful and infinite.

          • LB: As to the Beatific Vision, see what I asked David:

            LB: There is a difference between earning something and refusing to take it for granted. Is it possible that the Beatific Vision will not be given to those God knows will take it for granted?

            m: You seem to think something has to be earned in order to be appreciated.

            Sorry, how do you reason that from what I said to David?

            I believe an all-powerful god granting people The Beatific vision fo free would inevitably hav people appreciate him. Otherwise he would not be all powerful and infinite.

            Infinite power does not let you accomplish contradictions. If you force someone to appreciate, are they truly appreciating of their own free will?

          • michael

            Appreciate means enjoy. You don't need the absence of a mind-control helmet to enjoy something.

          • Can someone choose not to appreciate, such that God cannot force that person to change his/her mind and appreciate? That is, are you permitting 'appreciate' to be something tied to an individual's will?

          • michael

            No, logic says that all events are necessarily predestined according to the fundamental rules of reality. There is only cause and effect, no choice.

          • Would you spell out that logic for me?

          • michael

            It's called "The Principal of Sufficient Reason" and it is the foundational principle of logic. Without it, predictions, inferences, experimentation, and rationality are impossible. Everything, past, present, and future, must be set necessary and set in stone for logic to even have a foundation.

          • Does the PSR set 'cause' ≡ 'reason'?

          • michael

            Of course!

          • Can you show me where this is argued? I've never seen it. Putting aside the PSR, I've frequently seen 'causes' and 'reasons' distinguished, e.g. by Martin Hollis in Models of Man: Philosophical Thoughts on Social Action. I'm not even sure one can make a logical argument for the possibility of science without there being a difference.

          • michael

            That's like asking me to explain why 1+0 MUST equal 1. It simply is self-explanatory. Cause and reason are as identical as "fire" and "flame". They are homonyms. If you reject the fact that everything ist inevitably moving at the hands of necessary fate, THAT is dismissing the possibility of any meaning to logic and science.

          • Ficino

            Cause and reason are as identical as "fire" and "flame". They are homonyms.

            Do you mean, they are synonyms?

            In any case, St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that flame is not convertible with fire. Flame is a species of fire. Not all fire is flame. Super Boethii De Trinitate, 2.4.3 ad 4.

          • If you reject the fact that everything ist inevitably moving at the hands of necessary fate, THAT is dismissing the possibility of any meaning to logic and science.

            I don't see why that is true, and a see a conundrum resulting from the mono-causation / causal monism of "necessary fate" (earlier version of conundrum):

                 (1) Necessary fate is the only causal power.
                 (2) All beliefs are caused by necessary fate.
                 (3) Some beliefs are true, others false.
                 (4) Necessary fate cannot distinguish true from false beliefs.
                 (5) Therefore, truth and falsity of belief is unknowable.

            Anticipating two plausible responses:

            (A) Changing "true" → "more true" and "false" → "less true" does not change the argument.

            (B) It is tempting to say that "I" determine what is true vs. false, but necessary fate does not permit an "I", except as a temporary confluence of chains of causation, none of which originate from "I".

          • michael

            That is untrue. Necessary fate lets me know 2+2 is 4, and that fairies don't exist, and that the talking ant in the Quran never existed, etc.

          • If I say 2 + 2 = 5, then "necessary fate" caused me to say it, right?

          • michael

            Exactly. HTis is the fundamental principle of logic.

          • So how do you tell when "necessary fate" is causing you to believe true things and when "necessary fate" is causing you to believe false things?

          • michael

            Research, critical thinking, math, evidence, understanding of fallacies such as "Argumentum Ad Populum", CONSISTENCY, etc. You don't need a god to tell you that it's silly to believe in fairies or Santa Claus, do you, Luke?

          • You appear to be ignoring the force of the conundrum. You can't distinguish between the true beliefs "necessary fate" causes and the false beliefs that "necessary fate" causes, unless you have something other than "necessary fate" which is causally active in a different way for true beliefs than it is for false beliefs. Many appear to associate that causal power with Descartes' "I".

          • michael

            I exist because of necessary fate.

          • If necessary fate is the only true causal power, "I" is epiphenomenal.

          • michael

            Everything is a chain reaction tracing back ot tThe Big Bang. there is nothing that gets "set to random" as free will would require.

          • Free will actually requires something other than randomness; the point of randomness is merely that scientists cannot assert, with scientific confidence, that an impersonal determinism is the only way to understand the evidence. So you seem to be presenting a philosophical argument here, not a scientific one. Would you agree?

          • michael

            I am presenting logic. Free will by definition is UNCAUSED volition that could go anywhere, contradicting the logical fact that all events are necessary and inevitable, which is itself fundamental to logic.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Why don't you take a look at this before proceeding?

            https://strangenotions.com/how-human-free-will-harmonizes-with-sufficient-reason/

          • michael

            Seen that. The article proves nothing, it just claims God setting things to "random" doesn't break the chain of sufficient causation, and ends with "This is complicated, just accept it on faith".

          • I simply reject that definition of 'free will'. There is another kind which is (i) more realistic from an intuitive perspective; (ii) perfectly sensible from our best understanding of physical law. It works by focusing on where the forces of nature cancel, such as unstable Lagrangian points where the forces of massive bodies cause a gravitational null. When a satellite passes through such a point with the right trajectory, an infinitesimal impulse can send it on radically different trajectories. The Interplanetary Transport Network depends on this mechanism and it allows micro satellites with very little fuel to navigate the solar system. I know one of the inventors. So all you have to do is imagine brain states going through the equivalent of unstable Lagrangian points, where the forces cancel such that an infinitesimal push can choose between radically different trajectories.

            I call the above a "small Δv model of free will", although technically it's a "dv model of free will". It is fully permitted by the laws of nature as currently understood by physics and it makes sense of the fact that people don't routinely make choices which completely reverse their trajectory. Those of us with any awareness know that much of life is reaction, not action. But one can still change things if one can chart the unstable Lagrangian points and calculate trajectories.

            The statement that "all events are necessary and inevitable" is rendered rather meaningless if part of the necessity flows from free agents. All you have to do is question whether all causation is mechanical or to be more technical, nomological. See, the mechanists have usurped the term 'determinism', which helps explain why @Geena_Safire:disqus coined the term 'hyperdeterministic'.

          • michael

            That is still cause and effect, not free will.

          • Mere "cause and effect" does not tell you that only one source of causation exists. There's no reason you cannot have multiple agents all causing, whereby they are not merely puppets of some … impersonal machine.

          • michael

            Everything is just dominoes tracing back to the beginning of time. To have any alternative breaks the chain of causation by having random event occur somewhere along the middle of the chain, which is what Strange Notions article on The Principle of Sufficient reason says happens.

          • What's wrong with agents choosing courses of action in time, for reasons? That isn't a "random event".

          • michael

            If it's not a random event, it is determined by a prior cause and thus not free will.

          • m: Free will by definition is UNCAUSED volition

            LB: I simply reject that definition of 'free will'. There is another kind which is (i) more realistic from an intuitive perspective; (ii) perfectly sensible from our best understanding of physical law.

            m: If it's not a random event, it is determined by a prior cause and thus not free will.

            I still disagree with your understanding of 'free will'. One of my free will actions is not uncaused, it is caused by me. This is different from it being caused by the laws of nature or caused by God.

          • michael

            And something prior to you unavoidably caused you to do that. We're all dominoes moving at the hands of fate. if you were not indoctrinated to say otherwise, you'd acknowledge this obvious truth.

          • And something prior to you unavoidably caused you to do that.

            I don't see how the PSR requires this. It requires there to be an explanation, not for something like the Big Bang (guided by a clockmaker god) to be the explanation.

            if you were not indoctrinated to say otherwise, you'd acknowledge this obvious truth.

            If I were not raised by humans, I wouldn't say much at all. :-D

          • michael

            The reasons DETERMINE the outcome of the choice.

          • You didn't answer my question. You speak as if a reason can't be mine. That's ludicrous; you couldn't even reason yourself if you really believed that.

          • michael

            If it were only yours, it would'nt be part of the chain of cause and effect running back down ot the first cause. Simple as that.

          • Why must there be a single cause—"the first cause"? Why can't there be multiple causes, spread throughout time?

          • michael

            Then not everything would be billiard balls moving at the hands of necessity. That'd make universe random, therefore making logic, predictions, and inferences useless. You would;d'nt be able to say with certainty "Of course some planet with winged rainbow hippopotamuses popping in and out of existence does'nt exist". You'd have to say "The universe is unpredictable, so there may be such a place.".

          • There are at least two suppressed premises to your argument:

                 (1) multiple agents acting will be in no way synchronized
                 (2) unsynchronized agents will have arbitrary causal power

            Why ought I accept either?

            By the way, you appear to be advocating 'superdeterminism'; from Wikipedia:

            The implications of superdeterminism, if it is true, would bring into question the value of science itself by destroying falsifiability, as Anton Zeilinger has commented:

            [W]e always implicitly assume the freedom of the experimentalist... This fundamental assumption is essential to doing science. If this were not true, then, I suggest, it would make no sense at all to ask nature questions in an experiment, since then nature could determine what our questions are, and that could guide our questions such that we arrive at a false picture of nature.[6]

            (WP: Superdeterminism)

          • michael

            Without determinism, there is no guide to truth in the first place, since events can happen randomly without necessity. And I don't get what you mean by 1 and 2.

          • LB: Why must there be a single cause—"the first cause"? Why can't there be multiple causes, spread throughout time?

            m: Then not everything would be billiard balls moving at the hands of necessity. That'd make universe random, therefore making logic, predictions, and inferences useless.

            LB: There are at least two suppressed premises to your argument:

                 (1) multiple agents acting will be in no way synchronized
                 (2) unsynchronized agents will have arbitrary causal power

            Why ought I accept either?

            m: And I don't get what you mean by 1 and 2.

            Do you not understand that your claim of 'random' does not immediately follow from "multiple causes spread out in time"? You have to assume something about those multiple causes; I provided you with two plausible assumptions.

            Without determinism, there is no guide to truth in the first place, since events can happen randomly without necessity.

            You appear to be constructing a false dichotomy, between there being one single cause that is comprehensible and anything else being utterly and completely chaotic.

          • michael

            Both options break the chain of causation from the necessary, making them non-necessary, which means they just magically happen at random.

          • Epistemologically, there is no difference between:

            (1) Finding that initial conditions or laws of time-evolution are different than you thought.
            (2) Discovering and characterizing chains of causation initiating in time.

            In both cases, what you thought was the case ends up not being the case and you have to figure out what is the case. If (2) are caused by beings with stable character, they aren't going to be 100% random; they are going to have patterns which can be be explored.

          • michael

            Yes, and free will does'nt line up with 2.

          • Why not?

          • David Nickol

            Do you believe in unconscious motivations? If a person makes a damaging choice based on unconscious factors unknown to him- or herself, is that choice freely made? Is the person morally responsible for the consequences?

          • I'd say there is a big difference between:

                 (1) I premeditated to do X
                 (2) I could reasonable have known I could do X
                 (3) my physical body did X

            I do think we have to take responsibility for (3), if no other human properly has responsibility. But Western law is well-acquainted with the difference between premeditation, gross negligence, and unintentionally causing damage. Roughly, that seems to be the difference between murder in the first, second, and third degree. Some error is lack of enough good intention, such as killing someone when drunk driving.

            Scripturally, I like the juxtaposition of Ex 20:4–6 and Ezek 18. On the one hand God visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and forth generation [of those who hate God], and on the other hand, "the soul who sins shall die". I think we have a lot of evidence that some sinful behaviors—such as child abuse—can be passed down from generation to generation, such that your question becomes relevant. The moral responsibility in this case is not for premeditating to abuse, but for undergoing the painful purging process of the abusive spirit. These are very different kinds of responsibility.

            Does that provide anything like the answer you were looking for? It's a rather complex topic and I've only scratched the surface. An old pastor, who is back to being a lawyer, recently did some legal work for the insanity defense. He said that changing conceptions of personhood and choice required a major update to how we think about insanity and law. I could ask him for his work if you're interested.

          • michael

            We're all billiard balls rolling along at the hands of Necessity. True free will as defined by the Catholic church is choices that are totally uncaused except by the self. But the self didn't exist as the very first cause, so it must be a part of a domino chain, therefore, choices must be deterministic.

          • … so it must be a part of a domino chain …

            You have constructed no convincing argument whereby this is required for intelligibility. I attempted to give you some help. So for example, let us assume causal pluralism—multiple first causes. If one combines that with one of:

            LB: There are at least two suppressed premises to your argument:

                 (1) multiple agents acting will be in no way synchronized
                 (2) unsynchronized agents will have arbitrary causal power

            —then one does indeed get unintelligibility. So I have founded suppressed premises which yield your results, rather like Alvin Plantinga did in the first phase of his free will defense, in his book The Nature of Necessity. But I have rejected both (1) and (2): "Why ought I accept either?" So you are left without an argument for why your "it must be …". Where is the argument? At this point, you ought to be able to lay out all the premises, the intermediate steps, and the conclusion—all tied together with rigorous logic. Please provide that thing, or explain why it is unreasonable to expect you to provide such a thing.

          • michael

            The lone alternative to determinism is Brute Fact. Otherwise choosing one thing over another just...poof, happens by sheer magic. There isn't a middle ground.

          • michael

            There is'nt a middle ground, no next option. Simple as that. there is no further detail to explain.

          • Assertions are not arguments.

          • michael

            That's like saying "A right angle cannot be curved" is just an assertion. You know that.

          • In your current case, the contradiction can be demonstrated clearly. I don't see how you can do it clearly in the earlier case. It might be obvious to you, but if you want to convince me you'll have to explain how it is obvious.

          • michael

            Because they are polar opposites. Causelessness and being determined don't have a middle ground between them for things that did'nt always exist.

          • Why does that only apply to "things that did'nt always exist"? If it doesn't have to be true of God, why does it have to be true for us? If you just say, "Because God is God", I'll reject that answer out-of-hand.

          • michael

            It can't happen for something created, because Otherwise it'd break the chain of causation and plus the created thing would have to exist prior to itself. Something primordial would be self-explanatory the way "A curved right angle cannot exist" is self-explanatory.

          • So an omnipotent being cannot break chains of causation? An omnipotent being cannot, in any way, set a created being "free"?

            As to said "self-explanatory", I disagree: you can derive a formal contradiction and that is nothing like the same as "self-explanatory". In my experience, most uses of "intuitive" or "self-explanatory" or "obvious" in these contexts are lack of imagination of the person making the argument and don't hold logically. And yet, you're trying to make this entire argument based on logic.

          • michael

            Breaking the chain of causation leads to brute fact, so no, he could not.

          • Ok, let's talk about this "brute fact" thing. Is God a brute fact? Let's recall what you wrote earlier:

            m: The lone alternative to determinism is Brute Fact. Otherwise choosing one thing over another just...poof, happens by sheer magic. There isn't a middle ground.

            +

            m: Free will requires brute facts.

            Do you believe God has free will? (I'm guessing Aquinas says he does have free will, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. You're clearly willing to appeal to Aquinas when he supports your position; I'm not sure to what extent you do that very selectively.)

          • michael

            If a god existed said god would not be able to choose any more than a right angle can choose to be curved and still be a right angle at the same time. I thought a made that clear. So no.

          • Would God be a brute fact, if God existed?

          • michael

            No, he'd be self-explanatory, existing as necessary fate. Didn't I already tell you that?

          • I'm not sure I understand what 'self-explanatory' means. I know it's a term that Thomists throw around, but you've shown that you are happy to pick and choose from Thomism—for example, you deny that God is free while they and Thomas affirmed that. So, how would you explain 'self-explanatory'?

          • michael

            Like I said, self-explanatory is something that is necessarily true, such as "If C is bigger than A and B is smaller than A, then C must be bigger than both A and B", "A married bachelor cannot exist" A curved right angle cannot exist" "A spherical cube is impossible" "The square root of 144 cannot be anything other than 12" "2+2=4 because 2+2=4" etc.

          • So … 'self-explanatory' ≈ 'mathematics'? But which mathematics? Gödel's incompleteness theorems may give you some issues.

          • michael

            Not necessarily mathematical facts, but things that are impossible not to be true, impossible not to exist.

          • What could not fail to be true / exist and yet does not fall under 'mathematics'?

          • michael

            Anything primordial, such as a god, or inanimate First Cause, whatever that may be.

          • I'm sorry, but I don't see how this expands past 'mathematics'. It's like you're moving the undefined parts over to new words, but they're just as undefined. You know the devil loves unarticulated details, right?

          • michael

            You realize the church teaches Good exists by necessity, right? Since he is "usbistent being itself" and that "being nothing" is self-contradictory? & things like a psehrical cube or a married bachelor aren't math.

          • You seem quite willing to pick and choose what the church teaches, and I have discerned no pattern in it. (Also, I'm a Protestant and have not done the groundwork to know what the RCC teaches to any comprehensive extent.)

            I have very little sense of what 'Being' is, nor 'being'. You have merely confused me with "spherical cube" and "married bachelor"; how are those possibly relevant to this discussion? Surely you aren't saying that God somehow is all (or some, or any) contradictions?

          • David Nickol

            You have merely confused me with "spherical cube" and "married bachelor"; how are those possibly relevant to this discussion?

            It has been a long time since I went to Catholic school, and while I don't remember anything about a "married cube," I do believe "spherical bachelor" is a reference to an obscure figure identified in the Christmas carol Silent Night as "Round John Virgin."

            Hope that helps.

          • michael

            No, married bachelor and spherical cube are things that are self-contradictory and therefore impossible.

          • You are indeed helpful—as usual! I will have to track down this "married cube".

          • michael

            No, I am saying that what is necessary possible and impossible predetermines EVERYTHING that will ever happen. We're all just a chain reaction moving along at the hands of fate. Anything that happens happens because it necessarily must have happened, anything that does not happen doe into happen because it is impossible. There is no free will. Only Fate.

          • I realize that these are your claims; they just don't appear to be supported by arguments. At best, you appear to have an ungrounded prejudice against creatio ex nihilo. Claude Tresmontant explores this prejudice in A Study of Hebrew Thought, largely drawing on Bergson. The ancient Greeks, it appears, very much agreed with your stance. Timeless universal truths are what matters most; any sort of change is a "fall" and creatio ex nihilo is the most extreme form of change. Tresmontant argues that the ancient Hebrews and Christians took a very different stance, valuing newness and change and time. This could have made all the difference in the world to humanity and the very idea of 'Progress', not to mention a whole host of other things.

            Your stance here seems to be anti-YHWH, and I think that shows up by your cafeteria-style picking-and-choosing from philosophy (and perhaps theology) accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. Your stance is also anti-Genesis 1:28, that under-appreciated command to be like YHWH, a command of which the serpent made a mockery by offering A&E a shortcut which in truth led to a life of bondage to cycles and decay. Your talk of being bound to fate seems like … exactly that kind of bondage. Reminds me of George Herbert's A Dialogue-Anthem:

                                          Christian, Death

            Chr.   ALAS, poor Death ! where is thy glory ?          Where is thy famous force, thy ancient sting ?Dea.   Alas, poor mortal, void of story !          Go spell and read how I have killed thy King.Chr.   Poor Death ! and who was hurt thereby ?          Thy curse being laid on Him makes thee accurst.Dea.   Let losers talk, yet thou shalt die ;          These arms shall crush thee.Chr.                                           Spare not, do thy worst.

                      I shall be one day better than before ;          Thou so much worse, that thou shalt be no more.

          • michael

            A comments atheist criticism is that nonbeleif in a supernatural savior and a afterlife actually SPURS US ON to take matter into our own hands.

          • That might be the claim, but is it the reality? You would probably have to distinguish between kinds of atheism and kinds of religion. For example, what about this kind of religion:

            And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

            ? When Israel got rich and decided to sit on its duff instead of being a blessing to the nations, was YHWH happy with that? If YHWH is big on creatio ex nihilo and if we are created in YHWH's image, then what would it mean to act according to our nature?

          • michael

            I don't see how that is a valid objection to my point.

          • You offered an assertion, not an argument. I countered the assertion with the start of an argument.

          • Ficino

            Luke, I criticized you some years ago, and we "danced," as they say. But since then, it still eludes me, what your point is. If you seek to exhort us all to virtue, to more responsible stewardship of our threatened planet and to care of each other, why not just do that? If you want to prove the truth of propositions about God, why not just try to do that? As it is, you offer objections and pose deep questions to things that lots of people say, but the end game remains obscure. Where do you want to go with your combox project in general? Do you want us all to be liberal Christians? I am sorry, I just don't fathom your game.

          • I don't have the kind of agenda so many assume. I'm actually out to understand others as well as try to explain what I think and see how it fares among those willing & able to be quite critical. I spend a while trying to answer your questions below; as usual you are welcome to ask clarifying questions.

            If you seek to exhort us all to virtue, to more responsible stewardship of our threatened planet and to care of each other, why not just do that?

            Because what people think is possible in this domain depends on what they believe more deeply. How much people are willing to suffer to get to a better state is entirely dependent on belief/​trust, as far as I can tell. If the suffering can be made intelligible, I suspect more will be willing to go through it. On the other hand, there is a question of how many people really want to be safe and secure themselves, and so much for the rest of the world if it costs very much to do well by then.

            If you want to prove the truth of propositions about God, why not just try to do that?

            I believe God is far too practical for that to work. Plato and the Gnostics thought that the way to God was through thought, escaping from matter. Speech of "propositions about God" seem very close to the 'secret knowledge' of Gnostics and probably Plato's "contemplation of the Form of the Good"—which was nigh restricted to philosopher[-king]s. God as I understand so loves matter that Jesus took on flesh as a dual nature to divinity. This was offensive to the Greeks on account of the enfleshment and offensive to the Jews on account of the anthropomorphizing. God is rather … safer when far off.

            Where do you want to go with your combox project in general?

            Believe it or not, I don't have a comprehensive agenda. I have many topics I'm interested in, both to learn how others understand them and to see how well I can understand and intelligibly explain them. For example, the definition of 'evidence' in "Where's the evidence for the existence of God?" has my attention, these days. I suspect that word 'evidence' is being construed exclusively on the 'fact' side of the fact/​value dichotomy, which means it can only really be miracle power, of the kind the Bible says Satan can do. I worry that the same definition of 'evidence' yields an affirmation or at least inability to escape, the unironic form of "Might makes right." This is an example of God being practical: inability to distinguish between God and Satan is accompanied by inability to thwart power.

            More generally, I think we 21st century [post-]moderns are confused about a great many things and I think this confusion is to the advantage of the wealthy and powerful. If we blame religion (or lack thereof) for problems when it is at most a minor cause, it distracts and enfeebles us. If we blame all religion when only some [remotely orthodox] religion is a problem, that is also anti-scientific. Worst of all, whining and complaining is antithetical to the fulfillment of Genesis 1:28; wanting things to be done for you is so often dehumanizing to you. But this is me believing humans were meant for great things—including the currently un-housed, abused, drug addicts, etc.

            Do you want us all to be liberal Christians?

            Nobody who knows me well considers me a liberal Christian; for one I take sin absolutely seriously. Just look at the opioid epidemic and tell me that the rich and powerful are without sin. But I see sin as rather more insidious than many Christians seem to think; there is plenty of banality and plenty of downright pathetic imagination that yields a mere desire for safety and security, as if that's all life is about.

            Furthermore, I suspect there is untold amount of power and goodness and beauty God wants to give us, except that we are using what we already have so utterly abysmally. I see God as utterly frustrated with us and how piddling we insist on being. What can he do? Well that is the crux of many of the discussions I have, where people think he should just wave his omni-wand or should have created things differently from the get-go. Sadly, this is so often a refusal to act, or an excuse for acting in ways I see as distinctly sub-optimal. So one thing I do is explore why people think omnipotence should work the way they say.

          • Ficino

            OK, thank you for explaining.

            Just look at the opioid epidemic and tell me that the rich and powerful are without sin.

            The above seems like something a liberal Christian could say.

          • You're welcome. I don't need to reject something because it's "something a liberal Christian could say". Indeed, we seem to have recapitulated the need for the following:

            For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:1–6)

            —but along different lines than Gentile / Jew. As far as I can tell, disbelief in God truly acting in the world leads to vastly lowered expectations and humans taking justice (or vengeance, e.g. bombing the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory) into their own hands—for God ain't actin'. I think God wants rather more than everyone to get a white picket fence (as if current population would permit that). If that's all we're really aiming for, might God ensure we can't hit that goal?

            The group at Babel may well have been McEars, with pathetic imaginations where the only option was to force a splintering lest that group remain forever pathetic. I suspect such a splintering happened to Christianity—multiple times. Christians' focus on doctrine makes such splintering more visible, but there are reasons to question to what extent the splintering was over doctrine vs. other matters (e.g. church governance, how much emphasis will be put on the poor).

          • michael

            Are you saying disbelief in an afterlife does not spur people to action? That was my point.

          • michael

            Logic dictates that if they have patterns which are not random and can be explored, the patterns either must be primordial and necessary, or need a prior cause tracing back in a domino chain to the primordial, fundamental nature of reality, or else they would be brute facts. Aquinas said if something within time was its own cause, it would have exist prior to itself, "which is impossible".
            Your description of free will in (2) would require totally autonomous created beings within time to cause be their own cause for their choices, thus creating the impossibility Aquinas ironically condemned. Free will requires brute facts. If you had not been indoctrinated to say otherwise, you'd acknowledge this without a second thought as logically obvious.

          • Logic dictates that if they have patterns which are not random and can be explored, the patterns either must be primordial and necessary, or need a prior cause tracing back in a domino chain to the primordial, fundamental nature of reality, or else they would be brute facts.

            So the character of any given agent is a "brute fact". So what?

            Aquinas said if something within time was its own cause, it would have exist prior to itself, "which is impossible".

            God cannot cause something to exist which is in a key sense, independent from God? That is, not just a robot created by God.

            Your description of free will in (2) would require totally autonomous created beings within time to cause be their own cause for their choices, thus creating the impossibility Aquinas ironically condemned.

            You will have to show me that Aquinas actually condemned what I'm talking about. Feel free to enlist the help of e.g. Dr. Bonnette.

            If you had not been indoctrinated to say otherwise, you'd acknowledge this without a second thought as logically obvious.

            Feel free to construct a logical argument to this effect, replete with axioms, rules of inference, intermediate steps, and conclusion(s). I will pay more attention to your claim here if & when you do this.

          • michael

            Quoted from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: "For our purposes, let us focus on one of Thomas’ five ways (ST Ia. q. 2, a. 3), the second way. Here is Thomas’ text (note that numbers have been inserted in the following text, corresponding to premises in the detailed formulation of the second way that follows):
            The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. [(1)] In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. [(3)] There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible."

          • But God isn't the efficient cause of himself, nor would any other agent be the efficient cause of himself/​herself/​itself.

          • michael

            I view the primordial first cause as the cause of itself in the same sense that 2+2= 4 and not 5 is self-explanatory.

          • I view the primordial first cause as the cause of itself in the same sense that 2+2= 4 and not 5 is self-explanatory.

            Someone's never encountered Principia Mathematica, nor Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

          • Ficino

            I don't remember where on SN we were talking about the ancient conception of number. As I recall, you quoted Klein to the effect that the ancient Greeks (and Romans?) always considered a number to be the number of something: of horses in the field, or whatever. I quoted a couple of passages from Aristotle, which I already can't find now in my notes! Anyway, I came across this:

            Arist. Phys. IV.11 219b6-7: "Number is in two ways (for we call "number" both that which is being counted and is countable and that by which we count)." [edited to take out Greek that stood here at first.] Aquinas in his commentary ad loc. exemplifies the first sense as ten men or ten horses, a number applied to things counted. The second way is the number by which we number or count things, "that is, number itself accepted absolutely, as two, three, four." This latter sense seems a counterexample to what I took to be Klein's insistence that in antiquity, number was always “of” something and not absolute.

            As I said before - not proposing to develop a discussion of ancient views about number, just throwing this passage out there.

          • I don't remember where on SN we were talking about the ancient conception of number.

            here

            As I recall, you quoted Klein to the effect that the ancient Greeks (and Romans?) always considered a number to be the number of something: of horses in the field, or whatever.

            I wrote the following:

            LB: Before modernity, "two" was always "two of something". There was no naked "two".

            I subsequently clarified with an excerpt of Jacob Klein which started this way: "But symbols are in themselves a great problem. They didn’t exist for the Greeks, at least not in the same way they exist for us."

            Phys. IV.11 219b6-7 ἀριθμός ἐστι διχῶς (καὶ γὰρ τὸ ἀριθμούμενον καὶ τὸ ἀριθμητὸν ἀριθμὸν λέγομεν, καὶ ᾧ ἀριθμοῦμεν). Number is in two ways (for we call "number" both that which is being counted and is countable and that by which we count). Aquinas in his commentary ad loc. exemplifies the first sense as ten men or ten horses, a number applied to things counted. The second way is the number by which we number or count things, "that is, number itself accepted absolutely, as two, three, four." This latter sense seems a counterexample to what I took to be Klein's insistence that in antiquity, number was always “of” something and not absolute.

            Burt C. Hopkins has relevant material on the Aristotle side in chapter twenty of The Origin of the Logic of Symbolic Mathematics. A snippet:

                Klein articulates two interrelated aspects of Aristotle’s critique. On the one hand, it contains an argument against the Platonic view of the mode of being proper to ἀριθμός as independent of the objects of which it is the ἀριθμός, as having a generic unity, and as being something that is a κοινόν, something that is a whole above and alongside of the parts—namely, the definite amounts of units—of which it is the whole. On the other hand, it determines the mode of being of mathematical objects, especially of pure ἀριθμοί, by abstraction (ἐξ ἀφαιρέσεως) from the objects of sense. From this it follows that the former objects are separable but not detached from the latter, that the unity of ἀριθμός derives from the unity possessed by each object insofar as it is the measure of the count in question, and that the demarcation of one ἀριθμός from another is comprehended only with respect to objects that are actually counted. Klein maintains that Aristotle’s critique eliminates the ontological obstacles—posed by the Platonic notion of the monad’s indivisibility—that stand in the way of the realization of a theoretical logistic and thus prepares the way for its realization in the arithmetical textbook of Diophantus. (226–27)

            The view of Aristotle here sounds very similar to his insistence that Forms do not exist apart from substances, unlike Plato. So there is no full detachment of numbers (ἀριθμοί) from things. As to the Aquinas, I had trouble finding the text to which you're referring—could you give me a citation?

          • Ficino

            The Aquinas citation is from his Commentary on the Physics book IV, lectio 17, C581. You should be able to get it via this link (scroll down to 581):

            https://dhspriory.org/thomas/Physics4.htm#17

          • Thanks! For future reference, here is a larger excerpt:

            … On the other hand, when we do perceive a 'before' and an 'after', then we say that there is time. For time is just this—number of motion in respect of 'before' and 'after'. Hence time is not movement, but only movement in so far as it admits of enumeration.

            A proof of this: we discriminate the more or the less by number, but more or less movement by time. Time then is a kind of number.

            (Number, we must note, is used in two senses—both of what is counted or the countable and also of that with which we count. Time obviously is what is counted, not that with which we count: there are different kinds of thing.)

            580. Then [409] he shows what aspect of motion time is, and says that it is “the number of motion.” … But when we discern a “before” and “after” and count them, then we say that time is produced. This is so because time is nothing less than “the numbering of motion according to before and after”: for we perceive time, as was said, when we count the “before and after” of motion. it is clear there fore that time is not motion, but accompanies motions inasmuch as it is counted. Hence time is the number of motion.

            581. Then [410] he clarifies the aforesaid definition in two ways, and first by a sign. Now that which is a standard of judging something to be more and less is a number of it. But the standard for judging whether a motion is greater or smaller is time. Therefore, time is a number.

            Secondly, [411] he makes clearer what has been stated by distinguishing number, saying there are two. First there is that which is actually numbered which can be, as when we say ten men or 100 horses, and this is called “number numbered,” because it is a number applied to the things that are numbered. Then there is the number by which we count, i.e., number considered absolutely, such as two, three, four [the counting numbers]. Now time is not a counting number; otherwise the number of anything would be time; rather it is a number numbered, because it is the number of before and after in motion that we call “time,” or else the things that are counted before and after.

            Therefore, although number is discrete quantity, time is nevertheless a continuous quantity on account of the thing counted, just as ten measures of cloth is a continuous quantity, even though ten is a discrete quantity. (Aquinas on Physics, book IV, Lecture 17)

            As far as I can tell, this is consistent with Klein's "But symbols are in themselves a great problem. They didn’t exist for the Greeks, at least not in the same way they exist for us." Aquinas is tying numbers to reality; they cannot yet be purely symbols.

          • michael

            To believe in free will is to believe in Brute Fact. Simple inference as that.

          • Then how do you explain the "contingent … the judgment of reason may follow opposite courses, and is not determinate to one" in the below?

            Article 1. Whether man has free-will?

            I answer that, Man has free-will: otherwise counsels, exhortations, commands, prohibitions, rewards, and punishments would be in vain. In order to make this evident, we must observe that some things act without judgment; as a stone moves downwards; and in like manner all things which lack knowledge. And some act from judgment, but not a free judgment; as brute animals. For the sheep, seeing the wolf, judges it a thing to be shunned, from a natural and not a free judgment, because it judges, not from reason, but from natural instinct. And the same thing is to be said of any judgment of brute animals. But man acts from judgment, because by his apprehensive power he judges that something should be avoided or sought. But because this judgment, in the case of some particular act, is not from a natural instinct, but from some act of comparison in the reason, therefore he acts from free judgment and retains the power of being inclined to various things. For reason in contingent matters may follow opposite courses, as we see in dialectic syllogisms and rhetorical arguments. Now particular operations are contingent, and therefore in such matters the judgment of reason may follow opposite courses, and is not determinate to one. And forasmuch as man is rational is it necessary that man have a free-will. (Summa Theologiae: Question 83. Free-will)

            I don't really know what you mean by "brute fact", other than "something other than necessity". But then surely grace and mercy are brute facts, since they violate necessity.

          • michael

            Only judgements based on misinformation or sale perspectives, such as "the sun moves around the earth" or "The sky is a solid dome above the sea and earth" may follow opposite courses.

          • I see no reason to believe your "only".

          • michael

            Grace is a christian concept I don't believe in. Mercy is caused by feeling sorry for a guilty person and letting that sorry override the rational drive to punish that person.

          • michael

            Not ehcaracter of all augments are necessity, such as "A married bachelor cannot exist because that' by it's fundamental nature is self-contradictory and impossible.

          • David Nickol

            Do Catholics or other Christians who believe in Original Sin believe that it was inevitable that Adam and Eve would sin? I don't think so. If the evil in the world is blamed on the sin of Adam and Eve, then what would the world be like if they had used their free will to make the right choice? It seems to me that the belief of Christianity is that God did create a perfect world, and if Adam and Eve hadn't ruined it, we'd be living in a world without cancer and ebola.

            The belief that Original Sin brought evil (and death) into the world is, in my opinion, untenable. Cancer and ebola (or in any case, disease) preceded Adam and Eve no matter how far back in human ancestry they are imagined to be. Cancer has been found in fossilized dinosaurs, for example.

          • Jim the Scott

            St, Augustine believed predator animals in Eden hunted and killed prey. So cancer existing in dinosaurs is unremarkable. Material evil exists as a consequence of God creating a material world and animals are purely material beings. The death brought by sin pertains to humans. Now granted some eastern Fathers held the ideal view even the Lion in Eden ate grass & was immortal but to be reasonable even the plants they ate had to die as a result of them being eaten.

            > It seems to me that the belief of Christianity is that God did create a perfect world, and if Adam and Eve hadn't ruined it, we'd be living in a world without cancer and ebola.

            Yes but God was not obligated to give Adam and Eve original grace nor keep them from loosing it for all humanity nor redeem mankind with an even greater redemption by becoming incarnate (thus redeeming and raising humans higher then angels in the sense of dignity).

            Remember God can create a better world than this one(or worst) and if He did He could still create an even better world than that but God is not obligated to create any world.

          • michael

            Genesis 1:30-31 says the animals were vegetarians.

          • Jim the Scott

            According to whose interpretation?

          • michael

            The interpretation logic dictates to any sane person reading the words in those verses and knowing the definitions of those words. Are you saying the words could have some other mysterious definitions?

          • Jim the Scott

            First of all are you basing your reading on the Hebrew or Greek or English?

            Second of all when Christ says "If they right eye offend they pluck it out" do you really take it to mean Christ endorses self mutilation?

            I don't except Answers in Genesis Michael and I don't believe all scripture is to be taken hyper literally. I am Catholic remember? Not a fundamentalist.

            You never learn. Now shoo before I break out the big guns.

          • michael

            Then provide an alternate interpretation to these verses that can be backed up logically without replacing or omitting only of the words in those verses. Your comparison to the verse about taking your out has an alternate view available and so the comparison is false.

          • Jim the Scott

            Michael my blood pressure is pretty high and as you know I am not a nice person. So I will answer your very stupid question and then you will f*** off before I loose it. I am not in the mood son.

            >Then provide an alternate interpretation to these verses that can be backed up logically without replacing or omitting only of the words in those verses.

            That would still require I interpret it literally and I don't. Nice to beg the question. Why do you still think that is persuasive? BTW what does "logic" have to do with it? What is the "logic" behind the verses "and the flames climbed high into the night to light the sacrificial rite and I saw Satan laughing with delight the day the music died."?

            There is no "logic" it is an allegory of the tragedy at the music festival at Altamont involving the Hell's Angels and is being sung about in the song American Pie. There was no Satanic worship literally going on at the time at that event.

            Genesis 1:29-30 is an allegory that shows us before the fall there was no true violence and blood shed was not needed in the world in Man's state of original innocence. After the fall an animal was slain that foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ that would be needed to repair the fall.

            These events need not have happened literally to the first man and woman before & after the fall. Anymore then literal Satanic human sacrifice happened at Altamont.
            Thus in the state of the original innocence of mankind predator animals likely hunted prey according to Augustine (who took Genesis One as an Allegory given his belief in instantaneous Creation via his understanding of Genesis 2:4-5) since as he told St Jerome with whom he argued about this it seems Predator animals teeth seemed illsuited to eat plant vs Flesh. So they likely ate flesh while Humans live unfallen in Eden.

            Now piss off I have to take my blood pressure medicine

          • michael

            Using animals to make an allegory about human life and behavior, when that had already been done in verses 27-29?

          • Jim the Scott

            Michael what part of "I am a Theistic Evolutionist" is unclear to you? I don't take all of Genesis literally. Surely your less than brilliant nonsense could be better used on some poor creationist whose knowledge of theology is as dull as yours?

            Anyway in genesis 9:3 all the animals are given to Noah for food without any mention at all of the Animals being now given "permission" to eat each other as well? Indeed nowhere in the OT does God say "Oh Animals you can start eating each other now". Scratch an Atheist find a fundamentalist.

            >Using animals to make an allegory about human life and behavior, when that had already been done in verses 27-29?

            Not sure what you are talking about? But if you get near a point let me know. Also why do you insist on wasting your Answersingenesis Polemics on a Theistic Evolutionist? Are you just being a punk for its own sake?

            Here are the verses you mention.
            27 So God created mankind in his own image,
            in the image of God he created them;
            male and female he created them.
            28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
            29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.END QUOTE

            Taken at face value God issues no command forbidding the eating of meat by predator animals and God clearly cannot give "commands" to animals as they are not moral agents like Adam and Eve or human beings in general. God can will their nature and there is nothing here saying he has willed predators not to eat prey.

            Or he may simply be referring to the animals that human beings would keep domestically which by definition would not eat meat for the most part.

            What is your argument Michael? A Sola Scriptura one? "Hey it doesn't say Animals are given to eat each others!" So what? I am not a Protestant Michael. No argument that begins with the words "But the Bible doesn't literally say X here" can have any meaning for me.

          • michael

            "Taken at face value God issues no command forbidding the eating of meat by predator animals and God clearly cannot give "commands" to animals as they are not moral agents like Adam and Eve or human beings in general. God can will their nature and there is nothing here saying he has willed predators not to eat prey." Taken at face value? No, that is an unnatural and forced reading.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Taken at face value? No, that is an unnatural and forced reading.

            According to your private opinion which as a good Catholic I must according to the Bible & the first Pope disregard.

            2 Peter 3:16
            "He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction."

            Michael where does God command animals in this verse(Genesis 1:27-30)? Where does it say the animals heard him and obeyed? Why in chapter 9 does God not then tell the animals it's ok for them to eat each other now when he tells Noah he can eat animals?

            >No, that is an unnatural and forced reading.

            According to whom? What is your authority to tell me how the Bible should be interpreted?

            Michael I tried to explain to you that as an Atheist you cannot use the Bible on Catholics. Ever! It is a futile gesture. You should learn philosophy and come up with philosophical defeaters for the existence of God. All Biblical arguments you may venture will by definition be non-starters.

            Always.

          • michael

            According to logic.

          • Jim the Scott

            Now you are repeating yourself. You are so boring.

          • michael

            You want a philosophical rather than scientific argument? How about the fact that if Christians were right, then all people would aha ehe same story of creation & the fall passed down to them, so the ancient Greek religion, Shintoism, Hinduism, the ancient egyptian religion, etc etc. would never have existed. missionaries would arrive in Japan and only need to explain The New Testament.

            And somewhere in the world, if not right now then probably within the next 3 or 14 days, a small kid will get abducted and raped. How is a being who is "Absolute goodness itself" expected to jsut sit by and not prevent this?

          • Jim the Scott

            >You want a philosophical rather than scientific argument?

            From you Michael? This should be amusing.

            >How about the fact that if Christians were right, then all people would aha ehe same story of creation

            This isn't a philosophical argument. It sounds more like at best one from cultural anthropology. A really bad argument from cultural anthropology.

            Anyway that doesn't logically follow and I think you are assuming a Young Earth Creationist view here(which might make it slightly more plausible) that you should know by now I automatically reject. I am not a Young Earth Creationist dude.
            If Adam was created 150 thousand to half a million years ago (as speculated by us Theistic Evolutionists and Old Earth Creationists & or Evolutionary Creationists) why would that knowledge survive?

            Why wouldn't competing narratives be invented by other cultures till God via divine revelation told Abraham or Moses what happed?

            >And somewhere in the world, if not right now then probably within the next 3 or 14 days, a small kid will get abducted and raped. How is a being who is "Absolute goodness itself" expected to jsut sit by and not prevent this?

            Mike are you drunk or something because I believe I might have told you in the past God is not a moral agent? Classic Theism Mike! Stop boring me with the Theistic Personalist shite.

            God is Metaphysically and ontologically good. God is not morally good. Or more precisely God is not morally good in the unequivocal sense a powerful and good created rational agent is morally good. Rational creatures by nature have moral obligation, to God, others and themselves. God has not obligations to His creatures only to Himself. I believe I explained this to you but your impotent response has always been to insist if God existed He must be a moral agent. You no doubt do this because you are used to arguing with Fundamentalists and Theistic Personalists and no matter how hard I try to teach you. No matter how hard I smack you with my keen mockery you insist on using non-Starter objections. You insist on arguing against the god you wish I believed in rather then the one I believe in.

            How is that working out for ya buddy?

          • michael

            Why WOULD'NT that knowledge survive? Knowledge of creating fire and cooking and making tools has lasted longer.

            "Why wouldn't competing narratives be invented by other cultures till God via divine revelation told Abraham or Moses what happed?" Because Adam and Eve would have already told them what happened and the same account would be passed on down to them by their parents and so on.

            There is nothing ontologically good about sitting by and letting kids get raped. Use your own thinking, not that of The Book of Job.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Why WOULD'NT that knowledge survive? Knowledge of creating fire and cooking and making tools has lasted longer.

            Seriously? This is what you are going with? So what happened to the deep histories of Ugg the Mammoth Slayer? If you are not going to take this seriously Mike......

            >Because Adam and Eve would have already told them what happened and the same account would be passed on down to them by their parents and so on.

            So Michael name one oral tradition from human history that can be traced back past 120,000 to 500,000 years ago? Also what is your proof that any such tradition you cite is from that time period?

            Sit down Mike. You are not helping.

            >There is nothing ontologically good about sitting by and letting kids get raped.

            That is about as stupid as saying this Root Beer cannot possibly be a good tasting draft because drinking it did nothing to stop the holocaust.

            Mike do you even try to look up terms before you post? Ontologically Good means because God is Subsisting Being Itself God is supremely good as Being.

            >Use your own thinking, not that of The Book of Job.

            Laddieboy I am citing natural theology here. I can be a maximally scripture denying Deist & I could still come to the same conclusion without a single reference to the Book of Job. Not that Scripture correctly understood is against any of this.

            Mike go lay down.

          • michael

            Supremely good requires inclusion of morally good. Not just "some" good.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Supremely good requires inclusion of morally good. Not just "some" good.

            So therefore God must also supremely "taste good" by that spectacular lack of reasoning?

            Except things that taste good are physical. God is not physical ergo God the Supreme Good cannot supremely taste good. Things that are morally good have obligations to something higher than themselves & God by nature has no obligations to anything but himself since their cannot be anything higher than God.

            Also a host of other Classic Theistic Reasons one can read in the works of Fr. Brian Davies.

            Another epic fail sir.

          • michael

            Supreme good does not include any bad. It does'nt need to include good taste or other physical stuff but it cannot have bad taste or bat physical or non-physical attributes. Letting kids get raped is obviously bad.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Supreme good does not include any bad.

            Which is equivalent to claiming fine tasting rootbeer contains "bad" because of its inability to stop the holocaust.

            Evil is privation of being that should exist. God does not contain moral goodness the way creatures do anymore then God contains a digestive system or taste buds.

            > It does'nt need to include good taste or other physical stuff but it cannot have bad taste or bat physical or non-physical attributes

            God cannot be a moral agent in the unequivocal way of humans as He contains no obligations to His creatures.

            > Letting kids get raped is obviously bad.

            Correction. A rational creature who by definition is a moral agent with the power to stop rapists from rapping children is bad if he chooses not to stop a rapist.

            God is still not a moral agent. No Moral Agent "god" exists.

          • michael

            Explain the good God creates from letting rapes happen, if God is ontologically good.

          • Jim the Scott

            Is that sentence English Michael? I know I am the last person to talk but there is only room here for one person with crappy grammar and that is no you laddie.

          • michael

            If God is ontologically good, explain exactly why lets rapes happen when rapes are obviously pure evil.

          • Jim the Scott

            >If God is ontologically good, explain exactly why lets rapes happen when rapes are obviously pure evil.

            If this rootbeer is really good tasting then why did it allow the holocaust to happen? The holocaust obviously leaves a bad taste in everybody's mouth so no rootbeer can be ontologically good since it allows the holocaust & it obviously can't taste good.

            The above is what your brain dead sh**e sounds like to me.

            Get lost Mike. You are boring me.

          • michael

            That is a false comparison since Root beer is an inanimate thing that doe into have the power to prevent crimes.

          • Jim the Scott

            It is a valid comparison since God in the classic sense cannot be coherently conceived of having obligations to his creatures since the nature of His goodness is ontological and metaphysical and not that of a moral agent unequivocally comparable to a created rational being who by definition is a moral agent.

            Root beer is good but not the sort of goodness that can or will stop the holocaust. God is good and He could stop the holocaust but given His nature He is not obligated too like a created rational being with the power to do so would be so obligated.

            Since you refuse to get that every objection you raise is a non-starter. Now get lost you are boring me to death.

          • michael

            Yet you don't take a chain of logic to forcibly demonstrate this, only saying "GO buy some book". Not helpful for your boredom.

          • Jim the Scott

            If you are not going to do the required reading why should I bust my arse fer the likes of U?

          • michael

            It shouldn't be so complicated that a book would be necessary. Spiritual things would'nt be like rocket science, software programming, or quantum physics.

          • Jim the Scott

            >It shouldn't be so complicated that a book would be necessary.

            Says who? That you are too lazy to get off your butt to do some learning is yer problem laddie.

            >Spiritual things would'nt be like rocket science, software programming, or quantum physics.

            ROTFLOL!!!!!! Just when I thought you couldn't write anything more silly then what you have written so far...well then...hello.

          • michael

            What do you think of this article, then? It claims to offer proof with absolute certainty that God exists : https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/a-proof-of-the-existence-of-god

          • Jim the Scott

            I think you should learn to read. It give arguments to back up the proposition put forth by Vatican One. QUOTE"God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of human reason, through the things that he created. (Dei Filius 2)"

            Then at the end the author says "We can conclude, then, that even if all of your sense perceptions are false, even if you are nothing but a brain in a vat being manipulated by scientists into believing that you are reading this article right now when in fact you are not, there are two things you can know with absolute, 100 percent certainty: (1) You exist, and (2) God exists."

            That last bit looks like mere rhetorical flourish. The author here is merely giving a reasonable proof.

            Obviously none of the arguments would be valid under an anti-realist radical skeptical scheme but good luck making a positive argument for that metaphysical scheme without borrowing from & relying on the assumptions of realism. In the end you get incoherence.

          • michael

            I don't see any reasonable proof at all. For example, "Actuality is a shad eo f being like crimson is a shade of red" and "Actuallity is being More os than potentiality". These describe states of being, not shades" or "degrees" of existence. Also "Whatever does not know has the potential to know" is not only false (A rock does not have the potential to know) but does not equal "The creator of the universe must be a self aware lifeform" even if one takes the first cause to be pure actuality. And we people who know things have the potential to not know, such as by forgetting, if the circumstances of fate lead to it. Not knowing would thus be actuality.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Actuality is a shad eo f being like crimson is a shade of red"

            Wow I thought my spelling sucked.

            >I don't see any reasonable proof at all.

            You don't read & I lack the patence to teach you.
            I am too old for this shhhh......poop.

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/05/act-and-potency.html

            http://aquinas.wjduquette.com/?p=407=1

            >Also "Whatever does not know has the potential to know" is not only false (A rock does not have the potential to know)

            It would be fun to humiliate you by trying to figure out what context you are taking that out of but honestly I am too tired.

          • michael

            Again, nothing in those links proves The First Cause is ALIVE.

          • Jim the Scott

            Let me guess? You think ALIVE means it is a biologically functioning organism?

            Oh Feck off......

          • michael

            No, I mean alive as in aware of its own existence. Conscious.

          • Jim the Scott

            "I Think therefore I am" doesn't really apply to God. God has intellect and will and God is His own intellect and will given the divine simplicity. If God has intellect and will then by definition God knows Himself. We know God has intellect and will because of the fifth way. So you don't make sense?

          • michael

            Is that question mark at the end a typo?

          • Jim the Scott

            Could be? It is hard to pay attention to you until you actually say something interesting. Which is rare these days. So disapointing....

          • michael

            Alive in the sense that say, a ghost or other disembodied spirit is called alive. Aware of its own existence, not unconscious, you know?

          • Jim the Scott

            So you are making unequivocal comparisons between God and creatures? Yeh you can't do that. We know God has intellect and will because of the fifth way. If the fifth way shows us God has intellect and will then by definition God knows Himself.

          • michael

            The fifth way just says that created things have patterns and rules that they flow and so they're must be reason they do so, a source for the rules. That does not force the reader to the conclusion that the source of, say, Newton's Laws of motion is alive. It also avoids the idea that the rules can exist by necessity.

          • Jim the Scott

            No that is not the fifth way at all that is your re-writing of the fifth way to avoid the obvious.

            >That does not force the reader to the conclusion that the source of, say, Newton's Laws of motion is alive.

            Physical Laws are just consistent observed regularities in the natural world. There is no Platonic entity called the "Law of Motion" that governs motion in the Cosmos.

            >It also avoids the idea that the rules can exist by necessity.

            Rules can exist by necessity. If God wills a rule that Y must be X then Y must be X by necessity.

            So I am not understanding you here.

          • michael

            "We see various non-intelligent objects in the world behaving in regular ways. This cannot be due to chance since then they would not behave with predictable results. So their behavior must be set. But it cannot be set by themselves since they are non-intelligent and have no notion of how to set behavior. Therefore, their behavior must be set by something else, and by implication something that must be intelligent." Those last seven words are a non-sequitur.

          • Jim the Scott

            Not really since the alternative is the world isn't really intelligible in which case all science and knowledge fail. Also stop treating the 5th way like Paley's idiot design argument. ID is wrong. The fifth way is correct and immune to the criticisms of Paley's stupidity.

            Yer reading list.
            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/08/haldane-on-nagel-and-fifth-way.html

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/03/thomism-versus-design-argument.html

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2009/03/less-rey-knows-less-he-knows-it.html

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/03/heads-id-wins-tails-you-lose.html

          • Ficino

            1st sentence: fallacies. 2nd and 3rd sentences: agreed. Fourth sentence: immune to those criticisms but not correct.

          • Jim the Scott

            Unless you specify what flallacies are present in the first sentence then your objection is hopelessly ambigious and a fallacy of special pleading.

            Also you need to give me a reason why the fifth way is not correct other then you disagree with it.

            Also Ficinco if you answer by giving me your interpretation or exegesis of what you think Aristotle really means (vs Aquinas interpretation of him or later developments of Aquinas by successive scholastics) I WILL NOT HEAR YOU.

            That method of dismissing Scholastic philosophy you have employed in the past gets old and is an irrational standard. The philosophical proposition that have been thought of and developed must be evaluated on their own. Wither or not you think Aristotle would 100% agree with modern Thomists and scholastics is irrelavent and has never been a valid objection on your part.

            Just so we are clear buddy. Peace out.

          • Ficino

            "The world" is a signifier that does not signify anything concrete. Many things are intelligible. I suspect I know where you are coming from, but it lies in Aristotle, whom you seem to want to keep at arm's length... so I say no more about first principles.

            I have posted things on SN where Aquinas himself comes to a conclusion different from what his modern exponents like Feser come to. But we don't have to debate those.

            As to the Fifth, Dennis Bonnette conceded that as it's formulated in the ST, it does not go through. He and other modern Thomists make modifications that are highly questionable. If you want to get serious about them, let's do that after the Feast of the Assumption.

          • Jim the Scott

            >"The world" is a signifier that does not signify anything concrete.

            Freakin seriously? You don't get the fact that "the world" generally refers to existence in general? It doesn't appear obvious to you I am using it in that manner? Do you somehow imagine I mean only Planet Earth when I say "the World" and imagine Mars must be governed by the Metaphysics of Parmenides & Venus by Plato?

            Dude! I expect this from Michael or are you playing me? I think you are playing me. I thought I was one with the wicked sense of humor. Well done.;-) . My temper is thin so I am an easy target.:D

            >Many things are intelligible. I suspect I know where you are coming from, but it lies in Aristotle, whom you seem to want to keep at arm's length... so I say no more about first principles.

            We have to discuss the Philosophy developed from him by scholastics. Yer exegesis of his works via your professional credentials (which I surmise are very impressive) is academically interesting but it is not doing philosophy.

            You don't formulate a philosophical defeater for the First Way or Fifth Way because you interpret or exegete Aristotle to say A and Aquinas or some later scholastic interprets him to mean B. You have to actually formulate a philosophical defeater for A using actual philosophy against the actual philosophical argument not textual analysis.

            Do you understand that? Democritus was an Atheist and a Flat Earther does that invalidate the philosophical arguments of Materialism of which he is the intellectual Father? Not at all. Note Dr. B doesn't address Democritus' specific (mis)understanding of the mechanisms of the world but the broad philosophy of Materialism in general as it has been developed by its proponents over time. I doubt Democritus had anything in common with Dennett in that regard. But so what? Dr. B gives philosophical arguments and proposes philosophical defeaters for Materialism. He doesn't waste his time exegeting Democritus.

            >I have posted things on SN where Aquinas himself comes to a conclusion different from what his modern exponents like Feser come to. But we don't have to debate those.

            Yes and it is 110% irrelevant. Dude you are WAY more educated then moi. But you know on this little bit I am right.

            >As to the Fifth, Dennis Bonnette conceded that as it's formulated in the ST,

            Feser mentions that in THE LAST SUPERSTITION. This is not new to me. Aristotle didn't propose the fifth way. Aquinas did(I learned that from Feser) and you need to make a philosophical defeater to the argument and argument by Authority (i.e. Aristotle didn't agree) isn't a defeater.

            >He and other modern Thomists make modifications that are highly questionable.

            No they developed the philosophy. If you want to question it try to formulate counter philosophical arguments and philosophical defeaters. This is like saying Stenger or Oppy or some other Atheist Philosophers "make questionable modifications to Democritus" because they omit his scientific mistakes and flat Eartherism. Not to mention what Democritus called an "Atom" doesn't really resemble a basic unit of matter made of Electrons,Protons and Neutrons. Since Atomic Atoms can be split or broken down into component sub-atomic particles it is not literally an "Atom" which means "Cannot be cut". The Atom of Democritus contained no void (real Atoms do thus they are equivocally named) and nothing smaller than it was possible. That was his early stab at Materialism. Obviously no modern Materialist would say that as far as I know but so what? What does it have to do with the philosophy?

            > If you want to get serious about them, let's do that after the Feast of the Assumption.

            As you wish.

          • michael

            That's a non-sequitur. The first cause being alive doe into lead to intelligible reality, nor does it not being alive lead to unintelligablility. Brute facts, on the other hand....

          • Jim the Scott

            So you answer my alledged "non-sequiter" with one of yer own?

            Also you did not read the links. As for Brute facts are you going to now waste my time equivocating between epistomological brute facts (the existence of which every Thomist including Feser accepts in principle) vs metaphysical brute facts (which we deny existing and say render explainations unintelligeble)?

            Because don't bother I am not in the mood.

          • michael

            Those articles define life as "stuff that takes in nutrients, has metabolism, copies itself", which is the biologist's definition of life, but not what I mean by life, as already states.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Those articles define life as "stuff that takes in nutrients, has metabolism, copies itself...

            Where? Which ones? What does that have to do with the fifth way? The point is the fifth way shows God has intellelect ergo if he is intelligent He is alive. Those links I gave you defend and explain the fifth way (& contrast it with Paley's invalid argument) so what are talking about?

          • michael

            All of them, but if I recall correctly, it is the second one that explicitly does so. And having read them, I only see Feser STATE that life needs an intelligent designer, he does'nt DEMONSTRATE it.

          • Jim the Scott

            U'R full of sh....poop at this point Mike.
            The second article is Feser criticizing Dembski and his Intelligent design scheme.

            I am at a loss......

            Here is a quote from Feser from the second article. "The problem with these arguments[i.e. ID Arguments] is rather that they don’t get you even one millimeter toward the God of classical theism, and indeed they get you positively away from the God of classical theism."

            Feser STATE that life needs an intelligent designer? Dude don't go the full AOC or the full Fredo. Just don't.......

          • michael

            I can't find it now (Even though I tried).

          • Jim the Scott

            You should have lead with that. I could have saved the witty insult for later.

            You made me waste a good AOC/Fredo joke.....

            What am I going to do with you Mike?

          • michael

            Lol heat and cold in coffee aren't something coming from nothing nor does the cold "exist" while the coffee is hot, temperatures are reactions to stimuli in thermodynamics on atoms changing the vibration speed of the atom's they are'nt "things", just states of being determined by thermodynamics.

          • Jim the Scott

            Whatever Michael all this time you still dina get the concept of potency to act and are stuck in Scientism mode. I give up....

          • michael

            Nothing on Feser's site or Strange Notions (Such as Fesers' 3 part account of how he returned to theism) that I've read refutes Scientism, only denies it on the basis of books Feser read or "I don't understand how consciousness works with that which takes up space, I I believe it is supernatural."

          • Jim the Scott

            >Nothing on Feser's site or Strange Notions (Such as Fesers' 3 part account of how he returned to theism) that I've read refutes Scientism...

            Seriously?

            Scientism(like God in the classic sense) cannot be proven true by science thus it is false or not meaningful by its own standards. Easy enough.....

            Any attempt at rational philosophical justification for scientism is self refuting because you are admitting that some fundamental knowledge can be known apart from science. You are admitting the validity of philosophical knowledge thus refuting scientism which narrows knowledge to science alone san philosophy.

            These arguments are solid. No person here to date has offered a refutation. AG Flew at the height of his Atheism abandoned Scientism/Positivism in the 50 for the above reasons.

            Now I know you lied to me Mike. You haven't done the reading.

          • michael

            By scientism I mean materlialism, not the scientific method.

          • Jim the Scott

            You can't make up yer own definitions & yer equivocations are beyond tedious. Scientism is neither materialism nor the scientific method. Scientism/Positivism is the philosophical belief that empirical science alone is the only meaningful or real knowledge. The concept itself cannot be proven scientifically & thus it is not meaningful nor real knowledge by its own standards.

            Do your homework.

          • michael

            "It is not the scientific method. Scientism/Positivism is the philosophical belief that empirical science alone is the only meaningful or real knowledge.". Talk about mincing words and splitting hairs.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Talk about mincing words and splitting hairs.

            It must really frustrate you that equivocating doesn't work on me?

          • michael

            The Scientific Method is valid through Logic, it doesn't need itself to prove itself. Math is likewise verified through logic, as is the impossibility of a married bachelor.

          • Mark

            The Scientific Method is valid through Logic

            I'd be interested to see the logical validation of the Scientific method.

          • michael

            If Hypothessis C predicts B, and Experimentat A shows B, Hypothesis C is correct.

          • Jim the Scott

            >The Scientific Method is valid through Logic, it doesn't need itself to prove itself.

            How do you prove that with logic alone? What are yer presuppositions? How do you prove the Scientific Method is unequivocally the same as 1+1 =2 and or 1+1 ≠ Not 2?

            You are just putting words together. Are you using Bots Micheal? You know they ban you now over at EVE ONLINE for using bots..

          • michael

            Having a pattern within something that is'nt actualized is'nt fundemental to intelligence, Life is.

            The 47th and 48th minutes of this video don't mention consciousness or thoughts, only that which is analogous" to thoughts, thus not proving what I would call a deity: https://vimeo.com/60979789 Furhtermore Feser has claimed that a lighter cans et something one ire because it has "being on fire" in it without it's contents being on fire, only setting the candle or cigarette on fire. This is not true. a lgighter has chemicals which, trigger the candle being on fire as a result of their deterministic interaction with the chemicals the candle wiki or cigarette content is made of.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Having a pattern within something that is'nt actualized is'nt fundemental to intelligence, Life is.

            What does this even mean?

            >The 47th and 48th minutes of this video don't mention consciousness or thoughts, only that which is analogous" to thoughts, thus not proving what I would call a deity.

            So I still have to remind you what you call a "deity" I am a strong Atheist toward in regards to belief? Screw yer theistic personalist "god" neither of us believe in Mike.

            >Furhtermore Feser has claimed that a lighter cans et something one ire because it has "being on fire" in it without it's contents being on fire, only setting the candle or cigarette on fire. This is not true. a lgighter has chemicals which, trigger the candle being on fire as a result of their deterministic interaction with the chemicals the candle wiki or cigarette content is made of.

            This is just too stupid to respond too. It's on the level of the YEC who says "Apes don't give birth to people ergo Evolution is false" or some such gay nonsense like that....I give up. Michael you are truly a product of public education.*

            *In case you are confused that isn't a good thing.

          • michael

            #1.It means you cannot be intelligent without first being alive.

            Y#2.our Aristotlean classical god is beyond comprehension, and Thomas Jefferson said we need ot be able to have a distinct idea of something BEFORE our intellect can act upon it.

            #3 According to jerry Coyne, Feser REALLY DID say that.

          • Jim the Scott

            >#1.It means you cannot be intelligent without first being alive.

            Nope! God is not alive in the unequivocal way we are alive. Rather our life resembles something that is already in God being the proven first cause in the chain of being. So far yer "argument" doesn't make that distinction so it is already invalid. If God is intelligent then by definition God is alive which the fifth way demonstrates. You haven't given any good reasons to think otherwise.

            >Y#2.our Aristotlean classical god is beyond comprehension,

            The correct formulation is that God as God is beyond comprehension. We cannot, even in principle, know what God is as God but that doesn't mean we can't know anything about him. We can know something about God such as He is the first cause of being, Divinely simple, Being itself.etc...

            Like Sherlock Holmes can know the murder is a fat person by the depth of the footprint he leaves in the snow. Via philosophy & natural reason we can know God exists and His divine attributes. His Essence is incomprehensible.

            > and Thomas Jefferson said we need ot be able to have a distinct idea of something BEFORE our intellect can act upon it.

            Jefferson was not a philosopher and he was clearly wrong. OTOH we can have ideas about God we just can't comprehend the divine essence.

            >#3 According to jerry Coyne, Feser REALLY DID say that

            Coyne is an idiot. That is beyond question. He should play to his strengths. Bashing anti-Evolution Fundamentalists & giving low cow polemics to Theistic Personalist views of divinity and ragging on YEC.
            He like Dawkins has no skill set beyond that.

            Graham Oppy (whom Feser had a dialog with just recently) is an Atheist philosopher of great stature and a genuine challenge and worthy opponent. Coyne is not. He is the village idiot of Atheism (next to PZ and dick to the Dawk). Why you continue to listen to idiots is beyond me? It is as if I choose to stop listening to Feser and started listening to Kirk Camron for my religious apologetics and ditched the five ways for the Banana argument.

            Geez Mike show some pride. Choosing to be stupid on purpose is no way to go laddie.

          • michael

            "Nope! God is not alive in the unequivocal way we are alive. Rather our life resembles something that is already in God being the proven first cause in the chain of being. So far yer "argument" doesn't make that distinction so it is already invalid. If God is intelligent then by definition God is alive which the fifth way demonstrates. You haven't given any good reasons to think otherwise".

            I've read The Fifth way. It does'nt demonstrate that. It only SAYS that.

          • Jim the Scott

            You are reading it threw the lens of Jerry Coyle. That is like me reading Origin of the Species threw the lens of Ray Comfort.

            Mike what is the point of you?

          • michael

            No, I read the fifth way before I ever knew of Jerry Coyle.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yet it is evident you read nothing about it.

          • michael

            The post this is replying to doesn't even mention Jerry Coyle, whom I'v only read 2 pages of anyway. My post is through the lens of my own logic.

            What is the point of me? Sincerely I assure you everyone would be happier as an atheist. I want to convince as many people a possible of the validity of atheism.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well you suck at that job Mike since you won't do yer homework. Like Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort do in convincing people God exists with their idiot Banana Argument. You are in essence them in Atheist form. You don't take the subject seriously. So you really are pointless. I am glad you are not on our side. We have enough idiots. But for you to cross over it would require you not be an idiot. For you to for once make an intelligent argument in favor of Atheism or against Classic Theism you would have to not be a willful idiot. But we both know that is not going to happen.

            > Sincerely I assure you everyone would be happier as an atheist.

            Which is an absurd statement even if there are no gods since it would required supernatural prognostication on yer part yo know that and Atheism precludes that. If there is no God and you managed to convince Mother Theresa of that in the last five minutes of her life how would that make her happy? She would spend the last five minutes of her existence knowing she wasted her life? If there is a God and you did the comprable to a dying Atheist you are in fact doing him a favor. After all if the movie Bedazzled (the original with Dudley Moore) taught us anything the Devil is rather pissed God can ruin a lifetime of his work with some last minute repentance.

            Anyway you are pointless because you seem to think making intelligent arguments against Classic Theism just happens because you deny gods. You need to study and we haven't seen that here.

          • michael

            It wold convince Mother Theresa that nobody is going to spend eternity in unimaginable torment.

          • Jim the Scott

            No it just will convince her the void will swallow us all good and bad alike and nothing we did or didn't do mattered & we might as well had not existed. I am sure that would make her real happy.

            At least the living can avoid Hell by submitting to Grace. None can avoid the void at best you can prolong it.

          • michael

            We don't need immortal souls for our actions to matter. "Serving" a being who already has infinite beatitude and no needs, now THAT would not matter.

          • Jim the Scott

            Rather Sartre was right in a godless universe meaning is an illusion as is happiness. There is only the bleakness of death. It does not matter if you lead the workers to revolt against the Capitalists or drink yerself to death in a bar. But yet Atheism will not make everybody happy as you believe. It might make some but the void will take them in the end and their happiness will have no meaning.

          • michael

            Happiness an illusion? That makes no sense. Emotions are not illusions. Sensory input can produce illusions though, such as hallucinations or magician's tricks.

          • Jim the Scott

            Emotion and all feelings are clear illusions. If we believe Sartre or Dennett the self isn't real and neither is consciousness. It is illusion from top to bottom.

          • michael

            If consciousness were an illusion, then by definition I would not be aware of my own existence. But that's clearly impossible so I believe you are likely misrepresenting Dennet and Sartre. I've heard of atheists saying the presents of a single mind inside the brain is an illusion, but not that there are no minds at all, which is what you are saying Dennet says.

          • Jim the Scott

            Careful Michael you are dangerously arguing yer way back to first principles and some really dangerous philosophical realism. That leads to Aristotle.

            Dannet is rarely coherent.....

          • michael

            Emotions are not sensory input, although they can be influenced by sensory input.

          • Jim the Scott

            Sensory imput is an illusion in a materialist universe.

          • michael

            Illusions themselves are a form of sensory input, just an inaccurate form. You sound like someone saying "She is slightly pregnant" or "She is very pregnant" and we all know why those sentences make no sense.

          • Jim the Scott

            Gee Michael since when are you arguing realism? Am I talking to Michael the dull Atheist or did Dr. Bonnette hack yer account?

          • michael

            What is realism?

          • Jim the Scott

            Really feck off. You are not bothering to learn anything.

          • michael

            Also type in "lists of reasons atheists are angry". BTW I saw an article on yahoo around month or so ago where a 75-year old ex-catholic responding to church abuse scandals said "I feel like I've wasted my life".

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't care why Atheists are angry and such lists have no meaning.

            >75-year old ex-catholic responding to church abuse scandals said "I feel like I've wasted my life".

            That proves my point. How is his Atheism making him happy? His bitching would only make sense if we had pictures of Jesus touching kids taken by a time traveller.

            You can't make all people happy with Atheism. Maybe some people but it would not matter as nothing matters.

          • michael

            He meant he felt liek he wasted his life being Catholic, not the other way around.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yes I got that. Did you?

          • michael

            You don't care why atheists are angry? Why? That doesn't sound empathetic or loving. Why would such lists have no meaning? Have you glanced at them?

          • Jim the Scott

            With that post you actually managed to make me care even less.

          • michael

            & if the "hospitals" she'd ran were in New York or Seattle she'd have been arrested.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well NYC is overly regulated & I am not impressed with yer digging up Hitchens' slanders. Do something original. God if that man's liver could talk before the end we would have heard more foul blasphemies from it than the Hitch has ever uttered.

          • michael

            I once had a big fluffy cat that got liver disease and she suddenly got really lightweight and her eyes were sunken in her sockets. Oh how blasphemous Miss Kitty must've been! Now mother says Lily might have the same disease since she's been getting bloody diarrhea, perhaps Lily is a blasphemous calico too!

          • Jim the Scott

            More Gibberish......

          • michael

            As pointed out by Dan Barker while debating Trent Horn, as well as by other atheists, it is because our lives are temporary that they have value. & it actually makes life that much more enjoyable. I agree, knowing from experience.

          • Jim the Scott

            But only rich or economically comfortable people can say that. Theism makes all walks of life enjoyable wither poor or rich. Now none of this make either proposition true or false. But in terms of practicality Atheism can't really make people happy.

          • michael

            Religion doesn't sate the bellies of beggars. Donations do.

          • Jim the Scott

            My religion tells me to give to the poor so why can't we do both?

          • michael

            You don't need religion to do that, and what I meant was that the beggar (Not you) being religious would not relieve the pain of his hunger, thirst, not having a toilet, etc.

          • Jim the Scott

            Religion relieves the existential pain in the soul. It gives life meaning and suffering meaning.

          • michael

            What is the meaning in Ebola and Starvation?

          • Jim the Scott

            Who knows? Who cares? What is the meaning in my kids having Autism and my two brothers having normal children? I only know how to solve the problem of Evil(i.e how God can be all good and there be evil). I can't in principle answer for the mystery of evil. I can't know why this particular evil here and now vs that? Anymore then I can know why this world and not a better or worst one? It is ineffable as that effeminate Angel tells the Dr Who Demon in that Amazon flix by Terry whatshisname.

          • michael

            "I only know how to solve the problem of Evil(i.e how God can be all good and there be evil). I can't in principle answer for the mystery of evil. ". That's very naive. You cannot do the former without doing the latter.

          • Jim the Scott

            Nope they are not directly related other then owning the same referent "evil".

          • michael

            That does'nt make sense.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well neither do yer objection thus far? State of Being? The overall physical condition of a person, as opposed to mental condition (state of mind). What does this have to do with Metaphysics? Does it mean "the state of that being over there is he has lost an arm."
            So he is in privation of a functioning arm?" Yer objection doesn't make sense.

          • michael

            No, saddness is a state of being, and so is physical sickness. Same with health, joy, being crippled, being ambulatory, etc.

          • Jim the Scott

            All of which are privations of some good an organism ought to have to thrive.
            Yer objections are hopelessly silly at this point. I can't help but mock you as you are going out of yer way to not understand. One would think you are in a panic and having a crisis of faithlessness? That would explain a lot....

          • michael

            They are differences from the good, but not in the same sense that darkness is the absence of light.

          • Jim the Scott

            Wow Michael I called it! You have no ability to think analogously? Everything is hyper literal to you. Amazing!

          • michael

            Even as an analogy, it still implies that evil is'nt a "thing' but an absence SIMILAR TO how darkness is the absence of light.

          • Jim the Scott

            Michael at this point you are all over the place. After spouting gibberish you can just pretend you now know what you are talking about. I am not convinced go study.

          • michael

            Pizza with pepperoni instead of sausage isn't a privation or lack of sausage pizza, it's a different type of pizza. Therefore your donut hole comparison is false because a donut is distinguished form other pastries by the lack of something, not a different type of thing being present.

          • Jim the Scott

            Michael at least yer white knight Phil has no guile. He openly comes out and rejects reason. You keep pretending to be using reason and you simply are not paying attention. It is getting old from you Gun Atheist trolls and complaining I am "mean" behind my back just because you refuse to muster a rational argument or learn the subject matter is merely comical.

            >Pizza with pepperoni instead of sausage isn't a privation or lack of sausage pizza,

            Only if you intended to make a sausage pizza and you use pepperoni instead. Geez Mike it is a simple concept. From the Catholic Encyclopedia.

            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05649a.htm

            Quote"It is evident again that all evil is essentially negative and not positive; i.e. it consists not in the acquisition of anything, but in the loss or deprivation of something necessary for perfection. "End Quote

            Evil is a privation. As to the evil of pain it says "Pain, which is the test or criterion of physical evil, has indeed a positive, though purely subjective existence as a sensation or emotion; but its evil quality lies in its disturbing effect on the sufferer. In like manner, the perverse action of the will, upon which moral evil depends, is more than a mere negation of right action, implying as it does the positive element of choice; but the morally evil character of wrong action is constituted not by the element of choice, but by its rejection of what right reason requires. Thus Origen (In Joh., ii, 7) defines evil as stéresis; the Pseudo-Dionysius (De Div. Nom. iv) as the non-existent; Maimonides (Dux perplex. iii, 10) as "privato boni alicujus"; Albertus Magnus (adopting St. Augustine's phrase) attributes evil to "aliqua causa deficiens" (Summa Theol., I, xi, 4); Schopenhauer, who held pain to be the positive and normal condition of life (pleasure being its partial and temporary absence), nevertheless made it depend upon the failure of human desire to obtain fulfillment--"the wish is in itself pain". Thus it will be seen that evil is not a real entity; it is relative.

            What is evil in some relations may be good in others; and probably there is no form of existence which is exclusively evil in all relations, Hence it has been thought that evil cannot truly be said to exist at all, and is really nothing but a "lesser good." But this opinion seems to leave out of account the reality of human experience. Though the same cause may give pain to one, and pleasure to another, pain and pleasure, as sensations or ideas, cannot but be mutually exclusive. No one, however, has attempted to deny this very obvious fact; and the opinion in question may perhaps be understood as merely a paradoxical way of stating the relativity of evil."END QUOTE

            Really Michael do I have to keep doing yer homework here?

          • michael

            Lol so a bunch of old writers and thinkers said it to it must make sense hahahahahahah

          • Jim the Scott

            At last some truth from you. How refreshing.

            BTW Mike you can't be an Atheist or Materialist because Democritus was one of those old writers and thinkers. What is the point of you?

          • michael

            What is the point of you, acting like Free Will would be a good thing despite it's horrible consequences?

          • Jim the Scott

            The real question is why not simply use yer free will for good? It is not like you can't do that?

          • michael

            Not everyone does. It'd be better off if they'd never been created.

          • Jim the Scott

            Whose fault is that then? No their creator since they truly have free will and their will is truly causal. It is their fault. One of the great pains of Hell will be fully realizing that. Nobody in Hell is going to be thinking "Hey at least being here wasn't my fault". That is why it is Hell. Self deception will no longer be possibe.

          • michael

            Self-explanation for things that began to exist (Such as our actions) = brute fact and no amount of word games can hide that from me.

          • Jim the Scott

            Rather you are gonna just stick yer fingers in yer ears and do your best Billy Crystal impression "I'M NOT LISTENING!!!". A brute fact is something without reason or explanation. Stop inventing your own bs.

          • michael

            ANd I explained why concurrent free will lacks explanation and would be a time paradox.

          • Jim the Scott

            You gave me gibberish. Time paradoxes are not possible. Visser effect old boy go look it up. God is Eternal and not temporal like He is not a moral agent so.......can you say non-starter objection?

          • michael

            AGAIN, I was talking about HUMAN CHOICES when I brought that up. HUMANS ARE NOT ETERNAL.

          • Jim the Scott

            You are still talking gibberish like a little monkey only not as cute.

          • michael

            Less than an hour ago I saw my father watching a tv show where God talks to a guy about free will and the guy responded with "You made us this way" (By giving us free will) and God asks for a thank you and the man replies "Thank you for what? Kids with cancer?"

          • Jim the Scott

            So two actors talking to each other & one has a phony white beard means what exactly? You have free will to choose good. Yet you want to be a slave not a person? Yet you complain about the possibility of going to Hell but you want to be in essence a slave without yer own will? Yeh and you have the nerve to tell me people don't really want Hell? That is Hell and you for some mad reason want it pretty badly? Hard pass.

            God given His nature and relation to creation is NOT obligated to help you with all the lesser evils in the world. He has already generously won you the Grace to have the Beatific Vision. He could have made a better world or a worst world. But He is not obligated to create any particular world 7 any He creates He has done a supreme favor.

            But you don't want to do the reading so Feck off.

          • michael

            You don't know what slave means. And I don't have free will, e everything I do is due to circumstances/prior causes/motives.

          • Jim the Scott

            >You don't know what slave means.

            I am afraid I do and I know one when I see it. Now get me a rootbeer peasant. Make it A&W from the Lake George region or I will have yer hide.

            > And I don't have free will,

            Which is incoherent because if you have no will you have no reason and no self. You are just an NPC.

            >e everything I do is due to circumstances/prior causes/motives

            Non of which render your will unfree. If we have no free will why argue with me to convince me to be an Atheist (which for some comical reason you think is "good")? I can't really choose one way or another. There is nothing here to make the choice wither or not I find yer arguments sound.
            Under that incoherent materialist scheme the bunch of random atoms that is designated "Jim" are what they are and will do what they do based on other random factors in the natural world not because I choose to deliberate them and use my intellect to test them then freely make a choice to believe or disbelieve.

            There is a reason why sane Atheists like Nagel reject reductionist materialism. I would too if I became one.

          • michael

            Your intellect would force your o change your mind. You don't choose your intellect.

          • Jim the Scott

            Unless I like you choose to reject reason inspite? Look at that nutter Phil Whatshisname. He rejects reason.

            Denial of Free Will is stupid even if there are no gods.

          • michael

            Belief is the result fo the intellect, evidence, and examination, not free choice. I did not choose to believe in Abraham Lincoln or that there is no such thing as a married bachelor.

          • Jim the Scott

            Wow even yer denial of "free will" is incoherent? Like there aren't irrationalists in the world? People who freely choose to reject reason. Some for Theistic purposes as they hold a heresy condemned by Vatican One called Fideism the error that all religious truth is known solely by faith and not by any rational means at all. Some Atheists who conclude everything is absurd and truth is relative. I reject yer really and substitute my own only unlike Adam Savage the person means it seriously & literally.

            Strange. I don't think yer "there is no free will" is a position you really thought out. I think its a trend you adopted because all the "cool" Atheists believe it.

          • michael

            I don't read much atheist literature at all, I've believed since childhood that everything is just cause and effect.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I don't read much atheist literature at all,

            Then you are not competent to "Evangelize" me for Atheism. As you are unfit to rationally defend yer non-belief or competently polemic competing forms of Theism. At this point you might be barely capable to offer polemics to Young Earth Creationists or ID proponents but with this admission I might find that suspect.

          • michael

            If being a person means having free will, animals ar ebetter off.

          • Jim the Scott

            How can we know that? Go read Thomas Negal on what it is like to be a bat.
            You really can't know what it is like to be a bat. At best you can try to imagine you are small and have fur and wing and a taste for insects but in the end you are just imagining a creature who likes like a bat with your human mind, memories and intellect.

            But I have intellect and will which put me above a dog and a dog has instinct, animal volition, and sense which put it above a rock. So being human is better than being less than one. It is obvious.

          • michael

            Thomas Negal can't know that stuff if he has never been a bat. He does'nt have skins stretching form his fingertips to his armpits and will never experience flight.

          • Jim the Scott

            In which case he would merely be Thomas Negal with skins stretching form his fingertips to his armpits but he would not be a bat. The point of his essay is it is intrinsically impossible for us to know what it is like to be a bat.

            I would apply that to God too. If you can't comprehend what it would be to be a mere lower animal how could you concieve of being the Infinite Absolute? Which is why I chuckle at you lion making fantasy. It is cute. Like a child.

          • michael

            That is a non sequitur given all the horrible consequences of intellect and will.

          • Jim the Scott

            Consequences that can be avoid by using the same will properly. Abuse does not negate correct use. Of course denial of free will is incoherent and on the level of the idiot who wrote an aerodynamics paper on why it was impossible for bubble bees to fly.

            If you don't believe in God you will believe in anything no matter how stupid.

            No free will? Plueez!!!! Put that one down next to the grounded bee over there.

          • michael

            or if they'd had their free will removed.

          • Jim the Scott

            Then how are they persons then? They are not. They are mere machines even less than animals and not in the divine image.

            Hard Pass!

          • michael

            I thought having human DNA and a soul made you a person? And if free will has such awful consequences, it stands to reason that being made in the divine image is an awful thing.

          • Jim the Scott

            Having an Intellect and a Will makes you a person even if you never bother to use either.

          • michael

            It'd mean you made a different type of pizza, not an negation of something (Such as pastry with a hole in it, THAT would involve negation and not a positive)

          • Jim the Scott

            So basically you are ignoring the definition I gave you and just repeating yourself? Tedious.......You are as I pegged you. An incurious & anti-intellectual buffoon. Perhaps all you are fit for is posting nonsense on Reddit?

          • michael

            A privation of good does not make evil, necessarily, but a neutral absence. Even is more than an absence, it's something that truly exists just as much as good. It is a different type of existing thing and not just a lack of the good being present.

          • Jim the Scott

            >A privation of good does not make evil...

            No a privation of a good something ought to have makes it evil you willfully stupid person. I only said it half a dozen times and it goes in one ear and out the other. Of course evil exists I said that too. I can see you aren't paying attention. Now is the time I tell you to get lost.

          • michael

            Exists as more than just a lack but something qualitative.

          • Jim the Scott

            Whatever the thing you lack it must be something you ought to have by nature. Now away with ye.

          • michael

            You said that metaphysically it does not exist. You said that although Hitler existed his evil did not metaphysically exist.

          • Jim the Scott

            >You said that metaphysically it does not exist.

            Those are not my precise words ya wee scunner. Arguing by equivocating & sophistry is not a sign of intelligence. At best it is the makings of a cheap politician and that is about as honorable as being a rent boy. Who am I kidding? It is worst. Now away with ye. You have bored me.

            >You said that although Hitler existed his evil did not metaphysically exist.

            No Hitler existed but he had a privation of virtues he as a baptized human ought to have had. Geez you are beyond stupid at this point..

          • michael

            what were your exact words/

          • Jim the Scott

            Don't know and I am bored with your constant hectoring.

          • michael

            earlier you referenced someone called Davies or Howe ? Is the first name Brian?

          • Jim the Scott

            Fr. Brian Davies wrote THE REALITY OF GOD AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL and various other books on the subject. William Rowe is the Atheist philosopher who formulated the evidential argument from evil. It is said Plantanga solved the logical Problem of Evil. I might agree thought it is meaningless since God is not a moral agent anyway.

            Now get lost.

          • michael

            I read a brief article from a site called imagis on Aquinas teachings on Transcendentals. We recognize imperfections insofar as in comparison to things we have seen or heard of, not because we have metaphorically "seen God" so to speak (Of cours emetaphorically as god is immaterial and therefore doe unto reflect light that the visual cortex sees0, and base imperfections in beauty, truthfulness to one's nature, etc. on their differences from him one of the Epistles of John says no one has seen God at anytime or can see him (John must've forgot about Moses seeing God's back). of course none of this seems to me demonstrate the existence of "Mystery of Evil", much less it's superiority to "The Problem of Evil".

          • Jim the Scott

            So basically you just read some irrelevant crap other than the stuff I told you to read? Get lost Mike. Just get lost.

          • michael

            I'm reading this http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/05/davies-on-evil-suffered.html and so far not impressed, if you start to draw a circle with the intent to stop halfway and intentionally stop that you draw what looks like a C, you have not drawn a "defective circle", but no circle at all.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yeh lazy vapid ridicule isn't the same as intelligent feedback. It's the opposite really. Yer like the YEC nut who reads something on evolution but instead of trying to learn the lesson responds with mockery "So how does an animal escaping a prey to reproduce turn monkeys into people anyway?".

            You sound just as stupid and incurious. Really Mike go away. There is too much stupid in the room. Please leave so it might drop to safer levels.

          • michael

            Furthermore the analog of the circle doe sNOT bring about philosophical understanding or a demonstration that an ontologically rather than morally god being can exist and give kids Ebola or create people who will be damned to somehow mysteriously bring about a "greater good" from it.

          • Jim the Scott

            So again you read an article on a subject other then what we are discussing and you bitch about it not being about what we are discussing? Well I read it and it is a good explanation of privation and how God doesn't create evil as an end in itself. That is all it is about

            >a demonstration that an ontologically rather than morally god being can exist and give kids Ebola or create people who will be damned to somehow mysteriously bring about a "greater good" from it.

            Which is like me reading an article on quantum gravity and complaining it didn't tell me all that much about classic physics. I gave you a book to read. If you don't want to read it that is fine but stop assaulting me with these stupid posts. They are just embarrassing.

          • michael

            If it's so important to read whole books how did Christianity survive in the middle ages when people spent most of their day farming and couldn't read or write or go to school unless they were rich?

          • Jim the Scott

            Divine Providence is how. Also the Church open schools and instructed the faithful etc...

          • michael

            Like I said only the rich could go to those schools. Are you saying God zapped Aquinas' works into farmer's heads 800 years before Aquinas was born? IS that what you mean by Providence/ If not, what od you mean?

          • Jim the Scott

            Why do you assume God requires farmers to have an Aquinas level of knowledge of God? Goofy. How God deals with the skeptical farmer from 800 years ago is known only to Him and by definition would be justice. He won't condemn the invincibly ignorant and he will save them by any light he graces them with in an extra ordinary way.

            You OTOH have access to Amazon and the Internet so stop making excuses not to do yer homework. To whom much is given much is expected.

          • michael

            If I were god I'd make lions whose nature is to eat straw like in Isaiah's prophecy and keep them that way. No logical basis for doing otherwise.

          • Jim the Scott

            How would they be lions then? They wouldn't be. You would have created furry large cat like creatures where the males had big mains but they would not be lions. Lions hunt prey.

            >No logical basis for doing otherwise.

            What does logic have to do with it?

          • michael

            So the lion's in Isaiah's prophecy aren't lions?

          • Jim the Scott

            No Jesus is not literally a Panthera leo. He doesn't live on pride rock and he doesn't have a Tucan as a sidekick nor a brother named Scar.

            It is a metaphor or do you think when the Psalms say God enfolds us in His Wings God is a giant Cosmic Megazord Chicken? You are silly at this point. I am threw calling you an idiot as I do pity you. Not so much yer none belief but yer willful desire to be ignorant and uneducated. Tis sad.

          • michael

            Jesus doesn't eat straw either. The quote from isaiah is not about Jesus. Jesus isn't the baby in the same paragraph either or the snake.

          • Jim the Scott

            In other news water is wet.........

          • michael

            Logic is how we judge things to be true or not. & besides, even if it meant they weren't lions anymore, that wouldn't make it a good rather than bad thing to have lions around.

          • Jim the Scott

            You mean reasoning logic is a subset of reasoning. I care little about lions or your futile fantasies about being God. One Jim Carey movie on the subject is more than sufficient.

          • michael

            I've read both parts of this (Google cannot find parts 3 and 4) http://www.classicaltheism.com/davies2/ and am not impressed. It's just "God works in mysterious ways" moved an extra step. Does'tn demonstrate how an ontologically good being can do cruel things like give kids Ebola or allow something like Hell to exist.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I've read both parts of this (Google cannot find parts 3 and 4) http://www.classicaltheism.... and am not impressed. It's just "God works in mysterious ways" moved an extra step.

            Which is like reading the ORIGIN OF SPECIES and complaining it is just a fantasy of lower animals turning into higher ones.

            You are just pissed because none of the polemics you use against Theistic personalist fundamentalist can help you now as they are all non-starter objections. Boo hoo cry me a river.

            > Does'tn demonstrate how an ontologically good being can do cruel things like give kids Ebola or allow something like Hell to exist.

            You are still looking for a moral justification from a God who is not a moral agent. You are pathetic at this point and hopelessly anti-intellectual. But there is some hope. Maybe the NYTimes will higher you? I doubt they will be picky.

            BTW we both know you aren't really reading any of these things. You are skimming them. That is obvious.

          • michael

            How do people remember all this ? Aquinas commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics alone is five thousand pages.

          • Jim the Scott

            How does freakin Stephen Hawking remember all that stuff about Quantum gravity? Which was Brilliant but yet that same vast intellect couldn't do philosophy any better than his legs could walk?

            Anyway I'll answer my first question. He studied. Try it sometime. If only to expand yer mind before you consider saving yer soul. But if you prefer life in a fish bowl well ......

          • michael

            Studying explains learning, but not remembering.

          • Jim the Scott

            One cannot be faulted for accidentally failing to remember. Willfully forgetting OTOH......

          • michael

            Not being cruel is part of being ontologically good. Giving kids ebola is cruel. So to satisfy the articles challenge, I answer that the analogy of a football player failing to score goals fits God, since God exhibits cruelty.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Not being cruel is part of being ontologically good.

            No being ontologically good means God is Being Itself. It has nothing to do with God being the formal cause of evil which really has nothing to do with cruelty as that is a moral failing and God is not a moral agent so calling God cruel makes about as much sense as saying hot weather is literally cruel as if Hot weather had malignant intent?

            You didn't read anything. Why are you still here Michael? You have proven you aren't interesting in giving any serious critical response. You are a child son. Epic Fail.

          • michael

            By cruelty I simply mean doing things that inflict horrible pain for no good reason. Saying "I don't know the reason, God works in mysterious ways" isn't a compelling answer to me.

          • Jim the Scott

            I will show yer irrational objections no Mercy Michael

            >By cruelty I simply mean doing things that inflict horrible pain for no good reason.

            You mean morally good reason. Yeh the only good reason for the Lion eating the five year old human child or lamb is the nourishment of the lion. That is it. That is all. The is no moral justification for it and God if He so choose could have made it so the Lion ate a cancer patent who wanted to die but didn't. But he is not a moral agent so he doesn't have too.

            I am not giving you a theoodicy Michael. I reject Plantinga & so does Davies if you bothered to read the link you claimed to have read. Davies convinced me Plantingia is wrong. You are assuming I am giving you Alvin's argument.

            Now there is a mystery of evil. Why did God allow in His Providence to let that lamb escape and the other to be eaten? That cannot be known but I don't care because I know God is still not a moral agent and need not justify that morally to me because to do so would be absurd and incoherent.

          • michael

            Why don't you care?

          • Jim the Scott

            Why should I? I cannot know why so why fash about it? Why do I have Autistic kids and my Brother don't? Why did my poor cousin loose her first born to a bone disease and my is sitting on the floor as I type this playing a game on her kindle? I don't know? But thanks to Davies I do know one thing. It's not coherent to blame God.

            PS I don't Know if God brought the Big Bang from a Penrose Singularity or by collapsing a wavefunction using a Hartle/Hawking State. I don't know if science can know what happened before the Big Bang? I similarly don't care. As Moses said "Here I am".

          • michael

            God created bone disease, so do you have a different definition of "blame"?

          • Jim the Scott

            God formally created bone disease as he created human bone that can develop defects in the genes or be invaded by bacteria or virus who actualize their own good at the bone's expense. I can't blame him morally for this as he is not obligated to create this material world we live in.

            Maybe I can "blame" him formally but true blame is moral otherwise I would "blame" yer father and mother for producing you and having you ask all these stupid questions and refuse to do yer homework.

          • michael

            Then I can blame him formally for people going to heck and murders committed by Ted Bundy.

          • Jim the Scott

            Just like you can formally "blame" Ted Bundy's father for siring him but sich "blame" is trivial since you cannot hold Mr. Bundy the older directly morally responsible for His Son's crimes and you cannot absolutely morally blame God at all for evil since He is not a moral agent by nature as it is like blaming a Tennis player for having a bad batting average.

            Oh well......the problem of Evil isn't really a problem for Classic Theist. That is the Theistic Personalist's problem. Their false god is a moral agent and morally perfect like an upright human being. Foul Idolators the lot of 'em.

            May the True God forgive them.

          • michael

            I ddn't say he was directly morally responsible but rather that he did a bad thing.

          • Jim the Scott

            By that trivial observation God did a "bad thing" to a rapist who was trying to assault a small child and God graciously intervended threw His Providence and caused the man to have a heart attack before he could begin.
            Or we can say God did a bad thing to the Egyptans with the Red Sea.

            Or Rambo did a "bad thing" to an MS13 member he shot who was trying to harm a child.

            Trivial........

            Or the hurracan that flooded my basement did a bad thing.

            Still trivial......

          • michael

            If I were God, I'd take away free will to prevent those things, thus doing a good thing instead of fighting evil with more evil.

          • Jim the Scott

            "If I were God"=if 2+2=5 or if I was a bat. Meaningless with a meanless relativistic standard of good.

          • michael

            Intellect and logic are not relativistic standards. It isn't relative to say "a married bachelor is impossible"

          • Jim the Scott

            So you are claiming there is no free will because the correct use of logic and intellect prevents one from concluding a married bachelor is impossible?

            Yeh that makes not sense? Free Will is a self moved deliberate or fixed desire or intention.

            Yeh you are making up yer own shite again........

          • michael

            No, the use of logic prevents one from thinking a married bachelor IS possible.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yes but how does that negate the freedom of the will? It doesn't.

          • michael

            It forces you to believe that all bachelor's are single. You cannot choose what you believe.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yet Phil whatshisname came here and openly rejected reason? It seems someone like Phil could like Descartes believe God can make contradictions true. That He could make married Bachelors or 2+2=5.

            I don't see how yer scheme excludes people freely choosing to reject reason and thus believe weird things?

          • michael

            Which book should I read to understand how a being with infinite beatitude, immutability, and impassability can be "offended" so to speak, by sin or "served" through obedience? It doesn't seem like such a being would have anything too gain or miss out on from our actions or inactions. Can there be a crime without a victim?

          • Jim the Scott

            Feck off I already told you the head in a bucket of water analogy I am freakin tired of having to repeat myself with you. How does rejecting Goodness Itself not equate privation of Goodness Itself? So tedious......

          • michael

            That's off-topic. Look again.

          • Jim the Scott

            Nope it is spot on.

          • michael

            Your answer was about God not having obligations. I asked "how can we "offend" or "Serve'" God so to speak if he's immutable, impassable, and has infinite beatitude? The word "obligation" did not appear in there.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer questions are at best incoherent at worst obscure and or likely backtracking to save face after I hit you hard enough. I don't see how God being immutable, impassible and having infinite beatitude (as defined by the Scholastic Tradition and Teaching of the Holy Church) prevents me from offending him or serving him?

            Hmmm? Offending him? Do you imagine when God is "offended" that means he is literally getting angry like I do when you assault my intelligence with yer vapid nonsense? Do you imagine He is literally feeling the emotion of rage when some poor putz is eating meat on a Friday during lent?

            Are you now back to extreme theistic anthropomorphism? Next you will be telling me God has a literal white beard because of the Ancient of Days passages in Ezekiel?

            >The word "obligation" did not appear in there.

            Well you ask questions that only make sense to me if one presupposes God has obligations to His Creatures. Since God has no such obligations yer question almost never make any sense.

          • michael

            Exactly my point! If "offending" isn't him literally getting upset, why odes it mean instead? THAT was may questions.

          • Jim the Scott

            You are bad at questions and you do yer homework.

          • michael

            Which book to I buy to answer the question?

          • Jim the Scott

            I have already recomended several I am not going to do so again only to hear you bitch about having to read them or peasants in the middle ages could read them or yer other BS.

          • michael

            I should've typed "your answer has to do with humans doing things to themselves", I was misremembering your reply. But I was asking about things humans do to God, not themselves, so your answer is therefore off-topic.

          • Jim the Scott

            You don't literally do anything to God when you "offend him". Just like God is not literally feeling anger when he unleashes his wraith. God has no emotions. I have covered this before. God's anger isn't him literally getting pissed at you (like I do answering your foolish questions) rather it is His willing his own Justice.

            You hurt yourself consequentially by transgressing his will. You in effect metaphorically speaking choose to put yer ed in the proverbial bucket of water and refuse to take it out till you are stuck.

            At this point yer questions become more incoherent. Go away.

          • michael

            Yes and that is why I typed "SO TO SPEAK" did I not type those words?

          • Jim the Scott

            If you know God doesn't literally suffer from us sinning against Him why are ya still bitching?

          • michael

            For an answer as to what it means instead.

          • Jim the Scott

            What is the ultimate reason? Fech that I should know.

          • michael

            How can there be justice in punishing someone for a "crime" which has no victim?

          • Jim the Scott

            I get my just deserts and suffer the just consequences of drowning when I choose to stick my head in a bucket of water and refuse to pull it out. In a like manner I reject eternal fellowship with Goodness Itself then I get the just consequences of depravation of fellowship with Goodness Itself.

            How is this hard?

          • michael

            That's a silly answer. Just desserts are for CRIMINALS.

          • Jim the Scott

            Rather that is a silly rebuttle.

          • michael

            You cannot commit a crime against yourself, but you can against others.

          • Jim the Scott

            Says who? You certainly can otherwise why would some courtries make suicide illegal?

          • michael

            So what? How do the police punish people who commit suicide?

          • Jim the Scott

            They don't but people who kill themselves are guilty of self murder.

          • michael

            Is that the best you've got to offer?

          • Jim the Scott

            That is the question I ask myself everyday when I read yer nonsense.

          • michael

            Also if God is already infinitely happy what does it mean the METAPHOR "Serve him" mean? If he has nothing to again from our actions it seems awfully redundant to love/will the good of him. If it simply means "obey" it doesn't solve anything since if not obeying him doesn't affect him, it doesn't seem to make sense to say we're "committing a crime against him.". So please explain, I asked politely.

          • Jim the Scott

            Serving Him makes us happy as it is our natural state. He wants us to be happy and for some of us to choose it for ourselves. Us going to Heaven does nothing for God it is Him being supremely charitable to us. I thought that was obvious?

          • michael

            If it does nothing for him, it doesn't make sense to say it's literally erving him. So what doe s"metaphorically serving him" mean?

          • Jim the Scott

            We don't serve God to benefit him. We do it because it benefits us.

            >what doe s"metaphorically serving him" mean?

            Feck off you claim to be an ex-Catholic you must have already been taught that.

          • michael

            Does it merely mean "obey him"? And the thing in the first sentence there, how is that any different from what's called an "imperfect contrition, only obeying in order to avoid Hell and obtain Heaven.

          • Jim the Scott

            ????????????? What now?

          • michael

            If we do it because it benefits us instead of "because I will the good of him", that DOES fit the definition of imperfect contrition.

          • Jim the Scott

            No God does it because it benefits us you silly person.
            We do it because God wills it and we put God's will before ourself & that is perfect contrition. That doing that happens to benefit us is incidental. By the way I notice Dr. B answered you on this as well. Quite brillantly so enough of yer blather.

          • michael

            Perfect contrition is defined as obeying out of "Willing the good of GOD" I.E. Caritas, Love, willing the good of the other as an end, not merely as a means. Imperfect contrition means going to confession/obeying God out of fear of Hell and desire for Heaven, but not out of willing the good of God as an end.

          • Jim the Scott

            All contrition perfect or imperfect depends solely on grace. If one cannot confess to a Priest then one simply chooses to trust and love God and aspire to repent out of love for said God first and other consideration are made secondary. Perfect contrition should rest on the will not yer feelings. That is what every traditional Catholic Spiritual writer I ever read said.

            As far as I know perfect contrition doesn't mean you don't feel some fear of Hell or desire of Heaven. It is the will. The practice of virtue will help one make acts of perfect contrition that are efficacous.

            Perfect contrition is repenting out of love for God vs fear of punishment or loss of Heaven.

            "Willing the good of GOD" =choosing to love God above all things. It is not hard.

          • michael

            If loving good means willing the good of God, and sin does not affect him, how can mortal sin be incompatible with loving God? If I will the good of my cdad, and do something that I KNOW has no affect on my dad, then it cannot be said that that action means I don't will the good of him.

          • Jim the Scott

            Mortal sin inhibits our love of God. How is that hard?

            >How can mortal sin be incompatible with loving God?

            Goofy question it is like asking yer wife "How can I having sex with other women be cheating on you sweetheart?"

            >If I will the good of my cdad, and do something that I KNOW has no affect on my dad, then it cannot be said that that action means I don't will the good of him.

            I note Dr. B already explained that to you " it is an offense against [God's] intention in creating creatures with an inherent natural law. But the fact that it is an act against God's intention for the creature does not mean that it affects God in Himself. " So you are saying Going against yer father's will and intention isn't offensive to him? Sure it doesn't give him a black eye but so what?

            Yer lame arse sophistry knows no bounds.

          • michael

            I thought mortal sin was part of or the result of not loving God, not the CAUSE.

          • Jim the Scott

            Mortal Sin is a serious offense you commit against the Law of God or Nature which you do after sufficient reflection and full consent of the will.

            Doing that is by definition "not loving God".

          • michael

            Willing the good of my dad above all else does not entail that I refrain from actions or inactions that have ns effect on him.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer Dad tells you to do something that you ought to do and you don't do it in purpose then you have gone against his intentions and failed to will the good of yer dad. It doesn't have to "effect him". It could effect solely you and it is obvious going against his will here is not loving him. Or at best it is disordered love. Incomplete.....

            You are tedious Mike. You think God owes everything yet you deny yer duty to Him? God is not a moral agent. You are young man.

          • michael

            "Willing the good of GOD" =choosing to love God above all things. " With what I've been taught, it's the other way around, loving God means willing the good of God as an end.

          • Jim the Scott

            But the Act of willing the good of God is choosing to love God above all things.

            > it's the other way around, loving God means willing the good of God as an end.

            That is not a reverse that is just you moving the predicate around in the sentence. You love God by willing the Good of God and that Good is loving God above all things.

          • michael

            It doesn't makes sense to me to pray the prayer that goes "I am heartily sorry for offending you by actions which I knew would have no effect on you.". It's self-contradictory.

          • Jim the Scott

            What prayer exists in Catholicism that says God in his Divine Nature is harmed by my sin? I mean I know of Prayers that say my sins crucified my Lord and caused my lady pain by watching him be crucified but nothing about the divine nature being diminished by my sins? I think I have been Catholic longer than you son before becoming an apostate. Dr. B is in his 80's and knows even more.

            Dr B. explained this to you?

            " it affects the relationship of the creature to God as well as "wounds" the nature which the creature has misused.

            Grave sin is opposed to willing God's good since it is a deliberate attack on the order God has created. How can you love someone if you interfere with his plans? But remember that the damage is to the plans, which are the good of the creature, not God." .

            Here is a quarter buy a clue.

          • michael

            The prayer doesn't say "hatred', but it does say "offended".

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike yer the weirdo who is making up prayers. There is no prayer that says ""I am heartily sorry for offending you by actions which I knew would have no effect on you."

            >he prayer doesn't say "hatred', but it does say "offended".

            ??????????? At this point Mike I think I am talking to a Bot.

          • michael

            I meant to type "harmed" instead of "hatred". And there IS a prayer that goes "I am heartily sorry for having offended you by my sins". OBVIOUSLY I di'd'nt mean that there was literally a prayer that added more word sin there.

          • Jim the Scott

            Quote"O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin."

            or

            My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

            or

            O my God, I am sorry for my sins because I have offended you. I know I should love you above all things. Help me to do penance, to do better, and to avoid anything that might lead me to sin. Amen.

            Nothing about hurting God or deminishing him. At best you add to the suffering of Christ on the Cross but His human nature carries that Yomen's work.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Not being cruel is part of being ontologically good.

            Said no Classic Theistic philosopher or theologian or philosophically literate Atheist critic of Classic Theism ever! :D . Really mike you are too stupid to function.

          • michael

            Prove cruelty is compatible with being ontologically good then.

          • Jim the Scott

            Michael you are irrational at this point and you are not reading the material. At best you seem to be skimming it.

            >Prove cruelty is compatible with being ontologically good then.

            Basically what you want me to do is prove that a God who is not a moral agent (& can't coherently be conceived as one given the divine nature) can still be Moral or Immoral. Which is logically absurd and incoherent. To be "cruel" is to act immorally. If God is not a moral agent then(& Davies showed that he isn't even in the little link you clearly skimmed and didn't read carefully) no amount of short term evil He foresees and permits is an act of "cruelty" on His part.

            This is like asking me to prove Physics is a science like Archeology is a science even thought you have been digging all night at a site near an ancient ruin and no matter how far you dig into the Fossil bed you cannot find a Higgs Boson particle.

            God is not a moral agent you silly child. No such "god" exists. I don't have to provide a Theodicy for Him. Just like we don't have to figure out a Tennis Player's Batting average. God is Ontologically Good because He is the source of goodness & Being Itself. He is the source of the C shaped incomplete pizza & not the privation of pizza which being a privation does not really exist and has no source in Being Itself. The links you claim you read explain all this but you are so desperate to answer you want to keep pretending you are arguing with some Theodicy some Evangelical you once argued with cooked up.

            Wrong God silly. Polemic the God I believe in and stop wasting my time with the one neither of us believe in.

          • michael

            I did'nt say moral or immoral, I said all-good and not bad.

          • Jim the Scott

            This is what that nuttiness sounds like to me. God is All Good ergo God must be a good bike rider. If He is not good at riding a bike than He can't be all good.

            I have news for you sunshine. God (i.e. The Divine Nature) cannot ride a bike. To ride a bike entails sitting on it with yer body & moving the peddles with yer feet and leaning to help balance it and navigate. God is not physical. God is immaterial ergo He cannot even sit on the darn thing much less do the rest. Sure God could supernaturally cause the bike to move around as if it had an invisible rider on it but that wouldn't be because God is physically sitting on it and physically moving it with his physical form.

            So God does not have a deficit in being "all good" because technically He cannot be good at riding a bike. Well God can't be not All Good because he tolerates evil for a time. God is not morally obligated to immediately remove evil or prevent physical or moral evil directly.

            Evil is privation. God can allow it because it is not a species of being God causes to exist. Rather it is a deficiency in created being God allows and God doesn't cease to be Being Itself, or Pure Act for allowing it so He is still all good even if he lets a rapist commit his crimes. Because by definition Pure Act and Being Itself are all Good. Thus God is ontologically Good and to speak of an ontologically Good God having to stop evil because He is Ontologically good is not coherent. It is merely equivocating with the idea God is a moral agent.

            If I let a rapist commit his crimes I transgress morally but God is not a moral agent. Sorry but you can't argue against my God by redefining Him in yer own weird image.

            Too bad. So sad.

          • michael

            But how does that follow up to "Ontologically good"?

          • Jim the Scott

            Michael why don't you just admit you don't know "ontologically good" from "metaphysically good" from "morally good" from a large gapping hole in the head? You haven't studied the definitions. It is so tiresome talking to someone who clearly doesn't know the subject matter and can't even plausibly fake it. Tedious.

          • michael

            You have a bad definition of good and bad.

          • Jim the Scott

            No rather I have an inconvenient one that by definition doesn't play to yer standard anti-theodicy polemics. You are like the young Atheist wag I butted heads with decades ago who got upset I was a Theistic Evolutionist and didn't have an ANSWERS IN GENESIS understanding Genesis chapters 1 &2. Not my problem bro....

          • michael

            It doesn't play to my rational definitions of good and bad, nothing to do with theodicy.

          • Jim the Scott

            That you have different definition of good and bad has nothing to do with the definitions used by Classic Theists. You can't argue by equivocating and redefining yer opponent's views. That is the straw man fallacy.

            You haven't made any philosophical argument as to the metaphysical definition of evil or explanation other than to go all monty python and say "Evil isn't privation! Hitler wasn't a privation therefore you are stupid" or some such nonsense you assault my brain with.

          • michael

            Evil= suffering. Regardless of the consequences.

          • Jim the Scott

            Suffering=having some privation. Oh well......

          • michael

            That is your definition of the word, which is no more valid than Trans people trying to redefine gender into a psychological rather than anatomical term. You are equivocating my answer.

          • Jim the Scott

            Enough of yer tangents I am not interested.

          • michael

            My answer is a logician's answer, not a philosopher's.

          • Jim the Scott

            Only in yer deluded imagination. It is neither. A smart Atheist doesn't try to make a moral case against a God who isn't a moral agent. That excludes you buddy.

          • michael

            I did'nt say "God is amoral agent' in that answer, buddy.

          • Jim the Scott

            All yer criticisms only make sense if you assume God is a moral agent. Otherwise they are incoherent.

          • michael

            No, because accepting God is not a moral agent doesn't lead the conclusion "But God MUST have a omnibenevolent/ontologically good, but not morally good nor bad, reason for giving kids Ebola and creating Cholera.".

          • Jim the Scott

            >God MUST have a omnibenevolent/ontologically good, but not morally good nor bad, reason for giving kids Ebola and creating Cholera.

            Only Theistic Personalist who believe God is a moral agent or person who promote Theodicy in my experience use the term "omnibenevolent".

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnibenevolence

            "The earliest record for its use in English, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is in 1679. The Catholic Church does not appear to use the term "omnibenevolent" in the liturgy or Catechism."

            So you are completely out in left field. Hello CATHOLIC CLASSIC THEIST HERE MCFLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            I knew Thomas F. Wilson/Biff Tanon. I interviewed him decades ago on college radio. Nice guy.

          • michael

            I guess the folks at catholicanswers.com are Theistic Personalists or promote Theodicy.

          • Jim the Scott

            I read THIS ROCK Magazine for decades. They never really delved into the topic. They mostly focused on Fundamentalists, Evangelicals and other religions that sought to compete with Church.

          • michael

            Anyhow, the statement "God is not a moral agent" does not lead the brain straight the conclusion "But God MUSt have a nyon-omnibenevlolent, other-type-of-good reason for creating Cholera". Cholera is a disease where you get exhaustive bloody diarrhea and squeeze all the water out of your body and die, usually in less than a day.

          • Jim the Scott

            ??????? Son I am the only one here who can have crapy grammar. I earned it at my age.

            >of-good reason for creating Cholera

            God doesn't have to create anything at all and him creating it is an act of gratuitous good toward the thing he created. So he created Cholera for Cholera's sake.

            There is nothing so Good that God must create it and nothing so "bad" that as long as it partake of being God should refrain from creating it.

          • michael

            That doe's sound like a god to me. That sounds like a tyrant.

          • Jim the Scott

            That sounds like another anthropomorphism. You really aren't all that good at conceptionalizing or abstract thinking aye laddie?

          • michael

            Why isn't creating Cholera for cholera's sakes willing evil as an end rather than a means? I'm sure we all agree Cholera is very evil.

          • Jim the Scott

            It is not an evil end for the Cholera bacteria. It is a boon for them.

            >I'm sure we all agree Cholera is very evil.

            Yep further proof you didn't really read any of those Davies links you found. Yep I caught ya. I see you Michael. What Cholera does to us is evil but it is good for the Cholera. A Lamb is good for the lion but the lion isn't good for the lamb.
            You didn't read that Davies link at all did ya? Ya just skimmed it.....I am so disappointed in you Michael. But I am not surprised given yer track record.

          • michael

            Viruses are'nt considered alive. How is disease a "boon" to The Ebola Virus? What about volcanoes and earthquakes?

          • Jim the Scott

            Who says it has to be alive? In a material world things increase themselves at the expense of other things. Davies nor Aquinas said the things had to be alive? One Atheist wag once asked me "If a meteorite fell from the sky and hit a school bus full of children and flattened it what good comes from that"?

            I answered "The Earth is actualizing it's increasing mass by pulling objects down to itself by gravity". All these natural phenomena actualize their final causes in nature.

            Remember Michael all yer objections here presuppose a moral end. There is none save for rational created beings following the natural and divine law.

            You have so much too unlearn. Perhaps you should just stick to sticking to people who propose Theodicies? Fr. Brian Davies has some good refutations of various theodicies.

            Now I am going to see the new Brad Pit Scifi movie AD ASTRA. It looks like Hard Scifi and that is the best kind. Obey Science! God created final causes for a reason!

          • michael

            Wow, if Aquinas would actually respond to the meteorite question that way, he must've been one sick, illogical, anti-common sense maniac.

          • Jim the Scott

            Rather you are profoundly anti-intellectual. You argue based on yer emotions. I can make emotional arguments too. In yer godless universe a host of innocent Jews and Slavs dies horribly painful deaths during the holocaust. Hitler the one who caused the pain OTOH died quickly by his own hand believing himself the righteous tragic hero right up to the end. So why bitch about justice when by nature it doesn't exist?

            See it tugs at the heart strings. It makes yer world view supremely un-attractive and like yer little screed at it doesn't prove anything other than you can emote.

            God is not a moral agent. Get over it. Theistic Personalist "gods" do not exist.

          • michael

            What? You actually think the Nazis actually thought what they are doing was right????????!!?!?!?!?

          • Jim the Scott

            No that would be you since you think emotional arguments are valid. I don't think they are valid. I can make them(& I just did & it was a killer) if only to amuse myself but I know better then to rely on them or trust them. Unlike some of us.....

          • michael

            May intellect tells me if my emotions say that description matches an evil and malicious"god", then the description REALLY DOES match an evil and malicious "god", otherwise my intellect that God gave me would be in error.

          • Jim the Scott

            Then you are misusing yer intellect having it rely on emotions.

            Emotionally yer godless universe where the Nazi leader can die quickly and not pay for his crimes in any afterlife but his innocent victims get to suffer in a meaningless way and get no Heaven is asethically distasteful. But that has nothing to do with wither or not there is or is not a God or Afterlife or Ultimate Justice. I learned that from my Atheist professor back in college and I am a Classic Theist these days. What is yer malfuction son?

          • michael

            Burning in hell forever for taking 20 seconds ot gas people sure seems excessive, doesn't it?

          • Jim the Scott

            This psychotic statement of yours speaks for itself..I mean wow!
            Dude if you deleted it I would not blame you.....

          • michael

            you know what's aesthetically disatateful/ Hell. Free will leading to crimes. Smashing kids with meteorites.

          • Jim the Scott

            This from the young wag who thinks Nazis taking a mere 20 second to gas Jews ought not be punished in Hell for eternity? At this point Mike I think you have become completely unhinged.

          • michael

            The punishment would be far worse than what happened to the victims.

          • Jim the Scott

            The punishment is proportional for offending the creatures and the God who made them. Which is why a truly penitent Nazi suffers finite punishment in Purgatory for his offenses against creatures after having been forgiven his transgression against the Infinite and Eternal.

          • michael

            I'm sure the people killed in the Holocaust did'nt feel as offended as if they were going through endless unimaginable torment beyond all worlds description and comparison, much less the sensation of being chewed on by worms and being tormented by fire and the smell of sulfur.

          • Jim the Scott

            What is this weird nonsense now? You are imagining the people murdered during the holocaust not feeling offended or they should be more offended that their unrepentant murderers are being justly punished? You are a sick puppy sonny. Now bugger off!

          • michael

            It didn't say they weren't offended, just that wha they felt was nothing close to being torment in fire and sulfur forever and ever. And the punishment would therefore excessive.

          • Jim the Scott

            The damned are punished not only for their offenses against others but against God. Offending God requires eternal punishment. God offers forgiveness & truly suffienct grace to escape this just fate.

            Why do I bother? You are not paying attention........I explained this and Dr. B has explained this to you. It is in one ear out the other. You objections at this point are as lame as GHF's.

          • michael

            Nothing could justify hell. Nothing.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer personal dogma based on yer own subjective standards is noted. It is perfectly just that if you reject fellowship and communion with Goodness Itself you will exist in privation of Goodness Itself. Otherwise known as Hell.

            Like a pious Priest successfully resisting the temptations of some Trolop it's not hard.

          • michael

            Saying that there is an infinitive perspective beyondyour understanding implies our intellect is useless since it has an infinite margin for possible error.

          • Jim the Scott

            If that is true then the intellect of smartest girl in my class in 4th grade was useless to understand Addition and could not understand Addition because she did not yet understand nor was her 9 year old brain at that stage capable of understanding Quantum Physics or Advanced Calculus. But if memory serves she always got A+'s on Math quizzes and tests even thought Higher Math discipline where at the time beyond her.

            Yer intellect isn't useless just because it is limited. That seems obvious.

            Anyway It is perfectly just that if you use yer free will to freely disassociate yerself with Goodness Itself you should forever after live in disfellowship with Goodness Itself in all things(sans GI graciously sustaining yer useless existence) otherwise known as Hell. Just as it is just that you should drown if you stick yer head in the toilet and refuse to come up for air.

            So my parting advice is get yer ed out M8.

          • michael

            That's a poor analogy since elementary school math is not infinite. And it is not just to simply sit by instead of forcing someone to pull their head out of a toilet.

          • Jim the Scott

            It is a valid analogy since Infinite Knowledge is greater knowledge and Calculus is greater mathematical knowledge than mere addition. Lesser knowledge is still useful to know know lesser things.

            Yer claim is Infinite Knowledge renders finite knowledge useless. Clearly finite knowledge is not useless.

            Yer original argument is simply invalid, boarding on insipid sophistry and a base affront to actual reason.

            > And it is not just to simply sit by instead of forcing someone to pull their head out of a toilet.

            It is only unjust if a moral agent sits by and lets some poor idiot drown themselves in a toilet.

            So you are back to pretending God is somehow a moral agent & needs some super g . hay theodicy to defend His inaction?

            Smeg off! Smeghead! Use these lame arguments on Neo-theist where they belong. They are non-starters here.

            Sticking yer head in water and refusing to pull it out when by nature you are an air breathing creature earns you the natural justice of drowning.

            Rejecting Goodness Itself earns you the supernatural justice of being deprived of Goodness Itself which is the state of being otherwise known as Hell. You don't want air Smeghead you suffocate. You don't want fellowship with Goodness Itself then you will be granted yer wish.

            By nature you have free will and as the RUSH song goes if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice & as the Good Book says "The lukewarm I will spit from my mouth".

            Ah well then......

          • michael

            Your definition of "God" is logically unworthy of my reverence then.

          • Jim the Scott

            Rather you cannot refute the existence of my God or his logical coherence by merely redefining him. That is a straw man fallacy and without those and yer kneejerk tendency to equivocate you would have nothing to say.

            Yer analogies are invalid mine are not.

          • michael

            Your definition of god is not worthy of my respect according to my conscience.

          • Jim the Scott

            That is irrelevant to the fact you must argue against the actual God I believe in vs the one you wish I believed in. I keep telling you that and it goes in one ear and out the other. You cannot convince me my God with argument by redefinition. That is irrational even if there are no gods.

            Let's face it Michael. At this point, at best and I am being generous. You can decently polemic a Young Earth Creationist worldview and or an Intelligent Design Theistic Personalist world view.

            But I reject those views and so does Rob and Dr. B and Mark and others. So away with ye.

          • michael

            You believe in a God who professes to be above the law who has the right to torment people with Ebola and Cholera to fulfill his personal will. Such a being would be unworthy of my respect.

          • Jim the Scott

            Nope. You have said similar crap like that before and I answered it.
            Come up with something original. You have already bored me.

          • michael

            So God IS a moral agent? If not, then he's above the law. Simple as that.

          • Jim the Scott

            At this point you are on the level of the mad lass Ellabulldog. You have ceased to argue in good faith. You are repeating the same crap. I am sorry & I know this upsets you but none of yer refutations of Theodicy's apply to a God who is not a moral agent.

            Pathetic.

          • michael

            "God" as you define him would clearly be malevolent.

          • Jim the Scott

            By what objective standard? Also "malevolence" is a moral judgement. God cannot coherently be seen as a moral agent.

            You keep repeating the same crap. Smeg off.

          • michael

            Malevolent means "wishing harm upon another.". Your description of God matches that.

          • Jim the Scott

            God doesn't wish. Again with the theistic personalist anthropomorphism.

            All yer objections presupose a "god" who has obligations. No such "god" exists sonny.

            You keep repeating the same shite.

          • michael

            The objective standard of the very definition of the words "malevolent", which is from the Latin for "wanting the bad".

          • Jim the Scott

            God doesn't actively will evil as Aquinas showed. He merely passively wills it (foresee it and permits it)ergo he cannot be malevolent by that definition since it would require active willing of evil.

            Nice try.....

          • michael

            That's splitting hairs. And creating the Ebola virus isn't a passive act.

          • Jim the Scott

            Nope that is you implicitly complaining I am not a Theistic Personalist.
            Tough shite ya wee scunner.

            The Ebola virus is good as far as it has being. It is the nature of material things to actualize themselves at the expense of other things. God could have created a world where things did not do that but it would not have been a material world and it would therefore not be this world. Aquinas proved God is not obligated to create ANY world and as long as a World Partakes of being there is no world so bad God should refrain from creating it.

            You are implicitly putting moral judgment into the equation. You cannot morally judge God as it is incoherent. Get bent you idiot.

          • michael

            that'a an awfully sick warped definition of "good". And which chapter of Aquinas' Summa theologic proves that? Ive read the chapter "On God's goodness" and I don't see anything I'd call PROOF in it.

          • Jim the Scott

            Feck off I am tired of giving you reading assignments you merely skim or proof text.

          • michael

            If reading full books is important why does catholic answers have an article claiming that that one 11-step process in the article is all you need to know God exists for sure even if you're a brain in a jar?

          • Jim the Scott

            You question doesn't make any sense? So because there are articles giving short explainations of things we should never read a detailed explaination of a thing? Yeh Mike you have totally lost it...to be fair I doubt you ever had it.

          • michael

            So a longer answer is not necessary for the certainty of proof described by the article?

          • Jim the Scott

            More gibberish from the guy who refuses to acknowledge Theistic Personalism is not identical to Classic Theism and after all my ranting STILL INSISTS on treating them as interchangeable....

          • michael

            No quantity or quality of "greater good" could be worth the possibility of someone going to Hell.

          • Jim the Scott

            Hell is a consequence proportional to the act. I stick my head in the bucket of water I private myself Oxygen in the form I need for my lungs to process it. That is proportionate and a good reason for me to drown.

            If I reject Eternal Goodness Itself I live in privation of Goodness Itself in all things sans existence for all eternity. Otherwise known as Hell. That is proportionate too.

            Yer emotional arguments have no meaning.

          • michael

            Why would'nt god prevent that form happening? "Free will" isn't a good enough answer at all.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Why would'nt god prevent that form happening?

            God is not a moral agent & given His relationship to His Creation He has no obligations to us for the 10,000th time you brain dead intellectually inferior Gnu Atheist chucklehead!

            The Free Will defense IS WRONG you idiot!

            You really are just an idiot. You really cannot grasp the simple fact we are not Theistic Personalists here who confess some Morally Perfect "god" whose moral perfection is unequivocally compared to human moral perfection.

            Why are you such a tool? I don't see Nickols or Green banging on about this? They get it! What is yer damage!

          • michael

            But it was YOU who said "Free will is what makes us in God's Image".

          • Jim the Scott

            No Mr. Sad Git I said we are in divine image because we have intellect and will.
            You always leave out the intellect part and I am not surprised at this point.
            Now bugger off!

          • michael

            What would go wrong if God forced people to have The Beatific Vision against their will?

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike I don't know who is more clueless? You or GHF? It's a tough call.

            So you believe God acts with some sort of utility by giving free will? Ah no. God can cause a baby to be born & by providence have them baptised (I add that to make their salvation certain because I don't want to go off on a useless Limbo tangent ) & then allow them to die minutes later and boom the child gets the beatific vision without being consulted.

            So I don't know what you are going on about other then wishing really hard that I was a Theistic Personalist who believed in a moral agency "deity" so yer non-starter arguments would have some traction?

            Really bugger off you are getting boring.

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike somebody pointed out to me David Nickols latest response to you whic I read. You should heed his advise. You are not convincing me Atheism is good. Mind you I am fair enough to not unfavorably judge the whole enterpise just because of yer crappy performance here but really you aren't doing yer "cause" a lick of good.

            Just saying........

          • Phil Tanny

            That's right, what he said. Being a good Christian involves insulting everyone around you at every opportunity, and if you don't get that, and you don't do that, you are most definitely going straight to hell. In fact, you might already be there right here in this thread! :-)

          • Jim the Scott

            So Boring..........

          • michael

            Ht one that says "Xx Nihilism?"/ How does that make anything worth allowing the possibility of people going to Hell?

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike you are an idiot who is still pretending God is a moral agent. If you won't listen to yer fellow Atheist who is clearly more rational and educated on these matter then you then do me a favor. Bugger off!

          • michael

            Didn't you say people in an infinitely intense degree of suffering would be bad enough to be incompatible with his goodness?

          • Jim the Scott

            That doesn't coherently resemble anything I would say? I try to choose my words carefully when I can.

          • michael

            Didn't you say Hell does'nt go against God's being because the damned are not in an infinite degree of suffering?

          • Jim the Scott

            Doesn't sound like something I would say? The only "infinite" in the suffering of the damned is a potential infinite in that their suffering will never end even if as Mister Echard believes and the Church doesn't formally condemn it (thank you for those links by the way. I shows you can do yer homework if you set yer mind to it but for some mad reason you don't?).

            OTOH because of God's Infinite dignity offending it merits infinite punishment in terms of it never ending but you don't experience infinity all at once.

          • michael

            It was a pretty long time ago but I do rememberr ou saying it.

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't.

          • michael

            How does being ontologically good exclude being nice instead of giving people Ebola, EVEN IF God is not a moral agent? Comparing not giving people Ebola to riding a bike does'nt make sense since tou don't need a body in order to not give people Ebola.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yeh I do seem to recall Fr. Brian Davies saying on one or many of His books that God is not "nice". To be "Nice" is a moral behavior. God is only "morally good" in the Sense that God is the Moral Law Itself. But agents enforce laws. Because of God's Nature a will that continuously rejects Him till death without repenting will find their head in the metaphorical bucket of water.

            So God doesn't need to be an Agent to bring about justice in the next world. Of course God can intervene in the present world and stop a present evil but such an act is not an obligatory act of God doing his Duty. He has no duties to us. It is a gracious act of charity on His part which he need not have done.

            All of God's good actions toward us are by nature Gratuitous not obligatory.

            God is not a moral agent unequivocally comparable to a human moral agent. I keep telling ya...you ignore me and say the same shhhh,,,,poop over and over.. Rinse repeat.

          • michael

            No, to be "nice" means not hurting anyone.

          • Jim the Scott

            God hurts people or passively allows people to be hurt. So what? Get back to me when God turns into a moral agent like the daft Theistic Personalist false god of the Neo-Theists.

          • Phil Tanny

            Jim the Scott is the best evidence we have that the owner of this site has abandoned it.

          • Jim the Scott

            Phil yer passive aggressive crybaby antics are noted. Here is the bottom line with you. You are what Atheist Philosopher David Stove called "An Irrationalist". Philosophy is to you a type of group therapy woo not a system of thinking about reality to find truth using human reason. That doesn't work here. It is just being weird. Perhaps you would be better served if you tried yer antics on some virtual online hippie commune site? You can stare at yer navel all day long while serious people can examine the arguments for the existence of God and the soul. You have no place in that discussion because you reject the use of reason to examine them. You are about as useful as a Young Earth Creationist who wants to discuss Evolution but says he reject science and that we won't be using science or archeology to prove evolution. Yeh nuts too that.....in Classic Theism God is known to exist by philosophy. If you won't do philosophy go find some hippies.

            I'm rooting for ya buddy.

          • michael