• Strange Notions Strange Notions Strange Notions

The Flatlander’s Argument Against Miracles

In a Pentecost sermon that was later published as the essay “Transposition,” C.S. Lewis posed a serious objection to the gift of “speaking in tongues,” sometimes called glossolalia. But the objection he makes (as we’ll soon see) applies to everything from miracles to love. First, here’s the dilemma Lewis finds:

The difficulty I feel is this. On the one hand, glossolalia has remained an intermittent “variety of religious experience” down to the present day. Every now and then we hear that in some revivalist meeting one or more of those present has burst into a torrent of what appears to be gibberish. The thing does not seem to be edifying, and all non-Christian opinion would regard it as a kind of hysteria, an involuntary discharge of nervous excitement. A good deal even of Christian opinion would explain most instances of it in exactly the same way; and I must confess that it would be very hard to believe that in all instances of it the Holy Ghost is operating. We suspect, even if we cannot be sure, that it is usually an affair of the nerves. That is one horn of the dilemma.

The other horn of the dilemma is that there’s at least one instance – the original Pentecost (Acts 2) – in which the gift of tongues is described by the authors of Scripture as quite real, and St. Paul makes enough statements in his first letter to the Corinthians that it doesn’t seem to be only a one-time event. So the Christian is not free, as a skeptic is, to say that therefore none of the supposed instances of glossolalia are real. Lewis recognized the apparent weakness of this position:

The sceptic will certainly seize this opportunity to talk to us about Occam’s razor, to accuse us of multiplying hypotheses. If most instances of glossolalia are covered by hysteria, is it not (he will ask) extremely probable that that explanation covers the remaining instances too?

Another way of formulating this objection would be like this: you say that A is spiritual and B isn’t, but A and B look identicalThe point here is much bigger than speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues looks like nervous energy. But it is also true that the miraculous healing often looks like the natural healing. The couple in love and the couple in lust may look the same. And indeed, even thinking looks like it’s just atoms moving around in the brain! So why believe in miracles, or in romantic love, or in thought? Lewis points out that this leads us to the absurd conclusion that we have to reject truth and falsity:

We are certain that, in this life at any rate, thought is intimately connected with the brain. The theory that thought therefore is merely a movement in the brain is, in my opinion, nonsense; for if so, that theory itself would be merely a movement, an event among atoms, which may have speed and direction but of which it would be meaningless to use the words “true” or “false”.

Atoms move in the brain when you think, but that doesn’t mean that “atoms moving in my brain” and “I think a thought” are the same thing. Expressing a thought in writing moves ink onto the page, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no difference between an ink spill and a letter. Likewise, to reduce “thinking” to a certain set of atomic movements within the brain renders any talk of a thought being “true” or “false” nonsensical (how could any one movement of atoms be any more or less “true” than any other?). And indeed, Lewis notes that on a merely physical level, even extreme joy and anguish look the same – the tightening in the chest, the racing of the heart, and so on. He concludes that “if I were to judge simply by sensations I should come to the absurd conclusion that joy and anguish are the same thing, that what I most dread is the same with what I most desire.”

So there seems to be something obviously wrong with the skeptic’s objection. But there’s still something confusing: why is it that supernatural things look like natural things, if they are (in reality) different? Lewis points out that we would expect them to look much the same, because it’s a richer system (spiritual phenomena) being expressed in the limited language of the body. He calls this theory “correspondence” or “transposition.” And we find it anytime you try to express something in a richer language in a more limited one. For instance, spoken English has something like 19 and 22 distinct vowel sounds. But written English only has A, E, I, O, and U (and sometimes Y or W). And so there’s a limitation, which is how you end up with “take a bow” and “violin bow,” or the bizarre case of “boy,” “cow,” “lot,” and “toe,” in which the “o” is pronounced differently each time. But Lewis gives another example that might be clearer:

The most familiar example of all is the art of drawing. The problem here is to represent a three-dimensional world on a flat sheet of paper. The solution is perspective, and perspective means that we must give more than one value to a two-dimensional shape. Thus in a drawing of a cube we use an acute angle to represent what is a right angle in the real world. But elsewhere an acute angle on the paper may represent what was already an acute angle in the real world: for example, the point of a spear on the gable of a house. The very same shape which you must draw to give the illusion of a straight road receding from the spectator is also the shape you draw for a dunces’ cap.

Because you’ve seen houses in real life, you can tell where the artist means the slanted lines to represent that one thing is higher than another, or whether it simply means that one thing is further away. But imagine a “Flatlander,” who only knew the world of drawings, and you can see where skepticism might come in:

If we can imagine a creature who perceived only two dimensions and yet could somehow be aware of the lines as he crawled over them on the paper, we shall easily see how impossible it would be for him to understand. At first he might be prepared to accept on authority our assurance that there was a world in three dimensions. But when we pointed to the lines on the paper and tried to explain, say, that “This is a road,” would he not reply that the shape which we were asking him to accept as a revelation of our mysterious other world was the very same shape which, on our own showing, elsewhere meant nothing but a triangle. And soon, I think, he would say, “You keep on telling me of this other world and its unimaginable shapes which you call solid. But isn’t it very suspicious that all the shapes which you offer me as images or reflections of the solid ones turn out on inspection to be simply the old two-dimensional shapes of my own world as I have always known it? Is it not obvious that your vaunted other world, so far from being the archetype, is a dream which borrows all its elements from this one?”

Lewis calls this perspective the “view from below.” If all you know of English is written English, you’re going to be skeptical and confused when someone tells you about the myriad sounds than an “o” can make. If you’ve never seen life in 3-D, it’s going to be nearly impossible to understand what’s going on in a drawing of a house. And if you know nothing of the spiritual life, and think that there’s nothing outside of chemicals and animal passions and swirling atoms, you lack the framework to make any sense of higher phenomena, like miracles, or even love or thought. Lewis’ point is that this skepticism is both perfectly reasonable and completely wrong. But it’s wrong because there’s more evidence that the skeptic doesn’t see, or perhaps doesn’t even have:

The sceptic’s conclusion that the so-called spiritual is really derived from the natural, that it is a mirage or projection or imaginary extension of the natural, is also exactly what we should expect; for, as we have seen, this is the mistake which an observer who knew only the lower medium would be bound to make in every case of Transposition. The brutal man never can by analysis find anything but lust in love; the Flatlander never can find anything but flat shapes in a picture; physiology never can find anything in thought except twitchings of the grey matter. It is no good browbeating the critic who approaches a Transposition from below. On the evidence available to him his conclusion is the only one possible.

The solution, in each of these cases, is to approach the question instead “from above.” From that perspective, it’s clear how love and lust can differ so dramatically, even if some of the same external actions are involved in both; it’s likewise clear how thinking differs from the mere sloshing around of parts of the brain; and it’s clear how God can intervene in the order of nature in a way distinct from the ordinary course of events, or how the Holy Spirit can give particular charisms to people… even if each of these things looks virtually indistinguishable from its “lower” cousin on an external level.

Two men might appear to be identical, if you look only at the shape of their shoes. And from that perspective, they may in fact be indistinguishable. But that doesn’t actually mean that they’re the same. It just means that you need to approach things from a different angle… from higher up.

Now, Lewis’ argument doesn’t prove that the view from above is therefore right. Certainly, it’s likely to sound absurd to a Flatlander or a brute, who views everything from below. Nor does it mean that every purported miracle or supernatural gift is authentic, or that everyone with a furrowed brow is deep in thought, or that every declaration of love is the real deal. Instead, it’s simply to say that the Flatlander’s objective, which sounded so persuasive at first, is really just a reflection of his own limited perspective, and that if we’re ever going to have any luck telling what’s real or what isn’t, we’re going to have to approach it with the “view from above.”

Joe Heschmeyer

Written by

Until May 2012, Joe Heschmeyer was an attorney in Washington, D.C., specializing in litigation. These days, he is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, and can use all the prayers he can get. Follow Joe through his blog, Shameless Popery or contact him at joseph.heschmeyer@gmail.com.

Note: Our goal is to cultivate serious and respectful dialogue. While it's OK to disagree—even encouraged!—any snarky, offensive, or off-topic comments will be deleted. Before commenting please read the Commenting Rules and Tips. If you're having trouble commenting, read the Commenting Instructions.

  • Pablo Aristizabal

    Wow, great article thanks!

  • Johannes Hui

    The debate is really between two types of Flatlanders:

    1) Flatlanders who believe that there is a world beyond Flatland
    2) Flatlanders who believe that Flatland is the world, and the world beyond is simply an imaginary construct constructed from the ingredients of Flatland itself.

    Both types of Flatlanders cannot personally view things from above while their existence is bounded on Flatland.

    I submit that the first type of Flatlanders have with them deductive arguments with true premises and valid logic form that would prove (in the strict sense) that there is indeed a world beyond Flatland, even though neither type of Flatlanders could, on their own, get to personally view things from above while they are still restricted to exist in Flatland.

    .
    Cheers!
    johannes y k hui

    • Jim the Scott

      Good insight.

    • Phillip Dent

      This is true. Unfortunately the premises of these arguments are not sound.

      • Johannes Hui

        Hi Phillip, you wrote:

        Unfortunately the premises of these arguments [for God] are not sound

        Can you help me by showing me which of the following 3 premises is false? I designed this deductive proof which starts from the empirical observation/fact that your physical existence depends CONTINUOUSLY on various conditions.

        Premise 1: Your physical existence now is CONTINUOUSLY dependent on the CONTINUOUS Lfulfillment of various series of conditions such as this series:

        you > warm air > sun > ...

        (your physical existence depends on the CONTINUOUS fulfillment/presence of every condition in such series)

        Premise 2: Such a series is either a never-ending series or a series with an ending. If it is a never-ending series, then it is a never-ending task to fulfill all the conditions and hence fulfillment is impossible. Since you exist now, that means fulfillment has been achieved, and that in turn entails the series can only be a series with an ending. So a last entity/condition exists in the series now, concurrently with you and every entity in the series:

        you > warm air (1st condition/entity) > sun (2nd condition/entity) > ... > last condition/entity

        Premise 3: The last entity’s existence is either conditional or not conditional on something else. If its existence is conditional on something else, it won’t exist now because nothing exists after it in the series for its existence to be conditioned on (ie nothing exists after it in the series to enable it to exist). Since Premise 2 showed that it exists now, the only possibility is that its existence is unconditional on anything.

        Conclusion:
        The EMPIRICAL fact that you physically exists now ENTAILS (ie necesarily means) that a last entity having unconditional existence exists now. In other words, your existence now as a conditioned entity is CONTINUOUSLY enabled by an unconditioned entity.

        Note: If the above argument has no false premise, and has no invalid logic form, then a person can proceed to further prove that this unconditioned entity is the God of Classical Theism.

        Looking forward to see if you can explain which of the premises is false, or explain whether any of the embedded logic forms is invalid.

        .
        Cheers!

        johannes y k hui

        • Phillip Dent

          I didn't say they they were false, I said they are not sound.

          P1. It isn't continuous fulfilment. There are things that happen and some of these sustain me. But this sustenance is not the continuous causation from Thomism. For example the sun emits individual photons. This isn't the "continuous" causation in Thomistic metaphysics.

          So yes I reject premise 1 as unsound.

          P2 no, I don't think an past infinite series of causes is incoherent. I agree an infinite task is impossible in finite time but that isn't what an infinite series is. And of course this idea depends on models of time and causation which are likely not to apply prior to the big bang. But certainly I accept something brute is the ultimate explanation of reality. (Or that reality ultimately has no explanation).

          Finally even if P2 is otherwise sound you've got no warrant to limit this last entity to one or several billion entities.

          P3 I honestly didn't not understand this.

          Edit: and none of this, not even a unconditioned entity continuously causing material reality, doesn't imply sone other non-natural realm of miracles.

          • Philip Rand

            Philip Dent

            Very interesting response of P1, P2, P3.

            You conclude:

            I didn't say they they were false, I said they are not sound.

            P1 is unsound
            P2 is false
            P3 you don't understand

            Concatenated, your reasoning appears lost-in-the-woods.

          • Phillip Dent

            Thanks!

          • Philip Rand

            A dent you understand.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Phillip Dent, you said that

            P1. It isn't continuous fulfilment. There are things that happen and some of these sustain me. But this sustenance is not the continuous causation from Thomism. For example the sun emits individual photons. This isn't the "continuous" causation in Thomistic metaphysics. So yes I reject premise 1 as unsound.

            (A) A premise’s claim is either true or false. A deductive argument is either sound or unsound. If we use “unsound” to describe a premise’s claim, then it means the premise is false.

            (B) I did not say my proof is a Thomist proof. Please do not mix up my proof with Thomist proofs. Instead please just analyze my proof as it is without putting it under Thomism.

            (C) My proof did not make use of “causation”. My expressions were “dependent on”, “depends on”, “conditioned on”, and “conditional on”. Such terms are much more general than “causation”. Note the difference in this example: A fire’s existence is continuously dependent on various conditions such as (1) the existence of fuel and (2) the existence of oxygen. If the condition of the presence/existence of fuel is not continuously fulfilled, the fire would cease to exist. If the condition of the existence of oxygen is not continuously fulfilled, the fire would also cease to exist. While fuel is one of the conditions needed for the fire to exist, the fuel may not have caused the fire. While oxygen is one condition needed for the fire, the oxygen may not be the cause of the fire. Hence please note that I did not use causation in my three premises.

            (D) When A’s existence is continuously dependent on a process called B, it is not necessary that B must be a non-discreet process. For example, when your shadow on the ground is formed through the sun’s emission of discreet photons, it means your shadow’s existence is continuously dependent on a continuous discreet process. Your shadow depends on the continuous emission of discreet photons.

            If for some reason the sun ceases to emit photons, then your shadow formed by you standing under the moon sun would also ceases to exist. In this sense your shadow formed by you standing under the noon sun is continuously dependent on the continuous emission of photons.

            Hence continuous dependency can mean a continuous dependency on a continuous discreet process.

            In my Premise 1, the warm air is sustained as warm air by the sun. If the sun ceases to exist, the warm air in our atmosphere would not be sustained by itself as warm air. Why the warm air continues to be warm air is due to the continuation in fulfillment of the condition of the sun’s existence. In this sense the existence of warm air is continuously dependent on the existence of the sun.

            .

            You wrote:

            P2 no, I don't think an past infinite series of causes is incoherent.

            You totally misunderstood my Premise 2. Premise 2 is not about a series that goes back into the past. The series is not a time series at all. Premise 2’s series is about entities that exist concurrently with one another right at this moment as you are reading this. The warm air refers to the warm air existing in our earth’s atmosphere right now, concurrent with your existence now. The sun refers to the sun existing concurrently with your existence now. Hence what you said about Big Bang is not relevant to my Premise 2. Every entity inside Premise 2 refers to an entity that exist now. Every entity inside the series in Premise 2 exists concurrently with every other entity inside that same series.

            .

            You wrote:

            P3 I honestly didn't not understand this.

            It may help by using yourself as an example. Your physical existence/life is either conditional or unconditional on some conditions. Since you cannot remain alive if the temperature around you becomes too hot (eg 1000 times higher than the temperature now) or too cold (eg 1000 times lower than the temperature now), that means your existence is conditional on some other conditions, such as a warm temperature. So you are an example of an entity whose existence is conditional upon some conditions.

            A fire’s existence is another example of an entity’s existence which is conditional upon the fulfillment of some conditions such as the presence of fuel or the presence of oxygen. So a fire’s existence is not unconditional.

            Hence every entity’s existence is either conditional or unconditional on the existence/presence of some other entity.

            If the existence of the last entity is conditional on some other entity’s existence, then the last entity would not exist because no other entity exists after the last entity in the series for the last entity to depend on for existence.

          • Phillip Dent

            Ok, so by "continually caused" you don't mean an essentially ordered series, like in Thomism?

            If that's so, yes I agree contingent things have causes.

            In P2 I still don't see how an infinite series of causes is incoherent. Each effect is explained by is cause and so on. I don't see a contradiction. I can't say it's possible or impossible in reality.

            But sure on p3. I more familiar with contingent, any difference in your mind?

            I still don't see why you think this leads to anything outside flatland. Like what in Naturalism do you think is violated with a metaphysically necessary first cause or causes?

            Are you suggesting this would establish something like speaking in tongues or bleeding statues?

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Phillip Dent,

            Thanks for engaging with my comment.

            Ok, so by "continually caused" you don't mean an essentially ordered series, like in Thomism? If that's so, yes I agree contingent things have causes.

            My premises are not claiming anything about causes, and also not making claims about contingent things.

            My argument is base on “continuous dependency” and not on “Causes”. The existence of fire “continuously depends on” the existence/presence of oxygen, but the oxygen may not be the Cause of the fire.

            My Premise 1 is claiming that any entity, eg entity A, that lacks the ability to exist unconditionally would continuously depend on some other entity, eg entity B, to continue existing. Hence the condition of the existence that some other entity, eg entity B, needs to be CONTINUOUSLY fulfilled in order for A to continue existing.

            A > B > ..............
            ie A’s existence is continuously dependent on B’s existence.

            B is something that exists concurrently with A, similar to your mirror image exists concurrently with you standing in front of the mirror.

            An Example Using Your Mirror Image

            your mirror image > you standing in front of mirror
            (where “>” denotes “continuously depends on”)

            Your mirror image cannot continue to exist by itself if you cease to exist in the next minute.

            In P2 I still don't see how an infinite series of causes is incoherent. Each effect is explained by is cause and so on. I don't see a contradiction. I can't say it's possible or impossible in reality.

            Again, using “cause” would not be appropriate as my argument is base on dependency. The existence of fire “depends on” the fuel but the fuel may not be the Cause of the fire.

            Each entity’s existence is continuously dependent on the fulfillment of certain conditions.

            For example, the existence of your mirror image (perceived by an observer) continuously depends on your existence in front of the mirror. Your existence would be a CONDITION for the existence of that mirror image. If this CONDITION is not fulfilled in the next minute, then the mirror image cannot exist in the next minute, even though right now your mirror image exists while you are now standing in front of the mirror.

            In the above sense, your mirror image’s existence continuously depends on the fulfillment of the CONDITION that you exist in front of that mirror.

            If you understand the meaning of CONDITION explained above, then you may be able to understand the following:

            If a series of CONCURRENT conditions needed to be fulfilled in order for you to exist NOW is a never-ending series, then such a series of conditions is impossible to be fulfilled. Since the conditions cannot be fulfilled, you would not exist now. This contradicts the fact that you exist now, so that means the series of conditions has been fulfilled now. That in turn means the series is not a never-ending series. See the following:

            (a) A series of conditions is either a never-ending series or a series with an ending.

            (b) If series of conditions is never-ending, then the series of conditions cannot be fulfilled.

            (c) If the series of conditions cannot be fulfilled, then you do not exist now.

            (d) But the fact is you exist now!

            (e) That means the series of conditions has been fulfilled. (base on the logic form called Modus Tollens: if A, then B. But the fact is B is false. Therefore A is false)

            (f) That means the series of conditions is not a never-ending series.

            (g) That means the series of conditions has an ending.

            So the series is:

            you > 1st condition/entity > 2nd condition/entity > ... > last condition/entity

            But sure on p3. I more familiar with contingent, any difference in your mind?

            The concept of “conditional entities” is not identical with the concept of “contingent entities”, in the way that the the concept of a “tri-lateral figure” is not identical with the concept of a “tri-angular figure”, even though the end-result is the same.

            I still don't see why you think this leads to anything outside flatland.

            The argument leads to the existence of an entity that exists unconditionally.

            Further analysis of an Unconditionally Existing Entity would ultimately lead to the conclusion that an non-abstract entity exists now, beyond our physical world, and is the One and Only One sustaining the existence of our physical world. That means there is a non-abstract reality existing beyond our physical universe or “Flatland”. Such a further analysis would also show that this Unconditionally Existing Entity’s essential characteristic is to exist unconditionally. Its essence is existence per se.

            Like what in Naturalism do you think is violated with a metaphysically necessary first cause or causes?

            Naturalism is a very flexible word that can be defined differently and hence I would rather refer to physicalism/materialism. The Unconditionally Existing Entity would entail that physicalism/materialism is false.

            Are you suggesting this would establish something like speaking in tongues or bleeding statues?

            No. It would only establish that there is a non-physical entity (Unconditionally Existing Entity), and there can be other non-physical entities created by the Unconditionally Existing Entity that can make such miracles happen. By itself it does not establish that such miraculous events happened.

            :)

            Cheers!

          • Phillip Dent

            I'm afraid I don't follow what you mean by dependency if it isn't in any way causal. It certainly seems causal to me how you describe it.

            It sounds exactly like an essentially ordered series or cause. But you seem to say this is not the case. So I am not sure I am on the same page as you with P1.

            Again you seem to be just assuming that an infinite series of conditions is impossible, I don't see any reason to accept this.

            A sound version doesn't just lead to one unconditioned entity, nothing in the argument precludes multiple unconditioned entities.

            Nothing suggests these unconditional entities are "beyond our world". They may be our world itself.

            Sure you can use Physicalism, but this means you are not necessarily advancing a deity or anything supernatural as the out of this works entity so I wouldn't think it's relevant to this discussion. But even so, nothing in your syllogisms suggests to me that an unconditioned entity cannot be physical.

            And surely you can understand that when you say things like 'there is an unconditioned entity whose essence is its existence' I take it you are advancing a Thomistic argument.

            This OP is about a works in which spirits or gods inhabit people and make them speak languages they don't know or religious miracle.

            I had thought you advanced a comment that there were valid deductive arguments showing such a world is the case. Now you have clarified that isn't the world you mean but one in which substai dualism is true and there is one unconditioned entity.

            You've clarified that such a world is not incompatible with all forms of metaphysical naturalism but is incompatible with any kind of physicalism. So it seems this discussion is irrelevant to the OP.

            That said I'm happy to continue discussing whether substance dualism or a brute entity has been demonstrated true by way of deductive arguments.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Phillip Dent, you said:

            I'm afraid I don't follow what you mean by dependency if it isn't in any way causal. It certainly seems causal to me how you describe it.

            Understanding what it means by saying A’s existence is dependent on B’s existence is a major key to understanding my deductive argument.

            When you understand this then you can understand my argument.

            If you understand my argument then you would be in a position to explain which premise is wrong/false and why it is false.

            Therefore I suggest that we focus on understanding what it means by
            “A’s existence is continuously dependent on B’s existence, even though B’s existence may not be the CAUSE of A’s existence”

            Let A be fire and B be oxygen.

            I believe you would agree that for a fire to exist, the presence of oxygen is necessary.

            When you cut away oxygen from a fire, the fire ceases to exist.

            If the oxygen ceases to exist around the fire, then the fire also ceases to exist.

            So we say this: “the fire’s existence is dependent on the presence or existence of oxygen”.

            And in fact, the fire’s existence is CONTINUOUSLY dependent on the existence/presence of oxygen. This is because: If oxygen is present now but no longer present/exist around the fire 10min later, the fire would cease to exist.
            (In contrast, whether or not your great grandfather still exists today, you can still continue to exist. Your existence is not continuously dependent on the existence of your great grandfather.)

            However, oxygen is not the cause of fire because when you fill up a room with oxygen and nothing else, you do not get fire in that room.

            So while the fire’s existence is continuously dependent on the existence e of oxygen, the existence of oxygen is not the Cause of the fire’s existence.

            Again: Oxygen’s existence is only a condition for the existence of fire. Oxygen’s existence is not the cause for the existence of fire.

            The fire’s existence is continuously dependent on the fulfillment of this condition: the presence/existence of oxygen.

            After the above explantation, do you understand now the difference between “A’s existence is continuously dependent on B’s existence” and “X’s existence causes Y’s existence”? If you understand the difference then you would understand the following statements:

            - If “no oxygen”, then “no fire”.

            - If “there is oxygen”, then “we may still have no fire”

            - If “there is a fire there now”, then for sure “oxygen is present there now”.

            - If “a fire is existing now inside that container”, then we know that “the CONDITION of the oxygen existing in that container” has been FULFILLED now

            - A fire’s existence is continuously dependent on the fulfillment of the condition of the existence of oxygen.

            If you understand all these, then we can proceed further to discuss my deductive argument.

            :)

            Cheers!

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi Phillip Dent, you said:

            I'm afraid I don't follow what you mean by dependency if it isn't in any way causal. It certainly seems causal to me how you describe it.

            Understanding what it means by saying A’s existence is dependent on B’s existence is a major key to understanding my deductive argument.

            If you understand what it means, then you can understand my argument. If you do not understand it, then you would not understand my argument.

            If you do not understand my argument then you would not be in a good position to evaluate my argument to see whether any premise is false and if so, why it is false.

            Therefore I suggest that we focus on understanding what does it mean by
            “A’s existence is continuously dependent on B’s existence, even though B’s existence may not be the CAUSE of A’s existence”

            Let A be fire and B be oxygen.

            I guess you would agree that for a fire to exist, the presence of oxygen is necessary.

            When you cut away oxygen from a fire, the fire ceases to exist.

            If the oxygen ceases to exist around the fire, then the fire also ceases to exist.

            So we say this: “the fire’s existence is dependent on the presence or existence of oxygen”.

            And in fact, the fire’s existence is CONTINUOUSLY dependent on the existence/presence of oxygen. This is because: If oxygen is present now but no longer present/exist around the fire 10min later, the fire would cease to exist.
            (In contrast, whether or not your great grandfather still exists today, you can still continue to exist. Your existence is not continuously dependent on the existence of your great grandfather.)

            However, oxygen is not the cause of fire because when you fill up a room with oxygen and nothing else, you do not get fire in that room.

            So while the fire’s existence is continuously dependent on the existence e of oxygen, the existence of oxygen is not the Cause of the fire’s existence.

            Again: Oxygen’s existence is only a condition for the existence of fire. Oxygen’s existence is not the cause for the existence of fire.

            The fire’s existence is continuously dependent on the fulfillment of this condition: the presence/existence of oxygen.

            After the above explantation, do you understand now the difference between “A’s existence is continuously dependent on B’s existence” and “X’s existence causes Y’s existence”? If you understand the difference then you would understand the following statements:

            - If “no oxygen”, then “no fire”.

            - If “there is oxygen”, then “we may still have no fire”

            - If “there is a fire there now”, then for sure “oxygen is present there now”.

            - If “a fire is existing now inside that container”, then we know that “the CONDITION of the oxygen existing in that container” has been FULFILLED now.

            - A fire’s existence is continuously dependent on the fulfillment of the condition of the existence of oxygen.

            If you understand all these, then we can proceed further to discuss my deductive argument.

            :)

            Cheers!

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    In the Pentecost account, it is made clear that everyone heard the Apostles speaking "in his own tongue." It did not sound like gibberish.

    • Johannes Hui

      Perhaps there were two simultaneous miracles: a miracle of the disciples speaking in gibberish tongues, and also a miracle of people from different nations hearing the gibberish tongues in their own native languages. eg the same gibberish sound being heard as two different languages by two different listeners.

      • Philip Rand

        Johannes Hui & Ye Olde Statistician

        1 Cor 14:22

        Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

      • Dennis Bonnette

        If everyone is hearing it in his own tongue, who would there be who could possibly be hearing gibberish to record it as gibberish?

        • David Nickol

          I was once, decades ago, shopping in the A&P when I heard a strange "language" being spoken. I turned to the front of the store and saw one of the young cashiers, his arms upraised, standing next to his cash register speaking in tongues. His co-workers were gently trying to ease him out of whatever state he was in, and a kindly looking black woman, a fellow shopper, said, "Let the young man praise the Lord." I doubt that speaking in tongues is in any way miraculous, but the whole incident had an air of the uncanny about it.

          Undoubtedly some of those present at Pentecost were bilingual. If so, what did they hear?

          There are linguistic studies of glossolalia, but I don't know what they conclude.

          • Johannes Hui

            Undoubtedly some of those present at Pentecost were bilingual. If so, what did they hear?

            If during that event there was really the miracle of speaking in gibberish language and the miracle of people hearing those sound in their own respective language, then those bilingual could have heard it either in one of their two languages, or even hearing in both languages - we can hear more than one language simultaneously in real life.

          • David Nickol

            Brother Florian, a teacher of mine in Catholic high school, used to claim he spoke four languages (in addition to English), and as proof he would say, "Sprechen sie Italiano? Oui, oui, Sahib!" I think "histrionic personality" implies a mental disorder, so I will just characterize him as "larger than life."

            A member of the Christian Brothers' community (BC, we called him) became a friend of my family, and once I was talking to him on the phone and could hear an incredible din in the background. There was shrieking and screaming, and I recognized it to be Brother Florian's voice. I said to BC, "What is going on there?" And BC replied, matter of factly, "Oh, some of the brothers are playing Monopoly." Monopoly!

          • Johannes Hui

            Shrieking and screaming over just a game of Monopoly! :D

            I suspect at least some of the speaking of tongues in the modern Pentecostal movement may be a gift from the Dark Side.

          • Philip Rand

            Johannes Hui

            Be careful of that kind of accusation....be very careful....

        • Johannes Hui

          1. If they were producing gibberish sound, then perhaps not everyone was hearing it only in his own language?

          2. If they were producing gibberish sound, then perhaps at least some could simultaneously hear two types of sounds: gibberish sound, and at the same time hearing a sound in his own language.

          No reason why the above two type of miracles (miracle of speech and miracle of hearing) could not happen simultaneously.

          The tongues referred to in one of the letters to the Corinth Christians seem to be referring to gibberish sound which most could not understand, yet in principle there could be someone who can hear it in his language and hence become the interpreter of those sound to the congregation.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            After posting my earlier comment, I checked out the biblical references to speaking in tongues.

            It appears that there might be two distinct, but related, phenomena: (1) speaking some kind of prayer that no one, possibly including the speaker, can understand, and (2) speaking in one's native tongue, but with others being able to understand it in their own diverse languages.

            Whatever be the first kind, it appears St. Paul does not appear to be overwhelmed with its utility: In Cor 1:14, he writes:

            "9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. 13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful."

            He does, at the end of that text, though, say: ".... do not forbid speaking in tongues." But he immediately counsels: "But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."

            It appears this phenomenon, whatever it was, caused some of the same puzzled reactions even in the very early Church!

            To me, the main point to keep in mind is that the Church can be true and function well either with or without this puzzling gift.

          • Johannes Hui

            I also do not place much importance on this gift. As I mentioned to David Nickol, I suspect some of the speaking in tongues in the contemporary congregations may even be a gift from the Dark Side.

  • God Hates Faith

    He confuses ontology with epistemology.

    "and that if we’re ever going to have any luck telling what’s real or what isn’t, we’re going to have to approach it with the 'view from above.'"

    That is a terrible epistemology. I could just as easily claim that invisible pixies make flowers grow, and without this "view from above" you may think it is sunlight that makes flowers grow.

    He also creates false dichotomy between "an ink spill and a letter" or "atoms and thougths". The only difference between the outcome of an unintentional ink spill that looks like a letter, and an intentional symbol (letter) is how we describe it. The process is different but the difference in outcome is simply perspective.

    However, there is a huge difference between whether conscious invisible pixies make flowers grow, and whether it is sunlight. It isn't describing the same thing in two different ways. There is also a huge difference from whether something is a divinely guided miracle, or unintelligent nature.

    • Philip Rand

      God Hates Faith

      You table:

      There is a huge difference from whether something is a divinely guided miracle, or unintelligent nature.

      What is the difference?

      The difference can be exactly quantified in one word without any possibility of error.

      Can you do it?

      • God Hates Faith

        There are probably many words that would do the job. What word are you thinking?

        • Philip Rand

          God Hates Faith

          No, only a single word precisely and accurately quantifies the difference without any possibility of error.

          You did understand the intentionality of your tabled comment when you wrote it... right?

          It is obvious.

          • God Hates Faith

            Feel free to enlighten us all.

          • God Hates Faith

            I am curious if you think your hinting at a word is somehow a counter-argument.

          • Philip Rand

            God Hates Faith

            No.

            The word quantifies reality.

          • God Hates Faith

            Glad you came up with a word you like. Have a nice day.

    • BTS

      Lewis is also poisoning the well in the very way he names the two options as "Brute" and "view from above." Furthermore I agree that his approach creates a false dichotomy. And he's also committing the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy of finding patterns where there are not necessarily patterns. Just because he wants there to be 3D shapes in Flatland, does not mean there are 3D shapes in flatland.

  • BTS

    Nor does it mean that every purported miracle or supernatural gift is authentic, or that everyone with a furrowed brow is deep in thought, or that every declaration of love is the real deal.

    Nor does it mean that any of them are.

    • Johannes Hui

      What Lewis said would be useful to caution us not to be so confident in dismissing all miracles or all claims about life after death as false.

      Of course those who claim that there is a world beyond this world cannot simply stop at there mere possibility of the existence of the other world but must produce evidence or proofs.

      The best type of evidence would be deductive proofs (arguments using true premises and valid logic form). This is because a deductive proof is the only type of evidence that is impossible to be false, as long as the premises are true and the logic structure used is valid.

      The good news is that theists have such deductive proofs. Hence it is not an impasse between atheists and theists.

      Cheers!

      • God Hates Faith

        The best type of evidence would be direct evidence of these "other worlds". You can't define another world into existence using deductive proofs.

        • Johannes Hui

          Hi GHF,

          How would my empirically-based proof below be “defining another world into existence” when my first premise is factual:

          Your physical life’s existence is continuously dependent on the continuous fulfillment of many conditions, such as the condition of the presence of warm air around you (you won’t survive once the temperature around u becomes too low, for example).

          The presence of warm air around you is in turn continuously dependent on the presence of our Sun.

          So the existence of your physical life is continuously dependent on various series of conditions such as this series:

          You > warm air > Sun > ...

          The fact that you exist now means the above series has been fulfilled now, which in turn entails that the above series has an ending.

          By proceeding along the line of the above deductive reasoning, one would subsequently arrive at the One whose existence is not conditional on any other entity. If we do further unwrapping, this entity would be the One who is currently enabling and sustaining your existence now. The One would correspond to the God of Classical Theism.

          How would the above be defining into existence something beyond our physical world?

          Cheers!

          • God Hates Faith

            How would my empirically-based proof below be “defining another world into existence” when my first premise is factual:

            Great question. There are many ways it would be defining a world into existence. The second or third premise could be flawed. There is an ambiguity in the words. The conclusion doesn't necessarily derive from the premises. Etc.

            For example:

            P: Snowflakes are unique
            P: Everything unique is designed
            C: Invisible pixies design each snowflake.

            That is defining a world of invisible pixies into existence.

            By proceeding along the line of the above deductive reasoning, one would subsequently arrive at the One whose existence is not conditional on any other entity.

            I am very familiar with the Cosmological argument (and its many, many flaws). If you want to discuss the problems of the Cosmological arguments, I can do so, but that is fairly elementary.

            Such non-deductive reasonings can never give any conclusion that is guaranteed true. They produce at best a conclusion that is only probable. Hence deductive reasoning gives the best evidence within the natural realm.

            I agree that inductive reasining does not lead to certainty, but rather probabilities (that is how science works, and is very successful). Deductive reasoning is not evidence, it is simply circular reasoning, or stating an unfalsifiable axiom.

            The epistemology of deductive reasoning is why we have thousands of different gods and millions of religions. This epistemology is why humans used to believe in witches, and that plauges were caused by sin, or a deity. Deductive epistemology starts with a conclusion then creates premises to lead to that conclusion. However, an inductive epistemology like science leads to a more reliable understanding of our universe. It starts with observation, and then makes a conclusion. This scientific process leads to the invention of the plane. The deductive process often leads to people flying planes into buildings.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi GHF, you said:

            I am very familiar with the Cosmological argument (and its many, many flaws). If you want to discuss the problems of the Cosmological arguments, I can do so, but that is fairly elementary.

            I am very happy to hear that from you. Can you help me see my blind spot by showing me which premise in my argument below is false? I designed the following proof which starts from the empirical observation/fact that your physical existence depends CONTINUOUSLY on various conditions.

            Premise 1: Your physical existence now is CONTINUOUSLY dependent on the fulfillment of various series of conditions such as this series:

            you > warm air > sun > ...

            (your physical existence depends on the CONTINUOUS fulfillment/presence of every condition in such series)

            Premise 2: Such a series is either a never-ending series or a series with an ending. If it is a never-ending series, then it is a never-ending task to fulfill all the conditions and hence fulfillment is impossible. Since you exist now, that means fulfillment has been achieved, and that in turn entails the series can only be a series with an ending. So a last entity/condition exists in the series now, concurrently with you and every entity in the series:

            you > warm air (1st condition/entity) > sun (2nd condition/entity) > ... > last condition/entity

            Premise 3: The last entity’s existence is either conditional or not conditional on something else. If its existence is conditional on something else, it won’t exist now because nothing exists after it in the series for its existence to be conditioned on (ie nothing exists after it in the series to enable it to exist). Since Premise 2 showed that it exists now, the only possibility is that its existence is unconditional on anything.

            Conclusion:
            The EMPIRICAL fact that you physically exists now ENTAILS (ie necesarily means) that a last entity having unconditional existence exists now. In other words, your existence now as a conditioned entity is CONTINUOUSLY enabled by an unconditioned entity.

            Note: If the above argument has no false premise, and has no invalid logic form, then a person can proceed to further prove that this unconditioned entity is the God of Classical Theism.

            Looking forward to see if you can explain which of the premises is false, or explain whether any of the embedded logic forms is invalid.

            .
            Cheers!

            johannes y k hui

          • God Hates Faith

            Conclusion: The EMPIRICAL fact that you physically exists now ENTAILS (ie necesarily means) that a last entity having unconditional existence exists now. In other words, your existence now as a conditioned entity is CONTINUOUSLY enabled by an unconditioned entity.

            What you have provided is basically the cosmological argument, using more words (without concluding a deity is this thing). There are many reasons why the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premises. For example:

            Option 1: What humans perceive as causality has been questioned by quantum physics. Humans perceive color, but color is simply our perception of reality, but does not exist in the abstract sense. Causality could be just like color. If causality is not a requirement, then necessary things are not a requirement.

            Option 2: The universe itself is a necessary thing. Simply because we perceive the universe as having a timed beginning doesn't mean that our universe couldn't be in a endless loop. What caused the universe, was the universe (but part of it we don't understand yet).

            Option 3: The necessary thing became the universe. Just like a puddle of water can evaporate and become moisture, then rain all over the earth, a necessary thing could exist as the unconscious universe.

            Option 4: Something outside our universe is necessary, but we cannot claim we know what that thing is, because we can only observe what is in the universe. It could natural things that are necessary and outside our universe.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi GHF, all the things you said are not relevant to my actual deductive argument. My argument did not use “causation”. My argument also did not mention “necessary thing”.

            You should look at my actual 3 premises and explain why any of the three is false.

            For example, if you think P1 is false, you should explain why your existence is not conditional on any other entity, since P1 claims that your existence is continuously dependent on certain conditions such as the presence of warm air.

            Note that “Your physical existence is continuously dependent on the existence of warm air” is different from saying “Warm air CAUSED your existence”. My P1 did not say that warm air caused you to exist.

          • God Hates Faith

            Your argument is simply a repacking of the cosmological argument. I can directly respond to the words you used, but the problems are essentially the same.

            Premise 1: Your physical existence now is CONTINUOUSLY dependent on the fulfillment of various series of conditions such as this series:

            I couldn't currently exist unless I was able to breath oxygen, the conditions necessary to create the oxygen. So, your first premise seems correct.

            Premise 2: Such a series is either a never-ending series or a series with an ending. If it is a never-ending series, then it is a never-ending task to fulfill all the conditions and hence fulfillment is impossible. Since you exist now, that means fulfillment has been achieved, and that in turn entails the series can only be a series with an ending. So a last entity/condition exists in the series now, concurrently with you and every entity in the series:

            Lots of problems here. You have 4 or 5 premises in this one premise.

            I agree that "but for" a series of events leading to the earth having oxygen, I would not exist. If that is the "series" you are referring to, then it does have an end, because eventually our sun will go supernova and the earth will be destroyed. If by "end" you mean a series of events that lead to the oxygen I breathe, then we are talking about the 13.8 billion year history of the universe.

            I have problems with your use of the word "task". That assumes telos (purpose), which you have not stated in your premise, nor demonstrated with evidence.

            I have problems with your use of the word "fulfillment" since it again implies a goal or purpose. You have not demonstrated said purpose.

            I am not sure what you mean by "last entity/condition". Do you mean the Big Bang? Not sure how far back you want to go.

            Premise 3: The last entity’s existence is either conditional or not conditional on something else. If its existence is conditional on something else, it won’t exist now because nothing exists after it in the series for its existence to be conditioned on (ie nothing exists after it in the series to enable it to exist). Since Premise 2 showed that the last entity exists now, the only possibility is that its existence is unconditional on anything.

            Premise 2 did not show that the last entity still exists. The Big Bang occurred, and now we have the universe.

            If the Big Bang was conditional, then it doesn't exist now (we have a universe). If it was not conditional, then it doesn't exist now. (Unless you are claiming the universe IS the Big Bang.)

            If a puddle of water evaporates, does the water no longer exist, or does it simply change form? Does the rain which preceded the puddle of water existing as a puddle of water still exist? The energy that is the puddle still exists, and has since the Big Bang. But our label for that energy changes, based on how that energy reorganizes.

            Conclusion:
            The EMPIRICAL fact that you physically exists now ENTAILS (ie necesarily means) that a last entity having unconditional existence exists now. In other words, your existence now as a conditioned entity is CONTINUOUSLY enabled by an unconditioned entity.

            As I already explained in my response to Premise 3, simple because the Big Bang occurred, does not mean it still exists now.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi GHF, thank you for engaging with my premises. I understand that you agree that my premise 1 is true. That means you agree that your existence is CONTINUOUSLY dependent upon various kinds of conditions.

            Your objections to my Premises 2 and 3 is actually base on a total misunderstanding of the series of conditions.

            My series of conditions is NOT a time series. It is not a series of entities that go back into the past. It is a series of entities that exist CONCURRENTLY or SIMULTANEOUSLY with every other entity in the series. The warm air in the series refers to the warm air that is existing right now concurrently with you. The sun in the series refers to the sun that is existing now and not about the sun when it was billions of years ago.

            My series is not saying that you needed the warm air that existed yesterday in order for you to exist today. My series is saying that you need that warm air that is existing now in order for you to exist now. And you would need the warm air that exists tomorrow when you exist tomorrow.

            Hence your objection to my Premises 2 and 3 is not relevant to those Premises because my series is not a chronological series.

            If you go and re-read my Premises 2 and 3 base on the correct understanding that my series is a series of CONCURRENTLY existing entities, then are they false?

            :)

            Cheers!

          • God Hates Faith

            Thank you for clarifying!

            Premise 2: So, every concurrent thing necessary for me to exist now (air, water, gravity, etc.), let's call "X". Based on this description I am not sure what you mean by "a last entity/condition" in the series. How do we determine first, second, third...last? Is oxygen last? Is not too much/too little temperature last? Etc.

            Premise 3: Since Premise 2 showed that the last entity exists now, the only possibility is that its existence is unconditional on anything.

            This is where 'time' is relevant. In order for me to exist, I can't be too hot or too cold. So, the light/heat/energy must travel from the sun to the earth. The temperature I feel now is conditional on the sun existing in the past, and the light traveling in the past, so the light can be here at this exact moment.

            So, I don't understand why your premise is ignoring the past, so we can pretend there are no conditions. It would be like me asking how the vase in the living room fell over, but then telling you not to bring up the past. You can't explain the present (broken vase) without explaining the conditions that lead to it.

      • BTS

        Hi BTS, what Lewis said would serve to caution us not to be so confident in dismissing all miracles or all claims about life after death as false.

        I can live with that.

        Of course those who claim that there is a world beyond this world cannot simply stop at the mere possibility of the existence of the other world but must produce evidence or proofs.

        Agreed

        The best type of evidence would be deductive proofs (arguments using true premises and valid logic form). This is because a deductive proof is the only type of evidence that is impossible to be false, as long as the premises are true and the logic structure used is valid.

        I find that those proofs are interesting but I don't see them as proofs but, rather, just thought experiments. There are many defeaters to the deductive proofs you mention, depending on the argument proffered, but I find that it all ends up being a bunch of word games. The "success" of the proofs depend on nebulous definitions or on assumptions many, like me, are not willing to grant.

        In any case, I'll stop now because I see some other interesting posts here that are probably more on topic. I don't want to derail this topic into an argument about the 5 Ways...

        • Johannes Hui

          Hi BTS,

          What would be the defeater be, if any at all, for my empirically-based proof below?

          Premise 1
          Your physical life’s existence is continuously dependent on the continuous fulfillment of many conditions, such as the condition of the presence of warm air around you (you won’t survive once the temperature around u becomes too low, for example).

          The presence of warm air around you is in turn continuously dependent on the presence of our Sun.

          So the existence of your physical life is continuously dependent on various series of conditions such as this series:

          You > warm air > Sun > ...

          Premise 2
          The fact that you exist now means the above series has been fulfilled now, which in turn entails that the above series has an ending.

          By proceeding along the line of the above deductive reasoning, one would subsequently arrive at the One whose existence is not conditional on any other entity. If we do further unwrapping, this entity would be the One who is currently enabling and sustaining your existence now. The One would correspond to the God of Classical Theism.

          Cheers!

          • BTS

            Some other day, some other day. Trying not to derail the discussions about the OP.

  • WCB-2

    babbling in tongues is not a miracle. weird religious phenomena have been with us for centuries. Medieval dancing manias, the religious "enthusiasms" of the Great Awakening revivials. Toronto blessings, and other antics of faith healers and snake handlers. People kill themselves and their children praying for God to heal illnesses rather than go to doctors.

    Cute little essays and books about Flat Landers doesn't seem to point out real miracles. Not to mention fake miracle workers. Sai Baba, Peter Popov, Robert Tilton, and entire books of medieval miracle tall tales of lying monks.

    • Philip Rand

      WCB-2

      You table:

      babbling in tongues is not a miracle. Weird religious phenomena have been with us for centuries.

      It is interesting that you are admitting:

      1/ "tongues" is a real quantifiable sign.
      2/ "tongues" is a real quantifiable sign that you understand as "babbling".
      3/ "tongues" is a real quantifiable sign that you understand as "babbling" that contains information.

      • WCB-2

        Learning at church to babble in tongues is about the same as learning to do the peculiar things like the Toronto blessing. It is a leaned behavior. It is like attending a Trump rally and learning to chant with the gormless MAGA hat wearing twits "Lock her up! Lock her up!"
        Or English style soccer hooliganism.

        • Philip Rand

          WCB-2

          No, tongues is not learned (like inflation pseudo-science cosmological theories)

          It is a prophesised behaviour and as Paul states a sign for unbelievers not for believers; so again, you admit that Paul is correct.

          Isaiah 6:9

          And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

          1 Cor 14:22

          Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

          • David Nickol

            There are at least three different possible phenomena under discussion, it seems to me: the event at Pentecost, the goings on among the Corinthians, and the "modern" practice in "charismatic" communities (including even some Catholic ones). Pentecost was all about communicating to a multilingual crowd in some kind of supernatural language that everyone could understand. I don't pretend to know what the Corinthians were up to, but "modern" glossolalia is in a language nobody understands.

  • BTS

    Justin Brierly's podcast "Unbelievable" has a good discussion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit with the central question of are the gifts still around today? or is the period of the gifts now over? Excellent background information for this piece.

    https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Are-tongues-prophecy-and-charismatic-gifts-for-today-Andrew-Wilson-Simon-Arscott

  • WCB-2

    James 5
    14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let
    them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
    15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him
    up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

    Mark 16
    17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
    18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall
    not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

    How well does this work in a real world situation? Say, cancer. Do you go to the elders of the church or the best cancer specialist you can find? And no, don't give me that tired old "Sometimes God says no" nonsense. How many real world tests do we need?

    • Ficino

      I have posted some stuff downgrading "Gnus." But it doesn't follow that if it's not certain that some theses of "Gnus" are true, therefore Catholicism stands vindicated.

      Any branch of Christianity, in my view, has to satisfy certain minimal confirmatory criteria. And why should not one criterion be something simple like this: "Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." Matt 18:19.

      Oh, it's not for YOU, Ficino, to decide whether the criteria have been met in any particular instance of prayer, the Catholic apologist may say. No private interpretation of scripture allowed to you!

      OK, still, it's pretty simple. My fellow grad student was sick. We ALL prayed. Even little kids prayed. Why would God turn a deaf ear to the prayers of children, praying that a 27 year old chap would be healed?

      I dunno. Rod died anyway.

      That and other things the same year started my reevaluation of the doctrines I'd affirmed. The farther I went, the slimmer the confirmatory evidence and arguments became.

      Well, Ficino, someone may reply, God is not a moral agent. God is not obligated to do what you and your friends and the little kids wanted. For ya'll just to have an act of existence given to you is gratuitous already.

      Such retorts might not strictly speaking be falsifiable. But they retained little credibility. And after a while, I saw. The world was explainable more economically without the Christian commitments that require so much spin.

      And then I was free.

      • OMG

        You asked, I answered.

        1) Why were the prayers of ALL not answered? It was done "in heaven." (Matthew 18:19). You yourself have said so.
        2) No private interpretation of scripture was done. You shared your interpretation with us here on this blog.
        3) Why would God turn a deaf ear? He is not mocked by anthropomorphism.
        4) Etc.

        Cheers..

        • Ficino

          1) Why were the prayers of ALL not answered? It was done "in heaven." (Matthew 18:19). You yourself have said so.

          Read the whole verse. If P, then Q. P. Therefore, Q. But no, not for Rod.

          • OMG

            Alas. My sympathies for your loss of Rod. I too have mourned and mourn still.

            What is our will compared to God's?

          • Ficino

            @rob_abney:disqus

            What is our will compared to God's?

            I had gone along for years with the above conviction, with the conviction that I must depend on God as does a little child, etc. I don't imagine that my recounting of the above event provides proof that some proposition about God's existence is true. I've noticed since, though, that other people describe the same arc as the one I went through about petitionary prayer: they find the, what shall I call it?, petitionary content of their prayer becoming more vague and less subject to testing. Some people recall that as they transitioned out of the faith, at the end their petitions had shrunk to iterations of "Thy will be done." They'd learned by experience not to expect that prayer for X is followed by X in any way that appears connected to the prayer.

            It's typical that we tell ourselves, or tell others:
            you did it wrong
            you didn't have the right faith / enough faith (as Rob said)
            there was sin in your life/ you weren't in a state of grace
            you weren't praying with the right disposition

            then the more sophisticated responses, like:
            God hasn't answered yet
            God just answered, No
            If God granted what you wanted, you/they would be worse off
            God is teaching you something

            Eventually we get:
            If God answered prayers all the time, there wouldn't be a World (C.S. Lewis)
            what you think is evil is not so

            and then:
            His ways are inscrutable / are not our ways
            God owes us nothing

            By this point, the believer has learned strategies for reasoning away the lack of real-world evidence for the credibility of the system. I think the "view from above" extolled in the OP is a metaphor for that kind of strategy.

          • OMG

            On my skim of this OP, I didn't find much interest in either its content or its reasoning, so I won't presume to comment on it, but I will share my personal experience relating to prayer of petition.

            The term "shrinking" to describe the process of reaching "Thy will be done" delighted me. The word succinctly and perfectly sums my experience. I found no reason to quibble with God about the process or the conclusion that "God owes us nothing." Jesus included the will of God as a component when teaching his disciples about prayer. In the garden of Gethsemane, he himself struggled to accept the Father's will. It is a dominant factor. If I want my spouse to do something for me, surely I take his will into account I can ask for the moon or a thousand bucks, but if he chooses not give those for reasons I may not understand, I surely may continue to ask, but I also accept his liberty to deny continually my request.

            I accept all the rationales you list as just and authentic. I've owned them too. My conclusion, however, was not to reason away evidence for the credibility of scripture or of God. (Can your 'system' denote 'scripture' or 'God'?) Although I concluded that God owed me nothing, I concluded also that He loves me because he died for me and rose for me, showing that there is a spiritual world of which I have only inklings. I will not accept that there are gifts He would not give me. So I continue to ask--in the name of justice. I am weak and nothing, while He is strong and madly in love with me.

            Would that you could know what I do.

            On my behalf, if you would upvote the post you put out re epistemic restraint and and the skeptic's struggle, I'd appreciate that. Thanks.

          • Ficino

            On my behalf, if you would upvote the post you put out re epistemic restraint and and the skeptic's struggle, I'd appreciate that.

            Thanks, but I'm not sure what you're asking. You want me to upvote my own post? I've always thought that "off." The epistemic restraint thing was on the Why Miracles are Credible to Catholics thread.

          • Rob Abney

            >you didn't have the right faith / enough faith (as Rob said)<
            My point more specifically is that you didn’t have faith (based on what you said), it doesn’t seem like you can have different kinds of faith or different degrees of faith, you either have faith in God or you do not.

          • Ficino

            I now consider the notion of "faith" as a (theological) virtue to be a problem. My faith was extremely strong back in those decades. By the time our prayers for Rod were not followed by his recovery, though, I had started to realize that the grounds for believing that the Catholic faith is true (using the word in a different sense from "virtue" now) were weaker than I had thought.

        • David Nickol

          P.S.: This particular verse is often taken out of context, but here the backstory supplies important data. A community of disciples is struggling with how to help a sinning community member.

          The NAB says:

          * [Matthew 18:19–20] Some take these verses as applying to prayer on the occasion of the church’s gathering to deal with the sinner of Mt 18:17. Unless an a fortiori argument is supposed, this seems unlikely. God’s answer to the prayer of two or three envisages a different situation from one that involves the entire congregation. In addition, the object of this prayer is expressed in most general terms as anything for which they are to pray.

          It would appear the Magisterium has not definitively ruled on the meaning of these verses!

          3) Why would God turn a deaf ear? He is not mocked by anthropomorphism.

          Is this you defending against a nonexistent attack again? Here's a text for my memory. Every day in high school we prayed, "Out of the depths have I cried to thee, O Lord. [Lord, hear my voice.] Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. If thou, O Lord, shall observe iniquities, Lord, who shall endure it?" [Psalm 130. Looked it up and forgot only the brief sentence in brackets.]

          Is there some mockery there I don't get? Does God have ears? Isn't he omniscient? Doesn't he hear every prayer already? Is it an insult to say "let thine ears be attentive"? Isn't anthropomorphizing God the norm for most prayer?

          • OMG

            Yes, David, and may the NAB remain always with you.

            Good night.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well done Sir Nickol. You actually quoted the Haydock Bible Commentary on Matt18:19. Which preceded the NAB. That the NAB retains it shows us theological Conservatives the NAB isn't all bad.

          • David Nickol

            You actually quoted the Haydock Bible Commentary on Matt18:19.

            I am confused. Here is the Haydock Bible Commentary Matt 18:19-20:

            Ver. 19. That if two of you. From these words, we learn how superior is public to private prayer. The efficacy of the former is attributed to the presence of Christ in those assemblies. The Father, for his Son's sake, will grant petitions thus offered. Jans. — The fervour of one will supply for the weakness and distractions of the other.

            Ver. 20. There am I in the midst of them. This is understood of such assemblies only, as are gathered in the name and authority of Christ; and in unity of the Church of Christ.—S. Cyprian, de Unitate Ecclesiæ. Ch. — S. Chrysostom, Theophylactus, and Euthymius explain the words in his name, thus, assembled by authority received from Christ, in the manner appointed by him, or for his sake, and seeking nothing by his glory. Hence we may see what confidence we may place in an œcumenical council lawfully assembled. T.— S. Greg. lib. vii. Regist. Epist. cxii.

            Here is what I quoted from the NAB:

            * [Matthew 18:19–20] Some take these verses as applying to prayer on the occasion of the church’s gathering to deal with the sinner of Mt 18:17. Unless an a fortiori argument is supposed, this seems unlikely. God’s answer to the prayer of two or three envisages a different situation from one that involves the entire congregation. In addition, the object of this prayer is expressed in most general terms as anything for which they are to pray.

            To the extent that I understand them, they seem to disagree. Haydock seems to take the verses to apply only to formal church gatherings, whereas the NAB reading is more literal and seems to apply to any coming together of two or three individuals in the name of Christ.

            In any case, there are numerous other instances where Jesus virtually guarantees you will receive what you ask for.

          • Jim the Scott

            I see what I did wrong.

            Both of those are found here.
            https://www.ecatholic2000.com/haydock/title.shtml#MATTHEW

            I clicked on the Bible with the NAB commentary & not the Haydock commentary. Yer not confused. I am confused. It happens. Thanks for catching that.

            > they seem to disagree.

            That is normal.

            >In any case, there are numerous other instances where Jesus virtually guarantees you will receive what you ask for.

            Only if you confess Pelagianism (in addition to Lutheran Private interpretation and perspicuity heresy).

            "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”.

            Faith is itself a gift of God, specifically of Grace (Ep 2:8-10) and not something we have of ourselves. So you can't just say "I have Faith! I trust in the Force Obi Wan!". If that "faith" is mere natural belief from yer own power it won't help you.

            You cannot use any of those verses in yer link to justify wish making. Sadly certain "Name it and Claim it" types in Pentecostalism think that but that is not the reality.

            To consult the Catholic Encylopedia:
            https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12345b.htm

            QUOTE"Absolute though Christ's assurances in regard to prayer would seem to be, they do not exclude certain conditions on which the efficacy of prayer depends. In the first place, its object must be worthy of God and good for the one who prays, spiritually or temporally. This condition is always implied in the prayer of one who is resigned to God's will, ready to accept any spiritual favour God may be pleased to grant, and desirous of temporal ones only in so far as they may help to serve God. Next, faith is needed, not only the general belief that God is capable of answering prayer or that it is a powerful means of obtaining His favour, but also the implicit trust in God's fidelity to His promise to hear a prayer in some particular instance. This trust implies a special act of faith and hope that if our request be for our good, God will grant it, or something else equivalent or better, which in His Wisdom He deems best for us. To be efficacious prayer should be humble. To ask as if one had a binding claim on God's goodness, or title of whatever colour to obtain some favour, would not be prayer but demand. The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican illustrates this very clearly, and there are innumerable testimonies in Scripture to the power of humility in prayer. "A contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:19)." END QUOTE

            So this really isn't "Make a Wish" and Jesus does not unconditionally answer prayer.

            Yer claim Jesus "guarantees" all prayer is not in harmony with the whole of Holy Writ & Tradition.

          • David Nickol

            Yer claim Jesus "guarantees" all prayer is not in harmony with the whole of Holy Writ & Tradition.

            Jesus (as he is depicted in the Gospels) does place some restrictions on what will be granted to those who pray, but they are a lot fewer and less detailed than those in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Clearly Jesus's alleged promises to grant "anything," or "whatever" is requested, can't be taken literally, but even your source begins, "Absolute though Christ's assurances in regard to prayer would seem to be . . . " You are stuck with the fact that it seems Jesus is saying things that aren't true. And the allegedly inspired Gospel authors do very little to mitigate the damage.

            The problem is compounded by the fact that Jesus could be very blunt and truly unequivocal, say in prohibiting divorce (in the Catholic view, anyway). Yet (to the best of my knowledge, without thorough research) he never speaks out against praying for the wrong thing, or praying unworthily.

            It is not difficult to understand why some people would see the promises of Jesus as unequivocal, and the explanations in the Catholic Encyclopedia as something akin to the kind of cleanup political operatives do when their candidate makes a serious gaff. "Anything" doesn't really mean "anything."

          • Jim the Scott

            Dave at least yer more challenging and to the point.

            >even your source begins, "Absolute though Christ's assurances in regard to prayer would seem to be . .

            Which only proves we don't have to take everything hyper literally. It is not the automatic default. It never was that ever.

            > You are stuck with the fact that it seems Jesus is saying things that aren't true. And the allegedly inspired Gospel authors do very little to mitigate the damage.

            Of course he "seems" to say that. But perspicuity isn't my default and it is not the Catholic default. Nor is it the reasonable one IMHO. When Grandma told me as an obnoxious teen to "Go soak yer head!" I knew she was slagging me off for being a brat even thought it might seem on paper to some she was merely telling me to bath. I knew the difference. In 2000 yrs future persons would not know this automatically.

            >The problem is compounded by the fact that Jesus could be very blunt and truly unequivocal, say in prohibiting divorce (in the Catholic view, anyway).

            Yes & when Grandma said "Go take a bath Jimmy." I knew she was literally instructing me to bath.
            Also she would have a neutral or pleasant demeanor vs when she told me to "Go soak yer head" with her obvious anger and her Italian accent got a wee bit thicker. Context is everything but the Bible and written text in general contained some level of ambiguity. No doubt in person Our Lord could be super clear but today we are reading the Apostles accounts which may "seem" clear to some but we need not default to it. He is not here in the sense He is directly communicating with us face to face. He left us the Church, Holy Writ and Tradition.

            We need the Tradition and Church which is the Pillar and Ground of Truth (1 Tim 3:15) for a reason.

            >It is not difficult to understand why some people would see the promises of Jesus as unequivocal, and the explanations in the Catholic Encyclopedia as something akin to the kind of cleanup political operatives do when their candidate makes a serious gaff.

            Well their problem is obvious to me at least. Politicians today speak publicly on mass media and as they said in the JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR song "If you came today you could have reached a whole nation! Israel in four B.C. had no mass communication!". The Bible wasn't originally made for mass communication. It was copied by hand. Before the printing press a Bible would cost you tens of thousands of dollars (well the monetary equivalent of that era). Also universal literacy is a later thing. It was written for "the Man of God" (2 Tim 3:16-17) which is a term used for Priests and Prophets. Who by definition are already learned in religion. It isn't default a layman's book.
            Since you follow a lot of Catholic stuff David you will note Jimmy Akin references all this in a tract he wrote critical of sola scriptura and perspicuity.

            Also not all politicians are dishonest (no giggling..stop it) and some do clarify if they are misunderstood. But by definition oral and written communication contain ambiguity.

            >"Anything" doesn't really mean "anything."

            Yes and "Go soak yer head" doesn't really mean Grandma wanted me to wash the roundish thing at the top of my body with the big mouth either. Of course whoever heard Jesus could have asked Him to clarify and He no doubt would have...which is why we have tradition.

            I am afraid the Bible cannot be used in a Protestant manner at all. Well you could...but no Catholic is gonna be impressed with such misuse.

            Cheers sir.

      • Rob Abney

        >That and other things the same year started my reevaluation of the doctrines I'd affirmed. The farther I went, the slimmer the confirmatory evidence and arguments became.< The context of this chapter is teaching us to have total dependence on God just as little children do. You describe that you did not have total dependence. Your interpretation of the incident is “if P then Q” but it seems like P has more requirements than you have assigned to it. But your prayers may still be answered because God knows now whether you will have total dependence on Him at some point. And at that point you may see that Rod probably did benefit from your prayers.

      • Jim the Scott

        @wcb2:disqus
        Yes yer friend died and I still have children with autism who are not ever going to get better. Such is life in God's Universe.

        Yeh that sucks but that doesn't give me a reason to deny God or discard my reason for irrationalist self contradictory materialist or skeptical philosophies. Positivism & reductionist materialism are still silly and incoherent. Gnu Atheists are still intellectually inferior. Don't even get me started on modern philosophy...

        >Such retorts might not strictly speaking be falsifiable.

        True enough. Of course yer average Gnu is too dull to get that which is why yer skepticism is more intellectually respectable. Even if ultimately wrong. ;-)

        > But they retained little credibility.

        But that is not a rational conclusion but an emotional one IMHO.
        It is base sentimentalism and nothing more.

        I once said to my Atheist Professor as a young sentimentalist lad "If God doesn't exist that means all those innocent people who died in the holocaust don't get the comfort of Heaven but died in fear and pain and Hitler the immediate author of their pain doesn't get any justice visited upon him but dies a quick death at his own hand."

        That sucks too in a godless universe.

        I remember his response to me. "Yes that is tragic and awful & Heaven and Hell are comforting but it has nothing to do with what is true or not".

        Wise words! So you will forgive me Ficino if I dismiss yer sentimentalism like my professor dismissed mine. I owe my soul to the wise Atheists God has put in my path.

        If Classic Theism is true sometimes God will not answer yer prayers because He doesn't owe you anything because He really isn't a moral agent and you cannot be 100% certain you where totally dependent on God when you asked Him for something. There is no scientific way to measure yer faith and if you have it you simply would accept God's Will even if it appears to suck.
        It seems to me either view has its own level of suck. Mine however is rational and not incoherent. That is something.

        PS My kids still have autism after my last Hail Mary. But I am Ok with that. God's creation is a wonderful place. I wouldn't live anywhere else.

        >And then I was free.

        How can a random collection of atoms blindly obeying the laws of physics be free? That "freedom" is an illusion along with the self and the mind and consciousness. etc.

        • Ficino

          If Classic Theism is true sometimes God will not answer yer prayers because He doesn't owe you anything because He really isn't a moral agent and you cannot be 100% certain you where totally dependent on God when you asked Him for something. There is no scientific way to measure yer faith and if you have it you simply would accept God's Will even if it appears to suck.

          Yes, I anticipated this of yours in mine.

          I remembered your children, actually, when I wrote mine above. I don't have experience with autistic children, but I do have experience with wheelchair-bound invalids. I sympathize.

          You'll say that I'm not allowed to draw any conclusions from scripture, but narratives like that of Elijah and the priests of Baal and Asherah, or miracles in the Book of Acts (e.g. the story of the seven sons of Sceva), present tangible, real-world outcomes of petitionary prayer or the equivalent. It's not as though the tradition tells us NOT to expect that petitionary prayers will be effectual.

          Yeh that sucks but that doesn't give me a reason to deny God or discard my reason for irrationalist self contradictory materialist or skeptical philosophies.

          Well, I'm not in the market for an irrationalist philosophy, lol. I allow that abstract entities exist, so that might disqualify me from being a materialist. As to skepticism, there are varieties that are not self-contradictory. But to discuss them here would be far beyond the OP.

          So you will forgive me Ficino if I dismiss yer sentimentalism like my professor dismissed mine.

          I think you imagine that I stopped believing because I was Mad At God or the like. Rather, as I said, the system ceased to be credible.

          • Jim the Scott

            >You'll say that I'm not allowed to draw any conclusions from scripture,

            No rather yer conclusion apart from the Church objectively has no meaning to me. I can read Article 52 of the Soviet Constitution threw the lens of the Philosophy of Thomas Pane and convince myself the USSR "really championed religious freedom" but my interpretation of Article 52 means nothing as the Politburo has the controlling vote on the true meaning of Article 52 (which they will read via dialectical materialism not post enlightenment philosophy) and in a like manner the Church has the controlling vote on the true meaning of the Bible. Not Ficino so again...no meaning.

            It is that simple. David Nickols already quoted the Traditional Haydock Commentary on Matt 18:19. That settles it barring a formal ruling from Pope Francis.
            Yer interpretation means nothing. At best it is an equally plausible one vs the Haydock one vs the rest of the Fathers. At best.

            I have prayed to God before and sometimes He has answered and sometimes He doesn't. But as CS Lewis said "I don't pray to change the situation as much as I pray to change me".

            >I think you imagine that I stopped believing because I was Mad At God or the like. Rather, as I said, the system ceased to be credible.

            But I am not seeing the "rational" reason here so inferring you where "Mad At God" was a valid presupposition. If you say so. You know yer own mind better than I. But it doesn't change the fact I don't see the lack of credibility here?

            Unless we are dealing with more Gnu nonsense? Such as imagining as they do that we can scientifically measure the validity of prayer which is comically false. Parable of the invisible gardener and all that.

          • Ficino

            No rather yer conclusion apart from the Church objectively has no meaning to me.

            Your claims for the RC's ownership/control of the meaning of a bunch of ancient texts has no meaning to me.

            But I am not seeing the "rational" reason here so inferring you where "Mad At God" was a valid presupposition.

            I've already said several times that the experience I recounted doesn't generate a proof of God's existence or non-existence. This isn't the place to revisit philosophical proofs and such.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Your claims for the RC's ownership/control of the meaning of a bunch of ancient texts has no meaning to me.

            So I own the meaning of the Soviet Constitution then? Article 52 is basically the Russian Communist 1st amendment says I & If It still existed I think the USSR would take exception to that.

            >I've already said several times that the experience I recounted doesn't generate a proof of God's existence or non-existence.

            Yes you did & I called attention to that (which is why yer nor a Gnu but a reasonable skeptic). But I am not getting a rational reason why the system isn't credible? Or is it more of an intuition?

            God didn't behave in a way you wanted Him to behave based on yer use of the Bible (in a manner It wasn't meant to be used) and yer doubts increased? No emotion moved you (& I take this as a given based on yer word). But yer doubts increased.

            What am I missing?

          • Ficino

            I'm collapsing a process that took more than a decade. Rod's death was early on. I was of course emotionally moved at the time of his death. I stopped going to Mass maybe ten years later and only started to get a clear sense of the weakness of Christian claims, in general, and Catholic in particular, maybe a decade after that. The experience of what colloquially could be called unanswered prayers of many were part of the original amorce because I started to wonder, what's the real-life evidence? That's a pragmatic but not a metaphysical question!

            It would be a huge discussion, and largely repetitive of much that has been said on here before, to unpack the reasons why I don't find the system credible. From what you've written here and elsewhere, I am confident that you won't find my reasons credible to you. So I'll leave it here for now, too much I gotta work on.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I'm collapsing a process that took more than a decade.

            Fair point.

            >The experience of what colloquially could be called unanswered prayers of many were part of the original amorce because I started to wonder, what's the real-life evidence?

            Ah "evidence" of God or not based on the "evidence" of answered prayer or not! :D I appreciate yer candor good sir it is beyond refreshing.

            >From what you've written here and elsewhere, I am confident that you won't find my reasons credible to you.

            That would be 100% correct good sir. My contempt for "prayer experiments" wither "positive" or "negative" in terms of result is near infinite.

            >So I'll leave it here for now, too much I gotta work on.

            Ditto! Cheers my friend.

          • WCB-2

            The Soviet Constitution does not pretend to be a revelation from God. The RCC assures us the bible was authored by God himself.

            I hope you can appreciate the difference.

          • Jim the Scott

            So God inspires me to right "Ducks have Wings" & Joseph Stalin sticks a gun to my head and tell me to write "Ducks have wings"? I am really not seeing the difference......It stills says "Ducks have Wings" either way.

            ROFLOL!

          • WCB-2

            God does not seem to tell us much about how the Universe works. The Earth is not 6.000 years old, the Earth is not the center of the universe, which of the two contradictory creation tall tales is true. And which one is false? Noah's flood did not happen, there was no Tower of Babel and taking snakes and donkeys. 10,000 and one contradictions in the Bible.

            Why would I think a God that writes this bible and gets nothing right is worth considering as real?

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't interpret the Bible to teach the universe is 6000 years old. I reject yer interpretation it is. I don't believe God intends the Bible to be a scientific text or tell us things we can learn over the course of time with our natural powers. I don't believe the Bible is clear or in principle can be clear.

            So another non-starter & again repeating verbatim stuff you wrote weeks ago that i answered and you ignored.......

            You must be this tall to ride the rides young Master. Go find yer Mum.

          • WCB-2

            Of course you do not interpret the Bible to say what it indeed says. You are Jim The Scott and that is the sort of thing you do.

            Genesis 11 ...
            12 And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:
            13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
            14 And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber
            15 And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.
            16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:
            ...

            And on and on. It is from these sorts of genealogies that we get 6,000 years from Adam, more or less. And no matter how much you squeal and squawk, that is what the Bible says.

            Ever since Bishop Usher, these verses have become well known. And laughed at by geologists ever since Hutton, Lyell and others early geologists demonstrated the earth was immensely old. No, the Earth is not some 6,000 years old as the Bible clearly claims if we take these verses seriously.

            But if that is so, why did God who authored the Bible put them there? I do not expect a reasonable answer from you, just more invective and pointless name calling.

            But who knows, maybe you could surprise us and deal with the issues at hand?

          • Jim the Scott

            Yes I don't presume to take the Bible at face value or ultra literally. I am a Catholic not a wee Lutheran. You cannot deal with that as you are only familiar with Baptist Fundamentalism.

            Bishop Usher is an Anglican Calvinist. So why should I care what he thinks? You really have nothing intelligent or informed to offer here.

          • WCB-2

            When the Bible claims something, clearly and without any possibility of misunderstanding, that is what it says. It is not a case of merely labelling that as 'fundamentalism" and brushing it off to offer a claim about what it all means that is simply wrong.

            When the internet was new and Usenet was king, I got an ISP account and I quickly found talk.origins, alt.atheism, and alt.bible.errancy. What you are doing here is nothing new or original I have read this sort of desperate games of Bible apologists many times, by some people far better at this than you are.

          • Jim the Scott

            You can't make me an Atheist by begging me to adopt religious and philosophical views I reject just so you can argue with what you are familiar with vs with what you don't understand or want to understand. That is self defeating and absurd even if there are no gods.

            Yer a one trick pony who solely knows how to argue with the fundamentalist Baptists you hang out with in Texas. That is it. You know nothing of Classic Theism or Catholicism. You have proven that Mr Thinks William Lane Craig doesn't believe God is a moral agent.

            You cannot even tell determinism from concurrentism or theistic personalism from classic theism and you insist on Lutheranism's Perspecuity heresy A priori when reading the Bible. You have yet to make a single non-starter intelligent argument. Even Michael managed that once in a while. Yer track record is zero.

          • Jim the Scott

            >And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:
            13 And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.

            Given the language conventions "begat Salah" can mean "fathered the ancestor of the line ending in Salah." since the genealogies can skip generations randomly.

            Four Hundred and Three years can be the lifetime of Arphaxad's tribe not he himself. Green made this case but was rejected because his fellow Protestants rely too strongly on Perspicuity & successfully argued this type of reading would undermine Perspicuity. Well we Catholics don't presuppose that error in the first place so it is without meaning to us.

            Then there is the paper I linked too that discusses exaggerated numbers in the Bible and their symbolic non-literal meaning.

            Yer arguments are amateur even for a Gnu Atheist fundie.

          • Jim the Scott

            >No, the Earth is not some 6,000 years old as the Bible clearly claims...

            That is news to the Church Fathers since they all gave different ages of the Earth. 4000, 5000, 6000 & 12000. Given there is no unanimous consent here I don't have to believe the supposition I can used the Genealogies to calculate the age of the Earth. None of them claimed the Apostles taught us to do that.

            Even in Usher's time others pointed out to him many of the genealogies contained omissions. Since "begat" in the Hebrew language can be applied broadly to any ancestor from which you spring. My 5th Great Grandfather William can be said to have Begat me. So even given his presuppositions of Usher the non-Catholic Reformed Calvinist Anglican the calculation is clearly tentative.

            >But if that is so, why did God who authored the Bible put them there?

            I have no reason to believe the persons named in the genealogy didn't exist in the far far distant past and I have no reason to believe they are not related to each other via direct ancestry. I also have no reason to believe they don't contain gaps. Why God does anything is a child's question on the level of "Gee Mommy! Why did God make the Sky Blue not Purple".

            But I am dealing with a child here.

            > I do not expect a reasonable answer from you, just more invective and pointless name calling.

            I don't expect you to argue the Catholic view and as you have shown you don't even understand the Protestant view? William Lane Craig doesn't believe God is a moral agent? Since when? He is a Theistic Personalist. All of them without exception believe God is a moral agent. It's like claiming somebody is a Calvinist who rejects Unconditional Predestination to reprobation. Or a Muslim who rejects divine occationalism (unless he is not a follower of Ibn Sia then it is OK).

          • WCB-2

            Iff the RCC does in fact claim we are not allowed personal interpretation of the Bible, the RCC then has an obligation to give us a line by line interpretation of every verse in the Bible. Until the RCC does that, naturally all that is left is personal interpretation of the Bible except for the few cases the RCC has made official claims about some verses.

            Thus in the Council of Trent, the RCC has claimed the serpent in the garden was Satan. Which if one reads Exodus 3, one can see that simply is not so. Condemning the decedents of the serpent to lose legs and arms and be at enmity with mankind makes no sense if the serpent was a divine, evil being, not a mere beast. Just because the RCC claims a verse means this or that does not mean that judgment is true, as this example demonstrates.

          • OMG

            Hi WCB-2,
            I'm a cradle Catholic and have read a fair bit of theology. Your premise, Iff the RCC does in fact claim we are not allowed personal interpretation of the Bible is something I've never learned. We are at liberty for many things. The Church does have guidelines for interpretation, but there is no prohibition against personal individual interpretation. OTOH, one cannot proclaim one's interpretation as an official Catholic one if, on its face, that interpretation is at odds with what the Church has perennially taught.

            The RCChurch, remember, does not subscribe to sola scriptura. We rely on Tradition and the Deposit of Faith.
            The Church recommends that its adherents develop their faith through prudent formation. For example, prior to one's first receipt of any of the seven sacraments in the RCC--excepting the Sacrament of the Sick--a period of study is required. For example, in the usual course of events, prior to an infant's Baptism, 'godparent' sponsors and the child's parents attend a few hours of instruction at their local parish under the auspices of the priest.

            T

          • WCB-2

            Council Of Trent - Fourth Session

            "Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, -- wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church, -- whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,- -hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published."

            JtS has written several times we cannot use our personal interpretation of the Bible. This is where he is getting that claim. It allows him to brush off embarrassing verses from the Bible without dealing with their contents.

            It is not a really acceptable way of dealing with problematic verses. Not just a problem for the RCC. The same old games are played by protestant fundamentalists and evangelicals. I have several books from these sorts trying to explain away the contradictions and nonsense we find in the Bible. And of course, tens of thousands of web sites trying to explain it all away.

            Again, there are a lot of various claims of some verses, what they mean from the RCC, but no authoritative exegesis of the entire bible. Nor an officially authoritative collection of what verses have been dogmatically explained. For example in the Council of Trent.

            We have some commentaries, but unless explicitly claimed as authoritative, not just opinions of some writer, do not serve that purpose.

          • OMG

            WCB-2,
            Trent said (just as I said in my earlier post) that an individual Catholic person may not interpret CONTRARY to the Church. IF JtS has written that we cannot USE our personal interpretation of the Bible, I would ask what the intention is for said use.

          • Jim the Scott

            >an individual Catholic person may not interpret CONTRARY to the Church.

            That is our view as Catholics and my view. WCB-2 is basically a wee mad lad.

            We are free to offer our own non-contrary to the Church interpretations of the Bible but of course it goes without saying we cannot impose them on each other. Only the Pope and Bishops can bind us.

            Which is why the Haydock Commentary and the NAB commentary can each give a different view of Matt 18:19.

          • WCB-2

            If the RCC will not give us an authoritative line by line interpretation, then obviously we cannot take this no personal interpretation seriously. Obviously the RCC doesn't

            Nothing mad about that, is there? If there is no such detailed explanation, you don't get to pretend to be the official interpreter either.

            Exodus 1. For millions of Israelites, out numbering the Egyptians, two, count them, two midwives! Two!

          • Jim the Scott

            >If the RCC will not give us an authoritative line by line interpretation, then obviously we cannot take this no personal interpretation seriously.

            We can take some seriously and others not so seriously but what we cannot do is bind them on others. Only the Church can do that and until she does all yer arguments are futile in principle.
            I have no obligation either rationally or morally or practically to accept yer silly interpretations of Holy Writ which you pulled oot of yer bum or cribbed off some low brow Gnu Atheist blog made by a 14 year old ex fundie trying to cheese off his parents..

            Even if I didn't believe in God it would be silly to do so given my knowledge of the subject to listen to yer nonsense. Knowledge which you clearly lack. You can't even by yer own admission understand Aquinas what good are you?

            >Exodus 1. For millions of Israelites, out numbering the Egyptians, two, count them, two midwives! Two!

            I have old traditional Catholic commentaries that dispute the millions number. They point out Elef can mean "military officer" or "clan" and not 1000. Then there is the astronomical calculations theory which is rather good. I also linked to the article on Big Numbers in the Bible and there symbolic uses. Also there is no reason to believe there where only two midwives in the whole of Egypt. That is just a mad even if you take it literally.

            You have not convinced me of anything. If the YEC nonsense doesn't convince you why do you think a smart chap like me will be moved? Heck Protestants can't convince me to accept their false teaching they confess as true in their hearts. How are you gonna convince me to except a view you yerself don't believe in?

            This whole approach you are doing is madness even if there are no gods.

          • Jim the Scott

            additional:

            >If the RCC will not give us an authoritative line by line interpretation,

            She can't. Divine Inspiration ends with the death of the Last Apostle. Here you are confusing Infallibility with divine inspiration. Yet again yer pathological willful ignorance of Catholic doctrine rooks you and humiliates you.

            The Church is only promised to be protected from formally teaching error under certain narrow circumstances. She has the Tradition and Holy Writ but She must study them to understand them.
            She doesn't have all the answers ready made just some of them. She never made that claim. You have a magical view of the Church like you have a magical view of the Bible that is alien to my religious tradition.

            That is the development of doctrine as St Vincent said about how there can be progress in religion.

            > If there is no such detailed explanation, you don't get to pretend to be the official interpreter either.

            I don't as I don't insist my interpretation must be held by my fellow Catholics. Only the Pope and the Bishops can do that. But what you don't get here is if I am not the official interpreter how (& I naturally concede that) how can you be one?

            I meant it when I said weeks ago it is futile for Atheists to argue the Bible with Catholics as we are not fundamentalists. You have helped me prove that correct even if there are no gods.

            Thanks.

            PS you must be this tall yada yada you know the rest.....

          • WCB-2

            And without an authoritative commentary telling us just what is the RCC's official reading of the Bible, we have no way of telling what is a contrary teaching. if the Bible read X and X is a problem, then it is a problem and that is that. If the RCC wants to tell us X does not mean X, it is up to them to tell us what the official reading should be interpreted as.

            And what JtS does is use that idea from CoT to hit out at anybody who points to a Bible verse that is problematic. But if we have no verse by verse commentary officially sanctioned by the RCC as The Way we are to read the Bible, JtS is out of bounds here.

            And no, he is not the official RCC exegete with the right t tell us what each problematic verse REALLY means.

            If the Bible tells us God is omniscient, knowing the future, as I demonstrated by posting the numerous verses that stated that with no room for error, and the verses stating God created everything, we have the problem of a Universe created where free will is impossible.

            I am in a search for truth and will follow theological claims to their logical conclusion, because that is the only way to truth.
            Whatt JtS does is play desperate games, which in the end, are futile, special pleading at best.

          • OMG

            WCB-2.
            We can find the clear teaching of the RCC in its Catechism and in the Vatican documents issued in the wake of her ecumenical councils. The RCC has, throughout history, declared what it has determined to be interpretations/teachings in opposition to the Catholic faith. Before the Church issues formal declarations of excommunication or heresy. opportunities to explain, persuade, convince have usually been offered. Canon law provides a process for hearing, review, appeal, judgment.

            Assume, for a very obvious example, that some person begins to interpret "Do not kill" as excluding those less than one year and those greater than 65 years. The Church will not hesitate to inform its adherents of the error of that interpretation and will begin a process of canonical judgment if it sees the need. Scripture itself discusses how to deal with believers who go astray. Jesus dealt with betrayers, deniers, lapsers, and non-believers.

            The RCC hierarchy has used similar procedures throughout its 2,000 year history. What is the motivation for a person or group to instruct the RCC to administer its teachings in ways other than those the RCC has chosen? Why, exactly, is she obliged to do what you suggest?

          • Jim the Scott

            @disqus_mfm0tDywva:disqus

            WCB-2 You quoted the Council of Trent before and you ignored what you quoted. We went threw this nonsense.

            >JtS has written several times we cannot use our personal interpretation of the Bible. This is where he is getting that claim. It allows him to brush off embarrassing verses from the Bible without dealing with their contents.

            In other words "Boo Hoo! No fair yer nor a Fundamentalist Baptist or Jehovah's Witnesses!". To bad. Live with it.

            >Again, there are a lot of various claims of some verses, what they mean from the RCC, but no authoritative exegesis of the entire bible.

            Here you pretend the Development of Doctrine is not a thing.

            >Again, there are a lot of various claims of some verses, what they mean from the RCC, but no authoritative exegesis of the entire bible.

            Yes BTW WCB-2 I am sure OMG knows this. I believe she is Catholic if i am not mistaken and if she is not you are the last person to teach her as Ben told you forcefully.

            >We have some commentaries, but unless explicitly claimed as authoritative, not just opinions of some writer, do not serve that purpose.

            So in principle you cannot argue with me as I told you before. It is futile for Atheists to argue the Bible with Catholics as we are not YEC fundamentalists.

            So why do you do it? Just to be a jerk?

          • WCB-2

            James 5 and Mark 16. Prayer doesn't make a good substitute for modern medical care. Antibiotics work very well. Prayer is not a substitute.

            Until the Vatican supplies us all with an official line by line commentary on the Bible, their own NAB, telling the world what each and ever line means, there is no official RCC commentary. It is obvious when the Bible means X, the Bible does mean X.

            Nobody is mad at God, a tiresome old theist trope. We atheists simply see that God as a concept has problems and the Bible makes promises and prophecies that are not kept.

          • Jim the Scott

            Ah WCB-2 yer simple minded Fundamentalism strikes again!:D So what new Protestantism do you need me to adopt because you lack the ability to address Catholicism directly as it is?

            >James 5 and Mark 16. Prayer doesn't make a good substitute for modern medical care. Antibiotics work very well. Prayer is not a substitute.

            Since when do Catholics or the Catholic Church say we can't do both? Oh I see you are confusing us with the so called CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS who spurn medical care for prayer. A morally wicked action from the perspective of Catholic moral theory. But I bet you still think Trent teaches the Bible has only 66 books not 73? So yer confusion is natural and quite uncorrectable which is what makes you tedious.

            Gee WCB-2...CHRISTIAN SCIENCE! Well it beats yer begging me to be a Lutheran or Fundamentalist Baptist. Well done. That is a wee slight improvement.

            >Until the Vatican supplies us all with an official line by line commentary on the Bible, their own NAB, telling the world what each and ever line means, there is no official RCC commentary. It is obvious when the Bible means X, the Bible does mean X.

            I note yer linguistic mischief. You said " when the Bible means X, the Bible does mean X" which technically is true(& a tautology BTW)...but what you leave out is you equate what the Bible means with what it says literally according to yer reading divorced from context.

            I am afraid you are an order of magnitude even less convincing than yer betters (aka Nickol and Ficino). So I would sit back and read their posts for a few months if I was you and actually learn something. Because I am not kind to willful silliness and anti-intellectualism. Straighten up and fly right young man.

            >Nobody is mad at God, a tiresome old theist trope.

            Nickol said about a week ago to me he doesn't answer Angry Atheist types as he thinks they have nothing to say that is interesting. Has he directly responded to any of yer posts? Just asking......

            >We atheists simply see that God as a concept has problems and the Bible makes promises and prophecies that are not kept.

            Rather Gnu Atheists are intellectually inferior. Even if no gods exist as they have a "One Size Fits all" low brow set of simplistic polemics the more thoughtful breed of Atheist would not be caught dead using. Geez man where is yer pride?

          • WCB-2

            It is the RCC that tells us that the Bible is a reliable revelation from God. It is not "simple minded fundamentalism". It is your churches claim that God himself authored the Bible. Your slippery sophistry here does not make that basic claim go away.

            And if as you claim, personal interpretation of said bible is forbidden, indeed we are owed an authoritative line by line explanation of that.

            Failing to supply that is a failing of the RCC. The RCC cannot tell us we can not have a personal interpretation of any given Bible verse and then not supply a line by line official reading of the Bible and expect us to accept that failure to give us an authoritative exegesis.

            And no, that old "out of context" pretension does not wash. You sound like a Bible belt fundamentalist, many of whom play that little rhetorical game on us.

            And again, the RCC in the Council of Trent tells us the serpent in the garden was Satan. That simply is not true as genesis 3 tells us. Why should i take anything the RCC says about the bible seriously if I can find obvious nonsense like that held out as official teachings of the RCC?

            Original sin. The RCC teaches that when Adam fell, original sin entered the world. Evolution tells us there was no Adam as per genesis. The RCC has accepted evolution as true. How then to pretend Genesis 3 is not nonsense?

          • Jim the Scott

            And we are back to you pretending we are Lutherans and Baptists and not Catholics.

            Do you have anything intelligent or original to say? Yer repeating nonsense you already said weeks ago which I answered and you ignored my answers. Yer whole brain dead mindless shtick is to dogmatically insist a priori the Bible must be interpreted in a YEC fashion and to get Catholic doctrine fundamentally wrong. Rinse repeat. You have nothing intelligent to say.

            Give it a rest. There are far more competent atheists and skeptics here to challenge Catholicism and Classic Theism. Yer just not one of them. Geez yer not even on Michael's level. Which is sad.

          • WCB-2

            The Bible is authored by God. You are stuck with that.
            You Catholics then are in the same boat as the Lutherans, Jehovah's witnesses, and Baptists.

            From where I sit, not much difference in the games being played. Special pleading is special pleading no matter what sect does it. Your invective does not make the problem go away.

          • Jim the Scott

            No we are nothing like the Lutherans, Baptists and Jehovah's witnesses anymore than a Platonic Atheist is like a Reductionist Materialist Atheist.

            Fallacy of equivocation. The only thing the above have in common is the common referent Christian with the former and the common referent Atheist with the later. That is it.

            You can't make me an Atheist by begging me to adopt religious and philosophical views I reject just so you can argue with what you are familiar with vs with what you don't understand or want to understand. That is self defeating and absurd even if there are no gods.

        • WCB-2

          "How can a random collection of atoms blindly obeying the laws of physics be free? That "freedom" is an illusion along with the self and the mind and consciousness. etc."

          Because quantum events, random and not predictable break the chain of strict determinism.

          If God creates all and is essentially omniscient, if God decides to create a Universe, that Universe will be determinate. God, being omniscient will know in full detail all future events in that created Universe. No being in that Universe has free will.

          Further more, God being essentially omniscient and eternally existing will know at any point in the eternal past when God would decide to create that Universe and what initial state of creation God would choose and the results of his choice in that Universe. God has no free will. God's supernatural order is determinate and even God then must dance to the supernatural realm's hard determinate order. And what then creates that order?

          "I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more
          surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."
          - J.B.S. Haldane

          • Jim the Scott

            My rejoinder presupposes for the sake of argument there is no God and reductionist materialism is true. Reductionist Materialists are the Calvinists of Atheism. They don't believe in free will. Way to miss the point. But you still think Trent teaches the Bible has 66 books instead of 73.

            >If God creates all and is essentially omniscient, if God decides to create a Universe, that Universe will be determinate. ....

            Again repeating the same crap without interacting with what I told you. God can create a Concurrentist Universe He did not create a Determininate one. We are not Calvinists. I gave you the link to Feser to read it for yerself you ignored it and now yer back to repeating yerself.

            Also you erroneously think divine timelessness is God being outside Einstein's concept of Spacetime instead of not being subject to metaphysical time.

            >God has no free will.

            Not in the unequivocal way a rational creature has free will. Duh! God has free will because nothing external to God moves His will and no passive potency that is made actual does so because of the divine simplicity. God Alone Wills totally and freely from all eternity.

            Also the post enlightenment Volunteer-ist view of Free Will is false. The classic view presupposes the intellect moves the Will not the other way around which is wrong.

            Everything I just wrote above is above yer heid laddie. Stop making yerself look foolish. You must be this tall to ride the ride here wee laddie.

          • WCB-2

            Many of us atheists do indeed believe in free will.

            And as I pointed out, a God who is essentially omniscience and creates all makes free will in this material Universe impossible.

            But not a problem for us atheists.

            No, this has NOTHING to do with divine timelessness. It has to do with infinite time for God and God's infallible omniscience. But if you want to discuss a God outside of time, It ends up in the same place anyway. No free will for us or God.

            Internet Encyclopeida of Philosophy

            iii. God is Not in Time
            Thomas contends that God does not exist in time (see, for example, ST Ia. q. 10). To see why he thinks so, consider what he thinks time is: a measurement of change with respect to before and after. (Thomas thinks time is neither a wholly mind-independent reality—hence it is a measurement—nor is it a purely subjective reality—it exists only if there are substances that change.)
            Therefore, if something does not change, it is not measured by time, that is, it does not exist in time. However, as has been seen, God is unchanging. Therefore, God does not exist in time.

          • Jim the Scott

            Now you are randomly cutting and pasting stuff you haven't read or have even a passing familiarity with trying to fake it.

            >Many of us atheists do indeed believe in free will.

            Yes but you are all Volunteerists not Scholastics so yer theory of Free Will is wrong. Non-starter objection strikes again.

            Also Ficino told you we don't make unequivocal comparisons between God and Creatures & all yer objections presuppose unequivocal comparisons. Another non-starter.

            >No, this has NOTHING to do with divine timelessness. It has to do with infinite time for God and God's infallible omniscience.

            You just contradicted yerself. What you wrote is totally incoherent to a Classic Theist.

            >Thomas contends that God does not exist in time (see, for example, ST Ia. q. 10). To see why he thinks so, consider what he thinks time is: a measurement of change with respect to before and after. (Thomas thinks time is neither a wholly mind-independent reality—hence it is a measurement—nor is it a purely subjective reality—it exists only if there are substances that change.)

            Yes and you wasted dozens of posts way back talking about Einstein's Spacetime. The above concept has nothing to do with it other than you can use it to model space time in an expanding block universe vs a static one which is near incompatible with this concept (with qualifications).

            >But if you want to discuss a God outside of time, It ends up in the same place anyway. No free will for us or God.

            You mean no volunteerist view of Free Will or Free Will for God unequivocally comparable to human free will? Well duh!

            Fixed it for ya.

          • WCB-2

            Aquinas, ST 1a Q 10 is so convoluted, inarticulate, vague and impenetrable, that the only real clue about what it all means is his referencecing Boethius, who of course hold the position that God is outside of time. Obviously either God out of time or in time matters little.

            If God creates all and is essentially omniscient, free will is impossible. It is so reliable with you that you will nitpick at something to avoid addressing the issue at hand that is important.

            We have no free will with a God that creates al and is omniscient.

          • Jim the Scott

            Boethius and Aquinas held the metaphysical view of time you quoted from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy not Einstein's view which is a scientific view not a philosophical one. Category mistake.

            Taking about free will as if it is one thing is silly and more fallacies of equivocation. What kind of Free Will? The Scholastic view? The post enlightenment view?

            You don't know and you cannot fake it here.

          • WCB-2

            Einstein was not writing Augustine's "Confession - Book XI", or Boethius "Consolations of Philosophy - Book V"

            Einstein was not telling us god is outside of time, or inside of time. Boethius was, Aquinas did so, referencing Boethius.

            All of which is pointless, a diversion from you to pointlessly derail the debate on God's creation of all, and omniscience destroying man's free will. For which no real answer can show if God is essentially omniscient and creates all, God gets the blame for all moral evil in his Universe he creates. God then is evil.

            If you really do not have a way to deal with that little issue, give up and stop posting. All you can do is embarrass with your attempts to derail this discussion.

            No fake here, this is the real problem that 'sophisticated theology" and metaphysics cannot deal with.

          • Jim the Scott

            Now yer back to pretending we are Calvinists and making up yer own definitions instead of using the established terms of Art and you are deflecting.

            Yer a one trick pony who solely knows how to argue with the fundamentalist Baptists you hang out with in Texas. That is it. You know nothing of Classic Theism or Catholicism. You have proven that Mr Thinks Trent teaches the Bible has 66 books.

            You can't make me an Atheist by begging me to adopt religious and philosophical views I reject just so you can argue with what you are familiar with vs with what you don't understand or want to understand. That is self defeating and absurd even if there are no gods.

          • Jim the Scott

            additionally:

            >Aquinas, ST 1a Q 10 is so convoluted, inarticulate, vague and impenetrable,

            In other words you haven't studied the subject matter so you cannot offer meaningful informed commentary. Yer like the wee YEC with a 5th graders
            understanding of biology and science trying to "refute" a peer reviewed paper by Richard Dawkins himself on genetics and making a hash of it.

            You have nothing worthwhile to say on behalf of Atheists. You don't have the book smarts and you can't fake it.

          • WCB-2

            Yeah I studied it. Aquinas often is indeed clear as mud.

            You knoweth not.

            any person who is looking to see what Aquinas says about God being in or outside of time here is going to be disappointed. Unless you catch he mentions Boethius who does tell us God is not in time.

            The rest is simply vague and not to the point that anybody would want to know in that regards.

          • Jim the Scott

            You mean you read texts you don't understand because you didn't study the subject matter Yer like the YEC who picks up a Scientific Paper on genetics and doesn't understand it as he doesn't even have a basic College understanding of Biology and pronounces it "nonsense".

            You are just as unimpressive wee laddie. You have nothing of value to contribute here. Less than nothing.

          • WCB-2

            I do understand them. It is just that Aquinas is not the clearest writer in the world so leaves a lot of wriggle room for people to twist his turgid prose to mean something other than what Aquinas means. His mention of Boethius is the clue to what it all means.

            Aquinas doe not make it easy to cut a few lines to demonstrate what he means as he rambles on and on at length without actually really get to the point we often want to know about.

            Ain't gonna play your game here. I have already done Time, Augustine, "Confessions - Book XI", Boethius "Consolations Of Philosophy - Book V" and all you did was play games to pretend they did not say what they obviously did mean.

            To you, it is all one big word game.

          • Jim the Scott

            You just contradicted yerself. You said they where as "clear as mud" & or "obscure" and now you claim to "understand them"? Which is it? Now we are back to lying again like you did before telling people I did like Pope Francis' Encyclical on the Environment. Let us face it two things can be true in principle. The later being obvious the former being the subject under dispute.

            Maybe there are no gods(former) but yer not well learned or competent enough to make the case(later). Then there is the lying.....

        • Mark

          >And then I was free.

          How can a random collection of atoms blindly obeying the laws of physics be free? That "freedom" is an illusion along with the self and the mind and consciousness. etc.

          Brilliant. I was hoping a more seasoned philosopher would step in and call @Ficino out on this. Seemingly abandoning one set of shackles for a worse set of shackles. What does "free" even mean to a nominalist? I ask that rhetorically. I'm not accusing Ficino, as I know him to be a tremendous intellect and he knows darn well what the nominalist concept of freedom means. But unfortunately this seems like "Gnus" polemics and it falsely equivocates his nominalist view from the concept as understood by Thomists and more broadly accepted or assumed. There isn't anything spiritual about a nominalist's freedom and laws are always an external coercion.

          This tale of two monks, Ockham and Aquinas gives us the historical to contemporary perspective of the nominalist's "freedom" and the illusion of his reference "And then I was free":

          https://www.firstthings.com/article/2002/03/a-better-concept-of-freedom

          • Jim the Scott

            Well to be fair. Ficino says he is not a materialist as he believes in the existence of abstract objects. I take him at this word and grant him his essential freedom to tell us what he believes vs us telling him what he believes.

            I only wish the Gnus around here where as rational or kind & would return the favor to us.
            Arguing with Ficino is a challenge because the man is a professional academic in his own right. He learns our arguments and can repeat them back to us verbatum correctly.

            The Gnus low evolved knuckle dragging atavists are still having the last argument they had with a YEC Baptist & they made that their default argument for every other type of Theist,

            One is a pleasure to debate and dialog with and the other gives pleasure in the practice of subtle or not so subtle mockery and satire to show the folly of sophistry over rational argument.

          • Ficino

            Thank you for the compliments, but I was not using "free" as a term in a metaphysical claim about causal determinism. I should have thought it uncontroversial that words are applied differently in different contexts, such that a nominalist could speak consistently about being free of various things, depending on the secundum quid.

          • Mark

            Part of the problem when deciphering the meaning with an intellect of your stature is that I never know if they are being cunning or intellectual precise. So when you pause at the end of your testimony, start a new paragraph, and type, "And then I was free" to end your personal metanoia story I sniffed a metaphysical philosophical claim. If not your intention, it was written so as to apply more than one context quite seamlessly. Indeed you are smart enough to be subversive with a double entendre so I apologize for sniffing anything other than you just being your uncontroversial self.

      • WCB-2

        My reply to this God is not a moral agent claim is, if God can act, and does not act when it would be good and desirable to act, to not act morally is a moral act, and so the God is not a moral agent argument is dead. It is inherently self contradictory. God is not a being apart from the Universe that cannot act upon this material Universe.

        For example, if God could banish Satan from Earth and prevent many people from suffering from Satan's evil and deceptions, to not do so is an act. A refusal to act is an act of refusal. In this case a not very good moral act. God is also dogmatically claimed to be omnipotent so God does not have an excuse that God cannot act.

        • Ficino

          The classical theist might reply that the problem is "moral." He might say that morality is a degenerate concept trying to do the work of the earlier, and legitimate, concept of law - divine and natural (cf. Elizabeth Anscombe). And God as the source of divine and, ultimately, natural law is not subject to that law, which by definition governs creatures. So therefore, while God is an agent, God is not a "moral" agent.

          • WCB-2

            This utterly divorces the concept of God being good, and having the sub-goodnesses accompanying that goodness. God is explicitly claimed to be fair, just, merciful, and compassionate. This makes a mockery of the concept God is author of the Bible (council of Trent) or that the Bible is in any way a reliable revelation from God. all of a sudden we start getting a nest of special pleadings. God is not a moral agent. God has no moral obligations to us. god is impassible, having no emotions. (Except the ones he does have) God is not a personal God.

            Now we have to abandon all language, all ideas, and we get a sort of free floating theological dog's breakfast. We achieve an intellectual nihilism, a metaphysical Humpty-Dumptyism. rationality and reason is abandoned.

            And still the problem remains. God could act but does not act, when it would be desirable for God to act. We are told God has no obligation to act. but still is good, merciful, just, fair and compassionate and loves us.

            This is just meaningless nonsense.

            "Green Ideas Sleeping Furiously".

            We start with Biblical claims of God being good, merciful, just and compassionate to a God that slowly becomes a vapor, Nothing really one can worship. Obscurantism run amok.

            The only thing that saves these sorts of 'sophisticate theologians' and metaphysicans is that the general public knows little or nothing of any of this.

          • Ficino

            There are many people who share the thoughts you set out above. Classical theists of the Brian Davies persuasion, however, will dismiss almost all of it.

            When you talk about abandoning all language, the CT will reply that "names of God" are predicated analogously, not univocally. Are you familiar with this distinction? Analogical predication carries what I consider the make-or-break load in Thomism. I've disputed its range of application with various of the good chaps on here! If you're not familiar, you may want to bone up on analogical predication before continuing much further with your line of argument.

          • WCB-2

            Yes. I am familiar with that dodge, and many others. And of course I will reject that. I am told that "God is good" does not necessarily mean good as we mean when we talk about men being good. But then we have verses God is just, merciful, fair et al.. So we are told that does not really mean anything at all either.

            We are told that God does not have the attribute of being good, but that God is goodness himself from which all other goodness in this material Universe comes.

            We end up with what Anthony Flew called "The brave hypothesis that died the death of 1000 qualifications".

            The God of the Bible disappears to become a mere shadow of himself in the hands of the metaphysicians and theologians to keep God from being disproven by the atheologists. I probably won't convince many of those, but for lurkers looking to see how these arguments go, maybe a few of the more skeptical leaning of them might carefully consider the whole debate.

          • Jim the Scott

            >The God of the Bible disappears to become a mere shadow of himself...

            The God of the Bible....As defined by WCB-2 interpretation of the Bible & not by Catholics. No sane non Gnu Atheist is gonna think it is a good idea to first try to convert Catholics to Fundamentalist Protestantism before making their case for Atheism. A smart Atheist would just do what David Nickol or Ficino does. Take on Catholicism and Classic Theism directly. That is why they are smart and you are without.

            Yer a wee mad lad and nor the fun kind Count Dankula posts aboot on his Vlog.

          • WCB

            So, when the Bible tells us God is fair, God is just, God is merciful, God is compassionate, and God loves us, the Bible does not mean that at all? According to them Catholics?

            When it says God predestines us, and selects the elect and non-elect, the Bible does not mean that? Really!? And who decides what all these verses mean, where do we go to find that out? What pope or council decided all of that?

            Why should any thinking person take anything you post seriously?

          • Jim the Scott

            >So, when the Bible tells us God is fair, God is just, God is merciful, God is compassionate, and God loves us, the Bible does not mean that at all?

            Does the Bible mean that God is any of those things unequivocally or analogously? Do you even know the difference? (take yer time google it. We will wait so you can fake it instead of being honest and saying you don't know. Like a normal person.).

            >According to them Catholics?

            God is all those thing analogously. God is Good because He is Being Itself and Being and Goodness are interchangeable. God is merciful because He give sufficient grace that is somehow truly sufficient to all to be saved. Not that He saves all as He is not obligated to do so and we deny the Heresy of Calvin God's Grace is only given to the elect or that all grace is irresistible. It is complicated but simple religion is for Fundamentalist heretics and peasants. People should take time to educate themselves. Especially critics if they want to be taken seriously.

            >When it says God predestines us, and selects the elect and non-elect, the Bible does not mean that?

            So what you are telling me you don't know the difference between Calvin vs Catholicism? Calvin taught God unconditionally elects us to salvation and damnation based on His good pleasure. Catholic teach God unconditionally elects people to salvation based on his good pleasure and too damnation on the condition of our foreseen sins. So we can't earn Heaven but we certainly can earn Hell. Double Predestination is heresy condemned by Trent.

            Of course you don't know any of the distinctions here and you don't want to know so you default to a view that resembles Calvin and bore the rest of us in the process.

            Let us add to this mix in spite of my pleas you don't know Concurrentism from Determinism from a hole in the head.

            >And who decides what all these verses mean, where do we go to find that out?

            Catholicism doesn't promise them ready made. That is the Protestant error. If they wrote a book explaining it all that was inspired by God then that book itself would still need interpretation. A living author can readily tell you what their work means at the time they wrote it & further clarify on further interrogation. We have a Living Church and Tradition protected by the Spirit for that same purpose and a Development of Doctrine. Over time studying the Bible it become clearer to the church and She teaches when it become expedient to do so.

            > What pope or council decided all of that?

            So you are saying the Pope hasn't defined everything? No he hasn't and we may not get everything defined even up till judgement day. But so what? What we need defined has already been defined & more will come in the future. The Bible contains 73 books according to Trent (& a few earlier councils and local Synods). That is defined by Trent and is not to be questioned (except for persons with reading deficiencies who think Trent teaches 66 books).

            >Why should any thinking person take anything you post seriously?

            I can only answer that question to another thinking person. The present company has a lot of work to do. You managed to show me Craig holds a view similar to Davies but given Craigs other beliefs that is not the same. I wonder if Feser has been influencing Craig?

          • Jim the Scott

            First WCB-2 isn't familiar with any of this. Test him he will fail. He is gaslighting you.

            As you can see Ficino WCB-2 's whole shtick is "No Fair! Yer not a Fundamentalist nor a Theistic Personalist and you reject my interpretation of the Bible and substitute yer own Church's". Boo hoo!

            It is not intelligent or persuasive. It would be like having some Gnu who is brilliant enough to formulate a strong philosophical defeater for every Cosmological Argument known to philosophers(a stretch of the imagination since yer average Gnu like yer average YEC fundie cana tie his own shoes). Then he encounters a Pantheist who by definition does not believe in the creator/first cause God Cosmological arguments presuppose and he spends weeks trying to convince him if God exists He isn't a Pantheist divinity but a creator/first cause one so he can use his arsenal of polemics against the Cosmological argument to in the end make him an Atheist.

            It is tedious. No matter how much WCB-2 begs me I won't become a Protestant, YEC, theistic personalist with a touch of Calvinism to boot. I am an Atheist toward the "god" he is attacking. He is wasting my time and BTW yer claim the "Analogical predication carries what I consider the make-or-break load in Thomism. " is a brilliant insight.

            If I was gonna dispute Thomistic Classic Theism I would polemic the theories of analogy. Maybe dig up some Scottism contra Thomism polemics . You could get a real debate going with that. Heck it has been years since i studied analogy so even I would need to up my game in such a debate.

            But you have a good idea how to argue against the God I believe in. Or at minimum you have an order of magnitude better understanding of said God then WCB-2 or Michael.

            Why they insist on this type of futile polemic is beyond me?

            Any thoughts?

          • WCB-2

            Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists et al rely on the bible for their basic beliefs about God and the nature of God. In that regards, they are all the same. The protestants do not believe the RCC's claim that the traditions of the RCC have the same equality as the Bible. JtS stubbornly refuses to admit that if God could act to cause good, such as Eliminating Satan, or original sin by fiat on day one, God's failure to act is itself and act.

            Thus the claim God is not a moral agent fails. God is a moral agent no matter how God acts in such situations. This God is not a moral agent is not a Catholic theological claim alone. William Lane Craig also on his site Reasonable Religion has used that claim to explain away the problem of evil.

            This is no polemic. This is simply exploring the theist premises to their logical conclusion. All the polemics are coming from JtS.

          • Jim the Scott

            More fallacies of equivocation. Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans and Jehovah's witnesses don't have the same views on how the Bible is to be used or what the nature of it being inspired so non-starter.

            You said this nonsense before and I answered it and you ignored it. You think animals can be moral agents. By yer novel definition my car is a "moral agent" when it functions correctly.

            >William Lane Craig

            Is a theistic personalist and believes God is a moral agent. He also denies the divine simplicity and the divine timelessness. He also denies the divine immutibility.

            You want to argue about every other god by mine...and you cannot even get the other gods correct! ROTFLOL! William Lane Craig denies God is a moral agent? Since when? Did he become Eastern Orthodox behind my back?

            Yer just making it up now as you go along......

          • WCB-2

            I never said they all had the same view. But then even within Catholicism, not everybody has the same view. For example, a lot of Catholics are now in vehement disagreement with Pope Francis on capital punishment.

            Your straw man is a fire hazard. All these sects start with the claim the bible is a true revelation from God.

          • Jim the Scott

            Here you backpedal, You said "they rely on the Bible" but that is a trivial observation and it doesn't justify you treating them unequivocally which you clearly do. Which is irrational even if there are no gods.

            You are fast running out of Gas. Here is the deal if it comforts you. Maybe there really is no God? But it is clear you don't know how to communicate that idea to Catholics Classic Theists. It is clear if that is true you merely made a lucky guess. You didn't reason yer way there.

            Yer a one trick pony who solely knows how to argue with the fundamentalist Baptists you hang out with in Texas. That is it.

            You must be this tall to ride etc etc.

          • WCB-2

            Are you REALLY telling us that the RCC does not rely on the Bible being true? Do Clasical Catholic Theists tell us we don't need the Bible? REALLY?!

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer capacity to commit fallacies of equivocation & yer general inability to reason are amazing. Also the either/or fallacy you got going now is tedious.

            The Bible is true and it need not be taken literally across the board and literal interpretations of Genesis across the board need not be true but the allegorical ones can be true. It is that simple! The Bible is not clear and cannot automatically be taken at face value. That is the Catholic Default.

            >Do Clasical Catholic Theists tell us we don't need the Bible?

            In theory yes since we would still have Tradition and the living Church to give us the doctrines we now have but God didn't will we should have divine revelation this way so it would in the end likely fail.

            God did not will (according to Catholicism) the Bible is to be read alone without tradition & taken at face value automatically. Nor did He will it is the sole rule of faith or that it is perspicuous. The bible is only useful to "men of God" (2 Tim3:16-17) which is the OT term for Prophets and Priests.

            It is not really a layman's book. The reason all yer arguments too date are non-starters and just plain foolish (even if there are no gods) is you insist on (mis)using the Bible in a way Catholic don't believe it should be used so you are not throwing "brillant" zingers at us. Yer just making yerself look silly.
            Not that it is hard for you to do the former at this point..

          • WCB

            The question is not if Genesis is literally true. We all know it is not true. The question is, if God is author of the Bible as the RCC claims, why is there so much nonsense in the bible and no sign of the Bible being a revelation from God? We would expect a far different Bible if it is a revelation of a super intelligent, all wise God. That is the question!

            Not your stream of consciousness parade of straw men and ad hominems. Now let us see if you can address the core issue here, calmly, without histrionics, polemics, and derailing the discussion.

          • Jim the Scott

            >The question is not if Genesis is literally true.

            I hope you don't trip and fall back peddling like that.

            >We all know it is not true. The question is, if God is author of the Bible as the RCC claims, why is there so much nonsense in the bible and no sign of the Bible being a revelation from God?

            All of the above are Fundamentalist Protestant assumptions and therefore non-starter objections. The real question is why do you keep pretending we are Baptists here? We are Catholics laddie. God is not obligated to give us a written text and if He does God is not obligated to write it any specific way and Catholics don't see the Bible as a magical book. We rely on most of its testimony because the Church affirms it to be Scripture.

            The idea the Bible would have features that show it was authored by God is not a Catholic assumption. God can author the mundane as well as the spectacular. Like I said if God inspired me to write "Water is wet" and or Stalin stuck a gun too my head and forced me to write the same how do you know the difference looking at the text? You don't.

            >We would expect a far different Bible if it is a revelation of a super intelligent, all wise God. That is the question!

            That is comically absurd. If the Bible contained plans to build an Apollo Rocket would that prove it was supernatural? Or would it prove the rebooted Battlestar Galactica final episode was real history and the author somehow got a hold of plan written by ancient astronauts?

            God can't tell us anything about the natural world we could figure out for ourselves and if he did how could we in principle falsify it? You have a Protestant and Fundamentalist view of Holy Writ. It means nothing here. We are Catholics. Get that threw yer wee skull laddie.

            >Not your stream of consciousness parade of straw men and ad hominems.

            Sorry that is you mi'laddio.

            >Now let us see if you can address the core issue here, calmly, without histrionics, polemics, and derailing the discussion.

            Project much my son? You still think the Bible has only 66 books and that Trent teaches that. You have no coherent arguments. Animals are moral? David Nickol at best polished a few of them but you can't put lipstick on a pig. It is still a pig. But you did show Craig holds a view similar to Davies on God as a moral agent. But that is as close as you got to being factually right so far. In fact that is yer only correct statement. Well even a stopped watch is correct twice a day.

            Cheers.

          • Ficino

            Do the Eastern Orthodox also deny theistic personalism? Is that denial inconsistent with their refusal to affirm the 'filioque'? I read once that the problem with the EOs is to hold back from slipping into tritheism, and a problem for the RCs is to hold back from worshipping a "divine nature" and not God. But maybe it was a theistic personalist who wrote that, lol.

            Is Swinburne a theistic personalist?

          • Jim the Scott

            Well in my experience most Eastern Orthodox who are educated in theology are CT but you can find some who fit in the TP category & Swinburne is a strange anomaly as he is the poster boy for TP & he is educated. OTOH David Hart and there is a Priest who runs a blog called Eclectic Orthodoxy are definitely CT thought Hart's latest book on Universalism contains some troubling statements. The Eastern Church Father are to the last man CT. St Maximos' writings play a big part in the Summa and St Gregory of Nyssa and Pseudo St Denis etc...without these guys CT would be very under developed and primitive. At it's base CT is the intuition God is unknowable by human power and can only be thought of in the abstract. Religious mystics will say God can be well loved by not well thought.

            The problem with EO and CT is they only have 7 councils & we have 20 and those later Catholic ones dogmatically compel us to CT. With only 7 the EO are underdeveloped here and the temptation to adopt the idolatry of TP creeps in (to cite an EO CT from memory).

            Palamism also throws an interesting monkey wrench into the whole mix as well.

          • WCB

            Actually, WLC does accept the claim God is not a moral agent.

            Which I found searching his site some time back when I searched his site for what he had to say about the God is not a moral agent concept. and lots of theologians seem to not Believe God is outside of time because it is an incomprehensible claim with some bad problems when one follows that logic to its conclusion. a discussion for another time.

            And I have in fact just been reading Feser's post about WCL and Feser's take on his errors. Plus the subject of personalism.

          • Jim the Scott

            WCB-2 yer still making stuff up.

            Nope you cannot directly quoteWLC to that effect. Put up or shut up. Nowhere does WLC ever claim God is not a moral agent. He endorses and defends Theodicies which are post enlightenment moral defenses of God's inaction in the face of His tolerance of evil. Craig believes God is without time prior to creation but is in time post creation (which is nonsense to a Classic Theist). Craig openly denies the divine simplicity. He isn't a Classic Theist. Not only are you beating a dead horse with WLC you are beating the wrong dead horse.

            You can't even get our God correct nor the false gods we deny. That is an amazing feat. Additionally when we say God is timeless we are talking about the metaphysical modeling of time as real change from moment to moment. We are not talking about scientific theories of spacetime. This is a category mistake you repeated endlessly and then you pretended you didn't make it when I called you on it.

            >And I have in fact just been reading Feser's post about WCL and Feser's take on his errors. Plus the subject of personalism.

            Well finally you are doing some homework. Of course if you did it in the first place you wouldn't have lost the respect of every CT here(& I do me all of us) with yer displays of willful ignorance.

            Of course I don't know where you get the idea Craig believes God is a moral agent? In CT the only way God is moral is in the fact given His nature He cannot fail to will His own Good. God by nature has binding obligations to Himself. That is beyond dispute and if I am not mistaken is discussed in Book 2 of Summa Contra Gentiles by Aquinas.

            But yer finally do some homework. Now do yerself a favor. Forget all yer objections to YEC and Fundamentalist Baptist Christianity and their hermunetics when reading the Bible. They are of zero meaning here.

            Now get good scrub. I have my ruler out and yer knuckles will know no peace till you do.

          • WCB

            William Lane Craig - Reasonable Religion

            Question #278

            "Second, on my favored Divine Command Theory of ethics, moral duties arise as a result of divine imperatives. Our moral duties are constituted by God’s commands. Now since God presumably issues no commands to Himself, He literally has no moral duties to fulfill."

            #523

            Before I address your question, David, let’s make sure that we state accurately the view I have defended. God’s freedom to issue commands to do certain things that would be immoral in the absence of a divine command is not rooted in God’s having morally sufficient reasons for so
            commanding. Rather it is rooted in the idea that the source of moral obligation is divine commands, and since God doesn’t issue commands to Himself, He therefore has no moral obligations.

            There are several other questions where WLC deals with the issue, but I am too lazy to look it up for you. Do your own homework!

          • Jim the Scott

            >There are several other questions where WLC deals with the issue, but I am too lazy to look it up for you. Do your own homework!

            Or you could have posted this link.

            https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/what-could-god-not-have-commanded

            You seem to have proven Craig appears to advocate a position similar to Brian Davies and other Thomists. Well done (but it is not the same as I will explain) you see now the importance of doing homework but of course you still think Animals are morally good because they do good to each other and you still make up yer own terms. So you have a very long way to go. Yer argument has been to insist God is a moral agent except for some mad reason we all have to accept yer ad hoc vague concept of "morality" instead of our scholastic view? Which is begging the question.

            Also Craig's seemingly correct view has problems given his other incorrect views. Craig says "God's Commands must be consistent with His nature as perfectly loving, kind, fair, etc." Except Craig denies the divine simplicity so God's Attributes cannot in principle be identical with His Nature and even thought it is gratifying Craig repudiates voluntaristic Divine Command Theory I don't see how this protects him from falling back into it? God is "perfectly loving, kind, just etc" but only in an analogous fashion we are not an unequivocal one. So how is God any of these things? In an analogous or unequivocal way?

            But at least you brought yerself back from beating the wrong dead horse to merely beating a dead horse.

            Yer argument "God's failure to act is itself [an] act. Thus the claim God is not a moral agent fails. God is a moral agent no matter how God acts in such situations." is still incoherent gibberish as is yer claim "God is explicitly claimed to be fair, just, merciful, and compassionate." without qualifying HOW God is any of these things(Analogously? Unequivocally? Do you even know the difference WCB-2?) . Because He is not any of these things in the unequivocal manner a virtuous rational creature is as Davies would teach and Craig likely wouldn't endorse.

            If God is not obligated to act then Him not acting isn't a failure of anything so yer ""God's failure to act is itself [an] act." isn't a meaningful objection nor proves God to be a moral agent. Also you still seem to believe merely doing good is doing moral good. Which is absurd.

            But I will move you from an F to a D. So some improvement. You caught a mistake I made. Well done. But I can admit my mistakes. It makes me strong. You OTOH don't admit yers. It is weakness on yer part and be sure I will exploit it.

          • Ficino

            My feeble brain can manage only a few thoughts, lol. Actually, only one. And it is: have you looked into Thomas of Sutton? The dude made a valiant attempt to defend analogical predication re the Unmoved Mover, which I think failed against Scotus.

          • Jim the Scott

            I'll put him on the list. Thanks.

          • Ficino

            Thomas of Sutton was a generation later than Aquinas. A lot of very interesting stuff was going on then in philosophy.

          • Jim the Scott

            I upvote this. (Which I have to literally say to a person because upvoting doesn't seem to work for me here?)

            Cheers.

          • BTS

            Hey Ficino,
            Always enjoy your posts. Can you post a legend at the bottom for your abbreviations? :)

            Seriously, though, as your yourself have pointed out, this blog is about discussion among Catholics, agnostics, and atheists. I don't think the burden should always be on those without degrees in philosophy to become experts in the technical jargon. I know you can go toe-to-toe with JTS and Bonnette in such a manner. I get that.

            On the other hand it seems to me that if Thomists cannot explain Catholic theology very simply and succinctly to relatively intelligent people without using opaque technical mumbo-jumbo then there isn't much use for Thomism.

            I'm thinking it would behoove the Thomists to drop the "We're so smart and you fools just don't understand us" type of language.

          • Ficino

            Ha ha, CT was just "classical theist." I've also used PNC for "principle of non-contradiction", PPC for "principle of proportionate causality," and POE for "problem of evil." Of works of Aquinas, ST is Summa Theologiae; SCG is Summa Contra Gentiles, and then there are Aquinas' commentaries on works of predecessors, listed like this, e.g. In IV Meta. = on book 4 of Aristotle's Metaphysics. In II Sent = on book 2 of Aquinas' commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard.

          • Jim the Scott

            BTS

            This merits a response.

            >I don't think the burden should always be on those without degrees in philosophy to become experts in the technical jargon.

            Wrong! Yer here to convince us our beliefs are wrong. The burden is solely on you to address our actual beliefs not what you wish our beliefs to be. If that means you have to do yer homework well too bad. If a Creationist with a 5th graders knowledge of biology shows up to a Blog about the scientific proofs for Evolution the locals are NOT required to bring that fellow up to a college level understanding of biology and genetics(and if they don't somehow that default "refutes" evolution). He has to do some homework on his own. If he refuses then discussions with him will be impossible. Him using his ignorance of the subject matter to fuel his disbelief will not be impressive to the local college level biologists.

            What makes you think the Gnus here are any different in our eyes? They are twice as silly.

            >I'm thinking it would behoove the Thomists to drop the "We're so smart and you fools just don't understand us" type of language.

            Rather get good scrub or go elsewhere. What if our YEC friend with the 5th grader's knowledge of Biology said "I'm thinking it would behoove the Darwinists to drop the "We're so smart and you fools just don't understand us" type of language."? Just because the YRC refuses to learn any science beyond 5th grade that is hardly their fault. My sympathy is with them.

            In that case the YEC is using his ignorance to fuel his disbelief in Evolution and simultaneously it makes him comically inept to convince the locals to doubt evolution.

            The same applies to the Gnus who refuse to learn the proper terms of Art for CT and make up their own oot of their bums.

            Ficino and Nickol can go toe to toe with me because they did the learning. That is why they are credible and respectable. The rest of you lot I am not so sure.......

            We are not dumbing it down for you. Get good or ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over there, Have at them.

            Is that harsh? No it is flawlessly reasonable even if there are no gods.

          • David Nickol

            Wrong! Yer here to convince us our beliefs are wrong.

            I really don't think that is the purpose of this forum. The last thing I would want to be responsible for is convincing a theist to become an atheist.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I really don't think that is the purpose of this forum.

            It is not about the forum which doesn't belong to me. It is about me and others who agree with me.;-)

            I respect yer differing opinion. But I say the burden is on the evangelizer. Wither Atheist or Theist.
            The lawyer for the defense need not prove anything. If you take up the burden to prove my beliefs are wrong then the burden is on you. If I come roaring in and demand conversion then the burden is on me.

            > The last thing I would want to be responsible for is convincing a theist to become an atheist.

            It is why yer nor a Gnu like I am not a fundamentalist.

          • Rob Abney

            You should want to convince a theist to become an atheist if atheism is true. Dialogue is about communicating the truth. It may seem like saying that we should "persuade" someone is aimed at winning an argument but you have to admit that Jim the Scot never tries to win an argument without facts and knowledge, he doesn't just assert his positions.

          • David Nickol

            You should want to convince a theist to become an atheist if atheism is true.

            First, I do't know whether or not atheism is true. It seems I am continually taken to be an atheist, when I have said over and over that I am agnostic.

            Second, especially from your point of view, why "should" an atheist do anything? You believe that if there is no God, life has no meaning. If that is the case, why would it be more important to know (or tell) the truth than to know (or tell) any particular untruth?

            Dialogue is about communicating the truth.

            Dialogue is about two or more people (or groups) communicating the truth as each of them sees it with the aim of coming to some better understanding of the other and seeing how far they can move toward agreement. Dialogue is not about believing one has the absolute truth and daring those who disagree to argue. This is why Catholics were able to enter dialogue with Lutherans.

          • Rob Abney

            From your perspective it seems that only Catholics will bring truth into the dialogue as atheists have no obligation to truth and agnostics don't have to commit to anything.

          • WCB

            Most atheists have a high regard for truth and value truth. This claim atheists have no obligation to truth is wrong and quite frankly offensive.

          • Rob Abney

            Take it up with David Nickol, he’s on your side of the argument > why would it be more important to know (or tell) the truth than to know (or tell) any particular untruth?<
            But tell me what you ground your truth upon, your own subjective intuition?

          • Jim the Scott

            @rob_abney:disqus

            WCB-2 yer inability to read plain English astounds me.
            Nowhere did Rob even remotely say "Atheists have no obligation to truth". He calmed David Nickol's perspective "seemed" to say [to him] only Catholics will bring truth into the dialogue (i.e. by saying Catholicism is true and Protestantism and Atheism are false etc) and atheist have no obligation to it and agnostics don't have to commit to anything. That is how Rob is understanding David's position. That is how it "seems" to him. This naturally leaves it open for David to clarify his view to either affirm or deny Rob's perspective. Dave is a stand up guy(unlike some of us) so we naturally will let him define himself.

            BTW many Atheists do have a high regard for trurh. However based on yer performance to date I am very skeptical you are one of them Mr Trent-teaches-the-Bible-has-66 books.

            Just saying...

          • Mark

            truth as each of them sees it

            is only true of subjective truth. If you're a relativist, that is not a Catholic thinking as we understand objective truths to be real. Relativism and skepticism are self-refuting truth claims (just like Luther's claim of SS). Objective truth has rational rules that anyone can follow from premise to conclusion. (i.e. If the negation of a truth claim is a contradiction we know the truth claim to be absolute.)

            Dialogue could come from, "I disagree with the premises P, but I'll grant you P for sake of argument, and even so it doesn't follow that Y; here is the evidence." That would be how Catholics and Lutherans are able to dialogue. But that isn't how Gnus like WCB dialogue. It gets even worse when moral claims get mixed in with the claims as there are so many subjective presuppositions loaded into every preposition; rarely the personal introspect exists within the Gnu to lay out their own assumptions. OTOH, as Catholics it's all right there if you want to poke holes in our thinking and Her objective truths, but start with Her P's and not the same non-starters over and over and over.

          • Jim the Scott

            @davidnickol:disqus
            Thank you Mark. You said it all.

          • WCB

            Yes i am familiar with that. It is also an important concept in Islamic theology. persons? Depends on how you define persons, doesn't it. God is indeed not a person like we are. But God supposedly has consciousness, will, intelligence and personality. God creates things, has purposes, and makes plans. The Bible is full of these things that God supposedly is.

            So ina very real sense, God is a person. I intensely dislike argument by redefining words. which is this amounts to, A form of special pleading. God is said to be impassible, without emotions. Except when he has emotions. Aquinas, God is happy, et al. and God loves us, unless he has no passions in which case god does not love us.

            This all become a nihilistic game, where no claim of the Bible means anything any more, and the theologians tie themselves into ever tighter knots trying to avoid issues like the problem of evil.

            and still all this bad metaphysical bloviation cannot explain why a omnipotent and good god, essentially good, whose nature is goodness itself, no an accidental attribute, but a necessary attribute does not eliminate original sin on day one and banish Satan, eliminating large amounts of unecessary moral evil. That is not goodness.

            All this pettyfogging doesn't explain that core issue. it just makes God and ineffectual, ball of mystery and incoherent hypotheses. In the hand of theologians like this, God soon is a pale caricature of the God of the Bible, most assuredly utterly alien and not believable to the average theist warming a pew in a church somewhere. This has an almost Monty Pythonish high sillyness quotient to it all.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi @WCB2:disqus, you wrote:

            This utterly divorces the concept of God being good, and having the sub-goodnesses accompanying that goodness. God is explicitly claimed to be fair, just, merciful, and compassionate. This makes a mockery of the concept God is author of the Bible (council of Trent) or that the Bible is in any way a reliable revelation from God. all of a sudden we start getting a nest of special pleadings. God is not a moral agent. God has no moral obligations to us. god is impassible, having no emotions. (Except the ones he does have) God is not a personal God.

            What do you think of the following alternative model:
            @DavidNickol:disqus @Ficino:disqus

            ———————

            Whether Jesus’ worldview is essentially true does not need depend on God being the author of the Christian bible.

            One can understand the Christian bible to be a compilation of ancient documents written by fallible human beings and hence many of the errors of the beliefs and biases of those fallible human beings are also found in the biblical documents they wrote or/and edited.

            Hence those documents are to be evaluated critically in the same way we evaluate other ancient writings such as those written by ancient writers such as Josephus or Homer.

            If after critical evaluation, we find that it is historically likely that Jesus was bodily resurrected from the dead, then we take Jesus and his theistic worldview more seriously.

            Independent of biblical documents, if philosophically we find that there are deductive arguments with true premises and valid logic forms that produced the relevant conclusion that God exists, and that such proofs also give us the relevant conclusions that the God of deductive proofs is a God with divine simplicity, oneness, and so on, then any biblical documents that portrays some contradicting characteristics of God can be seen as an error due to the fallible nature of the ancient human authors.

            Such a model would accept the presence of errors in the biblical documents, accept Jesus’ theistic worldview, and accept the God of Classical Theism.

            ———————

            Cheers!
            johannes y k hui

            .
            .
            .

          • WCB-2

            Jesus was promising the end of the world in as spectacular manner and the coming Kingdom of God soon, soon, soon. Sell all you have to prepare. Not some 2,000 years later. That is the whole message of the Gospels.

            One cannot serve two masters, where you treasure is your heart is. A rich man can no more enter the Kingdom of God than a camel can fit through the eye of a needle.

            Matthew 24

            30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

            Mark 14
            61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
            62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

            Matthew 26
            64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

            The coming of the Kingdom of heaven did not occur in that day and age. In the lifetime of the high priest of Jerusalem.

            It is not going to happen. And this prophecy was the whole point of the gospels. At this point, nothing else matters.

          • Philip Rand

            WCB-2

            Your presumption is believing that you are dealing with the same event.

            There were two Olivet discourses, this is clear in the text when closely read.

            Luke relates to the Fall of Jerusalem, 70AD

            Matthew relates to End Times.

            The key texts:

            Luke 21:12

            Matthew 24:15

            Luke focuses on a desolation of Jerusalem that precedes the series of signs that earmark both passages. Matthew does not.

            One was predicted to occur and did occur. The other is predicted to occur and it will.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi WCB2,

            Around 12 min before I wrote my previous comment to you, I have posted the following comment to Ficino. I said to him:

            “Hence what is relevant to assessing whether Jesus’ worldview is essentially true (ie his teachings may not be entirely true, if we make allowance that the earthly Jesus might be mistaken at certain points) depends not on the phenomena of sufferings and unanswered prayers to relieve those sufferings, but only these:

            (A) Deductive Proofs that God exists non-abstractly
            (B) Abductive Arguments that Jesus was bodily resurrected”

            Recall that model (which allows for errors made in the biblical documents and made by the earthly Jesus) I mentioned to you in my previous comment. Therefore in the issue you raised about the timing of the Eschaton, at the most, Jesus made a mistake in thinking that the Eschaton would arrive around his time or not long after his death. That has no relevance on the existence of God. That is also not relevant to the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
            (Contemporary scholars disagree whether Jesus expected the Eschaton to arrive around his time, but as I said, even in the worst case scenario that Jesus was mistaken about the timing, it is still not a major problem base on the model I mentioned to you previously.)

            The whole point of the gospels is not that the Eschaton would come around Jesus’ time. The timing of the Eschaton is secondary. The timing is not the primary point.

            BTW, regarding the selling of possessions, not storing up treasures on earth etc, these teachings should not be seen to be based on the timing of the Eschaton. These teachings have their own independent basis.

          • WCB

            The problem is the dogma of the Trinity. Jesus is God. Jesus should be able to have great understanding of everything. All of this, including Jesus being wrong about the date of the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, which permeates the gospels, especially the synoptic gospels. throws a lot of doubt then on the idea of the trinity.

      • Johannes Hui

        Hi Ficino, you wrote:

        Any branch of Christianity, in my view, has to satisfy certain minimal confirmatory criteria.

        That min confirmatory criteria would be:
        (1) God is present non-abstractly (present as opposed to absent - noticed I avoided using “exists” by using “is present”)
        (2) Jesus was bodily resurrected from the dead

        My fellow grad student was sick. We ALL prayed. Even little kids prayed. Why would God turn a deaf ear to the prayers of children, praying that a 27 year old chap would be healed?

        It is sad when we see people, especially the beloved ones, who are going through painful suffering or dying painfully. But if we separate logical thinking from our sadness, then we can see that if the Christian worldview is true, then it follows that:

        (1) Our life here before the eschaton is merely a very short temporary duration compared to that of the life beyond this current life. The real life lies beyond this current life. So death is just moving from this stage of life to a life that is more real than now. So some sense of non-attachment may be appropriate.

        (2) God may not be micro-managing all our affairs but is leaving things to run naturally here to accomplish a greater good for the whole of reality. Among various reasons, such non-interference by God is necessary in order for a genuine development of our characters.

        (3) The compensation of suffering and the goodness achieved after this temporary life would be much greater than the sufferings one may go through during this temporary life.

        (4) God is also a participant in suffering through Jesus’ sufferings. An examination of the Shroud of Turin would give some idea of the intensity of that painful suffering Jesus would have endured and experienced.

        Hence what is relevant to assessing whether Jesus’ worldview is true depends not on the phenomena of sufferings and unanswered prayers to relieve those sufferings, but only these:

        (A) Deductive Proofs that God exists non-abstractly (ok I use “exist” here)
        (B) Abductive Argument’s that Jesus was bodily resurrected

        .
        Shalom!

        • VicqRuiz

          (2) God may not be micro-managing all our affairs but is leaving things to run naturally here to accomplish a greater good for the whole of reality.

          (a) Would it be reasonable then to conclude that God seeks the greatest good for the greatest number?

          (b) in what way would a God who is "leaving things to run naturally here" be different from a deist's God?

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi VicwRuiz, your point (a) is a form of utilitarianism. Even within secular moral philosophy, utilitarianism runs into problems. We cannot conclude that God functions as a utilitarian.

            God does not micro-manage ALL our affairs does not mean that God does not manage any of our affairs at all. God is involved in some affairs such as in the bodily raising of Jesus from the dead. And in the Part 2 of my a-posteriori proof (so far I only presented Part 1), God is seen to sustain the existence of all existing conditioned entities at every moment of the existence of those entities. Hence God is not the God of Deism.

          • VicqRuiz

            Yes it is a form of utilitarianism. And yes, I contend that all the lesser-evil-now-in-service-of-a-greater-good-later theodicies make of God a utilitarian on the cosmic scale. I have yet to encounter any good Christian counterargument to this contention.

            God does not micro-manage ALL our affairs does not mean that God does not manage any of our affairs at all.

            Leaves us unable to determine which events are the result of God's intervention and which are just dumb luck. What to make of the one passenger who emerges unhurt from a plane crash in which scores are killed?

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi VicqRuiz, you wrote:

            I contend that all the lesser-evil-now-in-service-of-a-greater-good-later theodicies make of God a utilitarian on the cosmic scale. I have yet to encounter any good Christian counterargument to this contention.

            One must be careful not to think that “greater good” is the same as utilitarianism’s aim to secure goodness for the greatest number of persons. I am mentioning this because you have previously asked “Would it be reasonable then to conclude that God seeks the greatest good for the greatest number?” [emphasis mine], and now you have used “LESSER evil” to contrast with “greater good”. As I said previously, God is not a utilitarian. God producing a greater good out of this temporary training army camp (ie this world) is not identical with producing the greatest number of people enjoying the greatest happiness. It is not just about numbers.

            Unlike utilitarianism in which maximizing the greatest number may need to sacrifice the well-being of a smaller number even in the long run (eg turning the direction of a bus such that it kills a few innocent persons at a bus-station and save its ninety passengers’ lives which would otherwise be lost), God would not neglect the well-being of a small number of persons just to secure goodness for a greater number of people.

            Every natural death and every unjust suffering can be more than compensated by God in the life beyond this life. Those who died unjustly can be made alive by God after their death. There is also the future bodily resurrection during which the bodies would be more glorious than our current bodies. Those who suffered unjustly would one day realise that their previous suffering is nothing when compared to the much greater compensation/reward they experience in future.

            More importantly, the sufferings themselves are necessarily to cultivate goodness, just as the sufferings the army recruits would experience during their tough trainings are necessary to make them future good soldiers. While one is undergoing the tough training (eg as an army recruit), one may hate the sufferings, but after one has graduated to become a real soldier, one looks back at these past sufferings and realizes that they are necessary to make one become a real soldier.

            Without real sufferings, we would not be able to cultivate various virtues such as patience, perseverance, courage, humility, compassion, forgiveness and so on. (BTW, forgiveness presumes a person has REALLY harmed unjustly by another person and hence had REALLY suffered the harm. Hence God does not intervene every time when harm was about to happen. Real harms and real sufferings are necessary as a means of transformation.)

            Leaves us unable to determine which events are the result of God's intervention and which are just dumb luck. What to make of the one passenger who emerges unhurt from a plane crash in which scores are killed?

            We do not need to determine whether every specific event involved divine causation or is just a result of natural processes, or both. We can by default treat every case as a result of natural processes until there are reasons to suggest an event is caused by powers beyond natural entities. “Natural” here is used in the sense of physicalism’s “natural”.

            In some cases, abductive reasonings would lead us to see it is probable that an event involved divine causation (eg the bodily resurrection of Jesus).

            The important point is that deductive reasonings do show conclusively that God exists; our inability to determine whether every specific event involved God’s intervention is not relevant to determining whether God exists.

            :)

            Cheers!

    • Philip Rand

      WCB-2

      In 1 Corinthians Paul is quite clear; "Belief can be in vain"

      Ficino fits this category quite clearly. His own words and testimony support this truth/fact/test.

    • OMG

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) advises the RC on understanding scripture (e.g., scripture about prayer). Article 3, Section I, paragraphs 115-119 describe literal and spiritual modes of interpretation.

      Do you consider different levels of meaning when you interpret scripture? Mark 2:6-12 has Jesus saying:

      “‘Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise, take up your bed and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic—‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home’”

      As God is pure spirit and creator of heaven and earth, He heals on both material and spiritual planes. Does your “real world” situation consist of both the spiritual and the material universe? IOW, would you consider a spiritual healing to be real or of any value?

      • David Nickol

        IOW, would you consider a spiritual healing to be real or of any value?

        I am not sure you picked the best example, since in Mark 2 Jesus actually does heal the paralytic physically. WCB-2 is asking why Jesus makes so many promises that can't possibly be relied on in reality. It seems fairly clear to me that Mark 16:17-18 deals with the "material plane": real snakes, real poisons, real diseases. But I don't know of any Catholic snake handlers!

        I do think there is a good answer to why Jesus is portrayed as making so many seemingly unqualified assurances that can't possibly be taken literally, but I confess that I haven't stumbled upon it yet. It may have to do with the kind of literature the Gospels are. I hate to think of Jesus himself making seemingly unqualified assurances about prayer while mentally running through the kind of "fine print" the Catholic Encyclopedia attaches to such assurances.

        • OMG

          It seems fairly clear to me that Mark 16:17-18 deals with the "material plane": real snakes, real poisons, real diseases.

          IOW, if you read Joyce's Ulysseus in college, did you see more than squiggly lines of ink? As an advanced student, I imagine you did really see letters of the alphabet. But did you really see Shakespeare's Hamlet? Did the prose ever strike you as parody?

          Mr. Nickol (or is it Dime?), I begin to get a little warm when you talk about the possibilities of literature!

          I wonder what the other character in the play (WCB-2) has to say about the question put to him.

          • Jim the Scott

            David Nickol

            I don't get it?

            >They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

            There is many a story about many a Saint & or Apostle that experienced these miracles. I believe there is a tradition of somebody trying to poison St John etc etc?

            Or is this the knee jerk Fundamentalist literalism at work? There is a whole religious tradition surrounding the nature of prayer in both Judaism and Christianity which is the larger context for this and other sayings of our Lord on prayer. That tradition is the doctrine of divine grace.

            There is a guarantee if you have real faith yer prayers will in fact be answered but as I tried to point out St Paul said faith is a gift from God not something earned or owed. Not something we produce with our own mere natural power. Geez people! Protestantism too Pelagianism to Jedi theology. Can we have a little less Yoda* and a little more St Paul or St Augustine? Also let us ditch the Perspicuity?

            If you all read my exposition on the literal reading of the text of the Soviet Constitution it might appear too some the former USSR championed freedom of religion. That would be the natural reading...if the Soviet Constitution was written by know champions of the Enlightenment and the political philosophy of Thomas Pane (like our Constitution).

            But it wasn't it was written under the auspices of Marxist philosophy and dialectical materialism. It's "clear" meaning in fact means something else to what an American might ideally read into it.

            Thus is the folly of Protestant Perspicuity. There really is no such thing as a "plain reading" of a text. It is all context.

          • OMG

            David, as an editor, and I, as a teacher of English, probably studied a fair bit of English lit. I presume he understood my message.

            The nature of language and the art of literature clearly show that more is implied, expressed, and understood than the literal word and the literal tale. That was the point; sorry if you missed it. Maybe Dave can add his two cents and the meaning will become more clear.

          • Jim the Scott

            >The nature of language and the art of literature clearly show that more is implied, expressed, and understood than the literal word and the literal tale.

            That sums it up beautifully. Well said.

          • David Nickol

            Thus is the folly of Protestant Perspicuity. There really is no such thing as a "plain reading" of a text. It is all context.

            Are there any Protestant denominations aside from a few tiny fringe groups that would engage in snake handling and would drink poison and think it wouldn't hurt them? Do Lutherans or Baptists or Methodists or Presbyterians believe Jesus's words "Ask the Father anything in my name and he will give it to you" mean you are guaranteed to get anything you pray for? Why are you so obsessed with an inaccurate and bizarre caricature of Protestantism that you often seem to spend more time denouncing fellow Christians than you do arguing against atheism?

          • Jim the Scott

            >Are there any Protestant denominations aside from a few tiny fringe groups that would engage in snake handling and would drink poison and think it wouldn't hurt them?

            Who knows there are thousands of sects? But Catholics would understand Jesus in the Gospel of Mark Chapter 16 to be addressing his immediate disciples foretelling some of the miracles that will be done for them not giving AD&D Animal Control Cleric Spells to all his followers for all time.
            (does it surprise anybody I played D&D in my youth? It is how I met my first serious girlfriend. OTOH Animal Control might be a Druid Spell not a generic Cleric Spell but I have no time to look it up?)

            >Do Lutherans or Baptists or Methodists or Presbyterians believe Jesus's words "Ask the Father anything in my name and he will give it to you" mean you are guaranteed to get anything you pray for?

            Well in principle there is nothing to stop any of them believing that. Name it and claim or Positive Thinking theology and or the Prosperity Gospel is a broad thing that could be adopted by anybody who attends one of those sects. It makes partisans of St Francis wince a wee bit.

            But perspicuity can lead to that because there is no authoritative Church to correct them. It could infect individual Catholics who stray outside the Church or whose pastor doesn't correct them.

            >Why are you so obsessed with an inaccurate and bizarre caricature of Protestantism that you often seem to spend more time denouncing fellow Christians than you do arguing against atheism?

            It is not a bizarre caricature but a consequence of an unworkable doctrine.

            BTW I am not the one claiming Jesus is giving Wish Making Powers to His followers based on an insistence this Text of the Bible must be interpreted hyper literally. That is you lot. WCB-2 in his low brow silly way and you to a lesser extent in a more sophisticated way. No doubt I surmise as an exercise in playing Devil Advocate rather than an endorsement since you would never be so silly. I say this is not to butter you up I just call it as I see it. Also it is not "denouncing fellow Christians" when I criticize Protestantism. I can and do without apology denounce what I believe are false doctrines. That includes every doctrine taught by any Protestant sect anywhere that flatly contradicts Catholic Truth & or is formally condemned by the the Holy Church. This includes Perspicuity, Sola Scriptura and private interpretation in all its forms. Extreme or nuanced.

            What? This still surprises you? Also Protestantism may be on an order of magnitude less of an error than Atheism but it is still error. So I dinna fancy it laddie.

          • WCB-2

            https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/dances-snakes-real-reason-hopi-snake-dance-009868

            Hopi Indian ritual snake handling. I suspect that having a supply of mildly venomous snakes is the key to doing such things like snake handling. In areas where the snakes are for more deadly we will see little of that.

          • David Nickol

            Mr. Nickol (or is it Dime?)

            The last time I got that was in high school at the latest.

            By the way, from the Strange Notions Commenting Rules and Tips

            Strange Notions is all about conversation. Whether you agree or disagree, whether you're Catholic, atheist, or agnostic, we want your input. But to keep the dialogue serious and fruitful, we must agree on some simple ground rules. By commenting you agree to the following:

            1. Use your real name.
            This provides a basic level of accountability and transparency. Strange Notions does not allow anonymous comments. You can verify your name using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Disqus—it’s up to you. If you aren’t registered with any of those services you can create a free Disqus account right in the comment box. All you need is your name and email address. If you’re having trouble logging in or creating an account, click here for step-by-step instructions.

            This was never enforced, though.

          • OMG

            If I am behind the times or don't follow the rules, I probably ought to get out more. Thanks for keeping me updated and informed.

          • Jim the Scott

            One wonders what WCB-2 means?

          • WCB-2

            WCB are my initials. Disqus trashed my WCB account so I started another, WCB-2.

          • Jim the Scott

            Good to know.

          • WCB

            https://www.abuildingroam.com/2010/05/

            James Joyce and his Billy Sunday sermon. My favorite James Joyce - Ulysses quote.

        • Jim the Scott

          >WCB-2 is asking why Jesus makes so many promises that can't possibly be relied on in reality.

          Wrong! He dogmatically insists the Bible must be interpreted in the manner of a Young Earth Creationist fundamentalist Baptist and he makes no rational argument to this end but rather insists his interpretation be accepted Ad Hoc as if he was the Pope. Add to that his insistence the Lutheran Doctrine of Perspicuity is the default interpretive mechanism for reading the Bible is clearly argument by special pleading.

          Reading a text isolated from the other texts in Holy Writ and the greater religious and or philosophical tradition it lives in is just irrational. As is him trying to make Catholics into Atheists by first making them Baptists is twice as irrational. Why not just skip the middle man? Well that is obvious. He is unfamiliar with Catholicism or Scholasticism or CT in general so rather than hit the book he has decided on this insane course of action. I don't know why you are enabling him David?

          The last time I saw a Gnu do this a more rational Atheist stepped in and smacked him down. I never forgot it.

          > It seems fairly clear to me that Mark 16:17-18 deals with the "material plane"

          Then yer view is clearly wrong and should presumed to be wrong till proven otherwise.

          As I noted to OMG quote(& revised)"There is a whole religious tradition surrounding the nature of prayer in both Judaism and Christianity which is the larger context for this and other sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ on prayer. That tradition is the doctrine of divine grace.

          There is a guarantee if you have real faith yer prayers will in fact be answered but as I tried to point out St Paul said faith is a gift from God (Ep 2:8-10) not something earned or owed. Not something we produce with our own mere natural power. So Jesus cannot be taken to be giving us a magic formula for automatic wish fulfillment to alter the Cosmos like collapsing a wave function by merely observing it.

          Geez people! You lot go from Protestantism to Pelagianism to Jedi theology. Can we have a little less Yoda and a little more St Paul or St Augustine? We are Catholics here not Servants of the Force of Others. Also let us ditch the Perspicuity.

          If ya' all read my exposition on the literal reading of the text of the Soviet Constitution it might appear to some the former USSR championed freedom of religion. That would be the natural plain reading...if the Soviet Constitution was written by known champions of the Enlightenment and the political philosophy of Thomas Pane (like our Constitution).

          But it wasn't, it was written under the auspices of Marxist philosophy and dialectical materialism. It's "clear" meaning in fact clearly means something else to what an American might ideally read into it.

          Thus is the folly of Protestant Perspicuity. There really is no such thing as a "plain reading" of a text. It is all context.END QUOTE

          Thus WCB-2 weird insistence Holy Writ "means what it says" is itself meaningless simplistic drivel.

          Context is everything and a Gnu(like WCB-2) who polemics Holy Writ apart from context is only making a pretext. You cannot force Catholicism onto this Protestant fundamentalist procrustean bed. Nobody can otherwise comedy ensues.

          • WCB-2

            So many straw men, so many errors.

          • Jim the Scott

            Says the guy who still thinks Trent taught the Bible contained 66 book (instead of 73) and who thinks animals can be "morally good".

            WCB-2 I have two words for you. Graham Oppy! If you want to make a credible case critiquing Classic Theism I recommend more Oppy and a lot less Seidensticker. Otherwise yer pretty much limited in yer Atheist polemics to Fundamentalists and Young Earth Creationists.
            I'm serious lad. You could do better.

          • WCB

            I actually have read some Oppy. Sorry, but you knoweth not.

            "Arguing About Gods".

          • Jim the Scott

            You have been reading Oppy? Yeh you conceal it well then. Looks more like yer reading Bob Seidensticker or John Loftus. You know less.

        • Johannes Hui

          Hi David & @WCB2:disqus,

          Scholarly consensus is that the Gospel according to Mark ends at Mark 16.8.

          Hence 16.17-18 is agreed to be not really part of that Gospel.

          Note to others: Later today or else tomorrow I will read through others’ responses to my various previous comments and then I will respond accordingly.

          • Ficino

            I am looking right now at my official Vulgate published in Vatican City under the auspices of Pope Paul VI, which I purchased in that little state. The verses that follow Mark 16:8 are included in the official text of the Bible as authorized by the Church. Scholarly consensus is irrelevant when the question is, what text does the Church receive and make known as the text of Scripture? The determination of the hierarchy settles THAT question, not "consensus" of scholars.

          • David Nickol

            Scholarly consensus is irrelevant when the question is, what text does the Church receive and make known as the text of Scripture? The determination of the hierarchy settles THAT question, not "consensus" of scholars.

            Even for Catholics, just because a text is canonical does not prove the words of Jesus quoted therein were actually spoken by him.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well no. If the text is divinely inspired then it came from Him as God and He communicated it to us. Also why would a Catholic deny the words where spoken by Jesus? You as a skeptic can deny all you want but we Catholics don't need that hypothesis.

          • David Nickol

            Does the Catholic Church, in your understanding, teach that every quotation attributed to Jesus in the Gospels was, in actual fact, spoken by him? Or rather, does the Church teach that every quote attributed to Jesus in the Gospels is an accurate Greek translation of something Jesus said?

          • Mark

            I thought you were positing that the red words in the gospels are not to be held to a court dictation type of evidentiary review. IOW the spiritual truth, even if not a perfect literal translation from Jesus' Aramaic, is possessed within the Greek translated and transcribed quotations attributed to Jesus. If you don't mean that I'll take back my like :)

          • David Nickol

            It is always helpful to get an upvote from you because then I know I must not have been clear. :)

            Let me repeat a question I posed earlier: Is it a teaching of the Catholic Church that everything attributed to Jesus by the Gospel authors directly reflects something actually spoken by Jesus?

            I would say no, and as one example I would cite the seven discourses in the Gospel of John. I think the consensus among contemporary biblical scholars (including Catholics) is that they were theological reflections or meditations written by the Gospel's author(s) about who Jesus was written in the form of proclamations by Jesus about himself.

          • Mark

            Given John was a teenager and the Gospel was written some 50 to 60 years after the death of his beloved friend, teacher, and savior I cannot surmise why one would take his account of every word He said to be verbatim. Having said that I also can't surmise why granting that makes his testimony about Christ unreliable or untrue. If you grant the Scriptures are written with the aid of the Holy Spirit as promised and as such are Divine Revelation the literary devices employed by the authors are perfectly complementary and deepen our understanding of the Word made Flesh. And the Word made Flesh left us with an Authority to protect and promulgate the Truth. John, being his beloved and eyewitness to the resurrection would be a part of that Authority. Unfortunately for Gnus, with their fundamentalist literary incompetence of ancient biography, think the camel's nose made it under the tent. This is not so. Catholics don't camp in the fundie campground. Wrong tent, wrong premises, wrong polemics.

          • WCB

            It is obvious if we read the gospels that some of the words of Jesus were not the words of Jesus.

            John tells us Jesus met with the apostles and "doubting Thomas" in Jerusalem. In Matthew he never meets his apostles in Jerusalem and has two women tell the apostles to meet him if Galilee, which they do. Mark, Luke and Acts all have different claims about what Jesus said and did.

            So it is obvious the gospel writers were not averse to putting words in the mouth of Jesus. Now the question is, what can we really know what Jesus said and didn't say? Taking this penchant for telling us Jesus said something he could not have said when we read the gospels carefully?

            Did Jesus tell us we had to hate our father, mother, sisters, brothers, and children to follow him as per Luke14? Or that he spoke in parables so not all people could understand and have their sins forgiven and be saved? Mark 4, Luke 8, Matthew 13.

          • Mark

            It is obvious if we read the gospels that some of the words of Jesus were not the words of Jesus

            Were you there or did you receive private revelation contradictory to the testimony?

            John tells us Jesus met with the apostles and "doubting Thomas" in Jerusalem. In Matthew he never meets his apostles in Jerusalem and has two women tell the apostles to meet him if Galilee, which they do. Mark, Luke and Acts all have different claims about what Jesus said and did.

            Oh, okay. I get it. You read the gospels and see obvious contradictions. (Or you read a gnu atheist site and bowed to their interpretation) And now that interpretation of the Scripture demands there be a contradiction between testimonies when in reality it can be interpreted without a contradiction. And who gave you have the authority teach your interpreted contradictions?

            A true contradiction in Scripture would occur only when two statements taken together assert that both “X” and “not X” are true at the same time and in the same circumstance. Non-identical descriptions are not
            necessarily contradictions and you are not an authority on Scripture. The only thing obvious here is your inability to rise above worn out gnu polemics.

          • WCB

            Was I not plain enough? All the gospels have different stories about the resurrect, no two even remotely the same. The discussion between Jesus and Thomas in John cannot have happened if Jesus never was in Jerusalem as per Matthew. And so much for Luke who cannot have delivered his speeches to his apostles if he had left Jerusalem for Galilee. Matthew 26, Jesus withdraws for private prayer and yet his prayer is quoted. When nobody was near him, that cannot be true. The writers of these fables were putting words in the mouth of Jesus. They were not writing history, or truth. They were writing pious fiction, propaganda. We are told in Acts 1, Jesus remained in Jerusalem 40 days and "spoke of things pertaining to God". Which does not jibe with Luke who tells us Jesus ascended to heaven on the day he war resurrected.

            None of this is new.

          • Mark

            Was I not plain enough, to omit a detail and to deny a detail are two different things. Also ancient writers used the literary device of time compression. Also you forgot to provide your credentials for authority to interpret Holy Writ.

          • WCB

            Literary writers of that time often made up stuff about what other people said.

            Did Jesus stay in Jerusalem 40 days telling people about the things of God? Or did Jesus ascend to heaven on the day he arose? Or immediately went to Galilee? And not make those speeches in mark, Acts and Luke?

            It is obvious all these speeches were not possibly from Jesus.
            perhaps the hate you father and mother speech of Luke 14.
            Or the speeches of mark 4, Luke 8 and matthew 13, of why Jesus spoke in parables. To prevent people from understanding his words, and getting forgiveness from his sins. One gospel writer makes up something and the others copy it.

          • Jim the Scott

            How does it feel to have Mark own you like he just did? Ouch that must hurt. Do you feel the pain? Because I am thinking you feel the pain?

          • WCB

            You obviously did not read my two posts on this issue carefully. You just knee jerked as usual. Go back and read my tow posts carefully and show us all how we can trust any Gospel as reporting the words of Jesus seriously.

            Stick to the examples I pointed out that demonstrate the obvious, these were not the words of Jesus but were words put in the mouth of Jesus by the gospel writers only.

            In Luke he gives some speeches to his disciples and ascends to heaven. But Matthew tells us he was never in Jerusalem at all. Acts tell us Jesus was in Jerusalem forty days and spoke of the things of god, which he could not have done, if we take Luke seriously, or acts. John has them going from Jerusalem to Galilee, no ascension to heaven, lots of speeches by Jesus. Which contradicts Luke.

            It is obvious neither of you have read what the gospels say and caught these issues and realized what that means as far as the gospels being reliable about what Jesus said.

            How much else is there in these gospels than are not anything Jesus ever said? And are not like wise inventions of these writers?

          • Jim the Scott

            I did read them and Mark's criticism is spot on & 100% correct. A contradiction is claiming something is X and Not X at the same time and in the same relation. Saying something is X and or saying something is Y is not a contradiction. If I say X and somebody else says Y that is not a contradiction. If I say X and I omit Y that is not a contradiction. This is all straight forward if you know basic logic which it is obvious you don't.

            >Stick to the examples I pointed out that demonstrate the obvious, these were not the words of Jesus but were words put in the mouth of Jesus by the gospel writers only.

            Because you travel with The Doctor in his TARDIS and you saw this first hand with yer own eyes?
            (Here Mark pointed out you cannot know this to be true unless you saw it yerself first hand and or you had a special divine revelation contradicting it. I prefer a science fiction explanation for yer professions of Gnosticism)

            >In Luke he gives some speeches to his disciples and ascends to heaven. But Matthew tells us he was never in Jerusalem at all.

            You mean Matthew fails to mention Jesus was in Jerusalem. Where does Matthew explicitly say "Jesus never went to Jerusalem after he rose"? Omissions are not contradictions. Neither is time compression.

            >Acts tell us Jesus was in Jerusalem forty days and spoke of the things of god, which he could not have done, if we take Luke seriously, or acts.

            All this tells me is Acts includes details of Jesus' activities Matthew omits. I note all yer accusations of contradiction are nebulous and general. You don't cite any specific verses we can compare. Because it is not like Christians haven't answered charges like these 1000 times before and mere ridicule on yer part is not a refutation.

            >John has them going from Jerusalem to Galilee, no ascension to heaven, lots of speeches by Jesus. Which contradicts Luke.

            John's Gospel is topical not chronological. This is known and for once universally accepted by Christians across the spectrum. He is employing a popular method of biography where he front loads his narrative with the important events in somebody's life. It is not meant to be chronologically accurate as it is likely presumed by the author the other Gospel writers took care of that. The Fathers call John a Spiritual Gospel.

            Nice try but epic fail.

            >It is obvious neither of you have read what the gospels say and caught these issues and realized what that means as far as the gospels being reliable about what Jesus said.

            It is obvious you haven't read them and you are afraid to address specific verses & set them against each other. All yer accusations of contradiction are general. If this was David Nickol or even lesser Atheist lights like God Hates Faith or even Michael they at least would cite specific verses to set against each other.

            You can't or won't even do that? This indicates you are less familiar with the narrative than you let on.

            Laddie you can't fake it here. I don't understand why you continue to try?

          • David Nickol

            Given John was a teenager and the Gospel was written some 50 to 60 years after the death of his beloved friend, teacher, and savior I cannot surmise why one would take his account of every word He said to be verbatim.

            According to the NAB:

            However, the accuracy of much of the detail of the fourth gospel constitutes a strong argument that the Johannine tradition rests upon the testimony of an eyewitness. Although tradition identified this person as John, the son of Zebedee, most modern scholars find that the evidence does not support this.

          • Mark

            What your point? It wasn't written by the Apostle John but a different John? Additions may have been made or the original text was altered or added to? If the Apostle John didn't ink the entirety of the Gospel it remains to be and has all the earmarks of first-hand testimony. And it's still inspired word and considered to be 1st century testimony of a 1st hand witness by modern Catholic scholars. It's still likely the testimony of the Apostle John. Those who would disagree would need to explain to me why St. Ireneaus who was taught by Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John cites in his writings referring to the Gospel, “as John, the disciple of the Lord, says” about 200ad. The writer of the Muraturian Fragments dated 170 attribute the Gospel to the Apostle John. Bishop Papias (also a disciple of the Apostle John) and Bishop Theophilus both attribute the Gospel was written by John. St Justin in Apology and St Ignatius of Antioch in his epistles both written in the early to mid 2nd century had to have had an intimate knowledge of the Gospel given the indirect references to John. So whoever wants to say that John was a different John than the Apostle John would have to explain to me why these ECFs that knew and were disciples of the Apostle John never bothered to make a distinction. Nobody (except Gnostic heretics) doubted the authorship was the Apostle until the 19th century. Modern analysis may show there is some literary evidence that the last chapter was written by a different writer, but that in no way a conclusion that it is not the Apostle's testimony of the appearance at the Sea of Tiberias. The camel is sticking its nose under the wrong tent again.

          • Jim the Scott

            @davidnickol:disqus

            David may be "phoning it in" IMHO over the discussion regarding Pope Francis and Civil Unions thingy BUT on this topic he is refreshing straight forward and clear in his objections and I would upvote him too accept for some reason Upvote doesn't work for me?

            Of course the "low view" of Scripture taken by the NAB commentators constitutes merely one school of opinion. It is not the sole one. I tend to favor a more conservative view.

            But this is allowed as far as I know.

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't understand yer question?

          • Jim the Scott

            Wait a minute. Upon further reflection.

            >Does the Catholic Church, in your understanding, teach that every quotation attributed to Jesus in the Gospels was, in actual fact, spoken by him?

            I have always assumed it is presumed the Faith teaches we have the substantial quotes from him.
            Not everything is NOT literal or just allegory. OTOH if we found a lost copy of Matthew in Hebrew that would likely be profound and have a profound effect on theology if authenticated and accepted by the Church.

            Sorry I didn't get it the first time. Facebook Battlefields argue with Reactionaries etc. I am exausted.

            Cheers.

          • WCB-2

            I have somewhere around here a Nelson Study Bible. Which actually footnoted such things and admitted that these verses of Mark were not in original manuscripts. Plus details such as John's :woman taken in adultery" was a later addition. I also have a few volumes of the Anchor Bible Commentaries.

            The official NAB that can be read online at the Vatican official website has no such commentary. Nor links to any official, Vatican sanctioned commentary that explains any of these issues.

            Lamentabilis Sane, the 1907 encyclical of Pope Pius X deal with the issue of "modenism" including attacks on critical scholarship.

            It is an error that:
            "1. The ecclesiastical law which prescribes that books concerning the Divine Scriptures are subject to previous examination does not apply to critical scholars and students of scientific exegesis of the Old and New Testament.

            2. The Church’s interpretation of the Sacred Books is by no means to be rejected; nevertheless, it is subject to the more accurate judgment and correction of the exegetes.

            3. From the ecclesiastical judgments and censures passed against free and more scientific exegesis, one can conclude that the Faith the Church proposes contradicts history and that Catholic teaching cannot really be reconciled with the true origins of the Christian religion.

            The RCC thus finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Staying backwards and wrong, or admitting what the best scholars know about the OT and NT. Which means a drastic reording of dogmas held for centuries based on errors.

          • David Nickol

            The official NAB that can be read online at the Vatican official website has no such commentary. Nor links to any official, Vatican sanctioned commentary that explains any of these issues.

            The NABrev2e has extensive notes and may be accessed on the website of the National Council of Catholic Bishops. Here are the footnotes for Mark 16:

            * [16:9–20] This passage, termed the Longer Ending to the Marcan gospel by comparison with a much briefer conclusion found in some less important manuscripts, has traditionally been accepted as a canonical part of the gospel and was defined as such by the Council of Trent. Early citations of it by the Fathers indicate that it was composed by the second century, although vocabulary and style indicate that it was written by someone other than Mark. It is a general resume of the material concerning the appearances of the risen Jesus, reflecting, in particular, traditions found in Lk 24 and Jn 20.

            The Shorter Ending: Found after Mk 16:8 before the Longer Ending in four seventh-to-ninth-century Greek manuscripts as well as in one Old Latin version, where it appears alone without the Longer Ending. The Freer Logion: Found after Mk 16:14 in a fourth-fifth century manuscript preserved in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, this ending was known to Jerome in the fourth century. It reads: “And they excused themselves, saying, ‘This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things dominated by the spirits [or, does not allow the unclean things dominated by the spirits to grasp the truth and power of God]. Therefore reveal your righteousness now.’ They spoke to Christ. And Christ responded to them, ‘The limit of the years of Satan’s power is completed, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who sinned I was handed over to death, that they might return to the truth and no longer sin, in order that they might inherit the spiritual and incorruptible heavenly glory of righteousness. But….’”

            Among some conservative Catholics, the NAB is considered suspect because the notes and commentary are too "liberal."

          • Mark

            If the rock is the Church and the hard place is "the best scholars" it is indeed a limp place because "the best scholars" are heretics "capturing the minds of the faithful and the purity of their faith" by promoting categorical lies.

          • Jim the Scott

            Half the time WCB-2 doesn't even get the implications of the text he mindlessly cribs. He is confused. He in one breath dismisses a text he cribs from the Summa as "obscure gibberish" and in the next he claims he "understands it perfectly". I have two questions for him then. What the heck is he smoking and where can I score some?
            (That must be quality tea like from Hawaii or something)
            One truth is self evident here. Even if there are no gods Gnu Atheists are mentally and intellectually inferior.
            Cheers my brother from another mother.

          • Mark

            IRT his posts, here are a few other particulars in the Papal Bull our Holy See cautions the faithful are deceitful that is apropos:

            9. They display excessive simplicity or ignorance who believe that God is really the author of the Sacred Scriptures.

            12. If he wishes to apply himself usefully to Biblical studies, the exegete must first put aside all preconceived opinions about the supernatural origin of Sacred Scripture and interpret it the same as any other merely human document.

            15. Until the time the canon was defined and constituted, the Gospels were increased by additions and corrections. Therefore there remained in them only a faint and uncertain trace of the doctrine of Christ.

            23. Opposition may, and actually does, exist between the facts narrated in Sacred Scripture and the Church’s dogmas which rest on them. Thus the critic may reject as false facts the Church holds as most certain.

            64. Scientific progress demands that the concepts of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the Person of the Incarnate Word, and Redemption be re-adjusted.

            65. Modern Catholicism can be reconciled with true science only if it is transformed into a non-dogmatic Christianity; that is to say, into a broad and liberal Protestantism.

          • Jim the Scott

            St Pius X pray for us.

          • WCB-2

            Yes it is true that Mark 16 lacked the final verses in earliest manuscripts and it was added later. Pew Research surveys tell us 31% of Americans tell us that the Bible must be taken literally. And for many more, that Mark 16:9-16 was originally not part of mark will be news to many more.

            This and James 5 are still part and parcel of fake faith healers spiels and have been for many years now. And we still have many people killing themselves and their children by refusing to go to doctors and relying on prayer to heal illnesses based on these verses.

  • Phillip Dent

    It doesn't look like nerves to me it looks like acting. It's very easy to do. It's actually a first level improv game anyone can learn.

    Things people claim as supernatural things which can be objectively verified, (speaking in tongues, answered prayer, faith healing of pain) look like natural things because they are natural. Things claimed to be supernatural that cannot be verified (regrowing limbs, raising the dead, water into wine) do not appear natural. But these things just never seem to happen these days or in a way that can be checked.

    You say there is more evidence that the skeptic doesn't see. What?

    It's actually perfectly clear to the skeptics how god could intervene. There's no good reason to think there is a god doing such things. It's no massive dimensional leap to understand what is being claimed by walking on water or any other miracle.

    But there is no warrant at all to say the skeptic view is in any way like that of a Flatlander quite the opposite.

    • Philip Rand

      Phillip Dent

      It doesn't look like nerves to me it looks like acting. It's very easy to do. It's actually a first level improv game anyone can learn.

      So, the placebo effect is a first level improv game anyone can learn?

      • Phillip Dent

        No, it's called gibberish, improvisers must speak in tongues for the scene. Students are typically better at it than the videos I've seen of Pentacostals doing it.

        • Philip Rand

          Phillip Dent

          I tried to be as clear as possible for you; my question concerned the placebo effect.

          Q: Is the placebo effect learned?
          A: No

          Is this your tabled position?

          • Phillip Dent

            I don't think it's learned no.

          • Philip Rand

            Phillip Dent

            OK, the placebo effect is not learned.

            Now, with regards to neuro-imagery measurements of the placebo effect; are these measurements well posed?

          • Phillip Dent

            No idea. I don't know much about the placebo effect. Why are you asking me about it?

          • Philip Rand

            Phillip Dent

            I am observing and measuring the sign of your negative feedback loop. The phenomenon of which is the symbol of getting all of ones teeth pulled out.

            I have the result (and all my teeth)

  • Ficino

    OT: I was curious to see whether Pope Francis' endorsement of allowing civil unions for same-sex couples would have received comment over on Feser's blog. Yes, a few comments already. I would not be surprised to see Feser weigh in soon.

    According to WaPo, the Pope said this in a documentary. So I gather it is not asserted in any official pronouncement but perhaps as his private opinion?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/pope-francis-civil-unions/2020/10/21/805a601c-139e-11eb-a258-614acf2b906d_story.html

    • Mark

      Pope Francis never endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples. That is a very uncharitable reading of his message. He endorsed the prudential decisions of governments to make probate laws to protect what that government deems a lawful civil union. Homosexual unions will never fulfill God's purpose, but it seems prudent, as a Catholic to support the state's (which is separated from the Church) ability to make judgments for the equal protection of it's citizenry.

      • David Nickol

        What does this mean?

        “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said. “I stood up for that.”

        • OMG

          His ambiguity is clear.

        • Mark

          To echo OMG, given the inability to know the context of the conversation and interview it seems a little erroneous to assume anything. His words have always been twisted by the conservative and the liberal media to imply more than what is meant. There is a 0% chance he was speaking ex chathedra about a dogmatic teaching on marriage.

          • David Nickol

            His words have always been twisted by the conservative and the liberal media to imply more than what is meant.

            You believe the Catholic News Agency is unreliable?

            If the pope has influence and authority only when speaking ex cathedra, then his importance is close to nil. Papal pronouncements are almost never made ex cathedra. It would be a stretch to claim four ex cathedra pronouncements.

            There is a 0% chance he was speaking ex chathedra about a dogmatic teaching on marriage.

            The pope said not one word about marriage.

          • Rob Abney

            >The pope said not one word about marriage.<
            It seems his approval of civil union is a disapproval of same-sex marriage, so by implication he is talking about marriage. It also seems as if civil union is a step backward for homosexuals in U.S., so the cheering must just be because he said something which is, at least as portrayed, as contrary to church teaching.

          • David Nickol

            so the cheering must just

            What cheering?

          • Rob Abney

            Would women drivers be considered a change in a core teaching of Islam?

          • David Nickol

            I haven't the vaguest idea what the point of your question could be. Are you implying that Pope Francis is advocating a change in some core Catholic teaching?

            It is true the Catholic Church (via the CDF) made some very strong (even hostile) statements against civil unions, but it seems to me they were largely slippery-slope arguments about protecting marriage. Even if you think the slippery-slope arguments were correct, the Church's teachings on marriage still stand.

          • Jim the Scott

            The Pope was likely taken out of Context according to this Spanish Speaking priest who heard the interview in his original language.

            One hopes you have instagram.

            https://www.instagram.com/p/CGn08rdjvof/?fbclid=IwAR1ceObyC5GkBzLmduhTZqvxcAt63DJavKQBpYzQs7bwbHPaB0qHjw7oALs

          • Jim the Scott

            >You believe the Catholic News Agency is unreliable?

            Well many Catholics do. I think they are hit and miss it's a lottery.

            >The pope said not one word about marriage.

            Thank you! You are an Agnostic and yet you get it? The irony...I had to argue harshly with Reactionary Trad types who swore on a stack of Rosaries Francis now endorced gay marriage. Yeh ah no.....Even one guy wandered in the discussion who professed to detest Francis but still said he spoke Spanish and listened to the original interview and thought the Media took the Pope way out of context.

            Cheers.

      • Jim the Scott

        Well if you have instagram.

        The Pope was likely taken out of Context according to this Spanish Speaking priest who heard the interview in his original language.

        https://www.instagram.com/p/CGn08rdjvof/?fbclid=IwAR1_zjqR43CTVSvOdKsXMyB9Eg1COA5nBfa_NlZ7lhhQDOw-Cs9Sh7KP790

        I just came fresh from the Battlefields of Facebook slaying angry Reactionary Trads to the right of me and liberals filled with false hope to the left of me.

        No quarter was given and I gave none!

        :D

        • David Nickol

          The Pope was likely taken out of Context according to this Spanish Speaking priest who heard the interview in his original language.

          The pope spoke in a documentary film, which was just released in Rome. What the priest on Instagram does is play the film and then translate the pope's words. However, if you watch carefully, you'll see that the film has English subtitles which say, "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered." That is not how the priest translates the pope's words. Not speaking Spanish, I can't comment except to say that if the priest is right then the film's subtitles and every single media outlet I have checked is wrong. If so, you can bet there will be a clarification in the next day or so from Rome.

          • David Nickol

            Spending way too much time at this late hour, I have concluded that the pope spoke (in Spanish) of "civil coexistence" rather than "civil unions." I am sure we have not heard the last word on this one.

          • Ficino

            As far as I can make out, "convivencia civil" is another way of saying "unión civil," and both expressions when applied to laws about refer to what we call "civil unions." It seems pretty clear from this that Pope Francis was talking about laws setting up civil unions:

            https://cnnespanol.cnn.com/2020/10/21/el-papa-francisco-pide-uniones-civiles-entre-personas-del-mismo-sexo-segun-la-agencia-catolica-de-noticias/

          • David Nickol

            I am leaning back toward that interpretation. It would seem that convivencia, which the Instagram priest translated as "coexistence," can also mean "living together." The Wikipedia article on same-sex marriage in Argentina has the following: "In the first decade of the 21st century, civil unions (Spanish: unión civil or unión convivencial) . . . . "

          • Jim the Scott

            I note you and Ficino read it differently. Anyway there is nothing in Catholic doctrine prohibiting persons from entering into a social or legal alliance in order to obtain some civil benefit. As long as it is not considered a marriage contrary to Natural Law and Divine Law.
            As I keep trying to tell the bed wetting reactionary trads "If Domestic Partnerships and or Civil Union really where the equivalent of 'gay marriage' the gay activists would have been content with it". But it is like telling a liberal Catholic feminist lass she is now a member of the Altar Society so she should consider herself the equivalent of an ordained Priest. I doubt she would be fooled.
            Now make no mistake I am with the Church on this (big surprise). Thought in practice I don't care what stupid piece of Paper the Secular State gives the non-believers to make them feel good about their long term romantic choices. The Catholic Church recognizes my marriage to my wife that is all that matter to me and the State's opinion on it means nothing to me. Anyway I see no reason why "non-family" can have certain civil benefits natural law would allow them anyway?

            Still Radtrads have gotta Radtrad.

      • WCB

        What Pope Francis said.

        https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/what-did-pope-francis-say-about-civil-unions-a-cna-explainer-57625

        On civil unions, the pope said that: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”

        • Rob Abney
          • David Nickol

            The report you link to simply affirms what Pope Francis said:

            The pope’s comments on civil unions have not been disputed by the Vatican despite multiple requests for clarity. The remarks were not contained in the published version of Alazraki’s interview, and have not been seen by the public except in “Francesco.”

            On Wednesday, however, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, director of the influential journal La Civiltà Cattolica, told journalists that the pope’s remarks on civil unions are excerpted from the 2019 interview, and did not dispute the way in which they were presented in the documentary.

            From NCRonline:

            1. This is not new
            Francis has been thinking about civil unions for gay couples at least since 2010, when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires and marriage for same-sex couples was under consideration in Argentina. But he could not get support for his proposals from the other Argentine bishops, so he dropped the idea, and the government legalized same-sex marriage.

            As pope, in interviews in 2014 and 2017, he also spoke favorably of civil unions. So, this is nothing new.

            There is no question about what the pope said, The only question is exactly what he meant by it.

          • Rob Abney

            It doesn’t seem like you or wcb read the article, JTS linked to it and highlighted the paragraphs detailing how the comments were edited together.

          • WCB

            David Nikol showed what the subtitles read, and what Wikipedia had to say about what the Spanish means in Argentina as to if that meant civil union or something else.

            That ended the argument as to what this all means.

          • Jim the Scott

            @rob_abney:disqus

            Actually there is an issue as to what he said because as the report shows they clearly edited the clip.

            >The only question is exactly what he meant by it.

            On that we have 100% agreement.

          • David Nickol

            Actually there is an issue as to what he said because as the report shows they clearly edited the clip.

            I personally didn't interpret the second statement (about needing civil union laws) to be an elaboration on the first (gay people and families). That is, I didn't interpret Francis to be saying, "Gay people have a right to have families, so we must create civil union laws to facilitate that." In my opinion, we know enough about where Francis stands on same-sex marriage and homosexuality for that to be clear. Francis is not going to back civil unions that give the right to same-sex couples to adopt, nor would he approve any of the reproductive technologies that would enable same-sex (gay) couples to have children (IVF, artificial insemination, surrogacy, etc.).

            So I think the controversy is mainly about what he clearly said in the two or three sentences about civil unions, even if taken on their own.

          • Jim the Scott

            >So I think the controversy is mainly about what he clearly said in the two or three sentences about civil unions, even if taken on their own.

            Perhaps but as you already said it falls down to what he meant. Ideally he might speak up and clarify it. OTOH he might not because we are still waiting on him to answer the Dubia. Ah well. Personally I don't worry. If he doesn't say anything then Pope Francis II might (or Pius XIII or Leo XIV etc whatever the next Pope chooses to call himself. I am not involved). The road goes ever on.

            This bit you said I really like.

            >I didn't interpret Francis to be saying, "Gay people have a right to have families, so we must create civil union laws to facilitate that." In my opinion, we know enough about where Francis stands on same-sex marriage and homosexuality for that to be clear. Francis is not going to back civil unions that give the right to same-sex couples to adopt, nor would he approve any of the reproductive technologies that would enable same-sex (gay) couples to have children (IVF, artificial insemination, surrogacy, etc.).

            I know those teachings of his put you off and I am sorry you feel that way. We will agree to disagree and I wish blessing from on high upon you. I really mean that from the bottom of my heart. But what I REALLY like about what you said here is yer an Agnostic religious skeptic and you understand what is going on here. Over at Facebook I have reactionary Trads bed wetting themselves. Crying like hysterical wee girls that Pope Francis is gonna be backing the gay marriage full on and adoption for gay people etc....... Yeh it isn't gonna happen! It is ironic to find more "Catholic Faith" in the intellect of an Agnostic than among sons of the True Church.

            Jaw drop. Cheers Sir Nickol.

            PS I am thinking of quoting you here anonymously on FB? Do you mind?

          • David Nickol

            PS I am thinking of quoting you here anonymously on FB? Do you mind?

            You are free to quote anything I say that can be used against "reactionary Trads"!

          • Jim the Scott

            Sweet! :D

          • WCB

            David Nikol posted this:
            ...

            The pope spoke in a documentary film, which was just released in Rome. What the priest on Instagram does is play the film and then translate the pope's words. However, if you watch carefully, you'll see that the film has English subtitles which say, "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered." That is not how the priest translates the pope's words.
            ....
            The Wikipedia article on same-sex marriage in Argentina has the following: "In the first decade of the 21st century, civil unions (Spanish: unión civil or unión convivencial)

            . . . . "

            I have no reason to believe you. Or JtS. David did his homework and noted the fine details that tell us what we need to know. Not just an opinion. Thank You David.

          • Rob Abney

            >I have no reason to believe you< Then this is a good place to stop any discussion.

          • WCB

            Fine with me. David Nickol gets awarded two ears and the tail. Ole!

    • OMG

      Private opinion. I doubt he would test a claim of infallibility on such a thought.

    • Dennis Bonnette

      It isn't that easy for a statement from the Pope to qualify even as part of the ordinary magisterium, much less be dogma. Off hand remarks and even formal talks may not suffice. Cf. Art. 25 of Lumen Gentium. Even parts of encyclicals that sound definitive may not be part of the ordinary magisterium if they are not part of the issue being decided.

      • David Nickol

        If any particular Catholic likes what a pope has said, it carries great weight. If he or she doesn't like it, what the pope has said is just one man's opinion.

        • Dennis Bonnette

          Not quite. Vatican Council II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) reads, in part:

          "This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra in such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, and sincere assent be given to decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated. "

        • Jim the Scott

          @dennisbonnette:disqus
          Wrong! As Aquinas said of the Authority of the Pope. Not everything a King says is the Law unless the King is officially speaking as a King and a Legislator. Same with a Pope. Not everything he says is binding doctrine.

          Anyway as I said to Ficino

          The Pope was likely taken out of Context according to this Spanish Speaking priest who heard the interview in his original language.

          I hope you have an Instagram account.
          https://www.instagram.com/p/CGn08rdjvof/?fbclid=IwAR1ceObyC5GkBzLmduhTZqvxcAt63DJavKQBpYzQs7bwbHPaB0qHjw7oALs

          If the Pope is pro the Gay well the Gays don't seem to think so.

          https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/06/19/lgbt-catholics-pope-gay-families/?fbclid=IwAR3MkG0Tkb5bAEdjtjtRDUz3rko9Ik0e9t3_Y30RrY7U8Jyt-hi9BwpUS9M

    • Jim the Scott

      I just came from the Battlefields of Facebook covered in the blood of angry Reactionary Trads and unjustified happy liberals over this nonsense.

      The Pope was likely taken out of Context according to this Spanish Speaking priest who heard the interview in his original language.

      I hope you have an Instagram account.
      https://www.instagram.com/p/CGn08rdjvof/?fbclid=IwAR1ceObyC5GkBzLmduhTZqvxcAt63DJavKQBpYzQs7bwbHPaB0qHjw7oALs

      If the Pope is being "pro gay" he kinda sucks at it.

      https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/06/19/lgbt-catholics-pope-gay-families/?fbclid=IwAR3MkG0Tkb5bAEdjtjtRDUz3rko9Ik0e9t3_Y30RrY7U8Jyt-hi9BwpUS9M

      https://catholic-link.org/pope-francis-view-on-same-sex-marriage-in-6-points/?fbclid=IwAR24JZasgzbc7gIFNI2MoID3DFzexuGBuVmiD42KvM3n0C-zhBaRRWHH3AU

      Anyway I am spent.

    • WCB

      Not yet, but seemingly Pope Francis is tiptoeing towards dealing with this issue. Young generations are rather unhappy with homophobic policies and laws, an it is driving many out of the churches that make this a big issue. So coming to a way to avoid being seen as part of the problem that causes people to leave religion, there needs to be a reckoning.

      The RCC is going to have to deal with this reality for years to come, and it's policies. It is only a first step by an important one. Of course it may come to nothing, depending on future Popes who will have to deal with this for years to come.

      This all might be a trial balloon, to gauge sentiment, to see where to go from here.

    • Jim the Scott

      >According to WaPo, the Pope said this in a documentary. So I gather it is not asserted in any official pronouncement but perhaps as his private opinion?

      You are correct. Worst case scenario he is privately giving an erroneous opinion. Except as the other links I posted here indisputably show the video in question is heavily edited. Francis' official public positions have always been in harmony with Church teaching on this matter (much to the consternation of the gay media) so I was automatically skeptical when this was reported and I am vindicated based on the existing evidence.

      As I explained to David Nickol the CDF's condemnation of civil unions is a condemnation of any civil union between same sex persons who are also homosexual that is made a type of attempted analog of natural marriage. Catholics cannot morally support that for any reason. Of course not all civil unions between said persons are of that nature. For example two same sex persons who each own their own corporation can have a merger which is a "civil union" of their respective corps which is not in anyway forbidden just because of their unfortunate proclivities. Well you can have a civil domestic civil union between individuals who wish to merge their households for economic advantage but the union at least on paper cannot be seen as a marriage analog or a formal civil recognition of any sexual relationship between the individuals forbidden by divine and natural law. We are Catholic. We don't do that.

      Feser will no doubt weight in but after a time watching the situation and gathering info before speaking. He is responsible that way. He will correctly note the ambiguities & apparent errors in the edited video. He may acknowledge the video is edited. He will correctly point out Popes are not infallible when giving their opinions in interviews and give past examples of Popes who have been in serious error short of issuing ex Cathedra teachings (one of which I agree with and the other I think he misses the mark because it is not clear).
      Feser will correctly point out even if we acknowledge the Pope might not in fact hold heterodox views it was gravely imprudent of him to allow this clip to be released without explanation as it undermines the faith others have in the institution of the Papacy, causes confusion and appears to contradict Francis' own public teaching on the matter.

      Saying Francis "endorses civil unions for same sex couples" doesn't tell the whole story. Just like saying "God is not morally good" or saying "God is morally good" does not do it either. The former is true if it is understood to mean God is not morally good in the unequivocal way a virtuous rational creature is thought to be morally good. That later is ALSO true if it is understood to mean God never fails to fulfill the duties He has toward Himself by nature. But without those qualifications those two statements plausibly contradict each other on the surface.

      Pope Francis can in principle be justly called out for allowing confusion like this to happen without public correction. But I don't think it is fair to claim this is his actual opinion given the evidence and given the obvious edited nature of the video clip.

      I hate to bring up politics here since I come here to get away from it. But even thought I swing hard to the right politically and I love the Orange'ness. :D

      I have no patience with idiot right wing Catholics who give Francis jazz and blame when the media misrepresents him but they would give my beloved Orange One a Pass if the media do it to him. They would rush to Orange Man's defense (as would I BTW) and move Heaven and Earth to rail against some lie the media told about him(i.e. very fine people lie, made fun of dead vets lie etc) but because they hate the Holy Father's politics if the media lies about him then it is all his fault and they have no obligation to defend him.

      Yeh that is pure BS! F*** off! The POTUS is merely a political leader. The Pope is yer spiritual Father you don't treat them the same! The Pope deserves more respect by definition (even if I personally dina give a fig about his personal politics which the Faith teaches I don't have to support). The vicious hate many on the Catholic "right" give the Holy Father is as much a scandal as any mistakes or errors done by the Pope. It also inhibits the credibility of those of us who consider themselves loyal, fair and principled critics. Two wrongs don't make a right and I am NOT having it.

      I have spoken all hail me.

      Cheers Ficino.

    • WCB

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-same-sex-civil-unions-interview/

      Apparently, in the past, Francis has made comment supporting such unions.
      So this isn't really new nor out of character for Francis. Apparently he made such expressions of support for civil unions when he was a mere archbishop and not yet Pope. So this should not be a big surprise, a bolt out of the blue.

  • God Hates Faith

    Using this epistemology, it is impossible to verify or falsify any claim of speaking in tongues, or any supernatural claim from any other religion.

    • BTS

      Exactly.

      • God Hates Faith

        So, do you think it adds any value? If so, what?

        • BTS

          GHF,
          I was agreeing with you. I think one could make a case that Lewis' exhortation to think outside-the-box (my interpretation of his words) is useful for the creative process, sure. Artists, for example, probably do this often. Look at something from a different angle, take a photo lying flat on your back, paint a picture with nails instead of a brush, etc.

          But in terms of epistemology, we need a way to weed out false claims and bad ideas. I'm not sure how "the view from above" gets us that ability.

  • Dennis Bonnette

    @David Nickol Ficino Mark JimtheScott
    It seems that Pope Francis has uttered some statements that have stirred controversy about his possible stand regarding same-sex civil unions. From what I can see, none of these statements constitute part of the official magisterium or teachings of the Catholic Church.

    As I said elsewhere, not every statement or remark by a pope is official Church teaching, not even what we call the ordinary magisterium. So, regardless of many statements by Pope Francis that make public news, one should not think this means some radical change in Church teaching. A pope's private beliefs are also not even part of the ordinary magisterium, not to mention dogma or what we call the extraordinary magisterium.

    Although a Catholic must accept what is technically part of the magisterium, article 25 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church from Vatican Council II spells out the limited circumstances in which this applies:

    "This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra in such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, and sincere assent be given to decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, [italics mine]."

    • God Hates Faith

      So, based on this do you support same sex civil unions?

      • Dennis Bonnette

        My whole point is that "based on this," one cannot say what Pope Francis intends to add, if anything, to the Church's prior official statements regarding same sex civil unions. At least, not yet.

        This has nothing to do with my personal position on such questions.

        • God Hates Faith

          So, you aren't going to share your personal position?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Sure. But you said "based on this," which was a very different question.

            I can see that any position I take here will invite endless discussion of the difficulties faced by homosexual friendships in our society and claimed needs for protections.

            But the main problem with such unions is that they are a step toward legal recognition of same sex marriage. If you doubt this, just look at what happened in the USA. So, if I reject the legitimacy of same sex marriage, logically, I would have difficulty sanctioning civil unions.

            But since we are long past the time of civil unions in the USA, this question you now raise is obviously irrelevant.

          • God Hates Faith

            There are many countries were same sex marriage is not a fundamental right, and the Catholic church has a lot of influence. Wouldn't you agree?

          • WCB

            In Poland, a Catholic majority country, we are seeing the rise of homophobic policies from a right winged regime. We see a rise in homophobic laws and policies in Russia, not Catholic, but Russian Orthodox, with a Russian Orthodox leader, Putin. Gays are losing what few rights they have there. Religion is driving homophobic policies and in many cases this is only getting worse than ever.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Same sex marriage is certainly not a "fundamental right" according to natural law ethics. I take it then that by "fundamental right" you are referring to a legal concept, such as was affirmed by SCOTUS.

            The rest of your statement, "that the Catholic Church has a lot of influence in many countries," is obviously correct.

          • God Hates Faith

            "Fundamental right" refers to the legal concept. Since marriage is a legal status, your personal preferences don't change the law.

            If you want to discuss ethics, then homosexuality is natural. We see it throughout the animal kingdom. So unless you want to say all marriage is not natural, you can't exclude same-sex marriage.

            If what you are simply saying "natural law" when you mean "what my invisible friend (Yahweh) thinks is right", then you aren't using reason, you are simply repeating what others have said Yahweh wants.

          • Rob Abney

            >If you want to discuss ethics, then homosexuality is natural. We see it throughout the animal kingdom<
            This seems to be an odd, in fact un-natural, basis for human activity!

          • God Hates Faith

            "Natural" is his standard.

          • Rob Abney

            But why do you assume that animal nature should be the guide when considering human nature?

          • God Hates Faith

            Because humans are animals.

            There are two approaches we can take (1) what is "natural" for humans is in some way related to what is "natural" for other animals; or (2) the two are unrelated.

            (1) If they are related, then the fact that both human animals, and other animals have instinct for having intercourse with the same sex, is relevant to what is "natural".

            (2) If the two are unrelated, then what is "natural" for humans is either completely made up, or based on human behavior (the evidence for the latter indicates some humans have instincts for same sex attraction.

          • Rob Abney

            You conclude with the same conclusion, some humans and some animals engage in homosexual activities so homosexual activity is therefore natural. What about when a dog humps your leg does that convince you that dog-human sexual activity is also natural?

          • God Hates Faith

            If you think someone humping your leg is sex, then I feel sorry for your partner.

          • Rob Abney

            Your remark is clever, unfortunately human sex is in a different category than the sterile activities that you describe.

          • God Hates Faith

            You were the one who brought up a dog humping a human leg. You were the one who called it "dog-human sexual activity".

          • God Hates Faith

            A dog humping your leg is natural for the dog. Do you have a mutual instinct to want the dog to hump your leg?

          • Rob Abney

            No, so what’s your point?
            My point is that we need to determine what is natural to humans, you seem to be believing that seeing a behavior proves that behavior is natural, even if it is an animal.

          • God Hates Faith

            As I already stated, we can determine what is natural for human animals, by two approaches: (1) what is "natural" for non-human animals is in some way related to what is "natural" for other human animals; or (2) the two are unrelated.

            If you want to pretend that humans are not animals, then we can go down path (2). But even that path shows that some humans have instincts for same sex attraction, and some humans have instincts for opposite sex attraction.

            (Just to be clear, I don't think that natural = moral, even though the evidence shows that many humans have a natural instinct for being sexually attracted to people of the same sex. This is Dennis' standard).

          • Rob Abney

            You’re just repeating yourself.

          • Jim the Scott

            Gnus like GHF do tend to equivocate. She is technically right thought. Humans are animals. Rational animals and natural law takes into account our rationally vs the blind instinct of mere non-intellectual sensitive beings.

          • God Hates Faith

            And you just keep igoring it, without offering a counter-argument.

          • Philip Rand

            God Hates Faith

            Counter argument provided:

            Stoller, R (1976). Perversion: the erotic form of hatred. Hassocks, Sussex

          • David Nickol

            In my opinion, you would be on more solid ground, even in trying to make a Catholic case against homosexuality, to drop the natural/unnatural argument. Otherwise you have to clearly define unnatural, and your definition will have to be crafted in such a way as to apply to homosexuality. So the whole enterprise will be an exercise in begging the question.

          • Jim the Scott

            What is unnatural is that which thwarts a things proper function and final causality.

          • David Nickol

            You mean like Botox injections or antiperspirants?

          • Jim the Scott

            I am not getting how antiperspirants pervert the final causality of a natural faculty? Yer just putting something that smells nicer than you on yer skin or under yer pits? Yer not disfiguring yerself or the function of a faculty. Now if you disabled yer ability to sweat just to smell nice...yeh that is self mutilation.

            Botox looks iffy. I'll consult a moral theologian.

          • WCB

            Our proper function in God's Universe is to provide a home for viruses, microbes, and parasites. This is God's plan.

          • WCB

            Our proper function is to have freedom as long as we do not bring harm to others.

            If God dislikes homosexuals he can stop creating them.

          • Jim the Scott

            Which might be a meaningful argument if God was the moral agent theistic personalist entity you imagine him to be and you gleaned from the Fundamentalist Baptists you argue with in Texas.

            But we are all Atheists here toward that God. Both Catholics and the native Agnostic, skeptics and Atheists who dwell here alike. When you finally learn that lesson and stop trying to convert us to Fundamentalist or Evangelical Christianity you might become interesting. Till then by definition you are not.

            As I said before the equivalent of what you have been doing here is comparable to moi going to a blog or message board dominated by Platonic Atheists & or the fans of atheist philosopher Thomas Negal and then waxing eloquent on the flaws of Reductionist Materialism while simultaneously berating the locals for their "belief" in it because they happen to be a species of Atheist. Over time if they don't ban me one will tell me "Will you shut the {blank] up about reductionist materialism! We are not reductionist materialist here! Not all Atheists are materialist and not even all materialists are of the reductionalist type."

            That is what you sounded like to all of us. At best David Nickol has tried to save some of yer arguments by recasting in a more coherent & direct manner.
            Now go hit the books. You said you read Feser. Prove it to me.

          • Rob Abney

            Defining what is natural is more than just describing what we observe, it instead requires us to determine formal and final causes of humans, why we are made and what we are made for. That is where the Catholic understanding is based. Otherwise a Catholic response would be based only on biblical faith, which no atheist or agnostic accepts.

          • God Hates Faith

            The natural argument isn't my standard. It's Dennis'.

          • WCB

            It has long been a natural activity for man to create foolish and false religions, cults and bizarre religious cultures. Should we allow them to continue hump our collective legs?

            Asking for my leg humping wiener dog.

          • WCB

            This is a common thing in the animal kingdom, and a number of books have been written collecting many observations of this in the animal kingdom. One of God's little jokes I guess.

            Humans are animals so we should expect the same holds true for humans. God if God exists, could eliminate that problem if it bothers him. That God does not prevent homosexuals from being that with his omnipotent powers seems to show a startling lack of problem solving skills on God's part.

            Archaeology has demonstrated the exodus story is faux history, it never happened. No Egyptian captivity, no exodus from Egypt, no bloody, genocidal invasion of Canaan. And no Moses on the mount getting laws from God, and including the anti-homosexual laws found in Leviticus.

            The Bible based homophobia in America has no basis for being allowed to strip gay Americans of their rights. It makes claims of rights of Christians to discriminate on that basis false and noxious.

            As in recent years under right winged legislation from the GOP and under Trump to enact 'religious freedom ' policies that allow Christians to discriminate against gays has been going, I would expect that this will sooner or later be part of a legal defense from the gay community in future laws suits.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I must assume you are not an American citizen, since any American should know that "fundamental rights" are not merely a "legal concept," but rather are presupposed by all legal rights in the United States.

            Our Founding Fathers stated it clearly when they said that we are "endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

            Case closed.

            So, if you mock God (Yahweh) as the foundation for your legal rights, you have just removed the very basis for all your "fundamental rights" that are foundational to the system of laws on which the United States is based.

          • God Hates Faith

            I must assume you did not go to law school, because your quote is the Declaration of Independence which does not have the effect of law.

            The basis for the U.S. Constitution is WE THE PEOPLE, not your invisible friend.

            When the SCOTUS is determing the rights of citizens, including fundamental rights, they don't ask what Yahweh says. They ask what the U.S. Constitution says.

            Case closed.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Sorry, it is you who does not understand the role of the Declaration of independence as a foundation for all United States law:

            "Professor John Eidsmoe writes: "The role of the Declaration of Independence in American law is often misconstrued. Some believe the Declaration is simply a statement of ideas that has no legal force whatsoever today. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Declaration has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the fundamental law of the United States of America. "
            https://nccs.net/blogs/articles/the-declaration-of-independence-part-of-american-law

            And again: " Enabling acts frequently require states to adhere to the principles of the Declaration; in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, Congress authorized Oklahoma Territory to take steps to become a state. Section 3 provides that the Oklahoma Constitution 'shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.' (Christianity and the Constitution, pp. 360-361)" Ibid.

          • God Hates Faith

            I am guessing only one of us went to law school.

            The Declaration has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the fundamental law of the United States of America. "

            You misquoted your source. Not sure if you were careless or intentionally trying to deceive. The quote does not end with "America". It continues, "...along with the Articles of Confederation..." The Articles of Confederation are not law. Neither is the Declaration of Independence.

            in the Enabling Act of June 16, 1906, Congress authorized Oklahoma Territory to take steps to become a state. Section 3 provides that the Oklahoma Constitution 'shall not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.'

            This is a generic reference to the DOI. It doesn't say which principles, or what effects. It certainly doesn't say anything about "natural law". If this were a court decision it would be called 'dicta'.

            Finally, your link includes no citation to a SCOTUS decision that cites the Declaration of Indepenence as law. Instead you have to strain your back reaching to generic language in a statute from over 100 years ago. Weak.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I did not misquote anything. The sentence ended with a period.

            If you want to include the next sentence, it reads: "The United States Code Annotated includes the Declaration of Independence under the heading 'The Organic Laws of the United States of America' along with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance. "

            The fact it includes the Articles of Confederation in no way detracts from the fact that the "United States Code Annotated includes the Declaration of Independence...."

            For your information, "The United States Code, is the codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States."
            https://www.govinfo.gov/help/uscode#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20Code%2C%20is%20the%20codification%20by,The%20U.S.%20Code%20was%20first%20published%20in%201926.

            I never said that the Declaration of Independence is law. I indicated that it is foundational to our nation and its laws. That is, its concepts, such as the equality of all men, is presupposed by our legal system.

            I know. You will trot out slavery and women's rights to show the Founding Fathers did not fully understand the implications of human equality. There is no doubt that the full implications of these fundamental truths had to be drawn out by rational interpretation of their true meaning.

            But that does not mean the fundamental truths were not true.

            You are right in saying that, at least among current cases, justices have not generally cited the Declaration. But there is an exception:

            "With the notable exception of Clarence Thomas in civil rights cases, no member of the Court ever invokes the Declaration when deciding cases. They are wrong in failing to do so. After all, the Constitution was written for a reason: to establish a form of government that would provide better security for liberty than was provided under the Articles of Confederation, the fundamental law that the Constitution replaced."
            https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-declaration-of-indepe_2_b_5545390

            As the lawyer who wrote that correctly notes, the Constitution was written precisely to provide a better legal framework to protect the "fundamental law that the Constitution replaced."

            Trying to erect a legal framework for a country, while ignoring the fundamental legal concepts that permeated the thought of its founders, would be pure absurdity. And clearly the Declaration is our best written document expressing the thought of our Founders, especially Thomas Jefferson.

          • WCB

            Our founding fathers did not think inalienable rights applied to women, who could not vote, attend colleges and other second class citizen disabilities.

            They were slave owners, many of them and did not treat slaves as having inalienable rights.

            No Indians, who were steadily losing their lands but were not considered citizens with inalienable rights.

            Rights are what one can enforce, and we see the American religious right as having a far different idea of rights than Progressive Democrats.

            It took the Civil War to end slavery. 100 years to end segregation, Jim Crow and the lynching culture in America. Years to end denying black Americans the right to freely vote. and now there is a battle to eliminate the last remnants of structural racism, and racial inequality.

            God is being used now by Trump to get votes and conservative Americans are quite satisfied with that while Trump eliminate many regulations that control the pollution of air, water, and land.

            Invoking God carelessly here may not be a good idea, as many younger cohorts no longer have faith in theists to do the right things. That is why they are leaving the churches in large numbers and why the Nones are gaining large numbers of members.

            Pick what hills you are willing to die on carefully. We don't need God, we need common sense and a sense of honesty.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            All I know is that the Founding Fathers believed in God and founded a nation in that belief. I am not claiming that they understood the full logical implications of those basic truths that they affirmed with such conviction. We often find out that we have obligations we did not expect, for example, when we get married. That does not make them any less based on certain truths.

            Many people think a "right" is anything you want, such as a "right" to a good home and a good job and a good car to get to that job.

            But the proper definition of a right is based on the moral obligation of others to respect your need to fulfill an obligation. Thus parents, who have the primary obligation to raise the children they have brought into the world, have the right to oversee their care -- barring proven abuse of that right.

            You try to prove that there are any obligations that are not ultimately founded on the existence of God as a Supreme Lawgiver. Good luck.

          • WCB

            Just not the God that we think of as God. The letters of Franklin, Jefferson and Monroe demonstrate their concept of God was not what a lot of far right American Christians would have us believe.

            How do you think our founding fathers thought of Bonifice VIII's Unam Sanctum for example, asserrting Papal authoriy over states, and kings?

            Nor did anything in the Constitution or Declaration commit us to believing anything about God?

            But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

            - Thomas Jefferson

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I don't know about Munroe, but Franklin and Jefferson believed in a spiritual God that created and sustained the universe, although it appears they did not accept the divinity of Christ.

            That said, though, is enough to sustain the notion that God established the laws of nature and the basis for human rights. Thus, the Declaration says, ""We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

            You say the Declaration does not commit us to believe anything about God? Read what it says. It says God creates us as equals and that he gave us unalienable rights. Since such a right as liberty requires understanding of its meaning, God must be intelligent and an intelligent being is a person. So, the Declaration tells us a lot about God's nature, contrary to your assertion that it does not.

            As non-Catholics, I am sure the three founders you mention would have little use for the divine right of kings.
            And your last citation from Jefferson in no way contradicts his own somewhat deistic belief in a divine Creator, since it describes his relation to others, not his own beliefs.

          • OMG

            The majority of the founding fathers--even those who owned slaves--understood the moral flaw of slavery. St. Paul knew the law of God but could not perfectly follow it. The U.S. founders did not craft legal rights to achieve a perfect 1:1 correspondence to unalienable rights. They compromised on allowing slavery so that every colony would unite against Britain. At least two states would not join the alliance if slavery had not been allowed.

            http://factmyth.com/factoids/the-founding-fathers-supported-slavery/#:~:text=%20Understanding

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-fifths_Compromise

            Re women, here's John to Abigail Adams ...we know better than to repeal our masculine systems. Although they are in full force, you know they are little more than theory....We are...in practice...the subjects. (p. 105, McCullough's John Adams).

          • WCB

            The RCC made marriage into a sacrament in the Middle Ages.
            At the council of Trent in 1563.
            Before that, it was a matter of law. and always has been. Some of the earliest written material we have are wedding contracts from the ancient Near East. Among the dead Sea scrolls were carefully hidden wedding contracts. If not written, they would have been discussed and solemnly sworn to before the village elders as witnesses.

            If one searches the Pentateuch, marriage is hardly mention at all. Israelite women were not to marry Canaanites. If a Israelite woman marrying into another tribe other than her own, she did not lose any rights by doing so.

            There are in fact a total of eight such mentions of marriage in the Pentateuch. Why? Because marriages were solemn contracts to protect the rights of women and their children and had always been so. The priests who made up the Pentateuch accepted that fact and didn't have to make up tall tales about what laws of marriage that God presented Moses. Marriage contracts were very serious business that developed over thousands of years previously and people were obviously going to be very conservative in preserving a complex and well developed system that served its purpose.
            Which had it's rules everybody knew.

            And it is also true that Sumerian law allowed same sex marriages. That then is not something new.

          • WCB

            It all depends on whose version of "natural rights" we use it would seem, and just what we mean by "natural rights". Or so it would seem.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Of course, words must be defined.

            But, "natural right," seems to imply a "right" based somehow on the objective nature of human beings.

            And I defy you to explain how there can be any natural rights with any sort of ontological binding force in a totally godless universe. They become then the product of positive law --- being no more safely in your possession than your "right" to drive, which we all know is a "privilege," not a real "right."

          • WCB

            It is easy. Evolution gives us natural reaction when bad things happen to us. Theft, torture, attacks, et al. and we have good emotions when good things happen to us.

            Nature's way of saying "Do unto other as they would have them do unto you".

            For social animals all of this has evolutionary value for our species.

            https://www.livescience.com/17378-rats-show-empathy.html

            The act of helping others out of empathy has long been associated strictly with humans and other primates, but new research shows that rats exhibit this prosocial behavior as well.

            In the new study, laboratory rats repeatedly freed their cage-mates from containers, even though there was no clear reward for doing so. The rodents didn't bother opening empty containers or those holding stuffed rats.
            To the researchers' surprise, when presented with both a rat-holding container and a one containing chocolate — the rats' favorite snack — the rodents not only chose to open both containers, but also to share the treats they liberated.

            ----

            This should have been no surprise. We should have expected evolution to act this way on animals that need to behave socially to survive.

          • WCB

            Here in the United States, homosexual marriage is officially legal. Obergfell vs Hodges at the Supreme Court settled that issue in 2015. Though many states are hostile to such marriages are in various ways. many lawsuits in the future here to come.

            A big problem in the US is the large numbers of young people who oppose homophobic laws in the US, including the far rights desire to roll back the legal status of gay marriage at the Supreme Court level.

            And it is driving a lot of younger generations to leave churches that are making this an big issue.

            The RCC has to take a stand here, it cannot ignore it, because it is an issue that so strongly impacts the rise of Nones in the US, now 36% of younger generations.

            Obviously, Pope Francis sees this as an issue that needs to be dealt with, for obvious reasons. This is going to be an ongoing issue for the RCC for years to come. This entire issue will long outlive Pope Francis.

          • Ficino

            A poll released this week says 70% of Americans are in favor of same-sex marriage.
            https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/10/22/same-sex-marriage-support-reaches-all-time-high-prri-survey/3725092001/

          • Dennis Bonnette

            As to the remarks attributed to Pope Francis, I am grateful to Jim the Scott for showing us that the report was simply factually erroneous and deserving of no further comment.

            Despite your insistence that the Catholic Church must bend its doctrine on homosexual acts, the objective order of morality simply cannot be subject to the whim of polling data. Just because everybody is doing something does not make it right.

            One of the remarkable things about the Catholic Church is that she safeguards objective morality when others give in to the immoral values of the time.

            It is noteworthy that no major Christian sect permitted contraception until the Anglicans began the rush to it in their early 1930's Lambeth Conference. Today, virtually the only church that has not reversed that two thousand year universal stance against contraception is the Catholic Church.

            So, don't hold your breath for the Church to change its rejection of homosexual acts. Note, I did not say rejection of homosexuals, since Christ wants every human being to be saved and the Catholic Church respects the personal dignity of every human being. Indeed, it is respect for the dignity of every human being that recently led Pope Francis to declare that capital punishment must be considered henceforth to be "inadmissible."

          • David Nickol

            As to the remarks attributed to Pope Francis, I am grateful to Jim the Scott for showing us that the report was simply factually erroneous and deserving of no further comment.

            Jim the Scott was in error. The pope made the remarks as reported.

            I suppose one might suggest that if the only way to stave off same-sex marriage were to agree to some type of civil union, that might justify caving in to pressure for same-sex unions. But that seems far fetched.

          • Jim the Scott

            @dennisbonnette:disqus

            >Jim the Scott was in error. The pope made the remarks as reported.

            Nope! We can believe you or our own eyes. Not both.

            https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-homosexuality-comments-heavily-edited-in-documentary-no-vatican-comment-on-civil-union-88210

            QUOTE "a CNA analysis of the interview’s transcript shows that other papal comments on homosexuality featured in “Francesco” were compiled by heavy editing of the 2019 interview’s video footage.

            “Francesco” presents Pope Francis saying the following, in remarks about his approach to pastoral care:

            “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

            While the pope did say those words on camera, he did not say them in that order, or use those phrases in immediate proximity.

            CNA has bolded the appearance of those words in an excerpted translation of the pope’s remarks during his 2019 interview:

            “I was asked a question on a flight - after it made me mad, made me mad for how one news outlet transmitted it - about the familial integration of people with homosexual orientation, and I said, homosexual people have a right to be in the family, people with homosexual orientation have a right to be in the family and parents have the right to recognize that son as homosexual, that daughter as homosexual. Nobody should be thrown out of the family, or be made miserable because of it.”

            “Another thing is, I said when you see some signs in the children and from there send them to - I should have said a ‘professional,’ what came out was ‘psychiatrist.’ I meant to say a professional because sometimes there are signs in adolescence or pre-adolescence that they don’t know if they are homosexually oriented or if it is that the thymus gland didn’t atrophy in time. Who knows, a thousand things, no? So, a professional. The title of the daily paper: ‘The Pope sends homosexuals to the psychiatrist.’ It’s not true!”

            “They asked me the same question another time and I repeated it, ‘They are children of God, they have a right to a family, and such.’ Another thing is - and I explained I was wrong with that word, but I meant to say this: When you notice something strange - ‘Ah, it’s strange.’ - No, it’s not strange. Something that is outside of the usual. That is, not to take a little word to annul the context. There, what I said is that they ‘have a right to a family.’ And that doesn’t mean to approve of homosexual acts, not at all.”

            After the presentation of those edited remarks, the pope is seen to say in “Francesco” that “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”

            While those remarks seem certainly to come from the Alazraki interview, Francesco director Evgeny Afineevsky has told reporters otherwise, and the section of the Alazraki interview in which they would have come was not included in the published version, and is not available to the public.

            But in addition to their context, some have called their meaning into question, suggesting that a phrase used by the pope, “convivencia civil,” was mistranslated by “Francesco” as “civil unions” in the film’s subtitle, and actually suggests a different kind of legal recognition.

            But on Wednesday Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, a theologian who has long been close to the pope, suggested that the pope’s phrase is substantially equivalent to the phrase “civil union.”

            The archbishop posted on Facebook that before he became the pope, then Cardinal-Bergoglio “always recognized that, without calling it ‘marriage,’ in fact there are very close unions between people of the same sex, which do not in themselves imply sexual relations, but a very intense and stable alliance. They know each other thoroughly, they share the same roof for many years, they take care of each other, they sacrifice for each other. Then it may happen that they prefer that in an extreme case or illness they do not consult their relatives, but that person who knows their intentions in depth. And for the same reason they prefer that it be that person who inherits all their assets, etc. This can be contemplated in the law and is called ‘civil union’ [unión civil] or ‘law of civil coexistence’ [ley de convivencia civil], not marriage.” END QUOTE

            If yer not gonna interact with what is written I can't help ya lad.

          • David Nickol

            But on Wednesday Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, a theologian who has long been close to the pope, suggested that the pope’s phrase is substantially equivalent to the phrase “civil union.”

            The archbishop posted on Facebook that before he became the pope, then Cardinal-Bergoglio “always recognized that, without calling it ‘marriage,’ in fact there are very close unions between people of the same sex, which do not in themselves imply sexual relations, but a very intense and stable alliance.

            The idea that anyone in the Catholic hierarchy—particularly an archbishop or a cardinal—would seriously propose civil unions for "chaste" same-sex couples is simply preposterous. No wonder the far-right wingnuts are laughing at such defenses of the pope. The Catholic Church for the past several decades has fought the idea of gay civii rights under any circumstances including housing and employment.

            10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

            But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer phoning it in Nickol.

            >The idea that anyone in the Catholic hierarchy—particularly an archbishop or a cardinal—would seriously propose civil unions for "chaste" same-sex couples is simply preposterous.

            Preposterous? Somebody hasn't been paying attention....
            How so? Such a union simply would not formally recognize those who enter into it to have some sort of right to have the gay sex, or any sex acts contrary to natural law. Never the less you give no rational reason to doubt Archbishop Fernandez's testimony. He is close to Pope Francis so he would know his thoughts.

            > No wonder the far-right wingnuts are laughing at such defenses of the pope.

            The opinions of pseudo "Catholic" Heretics and Schismatics on the right are meaningless to me as they are on the left. Also they can't argue for shhh...sugar. Also for self proclaimed Traditionalists they rarely if ever know any Traditional Thomism. Losers to the last man. The SSPX has had a major sex scandal and they can't blame it on Vatican II like they do the sex scandal in the mainline Church.

            >The Catholic Church for the past several decades has fought the idea of gay civii rights under any circumstances including housing and employment.

            So what? What does that have to do with Pope Francis and civil unions so called? Is this an attempt to get me to argue politics with you? Forget it not interest. I will shut that shh..stuff down right now. :D. Only my bat is named Rosemarie not Lucille.

            https://i.pinimg.com/originals/32/b7/43/32b743a96972c854ba8e42fa706ba7e0.jpg

            Cheers.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I have just replied to you more extensively in another comment. Even if such remarks were made, they do not constitute part of the ordinary magisterium. But I give you a more full explanation in that other comment.

          • Jim the Scott

            Anyway the fix is in.

            https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/analysis-how-the-washington-post-is-opening-the-path-to-use-pope-francis-against-the-catholic-church-93290

            Quote"The pope also affirmed that “homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” emphasizing that “nobody should be thrown out” of a family because of homosexuality, or “be made miserable.” Since the documentary’s release, those remarks have been proven to relate to children ostracized in their families because of their sexual orientation, while in the film they are presented absent this context, the result of heavy editing, with ambiguous implications.

            The pope’s remarks have been distorted to suggest a tacit endorsement of adoption by same-sex couples, something Pope Francis has actually consistently opposed during – and prior to– his pontificate.

            The Supreme Court is set to hear Fulton v. City of Philadelphia on Nov. 4, a case that could impact faith-based adoption and foster care agencies affected by state and local non-discrimination ordinances around the country.END QUOTE

            So now it begins.

          • WCB

            JtS did no such thing really. Pope Frances, even before he became Pope spoke of support for civil unions. It is not something new with Francis.

            In the US hostility to birth control is no becoming a political issue and is causing a massive gender gap in US politics that is going to haunt the US political scene for years.

            This is an issue the RCC will face sooner rather than later. Again, younger Americans are leaving church in droves. Birth control, homophobia et al are not winning issues.
            It is probably long term, not a good move for the RCC to keep going on like this.

            https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/what-did-pope-francis-say-about-civil-unions-a-cna-explainer-57625

            During a segment of “Francesco” which discussed Pope Francis’ pastoral care of Catholics who identify as LGBT, the pope made two distinct comments.

            He said first that: “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”
            ...
            On civil unions, the pope said that: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”
            ...

            What he said was plain and clear, despite attempts by some to spin it to try to tell us Pope Francis did not say what he said.

            It will be interesting to see if Pope Francis addresses this further considering the controversy this documentary has stirred up, so it is probably premature to think he won't address this further and it all ends here.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            As Jim said elsewhere, "The fix is in." Clearly this documentary will be used to satisfy the homosexual agenda even in legal matters in this country. It looks to me like the organized collusion of the mainstream media to avoid all recognition of Joe Biden's documentable corruption, since it serves their agenda to get him elected.

            But, you see, I really don't care about your claims about the Pope's remarks in a documentary. They are simply not part of the official ordinary magisterium. Until you can find some that are, they require no response.

          • WCB

            It is not a fix. This is an issue that will be ongoing for years. It is Pope Francis' opinion, and being the Pope is not unimportant. again, we will have to see how this plays out. It has been well noted that in the US, lots of Catholics already ignore the Vatican on a number of issues. Including using birth control. I suspect a hard line on civil unions will not likewise be popular among many Catholics. I suspect many will be pretty supporting of the Pope's more humane approach to gays in society. This issue is going to outlive us and take years to settle one way or the other.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            When you can show me documented evidence that Pope Francis or any other pope approves of sexual acts between members of the same sex, I shall take your concerns seriously.

            Until then, you are simply pleading that many people find sexual purity a difficult virtue to retain. Welcome to the human race.

          • WCB

            It is not a matter of approval here. It is a matter of noting that gays exist and are not going away. The hammer verses of Leviticus mandating death for gay activities also mandate death for adultery.

            20:10
            10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

            Should we pursue adulterers with the same uncompromising zeal that many theists harass gays with the same level of denial of rights under the law for gays

            1 Peter 4;15
            15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

            How about busy bodies, equated here with evil doers and murderers?

            1 Timothy 2:12
            12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "It is not a matter of approval here. It is a matter of noting that gays exist and are not going away."

            Christians hold that, while we hate the sin, we love the sinner. And we are all sinners.

            But it is a matter of simple truth to determine which human acts are morally good and which ones are morally bad.

            The Church has always taught that any sexual acts outside of natural relations open to procreation between a male and female validly married are morally bad.

            As long as the Pope does not say that such acts are morally good, Catholic teaching and natural law remain untouched.

            Christians are taught to love all men and respect the dignity of every person, even of murderers.

            But when you talk about rights, since a right is the moral power to fulfill an obligation, there is never a genuine right to perform an evil act of any type. Society does not prevent people from committing sexually illicit acts in their private lives. Whether society should give special privileges to perform such acts is doubtful -- regardless of any decision by SCOTUS on the matter.

            The fact that many countries have adopted, not only civil unions for homosexual people, but even legal marriage status in no way sanctions such unions in terms of the natural moral law or God's laws. Not every immoral sexual act is subject to legal prohibition, even though some, such are rape or sexual assault are.

            I am really not that concerned about what secular society does about homosexual acts -- any more than about illicit heterosexual acts. Still, if you view it from the standpoint of ethics and of God's law and his sanctions, it remains true that such acts are disordered and morally wrong.

            That is why I said you will never find a Pope approving of them, regardless of any private views he may hold about legal matters like civil unions for same sex persons.

          • WCB

            "Christians hold that, while we hate the sin, we love the sinner. And we are all sinners.

            But it is a matter of simple truth to determine which human acts are morally good and which ones are morally bad."

            67% of American approve same sex marriage according to Gallup. And to tell the truth the old "hate the sin, love the sinner" thing is tired and not welcome. Our toxic Christian fundies have worn that out while attacking gays for years now. and not just gays. It raises a a lot of hackles.

            Again, archaeology has debunked Exodus. No Egyptian captivity, no exodus, no bloody genocide in Canaan, no Moses on the mount. No Moses receiving laws from God. It is all myth. Leviticus 18 and 20 are lies from some ancient priest of 2700 years ago.

            These lies reach down 2,700 years to make lives miserable for gays. Again, now that the Exodus myth has been demonstrated not true, being gay is no sin.

            Moses on the mount is on its way out as sure as Zeus throwing thunderbolts is no longer believable.

            Do you want to see Sharia law imposed on Americans also?

            This whole dogmatic cleaims of what is sin and why that should be used to create laws curtailing somebody's rights is a problem.

            https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/05/politics/thomas-alito-obergefell-same-sex-marriage-analysis/index.html
            ...

            Thomas' statement, joined by Alito, offered a
            reminder that other precedent that inspires religious objections may also hang in the balance.

            Obergefell, Thomas wrote, threatens "the religious liberty of the many Americans who believe that marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman."

            Gay rights advocates and Democratic leaders immediately attacked the justices for abandoning judicial restraint and threatening the future of same-sex marriage.

            Thomas and Alito are Catholics. We may someday in the not too far future see a battle between the Bible and modern Near east archaeology in our courts. Should our laws essentially be based on known lies from 2,700 years ago as a basis for eliminating American's rights? Whether they are Christians or not?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "The RCC has to take a stand here, it cannot ignore it, because it is an issue that so strongly impacts the rise of Nones in the US, now 36% of younger generations."

            As you point out yourself, the United States is well beyond the legal question of merely civil unions.

            The Catholic Church takes the same stand it has always taken. Sexual acts outside of mutual love-procreative acts between a male and a female united in the sacrament of matrimony are seriously morally wrong.

            Morality is not determined by poll taking, but by comporting with the obligations rationally evident in human nature adequately considered. Mankind has never been too great at following God's rules. But that does not make us God so that we can rewrite the rules to our suiting.

          • OMG

            Dr. B. is allowed a right to privacy, is he not?

          • God Hates Faith

            I am allowed to ask a question, am I not? He is free to decline to answer.

          • OMG

            Yes of course. He answered, stating the obvious irrelevance, yet you would reiterate.

            For the record, my nail polish color today is none.

          • God Hates Faith

            I am confused why you feel the need to speak for Dennis. Can he not speak for himself?

            As Dennis states, I asked two questions. So, it wasn't a reiteration.

            For the record, my nail polish color today is none.

            Ok...

          • OMG

            I don't speak for Dennis. Does he not speak for himself?

            I understand this to be a open forum with no prohibition against anyone answering any other post. Please feel free to disregard my posts if you feel that is best.

        • Jim the Scott
    • David Nickol

      From the conclusion to

      CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

      CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS

      The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

      Apparently Pope Frances expressed an "approval of deviant behavior" and helped to "obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity."

      Lock him up! :-)

      • Jim the Scott

        Dude I am all for you become Catholic just don't be a Radtrad. The whole lot of 'em are fundies with Rosary beads. LOL :D

        Just kidding.

        Cheers.

      • Dennis Bonnette

        First, I don't think that the CDF statement itself is part of the ordinary magisterium, except insofar as it actually reflects something that is itself part of the ordinary magisterium.

        Second, from my citation of Lumen Gentium Art. 25 above, your correct inference should be that Pope Francis has also not made a statement here that is part of the ordinary magisterium.

        I think Pope Francis wanted to make clear that the Church is open to all people. Whether he intended to say something he knew was distinct from previous Church teaching is questionable. After all, he IS the Pope, isn't he?

        • Jim the Scott

          I think Nickol is just having a go at us. That post can't be serious.

          • David Nickol

            Unless the CDF document I quoted is not magisterial teaching (as Dr. Bonnette suggests is possible). Then I am perfectly serious. The pope endorsed civil unions for gay people. The CDF document I quoted condemns advocacy of civil unions. Arguing the pope endorsed some kind of civil union other than was discussed by the CDF is just nonsense.

          • Jim the Scott

            > Arguing the pope endorsed some kind of civil union other than was discussed by the CDF is just nonsense.

            Yer having a go with us and I am not buying it. I mean why would you make an "argument" on the level of some nonsense WCB-2 would say? Fun's over.

        • David Nickol

          First, I don't think that the CDF statement itself is part of the ordinary magisterium, except insofar as it actually reflects something that is itself part of the ordinary magisterium.

          Well, now, that's something I haven't heard anyone say before. So far as I am aware, no one has ever suggested

          . . . . Pope Francis has also not made a statement here that is part of the ordinary magisterium.

          I don't see how anyone could say otherwise. He made a comment in an interview at one point that was, at some later date, edited into a documentary. No more, but no less, either.

          Whether he intended to say something he knew was distinct from previous Church teaching is questionable. After all, he IS the Pope, isn't he?

          It is a fact that that the pope made a remark approving of civil unions for gay people. It is a fact that he knew it was in the documentary. It is a fact that he praised the film after it was shown Wednesday. It is a fact that, so far, there have been no "clarifications" from the Vatican. So in my view, unless the CDF documents on homosexuality and civil unions are not considered "church teaching," he made a statement that contradicted church teaching.

          Do not buy the erroneous report that "convivencia civil" (the words the pope used in Spanish, mean "civil coexistence." They mean civil union.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not going to play "gotcha" on the exact wording and meaning of Pope Francis's statements in a video documentary.

            No, such statements do not constitute part of the ordinary magisterium unless and until they are given in a much more official manner. Read carefully the qualifications of Article 25 of Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: "... his manifest mind and intention ... is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated."

            Civil unions are a legal matter, not a matter of faith and morals or ecclesiastical discipline. See the dogma on papal primacy. (Denz. 1831.) So, even if a pope does favor such unions, this is no more binding on Catholics than is his scientific opinion on climate change or his urging the USA to rejoin the Kyoto Protocol.

            When you can show that a pope is approving the performance of homosexual acts, then you have something to talk about. Don't hold your breath, since neither Pope Francis nor any subsequent pope will do so.

    • Jim the Scott
      • David Nickol

        See the following:

        The pope is seen to use the Spanish-language phrase “convivencia civil,” which is translated in the film’s subtitles as “civil union.” After some Spanish-speaking priests said the translation was inaccurate, Archbishop Fernandez, a theologian who has long been close to the pope, said that the pope’s phrase is substantially equivalent to the phrase “civil union.”

        Fr. Augustino Torres, CFR, a New York-based priest who works in youth ministry, posted a video on Wednesday saying he believes “the pope was misunderstood, misquoted, misinterpreted.”

        In an October 21 post on Instagram, Torres said the original Spanish makes clear that the pope’s comments are not an endorsement of civil unions.

        The priest said the phrase that has been translated by the media as “civil union” is actually better translated as “law of civil convivience” or “civil coexistence.”

        By using this phrase, Torres said, Pope Francis is talking about some kind of legal protection, which the priest did not specify, but not a homosexual civil union.

        But Fernández, Archbishop of La Plata, Argentina, said Wednesday that the pope’s term connotes a civil union as the term is commonly understood.

        • Jim the Scott

          I had a Spanish speaking Francis critic who saw it & claimed it meant "civil coexistence." and other say "civil union". The word he uses in ambiguous.

          Anyway as shown in my two links it is all fake news.

      • David Nickol

        24 hours have passed this it turns out is fake news.

        "Fake news" would seem to be exactly the right designation, since we all know by now that it means "something widely and reliably reported that, while true, is embarrassing and needs to be discredited."

        The pope endorsed civil unions for gay people, as he has apparently done before. That is true, and it is news because the CDF in the past (under Ratzinger) took a very strong stance against civil unions.

        The Catholic Herald, as I read it, looks on the matter as a political gaff. The pope made an "unguarded statement" and his handlers were either asleep at the wheel or deliberately delayed cleaning up after the pope.

        • Jim the Scott

          >Fake news" would seem to be exactly the right designation, since we all know by now that it means "something widely and reliably reported that, while true, is embarrassing and needs to be discredited."

          No it is fake news. Meaning something widely reported that is false.

          >The pope endorsed civil unions for gay people, as he has apparently done before. That is true, and it is news because the CDF in the past (under Ratzinger) took a very strong stance against civil unions.

          So are you now reading this in absolutist literalist terms like Jesus on prayer in the Gospels? Do you imagine the CDF took a stance against a clearly defined concept called "a Civil Union" or do you imagine the CDF has taken a set against the mere phrase "civil union"? Because when I read the condemnation issued by the CDF a "civil union" was a clearly defined concept. Not just a carte blanc ban on a certain phrase. That is a civil union between two homosexuals that is considered equivalent to a marriage between a man and a woman. But not all "civil unions" are of that nature and thus the CDF's condemnation cannot be applied to them.

          To quote Mike Lewis
          https://wherepeteris.com/pope-francis-and-civil-unions-critical-context/

          QUOTE "In 1997, Archbishop William Levada penned a column in First Things defending what was dubbed the “San Francisco Solution.” As archbishop of San Francisco, Levada (who later went on to become the cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith )[under Benedict], explained how he decided to respond to an ordinance in San Francisco allowing same-sex civil unions. As a result, employers were compelled to provide benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees, just as they would for a spouse.

          As a “compromise,” Levada proposed that rather than providing benefits to someone on the contingency that they were either a spouse or same-sex partner, he would provide benefits to a second person in the household, regardless of relationship. . . .END

          Mike Lewis goes on to write "[D]espite his reputation as a strident traditionalist—the current Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, provided one of the stronger defenses of Pope Francis’s words from the US episcopate. In an official statement, he explained the Church’s approach:

          “In our bishops region’s audience with Pope Francis last January during our ad limina visit (the visit diocesan bishops make every five years to the Vatican), the topic of civil unions came up in conversation. The Holy Father clearly differentiated between a civil arrangement which accords mutual benefits to two people, and marriage. The former, he said, can in no way be equated to marriage, which remains unique.

          “I would add that a civil union of this type (one which is not equated to marriage) should be as inclusive as possible, and not be restricted to two people of the same sex in a presumed sexual relationship. There is no reason, for example, why a brother and a sister, both of whom are unmarried and support each other, should not have access to these kinds of benefits. Marriage is unique because it is the only institution that connects children to their mothers and fathers, and therefore is presumed to be a sexual relationship. Indeed, the sexual relationship that marriage is presumed to involve is the only kind by which children are naturally made. The nature of marriage, the place of sex within a virtuous life, these great teachings of the Church come to us from God, are illuminated by reason, and do not change.”

          I don't see how that type of "civil union" goes against the CDF?

          >The Catholic Herald, as I read it, looks on the matter as a political gaff. The pope made an "unguarded statement" and his handlers were either asleep at the wheel or deliberately delayed cleaning up after the pope.

          I seem to recall there was a little more to it than that but for some reason now the article is behind a paywall and I can't get to it? Ah well. But the Vatican Press office has be staffed with scrubs since the time of the reign of St John Paul II. So I am not shocked.

          • David Nickol

            That is a civil union between two homosexuals that is considered equivalent to a marriage between a man and a woman. But not all "civil unions" are of that nature and thus the CDF's condemnation cannot be applied to them.

            Oh, come on. The pope was clearly talking about civil unions for gay people, not the creation of some kind of "domestic partnerships" for any two or more people that couples who just happened to be gay could take advantage of.

            I agree that some of the press coverage has seen more significance in the pope's comments than they warranted. The NYT had the following headline: Pope Francis, in Shift for Church, Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions.
            It takes more than a comment in a documentary to effect a shift in the Church! More likely than not, there will be no significant changes. But by almost any reasonable standard, the pope recommended civil unions for gay people, which position was clearly condemned by Ratzinger's CDF. Cardinals Burke and Muller, if I remember their statements correctly, both accused Francis of holding sinful personal opinions.

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't know if yer serious here or just having some fun at my expense? Ah well. It will keep me sharp.

            >Oh, come on. The pope was clearly talking about civil unions for gay people, not the creation of some kind of "domestic partnerships" for any two or more people that couples who just happened to be gay could take advantage of.

            Not according to Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez who worked with him in Brazil at the time.

            Quote who said " Cardinal-Bergoglio(future Francis) “always recognized that, without calling it ‘marriage,’ in fact there are very close unions between people of the same sex, which do not in themselves imply sexual relations, but a very intense and stable alliance. They know each other thoroughly, they share the same roof for many years, they take care of each other, they sacrifice for each other. Then it may happen that they prefer that in an extreme case or illness they do not consult their relatives, but that person who knows their intentions in depth. And for the same reason they prefer that it be that person who inherits all their assets, etc. This can be contemplated in the law and is called ‘civil union’ [unión civil] or ‘law of civil coexistence’ [ley de convivencia civil], not marriage.” END QUOTE

            https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-homosexuality-comments-heavily-edited-in-documentary-no-vatican-comment-on-civil-union-88210?fbclid=IwAR0zDCB_zc7_iZGFrUCNHtSPTzSDEq1_OseV9c1Q0mLoPdZdfpRgUWm7x44

            >The NYT had the following headline: Pope Francis, in Shift for Church, Voices Support for Same-Sex Civil Unions.

            Yeh right after Vatican II was formally ended the same NYT printed a story how Catholics could now join the Freemasons. Not true...they have been getting it wrong for years. Chick Comics is more accurate than they are by comparison.

            >It takes more than a comment in a documentary to effect a shift in the Church! More likely than not, there will be no significant changes.

            Here you are being serious. Yes you are correct.

            > But by almost any reasonable standard, the pope recommended civil unions for gay people, which position was clearly condemned by Ratzinger's CDF.

            Only for idiots who can't read. Which is the public in general.

            >Cardinals Burke and Muller, if I remember their statements correctly, both accused Francis of holding sinful personal opinions.

            Nope!

            No Burke said "It is a source of deepest sadness and pressing pastoral concern that the private opinions reported with so much emphasis by the press and attributed to Pope Francis do not correspond to the constant teaching of the Church, as it is expressed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and is guarded, protected and interpreted by the Magisterium."

            He clearly didn't say Pope Francis held them. He correctly implied if he held them etc....& how it was reported in the press. Of course he took the edited video at face value. Which was a mistake.

            Muller was more careful than Burke IMHO.
            He said "I do not know the exact wording of the interview statement, which is ambiguous as so often. But the effect is fatal. The Catholic faithful are irritated, the enemies of the Church feel confirmed by the Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom they reject as the Son of God. Instead of using theological and philosophical arguments of reason, they appeal to feelings, thus checkmating the rationality of faith with sentimentality. But faith does not depend on a political option in the right or left spectrum or an ideological position between conservatism or progressivism, but only on the Truth that God Himself is in His Essence and in the Word of His historical Revelation. "END QUOTE

            If Pope Francis really held the heterodox views attributed to him that would be wrong and it would be correct to say opinions given by the Pope in an interview have no doctrinal force. The Cardinals are correct to point that out and Fr. Ramos the Priest who interpreted his words on the video in the original video and defended the Holy Father said the same thing.

            Of course Muller also said this which makes my eyes roll & make me wince a wee bit.
            "Pope, [should] study Daniel Mattson's book and invite him to a conversation. He is an American who has found the way out of the disgracefulness of sexual promiscuity and into a life of abstinence in the ‘freedom and glory of the children of God’ (Rom 8:21).”

            Yeh Mattson(an Ex-gay) wasn't just a homosexual. It seems like he was a Pederast or leaned that way because before he found faith to help him with his sexual struggles he didn't just have relations with adult men. He had a relationship with a 13 old boy at age 30. They would sexed each other in some chat room.

            https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/catholic-author-on-homosexuality-accused-of-past-relationship-with-a-minor-26706

            One assumes or hopes Cardinal Muller is not aware of this. But recommending his book given his potential crime is itself a scandal.

            The curse(or more likely God's judgement) of celebrity Catholicism. Look I am all for chaste gays sharing how God lead them to live chastely & I wouldn't out of charity downplay the role God played in Mattson's life but if yer into boys yer not a credible roll model as an "Ex-Gay". If Pope Francis imprudent comments are bad a Cardinal post McCarrick recommending such a man isn't cool either.

            Also there is a bit of a double standard here and that rubs me the wrong way. Reactionary Trads complained about Pope Francis honoring the director of this documentary who is a practicing homosexual but they are not put off by Mattson' s proclivities with a boy? Am I missing something?

          • WCB

            There are other legal issues involved. For example, some hospitals barred same sex partners from visiting a sick partner, where a married couple could have visitation rights. There are lots of little things like this that have bee a problem for gays for years and years. This is why gay marriage is important, that over rides the petty nonsense that otherwise has and is a problem for gay civil unions and was a problem until the Supreme Court ruled in 2015, states cannot bar gay marriages.

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't care. What part of "I won't discuss politics" with the likes of you do ye not understand? You just misrepresented what Rob said & I called you out on it. You don't even have the decency to acknowledge that or defend yerself. What is wrong with you?

          • WCB

            Then don't discuss politics. Nobody is forcing you to do that. But Pope Francis is with his proposal that it is acceptable to support civil unions. pope Francis here has broken the ice and started the RCC on a long debate on how to handle the issue of gay rights. The world does not orbit you. The Pope has spoken and the world wonders, where will this all go?

          • Jim the Scott

            WCB-2 you misrepresented what Rob said and you are too cowardly to own it or defend it. You just dodge and not very artfully. You said Trent says there are 66 books in the Bible (wrong Trent lists 73) & you make a host of other mistakes and errors of fact. Ficino and David Nickol as religious skeptics and Agnostics clearly have a more correct understanding of Catholic doctrine than you do by an order of magnitude. You don't listen. You don't pay attention, you make up yer own defintions oot of yer arse instead of learning the proper terms of Art and you have no desire to learn if only to make yer own views and positions stronger. Given those deficiencies how can yer opining's on Francis be meaningful? They aren't is the answer. They are less than the gibbering of a monkey with brain damage.

          • WCB

            Oh, what a silly thing from you. The issue here is what happens with civil unions after the Pope decides to broach the issue. This is an issue that will be problem for the RCC for years. Stop trying to derail that particular discussion. One wonders, where will this all go now.

          • Jim the Scott

            WCB-2 you really need to grow up son if you want to be of any practical use. Unless you really aren't an Atheist? Yes that would explain a lot.
            It is possible yer a wee Fundamentalist Baptist pretending to be an Atheist in order to make them look bad. Wow! Diabolical! It would explain yer reasoning processes and kneejerk fundamentalist mentality. I have no hard proof of this of course but we will be keeping an eye on you. Don't throw away yer copies of Chick Comics yet laddie you might need them.

          • WCB

            From SN's Read This First

            4. Critique ideas, not people.
            The rhetorical assault known as ad hominem, Latin for "to
            the person," is one of the most common fallacies online. Instead of engaging actual arguments, the culprit criticizes, insults, belittles, judges, or mocks the person making the argument. He blasts the opponent's character, intelligence, education, background, motivations, or sometimes all of the above. Attacking persons is fallacious and uncharitable and will not be permitted here. If you are wondering why your comment was flagged or deleted, consider whether it was ad hominem. (Comments that are vulgar, mocking, or insubstantial will be deleted, too.)

            ...

            You are way over the line. You are not civil, use insults and ad hominems, derail debates, and are all to often breaking SN's TOS. Perhaps you need to take a break for awhile til you can calm down and start posting reasonably again?

          • Jim the Scott

            >You are way over the line. You are not civil, use insults and ad hominems, derail debates, and are all to often breaking SN's TOS. Perhaps you need to take a break for awhile til you can calm down and start posting reasonably again?

            Yer guilty of all these things multiple times. All the criticisms leveled against yer arguments and self defeating style of argument have been just and within the rules. Add to that you openly lied about my opinions of Pope Francis' Encyclical on the Environment. You make up yer own terminology and yer hypocrisy and chutzpah are tedious.

            Laddie boy why are you here? It is not to make the case for Atheism or the case against Catholicism. The later especially since you can't seem to tell the difference between Catholicism and Fundamentalist Baptist Christianity? You are still arguing with the last Young Earth Creationist you bumped heads with and pretending we agree with them & that is just a wee bit mad. You think Animals can be "moral" because they do good? Dr. B himself told you that you lack even a basic understanding of scholasticism and the subject matter at hand. You refuse to learn. If only so you could be a better and more informed Atheist. Instead you willful by yer actions wish to make everybody here think yer foolish. Who does that to themselves? Have ye no pride lad?

            That is not an insult that is an observable fact. These aren't insults. Saying "WCB-2 is stupid" is an insult. Saying "WCB-2 arguments are non-starters because he assumes Catholicism is near identical to Young Earth Creationist Baptist Christianity" is just criticism. Saying it is madness for you to try to convince us the Bible teaches Fundamentalism because you lack the skill and knowledge to attack Catholicism directly is completely just and within the rules.

            Every criticism I give you here is based on yer arguments (or lack there of) and actions. Re-read them yerself. You could be better. But for some mad reason you choose not too. Why is that?

          • BTS

            Ha! I blocked JTS literally after our first engagement. That was over two years ago. Then I stumbled onto some more of his posts in a different forum...let's just say I made a wise decision.

          • WCB

            JtS is for me, a learning experience. I have to consider the ideas he posts on, which helps me develop arguments on what people like JtS say, instead of possible straw man arguments. This leads me to the 'sophisticated theologians' and metaphysicians. each sophisticate apology is a potential idea that is incoherent or wrong or contradicting other claims that helps me see other ways of developing disproofs of God.

            He is a perfect example of somebody who knows enough to be dangerous, mainly to himself. He help leads me to reread people like Aquinas with more care catching things I did not catch years ago, when I did.

            I am not trying to convert him, or change his mind. I am using him as a learning experience, a sort of theological lab rat. Since JtS is a compulsive poster, it quickly leads me to new ideas, new things to read up on, and dissect critically, and thinking about the basics again in a new environment,

            It helps me be more sure I am indeed right and theology is nonsense. There is a lot going on under this particular rock, "sophisticated Catholic theology and metaphysics".

          • Jim the Scott

            >JtS is for me, a learning experience. I have to consider the ideas he posts on, which helps me develop arguments on what people like JtS say, instead of possible straw man arguments.

            If only we could see these developed arguments you would be more interesting. Something better than "God's failure to act is itself [an] act. Thus the claim God is not a moral agent fails. God is a moral agent no matter how God acts in such situations." which is still incoherent gibberish.

            Given that morality entails obligation and you have not shown us how God is to be obligated by anything other than Himself. Also God Goodness, Love, Justice, mercy etc are understood analogously not unequivocally. So far all yer objections taken at face value presuppose these be understood unequivocally. Which is not our view.

            >Since JtS is a compulsive poster, it quickly leads me to new ideas, new things to read up on, and dissect critically, and thinking about the basics again in a new environment,

            I am hoping for that positive effect on you BUT I see little evidence of it. To date the only thing you got right is you managed to show me proof Craig holds a similar view to Davies and doesn't believe God has obligations to His creatures and as an unexpected bonus you showed me he has moved away from voluntaristic Divine Command theory (which is lovely). But it will be some time before we get Craig to Mass.

            >It helps me be more sure I am indeed right and theology is nonsense.

            Except we don't get any of that. Yer tactics to date have been to insist on yer own definitions of our terminology and ignoring ours and hoping we don't notice. Well yeh we do....

            You have the ability there is no excuse for yer low brow arguments. I expect better. Nay I demand it.

          • WCB

            God is said to be good, not as an accidental attribute, but as a necessary and essential quality, part of God's eternal simple nature. All goodness to be found in the Universe essentially is founded on God;s essential good nature.

            Then God is obligated by his perfectly good nature to actualize that goodness. But we are told god does not do that. He is amoral and is excused from actualizing good.

            There are two kind of people. People who will buy that and those who won't and call it what it is, special pleading.

            We live in a Universe where we do not see all that goodness from a perfectly good and all powerful God. The Problem of Evil. This God is not a moral agent but is perfectly good makes no sense.

            It is saving appearances only. It is what one does when the perfectly good God theory clashes with reality. Many people will never buy this, any more than they will buy the tale of Joseph Smith and his golden plates.

            It ends up being God has sovereignty over every thing or has a morality but cannot have both. If he acts morally he loses his sovereignty. This theology uses the claims of sovereignty to abandon God's potential for morality. it is a lousy way to try to finesses the Problem Of Evil.

            In the end, it just makes God evil.

        • WCB

          It looks like Francis has supported the legal status of gay civil unions to give gay couples the same legal rights as a standard marriage. Thus making it acceptable to deny a standard marriage to gays. Of course, in the US states regulate marriages so it is a problem if a state is hostile to such unions, while a neighboring state may be much less hostile to them.

          It is at this point that the "hammer verses" of the Bible such as in Leviticus that make homosexuality a capitol offence, and thus are at the root of Christian hostility against gay marriage.

          Pope Francis seems to imply here that we can ignore such verses in Paul and Leviticus that are problematic to some.

          And underlying that situation is the fact that modern day archaeology has demonstrated Exodus - Joshua as faux history, no Moses on the mount with God including the problematic hammer verses of Leviticus. This then questions the right of a society to ban marriage for gays or to have homophobic policies, based on this faux history of ancient Israel.

  • WCB

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/322805/catholics-backed-sex-marriage-2011.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=syndication

    This just in from Gallup Polling. Surveys from 2016 -2-2- show 69% of American Catholics support gay marriage. 64% of National Adults support gay marriage.

    I am not sure what all of this means except many American Catholics have already moved on over this issue. I get latest Gallup in e-mail so I get new Gallup polls and surveys and this just popped up in e-mail this morning.