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Would America Be Better Off without Religion?

“Too much religion is bad for a country,” asserts Max Boot in a recent Washington Post op-ed. Boot cites a number of indicators—average GDP per capita, unemployment rates, poverty rates, homicide rates, life expectancy, infant mortality, education, and degree of political liberties—that suggest that “less religious nations are much better off.” Indeed, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Japan, some of the least religious nations in the world, rank best in the aforementioned categories, while many of the most religious nations in the world (the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Thailand, India, Nigeria) are among the worst. America represents a unique case in this regard, being both wealthy and developed, but more religious than her Western counterparts. Would she be better off if her religious practice were to decline to levels found elsewhere in the developed world?

An Incomplete Narrative regarding Developed Countries

At first glance, given the stats cited above, one might be inclined to think that religion represents yet one more archaic element of society worthy of being cast off into the dustbin of history. Generally speaking, the most developed, successful, and prosperous nations on earth are the least religious. Moreover, in many areas—such as life expectancy, the rate of children living in single-parent households, and the rate of homicides by firearms—the United States, whose church attendance rates are similar to what they were in 1940, is doing worse than other developed nations that are less religious.

Yet such comparisons need to account for other factors as well. For example, almost every developed country cited as an exemplar for America to follow is suffering from catastrophically low birth rates that endanger each country’s economic viability and socio-cultural stability. And low birth rates are attributed to lifestyle choices associated with economic affluence, accessibility to contraception, and a lack of religious observance (practicing religious families tend to have more children). Those who argue that immigration can solve the economic problem find that it can further aggravate the socio-cultural stability problem, and that once immigrants settle, their birth rates soon decline to that of their host country. This in turn can become a serious political and security issue, as rising violence and radicalism in the United KingdomFrance, and Sweden demonstrate. Having high life expectancy and low unemployment and poverty doesn’t do a nation much good if it’s on the way to a population collapse.

Besides a demographic crisis, developed countries are experiencing unprecedented levels of social isolation, depression, and loneliness. South Korea, Belgium, and Japan have some of the highest suicide rates in the world. In contrast, some of the most religious countries rank as some of the least suicidal in the world: Papua New Guinea (119th), the Philippines (159th), and Pakistan (169th), for example. In Japan, in turn, there is an increasing phenomenon of “Kodokushi,” where elderly people die alone and remain undiscovered for long periods of time. Elsewhere, former British Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 established a “minister for loneliness,” because more than 9 million people in the UK—about 14 percent of the population—“often or always feel lonely.” Government research found that about 200,000 older people in Britain “had not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month.”

These trends are compounded by the proliferation of socially isolating, addicting forms of entertainment like pornographyvideo games, social media, and smartphones that affect rising numbers of Westerners. Between 5 to 8 percent of the adult population in the United States is either addicted to pornography or engages in what the medical community assesses as excessive porn use. Numbers are estimated to be similar in the United Kingdom. Millions of Americans are classified as having compulsive video-game behavior, while there is increasing scientific consensus that handheld digital technology is similarly dangerous in its addictive qualities. Being well-educated and living longer may not be so great if one lives depressed and suffering from compulsive addictions, then dies alone and forgotten.

Religion Isn’t Just Good for the Soul

Many are familiar with the plethora of scientific research that demonstrates that those who engage in religious or spiritual activities have better health than those who do not. As researchers at the Mayo Clinic concluded: “Most studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, including greater longevity, coping skills, and health-related quality of life (even during terminal illness) and less anxiety, depression, and suicide. Several studies have shown that addressing the spiritual needs of the patient may enhance recovery from illness.”

Yet religious observance also has significant beneficial effects across a host of sociological categories. University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox has argued:

On average, religion is a clear force for good when it comes to family unity and the welfare of children—the most important aspects of our day-to-day lives. Research, some of it my own, indicates that, on average, Americans who regularly attend services at a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque are less likely to cheat on their partners; less likely to abuse them; more likely to enjoy happier marriages; and less likely to have been divorced.

Data collected by the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey, in turn, demonstrate that Americans who regularly attend religious services are more likely to report that they are “very happy” in their marriages when compared to those who rarely or never attend.

Research also indicates that religious parents spend more time with their children, including eating dinner with their children, doing chores together, and attending events with their children. Religious parents also more frequently praise and show affection to their school-aged children. Children from religious families, presumably as a consequence, are “rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills, and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents,” according to a nationally representative study of more than 16,000 American children.

It’s likely that these many positive indicators have something to do with the nature of much religious teaching itself, which promotes faithfulness, sacrifice, and care for one’s family. It’s also just as reasonable to conclude that religious experience acts as a social adhesive, binding people to one another both in families and in larger social networks and communities. Indeed, scientific research indicates that those who are involved in social activities, regardless of whether or not those activities are explicitly religious in nature, have longer lives, better physical and mental health, and a lower risk of dementia. One study, which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that a lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50 percent. This is comparable to the increased mortality risk caused by smoking up to fifteen cigarettes a day. It’s no real surprise, then, that those whose piety possesses a social component are generally healthier, happier, and better contributors to positive familial and social outcomes.

A Successful West Was Not Always Areligious

The secularization of the developed world must also be placed within a broader historical narrative. For centuries before the Enlightenment, anti-clericalism, modernity, and postmodernity took their toll on Western religious faith and practice, European nations were both highly pious and successful across many indicators. Beginning in the medieval era and quickening after the Renaissance, medical, educational, and technological developments in the West outpaced those in the rest of the world by significant margins. Indeed, the European colonial powers that dominated the globe beginning in the sixteenth century—England, France, Spain, and Portugal—all aggressively sought to extend their faiths to the peoples they conquered. Moreover, church attendance and explicitly Christian political movements remained strong in many Western countries (e.g. Germany, Canada, Ireland) into the post–World War II era.

Certainly the West has become less religious since the Enlightenment, though that narrative can obscure significant periods of religious revival in the West since the French Revolution. There were revivals in Victorian England, in Le Réveil and the post-Napoleonic revival of German Catholicism on the European continent, and in the Second and Third Great Awakenings in the United States. It is more accurate to speak of the acceleration of that secularization process across the West in the last two generations, which is several centuries after Western nations and their culture came to dominate the globe.

Rather than perceive some Western nations as increasingly better off as they shed the last vestiges of religious practice, I propose an alternative perspective. Increasingly secularized Western nations continue to enjoy the many benefits of their religious inheritance, such as consciences informed by Judeo-Christian beliefs about justice and atonement, and civic participation informed by Judeo-Christian teachings about personal obligation. Counter-intuitively, these transcendent qualities of faith, which eschew utilitarian aims for a greater purpose, are what create the circumstances for greater material well-being. Yet the West is exhausting that religio-socio-political capital, rejecting transcendent reality in favor of materialistic decadence and self-absorption, as Ross Douthat has argued in his recent book.

This is the great irony of the Jewish and Christian faith traditions. One must be willing to accept suffering and sacrifice for a greater purpose that transcends one’s particular material and sensual needs and desires. As Christ declared: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24–25). Dostoevsky begins his literary masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov—a tale of suffering, sacrifice, and repentance—with this verse precisely because he perceived in its promise a mysterious redemptive power capable of changing the world.

Driven by the popular chant “Hey, hey, Western Civ has got to go!” Americans have increasingly forgotten that it was the Church that fostered the very best of our civilization and culture. This includes its greatest art, architecture, and music; its economic and civic vitality; its intellectual curiosity and scientific method. Moreover, as Fulton J. Sheen argued, “Religion’s service to democracy is secondary and indirect; that is, by concentrating on spiritualizing the souls of men, it will diffuse through political society an increased service of justice and charity rooted in God.” Only a return to the “First Things” of religious faith and practice can prevent the West—and especially America—from confronting the same dilemmas that face less religious Western nations.

Originally appeared at The Public Discourse. Reposted with permission.

Casey Chalk

Written by

Casey Chalk is a student at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Theology at Christendom College, and a regular contributor at The American Conservative and New Oxford Review. He received a B.A. in history and a masters in teaching from the University of Virginia.

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  • God Hates Faith

    Religion is far too broad of a term.

    A better question: Would America be better off without superstition (including the superstition taught by religion)?

    • Mark

      Baseball without superstitions? That's un-American. You obviously don't know the value of a wearing a woman's garter to extend a winning streak.

      Maybe you don't know Catholics teaching on superstition from the Catechism:

      Superstition:

      2111 Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of
      the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we
      offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way
      magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute
      the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external
      performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is
      to fall into superstition.

      Not a better question. It's a false equivocation of God as and superstition as Catholics understand the terms.

      • God Hates Faith

        Definition of "superstition" -- every religion other than mine ; )

        • Art Davison

          Har Har! Absolutely true.

          • Art Davison

            It's annoying that these Xtians quote chapter and verse from the Holey Babble as if it were true, instead of the collection of myths, contradictions and historical impossibilities that it is.

          • Ben Champagne

            Very astute and on topic observation!

            The irony.

    • OMG

      A religion is not the church a man goes to but the cosmos he lives in.
      ~ Chesterton

      • Joseph Noonan

        The same holds true with superstition. Superstitions can define the way people see the world around them and are often directly connected to beliefs about the cosmos.

        • OMG

          I'll leave you to fear the black cat owned by a nag, a full moon bearing down on you, under a ladder, on a sidewalk crack, looking for a pot of gold at rainbow's end. All the best to you too!

          • Joseph Noonan

            I don't think you understood my comment. I wasn't endorsing superstition - I was criticizing your comment in defense of religion.

          • OMG

            I understood your comment perfectly well. You said that superstition 'holds true' the same as religion, that both define the way people see the world.

            The cosmos of the Catholic faith is completely comprehensible, realistic and reasonable, offering love and hope and everlasting life to humanity.

            Young children recognize superstition as nonsense. It even lacks a sense of humor. No other redeeming quality recommends it.

          • Joseph Noonan

            I did not say that superstition "holds true". I said that Chesterton's quote holds true for superstition just as much as it does for religion.
            The cosmos of superstitious beliefs is perfectly self-consistent, despite having no evidence for it and being contradicted by evidence whenever there is any. That's more than I can say for Catholicism. Catholicism is not comprehensible - even the Church admits that many of its doctrines are "mysteries" beyond human comprehension, and some doctrines, like the Trinity, are flat-out logical contradictions. Catholicism isn't realistic - I'd hardly call someone rising from the dead, all of God's other alleged miracles in the Bible, or all humans coming from one first couple realistic. No explanation that has ever been put forward to explain why God allows so much suffering, why Hell exists, why God doesn't just reveal himself to everyone to make sincere non-belief impossible, or why the crucifixion was necessary for God to forgive humanity is even close to realistic. None of the events that religions claim have occurred or the things that religion claims exist are anything like what we encounter in real life, so they aren't realistic. Catholicism is not reasonable either. Catholicism makes many extraordinary claims but provides virtually no evidence for any of them. And of course, it is never reasonable to believe in a contradiction.
            Not all children recognize superstition as nonsense. For most children, it seems like they'll believe in whatever superstition their parents tell them, like Santa, the Easter bunny, etc. Even many adults don't recognize superstition as nonsense. Otherwise, I wouldn't see shops that advertise psychics and magic salt lamps when I go downtown. But even if everyone recognized non-religious superstitions as nonsense, I would hardly say that puts religion in a better position. That would just mean that the difference between religion and superstition is strength in numbers.

            Religion doesn't seem to have a sense of humor, either. As for other redeeming qualities, religion can make people feel better about death and daily stressors, and it can give them social support, but none of those are reasons to believe in it.

          • OMG

            Of course you now say that you did not say what you earlier said. Got it.

          • Joseph Noonan

            No, I now say that I didn't say something because I never said it. Read my earlier comment, and tell me where it says, "Superstition holds true." It doesn't. It says, "The same holds true for superstition," referring to the quote about how religion defines someone's world.

          • Art Davison

            Sorry Joseph, but this is the first time I've read your commentary carefully, and I must say you've put your argument much better than I could have, and I couldn't agree more.

          • Jim the Scott

            The Trinity is a "flate out logical contradiction"? A contradiction is (at least to rational beings not infected with Modal Logic & who don't comprehend elementary scholastic definitions) to claim something is X and Not X at the same time and in the same relation. The Trinity is One in Essence and Three in Subsisting Divine Relations. So it is One in one sense and Three in another. So how can there be a flat out logical contradiction?

            This is as lame as yer confusing the rationalist PSR with the Scholastic reformulation. But I am not surprised the lack of intellectual rigor is a plague on today's New Atheism. At least the Atheists of Chesterton's where far more intellectually respectable.

          • Joseph Noonan

            at least to rational beings not infected with Modal Logic

            Don't make me laugh.

            A contradiction is toclaim something is X and Not X at the same time and in the same relation.

            That is only the definition of an explicit contradiction. Under this definition, you wouldn't even be able to call a square circle a contradiction.
            "A = B, B = C, but A ≠ C" is a logical contradiction, since it entails that both A = C and A ≠ C. If you agree with this diagram, then you believe in that same contradiction. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9c0d8213136c9d7b78b9db20be1a3ba885a9664367b1655689efe6fb1305fba3.gif

          • Jim the Scott

            >That is only the definition of an explicit contradiction. Under this definition, you wouldn't even be able to call a square circle a contradiction.

            No a logical contradiction is to claim X and Not X at the same time and in the same relation you are talking about a formal contradiction. Given we know what the forms of a Square and circle are we can know saying something is a Square Circle is a formal contradiction.

            God or the Divine Essence is by definition incomprehensible so you cannot have a provable formal contradiction in regards to the Trinity.

            >"A = B, B = C, but A ≠ C" is a logical contradiction, since it entails that both A = C and A ≠ C.

            True.

            >If you agree with this diagram, then you believe in that same contradiction.

            How so the diagram shows the Persons are the same God but not each other as Persons? For there to be a contradiction you need to show there are three persons who are one person or three Gods who are one God. That is not what the diagram shows unless you wish to equivocate God being personal (he has intellect and will which are attributes of His essence) with the subsisting divine relations/persons which we do not do.

            You can only make a "contradiction" by redefining the Trinity. You have done enough of that with the PSR.

          • Joseph Noonan

            No a logical contradiction is to claim X and Not X at the same time and in the same relation you are talking about a formal contradiction.

            Repeating the same claim that I just addressed does nothing to make your argument any better. You are simply refusing to acknowledge that "contradiction" can be used with a wider scope to refer to anything that entails an explicit contradiction. Even if you were right, that would be extremely pedantic.

            Given we know what the forms of a Square and circle are we can know saying something is a Square Circle is a formal contradiction.

            Saying that something is a square circle isn't saying that it is both X and not X. To say that would be to say something like, "It is square and not square". The reason that we call a square circle a contradiction is that we can derive an explicit contradiction from it.

            If you agree with the diagram, then you have a contradiction just like the example I gave of "A = B, B = C, but A ≠ C". You have, "The Father is God, and God is the Son, but the Father is not the Sun." But it is a basic law of logic that, if X is Y, and Y is Z, then X is Z, i.e. that identity is transitive. There's your contradiction. A pretty glaring one, too.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Repeating the same claim that I just addressed does nothing to make your argument any better.

            But you agreed with this claim? You gave me altered transitive principle of logic that amounted to the same thing. Yer words "A = B, B = C, but A ≠ C" is a logical contradiction, since it entails that both A = C and A ≠ C."EMD QUOTE

            That is the same thing. Both are logical contradictions. So you don't believe yer own words? Wow you are bad at this!

            >Saying that something is a square circle isn't saying that it is both X and not X.

            But you are the one who argued it is a logical contradiction and you gave me a formal contradiction as an example? Why? Yer initial claim was the Trinity is a clear logical contradiction yet yer "rebuttal" was to give an example of a formal contradiction? That makes no sense. Are you just playing with words?

            I don't think you really have a coherent argument against the Trinity. You just want to write words in a salad.

            >To say that would be to say something like, "It is square and not square". The reason that we call a square circle a contradiction is that we can derive an explicit contradiction from it.

            No to claim something is a "square and not a square at the same time and in the same relation" is a logical contradiction. You really have to stop with the sophistry I am not impressed.

            >The reason that we call a square circle a contradiction is that we can derive an explicit contradiction from it.

            No it is because we are familiar with the forms of the Square and Circle and know something can't be both at the same time and in the same sense.
            Obviously a FLATLANDER who can shape-shift can be both but not at the same time.

            Wow you really don't understand contradictions do ya?

            >If you agree with the diagram, then you have a contradiction just like the example I gave of "A = B, B = C, but A ≠ C".

            Clearly you don't understand the diagram or the doctrine.

            This is just argument by ad hoc assertion & self serving redefinition. There can be no provable formal contradiction because we can't know what God is as God. There can be no logical contradiction because God is three in one sense i.e. distinct persons and One in another sense in essence. So really repeating yerself here is just sad.

            >You have, "The Father is God, and God is the Son, but the Father is not the Son."

            Nope the Father is God essence and the Son is God in essence but the Father is not the Person of the Son etc. So no logical contradiction. For there to be a logical contradiction requires we believe the Father is the same person as the son and not the same person as the son. Which of course is nothing like the doctrine of the Trinity.

            You cannot win this argument making up yer own doctrine of the Trinity the Fathers of Nicaea would balk at and using rhetorical slight of hand.

            > But it is a basic law of logic that, if X is Y, and Y is Z, then X is Z, i.e. that identity is transitive.

            Except that only applies to the divine essence & original claim was it was a logical contradiction. This "law of logic" has no application here.

            The Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. Nobody is claiming the Father is the same person as the Son or the same person as the spirit as that is not the doctrine.

            So yer "contradition" (which you once called a logical contradiction and have now abandoned it) is manufactured and a straw man.

            Nice try. Sorry I am lying that was a horrible try.

          • michael

            Saying "yer" to people like that is slangy and gives the impression that you are angry redneck with a confederate flag on your wall. Christianity obviously has not made you happy at all.

          • Jim the Scott

            So ye haven't realized by now by telling me not to do it I want to do it all the more? Yer still not learning laddie. I don't know what to do with ye?

          • Jim the Scott

            >That is only the definition of an explicit contradiction. Under this definition, you wouldn't even be able to call a square circle a contradiction.

            No a logical contradiction is to claim X and Not X at the same time and in the same relation you are talking about a formal contradiction. Given we know what the forms of a Square and circle are we can know saying something is a Square Circle is a formal contradiction.

            God or the Divine Essence is by definition incomprehensible so you cannot have a provable formal contradiction in regards to the Trinity.

            >"A = B, B = C, but A ≠ C" is a logical contradiction, since it entails that both A = C and A ≠ C.

            True.

            >If you agree with this diagram, then you believe in that same contradiction.

            How so the diagram shows the Persons are the same God but not each other as Persons? For there to be a contradiction you need to show there are three persons who are one person or three Gods who are one God. That is not what the diagram shows unless you wish to equivocate God being personal (he has intellect and will which are attributes of His essence) with the subsisting divine relations/persons which we do not do.

            You can only make a "contradiction" by redefining the Trinity. You have done enough of that with the PSR.

            Also a Divine Person is defined as a "Subsisting Divine Relation" and a Divine Relation is defined as a real distinction subsisting in God. One that is neither a real physical or metaphysical distinction but a mysterious real distinction.

            You being a theological illiterate think Person is literal and unequivocally the same as what a human person is. Yeh that is another mistake.

          • Art Davison

            You said it Joe - well put!

          • Art Davison

            The Catholic Faith is completely realistic? Bread and Wine turn into the flesh and blood of a man dead for 2000 years, and his mother is a demi-god who was a virgin when she bore her son. (a theme coincidentally found in numerous older religions)

          • OMG

            First, the Catholic faith does not teach that Mary is a demi-god. She is purely human.

            The person Jesus Christ who rose from the dead said that the bread he took, blessed, broke and gave to his disciples to eat was His flesh. He told us to do the same in His memory. His life history is filled with good deeds and many miracles. Disbelieve at your own risk and may God bless you.

          • Art Davison

            nd we know Jesus said this because someone wrote it down 30 or 40 years after it supposedly happened. The only verification for any of his utterances is the Holey Babble, which is full of errors, contradictions and historical impossibilities.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Disbelieve at your own risk

            Threatening me isn't a good way to get me to believe in something, especially when the threat is something I don't believe in either. I assume the same holds true for Art.

          • OMG

            Perceiving that sentence as a threat shows who has reason to fear. HINT: It isn't me.

          • David Nickol

            Perceiving that sentence as a threat shows who has reason to fear. HINT: It isn't me.

            If "Disbelieve at your own risk" isn't a threat, it's something very close—a warning, I suppose. The question is, What motivates the giving of such a warning? Is it genuine concern for others motivated by Christian charity? Or is it a way of saying, "I'm right, and even if I'm not winning this argument, I have the satisfaction of knowing you will pay for daring to disagree with me"?

          • OMG

            It is a genuine concern for others motivated by Christian charity. Everlasting happiness is at risk.

          • Joseph Noonan

            I never said that you have reason to fear. But saying things like, "Disbelieve at your own risk," is obviously an attempt to invoke fear to get your point across. I'm just telling you why it doesn't work.

          • OMG

            Fear requires an object or reason. Obviously the words in my post were interpreted as "an attempt to invoke fear." I see no reason and no object (person, place or thing) to fear.

          • Joseph Noonan

            I didn't say you had a reason to fear. Quite to the contrary, I said that no one has a reason to fear, despite your attempt to invoke fear in nonbelievers.

          • Art Davison

            Sorry Joseph, I missed you comment, but yes, I feel the same as you do about superstition, including religion.

          • Art Davison

            Mary is revered in Catholicism as more than mere a saint,and prayed to.
            How do we know all these things that Jesus supposedly said and did? It's recorded only in the Holey Babble, written down by unknown scribes decades afterward, so how is it possile to know exactly what transpired?

          • Art Davison

            Your Gawd is going to sentence me to eternal damnation because I don't believe in him? Nice guy. If believing in him is the criterium, it makes him an egotist.

          • OMG

            Art - I'll respond to your three comments in one.

            How do you know what "Gawd" is doing to do? Do you know what you or I will do tomorrow?
            If I believe in you, are you an egotist? Where's the logic?

            God is the final object of prayer. Mary is an intercessor. Assume you've just finished a long day's labor but finally settle down in the family room to read the newspaper but you've forgotten to retrieve the paper from wherever your wife has left it. You ask your child to ask your wife to give the paper to the child to give to you.

            We know the things that Jesus did and said because of the great significance and miraculous nature of his life. He healed people with lifelong hemorrhages, those without sight or hearing or speech, leprosy, those crippled and those suffering obsession by demons or mental illness. He fed over 5000 people from 7 loaves and 2 fish. He restored the ear of the soldier which Peter had sliced.

            Thucydides, Herodotus, Livy, and other historians recorded the lives of leaders and of nations prior to the time of Jesus. The thinking of philosophers and mathematicians who lived prior to Jesus is recorded; we don't discount the thought of someone simply because their history was written after they passed. That is the nature of biography and memoir. History is by nature a record of something after its occurrence; otherwise, it isn't history, right?

            Can you give a couple examples where the Bible contradicts itself?

            A virgin bearing a son is a physical impossibility. Therefore, its occurrence signals a highly unusual, 'super' natural event. The Old Testament had predicted that and many other occurrences so that the Hebrew people would have hope and would believe in their God fulfilling His promise, sending a Messiah, coming from the ranks of the Chosen people.

          • Art Davison

            According to the Holey Babble, which is the source of your beliefs, "Believe in Me" is absolutely necessary to be saved. Sounds like egotism to me.

            Mary is a cut above your average saint, so I called her a demi-god.

            You say "We know the things Jesus said and did because of the great significance and miraculous nature of his life." but the only souurce of your information is the "Bible", and the stories about him were not written down for 30 or 40 years after they supposedly took place; we don't know the true identity of the authors; and the stories about him are different in all four gospels. Except for a couple of minor mentions by other historians who merely repeated stories they had heard, there is no mention of Jesus anywhere except in the "Bible".

            "A virgin bearing a son is a physical impossibility." Right! Since we have no proof, it obviously never happened.

            The historians you mention are well known and the information they present is confirmable. Also, they don't quote others verbatum or relate stories that are impossibilities (miracles)

            I've read compilations of errors and contradictions found in the "Bible", but the only one I remember is early in Genesis. In one place Gawd creates Adam and Eve at the same time from dust of the earth. Elsewhere he creates Adam first, then later decides he needs a companion, so makes Eve from Adam's rib.

            Also, Cain killed Able, then went to the land of Nod, married, had a son, and founded a city. If Adam and Eve were the first people and the progenitors of all humans, where did the people in Nod come from, and how come there were enough of them to fill a city?

          • OMG

            Art - I see no contradictions in the Biblical accounts you cite. I do see problems with inaccurate statements about the writing of ancient history and mention of Jesus.

            Creation of Adam and Eve: Both Genesis accounts say that God made man. The first states the basic fact; the second repeats the first then adds details as to how and why God created Eve.
            Genesis 1:27 - God created man in his image....Male and female he created them.
            Genesis 2:7: Then the Lord God formed man out of the dust....and 2:18-24 - The Lord God said, "It is not good that the man is alone;...

            Cain in Nod: Scripture does not describe Nod as a populous city at the time Cain wandered there. The word "Nod" in Hebrew means "wanderer" or "wandering" so the name likely derived from Cain, and the city developing from Cain's descendants. Cain's wife was likely a descendent of Adam and Eve, a cousin, a sisters, or a niece to Cain.

            Jesus in History: The argument that Jesus is not mentioned in other contemporaneous historical documents besides Scripture is simply not true. The Jewish historian Josephus records facts about Jesus. Roman historians Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Plutarch all wrote about him. Paul wrote his letters a mere 25 years after the time of Christ; plenty of people would have been alive and contemporaneous with the life of Jesus to have informed Paul and the Gospel authors.

            Finally, the statement that facts mentioned by other ancient historians can be verified is not true. Words and speeches of many figures quoted by Herodotus are paraphrased after passing through oral tradition. The words and speeches are not direct quotes. As with the words of Jesus, they derive from oral tradition and memories of people who had lived contemporaneously.

          • Art Davison

            It's certainly easy to say that the second biblical account of the creation of Adam and Eve is simply a clarification of the first but why was that necessary?
            Here's another contradiction:-
            The women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples (Matthew 28:8).
            When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others (Luke 24:9).
            Or did they? Mark has a different ending.
            Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (Mark 16:8)

            Historical references to Jesus (Wikipedia account):-

            Scholars differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the biblical accounts, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. Jesus scholars typically contend that he was a Galilean Jew and living in a time of messianic and apocalyptic expectations.
            The portraits of Jesus that have been constructed in these processes have often differed from each other, and from the image portrayed in the gospel accounts.[18] These portraits include that of Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, charismatic healer, Cynic philosopher, Jewish messiah, prophet of social change,and rabbi but there is little scholarly agreement on a single portrait,
            (Nowhere are there any direct quotations of Jesus' utterances, the lack of which is what I was referring to)

            As for Cain's marriage, you are readinng things into the Babble that aren't there. The biblical account is as follows:-
            "And Cain went out from the Lord's presence and dwelled in the land of Nod east of Eden. 17And Cain knew his wife and she conceived and bore Enoch. Then he became the builder of a city and he called the name of the city like his son's name, Enoch." There is no indication as to where Cain's wife came from , so it must have been Nod. And nothing about where enough people came from to populate a city.

          • David Nickol

            While you may be able to unsettle some of the more "conservative" believers on this site by pointing out discrepancies and contradictions in the Bible, some of the best sources to discover such "problems" are good translations and commentaries, including ones by major Catholic scholars. The New American Bible (Revised Second Edition), which is the official Bible for American Catholics (approved by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops), while not the most "liberal" of commentaries, doesn't try to hide or explain away discrepancies. As others have often pointed out on this site, "Catholics are not fundamentalists." While some here have "fundamentalist tendencies," the more informed a person is about modern biblical scholarship, the less unsettled they will be by the kind of discrepancies you are endeavoring to point out.

            Peerhaps some people who actually heard Jesus speak were still alive when the gospels were written, but to rmember exact words for 30 or 40 years and repeat them verbatim is too much to expect - we know how notoriously unnreliable the human memory can be.

            I certainly believe the stories about Jesus were passed down orally and were subject to modifications, but remember that we today live in an entirely different culture than the Jews of first-century Palestine. Studies have been done of cultures in which important information is passed along orally, and oral transmission can be quite accurate. It occurs to me at this moment that I can still remember (decades later) the words to silly or grotesque songs we sang as kids that I am quite sure I never saw written down.

          • BTS

            Studies have been done of cultures in which important information is passed along orally, and oral transmission can be quite accurate.

            Hi David,
            I can recall Bart Ehrman in the last several years came to the opposite conclusion in one of his books. I can't recall which one now, but I've seen several videos/debates/podcasts where he states he went in to his research thinking he'd come to the same conclusion you posted, but he essentially was surprised to find that oral cultures are not that concerned with accurate transmission but rather with conveying merely "the gist."

            I need to get you a source for this...I'll dig around in my bookmarks and notes.

          • David Nickol

            Thanks for the links. My subscription to Bart Ehrman's blog expired some time ago, but I agree that it is worth the money (which goes to charity anyway), so I signed up again.

            The point I wanted to make to Art Davison was not so much the degree of accuracy of transmission in oral cultures, but rather that we don't today live in an oral culture, so one has to remember that something like the teachings of Jesus would have been passed on differently back then. If contemporary scholars are correct, the Gospels weren't written based on the decades-old memories of evangelists. They were written based on oral tradition passed on from generation to generation. Of course it's not the equivalent of videotapes or contemporary written records. But it's not as if a handful of people forty to seventy years after the fact decided to search their memories and write down what they had scarcely thought about for decades. Jesus was remembered by a community,not by a handful of evangelists.

          • BTS

            David, you make good points and I agree that "They were written based on oral tradition passed on from generation to generation."

            Ruminations...
            I do wonder about that "generation to generation" aspect...I was not at Woodstock (not born yet), but if my parents did attend and then attempted to pass on their memories to me...how might I describe Jimmie Hendrix's entire performance or perhaps merely his rendition of "The Star-Spangled banner" having never actually heard it? I would probably be telling a story that did not match up well with the actual event.

          • Art Davison

            Well, we've likely all played the parlor game where you whisper a phrase to the person next to you, and it continues around the room, person to person, and when it gets back to you, it's usually unrecognizable. Same thing with passing exact wordings from generation to generation.

          • Rob Abney

            The only difference is the parlor game likely involves alcohol and flirting, whereas the generational transfer of knowledge involves serious life preserving information and it doesn’t have to be whispered.

          • Art Davison

            Before passing Jesus' sermons verbatim to the next generation, some time must pass, perhaps 10 or 15 years, during which memories tend to fade and become distorted, and then the act of passing itself causes errors. We know how unreliable human memory is - just think of the differing versions of a crime or accident that different witnesses can swear to.

          • OMG

            Wikipedia's scholars do not agree on a single 'professional' portrait of Jesus because he was the supreme being, all good, all perfect in all professions. He was simultaneously prophet, healer, philosopher, Messiah, and rabbi. Savior. God. People fill multiple roles and professions. Why can't God?

            As for memory of words spoken verbatim, people distinctly remember words and deeds which are unusual, significant, and filled with meaning. Think about your child's first phrases or first smiles, your first love's words and settings and how she looked, the last words and deeds of relatives who have passed. Jesus performed a multitude of miracles. The religious and secular leaders of his day intensely feared and detested him and his teachings. His teachings were such a threat to their power they KILLED him. Then he went and arose from their death. Had any other man done such a thing? No. The words of Jesus were like our coronavirus for which there is no cure. His words, like our coronavirus, continue to resurface in waves of multitudes of disciples. Of course people remember his words and deeds, and that is why we repeat them today.

            The resurrection accounts do not contradict one another. All mention that the fearful women fled in haste from the tomb. Mark's account meshes with Matthew's and Luke's if we consider that the women told no one ON THE WAY to the disciples and the other believers.

            Finally, you say, "There is no indication as to where Cain's wife came from , so it must have been Nod." Scripture does not say she came from Nod. She could have easily come from wherever Cain had been prior to Nod. Scripture says only that Cain knew his wife in Nod. "Knew" in the OT sense means they had sexual intercourse. There is no evidence for Cain's wife having come from Nod.

          • Art Davison

            The Holey Babble is the only place that Jesus' miracles and resurrection are mentioned. No historians living at that time recorded anything about them. If you insist on believing that everything written in it is the truth, then we have nothing further to discuss.

          • David Nickol

            As for memory of words spoken verbatim, people distinctly remember words and deeds which are unusual, significant, and filled with meaning.

            Let's not forget that we have no verbatim quotes of Jesus, because Jesus spoke Aramaic, and everything we have is in Greek.

            His teachings were such a threat to their power they KILLED him.

            Then why did they not kill the apostles?

          • OMG

            Tradition says that except for John, all the other apostles were martyred.

          • David Nickol

            That would be tradition with a lowercase t, which is not necessarily historically accurate.

            Implicit in my question was why didn't "they" (those who killed Jesus) round up and kill his closest followers? I am no expert on the stories about the apostles, but I believe for the most part they are alleged to have been martyred in countries where they went as missionaries, outside the grasp of either the Romans or the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem.

          • OMG

            As something handed down, handed on to future generations, tradition is the raw material of Church Tradition.

            After the arrest of Jesus, prior to the crucifixion, Peter is accused of knowing or of being a follower of Jesus. Peter denies knowing the man. (Matthew 26:69ff, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:19-27). We aren't told why, but it seems reasonable to assume that Peter hoped to avoid a similar fate of imprisonment and sentencing to a more fearful fate.

            Prior to the dispersal of the disciples to other areas, as you note, they remained in Jerusalem as Jesus had instructed, awaiting the 'paraclete' he said he'd send. They gathered in the upper room with the doors locked, in fear, presumably in fear for their lives. Only after Pentecost were they bold enough to speak and to travel beyond their locked doors, out into Jerusalem and beyond. Whether the reach of the Roman Empire factored into their choice of destination is not mentioned as anything the disciples considered. Rather, they did as Jesus had instructed and as the Holy Spirit led them.

            For details, sources and notes on trustworthiness, see http://www.overviewbible.com/how-did-the-apostles-die

          • Art Davison

            I believe the Romans were in the habit of killing the charismatic leaders of unwanted cults, which usually eliminated the seriousness of the problem

          • michael

            There are contradicting stories about the deaths/burials of half the apostles.

          • BTS

            Even Sean McDowell, superhero apologist, puts the numbers of Apostles for whom we can ascertain certain martyrdom very low. The traditions to which you refer are not verifiable. Peter and Paul get a high probability score and the rest of the gang's scores fall off from there.

            https://youtu.be/9CHV6dXZRUc

          • Rob Abney

            Isn't James' martydom documented in the bible? (couldn't watch the hour long video right now) Acts 12:2

          • BTS

            Watch the video. Paulogia and McDowell have some disagreements on the definition of martyrdom and they disagree on James. He was murdered but it may have been political, not religious. Gospels are unclear. Was he murdered for preaching about Jesus and given a chance to recant? Unclear. Like I said, Peter and Paul get the highest probability, then I think there's two more who are reasonably high scores, then the rest get lower and lower.

            The overall point is that it is not even close to 12/12 apostles "getting murdered for preaching about Jesus, having been given a chance to recant and then having refused that chance."

            McDowell admits it is not a great argument to use for apologetics, but rather "one data point..."

            Edit: here is the podcast that started off the entire debate for these two guys, who, by the way, have a very cordial relationship:

            https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Are-martyred-apostles-good-evidence-for-the-resurrection-Sean-McDowell-vs-Paulogia

          • OMG

            I don't know Sean McDowell but I doubt he is a superhero!

            We cannot specifically and positively verify many things, and that is why we believe or we doubt. I listened to only a small part of the debate between Paulogia and McDowell posted by Biola U. on YouTube, but McDowell still posits reasons for belief in apostle martyrdom despite the dearth of evidence. Both the OT and the NT have persecutions or death sentences because of religious beliefs or practices at odds with the ruling authorities or the established religion held by the majority. The Macchabees, John the Baptist, Jesus, James. Crucifixions in the Roman Empire were not unusual. For the first three centuries after Christ, Christians were persecuted, martyred, and blamed for things not provably their fault. It seems reasonable to assume apostle martyrdom probably occurred.

            We believe much of what we cannot verify, and so we listen to the experience and evidence of others. Did the Greeks really fight the Trojan War? What happened at Pompei? What about Atlantis? Aristotle has reportedly said (so I believe as it comports with all else I've heard about him): "He who wishes to learn must believe." We cannot know much of anything totally, completely, positively.

          • David Nickol

            The (or my) original question was why weren't any of the apostles arrested and crucified with Jesus. I know I have read speculation on this topic, but I don't remember where or when, and I can find nothing after a fair amount of searching. I suppose almost all the effort in biblical scholarship goes into determining what happened and why, not into what didn't happen and why not.

          • Rob Abney

            Have you also researched why a leaf is green rather than scarlet? Or why snow is white rather than black?
            You would benefit from GK Chesterton’s fairyland rather than Bart Ehrman’s blog.

          • David Nickol

            You would benefit from GK Chesterton’s fairyland rather than Bart Ehrman’s blog.

            Why can't I read both?

          • Rob Abney

            Principle of non contradiction.

          • BTS

            I have heard this argument so many times I cannot even begin to count. It is not a good argument; this type of epistemology has no way of separating bad explanations from good ones.

            We believe much of what we cannot verify,

            Then why aren't you a Mormon? You should believe what you cannot verify, according to your epistemology. Or a Buddhist? You are obviously using some line of skepticism to rule those out, and then relying on confirmation bias to rule Christianity 'in.' You and I are both using skepticism but are just drawing the line in different places.

            I don't have time to go through your argument line by line but I'll take on the Trojan war example:

            Did the Greeks really fight the Trojan War?

            Historically it is very probable there was a dispute over the Bosporus, yes. (probably many disputes) The historical details are in doubt. The city of "Troy" as depicted has not, to my knowledge been officially found. There are ancient cities several layers deep, I believe, but nothing matching Homer's epics. Historians can put probabilities on all of this by using evidence. They would LOVE to have more evidence of Troy, no doubt.

            Now, was the Trojan war influenced the the greek gods? I presume you are using some form of skeptical thinking to say no. Historians would say we cannot adjudicate such matters. It's not the realm of history. But most educated people would laugh at the possibility that actual greek gods such as Zeus were involved at all.

            Also, I believe there was a Trojan war, but then some new evidence arises to show there was no Trojan war, I have not lost anything. I have no stake in the matter. I find it interesting but I am not vested. So I don't believe in the Trojan war the same way I believe in a god.

            These are not good comparisons.

            If we find out that Caesar did not write the Gallic wars, who cares? If it was really his aid who wrote the Gallic wars, it is no skin off my back. Someone wrote the Gallic wars, and it was probably Caesar, maybe not, but so what? The texts are still interesting and we don't lose anything for being wrong.
            There's really nothing at stake. But historians would put a high probability on their being sufficient reason to say Caesar wrote the Gallic wars.

            Religious claims also need sufficient reason and many don't think there is sufficient reason to think all the apostles died as martyrs. I'm not saying anyone can prove otherwise, but just that there's not much evidence, so I am justified in not taking the claims as holy writ.

            Edit:
            If god exists and is omni-benevolent, he wants us to use our skeptical reasoning powers to rule out bad explanations and to be intelligent decision makers. I don't think he will fault different people for drawing the lines in different places.

          • Ficino

            It seems reasonable to assume apostle martyrdom probably occurred.

            From an assumption about martyr stories even less well historically evidenced than the gospel stories, you are concluding that the gospel stories are to be accepted as historically accurate. The claim that the apostles would not have died for what they knew was a lie rests on a very shaky basis.

            I assume you are familiar with Candida Moss' book about the legendary status of martyrdoms of the various apostles. A point to note is that, even if some of the apostles were put to death as seditionists by the Romans, we don't have a warrant to assume that they were given a chance to recant their beliefs. Only Paul is supposed to have had a claim to the legal prorogatives of Roman citizenship.

            Legend and/or apostolic lying and/or memories of hallucinations are antecedently more probable than the revivification of a corpse after the better part of two days (as we count days). As BTS points out, we all dismiss claims of Mormonism as amalgams of legend, lying, and memories that grew with time.

          • OMG

            Ficino: From an assumption about martyr stories even less well historically evidenced than the gospel stories, you are concluding that the gospel stories are to be accepted as historically accurate.

            OMG: I do not see I said or implied anything like this. Catholic dogma does not require its adherents to believe anything one way or the other about apostle martyrdom. (I will have to verify that in Ott, but I believe it's so.)

          • Ficino

            Why are you bringing up martyrdom stories, then, if you're leaving yourself room not to believe in their historical accuracy?

          • OMG

            Because someone (?David Nickol) wondered why the authorities put Jesus to death but not his followers. That led to the statement that the apostles were, according to tradition, martyred later.

          • Ficino

            But since you say that Catholics are not obligated to believe the historicity of those martyrologies, and secular historians have no reason to believe in their historicity, let's leave the martyr stories out of arguments for the truth of Catholicism, shall we?

          • OMG

            Re the claim of Mormonism: It rests on a recent claim by one Joseph Smith. The short-lived nature of that religion (comparatively), argues against its acceptance by many. The longevity of Christianity, the historical good it has offered argue for its acceptance. Smith's teachings--particularly those at odds with Christianity and especially his acceptance of polygamy--are also prone to rejection on the basis of Christian ethics. Can one easily accept polygamy on the basis of 'the golden rule'? Seems likely that some men would miss the opportunity for a companion.

          • michael

            Short lived? Mormonism still exists, and at one point in time Christianity was just as young.

          • OMG

            Couple more points. You said, "The claim that the apostles would not have died for what they knew was a lie rests on a very shaky basis." I suggest that the apostles died for what they knew, through their senses, through their experience, to be true. They personally encountered Christ after knowing that he had died and been buried.

            We do not have to rely on scripture to note that persecution, imprisonment, and execution were common occurrences in lands of the Roman Empire prior to the time of Jesus. The divorces, intermarriages and deaths among and by the members of Herod the Great's own family were legendary but true. For 200-300 years post Jesus, persecution and executions continued to be common in the R.E. as well as within the Jewish King's family. Consider this account between Trajan and Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, considered by scholars to be authentic.
            https://earlychurchhistory.org/martyrs/martyrdom-of-ignatius-of-antioch/

            Finally, it was the teaching of Jesus that laying down one's life for one's brother was an act of the highest love. Death is imminent in any case for each and every one. To die for a worthy and personally-held-to-be-true cause is an act of virtue and of love.

          • Ficino

            Your paragraph 1. Assumes historicity of the very documents whose historicity is in question.

            Your paragraph 2, mostly irrelevant. As to the story about Trajan and Ignatius, it's on you to produce citations of scholars who have established that the words and events in said account actually were spoken and occurred. So, citations?

            Your paragraph 3, I don't know what Jesus said or didn't say, but agreed on the assessment of love and virtue.

          • OMG

            I do not believe it is possible to know everything with 100% certainty. I don't believe there is such a capability except in God Himself. I can believe that some people experience supernatural events while other people may not reach the same belief. Belief is an individual choice based on evaluation of knowledge and experience.

            The article cites the manuscript which scholars purport to be authentic. Wikipedia at (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Roman_Empire) contains correspondence (in reference 58) between Pliny and Trajan; Trajan there acknowledges that he orders executed those persons brought before him who won't renounce Christianity.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You know, I can understand the attitude of widespread skepticism among many today, who view events two thousand years ago -- given the relative scarcity of original documents and records -- as difficult to accept, especially when they claim to record miraculous events that changed the very course of human history. I am not saying they are right. But I am saying I can see how even some of these same people who were once believers became doubters for various reasons -- and their doubt eventually turned into disbelief and agnosticism or even atheism.

            I am not saying that one can lose the Catholic Faith, once really held, without moral fault, since the Church teaches that it does -- although, of course, those who have done so will sharply disagree. I, for one, would seek to find others who know better than I the true explanation of some problem posing a temptation to abandon the Faith. Of course, I say what I say because I am a believing Catholic who is convinced that the Faith is rationally credible for a multitude of diverse reasons.

            That said, I can still see how the morass of conflicting claims about a two millennia old historical event can be confusing and obscure through the lens of the modern worldview, where most every event is now recorded on somebody's cellphone video for broadcast on the evening news!

            This makes me wonder whether, in God's providential view, he may have decided to give the modern world a more recent stupendous event that could be documented at least by far more witnesses and recorded in print and with literally hundreds of contemporary testimonies attested in written form and published for all to see who want to do so today.

            I am, of course, referring to the remarkable public miracle of Fatima, which took place in our own time and which quite easily can be established as a peculiarly Catholic intervention in the natural order by God. Something far easier to document as to specifics than events so long ago in Palestine.

            I know skeptics will still demur on Fatima. But their work is far more dauntingly cut out for them in this modern instance.

            Again, I am not saying that multiple lines of evidence do not converge on the same truth about the events the Gospels relate. I am just saying that I can see why so much skepticism can thrive in events so deeply mired in past history, whereas the more modern Fatima events are much easier to document and serve a supplementary role in establishing the truth of the Catholic Faith.

            So, maybe God decided it was time for an evidential update.

          • michael

            Then why aren't here hundreds of video recordings of The Miracle at Fatima? Are we to say thousands saw it just because books say thousands saw it? There are also allegedly thousands of sighting of Bigfoot and the loch ness Monster.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Is it possible we have no video recordings of anything at Fatima because it took place in 1917 -- before video was invented?

          • michael

            Video was invented. I've seen videos from well before 1917, such as Thomas Edison's 1910 version of Frankenstein. I've seen film version of Cinderella from 1899.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You must be rather young. We called them motion picture films.

            And in 1917, they would not likely have been at Fatima unless someone knew ahead of time that something like a visual miracle would occur.

            Even so, since the visual phenomena appears to have been objectively real, but subjectively experienced, motion picture film would have shown nothing but the people and their reactions to the phenomena.

          • Ficino

            Those letters in the Pliny corpus are the earliest witnesses to a procedure carried out by Roman authorities in response to denunciations against Christians. The letters reflect the situation in the early second century and in Asia Minor, well after the supposed martyrdoms of the apostles (except John - who may well have died by then). What needs to be done by the person who puts a lot of weight on martyr stories, in order to support a "they would not have died for what they knew was a lie" argument, is to show that the apostles were interrogated and given a chance to renounce their faith during a procedure like that depicted in Pliny, two or more generations after their own time. Even Polycarp's death in 155 was not a judicial execution but what we'd call a lynching. It took some time for the Roman authorities to come to view Christianity across the empire as a threat that required judicial procedures - longer than the lifetimes of the first followers of Jesus.

            Note that Pliny says that he devised his own judicial procedure for interrogating Christians who had been denounced by someone. This and the fact that he writes to Trajan for instructions indicates that there was no established judicial procedure already in place in the early second century for Roman governors across the empire. And this says nothing about the problem, should we take Pliny's description literally. Much has been written on this. Roman law did not have standardized procedures in the provinces.

            As to Ignatius' martyr scene before Trajan, Candida Moss says, "most scholars judge the account of his trial and execution, The Acts of Ignatius, to be a spurious fifth-century composition" (Ancient Christian Martyrdom, 2012, p. 52). Even the Wikipedia article on Ignatius gives reason to date his death around 140, not during the reign of Trajan, who died in 117. The "Acts" of various individual apostles, in which their martyrdoms are described and their speeches represented, date from 150 and later.

          • OMG

            Ficino: Roman law did not have standardized procedures in the provinces....
            Of course. While the emperor directly authorized procedures in the imperial provinces, he appointed the governors in the imperial provinces. Governors so appointed risked the loss of their positions by ignoring or defying the emperor. So Pliny's seeking direction is an example. Again, reason suggests the emperor's lead was followed more often than not.

            I don't know the work of Prof. Moss except for a few pages of the introduction to her martyrdom book. There she selectively edits the story of the Alexandria martyrdom to spin the story in a certain direction; I base this conclusion on the decidedly less academic/scholarly credentials of Wikipedia. Moss seems to have a certain bias to prove. Ex-Catholic priest James Carroll endorses her book; he notoriously carries a sharp ax with which he may bludgeon Catholicism. theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/...
            May 22, 2019 · James Carroll, the author of this month’s Atlantic ’s cover story, “ Abolish the Priesthood,” is famous in certain Catholic circles for his bitter denunciations of the Church.

            I agree that the date of Ignatius's death is not certain, with even early Church historians disagreeing-- Eusebius pegs it at 108, Malalas at 140. Letters of Ignatius (seven), written on his trip from Antioch to Rome, are extant. So the probability does exist that Ignatius was martyred at the direct order and meeting with Trajan. To discount the probability seems biased, but I suppose that is what you and I perceive the other to be.

            As my late mother used to say: "Don't confuse me with facts. My mind is made up."

            It's too sunny here in near Seattle to do indoor work. Hoping you have a great day.

          • Rob Abney

            From the Catholic Encyclopedia: Acceptance of the national religion in antiquity was an obligation incumbent on all citizens; failure to worship the gods of the State was equivalent to treason. This universally accepted principle is responsible for the various persecutions suffered by Christians before the reign of Constantine; Christians denied the existence of and therefore refused to worship the gods of the state pantheon. They were in consequence regarded as atheists....
            While it is therefore probable that the formula: "Let there be no Christians" (Christiani non sint) dates from the second half of the first century, yet the earliest clear enactment on the subject of Christianity is that of Trajan (98-117) in his famous letter to the younger Pliny, his legate in Bithynia. https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09736b.htm

            At least one aspect of historical evidence seems to be that the events or state of affairs was ripe for martyrdom due to the treasonous activity of the apostles which led to further treasonous activity by their successors. If the apostles did not live and die their convictions that they, like Jesus, were more powerful than the state- that even death for treason could be overcome by Christians- then their successors probably also wouldn’t have as much courage to defy the state.
            It seems that it is easy to make a case that it was fitting that they should die as martyrs whereas the only counter argument is that we don’t believe the stories handed down for 2000 years.

          • michael

            A muslim could say the same about Muhammad's followers.

          • Rob Abney

            What could a Muslim say?

          • michael

            That they are martyred, and that they saw Muhammad split the moon in two. That angels fought alongside his army.

          • Rob Abney

            Were the Muslims dying at the hands of the state or were they dying at war? Seems like a big difference

          • michael

            I've seen an animated video where one of the first was an old lady stabbed in the neck with a spear. Definitely not war.

          • michael
          • Rob Abney

            we all dismiss claims of Mormonism as amalgams of legend, lying, and memories that grew with time

            Good point, Catholics and atheists are all in agreement!

          • michael

            Plot explicitly stated he made up Atlantis. besides to believe the story of Atlantis or The Illicd you'd have to believe in Zeus and Athena. A city matching the description of troy has been found but that doe'snt mean Ahcilles or Zeus were real.

          • michael

            Actually, not true. Half the apostles have conflicting stories about their deaths/burial sites. Read the articles on the apostles on wikipedia.

          • BTS

            Speculation...
            Count me among those who believe it is very likely that the sin of Judas was cutting some sort of deal with the Sanhedrin to save the lives of the apostles in exchange for Jesus. Doing it for the 30 pieces of silver doesn't ring true, and "the devil made him do it" is a cop-out. Ehrman did a slew of posts on Judas in May or June and they were fascinating.
            Ehrman thinks the sin of Judas was revealing the Messianic secret.

          • Rob Abney

            That's interesting, what does he/you mean when you label that act "sin"?

          • BTS

            the sin = the bad thing that Judas did, the act that earned him condemnation

          • Rob Abney

            That's vague, surely Ehrman is more precise. Was it "bad" because it was illegal by Roman or Jewish standards? Was it bad because Jesus was betrayed by a friend. Was it bad because Judas knew he betrayed trust that was placed in him? Was it truly a sin because it was contrary to the truth of God?

          • BTS

            Well, I was not sure what you meant. I presumed you were digging at my use of the word "sin." Now I have a clearer understanding of what you are asking.

            Ehrman's favorite Gospel is Mark, which portrays the most "human" Jesus and keeps the divinity claims to a bare minimum. Jesus is constantly telling people to keep the miracles under wraps.

            Jesus told his disciples the secret plan (they'd all be rulers of the new kingdom) but had them keep it a secret.

            Now, Jesus was technically and officially killed for insurrection, so it stands to reason that someone spilled the beans about his insurrection plans. Naturally, that fits well with the Judas narrative.

            Ehrman is speaking strictly historically and not from a religious point of view and trying to answer the question "What was Judas betraying?"

          • Rob Abney

            It seems pretty clear that Judas was paid to hand Jesus over to the authorities that wanted to kill Him.
            I agree that it was a sin, I'm just engaging you because I suspect that you are not one who believes that sin exists!

          • BTS

            not much in the catechism on Judas. Only 4 hits and nothing of substance.
            http://ccc.usccb.org/flipbooks/catechism/455/#zoom=z

            Judas is shrouded in mystery. St. Paul never mentions him.
            Nothing about Judas is "pretty clear."

            Evan as a child I could tell the story is fishy. There's way more to it than silver.

            We cannot talk about sin without knowing Judas' motivation, which no one knows. Some have even speculated he was trying to keep Jesus out of trouble in the big city. Perhaps he wanted Jesus thrown in prison during the passover festival to keep him out of trouble.

            Perhaps Judas felt like he was faced with the classic "trolley" problem in philosophy. Should he "pull the lever" to change the train to a different track to kill one person instead of 13?

          • Rob Abney

            Have you read St Thomas or other church fathers regarding Judas?
            St. Thomas Aquinas writes: “To save Judas would … be contrary to [God’s] foreknowledge and disposition, by which He prepared for him eternal punishment; hence it is not the order of justice [as such] that renders impossible Judas’s salvation, but the order of eternal foreknowledge and disposition” (In IV Sent., dist. 46, qu. 1, art. 2, qa. 2, ad 3), and says matter-of-factly:
            As the use of grace is related to the final effect of predestination, so the abuse of it is related to the effect of reprobation. Now, in the case of Judas, the abuse of grace was the reason for his reprobation, since he was made reprobate because he died without grace. Moreover, the fact that he did not have grace when he died was not due to God’s unwillingness to give it but to his unwillingness to accept it—as both Anselm and Dionysius point out.

            That’s funny that you consider killing one to save 13, but your not the first to recommend that:
            But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” John 11:49–50

          • BTS

            St. Thomas needs to mind his own business when it comes to the salvation of others. His writing on this topic is churlish, presumptuous hogwash. The church proclaims no one officially is in hell. And the catechism itself (which I often disagree with but which I presume you don't) says that Judas' salvation is a matter between him and God. And Thomas was proclaimed wrong about other things. (Immaculate Conception, for example, or one of those Big Mary doctrines, if I recall correctly).

            Regarding the trolley problem, I never said I was considering the trolly problem from my point of view.
            I said perhaps Judas realized he was facing said issue. He may have thought he was saving his friends by turning Jesus in. The bottom line is that we don't know anything at all about the man and to speculate about his eternal destination is nothing more than judgmental speculation.

            I am beginning to lose my patience with your complete lack of charity in reading my posts carefully and often misrepresenting what I say. It is impossible to have a discussion with you and disagree man-to-man without you slinging mean spirited arrows. It is precisely the kind of Catholic attitudes you promote that are driving good people like me away.

          • Rob Abney

            Why should St Thomas mind his own business but Bart Earman, Sean McDowell, the cartoon guy, and you don’t have to!
            Ultimately Judas did save his friends (and the rest of us!) by turning Jesus in but unless your a consequentialist then you can’t do evil to obtain a good.
            Don’t forget that this is a public forum so I’ll keep responding to your comments, you don’t have to respond to me though especially with your pusillanimous attitude.

          • Jim the Scott

            So you are oblivious to the fact Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Orthodox Jews reject Martin Luther's false "Perspicuity" doctrine? Because it seems to me all yer "contradictions" you find in the Bible presuppose it? If I believe St Augustine Genesis was an allegory. Same if I believe Philo of Alexandria.

            I've told you before and I will tell you again. We are Catholics here. Not Fundamentalist nor Baptist heretics. ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over there. Have at them. They are more yer speed. Yer non-starter objections are getting old.

          • Art Davison

            Sorry Jim, but if you believe that Genesis is all/mostly allegory, what parts of your Bible are true? Creationism? Resurrection? Virgiin birth? Walking on water?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Even Genesis is not entirely metaphorical. In my book, Origin of the Human Species - Third Edition (2014), chapter ten: "The Truths of Revelation," I cite the findings of the 1909 Biblical Commission regarding the truths affirmed by the first three chapters of Genesis. These facts include:

            "...the creation of all things which was accomplished by God at the beginning of time, the special creation of man, the formation of the first woman from man, the unity of the human race, the original happiness of our first parents in a state of justice, integrity, and immortality, the divine command laid upon man to prove his obedience, the transgression of that divine command at the instigation of the devil under the form of a serpent, the fall of our first parents from their primitive state of innocence, and the promise of a future Redeemer."

            In the rest of that chapter and subsequent chapters, I address the rational credibility of these teachings.

          • David Nickol

            the formation of the first woman from man

            From a rib?

          • Jim the Scott

            @dennisbonnette:disqus

            I believe the Hebrew "tsela" literally means "side".

            http://www.jasher.com/Insights%20page/Adamsrib.htm

          • David Nickol

            And from the same author and website you link to: The Fiction of the Virgin Birth.

          • Jim the Scott

            @dennisbonnette:disqus

            So Nickol you would rather change the subject rather than deal with the fact the "side" doesn't have to be a literal rib?

            Typical.

            The author of this website is Jewish so what do you expect? Like he is gonna advocate the Virgin Birth? Seriously?

            Of course it is not like Catholics don't have an answer to him. If we look at the Targums one might rethink his extreme claims the OT excludes the Virgin Birth.

            https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/problem-of-isaiah-714-12322

            So any other tagents ya have laddie?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            That same author of that site suggests that God made Eve out of the adult Adam by splitting him in half and turning half of him into an adult woman.

            I do hypothesize about Monozygotic twinning in my book, but that would take place at the very beginning of gestation when we are dealing with just cells, not adults being split down the middle!

          • Jim the Scott

            I remember Father Brian Harrison once claimed if God ensouled a hominid it would have been at conception in the womb of his Dame/"Mother" but he then made the claim (which I don't buy) God would have still supernaturally made Eve out of Adam when he grew up etc.

            Well the thing with God is anyway he chooses to create is not hard for him. Monozygotic twinning works just as well too.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Infusing a spiritual soul into the embryo of a subhuman hominin still requires a miracle. First, God would be creating a new and higher species using matter ordered to a lower natural species. Second, it takes direct action by God to create each and every human spiritual soul anyway.

            So, Adam, the first true human, had to be directly created by God in some fashion in any event. It required a radical transformation of subhuman material organization at the same moment the spiritual soul -- the form of the matter-- was directly created. In that sense, even were the body largely the product of evolution, its final exact disposition to the human form required that the soul radically reorganize the pre-existent subhuman matter.

            I do allow in my book that God could have formed Adam in the direct non-evolutionary manner that a literalistic reading of the Scripture could depict. He also could have used hominin evolution up to that point as a template from which to directly create Adam's body. These are also possibilities.

            As for Eve, I allow that God could have performed her miraculous creation, again, just as literalistically as Scripture depicts -- had he chosen to do so.

            Nonetheless, it may be a more rationally economical model that God employed -- using some form of evolutionary process to prepare for the presence of true man on earth, while intervening directly only when metaphysically necessary.

            My book attempts to show how sound reason and genuine revelation can comport with the findings of legitimate natural science. Still, we have to remain open to the truth that, if God could have done things in various ways, he just might have done something that we don't quite expect.

            After all, we are not he.

          • michael

            Is'nt the whole idea of a template model to design something you haven already fully designed/planned out yet?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            God's providence covers every last detail of the whole of creation spanning its entire temporal existence. One might speak of a "template" in the sense that the divine ideas are the template for the kinds of things God makes. But this in no way prevents these things from evolving into existence in a world made to work that way.

            Evolution may be blind materialistic chance progression for Darwinian naturalists, but the Catholic theistic evolutionists I know do not preclude God's providence from ordaining how it unfolds through time. Remember also, that God would have to intervene at least in order to infuse the intellective spiritual soul into true human beings, starting with the first one, Adam.

          • michael

            What do you think of stories like Balaam's talking donkey, the whole world being descended from Noah and his three sons, The Nile turning int blood, and the idea for magical moving star that moves through he sky and stops oner a specific geographical point in Israel so that observers are guided by it to that specific spot in Israel? Even as a child reading "The Beginner's Bible" at age 5 I found these stories hard to believe. Same with the creation of man from dirt, the creation of Eve from Adam's rib/side whatever way you want to translate it.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You seem to be confusing Catholicism with young earth creationism and biblical literalism. it is neither of these.

            Each of these biblical accounts has to be read in terms of sound philosophy and norms of scriptural interpretation which are not literalistic. Essential truths are contained, but sometimes only a lesson is intended to be taught. You assert things that I don't think the Catholic Church even teaches, such as the whole human race descending from Noah. Other true men could well have been alive at the time. When he says the Flood covered the whole earth, present scholars read this as meaning only from what he could see of the waters around him. So, a lot of this is overinterpretation. Still, I am not a biblical scholar and it would take much time to sort out every text you find confusing.

            It is just possible that at age five you were trying to interpret the Bible in a literalistic fashion which Catholicism simply does not do.

          • michael

            The whole human race descending from Noah is crystal clear in Scripture. Genesis 6 says "Man" not 'peopling a certain region'. It uses the word "Adam", not "goy" or "ish". And you are the very first Christian in history who does'nt believe that God "opened the mouth of the donkey" or that the Nile did'nt actually turn into blood or that real witches and wizards don't exist.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            When you talk about the whole human race descending from Noah, if that is really what Scripture says, remember that might not mean that he was the sole progenitor.

            I do not pretend to be a scripture scholar. But I have seen enough debates between people on these matters not to care to get embroiled in them.

            I have done some detailed work on the Genesis story -- enough to know such scholarship can be complicated.

            If you want to debate with a Protestant literalist, go ahead. Or, go ask Jimmy Akin.

          • michael

            I never said he was the sole progenitor, since the story also lists his sons having wives and so in total 8 people aboard The Ark. Also 2nd Peter 2:5. Note it says "world", not "nation" or "race" or "region".

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I did not restrict progenitors to those on the Ark. They were not the only human beings left alive. Theologians believe that this was not a global flood. You are talking to too many young earth creationists. And you are assuming that Catholics have to be literalists, which they are not.

          • michael

            I already told you of multiple bible verses that , to anyone who reads them, give the natural impression that those on the Ark were the only humans left.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Catholics are not biblical literalists.

            It may be that the context of the story assumes that these were the only people around, but that does not preclude a broader context.

          • michael

            If you say that, then you are saying Moses was in error when writing with the idea that no one else survived. But this goes agains the dogma that The Bible in its original manuscripts is dictated but e Holy PSirit and 100% without error. Type in "Catholic answers scripture innerancy" on google. there are multiple articles stating this dogma.

          • michael

            "The Whole of Humanity is descended from Noah" inherently implies "Noah is the sole progenitor to all humans still alive today", at least in the male line.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Actually, not even considering the scriptural sources or interpretation or teaching, the whole of humanity could be descended from Noah, and yet, there have been other progenitors alive at the time.

            All that would be necessary is that Noah be somewhere in the background of every living person's genealogy. That would not preclude other progenitors, including male ones.

          • michael

            The Bible talks like Eve was made when Adam was already able to speak/spend time naming animals, fall asleep etc. I don't see a zygote doing those things.

          • Jim the Scott

            So what? The Bible speaks of God's wings in the Psalms. Do I have to take out the Cosmic Chicken and hit you over the head with it again Mike? Because I will do it....

          • michael

            So now you're suddenly saying the animal naming and sleep were metaphorical or something? What a radical new idea! You're the very first to propose it! Apostolic tradition and Scripture don't imply it. You've created a new doctrine, O Pope!

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike why do you think you can convince me by making up yer own "Catholicism" ad hoc? Go away now.

          • michael

            Look in a mirror. You ARE implying that you believe those were metaphorical, thus clashing with millennia of teaching with something completely new that previous generations had not heard of.

          • Jim the Scott

            What teaching and from whom? By yer own standard show me from a direct statement from one of the 12 Apostles this "teaching" you speak of? I have no reason not to believe they are metaphorical. The Fathers going back to the second century each had a different view of Genesis. The Jews according to their tradition believed Adam and Eve inhabited Eden with humanoid creatures called "wild men" in the Hebrew and they believed these creatures had no Nifesh or Soul......

            Mike I've forgotten more theology then you thus far have bothered to learn correctly (or even incorrectly which is apparently yer want) and yer arguments get worst with every post. I am sorry but you refuse to get good.

          • michael

            The Bible talks like Eve was made when Adam was already able to speak/spend time naming animals etc.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            As I just said to you elsewhere, Catholics are not biblical literalists.

          • michael

            Then what's it a metaphor for? Where in scripture and Apostolic tradition is this metaphor discussed?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Tell you what, Michael.

            You have a lot of questions that would better be asked of a biblical expert. I don't claim to be one and would hate to waste so much of my time and yours giving you second rate replies.

            So, I suggest you start asking your questions to someone else.

            That will give me more time to respond more carefully to serious questions directed to me that belong more to my own field of competence.

          • David Nickol

            @dennisbonnette:disqus

            So Nickol you would rather change the subject rather than deal with the fact the "side" doesn't have to be a literal rib?

            Typical.

            More dispiriting than your insults, which we have all come to expect, is the fact that Dr. Bonnette upvotes them.

            The author of this website is Jewish so what do you expect? Like he is gonna advocate the Virgin Birth? Seriously?

          • Jim the Scott

            Well yer passive aggressive responses are no picnic either.
            As are yer imagined "insults".

          • Dennis Bonnette

            The problem is that few comments lack complexity. Certainly Jim's modes of expression are not my own style, as you well know. I don't intend to upvote anyone's insults of anybody.

            But he did give a link to an impressive and important Catholic defense of the OT texts referring to the virgin birth.

            So, how does one support a central positive point made without thereby appearing to support every last jot and tittle of a comment? I don't know the answer to that one.

          • Jim the Scott

            @davidnickol:disqus

            I am not sure what the "insult" was? Was it me expressing mild annoyance at his changing the subject from the meaning of "rib" to (out of left field) some Orthodox Jew's polemics against the virgin birth?

            But it is OK for him to get annoyed at moi for "reasons"? I don't know what to tell ya? Cheers Doc.

            It did remind me of Fundamentalists I've debated in the past triumphantly proclaiming to me calling the Pope "Holy Father" was unbiblical. So I would compare Isaiah 22:20-23 with Matt 16:18 (like ya do) to rebut them but instead of answering the argument they would say something brilliant like "Oh Yeh! Well whataboutthesinlessnessofMary etc..".

            Tedious. We have an argument the translation of "rib" can also mean "side" but Nickol's response? Well the guy who argues for this denies the Virgin birth? Yeh so what?

            William Lane Craig might make a bunch of theistic arguments or arguments in favor of the resurrection we Catholics might agree with but it doesn't follow just because we agree with him therefore we endorse all his Protestant views or contra Catholic views or arguments. Why is this hard?

            Atheist Robert Price might agree with Atheist historian Tim O'Neil's reasons for doubting the resurrection but it doesn't follow Price agrees with O'Neil categorizing Prices' Jesus Myth'erism to be "Young Earth Creationism for non-believers".

            Atheist disagree with other Atheists and Theists with other Theists. Who knew?

          • David Nickol

            @Dennis Bonnette

            I am not sure what the "insult" was? Was it me expressing mild annoyance at his changing the subject from the meaning of "rib" to (out of left field) some Orthodox Jew's polemics against the virgin birth?

            Against my better judgment, I will note that the insult (in my eyes) was not the accusation of changing the subject to avoid the topic at hand. It was that plus the addition of the word "Typical." As if I were some kind of chronic offender who typically derails discussions.

            Contrary to your assertion, there was no "Orthodox Jew" involved. You linked—irresponsibly, in my opinion—to the site of Wayne Simpson, who grew up in a Protestant "Holiness" Church and who left that as a young, newly married adult, to join what was then known as the Worldwide Church of God. After ten years in the WCG, Waye Simpson tells us what happened next:

            A large group of people left at that time. My wife and I decided that we would leave too, since our own understanding was becoming quite at variance with the church. We left the church with the full knowledge that there was no place left for us to go in the church world. I was by that time well enough acquainted with the spectrum of teachings of all the churches that I knew we could not fit in anywhere. For me the entire concept of church had been shown to be lacking and corrupt. It was kind of disorienting at first.

            But I decided that I would simply pursue a one-on-one relationship with God. I would continue to pray and study my Bible, and there would not be any man or organization to tell me what to think or what to believe. I promised myself that I would never again allow any man to exercise that kind of power over me. I remain convinced that the exercise of that kind of spiritual authority is a great evil. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. So I left church forever.

            As it turns out, that was the best decision I had ever made. I soon discovered that I could understand the Bible with much more clarity. I did not have to justify the beliefs of some preacher or church. I did not even have to justify my own preconceived notions. I could simply acknowledged my error and change my mind. It now seemed that my spiritual understanding was growing at a much greater rate.

            I now realize that simply linking to the article arguing against the virgin birth was too cryptic. My point was that this guy is not to be trusted as a biblical interpreter. It was not my intention to raise any doubts about the alleged perpetual virginity of Mary. That is possibly a debate for another time, but it was not my intention to interrupt the debate about "rib" vs "side."

            but Nickol's response? Well the guy who argues for this denies the Virgin birth? Yeh so what?

            The answer to "so what?" is that the author you cited to validate your opinion is totally untrustworthy, not worthy of being cited as a source, when there are no doubt hundreds of reliable sites that could have bolstered you point and been valuable resources for further research. And when called on citing this untrustworthy source, you invented the "fact" that he was an Orthodox Jew, based on no evidence.

          • Jim the Scott

            >As if I were some kind of chronic offender who typically derails discussions.

            No you just throw things out from left field and it is annoying. Stop being so over dramatic.

            >Contrary to your assertion, there was no "Orthodox Jew" involved. You linked—irresponsibly, in my opinion—to the site of Wayne Simpson, who grew up in a Protestant "Holiness" Church and who left that as a young, newly married adult, to join what was then known as the Worldwide Church of God.

            Then I concede my error right away as to his religious denomination. Of course why you didn't lead with that? His argument is identical to ones used by Jews for Judaism and Outreach Judaism and other Jewish sources. The Worldwide Church of God is notorious for cribbing from Orthodox Judaism.

            Here from a verified Jewish source. The same argument.

            https://www.aish.com/atr/Eve-Creation-Rib-or-Side.html

            Quote"Based on this, many of the commentators understand that Eve was created from Adam’s side (one opinion in Bereishit Rabbah 17:8, Rashi 2:21, Ibn Ezra 2:21, Rambam Moreh Nevuchim 2:30, Ralbag 2:21). This follows the opinion in the Talmud (Brachot 61a) that Adam and Eve were initially created as a single being – with male and females halves. God determined that it was “not good” that man be a complete unit – feeling he is perfect and needs no one else, and so God turned His creation into two incomplete halves (see Rashi to Genesis 2:18)."

            >I now realize that simply linking to the article arguing against the virgin birth was too cryptic.

            Yes it was and all you need say is "Jim you are quoting from the World Wide Church of God". I will own my error. Why would I do otherwise?

            >My point was that this guy is not to be trusted as a biblical interpreter.

            Yet he is cribbing from those who are see my asih link above. Also google Outreach Judaism for their polemics against the virgin birth.

            > It was not my intention to raise any doubts about the alleged perpetual virginity of Mary. That is possibly a debate for another time, but it was not my intention to interrupt the debate about "rib" vs "side."

            I believe you. But dude just say what you mean. Be brutally honest and ignore my feelings. I am an arsehole remember? I can take a beating as well as give it.

            Look what you have done here? You proved me "wrong" on a tangent point(but "trusted" interpreters still interpret "rib" as "side" going back to the Talmud). Be happy about it.

            >The answer to "so what?" is that the author you cited to validate your opinion is totally untrustworthy, not worthy of being cited as a source, when there are no doubt hundreds of reliable sites that could have bolstered you point and been valuable resources for further research.

            You see speaking plainly is nice. Being cryptic just brings out my inner jackarse. I know something about comparative religion & I know anti-missionary Jewish activists oppose Catholic doctrinal teaching.

            Anyway I cited a better source above. Enjoy.

            >you invented the "fact" that he was an Orthodox Jew, based on no evidence.

            No I assumed (& made an Ass etc) he was one based on what he wrote which was suspiciously like the arguments Orthodox Jews make for both the meaning of "rib" and against the virgin Birth. Given it is the Worldwide Church of God which is very Judaistic in its theology I couldn't tell the difference. Like citing a High Church Anglican side by side with a Catholic.

            But I was wrong to call him an orthodox jew and you are correct to point that out. Also given my error I am sorry I hurt yer feelings.

            Cheers.

          • David Nickol

            Stop being so over dramatic.

            Reply

          • Jim the Scott

            You win the internet today sir.

          • michael

            Would Christ talk down to people in a way that makes him sound like the angry Scotsman from Samurai Jack?

          • Jim the Scott

            How should I know? Ask a sensible question. Just one would be nice.

          • michael

            It CAN mean that. Either way, it sounds like something out of a children's fairy tale.

          • Jim the Scott

            Only to persons with a child's understanding of religion. Which Paul said we must all grow out of and eat meat.

          • michael

            That's an Ad Hominem answer.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yes and it is also a correct one. We all agree. You have a child's understanding of God which you have never gone beyond. At least Skeptical Thinking Power is trying to understand Classic Theism. He makes many mistakes but he is putting in the work. You are a lost cause Mike I am sorry to say. That is on you. Ah well.......

          • michael

            My answer has nothing at all to do with Classical Theism. Christians do not invoke Classical Theism when mocking muslims for believing that Solomon could speak to and hold verbal conversations with ants and birds. Are those Christians mocking them with a "childish view of religion" then? Please answer.

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't care about whatever anti-Muslim polemics you read on some Evangelical website. Also we know for certain Muslims don't understand that is just a metaphor? All things being equal I bet we could find some Muslim somewhere who believes that Solomon talking to Ants and Birds is a metaphor. OTOH perhaps they believe he talked to spirits speaking thru the ants? I don't know. So I would have to study before making up some glib idiot criticism of Islam. I don't believe in Islam but I know it is irrational to formulate a bad argument against Islam. Too bad after all my efforts you haven't learned the same lesson Mike. At this point I think you are trolling.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You have to buy the book. :)

            Just kidding. But it is very complex. If God is God, yes, once you have Adam, he could have produced Eve the literal way you ask -- if he wanted to.

            But the word is actually, "sela," meaning "side," not rib. This makes conceivable the hypothesis of monogenetic twinning, which I explore. That, too, requires a chromosome substitution miracle. But that is no more difficult than the parallel such miracle in the case of the virgin birth.

            Needless to say, it takes a number of pages in the book to properly present the various possibilities. (173-176)

          • michael

            Even the part about the rib, the creation from dirt, the talking snake? What about the part in Genesis 1;30 where it implies animals back then all ate only plants? Please answer.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            The teachings in Genesis that must be accepted are essentially summarized in the paragraph I cited above. The rest of it, such as the language you cite, need not be taken literally. For example, while you take the "rib" literally, the Pontifical Biblical Commission merely says "the formation of the first woman from man...."

            Catholics are not biblical literalists.

          • michael

            "under the form of a serpent"? So there was really a talking snake that spoke to Adam & Eve and was punished and that is why snakes today have no legs?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Hate to inform you, but the 1909 Biblical Commission's magisterial status has been slightly modified. In the words of Cardinal Ratzinger, then himself head of the PBC, "... those decisions of the Biblical Commission which had entered too much into the sphere of merely historical questions were corrected;"
            http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/pcb_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030510_ratzinger-comm-bible_en.html

            More recently, the core of the Genesis story was expressed in the Catechism this way:
            "The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents."

            No mention of a serpent.

            Besides, were you there to make sure a serpent was not?

            Besides, what it actually says is that the Devil was there -- in the "form" of a serpent.

            So, stop picking on poor serpents.

          • Jim the Scott

            Another non-starter objection. You are assuming the Bible is meant to be read apart from Apostolic Tradition(2 Thes 2:15 & 3:6) and the authority of the Church (1 Tim 3:15) and interpreted privately by the individual(2 Peter 2:20-21).

            The Perspicuity doctrine is not only not taught anywhere in the Bible but the Bible contradicts it (2 Peter 3:16) Pope Peter warns us how Paul can be misunderstood for example. It is like he had Luther in his sights 1500 years prior.

            >what parts of your Bible are true?

            Well all of it is true but how is it to be interpreted? You need the Church which is the pillar and ground of Truth to tell you(1 Tim 3:15) which is literal and what is not.

            Which is why Atheist objections to the Bible are meaningless to Catholic. Most of you lot can be summed up in the following manner "Boo hoo! No fair! Yer not a fundamentalist!". Cry me a river buddy.

            Of course the final comedy is not all the Church Fathers took Genesis literally. Augustine and the Jewish writer Philos took it symbolically. Justin and Irenaeus took the days as symbolic of 1000 year epochs etc....none of the Fathers had a consistent date on the beginning of the world etc. The Talmud has legends that Adam and Eve shared Eden with souless "wild men" and after they broke up for 100 years after Able's murder they spent some time mating with these creatures...etc..

            So Theistic Evolution isn't a problem and an unclear Bible is not problem for Catholics.

            I can see how a Baptist heretic would be dogged.

          • Art Davison

            Well, I guess we've come to the parting of the ways. We don't even speak the same language. You are content in your beliefs, - we are descended from Adam and Eve, the first humans, created by God, who also created all the animals in their present forms; the Universe was created in 6 Days, etc.
            While I believe in evolution, a 17 billion year old universe, and the absence of any god. Thanks for you interesting comments.

          • Jim the Scott

            True you speak Baptist Protestant. We don't and we outright reject it.
            What you "know" about our beliefs is comically wrong even if there are no gods.

            > we are descended from Adam and Eve, the first humans, created by God, who also created all the animals in their present forms; the Universe was created in 6 Days, etc.

            How do I know Adam and Eve where not hominids whom God infused souls? Pius XII said that was acceptable. By the 19th century the Vatican inteligencia all believed in an Old Earth and a local flood. Genesis 2:4-5 tells us God created Man on the day He created the Heavens and Earth yet in Genesis One the later was created on the first day and Man on day six so Augustine and Philo concluded Genesis One was not literal & all things where created instantaneously via Genesis 2:4-5. Which is consistent with science given the Big Bang (which was first discovered by a Catholic Priest and Physicist Fr. Lemaître). Augustine said animals likely changed their forms overs time since creation.

            >While I believe in evolution,

            So do I and so does Rob and Dr. B.

            > a 17 billion year old universe,

            Try about 12.7 to 13.1 Billion. You obviously haven't been keeping up with the current science.

            >and the absence of any god.

            Well you have clearly looking for Him in the wrong places. Peace be with you.

          • michael
          • Jim the Scott

            They are more yer speed Michael.

          • michael

            So did oyu read it?

          • Jim the Scott

            Why should I? I reject YEC and Protestantism. So you are so lazy an Atheist you need to first convince me to confess these low brow versions of theism before you can convince me of Atheism? Hard Pass......

          • michael

            SO you reject it without studying it.

          • Jim the Scott

            You sound just like a fundamentalist Christian begging an Atheist who knows something about the science of Evolution to read his Biologically incompotent essay on the "Scientific Truth of YEC".

            That is just sad.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "who also created all the animals in their present forms; the Universe was created in 6 Days, etc."

            Where on earth did you get this out of what Jim the Scott wrote? He said nothing of the kind. Hardly anyone believes in a literal six 24 hour days since the days that Inherit the Wind was filmed and it came out of the mouth of William Jennings Bryan! And, since Jim explicitly said that "theistic evolution isn't a problem," what are you talking about animals being created in their present forms for?

            You are trying to pretend that Jim the Scott is a young earth creationist, which he simply isn't -- and then parting the ways from this non-existent straw man!

            By the way, you "17 billion year old universe" is about four billion years off the actual latest estimate of natural scientists.

          • michael

            My impression is he was referring to himself with that quote, but didn't space the words too well.

          • michael

            The Catholic church relies on Scripture and Apostolic tradition in the idea that "one cannot exist without the other" and that new revelations ended when the last of the twelve apostles died. So where is the series of Apostolic tradition quotes traceable to the 12 apostles, as well as The Bible verses, that open the read r up tot he died that god may have made Adam's body out of pre-existing organic matter, rather than having him be sent to "farm the ground from which he was made"?

          • Jim the Scott

            You need to read Newman on the Development of Doctrine and stop looking ignorant son.

            >So where is the series of Apostolic tradition quotes traceable to the 12 apostles, as well as The Bible verses, that open the read r up tot he died that god may have made Adam's body out of pre-existing organic matter.

            That is a development son. Really Michael go read a book. While I am still young.....

          • michael

            I've found a free Pdf of that. Doubt it'll say anything to reconcile your case with the idea that new ideas (Not just explicit statements of ideas dogmatically, but new ideas altogether that class with a natural reading of The Bible that lets the intellect just causally read and flow naturally instead of shoehorning anything) rooted neither in Scripture nor Apostolic traditional are permitted.

          • Jim the Scott

            What you really did is skim some unknown PDF and then ad hoc claim doctrines as they exist today existed in the first century in Scripture and Tradition ready made without any need for development which is a walking talking contradiction of Newman and the Church Fathers like St Vincient.

            Go away Mike you are lowing the discussion with yer childish nonsense.

          • michael

            Who gave Newman or Vincent authority to say that?

          • Jim the Scott

            The Church founded by Christ recognized them as such. Yer odd opinions mean nothing.

          • michael

            So anyone can just add new interpretations whenever they want as long as it isn't declared heresy by The Pope or Ecumenical councils?

          • Jim the Scott

            You can't contradict known doctrine or dogma and there is no doctrine or dogma that specifies the matter God used to create Adam couldn't already be living.

            So it is permissible to hold that speculation.

          • michael

            Dust of the ground doesn't sound like something living.

          • Jim the Scott

            All living things right now come from the material that makes up the Earth. The plants absorb the vitamins from the soil. Animals eat the plant and use that food as the building blocks to make us.

            What do you imagine we all eat for pleasure and the material that makes up our bodies just happens?

            I really can't take you seriously Mike.

          • michael

            No, I did'nt say nutrients don't come form food. I said Evolution says life came from the ocean.

          • Jim the Scott

            But Michael yer disputing the possible mechanism of God creating man by ensouling an hominid so what the feck do the the Oceans & the origin of life in said oceans have to do with anything we have been discussing?

            Son you keep moving the goal posts. I don' think you have any coherent objections at this point. At least STP is trying to formulate philosophical defeats for belief in an essentially ordered series needing a first cause. I don't think he succeeds but he has been trying to learn philosophy to respond.

            You OTOH have been acting as a missionary for Fundamentalist Young Earth Creationism and an advocate for it for some mad reason in a vain attempt at convincing me their interpretations of Holy Writ mandates I must become one so you no doubt can finally use yer arsenal of anti-YEC Atheist polemics.

            Yeh let me know how that works out fer ya. I am loosing my pity for you and returning to my default eye rolling.

          • michael

            Dust form the Ocean isn't from the ground. That's why.

          • Jim the Scott

            God doesn't have wings either. What part of we are not fundamentalists do ye still nor comprehend laddie? Keep the Heid

          • michael

            What is the
            dust of the ground" a symbol for, then?

          • Jim the Scott

            Off the top of my head the matter that makes up the world. Living things consume matter and excrete it and return it to the soil upon death. Thus even if there are no gods we are all still made from the "dust of the Earth".

          • michael

            Organic material from the sea, while made of the same basic carbo, etc. stuff as the dust of the ground, is not of the ground.

          • Jim the Scott

            So what? God doesn't have literal wings or feather either. Psalms 91:4.

          • michael

            Even fi there are no gods it's be "dust of the ocean". The ancient Hebrews ha don concept of "Earth" in the sense of a planet. The word Earth back then meant the same thing as "land" as in "Foxes live on land and not in the sea".

          • Jim the Scott

            So you really believe God has feathers? Psalms 91:4.

            Jog on buddy.

          • michael

            No, as I've said before, taking psalms 91:4 literally flows naturally with the intellect. But applying non-literal meaning to the words "dust of the ground" goes against both the intellect and the context of every instance in which that phrase is used in Genesis 2 and 3.

          • Jim the Scott

            >No, as I've said before, taking psalms 91:4 literally flows naturally with the intellect.

            Tell that to yer Gnu buddys who take Ezekiel's vision of the Ancient of Days as proof we are suppose to believe God is literally a Magic Old Man in the Sky. Tell that to a pagan who has a god with feathers.

            >But applying non-literal meaning to the words "dust of the ground" goes against both the intellect and the context of every instance in which that phrase is used in Genesis 2 and 3.

            No that is just ad hoc pleading to take it literally. Nothing more. Also that leaves out the idioms of time not always being literal in the Bible. Thousand year long days for God? The Day-year principle. Thus how do I know for an ancient 900 years meant literally 900 years?

            I don't but I don't believe in a hyper clear Bible. I presuppose it is not.

            Here is an idea. Stop begging me to become a fundamentalist and learn some philosophy so you might let us say come up with an argument why an essential causal series can be infinite. Or actually make a coherent case for a metaphysical brute fact? Or defend Materialism.

            Stop trying to make me a Lutheran it is boring.

          • michael

            Even if i learned Philosophy, it would not drive me to apply Psalms 90:6 to the genealogies in Genesis since that is irrational and irrelevant to Philosophy. Unless you can demonstrate how it has anything to do with Philosophy at all.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Even if i learned Philosophy,

            You wouldn't waste my time giving me yer non-starter self serving interpretations of the Bible and actually make my brain break a sweat with some challenging philosophical defeaters for once. You might make a case for Existential Inertia that doesn't involve trying to pass Cambridge change as real change. You might be interesting!

            You could be an Atheist philosopher and sit at the table with the big boys.
            Or you can just be a scrub and take my rigor.

          • michael

            What do Existential Inertia or Cambridge Change have to do with proving Genesis 5:3 is mysterious "mytho-history"?

          • Jim the Scott

            The Burden is on you to prove Genesis is not mytho history and must be taken literally. That is whomever wrote it intended it to be literal and you must prove it conclusively.

            After all you are the one evangelizing Atheism here. I don't care what you believe.

            >What do Existential Inertia or Cambridge Change have to do with proving Genesis 5:3 is mysterious "mytho-history"?

            Nothing but if you prove Existential Inertia is possible you kill the God I believe in and then it won't matter to me what Genesis really means as God would be dead.

            BTW even if you did do that I would still likely believe Genesis 1-11 wasn't meant to be literal since the author didn't could up the ages of the person and give the number of years to the creation.

            Yer wasting yer time trying to make me a fundamentalist.

          • michael

            Pagans tend not to define the term "God" in the same way Jews, Christians, and muslims do, so bringing them up is changing the subject. And I don't believe in brute facts or an infinite regress. I believe a mysterious force I call "Necessary Fate" is the first cause and made everything else.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Pagans tend not to define the term "God" in the same way Jews, Christians, and muslims do, so bringing them up is changing the subject.

            Rather yer pleas for perspicuity and what should be "obvious" are inconsistently applied.

            >And I don't believe in brute facts or an infinite regress.

            What kind of infinite regress? An essential causal series which can't have one or an accidental causal one which can have an infinite regress? If you did the homework instead of slaking off trying to adapt the ANSWERS IN GENESIS arguments.....

            > I believe a mysterious force I call "Necessary Fate" is the first cause and made everything else..

            But I won't hold my breath waiting for a metaphysical argument for it. Unless you recreate Classic Theism from the Ground Up and just us the Term "Necessary Fate" as a placeholder for God.

          • michael

            Neither. I believe in a first cause from a finite amount of time ago which is outside of time, uncaused, always existed, causes time, and is nonliving.

          • Jim the Scott

            BS!

          • michael

            "How do I know for an ancient 900 years meant literally 900 years?" What makes you think otherwise? 2 Peter is talking about God, not ancient people.

          • Jim the Scott

            >2 Peter is talking about God, not ancient people.

            It is early in the creation. Why would it not involve a God's Eye view of time?

            >What makes you think otherwise?

            You ask why I ask why not?

          • michael

            "You ask why I ask why not". You could arbitrarily rationalize almost any absurdity by that line of thinking.

          • Jim the Scott

            I am not the one trying to make me a fundamentalist and adopt a view of the Bible neither of us really believes.

          • michael

            I am not the one shouting "fundamentalist" when I am really just following my intellect.

          • Jim the Scott

            No you are the one with the fundamentalist mentality which you confuse with yer intellect.

          • michael

            An Ad Hoc fallacy is when one goes against their intellect to make up a rationalization for or against something, rather than following their intellect naturally.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yes and you do that in spades. Trying to convert me to fundamentalism. Don't even get me started on yer rationalizations to remain ignorant of philosophy.

          • michael

            An idiom is a term such as "raining cats and dogs" which is am metaphor used to convey an obviously non-literal statement. The intellect is naturally conditioned not to take the phrase "It's raining cats and dogs" literally, but it is not conditioned to apply 2 Peter 3:8 to Genesis 5:3.

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike how are you even going to begin to make the positive case Genesis was meant to be taken literally from Genesis 1-11?

            >An idiom is a term such as "raining cats and dogs" which is am metaphor used to convey an obviously non-literal statement.

            Then explain how I know my Grandmother wasn't telling me to wash up when she told me to go soak my head? My Grandmother did tell me at times to wash up. How was I to know that wasn't literal? A reader ten thousand years from now of my life could read account of her telling me to soak my head and thing she was really telling me to wash up and not telling me to get lost?

            Sorry Mike but in principle you cannot make an airtight case Genesis One was meant to be taken literally when it named the ages of the patriarchs.

            How would you even trying? You would literally have to do Young Earth Creationist apologetics even the best of them couldn't pull off?

            Let's face it Mike. Yer without....

          • michael

            I am focusing on Genesis 5-11 here.

          • Jim the Scott

            Catholicism permits me to accept it as Mytho History. So yer interpretation is not special and no more likely or to be prefered than the YEC or OEC or the general /Catholic Theistic Evolutionist view.

            So you need to do something no YEC has done. Yeh good luck chasing that rabbit down the hole.

          • michael

            Just because catholicism permits it does'nt mean intellect does.

          • Jim the Scott

            How would you know?

          • michael

            From my intellect.

          • Jim the Scott

            Tautology.

          • michael

            How do you know your grandmother didn't want you to literally soak your head? Intellect. There is context so that It's an obviously non-literal statement. Your answer is arbitrary and irrational rationalization. Shoehorning stuff from Bablyon into Genesis is not putting authentic context in to support your claim. If it is, and this somehow relates to Philosophy, show me where in philosophical writing it says you can but stuff from a totally separate religion and put it into Genesis 5:3.

          • Jim the Scott

            Context. I was there. She was angry when she said it. Gave me a look my mother gave me too when i was a brat.

            I don't have the context of Genesis so I don't know what it all means. This is assuming I must take it literally in some fashion. But I see no reason for that.

            Given 10000 years and shifting language conventions there is no way to know that shouldn't be taken literally as instruction to clear myself starting with me heid.

            >Shoehorning stuff from Bablyon into Genesis is not putting authentic context in to support your claim.

            Given the culture it is the best we have to reconstruct it. You will need that to somehow vainly prove it was meant to be literal.

            Philosophy is for you to try to kill God by formulating defeaters for Classic Theistic argument for His existence and nature. You shoot God metaphorically in the head and make me an Atheist then what does it matter if Genesis is meant to be literal or not?

            But go down the rabbit hole and act like a YEC apologist. Hard pass for moi.

          • michael

            It is on you to prove it is'nt meant literally.

          • Jim the Scott

            I was there my testimony is sufficient. She was my Grandmother. But without context you don't know what is literal or not and good luck finding the context absolutely proving the literal with Genesis. Many a YEC covets that evidence yet somehow you will produce it. Yeh good luck with that buddy.

          • michael

            Nobody else but you thinks that way when reading any other ancient book.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Nobody else but you thinks that way when reading any other ancient book.

            Fallacy of a universal negative. That is all you got? Sorry buddy you can believe what you want but if there is no God & if I agreed with that sentiment I still don't have any good compelling positive reason to believe the author of Genesis meant chapters 1-11 to be taken absolutely literally.

            Yer wasting yer time. All Atheists waste their time debating the Bible with Catholics. We don't care about yer lame argument rejecting out Scripture because it seems unworkable according to yer interpretation.

          • michael

            Stop changing the subject to philosophy and focus on The Bible and Apostolic Tradition.

          • Jim the Scott

            No Mike we where discussing the creation of Adam and you want to change the subject to the origin of life which by any standard happened epochs before the creation and or evolution (or both) of Man.

            >Stop changing the subject to philosophy and focus on The Bible and Apostolic Tradition.

            Neither the Bible nor the Apostolic Tradition teaches yer novelty that neither of those can be informed by Science and or Philosophy or yer denial of the development of doctrine.

            Weak sauce my son.

          • michael

            Pint 2 is bonkers. While, no summary of the total number of years, is given, the point brought up by the asker; That the listing of a parent's age at the time of the next name in the list's birth is given, give she impression of the author wanting to give a timeline and there is nothing else they could "symbolically mean" that Craig presents.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Pint 2 is bonkers

            Really? Let us look at all the points.

            (i) In numerous other biblical genealogies there is incontrovertible evidence of abridgment.

            (ii) The author nowhere sums up the ages of the persons listed nor deduces any chronological statement concerning the time that elapsed from the creation or from the deluge, as is done from the descent into Egypt to the Exodus (Exodus 12. 40) or from the Exodus to the building of the temple (I Kings 6. 1).

            (iii) The closest parallel to the timespan of the primaeval history is the time of Israel’s enslavement in Egypt, which is bridged only by a genealogy extending from Levi to Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6. 16-26), a genealogy which cannot have recorded all the links in that line of descent and could not, therefore, have been intended to be used as a basis of chronological computation.

            (iv) Insofar as the records and monuments of ancient Egypt show that the interval between the Flood and the call of Abraham must have been greater than that yielded by the genealogy in Genesis 11, they count against the assumption that this genealogy was intended to supply the elements for a chronological computation.

            (v) The symmetrical structure of the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 favors the belief that they do not register all the names in these respective lines of descent.END

            That is pretty strong.

            >While, no summary of the total number of years, is given, the point brought up by the asker; That the listing of a parent's age at the time of the next name in the list's birth is given,

            So yer response is to merely restate the woman's objection and ignore the fact Exodus 12. 40 & (I Kings 6. 1) do both of those things? Yeh that is not a response that is mere nay saying. It is also weird you insist on defending a view (the YEC one) neither of us believes.

            That is like if you where a Platonic Atheist & rather than engage that worldview I wasted yer time arguing you should be a reductionist materialist Atheist. A view we both reject? Why do you think this mad approach will work?

            >give she impression of the author wanting to give a timeline and there is nothing else they could "symbolically mean" that

            More naysaying sans counter argument.

          • michael

            Yes, Exodus 12:40 and 1 kings 6:1 give specific years for when things happened in relation to another thing. Genesis also does. it gives a specific number of years from The creation of Adam to the Birth of Seth. What's your point? That doesn't resolve the asker's main point, and neither does point 2 raised by Craig.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer lack of reading comprehension skills never fails to unimpress.

            The author nowhere sums up the ages of the persons listed nor deduces any chronological statement concerning the time that elapsed from the creation or from the deluge, as is done from the descent into Egypt to the Exodus (Exodus 12. 40) or from the Exodus to the building of the temple (I Kings 6. 1).

            It clearly answers the questioner's point. You just don't like the answer.

          • michael

            If you count the total of time given in the verses that say "in the so and so year of so an so so's life, he begat so and so", then yes, the inference of an exact chronological timeline from the creation of Adam to the deluge is clearly DEDUCED at 1656 years. it isn't stated directly like in 1 kings 6:1, yes, but a chronological statement is clearly DEDUCED from the numbers given in Genesis 5 thru 11.

          • Jim the Scott

            Now who is being "illogical"? If Genesis is meant to be used to count back to the Beginning of Creation then why didn't Moses count up the years back to creation and write it down in these genealogies ? Like in other genealogies even in the Torah.

            You are more desperate here to defend Usher's suppositions then to accept the possibility the author of Genesis didn't mean it to be literal. Even if there are no gods. I could loose my faith tomorrow and yer I would still not believe these verses where meant by the author to be taken literally.

            Stop begging me to become a fundamentalist. It is silly. Learn philosophy and maybe with some learning you don't have to waste time arguing a book with a guy who a priori will reject any and all interpretation you offer on principle and formulate some philosophical defeaters so you can get a kill shot on the Big Guy Himself.

            This is so small minded and it lack ambition.

          • michael

            Instead of using that method,the author used the method of "And Adam was 130 years old when he begat sent, and Sent was so and so years old when he begat Kenan" and so on. So the method isn't the same as directly saying "So and so years based between Adam and the deluge' but the intent and effect are obviously the same. You are just desperately waging war against your intellect in order to deny what's right in front of you out of bitterness and/or fear.

          • Jim the Scott

            What does any of that matter if I don't take it literally? But as Mytho-history?

            You can beg me all you want to become a fundamentalist but if appealing to the Bible won't convince an Atheist to believe why will making a fundamentalist appeal to the Bible to someone who is not a fundamentalist make him an Atheist?

            Sorry Mike. But if it is any consolation to you. Even thought my opinion of yer abilities is rather low you are slightly a cut above WCB-2 who it seems really does think Psalm 91:4 means God literally has feathers and wings. Also he for some mad reason thinks Trent teaches there are 66 books in the Bible instead of 73?

            You you win a D no D+ and he gets the F.

          • michael

            You seem to be arbitrarily calling it myth history instead of proving your point. Show where Aquinas applies Philosophy and applies it to Genesis 5:3 please.

          • Jim the Scott

            >You seem to be arbitrarily calling it myth history instead of proving your point.

            I don't have to prove anything. I don't give two shhh.....shillings what you believe. You have to argue against the God and the Religion I believe in not the Fundamentalist Baptist Theistic Personalist one you wished I believed in.

            You prove it isn't meant to be Mytho History.

            >Show where Aquinas applies Philosophy and applies it to Genesis 5:3 please.

            I don't need to. I do know on Genesis One Aquinas prefered the literal interpretation but said the Allegorical One was respectable and more in line with the known Science and Philosophy. Given the Augustinian Principle one can intepret it as mytho history.

            Catholics have been doing it before Craig.

            Mike I can't take you seriously when I remember you tried to argue every allowed opinion in Catholicism needed to literally be taught and spelled out by an Apostle while ignoring the whole Tradition of Development of Doctrine.

            You go from making up yer own straw Catholicism to begging me to become a Fundamentalist. Stop trying to make Fetch happen as the mean girl said. It is not going to happen.

          • michael

            Don't change the subject to genesis 1. I'm not talking about that right now. I'm talking about genealogies. Prove to me that they are "myth-history" without arbitrarilys hoehorning details of texts from Bablyon's religion into it.

          • Jim the Scott

            Nope! My house Atheist not yers. You prove it wasn't. The problem is it very well could have been intended to be mytho history even if there is no God.

            Yer here to convince me to be an Atheist. I don't give two shhhh...shillings what you believe remember?

          • michael

            But what makes you believe it was mytho-history? besides just choosing arbitrarily to apply a text of a separate religion to it? What compels you to believe it rather than you choosing your belief?

          • Jim the Scott

            Who cares? Yer the one trying and failing to make a case against my beliefs all while denying yerself the knowledge on how to take out the big one.

            You prove it wasn't meant to be Mytho History. Otherwise ANSWERS IN GENESIS is that way. Have at them.

          • michael

            I care. Why do you believe it was myth history? "Why not" can't be the reason. No one thinks that way.

          • Jim the Scott

            I still don't care and cannot be made to care. It is yer job as the Atheist missionary here to convince me Genesis 1-11 must be taken absolutely literally. Why not is the reason. After all I merely lack belief in a perspicuous Holy Writ.

            > No one thinks that way.

            Every Christian who postulates an old Earth thinks that way. Craig, Pius XII, Fr. Stanley Jaki etc......

            The burden here is all on you since I don't care what you believe. Yer the one trying to convince me. Yer the one taking up the mantel of a YEC apologist.

          • michael

            The genealogies in Genesis 5-11 and the genealogy from Noah to Abraham list the years when each person begat so and so. That is the same in EFFECT, not in wording, but in EFFECT, as saying "This happened X amount of years after Y" If you count the years yourself instead of the text adding up the total for you, then DEDUCTIVE REASONING shows a chronological statement of there being 1656 years from the creation of Adam to the deluge in 600th year of Noah's life. Just becuase here author lets the reader add up the numbers his or herself given the years presented, rather than adding them up and presenting the total himself like in 1 Kings 6:1, it does not follow that the listing of numbers of years in Genesis 5-11 or in the genealogy form Noah to Abraham is not intended as a chronological statement. To say otherwise would be like saying "Not all fish are sharks. Some fish are sharks. Sharks have differences from angelfish and clownfish. Therefore not all sharks are necessarily fish.".

          • Jim the Scott

            So why didn't the author simply add up the years of the life spans of the individuals present and tell us the time leading back to the beginning of the world? If that is what you are meant to do?

            As Craig pointed out Noah would still be alive at the time of the call or Abraham?

            Then there is the fact I don't see why I must take this as literal vs Mytho History? Other then the fact yer too lazy to learn philosophy so begging me to become a Fundamentalist is somehow gonna work?

            Forget it.

            > Just becuase here author lets the reader add up the numbers his or herself given the years Kitchen and Craig note even back then the ancient thought the world was old. The Babylonians believed the flood happened 400000 years ago.

            So I don't see any reason to believe the author meant us to add up the years.

          • michael

            Where in philosophy does it support the idea that it is mytho-history, then? Because of something rom a whole other religion in a different part of the middle east? That's a non-sequitur. Again, since you keep brining up philosophy, tell me: Where in philosophical writing does it indicate this is Myth History?

          • Jim the Scott

            You use philosophy to learn philosophical defeaters so you can answer philosophical arguments for the Classic Theist God. You shoot God. When you have capped him then what does it matter wither the author of Genesis meant it to be literal. Thought I would still think it wasn't meant to be literal.

          • michael

            "I could loose my faith tomorrow and yer I would still not believe these verses where meant by the author to be taken literally.". To be honest I have hard time believing that statement. If you were not a Christian anymore, you wouldn't believe the words "No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of Private Interpretation but rather require The Holy Spirit". So what basis would you have to NOT take Genesis 3:5 at face value without even 2 Peter 1:20 as a basis?

          • michael

            My point is saying "Adam could've lived in 200000 BC" or "The flood could've happened 12000 years ago" is logically irreconcilable with Scripture.You seem to just be hand away clear logical points by saying "'Seth was born when Adam as 130 years old is symbolic for something, I can't specify what though!" and "It's not perspicuous!"

          • Jim the Scott

            >My point is saying "Adam could've lived in 200000 BC" or "The flood could've happened 12000 years ago" is logically irreconcilable with Scripture.

            Which of course you make no rational argument against it you just assume it ad hoc.

            >Seth was born when Adam as 130 years old is symbolic for something, I can't specify what though!" and "It's not perspicuous!"

            I have no problem with Scripture being obscure on some points. As a Catholic I assume it.

            Yer not addressing Craig's points at all or his overall essay. It is pathetic at this point.

          • michael

            I restate the asker's question not to naysay, but rather to explain that point 2 by Craig does not address it.

          • Jim the Scott

            You ignored Craig's responses & hoped I wouldn't noticed. Unimpressive.

          • michael

            Point 2 is the closest the list even comes to addressing the asker's point. That total summary of years is directly given in genesis 5 thru 10 does not affect the issue raised by the fact that timelines of years are given for persons labeled with the word "father" being born and the amount of years form then to the births of those labeled with the word "son", both in those chapter and in the genealogy from Noah to Abraham thus giving the impression that a chronological timeline is intended, and one with a limited frame which does not allow for anywhere near enough generations to be skipped to date the flood any earlier than about 2500 BC (certainly nowhere near 10000 BC as the fold at Inspiringphilosophy claim) or the creation of Adam to 1656 years before the flood, EVEN IF one says there are skipped generations in these genealogies.

          • Jim the Scott

            So what? It is clear the Torah uses different idioms and styles in different ways and it has no consistent style for genealogies in it as Craig shows. It is clear it is not always literal or consistent. We presuppose it need not be literal or clear all the time. We don't confess Perspicuity.
            We need not take the timeline of years literally. If a day to God is like a Thousand Years in both Psalms and Second Peter then how much is 900 years to him? Yer fundamentalism has become boring...

            Thus the times between Adam and Noah and Noah and Abraham can be vast given the idioms. Yer attempt to rescue Usher is just sad at this point.

          • michael

            You are saying they are idioms just because idioms occur elsewhere in a context where it makes sense to use and perceive idioms. Yet here you can't even say what the idiom is meant to symbolize. That's not applying The Non-perspicuity doctrine, thats's arbitrarily forcing Psalms 90:4 and 2 Peter 1:20 into a context they weren't meant for just to desperately rationalize your ideology without applying reason, and thus painfully staining your brain.

          • Jim the Scott

            >You are saying they are idioms just because idioms occur elsewhere in a context where it makes sense to use and perceive idioms.

            An idiom is a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words. For example when my beloved Italian Grandmother of happy memory got mad at me and told me to "Go soak your head!". Yeh she wasn't telling me to bathe when she said that. Trust me. I miss her very much. Rest in Peace Nanny!

            The bible contains different idioms and some from different eras and ironically some in the same work which tradition said had one author. Specifically the Torah.

            The modern Orthodox Jewish interpretation are even more awesome. Too bad I can find those books. Ah well.

            >Yet here you can't even say what the idiom is meant to symbolize.

            So what? Given time something will present itself. Something always does.

            >That's not applying The Non-perspicuity doctrine,

            Sorry but I lack belief in perspicuity. There is no positive "Non-perspicuity doctrine". Enough of yer low ball rhetorical blather.

            >thats's arbitrarily forcing Psalms 90:4 and 2 Peter 1:20 into a context they weren't meant for just to desperately rationalize your ideology without applying reason, and thus painfully staining your brain.

            Actually what is happening here is you are irrationally begging us to become fundamentalists and we refuse to comply so you can continue to rationalize yer refusal to learn philosophy and maybe make a formidable argument for once?

          • michael

            What does philosophy have to do with shoehorning verses into contexts they apparently were not meant for? Please explain or point me to the chapter where Thomas wrote "here is how Philosophy relates to Psalms 90:4 and Genes 5-11".

          • Jim the Scott

            >What does philosophy have to do with shoehorning verses into contexts they apparently were not meant for?

            According to whom? You? Forget the Bible. Learn philosophy and aim at God. Or be a scrub. Yer choice. Geez I thought I lacked ambition?

          • michael

            "Forget The Bible" but still "Aim At God"? If the Pope or the author of Matthew 28:16-20 heard you say that, they'd be angry at you.

          • Jim the Scott

            No they would recognize if you disprove the Classic Theistic God then what Genesis really means doesn't matter.

            BTW if there is no God I still could believe and would till I had hard contrary empirical evidence that the author of Genesis 1-11 didn't mean it to be literal otherwise they would have added up the years going back to the beginning.

          • Jim the Scott

            Additional:

            Michael btw did you miss it where Craig said"We should not imagine that the genealogies contemplate the enormous leaps that would be necessary to bring them into harmony with what we know of the history of mankind; but neither should we think them to comprise purely fictitious characters. We can avoid these polar opposites by taking the brief history they relate to be a mytho-history which is not been meant to be taken literally."END QUOTE

            In other words "BYE BYE MISS AMERICAN PIE DROVE MY CHEVE TO THE LEVY BUT THE LEVY WAS DRY". Mytho History!

            So why is that wrong? If an Evangelical Protestant Theistic Personalist heretic who has no Pope, Tradition or Infallible Church to guide him can figure this out then what sir is yer damage?

            OTOH when I read Kenneth Kitchen's analysis I note he says the Genesis 1-11 narrative may be from an ancient tradition handed on to the writer/editor of the original Torah (i.e Moses) so the literary conventions from the earlier material my be different then the ones he used in the later narative. Which justifies a mixed gentre.

            But to the last man the YEC apologist is bound to perspicuity, sola scripura & hyper literalism because they have no living Church or Tradition to fill in the gaps so they are forced into their fundamentalism(unless they are less ridged like Craig).

            Which is why when I was very very young & stupid and I actually thought Young Earth Creationism was plausible, being Catholic helped me keep my faith when later in life I came to see it wasn't really plausible where as many a YEC Protestant who has abandoned YEC lost belief in God across the board. My wife who is a former ex-Catholic turned Evangelical who later returned to Catholicism told me YEC Fundies are taught either Genesis is literally true at the beginning or you cannot trust the Bible.

            As a Catholic that view would be anathema to me. I was never taught that even by my most hardcore Radtrad teachers.

            Even when I was entertaining the idea YEC could be true I wasn't wedded to it because I was Catholic. At the time I also thought Old Earth Creationism and or Theistic Evolutionism with a literal Adam was also a plausible opinion. The Church tolerated these different views therefore so could I. It wasn't hard.

            Even at the height of me thinking the Universe was only 6000 years old. (Yeh 20 is such a dull age) I thought OTOH is could be 5 billion.

            Now enough of yer fundamentalism young man.

          • michael

            Why is it wrong? because it's an Ad roc rationalization. You (And Craig and Kenneth Kitchen) only believe it because you want to, not because it's a plausible answer with a rational basis. Why would someone write "And Adam begat Seth at 130 years of age" if it were just mytho-history? What purpose would that serve? This is logic, not fundamentalism. Yelling "I ain't see it a perspicuous 'cuz Epistle off Peter ya varmint!" to every verse I bring up does nothing but strain the logic circuits in your brain to the point of physical pain.

          • Jim the Scott

            Only if you ad hoc confess perspicuity & hyper liberalism because you need an outlet for yer anti-fundamentalist Atheist polemics.

            >Why would someone write "And Adam begat Seth at 130 years of age" if it were just mytho-history?

            Why not? Why would they write about God's feathers or a beast with seven heads?

            >this is logic, not fundamentalism.

            That is like saying it is not "logical" for Don McLean to invoke the Trinity rather then just literally mention the names of the Big Booper, Richie V and Buddy Holly in his song.

            It is more "Boo hoe! No Fair! Yer not a fundamentalist". But we all know why you take this rout. Yer too lazy to learn philosophy. It is fun to watch.

          • michael

            Revelation cannot be applied here. Everyone reading revelation naturally knows it's symbolic if they've read Daniel. Again, following the intellect naturally has nothing to do with fundamentalism.

          • Jim the Scott

            Then why so many Rabbis and Writers like Philo and Augustine take it symbolically?

            >Again, following the intellect naturally has nothing to do with fundamentalism.

            I agree but you are not following yer intellect. You are begging me to become a fundamentalist. Hard Pass. I like being a Traditional Thomist.. Yer the fundamentalist here Mike. That is yer fate till you learn some philosophy.

          • michael

            They also can understand easily what symbols in revelation may mean. Again, this has nothing do with fundamentalism.

          • Jim the Scott

            So here again you are spouting Perpetuity. Luther once said a Plow boy could interpret Holy Writ better than the Pope because it was so clear.

            He recanted that later in life when his follower came up with a horde of radically contradicting interpretations.

            Why your Mike and not His or Calvin or Stephen Hawings or Jeff the Powboy?

            Hard Pass. Go learn philosophy and stop being a scub.

          • michael

            Edward Feser said the purpose of a Pope is to preserve doctrines, not modify or make new ones.

          • Jim the Scott

            You have not proven Pius XII had done either. You assume it by making a YEC interpretation of Genesis a dogma but no such dogma is found in any authoritative tome of Catholic doctrine. It is not found in the CCC nor Ott nor Denzinger nor the Councils nor the Popes nor the Bible.

            It is all you.....

          • michael

            On what basis from Apostolic Tradition did Pius Xii develop the idea "Hey, maybe the Bible does'nt really mean what it says when it says Adam was sent to farm the ground form which he was made"? If he didn't cite both Apostolic Tradition and Scripture as a basis for this statement, that's not developing, that's inventing.

          • Jim the Scott

            >On what basis from Apostolic Tradition did Pius Xii develop the idea "Hey, maybe the Bible does'nt really mean what it says

            The Bible always means what it says but yer problem is knowing what it is really saying. So how do I know I must take all of Genesis hyper literally? Is that concept taught in Genesis? If so where? Is it taught elsewhere in Holy Writ? If so where? We haven't even gotten to Tradition.......

            For example is the Bible really trying to tell us God made Pharaoh heart a solid object when he "hardened it"? How does a man live with a solid stone for a heart and not die? Or when the Psalms talk about God's wings and feathers? So I must take that hyper literally then? Where does the Text tell me to do that?

            Mike all you have done is take bad fundamentalist Sola Scriptura argument and trotted them out and tweeked them to include Tradition. You haven't made any intelligent argument.

            You are wasting yer time making any Biblical argument with Catholics. They are all automatically wrong.

            > If he didn't cite both Apostolic Tradition and Scripture as a basis for this statement, that's not developing, that's inventing.

            Where does either Apostolic Tradition or Scripture teach this novel standard of yers? It doesn't so it is false by its own standard.

            when it says Adam was sent to farm the ground form which he was made"? If he didn't cite both Apostolic Tradition and Scripture as a basis for this statement, that's not developing, that's inventing.

          • michael

            Especially since such development would still not be rooted in any quotes from the twelve apostles, so it'd effectively amount to a whole new revelation.

          • Jim the Scott

            Where did the twelve apostles teach this novel doctrine of yers that all future doctrinal development must be rooted in literal quotes from said Apostles? This doctrine of yers is thus false by its own standards.

            Dude you cannot make up yer own Catholic religion and expect me to be impressed. Mike please go away. I need someone challenging to respond too. You are not it son. You have never been it in spite of all my efforts. Ya just don't want to learn anything.

          • michael

            Are you saying that Catholicism does not teach that all it's dogmas are from either Scripture or Apostolic Tradition, "bound so tightly that neither can exist without the other"?

          • Jim the Scott

            >Are you saying that Catholicism does not teach that all it's dogmas are from either Scripture or Apostolic Tradition,

            What do you mean by "from either Scripture or Apostolic Tradition"? It is derived from it and formulated over centuries as we begin to understand it better, But yer novel invention that all doctrinal development was ready made in the first century in the explicit statements of the Apostles has been taught by nobody.

            Also Augustine is a recognized doctor and Church Father. So his opinion is part of Tradition. Yer weird ad hoc reformulations are not.

          • michael

            I mean "through a combination of Bible quotes and statements forma he 12 apostles with no new ideas coming about after the death of the last apostle". Catholicism teaches that public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle, so no, Augustine is not part of Apostolic Tradition. And things like The Divinity of Jesus, etc. as I said were developed but only on a strong biblical basis.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I mean

            Oh so you wish to clarify what you meant vs what you literally sent? Sounds like yer developing yer own doctrine? How ironic!

            >"through a combination of Bible quotes and statements forma he 12 apostles with no new ideas coming about after the death of the last apostle".

            Mike the Dogma of the Church mandates I believe God directly created Adam using the material of the Earth. All things on this planet are made of the material of the Earth including living things that evolved here. The Bible doesn't specify the mechanism of how God created Adam from the Dust of the Ground so we are free to speculate given the Truth of Evolution God did it by ensouling a Hominid.

            This isn't hard Mike.

            >Catholicism teaches

            Whenever you write these words Mike every educated Catholic here and quite a few Atheists and Protestants know you will assert something that is the opposite of those words.

            >that public revelation ended with the death of the last apostle,

            Which means no more scripture was inspired nor any oral doctrine given nothing more. Nothing about that abolishes developing what has been revealed prior to that.

            > so no, Augustine is not part of Apostolic Tradition. And things like The Divinity of Jesus, etc. as I said were developed but only on a strong biblical basis.

            Says who? You are making up yer own Catholicism Mike and it will never be convincing. It just makes you look silly.

          • michael

            The start of the gospel of John, etc. all pretty explicitly state The Divnity of jesus. that answers your questions of "says who".

          • Jim the Scott

            Really? Jesus teaches yer novel fantasy the Apostles delivered all defined dogmas in the First Century ready made without there having to be councils or Tradition or Popes?

            Stop making yerself look silly Mike. Nobody is impressed. Nobody.

          • michael

            Are you also denying that the Church teaches new revelations ended with the death of the last apostle/ Development of ideas like the Trinity, etc. while never formally pronounced by ecumenical councils until later on, all still had pretty clear biblical support at least.

          • Jim the Scott

            Sorry Mike but revelation and tradition at minimum require we believe God created Adam from the material of the Earth. That is all that is required of us. The texts of Holy Writ nor the Tradition of the Apostles specify the mechanisms of HOW God did that so we are free to fill in the blanks.

            You are making up yer own doctrines that no Catholic anywhere believe and you think this is a good idea? I mean wow!

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike you are not giving the Catholic view but a Caricature of it. Why do you think that is a good idea.

          • michael

            Would you please consider giving a summary of what Newman said on this matter?

          • Jim the Scott

            No do yer own homework.

          • michael

            I"m on section 4 of the part of the pdf labeled "ON the development of ideas"

          • Jim the Scott

            Well good luck with that as it took me years to understand Newman and I am good.

            Maybe read Dave Armstrong's blog for the summery? He can simplify it for you.

          • michael

            I'm on art 9 of the next section and still don't see where he proves (or even talks about) the idea that it's consistent with catholic teaching that new doctrines on what we can/can't believe or how we are to understand The Bible can arise outside of the combination of Scripture with Apostolic Tradition while still saying that this combination is the Church's source of Truth on Dogmatic teaching.

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike go read the summery over a Dave Blog and don't tell him I sent you. I don't wish to ruin my friendship with him with you showing up spouting yer ignorant pablum. He has less patence then moi. We boarder Scots are crabby.

            >he idea that it's consistent with catholic teaching that new doctrines

            What do "new doctrines" have do with anything? We are talking about a clear understanding of existing doctrine. Doctrine tells us God created the first man. That is it. That is all that is contained in it. Any understandings of how that relates to evolution or God giving a hominid a soul is a development granted by science. It is not the creation of a new doctrine.

            Augustine said if a particular even literal interpretation of Scripture contradicts the known science or philosophy then said interpretation must yeld so I don't see how you can claim Pius XII "added" to doctrine when he said we can believe God made Adam from pre-existing living matter?

          • michael

            the idea that God made his body from pre-existing organic matter rather than the dust of the earth is the matter at hand here not just "God created man". Also, Augustine did not write Scripture or cite any of the 12 apostles for that statement, meaning that since Catholic teaching must come form a combination of Scripture and Apostolic Tradition, he was just making that up on no foundation

          • Jim the Scott

            >The idea that God made his body from pre-existing organic matter rather than the dust of the earth is the matter at hand here not just "God created man".

            Says who? By yer own made up standards show me an explicit statement from any Apostle or from Scripture and Tradition that excludes this?

            > Also, Augustine did not write Scripture or cite any of the 12 apostles for that statement,

            You didn't cite any of the 12 Apostles for yer made up standard one must explicitly cite one of the 12 Apostles. So yer own view is false by its own standards. You have nothing contribute here. It is tragic the posts of intelligent Atheists like STP get eaten by disqus but yer nonsense is not.

            > he was just making that up on no foundation

            This standard of yers you of directly citing an Apostle is false by its own standard. You have nothing Mike. Nothing.

          • michael

            Are you saying catholicism teaches that public revelation continued up until Pius XII rather than having ended with the death of the last apostle?

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike you cannot play sophistical games with me. Yer too predictable at this point and it just doesn't work. You cannot make up yer own Catholic concept out of yer backside and you cannot make up concepts I never said.

            You claimed Dr. B said the CCC was infallible. David Nickol noted that wasn't true and I noted it too. Why do you think this insane nonsense is at all convincing? Why Mike?

          • michael

            i remember him saying that. And now I see that you claim public revelation idd not end with the death of the las apostle. that makes you a full-blown heretic.

          • Jim the Scott

            No Mike you just make up nonsense and substitute it for argument even when corrected by others some of whom are yer fellow religious skeptics.
            You hear what you want to hear.

            > And now I see that you claim public revelation idd not end with the death of the las apostle

            I said not such thing Mike. That is yer fantasy. Yer sophistry. It is not convincing. Development of doctrine doesn't add to revelation it makes existing revelation more clear and revelation tells us God created Adam from the material of the Earth. It is not necessary the material of the Earth be transformed directly into a man. It can start as minerals absorbed by the root of a plant that is eaten by a Hominid and God one day takes that Hominid and uses it as raw material for a new being He calls Adam. This view is plausible given the truth of Evolution.

            You have been pretending it is a dogma. You run forward making yerself look silly and at this point I have gone from bemusement to simple pity.

            Are you having a crisis of faithlessness? Is that what all this is about?

          • michael

            You wantan explicit statement? Here's article 2, quote 80 of the CCC: S"acred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal."40 Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".41" https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s1c2a2.htm

          • Jim the Scott

            >You wantan explicit statement? Here's article 2, quote 80 of the CCC: S"acred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.

            Which when applied to Genesis tells me God created Adam directly and made him from the material of the Earth (which is unremarkable when you consider everything on this planet is made of the matter that came from the Earth). The Mechanism of how he did so is not mentioned so we are given the Truth of Evolution free to speculate God made Adam from ensouling a hominid animal.

            I love how you cite the Vatican but dismiss Pius XII. That is just hypocritical my friend. I am sorry but it is and it is a clear double standard and an Argument from special pleading.

            Now please go away and let the grown ups talk.

          • michael

            Evolution posits life emerging form the oceans, not the dust of the ground.

          • Jim the Scott

            So what? The Bible also says God has feathers and wings in Psalms 91:4.
            Michael you just can't accept the fact Catholics are not Fundamentalists.

            ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over there my son. Have at them. I'll be rooting for ya.

          • michael

            It also says: Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."32
            76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
            - orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";33

            - in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".34

          • Jim the Scott

            >It also says: Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."32 etc.....etc...etc...

            Yes! Amen! So what? What is yer point? If any......AhI forgot you really don't have one son.

          • michael

            "The Talmud has legends that Adam and Eve shared Eden with souless "wild men" and after they broke up for 100 years after Able's murder they spent some time mating with these creatures...etc..' this is the very first I've heard of this. I don't recall seeing it on the wikipedia article "Judaism and Evolution" nor in the "rabbinical tradition" section of the wikipedia article on Adam. Source please?

          • Jim the Scott

            Enjoy
            https://www.aish.com/tp/i/moha/48931772.html

            Also Jewish Phsyicist Gerald Schroeder mentioned it in his book The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom, Which I was fond of when I thought ID was cool.

          • michael

            So one author disagreed with the first and said they were not centaurs but demons or dmii-humans. Sounds made up.

          • Jim the Scott

            In theory it could be. I don't have to take it as an actual tradition handed down(unless the Pope tells me different). No sir what is significant about that is Orthodox Jews have no problem believing Adam and Eve shared their "Eden"(whatever that literally was? A Place? A state of Being? Or both?) with humanoids without souls. Ergo Pius XII allowing for the speculation God's creating Adam of Adam was the act of giving an immortal soul to a Hominid Animal making it a him is not far fetched from the perspective of the most conservative of Bible believing Jews. So Theistic Evolution becomes that more plausible and valid a viewpoint. Funny how Divine Providence does that?

            Michael I have nothing but contempt for yer efforts to put on the hat of a Young Earth Creationist religious apologist to try to convert me to a Hyper literal understanding of Genesis 1-11. If the Baptist can't convince me "Call no Man Father" is to be taken literally when addressing Clergy by their lawful and natural titles and I can't take him seriously when he down plays "Baptism now saves you" or "The bread I give is my own flesh" & "This is my Body" or when Jesus clearly makes Peter the Pope when we compare Isaiah 22:20-24 with Matt 16:18-19 then what chance do you have sir.

            Add to that before I accept yer personal interpretation of Genesis you still have to implicitly accept some Protestant presuppositions I am automatically predisposed to dismiss as irrational. Like Perspicuity which is self evidently refuted by the thousands of Protestant denominations each teaching sometimes radically different doctrines while using the same truncated 66 book bible and Sola Scriptura.

            At best you could offer alternate opinion. BTW technically Catholics aren't mandated to believe Adam was the result of God ensouling a hominid. Rather it is via the judgement of Pius XII a valid opinion. In theory individual Catholicsc can confess YEC or OEC as an example of what Augustine said "In doubtful things liberty in essential thing unity". It is not essential to be either a YEC or Theistic Evolutionist. At minimum you must confess God somehow directly created the first man.

            Yer fundamentalist readings of Tradition and Aquinas do not impress. If you want to impress. God learn philosophy and go learn how to formulate philosophical defeaters for key Classic Theist concepts. Kill God and it won't matter wither Genesis is literal or mytho-history.

            Or you can continue to tilt at windmills like a clueless Baptist. I will just sit here and laugh at you because I am not a nice person. One hopes Dr. B and Brandon and Mark and Rob and Ben and Luke pray for me over that personality flaw.

            Now hit the books scrub.

          • michael

            What if someone debunked the resurrection of Jesus?

          • Jim the Scott

            If its and butts where candy and nuts we would all have a Happy Chanuka.

            One wonders why you don't focus on that instead yer Don Quixote attempt to convert us all to fundamentalism before you can convince us to become Atheists? I am sure Mark or Rob can give you a good fight. I specialize in the Problem of Evil.

          • michael

            Why are you a Christian? Not Mark or Rob, YOU.

          • Jim the Scott

            You know by now I don't answer that question. It is nebulous and vague and it does not please me.

          • michael

            A five-word question is vague?

          • Jim the Scott

            Don't beg me it is undignified.

          • michael

            Here's an alternate opinion: There are so many different denominations not because Perspicuity is a false doctrine, but because The Bible is poorly written and inconsistent. What would make you consider that possibility? What would make you consider the idea that "Hey, maybe Christianity is something some people made up like all those other religions"?

          • Jim the Scott

            >Here's an alternate opinion: There are so many different denominations not because Perspicuity is a false doctrine, but because The Bible is poorly written and inconsistent.

            Yer alternative opinion is nothing more than a distinction without a difference. Written language by itself by nature is inherently ambiguous.
            Patrick Madrid did a whole discussion on it in his debate with James White over Sola Scriptura. "I never said you stole money" can have dozens of different meanings given the context.

            Yer just regrouping and repackaging Perspicuity. I am sorry but it is absurd to postulate God (given the Aquinas correct definition of omnipotence) can produce a "Perfect Written record". Language like physical being is composite ergo subject to imperfection. We live in an imperfect world because it is a material world. There is no such thing as perfect language because language cannot be simple. Thus any Bible God would inspire must be "poorly" written and lack internal consistency. The only perfect word of God is the Word that subsists in the Divine Essence.

            That is why God added a Church and a Tradition because of the limits of written text. The Bible doesn't say Holy Writ is the pillar & ground of Truth (1 Tim 3:15) it says the Church is. If it said Scripture instead of the Church Protestants would cite that verse to prove their false Sola Scriptura doctrine to the exclusion of all others.

            Yer just trying to sell me Protestantism again and I am not buy. Get off yer lazy butt and learn to formulate philosophical defeaters for Classic Theism.
            Take out God then that is all you need. Yeh good luck with that.

          • michael

            Spoken words of tradition are no more or less limited than writing. What's one have that the other doesn't that makes tradition better than writing.

          • Jim the Scott

            Which is why you add the Church with the Holy Spirit. Which is why you and yer less informed co-irreligious WCB-2 (note less informed by an order of magnitude) fail when you try to co-opt and read into Catholic Tradition yer own ideas. Also leaving out the Development of Doctrine is inexcusable.

            You need all three to formulate dogma and to map out the areas where speculation may occur.

          • michael

            But the Church still uses WORDS. I am not talking about The Holy Spirit, I am talking about WORDS. Stay on topic.

          • Jim the Scott

            Rather you are trying to avoid the topic. A static text cannot be made super clear because that is the nature of language. The Church OTOH is living. We had a living Pius XII who cleared it up and a St John Paul II.
            Church/tradition/holy writ.

            Michael/tradition/holy writ does not suit. Hard pass.

          • michael

            A living St John Paul iI And Pius Xii who spoke in WORDS.

          • Jim the Scott

            So living people cannot clarify words? Since when? You did that with yer Ricky Gervais question. You gave me some context to clear it up.

            It is not Sola Scriptura or Sola Tradiso. It is Church,Bible and Tradition.

          • michael

            I thought you said words were too limited to be clear?

          • Jim the Scott

            I said "A static text cannot be made super clear". Which is true unless you can get the author to tell you what he or she means in the face of ambiguity.

            This isn't hard. Just as courts can rule on the ambiguities of the law so the Church sort out doctrine.

          • michael

            Augustine merely said the natter for the sun, etc. in Genesis chapter 1 were created all at once. That is not the same as saying he taught everything in Genesis is allegory.

          • Art Davison

            The Lord God said "It is not good that man is alone..." Now who the heck heard God say those words?

          • Rob Abney

            Could it have been Adam himself? Then he would have to pass along this story of the beginning to all of his descendants, and as we’ve already discussed it wasn’t through a drunken parlor game or through a child’s game of telephone (or from your childhood, telegram).

          • OMG

            God heard the words.

            The words God has chosen to reveal to man, through his prophets, are written in Holy Scripture. You can analogically, experientially, and spiritually hear Him speak when you read Scripture.

            On another level, do you deny the truth of the words God spoke? Is it good for man to be alone? What do you think?

          • Jim the Scott

            So you are such a fundamentalist you imagine God (who is spirit) literally has a physical mouth and a voice box that literally vibrates the air with the words "It is not good man is alone" for the birds too literally hear him?

            So to channel the classic mockery of Protestant Thomist Norman Geisler if the Psalmist says "And under His wings you may seek refuge;" you take that literally and imagine God is a giant Cosmic Chicken?

            Seriously dude? What part of "We are not fundamentalists" do ye nor understand laddie?

          • Art Davison

            I don't 'imagine' anything. I'm just quoting OMG, and wondering how something Gawd said could be known. Of course, there was Adam, but Gawd obviously was talking about him, not to him.

          • Jim the Scott

            So you imagine God the Holy Spirit didn't simply impart this information too Moses when He inspired him to write about it? You think this requires an eyewitness account?

            Also God informing us what His will was at this point in the narrative is too you a literal speaking with sound and a voice box?

            I guess back when you where a Baptist you really did believe the Almighty was a giant Cosmic chicken. Here I thought I was just joking but wow!!!

            You had some weird beliefs as a "Christian".

          • Art Davison

            Dever, William G. (1993). "What Remains of the House That Albright Built?". The Biblical Archaeologist. University of Chicago Press. 56 (1): 25–35. doi:10.2307/3210358. ISSN 0006-0895. JSTOR 3210358. the overwhelming scholarly consensus today is that Moses is a mythical figure

            Miller II, Robert D. (25 November 2013). Illuminating Moses: A History of Reception from Exodus to the Renaissance. BRILL. p. 21. ISBN 978-90-04-25854-9. Van Seters concluded, 'The quest for the historical Moses is a futile exercise. He now belongs only to legend.'

          • Jim the Scott

            Changing the topic because you cannot admit you are making crap arguments? So entertaining.......

            I can also cite Kenneth Anderson Kitchen (born 1932)who is a British biblical scholar, Ancient Near Eastern historian, and Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, England. Who says the Exodus happened.

            James K. Hoffmeier (born February 13, 1951 in Egypt) is an American Old Testament scholar. He was Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
            Hoffmeier has degrees from Wheaton College and a PhD, University of Toronto.He specialises in issues of Old Testament historicity and archaeology. Who says the same.

            Also Finkelstein the Israeli Archeologist and religious agnostic who denies the fundamentalist view of the Exodus (as do the two I cite above) as a literal migration of 3 million people has gone on record saying he thinks Moses was an actual historic figure who lead some escaped slaves from Egypt.

            Anyway you are a Fundamentalist. Yer objections are non-starters to Catholics. Go read some Jack Smart or Graham Oppy, that is some real Atheist philosophers and get back to us.

            Cheers.

          • Art Davison

            I don't know why I'm arguing biblical accuracy with you Jim, since I don't believe in the truth of any religion. Sorta like arguing what species of rabbit the Easter bunny is. As has been pointed out many times, there have been thousands of religions throughout human history, with their gods, temples, priests, rituals, etc. and people prayed to them and offered sacrifices, and most of them have disappeared, so why is any one of today's religions likely to be any truer?

          • Jim the Scott

            >I don't know why I'm arguing biblical accuracy with you Jim, since I don't believe in the truth of any religion.

            Yes and I already explained too you how it is futile for Atheists to argue the Bible with Catholics. We don't believe the Bible by itself is clear. So pointing to instances where there is a lack of clarity means nothing to us. It may make Fundamentalists cringe who are forced to believe it is clear because they reject the Authority of the Church that Christ founded and the Tradition of the Apostles. But for us it is a given the Bible can be obscure.

            I learned this lesson as a youth arguing with Mormons whose views are radically different from us. Mormons believe God can change his mind so if I point to a prophesy that didn't seem to come to past in their scripture they would dismiss it as God changing his mind. It was a mistake treating Mormons as if they held to the dogma of an Immutable God like classic Protestants and Catholics do.

            Please learn that lesson yerself while we are all still young. Good lad! Remember we are all Catholics here. Luke if he is around is the resident Protestant. Try yer wears on him if he responds. But with us forget it.

            >Sorta like arguing what species of rabbit the Easter bunny is.

            He is a Jack Rabbit BTW. Santa Claus told me. Either that or it was in AD&D Monster manual third edition. My memory is fuzzy.

            > As has been pointed out many times, there have been thousands of religions throughout human history, with their gods, temples, priests, rituals, etc. and people prayed to them and offered sacrifices, and most of them have disappeared, so why is any one of today's religions likely to be any truer?

            The problem with that argument is even if I denied all gods I would dismiss it as lame. Here is why. All this tells me is the majority of human kind has been and is still in some sense theistic threw out the ages and since Atheism is a minority position then it is less probable on that measure. You have Atheism vs hundreds of theistic religions. Yers is the minority opinion so how is it more probable?

            Of course I don't believe the truth or falsehood of religion and or atheism can be settled based on probability. I believe it is a philosophical question and by yer own past admission you don't know any philosophy. So good day to you till you learn some. Get good scrub otherwise ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over there. Have at them.

            BTW if this comforts you consider this. Just because you make IMHO really bad arguments against religion doesn't make you automatically wrong. It just means you really need to up yer game. Or not. It is yer choice.

            Peace be with you.

          • Art Davison

            Is that phrase not in your Catholic Bible?

          • Jim the Scott

            Wow so that is a "yes" then? I heard the phrase "Scratch an Atheist find a fundamentalist" but you are taking it a wee bit too far. Just saying.

          • Art Davison

            So Jim, what parts of the Bible do you believe as written? A literal Adam and Eve as progenitors of the human race? An actual flood and Noah's Ark? Jesus' resurrection?
            just curious.

          • Jim the Scott

            I believe what the Catholic Church believes. It should be easy for you to look it up in the CCC & the hints I gave in my past posts(I.e. local flood). Dr B. already discussed his book on reconciling Adam and Eve and evolution.

          • Ficino

            I believe what the Catholic Church believes.

            Credisne ut carbonarius? (:

            I assume you know the story of the charcoal burner. Rock on

          • Jim the Scott

            Eh? I can't afford to move out of NY much less hope to die in the woods. I'll likely die alone in a government run old age home. Hopefully I will be too senile to care and they get me a Priest before I die.

          • Art Davison

            You seem to be evading my question. I went to CCC but couldn't find references to any biblical event such as Adam & Eve, Noah & the Ark and the Resurrection.

          • Jim the Scott

            Seriously? I could find it in my sleep. Go check it again. BTW if you haven't figured out what the Church teaches about the Resurrection by now then laddie you need help tying yer shoes.

            I went to Catholic Culture online typed in Resurrection and got 43 results.

            https://www.catholicculture.org/search/searchResults.cfm?querynum=1&searchid=2026971&showCount=10

            What is wrong with you? Do I have to do everything for you people.
            Go away now.

          • Art Davison

            Now don't get snippy JIm. I tried CCC on wikipedia and opened the Catholic Catechism (Spelling?) which didn't help, but when I Googled CCC I got a more useful website. One sectiom declared the following:-
            "121 The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value,92 for the Old Covenant has never been revoked." So I guess tht answers my question. Genesis is to be believed as written.

          • Art Davison

            By the way, I clicked on 'https://www.catholicculture'. and it said I couldn't access it because I had rejected cookies. when I googled it, I got the message " site cannot be reached"

          • David Nickol

            The link to the Catholic Culture site appears to be to search results, and it doesn't work.

          • Jim the Scott
          • Jim the Scott

            The words "Genesis is to be believed as written" are yer words sir and I note are not in the text of. CCC 121 & nothing in that text even remotely suggests that interpretation you pulled out of yer former Baptist backside.

            CCC 121 taken at face value and taken literally means 1. the OT is an absolutely necessary part of Holy Writ(which is true). 2. God wrote it threw the sacred writers & its content is always valuable. 3. God's promises to the Jewish people are forever(as re-affirmed by Pope St. John Paul II who first uttered that phrase when addressing a group of Jews which later found its way in the CCC ).

            Given the Tradition of the Catholic Church that is the only ordinary interpretation one can give and there is no way you can get a dogmatic mandate for a Fundamentalist literalist interpretation of Genesis that says we must take the days as literal days & interpret Genesis like they do over at ANSWERS IN GENESIS.

            Yer an Atheist now and you proof text CCC (like you did the Bible)like a fundamentalist. How droll. So what do you do with this.

            CCC 390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. 264 Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

            Well? I am sorry but Catholicism doesn't mandate Young Earth Creationism. It doesn't absolutely forbid it (you can find a minority of throwbacks who hold to it like the Kolbe Center) but it is not mandated.

            Sorry Art but yer Baptist errors have no place in reading our theology texts.

            Now go away. I am nor in the mood.

          • michael

            Adam and Eve and Easter are in the CCC, but Noah and a local flood? C'mon then. Where is a local flood idea in the catechism?

          • Jim the Scott

            Why does it have to be? Where does the CCC teach Sola CCC?

            Michael STP is here. An Atheist who is far more intelligent, learned and informed and interesting than....some people. Can you cool it for now? I need a challenge and I am sorry but you are not it.

          • David Nickol

            These are the most important parts (in my opinion):

            First, this paragraph:

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

            And then this section, of which the following is only part:

            III. ORIGINAL SIN
            Freedom put to the test

            396 God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die."The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil"symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.

            Man's first sin

            397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of.All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

            398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully "divinized" by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to "be like God", but "without God, before God, and not in accordance with God".

            399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness.They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.

            400 The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man.Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay".Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground", for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.

            The Catechism is not particularly helpful when it comes to explaining which parts of the Bible are to be taken literally. In fact, I would be hard pressed to name a good source, and (again, in my opinion) the Catholic Church is not particularly concerned with the historicity of most of the Bible. Of course, the Gospels are important, but even there, emphasis is on main events and teachings, not whether the Gospels are "journalistically" accurate accounts.

          • Art Davison

            The Catholic Catechism I found said this:-
            "For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."70 106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. "To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more."71 107 The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."
            Sounds to me as if every word in the Old Testament is to be accepted as true, so there really were an Adam and Eve, God threw them out of an actual garden because they learned something that lessened their abysmal ignorance, and there was a real world-wide flood and Noah really built an ark. Wow!

          • Jim the Scott

            @davidnickol:disqus

            Oh Art you are so entertaining here.

            Nickol is correct(& I am tagging him in here). He gets it but you Art are just being the Baptist you once where and you are reading yer Baptist Fundamentalist nonsense into our texts. Sorry but it doesn't work that way.

            I tried that decades ago when I was arguing with some Mormons. I pointed out Prophecy "contradictions" in their sacred text (as recommend by some Protestant Anti-Mormon literature I had on hand) & crowed at them they didn't come true. I was reading them like a Catholic or conservative Protestant would. The problem was Mormons believe God can change His mind. They don't believe in the Divine Immutability like Catholics and most Protestants do. So it was futile. "God changed his mind" was their reply. It was wrong of me to assume they played by my rules. So sir what pray tell is thy malfunction? After all my cajoling and chastisement! Why do I bother?

            If you saw my other post I cite CCC 390 and I am pleased Nickol has cited it too "The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event,". Well?

            The texts you proof text above just tell us God wrote Holy Writ threw the sacred author. Nothing more.

            >Sounds to me as if every word in the Old Testament is to be accepted as true.

            Do you seriously not get the ambiguity there? Of course it is all true. But how is it true? Literally? Symbolically? Metaphorically? The song AMERICAN PIE is a "true history" of Rock and Roll in America. But I have news for ya sunshine. Mick Jagger is not literally Satan and Richie Valens, the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly are not the Trinity.

            Symbolic language!

            >so there really were an Adam and Eve, God threw them out of an actual garden because they learned something that lessened their abysmal ignorance, and there was a real world-wide flood and Noah really built an ark. Wow!

            Yeh I don't know how you get that unless you where weaned on ANSWERS IN GENESIS or Chick Tracts as a wee lad?

            I know from Ott and Denzinger the Church does teach as Infallible Dogma God made the first Man and we are all his decedents and inherit original sin form him. But there is no reason to take the story as is in Genesis as hyper literal other than the theological implications. Pius XII said "The Church does not forbid that ... research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter."

            There is no dogmatic teaching on the flood or Noah. At best the Vatican around the 19th century came to believe based on the sciences that indicated the Earth was older than a few thousand years the flood was local not global.

            So no! Enough of yer fundie nonsenes.

            But I will say this in praise of yer funny reading. Many an anti-Vatican II reactionary "Traditionalist" pseudo Catholic and SSPX sympathizer has complained Vatican II and the CCC downplay and dilute the dogma of the Strong Inherency & inspiration of Holy Writ. Yet here you are an Ex Fundamentalist Baptist turned Infidel reading the CCC and interpreting it in a manner that would bring a smile to the lips of the Trads over at the Kolbe Center.

            I love it! Vatican II downplays the Divine Inspiration and Inerrancy indeed!!! HA! I can't wait to take yer post and wave it under their noises in other forums and on FB. (I am not just mean to Atheist you know Radtrads beware!).

            Cheers.

          • Art Davison

            I find the Catechism by Googling "Catechism of the Catholic Church - Vatican.va" and look at Part One, Chapter 2, Article
            3-II. Are you saying it dosn't mean what it says?

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer being disingenuous where does it literally say Genesis must be taken ultra literally or interpreted in yer Fundamentalist manner? Well? What specific texts lead one to that interpretation? Well? I asked in the last post and you are dodging.

            Also what about CCC 390? "90 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event,".

            What do you do with that text?

            This text instructs how we interpret scripture & it clearly doesn't help You:

            110 In order to discover the sacred authors' intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current. "For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression."76

            So how does yer Chick Comics reading of the CCC square with that one?

            At this point it is self evident to all you are not here in good faith Art. I am familiar with these texts & they don't at all line up with yer interpretation.

            >Are you saying it doesn't mean what it says?

            Taken at face value and interpreted according to Canonical norms and Scholastic principles 105 says God wrote the Book. 106 God wrote it threw human authors and made both them and Him the True Authors. 107 teaches anything the Bible teaches as true is true without error. 108 Tells us we don't rely on Scripture alone apart from the Church and the Spirit in the Church to interpret Holy Writ.

            Obviously I believe all that but I am still not seeing where it endorses yer ANSWERS IN GENESIS interpretation of Holy Writ.

            Well?

          • Art Davison

            106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. "To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more."71
            107 The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."72

            But, apparently, it doesn't mean what it says.

            Lang may yur lum reek Jim.

            So if the "inspired word of Gawd " is open to interpretation, you can make it say whatever your church wants it to mean.

            'Asnwers in Genisis'? What a joke! Ken Ham is an idiot. anyway, we continue to agree to disagaree, so le's say au revoir.

          • Jim the Scott

            >But, apparently, it doesn't mean what it says.

            At this point I don't think you are actually reading the texts you cite

            106 says God wrote scripture and wrote it threw human authors to teach the truth and He caused the authors to freely write only what he wanted them to write and nothing more. But he caused it so they are as much the author of Holy Writ as He who inspired it. 107 says God wrote Holy Writ to teach the truth and that the truths taught in Holy Writ are to be regarded as having been taught by God and contain no error and Holy write was written for our salvation.

            Naturally I believe all that but what we are waiting for from you is for you to show us how these texts mandate an ANSWERS IN GENESIS interpretation of Genesis as you boasted. I charged you to put up or shut up and too date you just repeat these texts from the CCC and keep pretending they teach what you say they teach. Yet anybody who reads them (including Nickol who is as much of a religious skeptic as you though way better informed than you on Catholic doctrine) doesn't see it. So what gives? Why are you being so dishonest?

            >So if the "inspired word of Gawd " is open to interpretation, you can make it say whatever your church wants it to mean.

            Finally he gets it! Actually anybody can make inspired Holy Writ saying anything they want. That is the point! Protestantism is wrong! Martin Luther's doctrine of Perspicuity(i.e. Holy Writ is completely clear and easy to interpret) is not taught in Holy Writ (so it violates his false Sola Scriptura/Bible alone doctrine). The concept is contradicted in the Letter of Peter where Peter warns Paul's writings can be twisted to one's destruction by the unstable who don't know doctrine. Also it is unworkable as you have thousands of Bible Only Protestant Sects each interpreting Holy Writ in Radically different ways and coming up with contradictory doctrine.

            Let us take yer false Baptist sect. You guys falsely teach only adults can be baptized. Well there is no verse forbidding Baptism to children in Holy Writ. Presbyterians believe in a version of Once Saved Only Saved/Eternal security as do Baptists but they baptized Children because they recognize Baptism as the sign of the New Covenant and in the Bible children where initiated into the covenant. Methodists and Lutherans OTOH reject Eternal Security because they know John Calvin invented that teaching. Luther taught baptismal regeneration and so do Anglicans but Baptists reject it.

            So who is right? Unless you have a Church with authority from God(1 Tim 3:15) and an interpretive tradition (2 Thes 2:15) you can't know what Holy Writ means.

            >'Asnwers in Genisis'? What a joke! Ken Ham is an idiot. anyway, we continue to agree to disagaree, so le's say au revoir

            Says the guy who is using him to interpret GENESIS to a blog filled with Roman Catholics? Nickol and Greene and other Atheists, Agnostics and skeptics (Ficino) know better than to do that. So what pray tell is thy malfunction?

            We are Catholics here Bro. Nor Baptist Fundamentalist. ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over there. Have at them yer weak one sized fits all contra Baptist polemics are just boring the rest of us.

          • Art Davison

            As I've said before, there have been thousands of religions throughout history, each one with its Gods, temples, priests, doctrine and rituals. Whole populations believed in them, prayed to them, and even fought wars on their account, and believed they were the only true gods, just as you do. And only one can possibly be true. So the odds are against yours being the correct one, if, indeed, any one is.

            There are an estimated 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, with an average of one billion stars in each. Most of those stars have planets, many of which will harbour life, some of it intelligent. Otherwise, as the SF hero stated "It's an awful waste of real estate." Just maybe one of those races will worship the one true good.

          • Rob Abney

            Art, if I have many counterfeit 100 dollar bills and one legal 100 dollar bill, is the real one no longer legit?

          • Ficino

            This analogy isn't apt. The notion of "genuine" is implicit in the meaning of "counterfeit."

          • Rob Abney

            Maybe I’m missing your meaning but it seems as if there can only be counterfeit bills/religions if there is a genuine bill/religion?

          • Ficino

            The ratio of "counterfeit" money can only be explicated by including implicitly or referring to the ratio of "genuine" money or "legal tender" or the like. It doesn't make sense to call a bank note a counterfeit unless genuine ones exist. In a case where none of the tokens can be legal tender - say, when we compare children's "play money" and the equivalent for board games, like Monopoly "money - we don't call any of the candidates "counterfeits." A counterfeit is intended to deceive; play or board game money is not, so it's not counterfeit. But it begs the question to apply the notion "counterfeit" to religions before it has been established that there is a religion, all of whose peculiar claims are true - which is the point in question. The proper adjective would be "false" not "counterfeit." If counterfeit bills exist, it follows that genuine bills exist; if false religions exist, it does not follow from that that a true religion exists.

          • Rob Abney

            >A counterfeit is intended to deceive
            That’s the point of my analogy, there are many religions that deceive and when someone like Art accepts the Baptist religion as true only to find discrepancies that allow him to reject God then the deception is complete.

          • Ficino

            I said intended to deceive.

          • Art Davison

            The comparison is invalid. It's relatively easy to prove a $100 bill is genuine, but there is no way to prove a religion is true.

          • Jim the Scott

            >So the odds are against yours being the correct one, if, indeed, any one is.

            Which is why "statistics" are not really a good way to look at the truth of religion or Atheism because based on that "reasoning" yer Atheism is even less likely as it is one opinion against thousands.
            Philosophy is where you have to go. Classic Theism vs Reductionist Materialism vs Metaphysical Naturalism are all philosophical views and have to be understood philosophical and or refuted by philosophical defeaters.

            "Scientific" so called "Atheism" or "Theism" for that matter (especially that ID nonsense) is knackered and suffers from the incoherence of positivism.

            Learn philosophy otherwise ANSWERS IN GENESIS is right over there.

            >There are an estimated 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, with an average of one billion stars in each. Most of those stars have planets, many of which will harbour life, some of it intelligent. Otherwise, as the SF hero stated "It's an awful waste of real estate." Just maybe one of those races will worship the one true good.

            Ironically in the 19th century when we thought the "Universe" was just the immediate solar system Atheists used to complain that an "Infinite God" didn't make a larger or more vastly grand creation. Later Hubble proved the Universe is larger and grander and now the complaint is God made the Cosmos "too big" and there is too much "wasted space". Geez make up yer mind!

            These arguments are as tedious as reading the CCC threw the lens of Baptist Theology.

            Peace be with you.

          • Art Davison

            There are really ony two positions - religion in all its many variations, or atheism.

            As far as the size of the universe is concerned, it's a good example of science in action - new information results in changes in theories. Religions, by and large, resist change.

          • Jim the Scott

            >There are really ony two positions - religion in all its many variations, or atheism.

            That is an argument from special pleading. Why does one view out of thousands get such special treatment over and against the other views? One don't have to believe in any gods to see it.

            Especially since there is more than one way to be an Atheist. Strong Atheism, Weak Atheism, Strong Agnosticism, Weak Agnosticism, epistemological agnosticism, metaphysical naturalism, reductionist materialism, non-reductionist materialism, Platonic Atheism, skepticism etc........

            >As far as the size of the universe is concerned, it's a good example of science in action - new information results in changes in theories.

            So what? My point was Atheists back in the day where kvetching the Cosmos was "too small" for an Infinite God now science proves it is fantastically big and they shift their argument ad hoc to "it is too big".
            The argument from special pleading continues.

            > Religions, by and large, resist change.

            Some do and some don't. Catholicism adapts well to change. Of course when Big Bang started to become a thing not too few scientists where put off by it because it showed the Cosmos had a formal beginning and some dismissed it as "that creationist theory invented by that Priest". Fred Hoyde was a wee bit broken up about it.

            Not that any of that matters. The existence of God is a philosophical question only not a scientific one. Claiming it is a scientific question is like claiming you can prove the existence of a Higgs Boson by digging it up in a fossil bed. Or conversely claiming you can use a particle accelerator to prove natural selection. Category mistakes.

            Cheers. Have fun busting the fundies. I am sure you will do well against them.

          • Mark

            Act and potential will exist on those other planets and so the Classic God will be able to be rationally discerned if they have intelligent rational beings. (Maybe they'll may call Him Gawd rather than God) It is still the same rationally non-contingent necessary being. They may not have the same divinely revealed truths, but you don't need Scripture to find God.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You make here two question-begging assumptions derived from the presumption of naturalistic evolution.

            First, you assume many original religions on earth with competing deities, whereas, contrary to the same assumptions made by 19th century Darwinian anthropologists, one can argue that the data suggest a possible original universal belief in a single transcendent deity:

            "The fact that many of the most primitive tribes of hunters and food-gatherers believe in some kind of high deity has been confirmed by subsequent research and can hardly be doubted." (Robert Heine-Geldern, “One Hundred Years of Ethnological Theory in the German-Speaking Countries,” 13
            Current Anthropology, Vol. 5, No. 5, Dec. 1964, p. 413.)

            David Rooney writes: "... we are at the threshold of
            a pointer to the existence of God, an anthropological
            argument based on the remarkable imprint He has left on
            the minds of the most isolated peoples on the face of the
            earth." "The First Religion of Mankind," Faith & Reason (Fall 1993 | Vol. XIX, No. 2, 3, p. 216>)

            If God does exist and gave authentic revelation to our first human ancestors, it is entirely possible that modern Judeo-Christian revelation is simply the fulfillment of an original encounter of God and Adam.

            Second, you make the parallel assumption that, since there could have been no direct divine creation of human life on earth, the trillions of galaxies somehow prove that intelligent life elsewhere is a foregone conclusion. That may follow, if there is no God, but that is to assume what you aim to prove.

            If one accepts the rational evidence for God's existence, it is quite possible to take a rationally defensible opposing view.

            "Since natural agents alone cannot account for the coming-to-be of life forms, or of higher life forms from lower ones, merely discovering physical conditions suitable for life does not warrant empirical scientists' nearly universal assumption that life abounds throughout the cosmos."
            http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/philosophy_darwinian_evolution.html

            While your assumed worldview presumes that neither life on earth is unique nor that God may have given a single true religion to mankind, you may well be wrong on both counts.

          • Art Davison

            Isn't it possible that belief in a god is primarily the result of human curiosity and the need to explain things like thunder, eclipses, earthquakes etc.?

          • Rob Abney

            >the need to explain things
            Art, you are correct only you limited humans seeking knowledge to the materialistic. How about the need to explain “why are we here” and “what is the purpose of my existence “?!

          • Art Davison

            Of course, once humans reached a cerain leel of sophistication, I'm sure those questions occurred to them also. But does believing some all-powerful, invisible being was the answer prove the assumption?

          • Rob Abney

            >once humans reached a cerain leel of sophistication
            When did this happen?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            That line of thinking is consistent with what nineteenth century evolutionists expected to find. As Rooney puts it,

            "The concepts of fetishism, totemism, animism,
            and the like fascinated the theorizers and added much supporting evidence for the doctrines they were constructing.
            Those doctrines rested largely on the premise that refined or spiritual ideas about religion can only appear at the last
            stage of an evolutionary road which starts with crude or materialistic beliefs." "The First Religion of Mankind," 194.

            The problem is that what was actually found when anthropologists actually encountered primitive peoples around the world in the early twentieth century was a belief in high divinity that was totally unexpected by such evolutionists.

            Again, as Rooney puts it, " ... we are at the threshold of
            a pointer to the existence of God, an anthropological
            argument based on the remarkable imprint He has left on
            the minds of the most isolated peoples on the face of the
            earth. Is it likely that so many primitive peoples would independently bypass the allurements of animism and theappeal of magic to develop the notion of a High God, a
            Supreme Being, a Creator of all?" (216)

            Since space is limited, let me give you a stunning example of what Rooney means. An American ethnologist, Frank Speck, speaking about the creation story of the Lenape-Delaware Indians, an eastern branch of the Algonquins, is cited as follows:

            "The worship of the Supreme Deity and the lesser
            deities in Delaware offers a noteworthy correspondence to holy adoration, in the Roman Church to latria [the cult given to God] and dulia [the cult given to the saints]. Were it not for the fact that the Delawares were never under the ministrations of Roman Catholic evangelists, it might seem that the Indians attempted an interpretation of the forms of Catholicism in their own terms, compromising with Christianity by refusing conversion and baptism but assimilating part of the doctrine."
            Wilhelm Schmidt, High Gods in North America (Oxford, 1933), p. 78.

          • Art Davison

            Okay, but how is belief by primitive tribes in a supreme being proof of the existence of the god worshipped by Catholics?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Well, read the whole article by Rooney to which I gave a link.

            The God they worship is a Creator in most instances, which is not like the anthropomorphic gods of lower belief systems. Of course, they are not going to come up with the Trinity (!). But it is the same transcendent God. Just like about 300 million Hindus believe in virtually the same God that Christians do -- as understood by natural reason.

          • Art Davison

            Dennis, I thought the Hindu religion recognizes numerous gods. One may be predominant, but your ten Commandments states "thou shalt have no other gods before me"

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Actually, I checked my comment with a Hindu-believing Hindu scholar. Here was how he put it:

            "Among the Hindus, the Vaishnavas have the concept of an original personal God, who is the source of everything. According to the Vaishnava school of thought, God has 3 features: (1) a transcendent original personal feature, (2) an impersonal all pervading energetic feature that emanates from the original personal feature, (3) a localized expansion of the original personal feature into the hearts of all living things, so that within, so that within the heart of each living thing there is a soul, but also a localized expansion of God as supersoul. The features are considered inconceivably one and different. Perhaps that is a kind of trinitarianism, in the general senses of involving a three-in-one conception of God, but not exactly like the Catholic understanding."

            "In Bhagavad-gita (9.4-5), the Lord says: "By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them. And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation.""[bold mine]

            Now bear in mind, this applies to only one segment of Hinduism, the three hundred million who are not explicitly pantheistic. Yes, they have a somewhat anthropomorphic panoply of lesser gods, but the one and only "original personal God, who is the source of everything" is clearly transcendent to all those lesser personages. Perhaps, those "lesser gods" play a role similar to that of the angelic orders in Christian theology.

          • Art Davison

            Hi Dennis. Just to change the subject a little, I wrote the following a year ago, and I'm sure you'll havae a faew comments to make:-
            If you believe that you have a soul;-
            I also assume that you must believe that this soul will survive after the death of your body, and will go to someplace nice. So I have a few questions for you:-
            1. Does your soul have a memory? If so, I assume it remembers everything that you knew at the moment of your death. If the soul has no memory, then, of course, it cannot be said to be “you”, since the essential “you” consists of the sum total of your memories, plus, of course, your habits and mannerisms and your ability to reason.
            2. If your soul has a memory, and can think and make decisions, then why do we need such a large brain simply to control the unconscious bodily functions?
            3. If the soul is the real you, and is unaffected by brain injury or death, then why does a sharp blow to the head render us unconscious?
            4. When does the foetus acquire a soul? Certainly the male sperm and female egg do not have souls, so the unborn child must develop a soul at some time during pregnancy, but when?
            5. Since your soul has a memory that exists independently of your brain, why do we lose part of our memory when we have a brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease, or simply as a consequence of aging?
            6. if you live to a ripe old age, you will have lost a lot of memories due to the natural aging process. Will your soul “remember” all of this lost information, from the day of your birth up to the instant of your death?
            7. If an Alzheimer’s patient recovers his or her lost memories upon death, then just how precise will these memories be? Will the soul remember every single word spoken, heard or read during the person’s entire lifetime? If not, then how does God decide how much of the lost memory to restore?
            8. If you believe in evolution, then at what stage in the process does the evolving Homo sapiens develop a soul? Do other animals also have souls?
            9. When the soul arrives in heaven, will it acquire a new body, or will it appear as a ghost, unable to interact with its surroundings?
            10. When your soul goes to “heaven” wherever that is, and you meet your friends and relatives who have passed on, how will they appear? Will your parents appear old, as you last remember them, or will they be young again?
            11. What is Heaven like? For a place that all Christians aspire to go after death, we know very little about it.
            12. What do souls do in Heaven for eternity? Must become boring after a few thousand years
            13. Since I know that there was time in the past when I did not exist, why shouldn’t there be a time in the future when I again cease to exist?

          • Jim the Scott

            I couldn't help notice you asked Dr. B a bunch of questions on the soul and the afterlife and then you deleted it? I prepared a list of links from Feser in no particular order to give you a sense of Scholastic thinking on this matter. Read them if you like or not if you are still interested. (I assume you are no longer interested because you deleted yer post but in case you change yer mind.....)

            Just remember take everything you learned as a Baptist and throw it over yer shoulder. Ours is a different world from theirs. Enjoy or not.

            SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING AFTER YOUR FUNERAL?
            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/03/so-what-are-you-doing-after-your-funeral.html

            WAS AQUINAS A PROPERTY DUALIST?
            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2019/11/was-aquinas-property-dualist.html

            MUSICAL CHAIRS BRAINS MINDS
            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2018/05/musical-chairs-brains-minds.html

            OTHER MINDS AND MODERN PHILOSOPHY
            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2020/07/other-minds-and-modern-philosophy.html

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/09/mcginn-on-mind-and-space.html

            LESSONS ON THE RESURRECTION
            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-lesson-of-resurrection.html

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2019/03/artificial-intelligence-and-magical.html

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2019/01/materialism-subverts-itself.html

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/09/mcginn-on-mind-and-space.html

          • Art Davison

            I deleted it? Weird. Anyway, this is it:-
            If you believe that you have a soul;-
            I also assume that you must believe that this soul will survive after the death of your body, and will go to someplace nice. So I have a few questions for you:-
            1. Does your soul have a memory? If so, I assume it remembers everything that you knew at the moment of your death. If the soul has no memory, then, of course, it cannot be said to be “you”, since the essential “you” consists of the sum total of your memories, plus, of course, your habits and mannerisms and your ability to reason.
            2. If your soul has a memory, and can think and make decisions, then why do we need such a large brain simply to control the unconscious bodily functions?
            3. If the soul is the real you, and is unaffected by brain injury or death, then why does a sharp blow to the head render us unconscious?
            4. When does the foetus acquire a soul? Certainly the male sperm and female egg do not have souls, so the unborn child must develop a soul at some time during pregnancy, but when?
            5. Since your soul has a memory that exists independently of your brain, why do we lose part of our memory when we have a brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease, or simply as a consequence of aging?
            6. if you live to a ripe old age, you will have lost a lot of memories due to the natural aging process. Will your soul “remember” all of this lost information, from the day of your birth up to the instant of your death?
            7. If an Alzheimer’s patient recovers his or her lost memories upon death, then just how precise will these memories be? Will the soul remember every single word spoken, heard or read during the person’s entire lifetime? If not, then how does God decide how much of the lost memory to restore?
            8. If you believe in evolution, then at what stage in the process does the evolving Homo sapiens develop a soul? Do other animals also have souls?
            9. When the soul arrives in heaven, will it acquire a new body, or will it appear as a ghost, unable to interact with its surroundings?
            10. When your soul goes to “heaven” wherever that is, and you meet your friends and relatives who have passed on, how will they appear? Will your parents appear old, as you last remember them, or will they be young again?
            11. What is Heaven like? For a place that all Christians aspire to go after death, we know very little about it.
            12. What do souls do in Heaven for eternity? Must become boring after a few thousand years
            13. Since I know that there was time in the past when I did not exist, why shouldn’t there be a time in the future when I again cease to exist?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I had the same problem Jim did. I saw your post and by the time I went to reply to it, it was gone completely!

            At any rate, Jim gives you a lot of good material to start with.

            I have taught philosophical psychology for nearly sixty years now and most all your questions would be addressed in that philosophical science. Clearly, there is no room here to give you an entire course in Aristotelian-Thomistic physics and psychology.

            One point to bear in mind is that many of your conceptions arise from a Cartesian way of looking at man, as if we were merely some kind of spiritual soul somehow connected to a mechanistic materialistic body. From this arises many misunderstanding, errors which plagued the history of modern philosophy after Descartes.

            Man is not two distinct beings, somehow connected with metaphysical glue in the middle of the brain. The hylemorphic doctrine is essential to properly understanding how a human being exists and functions. Look it up on the internet as well as check out all the excellent links Jim the Scott gives you and you may begin to understand how it can all work coherently.

            Then you may want to rephrase some of your questions and put them back to me in specific terms that can be answered more concisely.

          • Art Davison

            It would be ridiculous for me to attempt to refute your philosophical arguments for the existence of a soul and a god. I'm an atheist and believe in the world views of people such as Sam Harris (The End of Faith) and Victor Stenger (the New Atheism), so there is not much point in continuing our discussion, such as it was.

          • Jim the Scott

            So basically you are reading idiots. Geez man read some Jack Smart or Graham Oppy, Rowe or Negal. You know, intelligent Atheists who at least know philosophy. Because at best you might over time learn how to argue with the Intelligent Design crowd and of course Young Earth Creationists. But that is it. You will never be able to address any form of Theism more sophisticated than that.
            (& that stuff is pretty basic)
            Which is fine but if you are right and this life is all you get then why waste it and not learn to expand yer horizons? Or not.

            Cheers,

          • Art Davison

            What makes them idiots? Harris received a Ph.D. degree in cognitive neuroscience in 2009 from the University of California, Los Angeles, using functional magnetic resonance imaging to conduct research into the neural basis of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty. Is it because they disagree with you? I suppose Aron Ra is beneath contempt.

          • Jim the Scott

            >What makes them idiots?

            Their mindless uncritical devotion to Positivism(sometimes called Scientism) for one. They might as well confess the world was literally made in 168 hours and be done with it. It is just as anti-intellectual.

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/03/scientism-roundup.html

            God is not a scientific question. God is a philosophical question. Trying to examine God scientifically makes about as much sense as trying to study the Andromeda Galaxy under a microscope. Or study natural selection using a Large Hadron Collider. It is called a category mistake.

            > Harris received a Ph.D. degree in cognitive neuroscience in 2009 from the University of California,

            Which by definition makes him useless to discuss philosophical questions about the nature of the mind or the existence of God. He is not deep or sophisticated in his criticism of religion. Like you he can do fundamentalism or at best ID. That is it.

            The Atheists I pointed yer way have philosophy degrees.
            It is the difference between The Doctor's TARDIS vs Captain Jack's time bracelet. As the Doctor once said to him that is a Skateboard I am piloting a Ferrari. Yer Atheism is on roller skates bro. Get a better & sweeter ride. Chicks dig it.

            >I suppose Aron Ra is beneath contempt.

            Never heard of him so I googled him and yeh he seems unimpressive. An Ex-Mormon turned Atheist who wrote a book called Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism? Very unimpressive. What did I tell you about non-starters?

            Aron Ra: Young Earth Creationism is bogus!

            Me(Theistic Evolutionist): Well Duh!

            >using functional magnetic resonance imaging to conduct research into the neural basis of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty.

            What does that have to do with the existence or non-existence of God or the philosophical arguments pro or con?

            So if I study the neural activity of the brain of a physicist that has what baring on wither or not they found the Higgs Boson? That renders his scientific investigations true or false how now? If we turn that back to a Classic Theist philosopher the Five Ways or the Ontological Argument become true or false because of the magnetic resonance imaging in his brain?

            Yeh Positivism on crak and crak addicts are not attractive. At least Cokeheads dress better till their noise bleeds.

            I remain unimpressed. I wish you well and would encourage you to explore philosophy. Or not. Cheers.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            So be it. But frankly I do worry about you being an atheist at your age. Hate to paraphrase Pascal, but if I am wrong, so what? But if you are wrong?????

          • Art Davison

            If your god is just, he won't send me to Hell for eternity because my education, life experiences and mentality have resulted in me becoming an atheist. I'm just as honest, charitable and reliable as most Christians. Unless he/she/it is indeed an egotist.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not God. I don't get to judge you or anyone else. God is indeed just. Only you and he know how sincerely you have sought the truth about the world. I understand you were once a Baptist, so at one time you did believe in God. So, what made you lose that belief? Was it something from your Baptist faith? Would the same apply to Catholicism?

            If you stick around this site long enough, I may have a new essay that will approach the question of belief from a far less philosophical perspective. Maybe that at least might catch your interest.

            Wouldn't it be rather interesting to find out that God does exist after all, even at your late stage of the game? I would be more impressed with your commitment to atheism were it based in the writings of someone deeper than Sam Harris.

          • Art Davison

            Being raised in the Baptist church from infancy, I never gave any serious thought to the improbability of a god until I entered university. In the unlikely event that one exists, it is highly unlikely that it will be the one Catholics worship and even more probable that it won't take any interest in the semi-intelligent hominids on tiny planet circling a 3rd rate star in a minor galaxy among two trillion galaxies.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not an expert on the Baptists per se, but I do know that Protestantism tends to be fideistic in its belief in salvation through faith alone. So, I doubt that your Baptist faith had any rational foundations, which is something Catholicism insists upon: the harmony of faith and reason.

            If true, when you entered university, it is highly possible that you became immersed in a scientific worldview which emphasizes reason alone, but as stripped from any reference to there being an ultimate foundation for all creation and the natural scientific laws which you were then studying, stripped of all reference to faith.

            Catholicism rests upon certain "preambles to faith," which are known by natural reason alone. Among these is a realistic epistemology, which your beloved natural science itself presupposes. Also are included a realistic acceptance of historical facts, such as that George Washington, Julius Caesar, and Jesus Christ existed. And yes, also that the existence of God can be known by unaided natural reason (NOT mere blind faith).

            The concept of God you describe as the only one you think "probable" is the deistic one: God creates the cosmos and then has nothing further to do with it.

            This conception violates the principle that you cannot get something from nothing. If persons exist in the universe, it follows that the ultimate cause of such things should also be personal, and hence, caring about created persons. I know you don't accept that logic, because you think evolutionary blind chance caused the emergence of human persons. That is why you need a more sophisticated metaphysics before you will understand the deficiency of such a worldview.

            Perhaps more participation in this web site will give you some new perspectives on these kinds of issues.

          • Art Davison

            I remember nothing about the Baptist faith except for the concept of Baptism, which seems a rather meaningless ceremony.

            The 'evidence' for the existence and life of Jesus is a lot shakier that for Julius Caesar or George Washington, almost entirely based on the bible.

            The Catholic Faith, whether true or not, is also full of meaningless ritual and presented to the adherents by a group of sexual deviants.

            Believers accept the existence of a god, then look for evidence to verify it. Scientists propose a theory to explain something, then look for evidence to disprove it.

            Stay Safe.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "The 'evidence' for the existence and life of Jesus is a lot shakier that for Julius Caesar or George Washington, almost entirely based on the bible."

            I am not suggesting blindly accepting anything. Just that historical figures can exist and it is possible to recognize them as such. Proof is another matter.

            "The Catholic Faith, whether true or not, is also full of meaningless ritual and presented to the adherents by a group of sexual deviants."

            "Whether true or not?" It does not make any difference to you? What if it IS true? That would mean that the true meaning of your life is explained in Catholic terms. And you would ignore that truth? And If true, who cares who presented that truth to you? I do not admit your allegation, but your values here are pretty upside down. This sounds like simple indifferentism to the truth.

            "Believers accept the existence of a god, then look for evidence to verify it. Scientists propose a theory to explain something, then look for evidence to disprove it."

            You mean unbelievers have no epistemic prejudices?
            Can you not know the difference between what you believe by faith and what you can prove? Catholics believe in the Trinity, but do not claim a rational proof for it.

            Besides, are you a priori ruling out the possibility of rational proof for God's existence? I have no problem with natural science. But it is not the only way to know things. If it were, we could never know the natural world in order to do science, since knowledge of the natural world is presupposed in order to begin the scientific method.

            It seems to me that you have a lot of preconceived notions and biases at work in your worldview.

            The proper philosophical habitus is to have a passion for truth wherever you find it and to seek it so as to attain intellectual freedom from all errors and prejudices to the greatest possible extent.

            Catholicism is not afraid of the truth, including the fact that it is a Church of sinners. Christ came to save sinners, not those already perfect. Even a sinner can be honest about the truth -- even of his own sinfulness. Today, many want even to deny that sin exists -- although no man lives without being judged by his own conscience.

          • Art Davison

            "Catholics believe in the Trinity, but do not claim a rational proof for it." Sounds like the definition of Faith- 'Belief in something for which there is no concrete evidence'

            As for Christ, there were many other preachers around that time who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, and numerous earlier religions had heros born of virgins who died and were resurrected.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            ""Catholics believe in the Trinity, but do not claim a rational proof for it." Sounds like the definition of Faith- 'Belief in something for which there is no concrete evidence'"

            You miss my point. I am saying that we know the difference between what we know by faith and what we know by reason. If we did not first believe in Catholicism, we would not believe in the Trinity. That is what revelation is all about. Some things are revealed by God. But you must first know the source of revelation can be trusted. So, logically, first one discerns the rational preambles to faith. Then one discovers that Catholicism is the one, true religion revealed by God. Finally, one believes in the Trinity based on what God has revealed through the Church. None of this is illogical, although, obviously, if you fail to grasp the truth of any of these three steps, you will not get the whole picture.

            "As for Christ, there were many other preachers around that time who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, and numerous earlier religions had heros born of virgins who died and were resurrected."

            This is the standard set of claims against Christianity, which, of course, can be debated in themselves. But I won't go down that road here. If you are really interested, you can look up the Christian refutations to much of this on the internet yourself.

            More relevantly, there are many ways that different people have come to be convinced of the truth of authentic revelation. Since you don't even believe in God, you first have to deal with that issue -- rationally. That is one of the preambula fidei, the preambles to faith. Since you don't even agree with that one, there is no point in debating about Christ.

            One of the other preambles is that God is not a liar. Did you ever think about that one? After all, if God is a liar, then even his authentic revelation might not be true!

            See? Do you really think we Christians have not thought some of these skeptical questions out for ourselves, too?

            The answer to the "liar" possibility is to work through a sound natural theology, beginning with having a natural knowledge of God's existence. Do you really think that in two thousand years of Christian reflection and speculation, that Christian thinkers have not worked out most all of the details you think are defeaters for them?

            We do not believe blindly. The only thing that is real blindness is to fail to really check out the deepest truths of life. As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." You and I don't have much time left to figure all this out.

            And from some of the superficial criticisms of religion and Catholicism you have put forth, I am not convinced that you have really delved into these topics with sufficient intellectual rigor.

          • michael

            I have yet to see christian writers present a plausible justification for hell that doesnt rest on "god works in mysterious ways"(The book of Job) or "god is not obligated not to be cruel to people"(Bryan Davies) or present rational explanations for discrepancies between the gospels on the resurrection, ascension, denials of peter, death of Judas, etc. that aren't Ad Hoc rationalizations they would never accept if used to defend The Koran or even any secular work.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I think I give a pretty detailed and non-dodging explanation on the question of hell in another article on this site. Have you read it?

          • michael

            The only article in the section labeled "hell" in the site says God can sue Hell to scare people into obeying him. IF I were God, I'd just give everyone The beatific visions straightaway for free.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Right. I am sure everyone would agree that Hitler, Stalin, and Dracula the Impaler all deserve eternal bliss!

            And what do you do with someone who truly hates God and wants nothing to do with him?

            Did you read my article on Strange Notions on Hell and God's Goodness?
            https://strangenotions.com/hell-and-gods-goodness/

          • michael

            Yes. I have. I imagine if they had The Beatific vision they'd change their minds. You said those who have The Beatific Vision cannot help but choose God.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            God is perfect justice. The Beatific Vision is so great a gift of God that perfect justice requires you do something to earn it -- like being a decent human being. Is that too much for God to ask?

          • michael

            That's a dogma, not a demonstrable fact.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Perhaps, calling it the Beatific Vision, is defined as part of dogma, but the fact that union with God is man's last end is known by unaided reason, given the nature of man's intellect and its natural desire to know the essential nature of its ultimate cause.

            Now don't come back and ask me to prove all that to you. Go take a good course in metaphysics from someone who gets paid to give it.

          • michael

            That answer is based on faith only.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            As I just answered you somewhere else, the term, "Beatific Vision," may be specific to Catholic teaching, but the facts that God is the perfect good and perfect justice is part of the natural reasoning found in metaphysics and natural theology (whether you accept that reasoning or not).

          • michael

            Then which chapter in Summa Theologica uses unaided natural reasoning to prove that not sending someone to endless unfathomable torment forever for masturbating would be unjust and an abomination?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Where did you get the idea that everything in Catholic doctrine or natural law is dealt with explicitly by St. Thomas?

            Frankly, it is evident to me that you are simply looking for every possible problem you can bring up against Catholicism, rather than trying to actually understand the truth.

            And also, it appears you don't want anyone to tell you that there may be limits on morally good sexual activity.

            I have taught this material at university level for over half a century and I am willing to explain things to people who honestly want to learn, or at least, want to sort out perplexing questions. I do not believe that is your agenda.

          • michael

            Actually, I believe rape is objectively immoral, regardless of whether or not a deity exists. Masturbation is not immoral, it hurts nobody.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You have an interesting task set for yourself proving that there can even be an objective morality without God -- since there is no basis for law without a Lawgiver and blind materialistic evolving nature has no intelligent basis. Otherwise, morality comes down to poll taking. That is, what kinds of acts get majority approval or disapproval.

            You cannot argue the morality or immorality of any act, including masturbation or rape, without first establishing an objective framework that reflects whether God exists or man even has a moral nature and free will.

          • michael

            I disagree. You don't need God to show objectively that squares have for sides and not eight.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            The number of sides in a square entail no sense of moral obligation or sin. A Godless cosmos has no basis for moral judgment. It just is what it is. So, too, with the unknowing world of the atomist. Morality is absent in a pile of atoms. Man appears and recognizes it. His conscience is torn by it, since it is not of his making. If he makes it, it has no transcendent meaning. Is morality just the product of our polls? What is moral is what most people do? Or vote for?

            For an objective morality, we need a standard beyond what we elect. No real objective morality without a divine Lawgiver who makes the order of nature that we either respect or violate to our own descruction.

            You won't accept this. But if you determine what morality you wish to erect, then you become your own God. And, morality will last only until you change your mind.

          • michael

            If most people raped, that would not make it moral. Nobody thinks that. Rape is is immoral because it needlessly hurts a victim.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Then stop squashing bugs.

          • michael

            I don't like squashing bugs either.

          • michael

            I don't determine which morality to erect, I know it intellectually. I know instinctively rather than by choice that subjecting people to endless unfathomable torment is cruel and immoral.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You are telling me that your intellect is the same thing as your instinct?

            Reread my article on God's goodness and hell.

          • michael

            How can it be known by unaided reason that God is perfect justice and that therefore Hell is just?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You have to do the intellectual work of going through natural theology to first demonstrate that God exists and that he is all good. From that his justice can be inferred. If you know he is just, you know that nothing he creates can manifest injustice on his part.

            Clearly, atheists prefer to start with the problem of evil by claiming hell must be unjust, and therefore, God must be unjust, and therefore, the God of classical theism does not exist.

            I do not intend to work through all this for you on this short thread.

          • michael

            If you equate good, with mere "being", then that would be a satisfactory answer. But I do not equate good with being.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Well, technically, the good is being as desirable. With God as the greatest good, since all creatures' perfections come ultimately from God.

            I suppose you have a better explanation?

          • michael

            It is not desirable for people to be in endless unfathomable torment. No quantity or quality of greater happiness would justify that. Unless you're a selfish person or a psycho who does'nt care about others.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            See my previous reply to you explaining why it would be better for you to pose your questions to someone else.

            Also, regarding this question, I suggest you reread very carefully my article on Hell and God's goodness.

          • michael

            I have read that article multiple times.

          • michael

            The article says God can use Hell to get people to obey him. If I were God I'd just give people The beatific Vision for free straightaway. Then there would bene temptations or anything.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If you read more carefully, you would realize that God is really creating conditions designed to encourage people to reach their last end, which is perfect happiness.

            This is a complex topic, which you oversimplify because you are an atheist, and therefore, are prone to give the text the worst possible reading. I was taught long ago to always give an author the best possible reading.

          • michael

            Moral good involves not hurting anyone unless it's to protect people. Hell doesn't fit that description.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I refer you to my other replies to you.

          • David Nickol

            As for Christ, there were many other preachers around that time who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, and numerous earlier religions had heros born of virgins who died and were resurrected.

            And how many billion followers do those other preachers have today?

          • michael

            No. This. is. not. True. You seem to have beens eading Acharya S/Dm Murdock. Egyptologists ahve refuted her hoax work. The closest parallel to a dying and resurrection deity before Jesus was Osiris. (Osirsi, Not Horus, Mthras etc) people ahve strongly exaggerated parallels of pre-christian deities to jesus. You can ask any hindu "Was Krishna born on december 25th? was his birth announced by a star, etc? and they'll tell you NO.

          • Art Davison

            Look up 'resurrection' in Wikipedia, and you'll see references to it in many religions.

          • David Nickol

            The 'evidence' for the existence and life of Jesus is a lot shakier that for Julius Caesar or George Washington, almost entirely based on the bible.

            While I, too, am extremely skeptical that the Bible has any "authority," nevertheless the Gospels and the writings of Paul do date from the first century. I don't think any reputable historian would disagree with that. So just because they are in the Bible doesn't give them added "authority," it doesn't make them any less than what are, either. Imagine if they had not been passed down, but that archaeologists found them in clay jars in a cave next week. It would be one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time.

          • Art Davison

            Maybe. But, except for Paul, we have no idea who wrote any part of the New Testament, or how they obtained their information, decades after the events. The writings are rife with contradictions, historical errors and outright lies.

          • David Nickol

            The writings are rife with contradictions, historical errors and outright lies.

            In order for something in the Bible to be accurately described as a lie, it would be necessary to determine that the author knowingly wrote something factually false with the intention to deceive. How would you propose to make that determination? Can you give an example of a lie in the Bible?

          • Art Davison

            You can find a long list of them on Google. Examples:-Divine Lie 1
            The Prophet Jeremiah accuses God of being a deceiver and a liar:
            "Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Surely You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; whereas a sword touches the throat.” (Jeremiah 4: 10)
            Divine Lie 2
            God will lie to anyone He doesn't like so God can have a excuse to kill them: "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel." (Ezekiel 14: 9)
            Divine Lie 3
            God lies to Adam about the Tree of Knowledge:
            “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2: 17)

          • Jim the Scott

            @davidnickol:disqus

            Art yer sophistry here is a wee bit daft as is yer inability to read the English language. Also you are channelling yer inner fundamentalist here with yer hyper literal interpretation of Holy Writ. David knows not to do that with us & he is a religious skeptic like you(thought a better informed one obviously). We are not Baptists here. We are Catholics for the 10000th time.
            When the psalms speaks of God "enfolding us in His Wings" we don't literally believe God has actual wings nor do we believe God literally deceives people. Yer literal use of figurative language is getting dull.

            Anyway David Nickol asked for an example of "the author knowingly wrote something factually false with the intention to deceive." You have not given an example of this rather you gave us a bunch of proof texts where you accuse God of lying.
            But what in the above texts you cited is factually false and was written with the attempt to deceive? Even if we for argument's sake include God as the author of those texts via the doctrine of Inspiration?

            So I write "As a 5 year old boy I lied to my mother and accused my 4 year old brother of eating part of the cake she was baking when in fact it was I who ate it".

            Now as I recall from my memory I in fact did that. Mom was quite PO's when I fessed up. I still wince over the spanking Dad gave me later(OTOH that might have been for something else my memory is fuzzy on that point but I do remember falsely accusing my own brother of criminal cake eating as a little boy and I framed him. I am nor proud of it).

            So have I lied in writing what I just wrote above? Or did I truthfully write about a time where I lied to somebody?
            See the difference?

            I authored what I wrote in quotes & bold? Nickols asked you for an example of "the author knowingly wrote something factually false with the intention to deceive."

            If you want to have a discussion of wither or not texts that talk of God "deceiving" people are meant hyper literally I will be glad to oblige you.

            All you have done is given examples in Holy Writ where God in His Divine Providence allows people to come to the wrong conclusion using the poetic language of the OT representing God's Sovereignty. Such as when we speak of God "hardening Pharaoh's heart" we don't believe God literally forced Pharaoh to be evil.

            Anyway here is the commentary on Jeremiah 4: 10.

            https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/jeremiah-4-10.html

            Ezekial 14
            https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/does-ezekiel-14-verse-9-mean-that-god-causes-false

            Genesis 2: 17
            It is self evident "day" is not understood literally or uniformly especially between Genesis 1 & 2 so it is not needed for Adam and Eve to expire literally 24 hours after eating the forbidden fruit. That is self defeating to the rest of the meta narrative of the Bible.

            We don't believe in Perspicuity Art. We are nor Lutherans or Baptists here.

            Get with the philosophy. Yer ANSWERS IN GENESIS polemics have no meaning here.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "God lies to Adam about the Tree of Knowledge:
            “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2: 17)"

            Since Jim the Scott did not directly address this rather obvious one, I shall.

            When Adam ate the apple, he and Eve did die. That is, they suffered the loss of sanctifying grace which is the life of the soul. That is why Christ warns us not to fear him who would kill the body, but rather fear he who would kill the soul. Clearly, the soul cannot "die," as in ceasing to exist, since it is spiritual and immortal. But it does "die" when we fall into mortal sin and that is what happened to Adam and Eve.

            Moreover, Scripture has multiple levels of meaning. Another meaning here is the truth that Adam and Eve did die the moment they bit the apple, since they instantly lost the gift of immortality God gave them when they entered Eden. They became mere mortals, doomed to die in that selfsame instant of original sin. Eating the apple was a self-imposed sentence of death.

            Which is the real meaning, or, should I say, which is the deeper true meaning of this Scripture. Far from being a lie, it is a two-fold deepest of truths.

            Your fundmentalistic misreading of this text is but a small sample of the degree to which you underestimate the intellectual sophistication of authentic religious revelation.

          • Art Davison

            so you decide which biblical passages are literally true and which are not. How can you lose?

          • Jim the Scott

            >so you decide which biblical passages are literally true and which are not. How can you lose?

            First we don't decide anything. We have the Church and Tradition in our pocket. We don't do Luther's errors of private interpretation nor perspicuity. I keep telling you.

            Second we CANNOT lose. That is the point! We are not fundamentalists nor Protestants for the 10001st time.

            I have openly said before and I will repeat myself in case you didn't get the memo. It is largely futile for Atheists to argue the Bible with us Catholics. Because odds are any criticism you venture of any text we will respond with "That is not how the Church interprets that verse". Usually I am right. Some of you lot particularly the "New" Atheists are predictable at this point. I could set my watch by you guys if I owned one.

            It is perfectly fair for Catholics not to follow Baptist rules.

            Good Sir why is the concept of a "non-starter" objection so hard for you to comprehend?

            If you want to take on Catholics you need to go learn philosophy or as I said before and I don't tire of repeating myself. ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over there. Have at them.

          • Art Davison

            Sorry, I erred. To rephrase "The Catholic church decides which biblical passages are literally true and which need interpretation."

          • Jim the Scott

            Something like that. " The Holy Spirit protects and guides the Church in the correct interpretation of the Bible" is more correct, but at least you are learning.

            >which biblical passages are literally true and which need interpretation.

            You do betray a fundamentalist mentality. The strongest I've seen in any Atheist. It is either "literally true" or "interpretation"? I mean wow. There is no room for symbolic language, Hyperbole, metaphor or analogy or figurative language etc..?
            All of which are part of human speech written and oral.

            You have a lot to unlearn too.

          • Art Davison

            I forgot that for centuries no Catholic layperson was allowed access to the bible, only the clergy could read and interpret it, which they did to their own advantage, with the help of God, of course.
            Au revoir.

          • Jim the Scott

            >I forgot that for centuries no Catholic layperson was allowed access to the bible....

            Yeh you got that from Chick Comics or Loraine Boettner. Standard Protestant fundamentalist trope and like all Protestantism purely Ahistorical. For an Atheist you still think like a Baptist Fundamentalist. It is most entertaining.

            It is a historical fact no Catholic was ever forbidden to read the Bible. They used to chain the Bible to the pulpits of the Churches. That is of course not to keep people from reading the Bible but to insure they could. After all before the production of the printing press (invented by a German Catholic Heir Johann Gutenberg who printed the first Bibles) the Bible was copied by hand and the net worth of yer average Bible in today's market would have been about $6000 to produce per copy. So you really needed to chain it in order to keep someone from stealing it so everybody could read it. The Bibles where in Latin but if you could read odds are you could read Latin. To claim otherwise is silly. It would be like today going down to Crown Heights in Brooklyn and telling the Orthodox Jews "You just keep yer bibles in Hebrew so Jews can't read it!". They would first look at you. Then look at each other. Shake their heads and say "Mashugana?". So take my advice don't do that. They all read Hebrew and people in the Middle Ages who could read could read Latin.

            >only the clergy could read and interpret it, which they did to their own advantage...

            The Church interpreted it and the clergy passed on that interpretation and it was hardly to their "advantage". Celibacy? Vows of Poverty?. Yeh it would have been better if they said you could have many wives like other sects like Joseph Smith or Muhammed or even Luther (Philip of Hess anybody).

            Not that there wasn't scandal & corruption in the Church but I read about how the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science had an embezzlement allegation.

            So people in glass houses.....just saying.

          • David Nickol

            In the interest of adding a little balance, here's an excerpt form the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website article titled Changes in Catholic Attitudes Toward Bible Readings:

            Once the printing press was invented, the most commonly printed book was the Bible, but this still did not make Bible-reading a Catholic’s common practice. Up until the mid-twentieth Century, the custom of reading the Bible and interpreting it for oneself was a hallmark of the Protestant churches springing up in Europe after the Reformation. Protestants rejected the authority of the Pope and of the Church and showed it by saying people could read and interpret the Bible for themselves. Catholics meanwhile were discouraged from reading Scripture.

            Identifying the reading and interpreting of the Bible as “Protestant” even affected the study of Scripture. Until the twentieth Century, it was only Protestants who actively embraced Scripture study. That changed after 1943 when Pope Pius XII issued the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu. This not only allowed Catholics to study Scripture, it encouraged them to do so. And with Catholics studying Scripture and teaching other Catholics about what they were studying, familiarity with Scripture grew.

            Scripture awareness grew after the Second Vatican Council. Mass was celebrated in the vernacular and so the Scripture readings at Mass were read entirely in English. Adult faith formation programs began to develop, and the most common program run at a parish focused on Scripture study. The Charismatic movement and the rise of prayer groups exposed Catholics to Scripture even more. All of this contributed to Catholics becoming more familiar with the Bible and more interested in reading the Scriptures and praying with them.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well from what I remember "Catholics meanwhile were discouraged from reading Scripture." was something that happened in American Catholic Culture and it wasn't a formal prohibition from the Church on laymen not reading the Bible. It was a cultural reaction to American Protestantism & taught by individual priests and nuns. Like adding the words "Thy is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory etc" to the end of the Lord's prayer which was still done in the Eastern Rite Churches and was first done in the Didache.

            Pope Leo XIII and St Pius X & other 20th century Popes (my wife tells me Popes before them did it too) issued Indulgences to Catholics who at minimum of 20 minutes a day read the Bible devotionally. I read it in my older editions to Holy Writ.

            Cheers.

          • Mark

            God (Christ) gave a living ecclesial body the authority to teach and interpret God's revelation and then He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against Her. So "How can God lose?" is the question which seems bizarre.

          • Art Davison

            Strange. Jesus' task was to make his fellow Jews better followers of their religion, and he told his disciples no to preach to the gentiles, so how could he have given any authority to a non-Jewish religious group?

          • Mark

            Strange. Most Baptist know their Bible. Mt 28:18-20

            Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore,* and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.* And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

          • Art Davison

            Odd, that Jesus, who was god, would change his mind, as when he first sends out his disciples he specifically tells them not to preach to Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-6): These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, " Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

          • Jim the Scott

            So he tells them to do Not X in circumstance Y(Matt 10) & then he tells them to do X in later circumstance(Matt 28) Z?

            How is that "changing" his mind?

            Oh Art why don't you just admit you don't understand the doctrine of the Divine Immutability from a hole in the head?

          • Mark

            Last week I told my kids they only need to weed only the carrots and beet rows. So when I tell them to weed the whole garden Saturday I'm contradicting myself? Glad there is no question on who has authority over the garden. /s

          • Jim the Scott

            If God forbid there really is no God it is self evident Art needs to up his game. He really needs to go learn some philosophy. Cheers.

          • David Nickol

            @EamusCatuli0771108:disqus @Jimthescott:disqus

            Art, you have actually raised a question that deserves a better answer than you have received so far.

            J. C. Fenton, in Saint Matthew (a volume in the Pelican New Testament Commentaries), in a gloss to Matthew 28:19, says the following:

            Go therefore and make disciples of all nations: Contrast the limited mission of the disciples to Israel alone in 10:8. It is improbable that Jesus said this, in view of the hesitation of the first disciples over preaching to Gentiles, as this is recorded in Acts (N.B., Acts 11:1ff and 11:19).

            Why would Jesus limit the mission of his movement to Jews alone during his entire lifetime, and then extend it to all nations after he allegedly rose from the dead? And why do the apostles seem unaware of his commands in the Great Commission to the point that we need a second justification for outreach to the Gentiles in Acts (and Paul)?

          • Ficino

            Good questions. This ex-Catholic thinks the Catholic controversialists need simply to treat the Bible as though in the ocean of forgetfulness, and just to work from Aristotle. But Plato lurks in the background. The One is beyond Being.

          • Jim the Scott

            They are good questions but what does " treat the Bible as though in the ocean of forgetfulness, and just to work from Aristotle. But Plato lurks in the background. The One is beyond Being." mean anyway?

          • David Nickol

            He [Jesus] said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

            But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”

            He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children [i.e., Israelites, Jews] and throw it to the dogs [i.e. Gentiles].”

            The story of the Canaanite woman is one of my favorites. But it is very strange that while during his lifetime Jesus balked at the idea of ministering to the Gentiles—the Gentile dogs!—after the resurrection he sends his followers to "make disciples of all nations."

          • Jim the Scott

            >The story of the Canaanite woman is one of my favorites.

            Me too as an amateur student of early Jewish Christianity.

            That is a very Jewish verse & Jesus is acting like a typical Rabbi. In the Midrash you have a Rabbinic saying ""One should always have the left hand push away and the right draw closer".

            This was applied to Gentiles seeking conversion to Judaism. A Rabbi would try to discourage them to test their faith and commitment.

            Rabbi Yeshua is doing the same here with the Canaanite woman over the issue of healing her daughter. Blowing her off and even implying she is a mere dog and she doesn't relent and so in rabbinic fashion he does & grants her wish. Just like Rabbi who has a persistent Gentile begging to covert and won't take no for an answer.

          • Jim the Scott

            @artdavison:disqus

            @EamusCatuli0771108:disqus

            At last someone challenging. I hope Art pays attention.

            Why is it improbable? The Gospels are ripe with examples of the Apostles and Disciples in general "not getting it" & Jesus sets them straight(John 6 anybody?). Thus it is perfectly consistent with the whole narrative to have Jesus tell the Disciples to do something and they loose the plot along the way & require correcting.

            Peter himself goes against his own teaching and is rebuked by Paul even after the whole denial thingy when Our Lord was still on Earth. Indeed that is the whole theme NT (i.e. the Apostles are clueless) so I don't see how this renders this verse "improbable"? If anything I find it improbable the Apostles ever get a clue till the end.

            Also preaching to the Gentiles was not the problem. The issue was did you have to convert them to Judaism first before Baptizing them Christians.

            Old Testament Judaism maintained a ritual separation from Gentiles so this did create tension between the Jewish Christian community which was still embedded in the main stream Jewish Community & the greater Jewish Community at large.

            >Why would Jesus limit the mission of his movement to Jews alone during his entire lifetime, and then extend it to all nations after he allegedly rose from the dead?

            Well Christ was born under the Law and was faithful to the Law and then He fulfilled the Law. So he acted accordingly while under the Law(with two exceptions which are in fact allowed under the Law). Then he instituted the New Law with His death and resurrection and acted accordingly.

            >And why do the apostles seem unaware of his commands in the Great Commission to the point that we need a second justification for outreach to the Gentiles in Acts (and Paul)?

            They are not but the issue of first converting Gentiles to Judaism via circumcision was a problem & naturally slowed their mission (i.e. you want me to cut off what now?) till it was solved in Act 15 and God reveals to Peter in Acts 10 that Gentiles didn't need to under go circumcision before Baptism. Jewish Christians continued to do it & Judaizers later still tried to do it to Gentile converts.

            Also I don't know who this J.C. Fenton is that I should take his criticism seriously?

            He can't be Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton because he was a student of Lagrange and he worked for Cardinal Ottaviani and was a known Traditionalist and opponent of liberal theology.

            https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/fenton-joseph-clifford

            So I don't take him as a proponent of the Q source theory as the author of the commentary you cite. That seems most improbable.

          • Art Davison

            Thanks David. The authors of the gospels had Jesus say what ever they wanted him to have said.

          • David Nickol

            The authors of the gospels had Jesus say what ever they wanted him to have said.

            I see no reason to assume the authors of the gospels were not writing in good faith (in several senses). I think they were working honestly with whatever material they had available—largely oral tradition, if modern scholarship is to be believed.

          • Ficino

            Oral tradition in gJohn has been claimed behind some things, but I think it's much more difficult to make a convincing case that the long discourses attributed to Jesus in the Fourth Gospel were passed down from the historical Jesus via oral tradition to the evangelist.

          • Rob Abney

            Your objection is oral transmission cannot be long?

          • David Nickol

            Even Richard Bauckham, author of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (a book often recommended by the more conservative Catholics here at Strange Notions), doesn't claim that the long discourses in John are faithful recollections of the words of Jesus—and Bauckham believes John was an eyewitness!

            Here is a quote from Bauckham's Jesus: A Very Short Introduction:

            Whereas the Synoptics usually preserve the sayings of Jesus as his disciples learned and remembered them, varying them and expanding them for interpretive purposes only to a quite limited degree, John seems to avail himself of the permission generally allowed ancient historians to put into his own words the sort of thing Jesus would have said. So the discourses in John are peppered with traditional sayings on which John has expanded with his own reflective interpretation.

            The Introduction to John in the NAB (Rev2e) says the following:

            Other difficulties for any theory of eyewitness authorship of the gospel in its present form are presented by its highly developed theology and by certain elements of its literary style. For instance, some of the wondrous deeds of Jesus have been worked into highly effective dramatic scenes (Jn 9); there has been a careful attempt to have these followed by discourses that explain them (Jn 5; 6); and the sayings of Jesus have been woven into long discourses of a quasi-poetic form resembling the speeches of personified Wisdom in the Old Testament. [Bold added]

            No New Testament scholar I have ever read would claim that the discourses in John are faithfully remembered and accurately reported speeches of Jesus.

          • Jim the Scott

            So Bauckham puts forth a theory John paraphrased some of Jesus' words in a stylized manner and discourses from memory rather than produce verbatim reproductions of them? Given we already had verbatim words of His found in the Synoptics?

            Well that is possible and somewhat unremarkable.

            But St Papas wrote a now lost work called Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord. The Gospel of Thomas is a semi Gnostic version of this work he comments on according to some scholars. That is early on the disciples just recording sayings of our Lord in an impromptu list of quotes.

            Which begs the question? What is with the either or mentality? Either the Apostles wrote entirely from memory decades later or wrote the Gospels verbatim as the action was going on?

            Why not split the baby? So you all are telling me nobody took or kept notes while everything was going on? This idea there is a complete gap of writing between the life of Jesus and the composition of the Gospels is hopelessly either or and doesn't seem all that realistic.

            Because it seems to me if they thought Jesus was important they would have written down some of His sayings as it was going on & kept them?

            >No New Testament scholar I have ever read would claim that the discourses in John are faithfully remembered and accurately reported speeches of Jesus.

            We first to be fair you read an awful lot of liberals and proponents of Limited Inerrancy who in time will be gone from Catholicism like the Nominalists where overthrown by the Scholastics. ;-). Just saying......

            Second there is an implicit slight of hand here in treating quasi-poetic renditions or of Our Lord's verbatim words & or reflective interpretations of them as "not faithful" renditions of his teaching which doesn't move me. Largely because I am not a fundamentalist.

            I remember Fr. Benedict Groetchel in one of his talks opined the discourse between Jesus and the Thieves on the cross was likely a sanitized summery of the converstation and that the actual one was likely not ready for prime time. It is as valid a speculation as any.

            But it doesn't change the fact one of the thieves repented unconditionally & Jesus told him he was saved and the other did not and likely went to his own place as it where.

          • David Nickol

            Given we already had verbatim words of His found in the Synoptics?

            We do? How would we even know? And what does verbatim mean in this context? Jesus spoke Aramaic, and everything we have of his teachings is in Greek.

          • Jim the Scott

            But we all read it in English. Not Greek or Aramaic. What is yer point big guy?

          • David Nickol

            Certainly most of us read scripture in English, but for anything more than superficial analysis, we rely on experts who understand OT Hebrew and NT Greek. Take, for example, your recent argument that what is almost universally translated as Adam's "rib" is actually Adam's "side." That argument can be made because we (or experts we consult) know the original Hebrew. Since we know the teachings of Jesus only in a Greek translation, the "original" quotes cannot be analyzed for deeper meaning.

            What is yer point big guy?

            The point is that it is inaccurate to claim we have verbatim quotes of Jesus.

          • Jim the Scott

            >The point is that it is inaccurate to claim we have verbatim quotes of Jesus.

            Only in the most hyper literal sense but I don't fancy that since I am not a fundamentalist. I was thinking the "Synoptics usually preserve the sayings of Jesus as his disciples learned and remembered them etc etc." and overstated it.

            If I exaggerated in my language I gladly amend it & correct it at yer behest.

            >Since we know the teachings of Jesus only in a Greek translation, the "original" quotes cannot be analyzed for deeper meaning.

            I don't know how much deeper we can go since the Aramaic bits preserved in the NT already convey that meaning? Peter's name in Aramaic Cephas comes to mind to correct extremist claims he isn't really the Rock. So we get the Papacy out of it and don't have to rely solely on the text sans Tradition and divine providence.

          • David Nickol

            So Bauckham puts forth a theory . . . .

            It is not Bauckham's theory. It is the scholarly consensus that the discourses in John are "meditations" on Jesus, not Jesus' own words. Bauckham's twist is that he believes John knew Jesus personally, and so he was uniquely qualified to write such "meditations." That part is not part of the scholarly consensus.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well that good to know. I have only the quote you gave me but I would agree with Bauckham John is uniquely qualified to know. One problem I have with the implicit idea that the Apostles and Disciples forgot or corrupted the teachings of Jesus over time is the implicit idea Jesus only gave his discourses once as shown in the Gospels. Then the Apostles forgot about it and suddenly remember it 30 or 40 years later. What I know of preachers (especially Protestants I have befriended who rely more on sermons then we Catholics do) is over the years they repeat themselves quite a lot when it comes to their favorite themes and teaching. So I can't imagine Jesus would repeat his teachings often during his ministry.

          • Johannes Hui

            Whether or not Jesus repeated his teachings, what is even more important is that his disciples (especially after Jesus’ physical departure from them) later on repeated, discussed, and taught others on what they remembered, and it would be such repetition in the context of communities that formed the oral tradition(s) which eventually was partially captured in textual form in the four canonical Gospels (and to some extent in documents outside these documents). The context of communities and the initial presence of the original hearers of Jesus in some of such communities helped to preserve with sufficient reliability on at least the gist of Jesus’ words and works.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well said. Also given the patristic testimony of various now lost works it is fair to surmise writing down what happened was done early.

          • BTS

            John seems to avail himself of the permission generally allowed ancient historians to put into his own words the sort of thing Jesus would have said.

            Thanks, David. Forgive me for butting in. Some musings...
            I am familiar with Bauckam from his appearances on the British "Unbelievable with Justin Brierly" podcast. He was a gentleman. I liked him but...
            This is just my personal struggle, but given the vast gulf of time between Jesus' time and now, the translation issues, cultural differences, and the problem of memory, not to mention authorial "interpolations" and the like, on my faith journey, I am not interested at all in what Jesus may have said or partially said, or "kind of said."

            I need to know exactly what he said. I don't think that is too much to ask from a supposedly divine figure. These kind of issues are a major stumbling block for me.

            Well, the "T: in my moniker "BTS" does stand for "Thomas."

          • Mark

            "on my faith journey, I am not interested at all in what Jesus
            have said or partially said, or "kind of said."
            I need to know what he said." I got in an argument last week with my wife. It wasn't a court reporter there to record what was said so I don't know exactly what was said. What I do know is mostly what was said and the intent of the those that said it.

            "I don't think that is too much to ask from a supposedly divine figure." John wasn't a divine figure. The author of the Gospel wasn't if it wasn't John wasn't a divine figure either. What you want is evidence that cannot in theory exist because it was beyond the capabilities or even norms of the authorship. Jesus never once commanded them to write anything.

          • BTS

            I got in an argument last week with my wife. It wasn't a court reporter there to record what was said so I don't know exactly what was said. What I do know is mostly what was said and the intent of the those that said it.

            For me, there's too much at stake for me to put my full faith in an "almost." I've been a careful student of human nature over the years and I've listened to storytellers time and again tell very different narratives about incidents where I was a first-hand witness. But that is only one difficultly; another difficulty is the fact that authoritarian types built doctrine in stone out of very thin first-hand materials. I think that is not wise. Better to be uncertain and live with it than to be dogmatic and wrong.

            John wasn't a divine figure.

            I was not calling John divine. I meant Jesus. A divine figure should provide better evidence knowing full well that moderns will (rightfully) have a much higher bar for believing in the supernatural.

            What you want is evidence that cannot in theory exist.

            I fully disagree.
            I cannot say exactly what evidence would be convincing, but we could start with much, much better contemporary independent, corroborating accounts from (some) hostile sources. For example, Sanhedrin records indicating that Jesus appeared to the Sanhedrin after his Resurrection would be a game changer.

            Jesus never once commanded them to write anything.

            We don't know enough to be able to make that claim. All we can say is in the Gospels, as preserved, Jesus does not order his followers to act as scribes. (Probably because they were all illiterate).

          • Dennis Bonnette

            It looks to me like Jesus foresaw your difficulty with getting all the words and meanings exactly right. One can debate over the establishment of his Church and the exact function of the Magisterium, but does not the following citation, which is pretty unambiguous, settle most of your objections?

            "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
            Luke 10:16 NKJV

            The Catholic Church has a living Magisterium which explains and settles for all hearers the teachings of Christ -- even in the present day. You don't have to flyspeck every word of the original texts and translations for yourself. Christ took care of that.

          • David Nickol

            "He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” Luke 10:16 NKJV

            These words of Jesus, even if authentic, were addressed to 70 (or 72) Jewish followers being sent out to preach to Jewish towns. It is a great stretch to attempt to interpret them as Jesus speaking to a 21st-century Gentile audience on behalf of Catholicism. Exactly what the message of the 70 (or 72) disciples would have been is an interesting question, but certainly it would not have been that Jewish Law was no longer applicable.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Good catch. I told you I was not a scripture scholar. Now will you believe me? I completely forgot about that earlier "trial program for the disciples" going out to the people!

            Perhaps, though, the same essential message is contained in the last words of Matthew 28: 19-20:
            "Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

            If Christ sends his disciples to teach, it implicit that those who hear the teaching are expected to receive it as authentic. This means that it must be the true meaning of the gospel revelation, which again would imply that the teaching authority (Magisterium) remains in his Church.

            Nor can there be a division on what is taught, since that would destroy the unity of doctrine. And Christ would not want his followers to hold those beliefs that oppose his actual doctrine. This assurance of support for this teaching process is guaranteed by Christ to the end of the world, which implies again the continuity of the Magisterium with the authentic meaning of the Gospel.

            Again, this final command and assurance from Christ seems to underline the reason we don't all have to do our own scripture scholarship on every biblical text, since the Church exists to guide us when and where it matters.

          • Mark

            "we could start with much, much better contemporary independent,
            corroborating accounts from (some) hostile sources. For example,
            Sanhedrin records indicating that Jesus appeared to the Sanhedrin after
            his Resurrection would be a game changer." Okay. Hypothetically speaking, lets say the resurrected Jesus did appear before (some) hostile Sanhedrin. Where do you think that story would be told? The Talmud? Josephus? We don't know if Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin or not. If he wasn't he was certainly on tract to be one. He certainly was hostile to Christianity as he held the cloaks of those that murdered St. Stephen. But you've already said you don't like his testimony because he emphasized the resurrection. The evidence you seek you also dismiss because it looks like the evidence you seek. There is not such thing as a game changer if game is rigged to lose.

          • David Nickol

            Hypothetically speaking, lets say the resurrected Jesus did appear before (some) hostile Sanhedrin. Where do you think that story would be told? The Talmud? Josephus?

            Are you implying that if the risen Jesus had made himself known to the Jewish (and Roman) authorities, they would have attempted a cover-up? Do you believe those who executed Jesus believed he was God incarnate?

          • Mark

            No and No. I wouldn't even imply the resurrected Jesus would be visible to authorities unless He had purpose to as He did with St Paul. Even if there was some type of written Jewish evidence in Jerusalem during the time of Christ appearing it would likely have been destroyed with the temple by the Romans.

          • BTS

            Where do you think that story would be told? The Talmud? Josephus?

            Any reliable historical source. Multiple truly independent attestations would be better. A trifecta of Christian/Jewish/Roman sources would be very interesting.

            We don't know if Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin or not.

            Correct. We don't know much of anything about Paul at all. For all we know he was a megalomaniac.

            He certainly was hostile to Christianity as he held the cloaks of those that murdered St. Stephen.

            We actually cannot verify this. We only have Paul's word about his past.

            But you've already said you don't like his testimony.

            I am wary of his testimony, yes.

            The evidence you seek you also dismiss because it looks like the evidence you seek.

            I do not understand what you mean here.

          • Mark

            Please don't take offense if I refuse to play the evidence goalpost game with a skeptic. The only thing you have "full faith" certainty of is uncertainty and thus uncertainty will win the day. The game is rigged.

          • BTS

            No problem.
            Please do remember, I AM a Catholic, maybe hanging by a thread, but I have legitimate questions for which I have not found satisfactory answers thus far.

          • David Nickol

            I am surprised you did not argue that the Catholic (and near-universal Christian) belief is that the Gospel authors (and all authors of scripture) were divinely inspired (and presumably motivated) and that—as Dr. Bonnette has argued—the Catholic Church can provide certainty about the teachings of Jesus.

          • Art Davison

            Well, therein lies the problem. I cannot believe that some individual present every time Christ spoke to anyone, multitude, small gathering or indiviual, memorized his remarks, word for word, and passed them on orally for several generations, until whoever wrote the gospels set the exact words on paper ( or parchment)

          • Jim the Scott

            So nobody in ancient times ever took or kept notes? They couldn't just write impromptu on the back of some skins after hearing a speech?

            Funny because St Papias composed around AD 100 a work, now lost, entitled Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord, which Eusebius quotes as an authority on the origins of the Gospels of Mark and Matthew.

            There is certainly enough circumstantial evidence the Apostles didn't rely purely on oral testimony.

            Just saying.....

          • Philip Rand

            Art Davison

            Matthew was a publican and one requirement of the job was knowledge of Tironian notes.

          • Art Davison

            Reasearch indicates that the gospels were not written by the named disciples. In any event, I cannot imagine anyone memorizing and later recording the Sermon on the Mount word for word or even approximately. You would need an actual 20th century recording device to have the exact content.

          • Philip Rand

            Art Davison

            Interesting insight, however 20th century recording devices did not acturally exist in the 1st century after the birth of Christ.

            Instead, research indicates that Matthew used short-hand.

          • Art Davison

            I understand that a Roman freedman used shorhand to record Cicero's speeches, but having one of Jesus' disciples know and use it seems far-fetched. He needed a lead stylus, lots of parchmenr and some place to rest it while writing (a rock?) Then he had to give it to whoever wrote Matthew's gospel, after translating it into Aramaic.

          • Philip Rand

            Art Davison

            Interesting comment, i.e. (a rock?)... very interesting....rock is the idiom of Christ. The question mark is the idiom of the accuser.

          • David Nickol

            I can't blame you for not believing that, because nobody else believes it either! You are inventing your own scenarios and then deeming them unworthy of belief. Jesus was an itinerant preacher who preached over a period of up to three years. Do you think he never repeated himself? Do you really imagine his closest followers didn't hear the core teachings over and over again?

          • Art Davison

            Everything I wish to say about Jesus can be found at this site Jesus Reboot Fail: Resurrection Doesn’t Work. Just Google it.

          • David Nickol

            Everything I wish to say about Jesus can be found at this site . . . .

            It's unfortunate you wish to associate yourself with something like that.

          • Art Davison

            I guess it depends which side of the fence you are on. It seems quite logical to me.

          • David Nickol

            I'm not on one side or the other of the fence. I'm sitting right on the fence, and I can tell a good commentary on the resurrection from an amateurish one. What you linked to was a waste of time.

          • Art Davison

            David Madison is a former church minister, although I don't know what his education is; however, John W. Loftus has 2 Master's degrees in religion and has taught Christianity and apologetics in several universities. Please give me a couple of examples of errors in the commentary.

          • BTS

            The issue of Paul has become a dealbreaker for me. The more I read about him, the more I do not particularly like his personality, approach, or theology. He focuses entirely on the death and proclaimed resurrection of Jesus and ignores essentially everything about Jesus' life. That should be troubling to Christians. Richard Rohr refers to this practice as "the great comma." (refers to the Nicene Creed's profession of beliefs that ignores Jesus' entire life).

            I am haunted by the possibility he (Paul) hijacked the entire enterprise from Peter and the gang.

            Given the choice of joining Peter's Christianity vs. Paul's version, well, I'd at least like to have a choice. I would put exponentially more weight on the testimony of someone who actually knew Jesus. But we don't that choice because Paul won and won big.

          • Mark

            I'm consider myself a contemplative, so I'm well acquainted with Rohr. I like his inner spiritual works, however, using him as a reference for theology is a big mistake. He's off the reservation on original sin, the incarnation, etc. If there is a great comma, its when he changes lanes from personal spiritual development to theology. He's an expert in one and distasteful in the other. Most everything you wrote there has the flavorings of his theology.

          • BTS

            Most everything you wrote there has the flavorings of his theology.

            Thank you for the compliment.

            As for him being "off the reservation..."
            You're a fan of Pauline Christianity as evidenced by your dislike of Rohr's theology. Does it ever occur to you that Paul was just wrong or misguided about lots of stuff? It occurs to me, that's for sure. If you're not even open to a discussion of Paul being wrong, I guess the discussion is already over.

          • Rob Abney

            >”He focuses entirely on the death and proclaimed resurrection of Jesus and ignores essentially everything about Jesus' life. That should be troubling to Christians.“<
            This is not troubling to me and I’m not sure why it should be. It seems very similar to our approach here at SN when we focus on first principles, if someone doesn’t accept the first principles he has no basis for many of his positions; if someone doesn’t accept the resurrection then the rest of Jesus’ actions are inconsequential.

          • BTS

            This is not troubling to me and I’m not sure why it should be.

            It troubles me because I think for myself. It should at least give pause to anyone with a modicum of curiosity.

            if someone doesn’t accept the first principles he has no basis for many of his positions

            Not necessarily true at all. Perhaps you need to do a better job of laying out the first principles or acknowledging they are not a good starting point for everyone.

            if someone doesn’t accept the resurrection then the rest of Jesus’ actions are inconsequential.

            I think his mother Mary, all the apostles, and all the people he helped/healed/taught/inspired would beg to differ. Pretty much everyone he ever met would disagree. He was pretty charismatic, at least that is the word on the street.

          • Rob Abney

            If you think for yourself then why are you regurgitating progressive Christianity? And do you really believe that Jesus is worshipped because He was charismatic?
            The first principles are well laid out on this site but deep thinking is difficult for those who only have an axe to grind.

          • BTS

            If you think for yourself then why are you regurgitating progressive Christianity?

            These are my thoughts. They happen to coincide with the thoughts of many others. I cannot help or control that. It is very difficult to come up with a truly original idea, but how's this:
            If you think about it, Jesus was a progressive Christian.
            And every "brand" of Christianity can point to some other brand and say "they're too progressive for our taste."

            And do you really believe that Jesus is worshipped because He was charismatic?

            No, I think Jesus was very well-liked because he was charismatic. I think he is worshipped, very directly, mostly because of Paul's initiatives.

            deep thinking is difficult for those who only have an axe to grind.

            You have it backwards, friend.
            Deep thinking over many years led to me the axe. I'm not using the axe to grind, but rather to break down doors that were previously closed to my mind.

          • Mark

            If the resurrection didn't occur then Christianity has zero meaning. If you don't believe in the resurrection you are not a Christian, progressive or otherwise.

          • Rob Abney

            First, you’ll have to explain what a “brand” of Christianity is?
            Do you worship Jesus only because of Paul? It seems like there are other compelling witnesses also.

          • BTS

            Brand = loosely, denominations,

            Do you worship Jesus only because of Paul?

            That is exactly the question I was posing. Did Paul invent Christianity and form it to his own needs and agenda? It is worth thinking about.

            It seems like there are other compelling witnesses also.

            Unfortunately we do not have their eyewitness accounts.

          • Rob Abney

            How do you describe today’s Christianity that you reject (dealbreaker) and is the way it is because of Paul?
            And how would you like it to be in spite of Paul?

            My perception of Paul’s influence is that Christianity spread more widely early on because of him, but his influence is minute compared to the influence of Moses and Aristotle.

          • BTS

            My perception of Paul’s influence is that Christianity spread more widely early on because of him, but his influence is minute compared to the influence of Moses and Aristotle.

            You're not serious, are you? Paul is singlehandedly the reason Christianity is the way it is today. Paul and maybe Constantine.

            Moses? Moses probably did not even exist.

          • Rob Abney

            Can you point to verbatim statements from either of the two that supports your perception of “the way Christianity is today”.
            My contention is that Moses represents the Jewish people and that Aristotle represents Greek reasoning and these are the greatest influence on our ability to accept Jesus Christ as God.

          • BTS

            I disagree with the concept of original sin. Paul had to invent it in order to come up with a reason that humans need a savior. Any time Paul references Adam and original sin is a mistake on his part. Adam did not exist. So when Paul and/or Jesus reference Adam, (Paul calling Jesus the new Adam, and Jesus talking about marriage) they are just mistaken because Adam did not exist. That's a lot of cognitive dissonance. Too much for me to handle. If you can reconcile it, that's good for you.

            Paul's teaching does not resonate with me at all. It is dull, boring, too ethereal, dense, contradictory in places and completely unhelpful to me.It is absolute drudgery to read Paul.

          • Rob Abney

            If you reject original sin then how do you view humans in actuality? Is it possible that some or many humans could be perfect, without any sin?
            And more importantly, why did Jesus Christ die on a cross?

          • BTS

            Is it possible that some or many humans could be perfect, without any sin?

            I would say a perfect human is an oxymoron.

            why did Jesus Christ die on a cross?

            If you are asking what is my view of atonement theory, I don't have one, really. I don't like the concept of blood atonement. A god who can do anything comes up with that idea?
            I prefer the concept of a god who came to show us how to live a good life. And, for the record, the theological concept of atonement theory is not settled. As far as I can tell, a single "orthodox" view has not emerged. The Eastern church does not emphasize blood atonement, for example.

            It is also entirely possible that Jesus, while most likely a very good man, was mistaken and die for no reason at all. He got angry in the temple, made a rash move and ended up ticking off the Romans.

            Surely you have doubts as well. Even Jesus had doubts. Doubt is not a sin. It is not a sin to work through a very dark period of doubt. I wish conservatives would stop portraying doubt as a sin.

          • Rob Abney

            It seems like you agree that humans are broken and need some sort of atonement. I agree with that but do not believe that we humans are capable of overcoming our brokenness with only natural intervention.
            You may not prefer the method chosen by God, as if that method was not up to the standards that you would choose for all humanity but many others recognize that it was fitting, it’s true that that was not the only way but simply the way He chose.
            Don’t include me in the group that considers doubt as sin, I am in the camp that believes there are doubts that can be addressed by the good soil that surrounds you, namely those of good faith who are charitable with their knowledge.
            From discussions with you it seems like you get a lot of your information from Protestants and deconstructionists, be sure to apply your doubts to that info also.

          • BTS

            It seems like you agree that humans are broken and need some sort of atonement.

            I would not use the word "broken." I might say humans are often irrational and make poor decisions, ones that work against their own best interest. I'm not convinced we are spiritually "broken." Perhaps incomplete is a better word. I'm not sure yet.

            there are doubts that can be addressed by the good soil that surrounds you

            Doubt by Catholics is only tolerated up to a point. "Doubt light" as David Johnson (commenter at Unbelievable with Justin Brierly podcast) calls it, is the only acceptable version. The kind of doubt that a folksy priest can wash away with a smile and a pat on the back. Real doubt gets you cast out.

            From discussions with you it seems like you get a lot of your information from Protestants and deconstructionists, be sure to apply your doubts to that info also.

            I read just about everything! America, Commonweal, Crux, Future Church, even the Catholic Thing (gag, those folks are unbelievably nasty, especially in the FB comments). I am very familiar with what all vested parties are saying. I even at point read some of the Church Militant garbage but I really couldn't take it. I listen to countless podcasts, many of which are debates. I have hundreds of items across the spectrum bookmarked and saved.

            I of course apply my BS detector to everything I read. I hope everyone does.

          • Rob Abney

            >I would not use the word "broken." I might say humans are often irrational and make poor decisions, ones that work against their own best interest<
            Do you think that humans could ever be completely rational and always make the right decision? What would be required to make humans capable of such?

            Again, I don’t condemn doubt, but the line that I would beware of is the distinction between doubt and religious skepticism. Skepticism says there is no truth.

            Have you watched the Thomistic Institute’s YouTube series called Aquinas 101? They explain every claim they make.

          • BTS

            Do you think that humans could ever be completely rational and always make the right decision?

            I have no idea. I do not think the question has an answer we can ascertain. Maybe sometimes there are two right decisions, or two wrong ones and no right one?

            Skepticism says there is no truth.

            I have never heard that definition. My understanding is that skepticism says you should only believe something if it comports with reality and you can justify the belief. Pretty simple.

            Again, I don’t condemn doubt, but the line that I would beware of is the distinction between doubt and religious skepticism.

            What is the point of thinking, then, if you one refuses to go where the evidence lies? It is a very brave thing to overturn one's convictions based on convincing evidence to the contrary. So many are afraid to do this. They just put their fingers in their ears...

            I have not watched the Thomistic institute but I am familiar with Aquinas, Dr B, Matt Fradd, and Thomism in general.
            My essential quibble with Thomism is that I don't think one can prove anything merely with thought experiments. That's what Thomism does. And, since our thoughts and intuitions do not always track reality, we cannot trust a mere thought experiment. Or base dogma on a mere thought experiment.

          • Rob Abney

            The answer is no and is self-evident, humans cannot be infallible in all decisions, but we could be with supernatural grace.
            Why are you so doubtful of religion, are you equally as doubtful about science?
            I have no idea what you are referring to with thought experiments. But Thomism requires you to be familiar with many very specific definitions and details so that you can avoid accusing others of using word salads and fancy words! But most of all I thought you might enjoy the series, I do.

          • BTS

            Why are you so doubtful of religion

            Good question. Got about two weeks? :)
            A quick google search says the world has 4,300 religions. Catholics believe they have the best one (ie, most truth). So, I hope you are glad I have used doubt to rule out 4,299 "untrue" religions. What other tool would I use?
            You and I agree on 4,299 things. We are discussing whether or not to agree on #4300.

            are you equally as doubtful about science?

            Well, science has the doubt built in, so yes. The scientific method uses doubt as a tool. Experiments have to be repeatable; good science is peer-reviewed, repeatable, makes predictions, and is self-correcting.
            I am, however, extremely doubtful of pseudo-science like homeopathy or climate change denial.

            What I mean by thought experiments...
            Thomism tries to prove things, like god's existence, with only thought experiments. While these are interesting, they don't get me (or anyone, really) all the way there. I don't think you can prove - like Dennis says you can- that god exists using only philosophy.

            But most of all I thought you might enjoy the series, I do.

            Thank you! Much appreciated.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I admitted elsewhere that I am not a scripture scholar. But I did not realize how true this must be -- since only now I find out that St. Paul actually wrote Genesis? I guess one does learn something new every day!

          • David Nickol

            If I may commit another sin (by quoting Wikipedia), we have the following:

            St Paul's idea of redemption hinged upon the contrast between the sin of Adam and the death and resurrection of Jesus. "Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned." [Romans 5:12] "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."[1 Cor 15:22] Up till then the transgression in the Garden of Eden had not been given great significance. According to the Jesus scholar Geza Vermes:

            Paul believed that Adam's transgression in a mysterious way affected the nature of the human race. The primeval sin, a Pauline creation with no biblical or post-biblical Jewish precedent, was irreparable by ordinary human effort. [Bold added]

            Adam and Eve are never mentioned in Hebrew Scripture after notice of the death of Adam in Genesis 5. Jesus never mentions Adam and Eve except to argue for the indissolubility of marriage. Jesus says nothing about "original sin," or any transgression of Adam and Eve, or any role he must take on because of such a sin.

            Of course, Adam and Eve, being the first humans and the first sinners, committed the first sin, but to think of it as the "original" sin is to bring up Christine doctrine for which Paul is the initial source and Augustine is the chief architect.

          • Rob Abney

            From the old catholic encyclopedia pertaining to original sin: It is found in the fourth Book of Esdras, a work written by a Jew in the first century after Christ and widely read by the Christians. This book represents Adam as the author of the fall of the human race (vii, 48), as having transmitted to all his posterity the permanent infirmity, the malignity, the bad seed of sin (iii, 21, 22; iv, 30). Protestants themselves admit the doctrine of original sin in this book and others of the same period (see Sanday, "The International Critical Commentary: Romans", 134, 137; Hastings, "A Dictionary of the Bible", I, 841).

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not unaware of the explanation that you give above, but the fact remains that if you just read Genesis as it is, it is clear that there are two first human beings and that they commit a sin for which they are cast out of Eden and for which their progeny would suffer as well.

            St. Paul did not have to invent that basic story. He may have given an enhanced theological version of it, but the basic outline is right there in Genesis for all to see.

          • Johannes Hui

            Hi David N, your approach is good but you need to bring into discussion what the “Greek Old Testament” Septuagint/LXX scriptural documents (the religious scripture used by Greek speaking Jews before and around Jesus’ time) such as the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (authored by Ben Sira) etc said about the relationship between “Adam’s sin” and death. In addition, other documents written by Jewish thinkers before and around Paul’s time (eg Philo) that discussed such a topic should be considered too. Finally, whether or what the early church fathers before Augustine say anything relevant to this topic is also relevant to the discussion.

          • BTS

            1 Corinthians 45.
            Paul refers to Jesus as the new Adam.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Right. But that reference of St. Paul to the "new Adam" is possible precisely because the "old Adam" was right there in Genesis. As I just commented to David Nickol, St. Paul did not invent Adam. He is right there in Genesis for all to see, complete with his sin and subsequent being cast out of Eden.

            I don't doubt that St. Paul and St. Augustine enveloped the events in Eden in the flesh of a theological development, but the basic story is right there in Genesis.

          • BTS

            I was not doubting that Adam is depicted in Genesis. What I am saying is that Paul refers to Genesis as if it were literal, which even Catholic theologians admit is not literal. Er...except the part where they say it all happened. The Catholic take on Genesis is indeed a head-scratcher. My point was that Paul took Genesis literally and that was a mistake.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            While most of the peripheral matter of Genesis is not to be read literally, its central teachings about a really existing Adam and original sin must be taken literally, since it is now part of Catholic dogma.

            "In 1546, the COUNCIL OF TRENT, Session V, underlined St. Paul's teaching when it referred to Adam as “himself alone” (sibi soli) in its dogmatic definitions on original sin (n. 2: Denzinger-Hünermann 2010, 1512)."
            From in the Monogenism and Polygenism entry by Dennis Bonnette in the New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2012-2013: Ethics and Philosophy (Detroit: Gale , 2013), 3: 1013-1016.

          • BTS

            1546. That is a long time ago.
            Don't you ever question any of the official line? Or do you not permit yourself that luxury? What about when you are convinced the Church is wrong on something? Or does that not happen to you ever?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Good grief! The Nicene Creed, which is still said at every Mass, dates from the fourth century.

            If I thought the Church was wrong on some dogmatic teaching, I would be intellectually honest enough to admit that I was no longer a Catholic.

            Since you are obviously not a Catholic, this is not or is, perhaps, no longer an issue from your perspective.

          • BTS

            I am a Catholic. I've told you many times.
            And I think the Church is wrong on a lot of things.
            Conundrum ensues.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If you are a Catholic, but do not hold all the official teachings of the Catholic Church, how do you differentiate yourself from a Protestant.

            I am neither wanting nor encouraging you to leave the Church. I am simply trying to get you to examine the logic of your position.

          • BTS

            If you are a Catholic, but do not hold all the official teachings of the Catholic Church, how do you differentiate yourself from a Protestant.

            I have not made up my mind yet. These things take a while to decide. But that very fact itself (that "belief" is complex and constantly in a state of flux) makes me wonder if "right belief" is all that important. If I get hit by a bus before I make my decision [to leave the Church] does that work in my favor in terms of salvation?

            I am simply trying to get you to examine the logic of your position.

            Of course, every day, man. Every day.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not a Catholic because I agree with the Church's teachings. Rather, I accept its teachings because I am convinced it is the authentic revelation of God and I don't get to pick and choose which of God's revealed truths I am willing to accept. That is why something like the present article on miracles is more important to me as an indicator of truth than my own wishes or desires.

            And I am forcefully moved to accept the Church's truth because of something like the section of my article entitled, "Thank you, Father." I am sure it does not convince you, but I know the veracity of my source and knowing that this "incident" actually happened forces me to the inference that the Catholic Church is the one, true religion she claims to be.

            I could be a cafeteria Catholic and pick and choose my preferred beliefs all my life. But I don't see that as a authentic choice, since once I know the truth of the Faith, my menu has to conform to God's menu.

          • BTS

            That is why something like the present article on miracles is more important to me as an indicator of truth than my own wishes or desires.

            I hope you are not implying that I am using my wishes as an indicator of truth. Far from it. God gave us all minds to use and I am using mine to seek truth.

            I'm 46 and have never, not once, mind you, have even the smallest inkling of experiencing anything supernatural. If you have, that's really great then, for you.

            Even if the ghost story is true (and I will charitably grant that your priest friend sincerely believes it) it does not really say anything about Catholicism being true. That's a big leap.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If you accept the premise that the facts in this case are as reported, it implies, not a supernatural, but a preternatural event. Still, the logic of it is rather clear if you put the pieces together carefully -- the prior preternatural phenomena, the tragic death of that girl (and others), the exercise of priestly ministry on the site, and the preternatural expression of gratitude. You can read it some other way, but it appears that this is a soul saying "thank you" for something the priest did in virtue of his priestly ministry and sacramental powers. If true, then his powers are real, and if they are real, so is the Church that confers them on him.

            You can say this does not convince you, but I see the logic and am forced by the truth of the preternatural event of the woman's voice itself. I don't blame you for not believing it, because you do not know this priest as I do. So, it is clear evidence for me, but means little or nothing to you.

            I never said this was the sole basis for my Catholicism. Since it happened only recently, obviously I had reasons to be Catholic prior to this incident.

            But the approach I take is this. Find out if the Church is what she claims to be. You need only one definitive proof of this to know it is true. If one becomes convinced it is true, then it is the safest path to salvation.

            Each person must find his own path. But I do believe that we must passionately seek the truth, since if we do not care enough to do so, who else then is responsible if we fail to reach the goal?

          • BTS

            Find out if the Church is what she claims to be. You need only one definitive proof of this to know it is true. If one becomes convinced it is true, then it is the safest path to salvation.

            Thanks, let's leave it there. I'll keep looking.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I think that the following comment, which is part of a reply to someone else, and which I just posted above, will reply to you doubts about the specifically Catholic nature of this incident:

            "You have to look at the exact incident I reported, with a credible priest having used his ordinary Catholic sacramental powers to say Mass and bless objects. This mysterious voice is not a miracle, but merely a preternatural event -- since it does not take the power of God to produce a voice. But in the absence of a living human speaker or electronic device doing it, it is a preternatural event."

            "Now, who would be saying, "Thank you, Father?" It cannot be a soul in hell, since they are not saying "thank you" to anyone and they are still in hell. It cannot be a soul from heaven, since they did not need any help. It would not be a demon, since they certainly would not wish to promote the Catholic faith by praising its priests' powers."

            "This is why I -- speaking only for myself -- make the inference that the only remaining explanation is that this grateful spirit must have been a soul imprisoned in the very Catholic place called purgatory. Since it appears that the priest's sacramental actions helped this soul in some manner, the context is specifically Catholic."

          • BTS

            "This is why I -- speaking only for myself -- make the inference that the only remaining explanation is that this grateful spirit must have been a soul imprisoned in the very Catholic place called purgatory.

            No offense - I think this is a neat story - but have you ruled out all possible natural explanations? I think not. An elaborate prank or hoax comes to mind. A malfunctioning car radio, the wind, teenagers hiding in the bushes, or perhaps just the power of suggestion to your genuine and sincere priest friend. One need only read up on the spiritualist craze of the late 19th/early 20th century to find an amalgam of interesting stories that all turned out to be hoaxes.

            Edit:
            Edit - Ten or fifteen years ago I would have been more likely to accept this story uncritically. I do understand what you are trying to say.

            Upon reflection I really, truly hope you are wrong. I think it would be senselessly cruel of god to let a poor young girl who was raped and cruelly murdered get delayed unnecessarily from her promised eternal reward. It would make more sense for the murderers alone to become "ghosts."

          • Dennis Bonnette

            That is why I am well aware that this "evidence" will convince only the priest involved, myself, and a few others who know him very well. He isn't in doubt about the total context.

            Nor am I.

            If you want to test your hypotheses on a public miracle that will pass all the tests, I suggest you examine every aspect of the Fatima events of 17 October 1917. But do read my account of it carefully, please -- since most skeptics fail to understand the complex nature of the visual phenomena involved as well as its three entirely disparate aspects that are simultaneously coordinated: the fulfilled prediction, the miracle of the sun, and the sudden drying -- any one of which is a miracle in itself.

          • David Nickol

            If the Jesus movement had remained confined to the Jews, as it was in the lifetime of Jesus, there would be no Catholic Church today. Whether or not it is true, there is certainly enough evidence to believe that Jesus saw himself as being sent "only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," and that Paul was extremely influential in expanding the Jesus movement to include Gentiles. And of course it did not take long for the Jesus movement to become exclusively Gentile (and for Gentile Christians to consider Jews as guilty of deicide and persecute them for it for the next 2000 years).

            It was well argued here (by me!) that the earthly Jesus foresaw no mission to the Gentiles. The Gospels were written after the decision to include Gentiles in the Jesus movement was already a fact. It is not at all far-fetched to hypothesize that the call to convert "all nations" allegedly issued by Jesus after the resurrection was a case of Christians writers in the 70s or 80s putting words into the mouth of Jesus that they (in all good faith) thought he would have said.

          • Rob Abney

            I wouldn’t confine persecution of the Jews to gentile Christians.
            I believe it is traditionally accepted in the church that most, if not all, of the apostles preached to non-Jews.
            You did argue well but it seems that Jim the Scott prevailed when he framed some of your literal reading of the texts in the context of the Jewish way of life.
            It seems fitting that Christianity would spread to the rest of the world if for no other reason than the good news that a man was resurrected from the dead and it may be possible for the rest of us.

          • Mark

            It was well argued here (by me!) that the earthly Jesus foresaw no mission to the Gentiles.

            And every Catholic here is going to reject a version of history that creates a divide the Body of Christ -Jesus and the Body of Christ - Apostles. By going to Isreal first, Jesus was recapitulating salvation history of the OT. He is seen as a fulfillment of a Davidic prototype enlarging the house of the Lord not only Jew but Gentile. He had to break his disciples of their own bias about what the messiah was.

            The "not at all far-fetched hypothesis" that Jesus did not forsee a call to convert "all nations" presupposes Jesus was only a teacher with no divine nature and no resurrection. It is necessary to interject portions of scripture were a rewrite of history that were largely the influence of Paul. Which is all opinion through the lens of "not divine" to make sense of Scripture.

            Also the generalization of 2k years of Gentile Christian persecution of the Jews is at best a cursory true claim. It seems mostly inflammatory rhetoric. It's 100% untrue of the first 200 years of Christianity and grouping Protestant and Catholics together for the last 500 years is disingenuous given the tradition of antisemitism found copiously in the roots of Protestantism.

          • David Nickol

            And every Catholic here is going to reject a version of history that creates a divide between the Body of Christ -Jesus and the Body of Christ - Apostles.

            What about a more cautious formulation: Prior to his resurrection, as far as we can tell from the Gospels, Jesus gave no advance notice to his disciples that he would be sending them out to "all nations" (including Gentiles) after his resurrection.

            The "not at all far-fetched hypothesis" that Jesus did not forsee a call to convert "all nations" presupposes Jesus was only a teacher with no divine nature and no resurrection.

            Not at all necessarily. As far as I know, there is no dogma about the consciousness and self-understanding of Jesus. Did he comprehend that he was God incarnate as a toddler? Or did he come to a gradual understanding of himself and his role over time? Did he foresee the future? Did he know everything that was going to happen before it happened? It is impossible even to imagine how bizarre that would be.

            Acts contains a great deal about the expansion of the mission to the Gentiles, and Peter has to be convinced by a vision to associate with them (Acts 10). Why does he have to be convinced? Why wouldn't the earthly Jesus have explained to his followers that there was no such thing as uncleanliness? (Peter: “You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with, or visit, a Gentile, but God has shown me that I should not call any person profane or unclean.") In Acts 15 (the Council of Jerusalem) the Apostles have to decide under what terms to accept Gentiles. It is a question they are clearly not prepared for, nor do they make an argument based on anything Jesus said.

            Not sure the point, but it seems mostly inflammatory rhetoric. It's 100% untrue of the first 200 years of Christianity.

            The point, obviously enough, is that the Christian Church began as a Jewish movement that at first excluded Gentiles, and evolved into a Gentile organization that persecuted Jews.

            Not a few scholars (including Catholic ones) find anti-Semitism in the Gospels. For example, Matthew 27:25—"And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”

          • Dennis Bonnette

            " As far as I know, there is no dogma about the consciousness and self-understanding of Jesus. Did he comprehend that he was God incarnate as a toddler? Or did he come to a gradual understanding of himself and his role over time? Did he foresee the future? Did he know everything that was going to happen before it happened? It is impossible even to imagine how bizarre that would be."

            I cannot address most of the other points you make, but at least some of these statements can be addressed by a correct understanding of the Hypostatic union.

            Christ is true God and true man: one divine person with two natures -- one divine and one human.

            One of the pervasive modern errors is to speak about the progressive consciousness of Christ, saying things like that he did not know he was the Christ or that he was God until he developed sufficiently as an adult human being.

            Some of Christ's actions are attributed to his divine nature and others to his human nature. But since he is only a single Person, and it is the person who knows and who acts through his divine or human nature, all actions belong to the single supposit, which is Christ.

            Given that Christ always possessed a divine nature, all knowledge and power resided in him from the moment of the Incarnation.

            Yes, he knew he was God from the outset, since his divine nature is immutable and omniscient. Even Scripture tells us that the twelve year old Jesus teaching in the Temple was aware of his unique status when he responded to his earthly parents by saying, "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49)

            And since Christ's divine nature is eternally outside of time, of course he knew future events before they would happen, just as God, of course, does.

          • David Nickol

            Boiling it down to its essence, it seems to me you are saying Jesus was omniscient from the moment of conception—i.e., from the moment of the Incarnation. True, he had a human nature and a divine nature, but as you point out, he was nevertheless only one person, so (at least to me) it would make no sense to say his divine nature knew the future, but his human nature did not.

            I remember a debate that I took part in years ago in a forum (since shut down) on First Things in which some went so far as to claim Jesus understood quantum physics. That seemed biazrre to me, but I think it follows logically from your position—about which I could be egregiously in error.

            Jimmy Akin has and interesting and detailed article on exactly this topic titled The Magisterium and the Human Knowledge of Christ in which he points us to the Catechism, which says:

            472 This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, "increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man", and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience. This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking "the form of a slave".

            473 But at the same time, this truly human knowledge of God's Son expressed the divine life of his person. "The human nature of God's Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God." Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father. The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts.

            Akin, as I read him, presents many points of view and gives no definitive answer himself. I would be interested to know what you think of his article. I will just say that I don't know how to reconcile the viewpoint you outline with what the Catechism says.

            474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal. What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal.

          • Jim the Scott

            I might as well chime in. This looks very interesting.

            >Boiling it down to its essence, it seems to me you are saying Jesus was omniscient from the moment of conception—i.e., from the moment of the Incarnation.

            Yes in His divine nature He knew all.

            >True, he had a human nature and a divine nature, but as you point out, he was nevertheless only one person,

            A divine person with a divine nature and a human nature. To be precise.

            > so (at least to me) it would make no sense to say his divine nature knew the future, but his human nature did not.

            That makes perfect sense to me. I can have a computer with two hard drives and store a piece of information on one drive and not the other. So why can't Christ have a type of knowledge found in his Divine intellect and not in his human one? True his Divine Person operates both. But the incarnate Christ can claim to Know X and Not Know X by virtue of the fact He has two intellects.

            >I remember a debate that I took part in years ago in a forum (since shut down) on First Things in which some went so far as to claim Jesus understood quantum physics.

            Yes I seem to remember reading Ott and it was claimed by some theologians that Christ's human intellect would have contained all knowable natural knowledge. This was thought to be true based on the argument of Fittingness. Mercifully such a speculation is not a dogma. I am not sure if I personally believe it in completely.

            >That seemed bizarre to me, but I think it follows logically from your position—about which I could be egregiously in error.

            Well Quantum Physics is natural knowledge so in principle Christ could know it because it was infused in his human intellect or He could learn it using his human intellect even thought He absolutely knows it in His Divine Intellect.

            >Akin, as I read him, presents many points of view and gives no definitive answer himself.

            Wise move. I am a minimalist myself. I only assert what is taught infallibly as a dogma with one exception. I gave up Molinism for Thomism on Grace and Free Will. But that is another topic.

            > I will just say that I don't know how to reconcile the viewpoint you outline with what the Catechism says.

            Dr B can clarify for himself but I would say Jesus in his divine person always knew he was Christ and I would say at whatever point his human intellect developed in infancy that said knowledge would likely have been automatically infused. Not that if it wasn't he still wouldn't have known he was the Christ in His Divine Intellect.

            Cheers David stay safe.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Remember, I am simply a Thomistic philosopher. I am not a theologian. In fact, Jimmy Akin is a Catholic apologist. From listening to him on the radio, I would have to say, to put it "gently," his knowledge of Thomism is "limited."

            I don't doubt the dogma, but you and I both know it took a couple centuries to iron out some of the intellectual puzzles entailed in this shocking concept of a God-man.

            If you ask me about God's nature and attributes, I am on comfortable ground -- metaphysically, at least. But respecting the mystery of the Incarnation, that is another matter. It is a mystery, but that still does not allow inherent contradictions to be entailed.

            Let me speculate. I think that we must remember that Christ is one divine Person with two natures: one divine and uncreated; the other human and created.

            That means that all the faculties of Christ's human nature, including intellect and will, are limited in being and ability, since his human nature is a creature.

            We know some texts of Scripture have Christ speaking as God; others as man. All power in heaven and on earth are given to him; he and the Father are one; yet, he grew in wisdom and knowledge.

            As human, his human intellect gained knowledge just as ours do -- starting with sense experience from which we form concepts and learn about the world.

            So, my speculation is that Christ's divine Person, as such, is God and knows everything God knows (which is everything, period!). But in living Christ's human life on earth, he chooses to act in and through his limited human nature for the most part, including the limitations of a human intellect that must learn about the world.

            That is, the knowledge "handled" by his human intellect must have been limited and able to grow. Thus, the knowledge he had AS MAN was limited, even though he could, at will, act and know in and through his divine nature, and thus know all things, including future events.

            Thus his human intellectual knowledge was, indeed, limited. But that does not mean that He was limited in what he knew or could know. It is just that as man living among us humans, he chose to act in and through the limitations of his human nature (and intellect) most of the time.

            Still, at any moment of his choosing, the divine Person of Christ could dominate any situation with the powers of his infinitely powerful and omniscient divine nature.

            That is my best try as such speculation, given my own very limited knowledge of the theology involved. I readily stand corrected if anyone knows better -- and I am sure many professional Catholic theologians do know more.

          • BTS

            All of this speculation on Jesus' nature strikes me as egregious overreach. No one has any idea what it is/was like to be Jesus on earth. I think it is fine for you to have your opinion on the topic but not fine to post it as if it were dogma. It's not.

            And, just from a narrative point of view, the story of Jesus is a much better, compelling and interesting story if Jesus has to figure out that he is god. I don't know if that is how it really unfolded, of course. No one does.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "I think it is fine for you to have your opinion on the topic but not fine to post it as if it were dogma. It's not."

            But of course it IS dogma! When you say "dogma," no one defines dogma but the Catholic Church. And the central thesis I am explaining is precisely what was defined:
            "The Divine and the human natures are united hypostatically in Christ, that is, joined to each other in one Person." De Fide
            Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 144.

            In fact, most all the points I made above are defined dogma in one form or another. Ibid., 144 - 172.

            Why don't you do some research before making such dogmatic statements?

          • BTS

            That's not what I meant. So the Church made up a fancy word called "hypostatic union." It's just a word. It does not tell us at what point Jesus realized he was god. As a sperm? as an embryo? As a six-month old? 12? When he was baptized? To pretend we know the answer to that is pure speculation. Even you must admit we cannot read the thoughts of god.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am sorry, but if you are going to use the word, "dogma," you must follow its normal definition. You explicitly said these matters were not defined dogma, whereas most of it is.

            That "fancy word," "hypostatic union" IS a matter of dogma. So, you saying that the Church just made it up is quite irrelevant to its theological status as dogma.

            And simply put, since Christ's person, according to Catholic dogma, is true God, it is totally impossible for him not to have always known his own nature at God at every moment of his life.

            There is a more complex question about the human intellect of Christ gaining knowledge progressively through sensation and experience. But as to Christ knowing that is was God from conception, that is settled by the definition of the Trinity as one divine Person with two natures, one divine, the other, human. It is the dogmatically defined identity of Christ in his Person as true God that answers your questions.

          • BTS

            Can you post a link to an official teaching of the Church that officially spells this out?
            And simply put, since Christ's person, according to Catholic dogma, is true God, it is totally impossible for him not to have always known his own nature at God at every moment of his life.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            The only thing in my statement that I said was dogma was that the Person of Christ is true God. This is such settled doctrine that you could easily look it up for yourself.

            "The settlement at Chalcedon
            "The basis of the settlement at Chalcedon was the Western understanding of the two natures in Christ, as formulated in the Tome of Pope Leo I of Rome. Chalcedon declared:

            "We all unanimously teach…one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, perfect in deity and perfect in humanity…in two natures, without being mixed, transmuted, divided, or separated. The distinction between the natures is by no means done away with through the union, but rather the identity of each nature is preserved and concurs into one person and being."
            https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jesus/The-dogma-of-Christ-in-the-ancient-councils

            It should be self-evident to anyone that God knows himself and eternally so. I am sure you can find such a dogma with little searching.

          • Mark

            Prior to his resurrection, as far as we can tell from the Gospels, Jesus gave no advance notice to his disciples that he would be sending them out to "all nations" (including Gentiles) after his resurrection.

            Not true. As far as we can tell from the Gospels, Jesus had every intention of his salvation to be extended to people beyond the house of Isreal:

            In Luke 4:24-27 Jesus references his rejection by Jews and references Elijah. They knew the rest of the story from 1 King 17 that Elijah would be received into a Gentile home and restore the life of the widow's son who was a Gentile. Naaman the Syrian was not only a Gentile, but a military leader of Syria who was at war with Israel.

            Matt 8:5 Christ enters Capernum and heals the centurian's servant. We repeat a similar response prior to receiving Eucharist. "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed"

            He goes on in Matt 8:10; "I say to you, many will come

            from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom (the chosen people of Isreal) will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

            Matt 8:28 He healed a Gentile (Gadarene) from demonic possession.

            Matt 10:18 Right after the commission Christ tells his apostles "you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the Gentiles."

            Matt 15 is used to promote this idea that Jesus was only for the Jews: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." However, he did heal the Gentile woman (because of her faith).

            John 4 Jesus taught the Gentile woman that there will be a time when neither (Mount Gerizim where Samaritans worshiped) or Jerusalem will be where you worship the Father."

            In Acts 15 (the Council of Jerusalem) the Apostles have to decide under what terms to accept Gentiles. It is a question they are clearly not prepared for, nor do they make an argument based on anything Jesus said.

            That's an argument from ignorance. Given the above examples laid out by the evangelist Luke (who also wrote Acts) it is rather absurd to suggest Christ had no plan of salvation for Gentiles. The authority of the Apostles/Council is exactly the thing Christ prepared them for.

          • Mark

            Given the short clip of what you've recorded here I would have to read this in the context. Please don't take this as a dismissal, but I'd like to view it in the greater context of the author's work. If you have a link to a free copy I'd take a look at that.

            Why would Jesus limit the mission of his movement to Jews alone during his entire lifetime, and then extend it to all nations after he allegedly rose from the dead?

            For the same reason when you teach someone sales, you make their first sale easy. It gains confidence in their ability and sales to people you identify with are far far easier. If we're honest Dave, Christianity had to have been a hard sale. Now I can't divorce? I need to sell my belongings? Works of the Law don't matter? Preaching the Gospel in a foreign land possibly required confidence in Christ's message they didn't have yet. Something more profound than turning water into wine or multiplying loaves.... something like, oh resurrecting yourself from the dead after you were publicly executed.

          • David Nickol

            For the same reason when you teach someone sales, you make their first sale easy.

            There is no evidence from the Gospel texts that Jesus confined his own mission to the Jews (the lost sheep of the house of Israel) or forbid his disciples to go on missions to the Gentiles because Jews were an "easier" audience. You are simply making up a reason, not finding one in the Gospels.

            I was not expecting to convince anyone by citing J. C. Fenton as a great authority, although he certainly has credentials. His quote contains the references needed to evaluate his argument. The following, however, is from a giant in the field, James D. G. Dunn. Chapter 13 of Dunn’s book Jesus Remembered (Volume 1 of Christianity in the Making) is titled For Whom Did Jesus Intend His Message?, and Section 13.7 is titled Gentiles. Here is a very brief excerpt form that section.

            Given the emphasis on the Israel-focus of Jesus’ mission and the subsequent expansion of the Jesus movement into Gentile mission (Acts), we cannot fail to ask whether Jesus’ aim in mission would have included Gentiles. For those wishing to demonstrate continuity between the mission of Jesus and that of the first Christians, the indications are not encouraging. We have already noted that Matthew has preserved mission instructions which forbad the missionaries going beyond Israel—“Do not go on the way of/towards the Gentiles, and do not enter a Samaritan town . . .” (Matt 10:5)—instructions which were probably given by Jesus himself. . . .

            The picture that emerges is one in which Jesus did not envisage a mission to the Gentiles, but took for granted the likelihood that Gentiles would be included in God’s kingdom. He did not seek out Gentiles but responded positively to faith and commended unreservedly neighbor love wherever and by whomever it was expressed.

            You say

            If we're honest Dave, Christianity had to have been a hard sale. Now I can't divorce? I need to sell my belongings? Works of the Law don't matter?

            Well there was no Christianity in the earliest Church. They were all Jews. And of course the rapid spread of the Jesus movement among the Gentiles shows it was anything but a hard sell. The prohibition against divorce was an interpretation of Mosaic law and if memory serves me correctly, marriages in the early Church were created and dissolved for Christians by local (civil) authorities. It took centuries for divorce to be looked on the way it is today in the Catholic Church. And early converts to the Jesus movement did not have to sell all their belongings. You seem to be thinking of the rich young man in Mark 10, Jesus was not making a rule there for all of his followers. The earliest Christians met in each others' houses. If the earliest Christians had all sold all of their belongings, there would have been no places to meet!

          • Jim the Scott

            As a point of interest some Patristic and Rabbinic commentators point to Psalms or in the case of Christians 2 Peter (which cites Psalms) which says "A unto God is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day". Since Genesis says Adam died at age 930 which is less than 1000 years by 70 that is the meaning of the text which says Adam will "die" on the "day" he eats the forbidden fruit since he doesn't live a full "divine day".

            But the spiritual interpretation you give here is also taught if I am not mistaken. Anyway we are not fundamentalist Baptists. Art needs to learn that lesson. Cheers guy.

          • Mark
          • michael

            catholicism defines dogmatically that god creates souls form nothing, jsut poofing them to existence Ex Nihilo. This is not to say that nothing is a "thing" that he takes and creates out of, but it is still catholic teaching and says something (us) comes from nothing. And by your logic, people who don't care about others exist, so the ultimate cause of these must not care, either. Evil is a state of existence just as good is, not "nonbeing" that lacks a need to be explained. Pain from napalm exists so the ultimate cause of these things must have pain just like that that of someone on fire from napalm. And so on.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You have so much bad philosophy here that I don't know where to start -- or have time to finish!

            God does not take some "nothing" and turn it into something. Nor do souls come from nothing. The are simply created by the power of God and do not come from "nothing, " but from God himself, who is not "nothing," but rather the Infinite Being.

            Most of the rest of your errors arise from failure to understand evil as the lack of a due perfection. Evil may be physical or moral. A lame horse has physical evil because it lacks the perfection of mobility due to its horse nature. A man has moral evil when he freely refuses to follow his properly formed conscience and chooses goods which are incompatible with natural or divine law.

            No thing is "pure evil," since every thing is good to the extent it exists in accord with its nature. To the extent it deviates from the perfection of its nature, it may be evil -- not because it is pure non-being -- but because the being it has excludes certain perfections that should be in a thing of its nature. Read my articles on this site dealing with the problem of evil. I won't try to repeat all that material here when you can read it in my earlier essays.

            Your problem is that you need to study a lot of basic Thomistic philosophy which explains these points in far greater detail than is possible on this thread.

          • michael

            For the umpteenth time, I never said "God takes 'nothing" and turns it into something". And I've read those articles already. They dont' explain how the pain of gratuitously burning to death from napalm is a "privation" or "absence".

          • Jim the Scott

            Yeh and Dr B never said the CCC is infallible. At best one could claim it is a compendium that contains some infallible teachings that have been handed down by the Church but Catechisms are not infallible.

            If they where why would we bother revising them?

            Mike you really have to stop. You won't learn anything more sophisticated than Young Earth Creationist Protestantism so pray tell what do you really have to offer to this conversation?

          • michael

            By the way, I've been wanting to ask, what do you think of Ricky Gervais statement in response the claim that 'life is pointless without the hereafter, if hater's no afterlife we might as well just kill ourselves": "When you're watching movie, and you know it's gonna end sometime, do you just turn it off?"

          • Jim the Scott

            A sensible question from you? Alright buddy! Who the feck* are you and what did you do with Michael?

            Seriously....my response.

            I think God wrote His Laws on the Hearts of Men and by definition said Laws are written on the heart of Ricky Gervais which gives him the intuition taking yer own life is evil and life and existence are good because as Aquinas show by pure reason having being is good so Ricky is expressing that intuition based on what he think he knows.

            OTOH what if the movie you are watching is THE RISE OF SKYWALKER or anything with Amy Schumer?

            To quote Crow T Robot from MST3K from the blackest pit of his despair.
            "To be dead... to be nothing... to watch "Neptune Men" no more."

            Of course philosophy shows Classic Theism is true so I don't think about it.

            *please note "Feck" is not a curse word. It just resembles one like Nizzel resembles a word no white person dare say......

          • michael

            So you think live without Jesus would be too boring to be worth living, like watching The Rise of Skywalker?

          • Jim the Scott

            Wow you can't even comprehend humor? I mean wow!

          • michael

            Answer the question: Yes or no?

          • Jim the Scott

            Sorry I refuse to explain the joke. It is as plain as a Bulgarian pin up (at this point I predict given yer past Fundamentalist literalism you think I am actually refering to a literal pin up of someone from Bulgaria and not a reference from the British Scifi Comedy RED DWARF). Some fan of Ricky Gervais you are buddy.
            I mean wow! Comedy goes over yer heid.

            You really don't get humor. I thought being a joyless Atheist was just a stereo type?

          • michael

            Answer with a yes or no answer: Do you believe that if there is not afterlife, then there is no basis enjoy earthly life and you might as well just kill yourself? Is that would you would do if you believed there was no afterlife, or would you eat, drink and be merry?

          • Jim the Scott

            No I won't answer an absurd hypothetical. It is beneath me. You asked me to comment on what Ricky Gervais said. I gave my correct brilliant analysis how he seemed to intuitively figure out suicide was evil and that having being is good and desirable. Which Aristotle knew and there is some dispute over wither or not he believed there was an Afterlife(likely not) even if he believed in The Absolute.

            You missed that and took my joke about the existential badness of Disney Star Wars and my loving reference to MST3K hyper literally?

            Wow you really do have a fundamentalist mentality. I mean wow!

          • michael

            You are misrepresenting him entirely. His character made that quote in direct response to another character saying that there's no reason to life without an afterlife.

          • Jim the Scott

            Because in his Heart God wrote His Law and even apart from that Rickie knows having being that is existence is good. He believes when you dies you cease to exist. So he intuitively knows suicide is bad and having being is good.

            Good on him. I loved him at the Oscars!!!!!! His Atheism is kinda fundie like you but it can be forgive given his wit.

          • michael

            You are taking his words out of context. Perhaps if you actually watch the scene in the show where he says them, you'd know he was'nt talking about Aristotleanims or being.

          • Jim the Scott

            I never said he was. I was giving my impression of his sentiments against suicide.

            Wow you really got this fundamentalist thing tight thought not as bad as WCB-2.

          • michael

            Again, the context in which the statement appears was him refuting a religious person saying that there's no fun to life if there's no afterlife. he then says that he believes that not believing in the hereafter makes life more precious and enjoyable. I was asking if you agree with that statement.

          • Jim the Scott

            Yer ability to shift the goal posts astounds me.

            Quote" 'life is pointless without the hereafter, if hater's no afterlife we might as well just kill ourselves": "When you're watching movie, and you know it's gonna end sometime, do you just turn it off?"END

            Now yer story is "Again, the context in which the statement appears was him refuting a religious person saying that there's no fun to life if there's no afterlife. he then says that he believes that not believing in the hereafter makes life more precious and enjoyable. "

            Sorry but you didn't provide a video nor a context so I interpreted it as you told me. Which goes to show sometime what is literally written should not always be taken literally at face value. Like a scene from a movie or an ancient sacred poetic telling of Creation. But then again I am not a fundamentalist.

            Thank you for proving that point.

          • michael

            Also BTW his character on the show is a person considering/attempting suicide.

          • Jim the Scott

            I never watched it. I don't know the context. I responded to what you literally said and as we see taking you literally at face value was wrong.

            Yet you wish to keep begging me to take Genesis 1-11 literally as Usher and to abandon Craig view?

            Interesting.....

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Well, then, I am glad to learn that you do understand the proper meaning of God's creative act and need no further explanation.

            Burning to death is the coming to be of the "privation" of life and of comfort of sense.

            You forget that discomfort and even pain exist to serve the purpose of the animal's survival -- so that it will avoid those things that threaten its health or life. And stronger deterrence is sometimes needed, which is why the pain is stronger. Thus a baby lion learns the difference between a playful bite from a sibling and a death attack from another lion.

            The side effect of the existence of sensation is that we may suffer real and unwanted pain when all things fail to be ordered to health and survival. Remember, too, that for man, suffering can be a means to eternal happiness.

            You can mock all these concepts if you wish, but they are part of the complexity which is reality and the means God uses to bring man to his last happy end -- IF he freely cooperates with the diving plan and grace.

          • michael

            I am referring the pain felt while burning. The pain is a presence fo sensation, not an absence of sensation. And if someone burned to death in the bombing of Dresden, then the pain served no purpose as nothing was possible to save the person's life.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Of course, pain is a sensation. You did not even read my last comment completely, or you would know that pain serves a useful purpose for animals.

            And suffering in this life can have meaning not merely in this life, but in preparation for the next life.

            You appear to be just throwing out every objection you can think of to undermine Catholics' faith without doing the careful homework and search for truth that other non-believers on this thread are doing. Folks like David Nickol and Ficino offer careful and respectable discussion from an opposing viewpoint, but you appear just to be arguing to discredit, not to really come to understand. Otherwise, you would have responded to my comment about the function of pain in my previous comment in such a way as to show you understood what I had written.

          • michael

            It is you who did not read it completely. What purpose did the pain of people who died in the bombing of Dresden serve/ Ti did not save them.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You don't like theological answers, but I can raise this as a hypothetical possibility. It may have allowed them to atone for part of their sins by suffering here on earth, rather than in Purgatory in the next life.

          • michael

            That would require that being set on fire unwillingly by someone else's actions constitutes a "work" the person chose to carry out for the sake of penance. If you chose instead to say "llowed God to get atonement" rather than "allowed THEM to atone" however, then THAT would be compatible with Catholic teaching.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If you think that improves my wording, then I simply say, "Thank you."

          • michael

            You're welcome

          • michael

            What function did the pain of the victims in the bombing of Dresden serve, considering that it did not lead to their survival of the bombing?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I just replied to this one elsewhere in the thread as well. Are you repeating the questions that I do not answer fast enough for you?

          • michael

            You said it was to save their lives. I answered with "It did not save their lives", so that's not a good answer.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            WHAT are you talking about? I said that pain has a useful purpose for animals since it warns them to avoid dangers to their lives.

            I surely did not thereby imply that pain while dying either by an animal attack or a bombing raid would serve the purpose of saving their lives!

            You have to know how to read and interpret wording in its proper context.

          • michael

            All these writers say God made from nothing rather than "from himself": https://www.catholic.com/tract/creation-out-of-nothing

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I hope you are not making the absurd inference that by saying God created the world by making it "from himself" might indicated that he took a "piece" out of himself to make it!

            "From himself" simply means that the world was created by means of God effecting something through the exercise of his infinite power.

            Yes, writers struggle sometimes to find proper language in which to express deep metaphysical truths.

            That does not justify absurd interpretations of their words.

          • michael

            No, I was not making that inference. I have told you several times that I was not making that inference.

          • michael

            "We believe that God needs no preexistent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance. God creates freely ‘out of nothing’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 296). Note the words "nor is creation some sort of necessary emanation form the divine substance".

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Boy, you sure are hung up on trying to find absurdity where none exists!

            Creation is not a necessary emanation, because, unlike the errors of the Neo-Platonists, Christians uniquely hold that God FREELY creates the world. He was not forced to create either by some exterior cause or through internal necessity.

            Nor does "emanation from the divine substance" mean the absurdity of God "cutting off" part of himself to make the world. By his free act of his infinite power, he simply willed the world into existence.

            Again, these sorts of things are well explained in some basic Thomistic works. You should read them so that you are not so easily confused by these matters in the future.

          • michael

            That's my point. It still counts as making from nothing.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            But it is not the absurdity of implying that God takes some "nothing" and turns it into something. Rather, he simply wills the existence of something and that very act makes it come into existence. The dogma on creation expresses this by the theological formula "ex nihilo et utens nihilo," from nothing and using nothing (that is using no pre-existent material.).

          • michael

            Again, for the umpteenth time, that is what I am saying.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            If what you are saying is what the Church teaches and what philosophical reasoning requires, then why did you even mention it?

          • michael

            Because I believe that a mysterious, inanimate, nonliving force I call "Necessary Fate" necessarily created everything else besides itself (including living minds) out of nothing by an act of infinite power, rather than God.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Is that supposed to be intelligible?

            Or just a poor attempt at humor?

          • michael

            Let me rephrase it to something simpler: I believe a nonliving force created life and all the created Universe, not God.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Ahhh, now! That's a good atheistic materialist!

          • michael

            I didn't say the force was material, just inanimate.

          • michael

            For the umpteenth time, I never brought up "pre-existent material".

          • Jim the Scott

            So you didn't delete it? I see. Well there have been complaints disqus eats posts. I tried originally posting to the original but the site said it was no longer there.

            Anyway yer questions are scatter shot. Each one by itself might require an extensive answer and collectively might require a book length response. So you better get busy reading the links. It is obvious the only dualism you are familiar with is some primitive cartesian type. Yeh we will have none of that.

            I picked one at random. #4 Catholic dogma teaches ensoulment is at conception(which is odd since I thought that was universally known?). One the matter of ensoulment Catholic are by and large "creationists". The later has nothing to do with yer former sect's interpretative hermeneutics on Genesis. That is the doctrine God creates the soul in a newly conceived person vs the doctrine of traducianism which thought not formally condemned by the Church is against Catholic theology.

            I would focus on my first link to answer some of yer initial questions on the immaterial nature of the soul.

            As a bonus I will answer one more question or as many as I want till I get bored.

            >8. If you believe in evolution, then at what stage in the process does the evolving Homo sapiens develop a soul?

            The Church teaches formally that a Rational Soul cannot be a product of natural evolution. God created the first soul in some hominid in the deep past whom we refer to proverbially as "Adam". Dr B has written books on the subject and articles as well perhaps he will link you one?

            >Do other animals also have souls?

            Animals have sensitive souls and vegetative souls the principle in them that makes them have the form of being alive but obviously they are not immortal. (We have those as well but when we speak of the soul people usually mean the rational soul. Animals don't have rational souls.).

            #9 you get a new body at the resurrection not in Heaven.

            >When your soul goes to “heaven” wherever that is,

            That is like asking where is the number 100? Where does it live? You really have to learn to think in the abstract.

            > What is Heaven like?

            Who knows?

            >What do souls do in Heaven for eternity? Must become boring after a few thousand years.

            They behold the Beatific Vision and by definition that will never be boring. Ever. Hell OTOH if I believe author Taylor Cladwell is filled with pain and boredom and boredom is the most monstrous of pains. That bit scares the poop out of me. Eternal boredom.........Lord have Mercy.

            > Since I know that there was time in the past when I did not exist, why shouldn’t there be a time in the future when I again cease to exist?

            Why do you exist? What is the reason for yer existence? Unless you seek the answers to those questions then that question has no meaning.

          • David Nickol

            Catholic dogma teaches ensoulment is at conception(which is odd since I thought that was universally known?).

            Where or when was this alleged dogma promulgated? Everything I have read on the subject leads me to conclude that ensoulment at the moment of conception is not explicitly taught by the Church, although there are good arguments that it is strongly implied. The Catechism says, for example

            2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

            You can argue that if there is no soul, there is no human life. But I am unable to find a statement in Catholic teaching about the soul that explicitly states what you have stated (ensoulment at conception).

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not sure where to come down on this one. Technically, you make a good point, since no dogma directly addresses this issue for all human beings.

            Nonetheless, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (1854) does say, "The Most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception ... preserved free from all stain of original sin." Denz. 1641.

            From the wording of this dogma, one may infer that the soul must be present from conception -- at least in Mary's case, but that inference is what might be called, not a dogma, but an "indirect dogma," since it is a logical inference drawn from an actual dogma.

          • Jim the Scott

            Ah challenging questions! Thank you.

            >although there are good arguments that it is strongly implied.

            If you want to quibble the teaching is at a level where if you reject it then you are a heretic. Many a so called "Pro-choice" pseudo Catholic has been excommunicated publicly for denying it by an orthodox Bishop. It is not at the level of oh let us say my former Molinist beliefs vs my new Banez Thomist beliefs on free will vs Grace which you can take or leave as you see fit.

            If it is not DeFide it is at minimum Sent. fidei proxima and thus cannot be denied.

            http://www.catechism.cc/articles/life-begins-at-conception.htm

            Also the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary implies it. Since how can Mary receive divine grace at Her conception if she didn't have a soul at her conception? Indeed the question of ensoulment is one of the reasons we have to wait for Pius IX to make it a dogma since scientific knowledge of human conception was not known till the 19th century.

            >You can argue that if there is no soul, there is no human life. But I am unable to find a statement in Catholic teaching about the soul that explicitly states what you have stated (ensoulment at conception).

            According to the Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ott the following teachings are dogma (De fide).

            Man consists of two essential parts - a material body and a spiritual soul.
            The rational soul per se is the essential form of the body.
            Every human being possesses an individual soul.

            So the teaching of the Church here cannot be denied. The CCC says we are human beings at conception.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            And I wrote an entire book showing how legitimate Catholic biblical interpretation can be compatible with the legitimate actual findings of modern science. I even cited the findings of the 1909 Biblical Commission, while showing how one possible biblically-acceptable hypothesis for the origin of Eve might be through monogenetic twinning.

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't think Art is being a stand up guy here with us. I cited CCC. 390 & just now I cited CCC 110. Yet he wants to pretend the CCC endorses or mandates his ANSWERS IN GENESIS reading of Genesis?

            Bizarre.

          • David Nickol

            And I wrote an entire book showing how legitimate Catholic biblical interpretation can be compatible with the legitimate actual findings of modern science.

            I can see how this is making poor Art Davison's head spin.

            On the one hand, it is claimed that Catholics are not fundamentalists, but on the other hand it is being argued that the story of Adam and Eve, though using figurative language, is "literally" true! That is, God really did create Eve out of a piece of Adam. So you are arguing that the story of Adam and Eve isn't merely true in the way that a parable or myth is true. It is about physical and biological facts. That may not be exactly fundamentalism, but it's at least its first cousin.

            In truth, the matter of what Catholics mean by the inerrancy of the Bible (and the Church does indeed claim the Bible is inerrant) is by no means clear. And it is still a matter of dispute. Jimmy Akin has written some enlightening pieces on the matter, and here's a good one. Here's another.

            As Akin notes, the current teaching on inerrancy (in Dei Verbum) was formulated by making a compromise (bold added):

            Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully and without error that truth which God wanted put into sacred writings (5) for the sake of salvation. Therefore "all Scripture is divinely inspired and has its use for teaching the truth and refuting error, for reformation of manners and discipline in right living, so that the man who belongs to God may be efficient and equipped for good work of every kind"

            As I understand it, "conservatives" would have preferred the bolded phrase above be omitted. Now, I think everyone agrees that when Jesus told a parable, we need not believe it is a true story about real people. But aside from obvious cases like that, it can be pretty tricky to make certain judgments.

            In short, the Catholic stance on inerrancy is anything but simple or obvious. What Art Davison quoted from the Catechism sounded a lot like a fundamentalist approach, although I agree Catholics are really not fundamentalists. And in actual practice Catholic biblical scholarship (as evidenced by the NAB notes, for example) is anything but fundamentalist, although we have had some important commenters here claim the NAB borders on heretical.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well liberals try to cite that phase "for the sake of salvation" to justify the concept of limited inerrancy & the Abbott translation of the Council (he was a notorious liberal) puts that praise at the end of the sentence (as you cite in yer post) and the Flannery translation puts it in the middle.

            For example:
            Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.

            A common interpretation of the statement based upon the placement of the phrase “for the sake of our salvation” at the end of the sentence is that scripture is inerrant only in matters that pertain to salvation.

            But the Flannery translation is considered more faithful to the Latin of the Text if I believe Scott Hahn and I do. It merely suggests that is why Holy Writ was given "for the sake of our salvation". But liberalism still exists in the Church and festers and the NAB contains a lot of it. But it took centuries for the Church to sort out the Council of Trent it will take just as long to sort out Vatican II. Post Trent during the rise of Protestantism Nominalism I believe ran wild threw the Church which is a scholastic's nightmare.

            Naturally I am not worried today. It wills sort itself out again. Nothing new under the sun and all that.

            >What Art Davison quoted from the Catechism sounded a lot like a fundamentalist approach, although although I agree Catholics are really not fundamentalists.

            I reply: More like he read that into the text IMHO. One can take the strong inerrancy view and still hold to evolution or treat Genesis One entirely as an allegory. Augustine comes to mind as holding to a primitive speculation lifeforms changed their forms since creation over time by natural forces and of course he believed in Instantaneous creation via Genesis 2:4-5.

            The Strong Inerrancy tells us anything at all the Bible might teach as true on any subject (theology, science, morals, history) is protected from error. But given the fact the Bible is not perspicuous we can't really tell if the Bible is intending for example to teach science anywhere or conventional history in the Gospel of John (since its chronology is different from the Synoptics) as we understand it today. So I don't really see the need liberals have for limited inerrancy unless it is to deny faith and morals like an All male Priesthood or marriage or sexuality.
            Nobody cares about Dinosaurs or "finding them" in the Bible when you are a Catholic.

            Cheers.

          • Jim the Scott

            PS:

            >That may not be exactly fundamentalism, but it's at least its first cousin.

            I would say more First cousin once removed. Dr B's explanation in his book gives a natural example (sans the fact the creation and ensoulment of a hominid animal requires a supernatural act. But that happened at everybody's conception according to the doctrine of Creationism i.e. not to be confused with the Young Earth theory of Genesis. ;-)

          • Dennis Bonnette

            @Ficino

            I am not a scripture scholar, which is why my book takes the findings of the 1909 Biblical Commission and then examines how those findings might comport with the findings of natural science.

            Much of what you say sounds reasonable to me, but this is not my area of competence. My book is a philosophical examination of the interface between science and revelation, and so, is neither, as such, science nor theology. Rather, it is an examination of how reason can discern compatibility and comportment between the findings of these distinct disciplines.

            Yes, to do so requires some understanding of both of these non-philosophical fields, but that is not the same thing as doing the work of those disciplines themselves.

            If I were a scripture scholar, I would have to know the historical context of biblical writings, the original languages involved, and the various commentaries on methods and findings of interpretations of them. This is not what I claim to do. I am merely taking the teachings of Christianity or Catholicism and comparing them to the legitimate findings of natural science. So, too, in part this required philosophical examination of some of the claims of natural scientists -- claims that are sometimes outside science's own area of competence and which infringe on philosophical domains. For instance, chapter five deals with ape-language studies and some of the claims made about "animal intelligence" -- which claims sometimes are defective because they overreach into areas of philosophical errors.

            ""the story of Adam and Eve, though using figurative language, is "literally" true! That is, God really did create Eve out of a piece of Adam. So you are arguing that the story of Adam and Eve isn't merely true in the way that a parable or myth is true. It is about physical and biological facts. "

            Many of the details of the Genesis story are, indeed, metaphorical or fictional. Nonetheless, there are core truths expressed which cannot be dismissed, since they constitute essential elements of revelation. I list in my book some of those truths as the findings made by the Biblical Commission.

            Even so, the meaning of such wording as pertains to how Eve came from Adam is subject to possible various hypotheses. One would be the strictly fundamentalist reading that God did, literally, take a rib from the sleeping adult Adam and make Eve out of it. Another would be the possibility that monozygotic twinning took place, so that Eve appeared at the earliest stages of gestation. Some authors allow a metaphorical reading even of the PBC text.

            It is not my job to do the work of the scripture scholar, but merely to take their findings and test whether they may be compatible with what science can properly tell us.

            Even that task is well worth doing, since many fundamentalists simply reject most science and most atheists reject any rational role for Scripture.

          • Ficino

            But Dennis, in other contexts you tell us that you are not a biblical scholar ... as though to get yourself off the hook from having to defend the Bible! (heh heh)

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Sorry, you don't catch me that easily! :)

            I am not a biblical scholar, since I do not do the work of testing historical materials at their very source for their original meanings. Nor do I have to know all the literature of biblical scholars as they debate every last detail of scriptural content.

            But I do defend what the Catholic Church teaches as doctrine contained in Scripture as it is presented to contemporary readers of such Church agencies as the 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission that I cite in my book regarding Adam and Eve's origin as recounted in Genesis.

            You can see a more complete explanation of all this in my reply to David Nickol, which I also address to you.

            My book, Origin of the Human Species - Third Edition (2014), constitutes a radically interdisciplinary investigation of the interface between natural science and religious revelation as seen through the lens of philosophical analysis. It is primarily a work of philosophy, but one that must take the findings of both revelation and science and test the degree to which natural reason can find compatibility between these distinct disciplines.

            I am neither a natural scientist nor a scripture scholar. Yet, it is the proper work of the philosopher to judge the rational relations between all the various other sciences, which is what my work attempts to do.

          • Ficino

            Sorry, you don't catch me that easily! :)

            Just messin' wid ya.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Successfully!

          • michael

            Even if one stretches the words of Genesis in one's mind enough to somehow get oneself to think it's talking about a local flood, it still pretty clearly gives the impression that those on the ark were the only humans left alive on the planet and that all races and ethnicities came from Noah, around 2500 BC, something genetics does not support

          • Jim the Scott

            How do we know the flood took place in 2500 BC? Why should I believe that? It could have been way earlier.

          • michael

            If you count back in time from the genealogies/births/deaths given in the Bible from David (Circa 900BC) on backwards you get to Arphaxad and then Shem, son of Noah, around 2500 BC give or take a couple hundred years. This is common knowledge.

          • Jim the Scott

            Why should I assume I must count back in time from the genealogies etc? Also in the 19th and 18th centuries scholars noted the genealogies often had gaps in them. For example a genealogy could say I am James Son of William. Well my dad was James too but William was my 5th great Grandfather so in Biblical language I can be called his son. Jesus Son of David etc....Jews and Arabs are Sons of Abraham etc...

            So bulloxs to that.....

            So based on these presuppositions I have no reason to accept yer date of 2500 BC.

          • michael

            You're making that up.

          • Jim the Scott

            That is rich coming from somebody who argues against the truth of Catholicism by making up his own Catholic doctrines. Please go away Mike. There are better Atheist here to argue and debate with. Yer not one of them and you are dead set on not being one of them.

          • michael

            Saying it might not have happened around that time is like saying David and Solomon didn't live around 1000 or 900 BC, which is something the Bible makes pretty clear.

          • Jim the Scott

            Well if the New Chronology where true then I wouldn't say neither of them lived then either. But I don't believe in the New Chronology and I have no reason not to believe there where vast gaps in the genealogy prior to Abraham.

          • michael

            You present no reason to believe otherwise or explain why "genealogy prior to Abraham" can get special treatment but not genealogy prior to David or anyone else. What I describe is nothing new at all.

          • Jim the Scott

            I don't need too. The burden is on you to prove there are no gabs in the early genealogy. You are the Atheist polemicist here. The burden is on the prosecution to prove their case. All you have proven is you can make up more ignorant sophistry to turn up my blood pressure.

          • michael

            By that logic, someone can say there are winged rainbow hippopotamus' and shout "Prove me wrong!". You're reasoning is unnatural and forced.

          • Jim the Scott

            I am merely taking yer "reasoning" (or lack there of)and turning it back against you.

            Yer the one here trying to convince me my beliefs are wrong. I OTOH don't give two fecks about what you believe Mike. That hasn't changed.

          • michael

            Besides, saying there ARE is a prosecution as well.

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike neither of us accept YEC so you are wasting my time.

          • michael

            The Genealogies leading to Abram also give dates of death and birth, so really, the burden of proof is not he one claiming that they somehow don't present a chronology.

          • Jim the Scott

            Nope the burden is solely on you to prove they don't contain gaps. Bible Scholars going back to the 18th and 19th century have claimed many of the Genealogies contain gaps.

            Good luck with that.

          • Jim the Scott

            BTW in case you are interested.

            Here is an Old Earth Creationist essay showing the Genealogies do have Gaps.

            https://reasons.org/explore/publications/tnrtb/read/tnrtb/2012/07/26/from-noah-to-abraham-to-moses-evidence-of-genealogical-gaps-in-genesis-part-2

            Of course the problem with OEC is they are given to their YEC brethren's hyper literalism. I don't need that hypothesis.

            I note yer whole thesis is based on a hyper literal interpretation of Genesis. You basically are claiming we must literally believe Adam lived 900 plus years. We must literally believe God transformed a literal rib into Eve. We must literally believe dust was transformed directly into Adam.

            Sorry but we need not make any of those assumptions. As I told you in the Past a song like AMERICAN PIE is a stylized poetic song about the real history of Rock and Roll that employed a lot of symbolic language. But of course the Big Bopper, Richie Vallians and Buddy Holly are not really the Trinity. Nor is Jim Morrison the Devil nor is Jerry Lee Lewis a professional Jester.

            Nor do we need believe Adam was literally 900 years old when he died. We also don't need to believe the Anti-Christ when he come will literally have 7 heads like something out of Lovecraft.

          • michael

            A list of ages for births and deaths is not a metaphor, so it's impossible to "take it literally".

          • Jim the Scott

            >A list of ages for births and deaths is not a metaphor,

            Says who? This is not an argument. This is an assertion ad hoc.

          • michael

            This is by far the worst post I've seen form you. What would a list of ages that someone had a child and what age that person died at be a metaphor for? And why go for a forced , unnatural reading of it?

          • Jim the Scott

            Well William Lane Craig waxes eloquent on that matter and agrees with me.
            He is a real peer review scholar vs the plebs over at ANSWERS IN GENESIS.
            Next you will be linking to Quanon websites and asking me to refute the idea Donald Trump is a secret alien Lizard man.

            https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-genealogies-of-genesis-1-11/

            >And why go for a forced , unnatural reading of it?

            That question presupposes perspicuity which I reject.

          • michael

            I feel sorry for you. Your persistent use of the "It's not perspicuous" trump card as if it were the end all ehe all answer to just anything in The Bible, must give you headaches since you are straining to redirect the natural flow of your intellect every time you say that.

          • Jim the Scott

            Rather I feel sorry for yer whole "Hey! No Fair yer not a Fundamentalist!" shtick.

            Non-starter arguments. Don't make them if you wish to succeed.

          • michael

            "N fair yer not a fundamentalist" is not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that by applying "it's not perspicuous" to every last verse in scripture I bring up, you are straining your intellect and neurons and giving yourself an actual, literal, non-metaphorical painful headache.

          • Jim the Scott

            It is 100% yer sole objection.

            >What I'm saying is that by applying "it's not perspicuous" to every last verse in scripture I bring up, you are straining your intellect and neurons and giving yourself an actual, literal, non-metaphorical painful headache.

            We can add "Boo hoo! No Fair! Yer not a follower of Heir Luther!" Perhaps you can cite the Council of Trent and claim it compels me to believe God has literal wings and the future anti-Christ has literally seven heads?

            This is getting old and there is already too much stupid in the room.

          • michael

            Now you're deliberate misrepresenting ,e. Again, my objection is not rooted din lutheranism, fundamentalism, or talking pslams 91's feather reference literally. It is base don following my intellect rather than doing what you do which inflicts physical pain on your neurons as you strain against your intellect using 2 Peter 1:20 in ways it wasn't meant for and that it cannot logically answer anyway.

          • Jim the Scott

            No what you are doing is begging us to become fundamentalists.
            Hard pass!

          • michael

            No, I am calling upon you not to strain your intellect painfully. See the difference?

          • Jim the Scott

            Mike I hate to break it too you but when I argue with you my intellect doesn't brake a sweat. Yer no Skeptical Thinking Power laddie. Or even Nickol. Or Ficino. Nor by a long shot.

            Now get to reading philosophy scrub.

          • michael

            Which chapter of which book does Aquinas apply Philosophy to Genesis 5:3, then?

          • Jim the Scott

            Stop asking silly questions.

          • michael

            How can I fulfill your request to study philosophy on this topic if you won't tell me where to look?

          • Jim the Scott

            I told you in the past and you gave me bs why you shouldn't learn.

            I gave you the link to the Jewish site that talks about wild men. That is all yer getting.

          • michael

            And even if you say there are gaps, that does'nt change the fact that, as I pointed out, ages for births and deaths are given. And if you mean those ages were shorter than what was really listed,d that would just shorten the timeline and go against what Augustine and other Christians and Jews thought for millennia.

          • Jim the Scott

            >And even if you say there are gaps, that does'nt change the fact that, as I pointed out, ages for births and deaths are given.

            There are at least three theories Evangelical Protestant literalists & advocates of an Old Earth have come up with to get around that to advocate for a long gap between Genesis 5 & 11.

            Friedmen and Green did all of the heavy lifting on that in the 19th century. Their Conservative Protestant critics dismissed their solutions on the ground it in the end undermined Biblical literalism vs their attempts to save it. But since I don't hold their critics knee jerk belief in Perspicuity it seems plausible to me.

            The style of Genesis' early genealogies is unique and has no corresponding example in other near east literature.

            OTOH I see no reason to take these passages literally. They could be stylized allegory like the AMERICAN PIE song is in modern times. Like I said there where no sacrificial rites going on at Altamonte. I don't take that song literally but it is clearly an allegory about the history of rock and roll. Genesis is an allegory of the creation and fall of Man.

            >And if you mean those ages were shorter than what was really listed,d that would just shorten the timeline and go against what Augustine and other Christians and Jews thought for millennia.

            You are amazingly inconsistent in yer polemics and equally lame apologetics for a Young Earth Creationist interpretation of Genesis. You dismissed Augustine when I pointed out Augustine said if a literal interpretation of Holy Writ contradicts the known science then that interpretation must be changed to the non-literal. Now you want to claim him as an authority for the timeline? Mike different Fathers give different ages of the Earth. 4000, 5000 or 10000. None of them ever claimed their speculations on the age of the world was a dogma passed down by the Apostles.

            Thus yer objections to Pius XII on what speculations are permitted for Catholics given the likely truth of Evolution is equally specious when you insist it has to be a dogma handed down by the Apostles.

          • michael

            Give a reason you shouldn't take "Adam begat Seth at age 130" as a chronological timeline that doesn't involve 19th century people making up radical new ideas not brought up in Scripture or Apostolic tradition.

          • Jim the Scott

            That is as silly as asking someone to give a reason why we should believe in Evolution without appealing to the science of the last 150 years.

            Seriously Mike? Stop tempting me to name call you.....you siren you.

            BTW Craig gives a good reason.

            https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-genealogies-of-genesis-1-11/

            >radical new ideas not brought up in Scripture or Apostolic tradition.

            Where does Scripture and Apostolic tradition teach I may only believe what is contained in Scripture and Apostolic tradition or inform my understanding of both using science or philosophy?

            It simply doesn't. So yer standard is false by its own standard. You are just taking Sola Scriptura and adding Tradition pages to Holy Writ but it is the same lame Lutheran idea.....

            Which is funny because I've noticed Atheists who argue with Protestant intuitively pick up on the fact Scripture isn't always clear and contains a lot of ambiguity and they charge the Bible is worthless because it is not really as clear as the Protestants think it is and they note you can interpret the Bible to advocate anything.

            The funny thing is Catholics and Eastern Orthodox watch that argument and nod their heads in agreement with the Atheist.

            Yet here you arguing based on the idea Holy Writ is clear.....the irony....

            BTW William Lane Craig agrees with Me on Genealogies.

            https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-genealogies-of-genesis-1-11/

            Not bad for a Theistic Personalist Protestant Molinist who denies the Divine Simplicity and Divine Timelessness. Of course Luther believe Mary was Sinless unlike his spiritual descendants so......stopped clock and all that.

          • michael

            What did Friedman and Green say? What were these three theories?

          • Jim the Scott
          • michael

            name these fathers. I've seen catholic answer slit writers who had different views about the meaning of genesis 1 to 3, but nothing about them saying, "hey, Maybe Adam didn't really have Seth at age 130, maybe Adam was created ten thousand years before Jesus was born, maybe Abraham wasn't really born around 700 years after the flood but far, far, far, far more".

          • Jim the Scott

            >name these fathers.

            Do yer own homework(unless I feel like helping you which happens at my whim depending if I am amused or not).

          • michael

            oops I meant to type list writers" not "slit writers", sorry.

          • Jim the Scott

            You naught person.;-)

          • michael

            The Bible explicitly states there were four generations from Levi to Moses (Genesis 15:16) https://chesnuthouse.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/how-many-generations-from-abraham-to-moses/

          • Jim the Scott

            So what? When you get near a point let me know.

          • michael

            You said there were gaps in the genealogy form Levi to Moses in an article from reasons.org.

          • Jim the Scott

            I said no such thing. Yer reading yer own ideas into my words which is a pattern for you. Dr. B has complained about it. Mr Nickol...Moi etc...

          • michael

            You didn't directly say it yourself, but the article you linked says so.

          • Jim the Scott

            So what is yer point? If any?

          • michael

            that you cannot link that article and then backtrack and say you did not mean to say "Amran was not Mose's father but his great grandfather or something, therefore there could be gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5".

          • Jim the Scott

            Yes I can. I am a Son of William Scott. Even thought I am more precisely his great great great great great Grandson. That is how the Hebrew Idioms work. Joseph was a Son of David even thought his direct Father was Jacob (or his half brother if I believe Eusebius).

            There are gaps in the genealogies. This is known.

          • michael

            That is what the article says. Yet you denied that the article says Amran was not the direct father of Moses, even though the article explicitly says he wasn't.

          • Jim the Scott

            Really? Honestly I wasn't paying attention. You kept making these references to Moses and it was boring. So I tuned you out. I do that from time to time. Why waste the brain power on the low hanging fruit you throw at me?

          • michael

            The Book of Jude also says Enoch was "The seventh from Adam".

          • Jim the Scott

            So what? The Book of Jude also cites the Apocryphal book of Enoch and the lost Apocryphal Assumption of Moses. What is yer point? Do you even have one?

          • michael
          • Jim the Scott

            Why should I? The whole enterprise is based on the presupposition that Genesis should be read literally & taken literally all the way threw. If I reject that presupposition then any objection to the idea you can postulate a gap of time between Genesis 5 & 11 becomes a non-starter.

            Sorry Mike but an essay written by Protestant heretics who don't take John 6 literally has little to say to me on how much of Genesis I should take literally vs how much I should take as allegory.

            Augustine whom you tried to hijack taught some passages in Holy Writ are allegory.

            Really Mike this is what you are reduced too. Acting as an Christian Apologist for Young Earth Creationism. Just because you are too lazy to learn Philosophy so you can at least try to formulate philosophical defeaters for a Classic conception of God.......

            Unbelievable.......

          • michael

            Ideas like "The antichrist doesn't have seven heads but this is a symbol of an empire just like the beasts in Daniel are stated to be" and "God does't actually shelter people with wings" come naturally to anyone reading those passages. But the idea that Genesis isn't meant as a chronological timeline? You have to forcefully shove that into your mind, it doesn't just come naturally to you. That's why you should read it.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Ideas like "The antichrist doesn't have seven heads but this is a symbol of an empire just like the beasts in Daniel are stated to be" and "God does't actually shelter people with wings" come naturally to anyone reading those passages.

            Says who? I am sure a pagan with a fantastical mythology filled with gods that have wings and many heads might take them literally. I note Mormons have a completely super anthropomorphic view of God as having a literal body like we do with hands and feet (Paul Crouch of PTL fame based on his hyper literalism believed that too) in a fashion that would make even a Theistic Personalist like Craig or Plantingia barf!

            >But the idea that Genesis isn't meant as a chronological timeline?

            Well all you have by way of "argument" is to claim it is mean to be a chronological timeline ad hoc on yer own personal whim implicitly based on the notion the Bible is meant to be perspicuous and interpreted by the individual alone. That might work on a Protestant blog that accepts those presuppositions but here we assume the opposite.

            Why are you here advocating for a religious view neither of us holds? Why are you defending a view you don't really believe in? It is disengenous and it shows you to be lazy.

            BTW speaking of Craig. He agrees with me on the genealogies or at least he believes it is a valid opinion.

            https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-genealogies-of-genesis-1-11/

            Not bad for a Protestant Theistic Personalist Molinist who denies the Divine Simplicity and Divine Timelessness. But a stopped watch and all....

            The above like is what a real philosopher and scholar can do vs the knuckle dragging plebs who think the Earth is 6000 years old you beg me to read. You might as well link to a Qanon site it would be just as absurd......

            Yer nonsense is getting old Mike.

          • michael

            AristotleanPhilosophy and interpretation of Genesis are two unrelated topics.

          • Jim the Scott

            As is yer postings here.

            BTW William Lane Craig agrees with me on the Genesis Genealogies.

            https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-genealogies-of-genesis-1-11/

            Dude you don't believe there is a God but somehow you think you can positively prove even if there are no gods what the intention of the authors of Genesis are? In principle you can't. 10000 years from now if the words of Stephen Hawkings where he says at the end of A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME "then we will know the mind of God" are all that survives him they might think he was a pious scientist. Where as today we know he openly said he put that quote in there to increase his sales and troll believers being the man was a hardcore Atheist.

            That having been said...

            William Lane Craig agrees with me on the genealogies or at least he believes it is a valid opinion.

            https://www.reasonablefaith...

            Not bad for a Protestant Theistic Personalist Molinist who denies the Divine Simplicity and Divine Timelessness. But a stopped watch and all....

            The above like is what a real philosopher and scholar can do vs the knuckle dragging plebs who think the Earth is 6000 years old you beg me to read. You might as well link to a Qanon site or some other conspiracy theory about Lizard people it would be just as absurd......

          • michael

            When will you admit Augustine took the genealogies in Genesis as an actual timeline, and that he really believed Adam begat Seth at over 100 years old?

          • Jim the Scott

            >When will you admit Augustine took the genealogies in Genesis as an actual timeline...

            So what if he did? He didn't take Genesis One literally & based on a literal interpretation of Genesis 2:4-5 postulated instantaneous creation vs doing it over 6 literal days but someone like St Basil the Great did take it literally. St Justin believed the days of creation where 1000 year epochs.

            Not one Church Father claims the Apostles passed down the correct age of the Earth nor does even one Church Father pass down any teaching as to the mechanism of how God created Adam from the dust of the ground.

            Anyway based on Augustine's own principle if the know science and philosophy contradicts a literal interpretation of scripture the literal must give way to allegory or metaphor if He know some Evolution and geology he would have changed his mind.

            BTW William Lane Craig appears to agree with me on not needing the literal interpretation and what impresses me is he concluded that without a Pope. But a stopped clock and all that.

            https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/the-genealogies-of-genesis-1-11/

          • Art Davison

            How do I know what Gawd is going to do? It's written in the Holey Babble - I must believe in him to receive eternal life. Or don't you agree?
            Regarding prayer, numerous tests show that it doesn't do a thing. Crossing your fingers works as well.
            Finally, all the things Jesus is purported to have done are not mentioned anywhere but he Babble .

          • Art Davison

            You think young children know Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are nonsense? Since when?

          • OMG

            Belief in Santa or the Easter Bunny is a mythical belief, not a superstition. http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-myth-and-vs-superstition/

          • Art Davison

            Okay. Which does religion fall under, Myth or Superstition?

          • OMG

            The Christian, Catholic religion falls within the category of Revelation.

  • Art Davison

    "It was the Church that fostered the very best of our civilization and culture." Yeah, like slavery and the subjugation of women. And, of course suppressing ideas like the Earth circling the sun.

    Interesting that areas of the U.S. with the lowest levels of religious belief, such as New York and California, have lower levels of teen pregnancy, murder, etc. than the more religious areas (the South)

    With the world overpoulated as it is, encouraging higher birth rates is wrong, even if it tends to increase some desirable things.

    • Ben Champagne

      The world is not overpopulated. The entirety of the worlds population could fit in texas, with 40 feet between each person. For reference, with careful planning and 100% usable land for farming, this would be enough room to both feed and shelter that population as well based on low end estimates of landmass needed per person with modern basic agriculture.

      The rest is just antitheist garbage as baseless assertion.

      • David Nickol

        The entirety of the worlds population could fit in texas, with 40 feet between each person.

        Sounds great, especially during a pandemic.

      • The entirety of the worlds population could fit in texas, with 40 feet between each person.

        Your numbers are a bit off. With 40 feet between each person means that I can draw a circle around each person with a radius of 40 feet, so each person is getting about 5026 sq ft.

        7.7 billion people x 5026 sq feet means 38,704,420,832,000‬ sq ft.

        There are 27,878,400 sq ft in each square mile, meaning that we'd need 1,388,330 sq mi for all of the people in the world.

        The land area of Texas is approximately 261,000 sq mi. You're out by about a factor of five. The number actually works out to just over 17 feet between each person.

        The statistic is rather meaningless anyways because the earth is overpopulated not in terms of density of humans, but in terms of resources used. We're already overshooting the earths resources, and as the rest of the world industrializes it will only become worse.

        https://www.overshootday.org/

        • mmac1

          Ever heard of Julian Simon?

          • Do you have some specific point of his you want to bring up?

            Regardless of his position, our entire planet's eco-system is showing signs of collapse under the pressures of human activity. The oceans in particular are warming significantly, and more acidic. Between environmental damage, and over-consumption, 90% of the fish stocks have been used up.

            On land, bird populations have significantly declined over the last few decades, as we continue to remove wildlife habitat for agriculture and other human uses. Other species like bees are also suffering.

            The cumulative effects of billions of humans, behaving in ways that destroy the planet, means that the world is effectively overpopulated.

          • mmac1

            In the 1970s the Club of Rome said we would be out of resources years ago- Ehrlich claimed billions would die in the 80s of famine- many said petroleum would run out in the 2020s( but then we invented fracking). The greatest resource we have is the human mind and Malthusian claims have failed for centuries. Fish stocks are replenishable and new resources are found on a regular basis. The problem in the future is more likely to be a dearth of births. While this isn’t a license for stupidity confidence about our ability to feed & sustain our population is warranted- unless we adopt socialism which produces scarcity everywhere it has been implemented.

          • In the 1970s the Club of Rome said we would be out of resources years ago

            That's nice, but I make no such claim. There's plenty of oil reserves, but that's not the problem.

            Fish stocks are replenishable and new resources are found on a regular basis

            Fish stocks do replenish, but we're over consuming them, and poisoning the very environment they need. If we stop over fishing, and stop dumping carbon into the atmosphere at the rate we are, fish stocks can survive. It does means we have to shift away from the Western lifestyle though, and be more conscious of the effects of our choices on the environment.

            The problem in the future is more likely to be a dearth of births

            I suspect that this will be true for about the next 20-30 years. Our environment has an incredible capacity to absorb our bad choices. That said, If we don't get our act together, and actually do something about the 40+ gigatonnes of carbon we're currently dumping into our atmosphere, because that picture isn't sustainable.

            unless we adopt socialism which produces scarcity everywhere it has been implemented.

            While Communism has largely failed everywhere it has been implemented, socialism has not. Just look at much of Europe, and virtually every other Western society except the US.

            Regardless, even unfettered capitalism cannot realistically expect to get continuous exponential growth, year over year, without running into realistic limits to what our environment can support. Eventually the system will not support any more.

            As I've said, the problem is billions of people acting in ways that are destroying the planet (because the practices cannot be sustained.) Even our modern food production is terribly inefficient - every calorie of food that is commercially produced generally uses between 10-100 calories of fossil fuels, just to get it to your plate. Literally everything about our modern society depends on being able to use increasingly large amounts of fossil fuels that we really cannot sustain over the long term. That needs to change!

          • mmac1

            1) Europe isn't socialist- even the nordic countries are mostly capitalist. Nobody believes in unfettered capitalism & it doesn't exist anywhere.
            2)I agree with you things will change. Our energy sources will no doubt evolve to be less dependent on fossil fuels-I am sure they will change but I doubt it will be mainly due to government fiat- more likely market forces and consume preference. No government has demonstrated the ability to control the market in an efficient way, but almost no one wants an unregulated market either.

          • cosmonow

            There are no socialist countries in Western Europe. The Nordic nations are either

          • Art Davison

            Exactly! I've read that a world population of 2.5 billion is the most the Earth can safely hold.

          • I don't know if there's a specific carrying capacity of the Earth for humans simply because there's such a vast difference between how the poorest and the richest live. It partly depends on how wasteful/destructive those humans are.

            If everyone lived, and consumed, like Americans that number would be much lower than if the world lived like most people in India, or sub-Saharan Africa.

          • cosmonow

            @Art Davison There is no limit to the growth of the human population. The more the merrier. Fifty years ago the population doomsayers predicted that a growing population would cause poverty and global famines that would wipe out most of humanity. Their predictions were wrong. Developments in agricultural science led to an abundance of food. We have the capacity to feed the world many times over and future developments should enable us to do so with ever greater ease. Nuclear power and better fossil fuel usage - and other sources of energy - enable human populations to grow and thrive indefinitely. Developments in materials science, nanotechnology and genetic engineering, and many other fields, enable humanity to exploit the resources of the planet with ever greater effectiveness. We are not running out of any major resource and we never will as long as we continue to make scientific and technological progress and free markets and liberal democracy become the norm. The environmental issues we face are real but relatively easily solved. Indeed, in many ways we are in better shape environmentally now than one hundred years ago. And we are not limited to the resources of this planet. Meteorites are packed full of valuable minerals and rare metals. Solar power becomes useful in space in a way that it probably never will be on earth. We will colonise the solar system and eventually move on to other star systems. There is no limit to the expansion of human civilisation - and the richest possible ecological diversity of all life - as long as we are true to the Catholic principles that liberate humanity to the fullness of our being in Christ.

          • Art Davison

            There are already too many humans on Earth. We can only feed the current population if we switch to a completly vegetarian diet, and we are destroying our planet with global warming and turning it into garbage dump with the oceans filled with plastic and all our major rivers polluted.

          • cosmonow

            Your assertions are not supported by the facts on the ground. Agricultural output continues to rise globally; including meat production. The food shortages predicted by the population doomsayers have not materialised. In the near future it is likely that we will ‘grow’ meat in factories. But even before then, advances in agricultural science continue to meet the growing desire for meat of our increasingly prosperous global population. Climate change is a minor problem. Whether it is mostly a natural phenomenon or predominantly man-made, we know the solutions: a massive increase in nuclear power, cleaner fossil fuel use, rapid economic development in less developed areas to increase urbanisation and therefore free-up wilderness areas. Economic development is essential to enable us to ameliorate the effects of flooding or anything else that may occur if the climate rises significantly. Most rivers in the developed world are much cleaner than they were 150 years ago. The Thames was effectively dead at the beginning of the 20th century; now many fish species thrive in the cleaner waters of the Thames and even whales make occasionally sortes into its lower reaches. Plastic waste is a problem - mostly caused by China - but it is hardly an insurmountable problem. Prosperity is the key to a cleaner environment. Prosperity enables societies to deal with waste and pollution effectively. Urbanisation and prosperity increases educational attainment, empowers women and leads to lower birth-rates ( but family planning doesn’t require artificial contraceptives and certainly not the killing of pre- born children). The only population problem facing the world today is under-population. Many countries are dropping below replacement levels and almost the entire developed world has an unhealthily low birth rate.

          • Art Davison

            Well put, Herald. And, of course, the consumption of almost 100 million barrels of crude oil daily, to fuel one billion automotive vehicles, tens of thousands of aircraft and ships, construction machinery and to heat buildings, won't decrease much any time soon.

          • Art Davison

            Exactly what I'm saying Herald

        • Art Davison

          You've hit the nail on the head! Overpopulation is destroying the Earth, by consuming resources faster than they can be replaced, and making it a garbage dump.

        • Art Davison

          Sorry Herald, but with a circle with radius of 40 feet around everyone, people would be 80 feet apart. A diameter of 40 feet would be correct.

          • Yes, I pointed this out in a later reply. Brain-fart on my part.

        • Raymond

          Radius of 20 feet. A radius of 40 feet gives you 80 feet between individuals. Your numbers are a bit off.

      • Actually, I'll grant that your numbers are pretty close. A circle of radius 20 feet would put 40 feet between each person. A mistake on my part. That said, it's still completely irrelevant to the problem.

      • Art Davison

        I don't understand how fitting the entire population of the Earth inside Texas has anything to do with the problem. Yes, we curently have enough arable land to produce enough food, except too much of it is used for producing meat. We'd have to switch to a vegetarian diet, which would upset a lot of people. And we're still despoiling the Earth with plastic and other garbage, and affecting the climate with our use of fossil fuels. Arable land is shrinking annually, due to depletion of mineals, salinization and desertification. We are in deep doodoo.

        • Ben Champagne

          No, we wouldn't have to go vegetarian. All necessary farmland, including meat production, housing and all necessary infrastructyre would fit. Including parks etc.

          And plastics/waste may be legitimate. But that is a far separate issue from overpopulation. Poor management can destroy land from plastics waste regardless of population size.

          The other three issues are also nonfactors when considering population.

          So no actual rebuttal. Got it.

    • mmac1

      Slavery’s origins go back to at least 6800 BC therefore it is impossible the Church fostered it. It is in fact the influence of Christianity that ended it- note no other region other than the Christian West put an end to slavery- in fact it is still practiced in the Islamic world. As to birth rates, murder etc by region your premise is clearly unproven- no region is monolithic in belief so you’d have to dig into the data to separate out who is responsible for such activities. As to overpopulation, perhaps you have missed the birth dearth we are currently in...

      • Art Davison

        Foster doesn't mean to originate. It means to support or encourage, which the Christian church did for centuries. In the U.S., the Southern states used the Holey Babble as the basis for the acceptabilty of slavery. And the Earth as a whole, with a population of 7.8 billion, far exceeds its sustainable capacity, so we should be doing everything posible to reduce the birth rate world-wide.

        • mmac1

          You still overlook that it was Christianity that lead to the end of slavery. Slavery was common as well as ubiquitous thruout the world- what was unique was that the Christian world ended it. As for the earth’s population- even learned atheists think we have a ways to go:

          https://www.livescience.com/16493-people-planet-earth-support.html

          • Art Davison

            Britain was the first Western country to outlaw slavery. Even if the church was an influence, you must admit it was about bloody time. The Holey Babble wholeheartedly condons slavery, as you can read in many chapters in both old and new testaments.
            And I don't know of any atheistic organization that doesn't think we are overpopulated.

          • mmac1

            Better late than never & the British anti-slavery movement was explicitly religious. The Bible does't condone slavery-in fact Paul's letter to Philemon can only be reasonably interpreted to seek the manumission of Onesimus. The New Testament states "there is neither slave nor freeman" ie all are equal. The fact that this wasn't done for many years isn't an indictment of religion-but of sinful men. There is no doubt that many Christian precepts were not honored in practice-but as Chesterton said "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and not tried." We live in a fallen world & that many, even Christians, do not live up to the Christian ideal is to be expected-for that we have confession, penance & grace.
            Even EO Wilson (no friend of religion) admits we can support more people i think we can be confident that we can support the present population.

          • Raymond

            Many Bible scholars are not in agreement with this interpretation of Philemon. One of the biggest problems with Paul's letters is the lack of context.

        • cosmonow

          You are simply mistaken. The Catholic Church abolished slavery in Christendom and mitigated it’s pernicious effects in the New World before eventually pushing for the total eradication of the evil that is slavery. In Britain and the U.S evangelical and reform Christians joined Catholic Christians in the campaign to abolish slavery. Western civilisation was unique in getting rid of slavery precisely because of the intrinsic value that Christianity recognises in human beings.

          • Art Davison

            The Holey Babble clearly supports slavery and slave owners in the southern U.S. used it as justification for the practise

          • cosmonow

            The slave owners’ misinterpretation of the Bible is an example of the pitfalls of reading the sacred scriptures outside of the wisdom of Christ’s One, True, Holy Catholic Church. One of the central motifs of the bible is that slavery is bad. God leads the chosen people out of slavery in Egypt and Babylon. The Bible returns again and again to the terrible fact that humanity is enslaved to sin and in need of redemption. Christ conquers death and frees humanity from the chains of sin. Slavery is always understood to be a bad thing in the Bible. Of course, it was assumed to be a normal part of society by the sacred authors - because it was normal in almost every culture and civilisation until the Christian West abolished slavery.

          • VicqRuiz

            The Catholic Church abolished slavery in Christendom and mitigated it’s pernicious effects in the New World

            What did the Catholic church do about hereditary serfdom, which was arguably as bad as slavery?

          • cosmonow

            The Medieval order was in many ways glorious. Certainly better than chattel slavery. When it worked well, the hierarchical order of medieval society provided safety, purpose and community to all. Feudal peasants worked considerably fewer hours per year than the average white-collar worker today.

          • VicqRuiz

            Would you like to see it return, with yourself in the role of a serf?

          • VicqRuiz

            I'm inclined to suspect that most of those who look back upon the pre-industrial era as a lost Golden Age imagine that they would have been knights or abbots or master masons or perhaps even hangers-on at the royal court in those halcyon days. A scant few would have loved the life of a peasant bound to lord and land. Perhaps you are among them?

          • cosmonow

            Haha I’ll settle for Sir Robert of Riverton; A humble knight and wayward pilgrim. I do think the European High Middle Ages were one of peaks of world history and a good time to live in many ways but I’m not suffering from any illusions as to them being an unmitigated golden age. You are absolutely right that they were difficult, precarious times especially for the lower orders but they were also a time of tremendous intellectual, artistic and spiritual depth - and lots of fun by all accounts when things were going well.

        • cosmonow

          To reiterate, there is no immutable ‘sustainable capacity’ for humanity on earth. The sustainable capacity of earth changes depending on scientific, technological and social developments. So, if a stone-age hunter gatherer required a land area of perhaps 15 km squared to sustain himself and family, a Bronze Age agriculturalist required only 3 km squared or whatever; the industrial revolution increased the sustainable capacity of the earth per-person many times over. And this process of ever more effective utilisation of the resources of the earth - and now the entire solar system - will continue indefinitely as long as we continue to make scientific / technological progress.

          • VicqRuiz

            Now here, we agree one hundred percent.

          • Art Davison

            Perhaps there isn't a fixed number for the limiting capacity of Earth, but the rate at which we are consuming non-renewables, like oil, gas, coal and metals, plus destroying natural animal habitat and polluting our environment, we are rapidly approaching a non-sustainable population limit, if we are not already there.

          • VicqRuiz

            Personally, I am in favor of fully-automated luxury environmentalism featuring things like next-gen nukes, orbiting solar power arrays, offshore hydro power, geothermal, carbon capture. More and cheaper power and clean water for all.

            Instead we get hair-shirt, queue for the trolley, compost-toilet forced austerity. Nope, not signing up!

          • cosmonow

            We are not even close to consuming all of the available oil, gas, coal and metals. New extraction methods make more of these resources available all the time. We have hundreds, if not thousands, of years of gas, oil, metals to go. Plenty of time to shift to nuclear power & other forms of energy and to start exploiting the almost unlimited metal & mineral resources of the meteorite belt and other parts of the solar system.

          • Art Davison

            Well, from what I've been able to discover on Google, we have proven oil reserves of 1.73 trillion barrels, and with a consumption rate of almost 100 million barrels/day, that will last another 50 years. Even if unproven reserves are another trillion or so, we will run out in 100 years. But global warming will hit us hard before then.

          • cosmonow

            There are more optimistic estimations of oil reserves (and 100 years is optimistic enough). But I wasn't just referring to oil. We also have enormous global reserves of natural gas to draw upon and we have hardly scratched the coal reserves. With carbon capture, all of these fossil fuels can continue to enhance the well being of humanity and the environment for many centuries to come. But remember, they are only stepping stones to nuclear power in all of its current and future forms. We will never run out of power as long as we continue to make scientific & technological progress.

        • VicqRuiz

          And the Earth as a whole, with a population of 7.8 billion, far exceeds its sustainable capacity,

          That is a political position, not a scientifically established principle.

      • VicqRuiz

        no other region other than the Christian West put an end to slavery

        True, but it took them about 1700 years to get around to that.

        • cosmonow

          No it didn’t take 1700 years. Slavery was abolished in Christendom soon after the Roman Empire collapsed. But it was widespread in Africa, the Islamic world and Central America for many centuries after the Church ended slavery in Europe. It’s true that European colonists subsequently exploited the pre-existent African / Arab slave trade as part of the colonisation of the New World but the Church usually opposed or at least tried to mitigate the evil of the slave trade triangle. Looking back with modern eyes we wish that the Catholic Church had unequivocally called for an immediate, universal end to all slavery from the very beginning but all things are obvious in hindsight. Unfortunately, it took many centuries for the objective truth on the issue of slavery to be fully recognised.

          • VicqRuiz

            I don't think it's so much that the church was pro-slavery, rather that it was comfortable sitting at the power table and therefore unwilling to rock the boat.

          • cosmonow

            The Church was anti-slavery from the beginning. She tried to abolish slavery in Christendom and over time extended that principle to all people. There were ambiguities, lack of clarity and legal nitpicking at times and some bishops even supported some forms of slavery but the guiding principle of the Catholic Church has always been to recognise the intrinsic equality of all people and therefore to oppose slavery or at least minimise its cruelty.

  • Besides a demographic crisis, developed countries are experiencing unprecedented levels of social isolation, depression, and loneliness. South Korea, Belgium, and Japan have some of the highest suicide rates in the world.

    This is cherry-picked data. According to some reports, those least religious countries are actually the happiest. Highly secular countries seem to be able to be able to engender social cohesion and well being pretty well.

    In contrast, some of the most religious countries rank as some of the least suicidal in the world: Papua New Guinea (119th), the Philippines (159th), and Pakistan (169th)

    Though I wouldn't exactly cite these countries as models to follow. Furthermore, this is still cherry-picking. Vietnam is an explicitly atheist country, but it has a lower suicide rate that Papua New Guinea, and Lesotho has the second highest suicide rate on earth despite having rather high religiosity.

    These trends are compounded by the proliferation of socially isolating, addicting forms of entertainment like pornography, video games, social media, and smartphones that affect rising numbers of Westerners.

    It is not my experience that religious people make less use of video games, social media, or smartphones than non-religious people. I also have my doubts about religious people using less pornography, regardless of the restrictions against it.

    • Raymond

      "This county will stay dry as long as the Baptists and the bootleggers can stagger to the polls."

  • Corey Max

    I'm wondering what life would be like if there was no religion. I'm an atheist and I'm only a teenager, but I still have many pros of there being no religion. There wouldn't have been a World War II or The Crusades. There also wouldn't have been the KKK in America and our world would be so much more advanced. how to create a wikipedia page for a business

    • Ben Champagne

      Nope. Time to study actual History. WW2 wasn't religiously motivated, nor was the KKK (political democrats). The Crusades also had little to do with religion in and of itself, certainly at first, though by the Third if memory serves, religious motivation may have played more of a role, but for maintaining tradition, not some holy jihad.

      And on basic logic, purporting hypothetical counterfactuals as necessarily true revisions of the present is never a good look.

      • Joseph Noonan

        The Second Klan was explicitly motivated by Protestantism, hence their heavy anti-Catholicism.
        The Crusades were literally declared by the Church and had the purpose of taking back the Holy Land from Islamic rule. They had everything to do with religion, and going to war to maintain religious traditions means the same thing as "some holy jihad" - you're just describing it euphemistically.
        Anyone who has studied actual history will tell you both of these things, but it seems that by "actual history", you really meant historical revisionism designed to make religion appear spotless. No serious historian affirms attempts to completely detach the Crusades from religion or the claim that the KKK were just "political democrats" without any religious motivation.

        • BTS

          Interestingly enough, I was on a reactionary Catholic blog the other day and one of the ill-informed fox news viewers was foisting a conspiracy theory that the KKK was started by the democrats.

          • Ben Champagne

            Truth is a conspiracy theory now. Hilarious.

          • cosmonow

            No conspiracy; the KKK was effectively the terrorist wing of the segregationist Democratic Party for decades. The Democratic Party is indisputably the party of slavery, segregation and contemporary racism of low expectations.

        • Art Davison

          Let's not forget the Inquisition. You cannot dispute the fact that it was entirely religiously based.

          • Ben Champagne

            Actually, the inquisition had a lot to do with law and order and a lot less to do with 'burn the heretics!' Than your hollywood education would have you believe.

          • Joseph Noonan

            "Law and order" is an interesting way of saying "identifying heretics to maintain Catholic orthodoxy". And the fact that they only sometimes burned heretics isn't much of a justification.

          • cosmonow

            The inquisition saved many thousands of lives. It’s main function was to provide a more tolerant, rational way of adjudicating when people were accused of infractions against the social / religious order. The secular courts tended to be ad hoc in their judgements and brutal in punishments, so there was a need for better educated men in the clergy to weigh the evidence. The vast majority of cases involved drunkenness or other minor infractions by members of the clergy themselves, and most were resolved with an act of penance.

        • Ben Champagne

          Terribly inept. But what should I expect. Notably absent, any substantiation of your view. Religion certainly isn't spotless. Try reading for content next time.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Another non-response from you? I guess that was to be expected.

        • cosmonow

          Multiple factors motivated the Crusades but I agree that they were to a large extent religious Holy War(s). In many ways the Crusades were a justified response to five hundred years of often brutal Islamic imperialism. Did the Crusaders sometimes commit what we now call war-crimes? Yes. But was their cause, on balance, justified? Yes.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Islam hadn't even been around for 500 years when the Crusades began, so there were not "five hundred years of often brutal Islamic imperialism". Obviously, there was Islamic imperialism at the time, but the Crusades weren't merely Christians trying to defend themselves against brutal Islamic oppressors, as some historical revisionists have tried to repaint it. The main purpose was still to take back the Holy Land, and I don't think that's a just cause for war, let alone war crimes.

          • cosmonow

            If we count Islam as beginning with Muhammad’s first ‘revelations’ and preaching in 610 and the first crusade in 1095 then we get nearly 500 hundred years. But I’m willing to acknowledge that the Islamic conquests began with the Ridda Wars of 632 so can we settle on 463 years of Islamic imperialism?

          • cosmonow

            I said that there were multiple causal factors for the Crusades; defending Byzantium against the Seljuk Turks and protecting Christian pilgrimage routes to Jerusalem being initial causes. I do not think the war crimes of the Crusaders - or any contravention of Catholic Just War principles - were morally justified; perhaps I didn’t make that clear in my first comment. But I stand by my claim that the Crusades in the Holy Land were morally justified in defence of Christian rights and to liberate the Levant from Islamic imperialism.

          • Joseph Noonan

            If we count Islam as beginning with Muhammad’s first ‘revelations’ and preaching in 610 and the first crusade in 1095 then we get nearly 500 hundred years.

            I don't count Islam as beginning at that time because I don't believe that there actually were revelations then.

            But I’m willing to acknowledge that the Islamic conquests began with the Ridda Wars of 632 so can we settle on 463 years of Islamic imperialism?

            I'm not that interested in arguing over exact start dates of historical processes, so, fine, we can say that this was when Islamic imperialism started and that it had been around for close to five hundred years at the time of the First Crusade. The major point, though, is that even granting this, it doesn't make the Crusades justified.

          • cosmonow

            //’...I don't believe there actually we're revelations then’ // I agree that Muhammed’s religious experiences were not genuine revelations from God if that's what you mean. But why do you think the Crusades were not justified?

          • Joseph Noonan

            Because the end that the Crusades were trying to obtain was to take back the Holy Land, which isn't enough to justify a bloody war. The people who fought in the Crusades weren't just defending themselves, and I don't think they did anything to stop violence or oppression.

    • mmac1

      it is difficult to be sure of counterfactuals- but the world before Christianity wasn't pretty. Life was cheap & people were killed as a form of entetainment. Women & children in public were fair game to exploited (a proper Greek women was not seen in public- her slaves did the shopping-in fact one never mentioned the name of a friend's wife-to do so implied too much familiarity). Christianity advanced the novel idea of the dignity of all men & women b/c we were all made in the image of God & since we called God our Father we were all brothers & sisters. This idea slowly but surely lead to the emancipation of not only of women but of slaves. It wasn't immediate but it changed our world. Furthermore, science only really arose in areas of Christianity- b/c the Christians believed a mind created an intelligible universe and they believed b/c God created the universe it wasn't itself divine so it could be questioned & investigated w/o being blasphemous. Many religions believe that God and the universe were the same- so one couldn't investigate it or question it w/o being a heretic. Other religions believe in a voluntaristic God (ie he can & will do whatever he wills so there are no laws of nature) so that studying the universe is a waste of time-it is neither predictable nor intelligible. There are many other consequences of Christianity - but here is a starting point.

      • Raymond

        since we called God our Father we were all brothers & sisters.
        So you're saying it wasn't until the Reformation that Christians began slaughtering people in different strains of Christianity?

        Still happens today.

        • mmac1

          People have used religion for their own ulterior motives since the 1st medicine man. Same in the Christian world- much of the so called wars of religion in Europe had nothing to do with religion-remember the Swedish pro-Protestant forces were financed by France a Catholic kingdom-because the French did not want a unified Germany allied to Spain on its border. What was unique with Christianity was that spread the concept of the dignity of all people. As I said the implications didn’t sink in right away but the germ was planted. It is why the west was the leader in women’s rights, ending slavery etc.

    • Art Davison

      I agree. Perhaps you've heard the saying " Good people do good things and bad people do bad hings, but for good people to do bad things takes religion"

      • mmac1

        for good people to do bad things is to fail their faith. But we are far from perfect-all stumble and God calls us to perfection-so we have confession & grace to strengthen us for the journey.

        • Art Davison

          Religion was the basis of the Spanish Iinquisition, and religion today wants to take away a woman's rights to control her own body and to treat LGBT people as sinners, when it's all about LOVE.

          • cosmonow

            A pre-born child is not the mother’s body. She has no more right to murder it than she has to murder her three year old child, for example.

          • Art Davison

            When is a foetus preborn? At conception? When it has a heart beat? A functioning brain? When it can survive outside of the Mother's body without assistance? Is a husband at fault for not impregnating hs wife when she is fertile? What about all the spontaneous abortions? Finally, you can believe whatever you wish; about a fictitious Gawd, Heaven, souls, and all that other nonsense, but just leave the rest of us to believe differently - but, of course, you cannot keep from pushing your beliefs on others.

          • Rob Abney

            What does the murder of a living being in the womb have to do with religion, other than that the Catholic religion acknowledges the secular right to life?!

          • Art Davison

            You're doing just what I predicted you'd do - pushing your beliefs on everyone else. Some perfectly rational humans don't believe abortion is a crime, that's just your definition.

            By the way, define "Life"

          • Rob Abney

            Basic non-religious questions for you: Have you sired any offspring? When did that life begin? What caused it?

          • Art Davison

            Actually, I've been married three times, and none of my wives was able to conceive. But I believe life starts when an infant is capable of surviving outside of its Mother's womb. (including with medical assistance) If its life is terminated before then, intentionally or otherwise, it was never fully alive.

          • Rob Abney

            If its life is terminated before then, intentionally or otherwise, it was never fully alive

            So you determine if there was a life if the baby doesn't die, that's some deep thinking. Search the internet for some scientific basis for your position, you won't find it.

          • cosmonow

            So according to your definition, advances in pre-natal care change the definition of what it is to be a human? Why do you think that a foetus is not a human being before extrauterine viability? What fundamental change occurs at, currently, about 24 weeks that transforms the foetus into a human being in your view? After all, an infant cannot survive on her own for long after birth. So the mere capacity to survive briefly post-birth can’t be the defining characteristic of a human being can it?

          • cosmonow

            Your comment about - “a woman’s right to control her own body” - started it. It is a dog-whistle for the anti-life brigade. Weren’t you pushing your opinion on others in making that comment? By the way, I fully support the right of every woman to control her own body. But that right doesn’t extend to the killing of the other human being temporarily dependent upon her care in her womb.

          • cosmonow

            They can’t be perfectly rational when they are so wrong on this issue.

          • cosmonow

            Human life begins at conception. That is the most reasonable scientific and philosophical conclusion. Do you agree that murder of any innocent human being is morally wrong? All your other comments are red-herrings. I was opposed to abortion when I was an atheist. Many secular folk are Pro-Life. Standing up for the Right to Life of the most vulnerable human beings is the central human rights issue of our age. It is not a specifically religious issue. All people of good-will should oppose the murder of pre-born children. https://www.secularprolife.org/

          • cosmonow

            //What about spontaneous abortions ?// Do natural bush fires make arson permissible?

          • Art Davison

            Well my friend, regardless of when life begins, I still believe that a woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy. An unwanted child has two strikes against it from the start, and too many women die from botched back alley abortions. Assuming we are both men, we don't know what a woman suffers when carrying an unwanted pregnancy. So I geuss we beg to differ.

          • Rob Abney

            If your okay with termination of life at any stage of the pregnancy, why are you against termination after birth? Is your position only political?

          • Art Davison

            I never said that I was okay with it, just that I believe it is the woman's decision only, my opinion is not relevant. Certainly, I would be definitely against it in the 3rd trimester, but again, not my decision to make.

          • cosmonow

            Why do you believe that it is okay for women to kill innocent pre-born children? On what possible grounds can that be correct?

          • cosmonow

            Of course it is your decision. We are all human beings - men, women, pre-born children - we have a moral duty to protect all human life. Your argument is like saying, “I’m a free white man. I’m not a black slave. I have some doubts about this slavery business but it’s not my decision. It’s up to the slave owner what he chooses to do with his property.”

          • Art Davison

            Literally millions of innocent children die horrible deaths every year that the all-powerful Christian Gawd could prevent if She chose. Compared to that, an abortion is a petty offense.

          • cosmonow

            So you think it is okay to murder innocent pre-born children because many children die by natural causes? Remember this is a human rights issue in my opinion. It is not a specifically religious issue. I take it from your comments that you are a non- theist. But in your ethical worldview do you think that murder is wrong?

          • Art Davison

            My point is that I will try to prevent the death of a child if it's within my power to do so. All-mighty Gawd has the power, but doesn't do so.

          • cosmonow

            Why do you keep bringing God into it? It's a red herring. We can discuss the problem of evil for theism as a separate discussion if you like, but at the moment we are discussing abortion. My anti-abortion arguments do not require anything more than a broad agreement about universal human rights. I was pro-life when I was an atheist. I remain pro-life since reverting to Catholicism. But there is nothing specifically religious in the pro-life position in my view, unless we get into deeper philosophical questions about the ultimate foundation for all human rights. For practical purposes, I think it is better to view the pro-life issue like any other struggle for universal human rights. It is something that all people of good will can ascribe to.

          • cosmonow

            // "My point is that I will try to prevent the death of a child if it's within my power to do so." // Good. So you support pro-life principles. It is within your power to join a pro-life campaign if you like. As a non theist, you may prefer to join https://www.secularprolife.org/

          • Rob Abney

            Your opinion is relevant if you want to protect the innocent from injustice, and to clothe the naked, to befriend the stranger, to visit the sick and imprisoned, and care for the hungry and thirsty - all of these are represented by the baby in the womb. And if you do this you will know Jesus Christ Himself.

          • Art Davison

            Being an atheist doesn't mean that I'm less moral than a Christian. When I was younger, I spent many an evening canvassing for a number of charities, and at one time gave over $5000/year to a wide variety of others. But at 91 I'm not able to walk the streets any longer, and being on a fixed income, my contributions have dropped to around $2000/year. None of us unbelievers require some fictitious Gawd looking over our shoulders to behave compassionately towards our fellow humans

          • Rob Abney

            That's an impressive age! If you don't require a gawd to behave compassionately then what is the foundation for your charitable behavior? And why do you not include unborn babies as being in need of your compassion and charity?

          • Art Davison

            Morals are the rules we establish so that we can live together safely and profitably. I need to be able to trust that my neighbour won't rob me or kill me, that we will help each other when needed, and that I can be assured that he won't lie to me.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            So your "morals" are based on pure self-interest?

          • Art Davison

            A zygote is not a "preborn" baby, but a potential one, and only the woman can decide whether or not to allow taht potential to be realized.

          • cosmonow

            Why do you think a human zygote is not a human being?

          • Art Davison

            Same reason as an acorn is not an oak tree. A zygote is a potential human.

          • cosmonow

            An acorn IS an oak tree. It is an oak tree in an early stage of development. Likewise, a human zygote is an early stage human being.

          • Art Davison

            If I see a child drowning in a swimming pool, my instinct is to attempt to rescue it. Your Gawd sees millions of children dying, has the ability to stop it, but does nothing. All He/She /It is concerned with is having humans "Believe in Me! Me! Me!" What an egotist!

          • Rob Abney

            Wouldn’t it be none of your business, wouldn’t it be the mother’s choice to save the child? What if the mother were robbing you, would you still save the child?
            You seem very confused in your rationalizations.
            God isn’t asking us to believe in Him, He’s only asking us to not decide that we are God.

          • Art Davison

            According to the Holey Babble, I can be a totally evil person, but if I repent my sins and 'believe in Him' I'll be saved. On the other hand, I can be a great philanthropist, making life better for thouands of people, but if I don't 'believe in Him', I'm toast.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Sorrow for one's sins is not genuine unless it is accompanied by a firm resolution to stop committing them. Hence, real repentance cannot leave one "totally evil."

            You seem to assume that all believers are hypocrites. They are not. But you would never know that unless and until you become a sincere believer yourself.

            As for philanthropy, it is easier to do good than to be good.

          • Art Davison

            You're splitting hairs. I'm saying that someone who has been evil, sees the light and truly repents, will be admitted to Heaven. Take Saul/Paul foar example.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            What is the point of having a free will, if one cannot change one's ways for the better? The whole point of human life is to use one's free will for the attainment of the ultimate good, which is God in heaven.

            I would hate to have you for God, since you would never forgive anyone who repents of his evil ways! Do you treat all your relatives and friends this way?

            Thank God we have a just and loving God who does forgive the sinner who repents!

          • David Nickol

            Is that somehow unfair? Remember there is purgatory is the person who repents still merits punishment after death.

          • Art Davison

            Oh yeah! I forgot Purgatory . Another weird place that only Catholics believe in. Since we are supposedly going to spend Eternity in Heaven, then how long in Purgatory? How about 10% of Eternity? But that's stiil Eternity, isn't it?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You did not forget about Purgatory. You clearly never studied it. Purgatory ends with the General Judgment at the end of the world. Its duration is not commensurable with Eternity.

            .

          • David Nickol

            Oh yeah! I forgot Purgatory

            The idea of a place called Purgatory may seem weird, but the idea of a state like Purgatory makes a great deal of sense to me. The pain of Purgatory could be to learn exactly what you did in life (and what you didn't do) that caused harm or suffering to others. I imagine that for most of us, such knowledge would be devastating.

            Since we are supposedly going to spend Eternity in Heaven

            Almost everybody seems to think that, including most Catholics, but remember the Resurrection of the Body. Christianity is really all about eternal life in a physical body, with heaven being only a temporary stopover. N . T. Wright had a good article titled Heaven Is Not Our Home in Christianity Today, which now is unfortunately mostly (but not entirely) behind a firewall.

          • Art Davison

            Resurrection of the body? I wonder what chronological age I'll be, and where the matter comes from to rebuild it. If I'm born blind will I regain my sight? And since my original brain has decomposed, with all of my memories stored in it, the new body won't be me at all.

          • David Nickol

            There are answers to most of your questions, believe it or not. The belief is that resurrected bodies will be in their prime (33 years old). They will be without defects, so persons born blind will be able to see. Presumably you will have all your memories. If Good created the universe, then surely he will have to problem with the matter needed to re-create your body.

            I generally self-identify as agnostic, but I have no problem acknowledging that if the Christian God exists, he can do anything, There is a hilarious short story by Philip Roth called The Conversion of the Jews that I urge you (and everybody) to read, not for its "theological" content but because it is so enjoyable. (The link will take you to the text of the story.)

          • Art Davison

            33 years old, without defect, with all my memories. Huh! Where did those ideas come from, surely not the Holey Babble.

          • Art Davison

            I've always been curious as to where the soul comes from and when it arrives in the developing fetus. And since we know that the memory is contained within the brain, and damage to parts of the brain can cause the loss of some memories, then when death occurs and the brain decays, all memories are lost, so there is no more 'ME'

          • Rob Abney

            YOU are much more than just your stored memories, you are fundamentally a person with intellect and will, the intellect is for pursuing truth, the will is for loving the good.

            The developing fetus has a soul from the moment of conception, if it didn't it wouldn't be alive and it wouldn't be called a fetus it would be called a potential fetus. But a fetus is not a potential baby it is a developing baby.

          • Art Davison

            A soul from the moment of conception? Where does it come from? Is it in the sperm or the egg? Or is Gawd standing in an assembly line and popping them in at the instant of conception?

            How do you know we are more than our memories, plus, of course, our habits? I'm basically a self-aware, intelligent animal. I certainly don't need a 'soul' to exist, any more than dolphin does, but I can still enjoy my brief time on Earth and .the glories of the Universe.

          • Rob Abney

            It seems that you have no idea what a soul is. It is the animating power of any “living” thing, generally a plant, an animal, or a human. No it doesn’t come from the male or the female wouldn’t be needed or vice versa. So yes it comes from outside of the two parents, from what all men call God.

          • Art Davison

            Realisticly, since I cannot see, feel, smell, hear or taste a soul, I find it impossible to believe that one exists, except in the imagination of the religious.

          • Rob Abney

            Do you consider Aristotle religious then? Are you really 91 or 9, because this is pretty elementary stuff.

          • Art Davison

            Are you saying that the soul, and belief therein, is "elementary stuff?" If so, then you and I are not on the same planet. Belief in the soul is totally based on Faith, as is Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. (Stay Safe)

          • Rob Abney

            I said that Aristotle described what a soul is and he was not religious. He was Greek and on the same planet I am on.

          • Art Davison

            (From an article in Skeptical Inquirer on disbelief by Jefferson M. Fish, professor emeritus of psychology at St. John’s U.):-
            In short, psychologists are inclined to view religious experiences as interesting subjective phenomena unrelated to the existence of a god or any other supernatural phenomena. For Example, out-of- body experiences,-which are rare but well-documented phenomena- have been used as evidence for the existence of a soul. Believers contend that whatever entity it is that leaves the body during one might be able to continue an existence after death. Early in this 21st century however, it was discovered that out-of-body experiences result from a disturbance in functioning of the temporo-parietal junction in the brain. That is, they are subjective experience s, but there is no entity that actually leaves the body.

          • Rob Abney

            Why are you focusing on religion and belief when I’ve said that the soul is described by Aristotle who is not religious?

          • Art Davison

            As a really old engineer, I've little knowledge of philosophy, but I do know that Aristotle was a great philosopher in ancient Greece, and that he wrote a treatise on the soul. However everything he postulated about the soul is merely conjecture; there is no way to verify anything he claims.

            I believe that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is circling the Earth, and no one can prove otherwise.

          • Rob Abney

            I've little knowledge of philosophy

            Yes, that is obvious. But you also have little knowledge of how faith and belief work as you consider all beliefs to be blind faith. Which explains why you have chosen to believe that there is no God, you are only following your own almighty will.

          • Art Davison

            Faith and belief are not proof.
            By the way, if you were born in Saudi Arabia, you'd be arguing just as sincerely for Islam and Allah.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Actually, that is not quite true. Avicenna and Averroes were the most outstanding Islamic philosophers. But their reasoning so departed from Islamic religious doctrine that they came up with the concept of the "double verities," whereby the truth of reason could be different than the truth of revelation -- just so they would not get into trouble with the religious authorities.

            This is quite different from the Catholic position on the harmony of faith and reason. Faith is not blind, but reasonable, especially since Catholicism has the doctrine of the "preambles to faith," which maintains that there are truths known by natural reason, such as God's existence and veracity, which are logically presupposed for religious revelation.

            The Catholic Church teaches that nothing that is authentically revealed by God contradicts what right reason can demonstrate, although some doctrines, such as the Trinity, can exceed what natural, unaided reason would have discovered on its own.

          • Art Davison

            "there are truths known by natural reason, such as God's existence and veracity, which are logically presupposed for religious revelation."
            WoW! Then you must believe everything in the Holey Babble, including Genesis - the Universe created in 6 days, Noah's Ark and the Flood, the Virgin Birth,the Reserrection, and so on.
            I find it imposible to believe any of those stories, particularly when you realize that the "Sacred" texts of all the major religions were wriitten thousand(s) of years ago, when people generally were superstitious and completely ignorant of the workings of the natural world.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            As I just wrote above, my field of competence is philosophy. I don't aim to answer every possible skeptical thought that has ever gone through your mind. I know that Thomistic philosophy comports very well with Christian revelation, which to me is a very strong argument in favor both of Thomism and Catholicism.

            And I know that not everything written in the Pentateuch must be read literalistically.

            Being 81 years old myself, I am well aware that I need to get the facts about reality straight before i run out of time to investigate them. I can already see that you have many rational errors in your worldview and, frankly, am appalled that this is still the case in someone who is ten years older than myself!

          • Art Davison

            I certainly cannot argue philosphy with you, but I am unaable to believe in anything that doesn't have a measurable physical existence. If there were a God, and if He/She/It were truly kind and loving, the fact that my mental inclinations and education lead me to disbelieve in God's existence would not exclude me from any reward.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Perhaps, you could begin by deciding whether your disbelief in God is merely agnosticism or outright atheism. We have agnostics on this site who no longer positively believe in God, but who are undecided whether he might exist. On the other hand, one may absolutely deny even the possibility that God exists. Which are you? Those who are dogmatic atheists go beyond the evidence, since there are arguments for God's existence and the coherence of his nature (even though I realize that atheists would deny this).

            But you say you are "unable to believe in anything that doesn't have a measurable physical existence." Is that really "unable," or "unwilling?"

            In any event, since you are not that familiar with philosophy, let me offer you a rational argument that absolutely proves the reality of something that "doesn't have a measurable physical existence,"

            Since you appear to have some time available and since it could change your entire view of what is real, please take the time to read this with an open mind:
            https://www.hprweb.com/2020/06/materialisms-unnoticed-achilles-heel/

            It is NOT a proof for God or the spiritual soul of man or of any religion. But it does show that something not extended in space and not having "measurable physical existence" absolutely must exist.

          • Art Davison

            My feeble old engineer's mind cannot grasp the convoluted reasoning of this proof of the existence of the immaterial, but assuming that it does, then, as you admit, it doesn't prove there is a god. If there were a god, and It was the all-powerful loving, creator of the universe, then it's difficult to understand why It created viruses that cause suffering and death to millions annually.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You did not say whether you were the kind of engineer that drives trains or the ones that have university degrees. If the latter, you should have no trouble following my "convoluted reasoning" that clearly shows that not everything can be physically measurable, especially since it entails concepts about the physical nature of sensing devices that any engineer should be able to understand.

            And again, it sounds to me like you are putting forth the "problem of evil" argument against God, which itself entails "convoluted," even if erroneous reasoning. And If you can follow your own type of reasoning on this problem of evil, then you should be able to intelligently comprehend and discuss my responses to that very same issue that I have already published on this web site. See these:

            https://strangenotions.com/how-to-approach-the-problem-of-evil/

            https://strangenotions.com/hell-and-gods-goodness/

          • Art Davison

            Chemical Engineer. I'll do some thinking about your statements

          • Dennis Bonnette

            We have something in common. I was initially working on an undergrad major in chemistry that became a minor. I am no chemist, but I do have some empathy for the scientific method as result. At the same time, it has helped me to understand the limits of natural science. Philosophy is a quite different way of using our same mind on the same reality we all experience.

          • Jim the Scott

            None of what you said logically follows. But at least you own the fact you don't understand philosophy. Which I am afraid renders yer species of non belief intellectually no better than Fundamentalism without god belief.

            In short it is like showing up on a blog or message board that discusses the scientific basis of evolution with a 4th graders' knowledge of biology. By definition none of yer objections can be at all impressive.

            My advise ANSWERS IN GENESIS is over here.

            https://answersingenesis.org/

            Have at them. They sound like more yer speed. We are not fundamentalists here. We are Catholics and Thomists. We in general accept Theistic Evolution and whatever lame polemics you learned attacking Protestant fundamentalism is meaningless to us.

            Go learn some philosophical Atheism then get back to us. Good luck.

          • Art Davison

            Why is not being a theist an unacceptable position?

            And what does 'Answers in Genesis' have to do with anything? I get a chuckle out of it, as I'm sure you do too,

          • Jim the Scott

            Who says it is an acceptable or unacceptable position?

            You can believe what you want but if you are gonna argue about it then you need to be informed. You are not informed by yer own admission. So discussion with you on the issue would not be interesting.

            >And what does 'Answers in Genesis' have to do with anything?

            Based on my readings of yer posts thus far that is about the level of theism you are competent to polemic IMHO. Any theism more sophisticated then that (like Classic Theism and all philosophical theism) is clearly outside of yer competence.

            This is not an insult anymore that it is an insult to tell me I lack a graduate student in physics understanding of quantum physics.

          • Art Davison

            It seems very suspicious that many of the ancient religions that preceeded Christianity contained stories of virgin births, deaths and reserrection of the hero, Creation myths and Floods.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            There are others far more qualified to respond to your "suspicions" in this area of apologetics. Your errors in philosophy fall more into my field of competence.

            Nonetheless, logic requires that claims that these elements of Christian revelation were actually copied from ancient myths must be shown to be true.

            Moreover, as for Christ's life, many of the events that took place were prophesied centuries before those myths appeared.

          • Art Davison

            Of course, one can never 'prove' that any story was deliberatelyy copied from an earlier one, I'm just saying that it's an odd coincidence.
            As for prophesies concerning Christ's life, assuming they can be found in the Bible, can you tell me exactly where, so I can look them up?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not a theologian, and therefore do not have the research at hand. I am sure you can find plenty of them through an internet search, since they are abundant.

            Here is one link for starters: http://www.jesusfilm.org/blog-and-stories/old-testament-prophecies.html

            And I am glad to see you have finally learned how to spell "Bible."

          • Art Davison

            Exactly how is somehing "authentically revealed" by Gawd? I haven't seen giant signs in the sky proclaiming his word.
            Surely you aren't referring to the Holey Babble as your source.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            See my comment immediately above this one.

          • Rob Abney

            What’s your proof that I would be a Muslim?

          • Art Davison

            Okay, the odds are overwhelmingly in favour of you being a Muslim if you were born in Saudi Arabia. There is no logical reason to be anything else, unless your parents believed a different religion.

          • Rob Abney

            So, you parents were atheists?

          • Art Davison

            No, my parents attended the Baptist church, where I went to sunday school, belonged to the young peoples' club, and became a baptised church member. But going to University and becoming an engineer also taught me critical thinking,, which led me to atheism. And there was no punishment hanging over me for leaving religion.

            Of course, being raised by Muslim parents does't guarantee that you will follow, but I'm only quoting odds, and any muslim who changes his/her beliefs is in deep trouble in most Muslim countries.

          • Rob Abney

            Your baptist faith was a blind faith, easy to reject even with materialistic thinking. Too bad your university education taught you to think small.

          • David Nickol

            Your snippy condescension and Catholic triumphalism can only serve to drive skeptics and nonbelievers (and Protestants!) farther away from the Church than they already are.

            I don't think that's the aim of Strange Notions.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Not to mention disparagement of university education. I'm always repelled by belief systems that are threatened by education.

          • Rob Abney

            I prefer this snippy style to your smug condescension style that prefers to promote indifference with legalistic interpretations of reality.
            And I agree that you don’t know the aim of SN, you think it is only dialogue, but you miss the fact that the purpose of dialogue is to know the truth.

          • Art Davison

            From my viewpoint, all religions require blind faith. You know every major civilization in history has had its religion, with all-powerful Gods, sacred texts, priests and temples. The populace believed in these gods, prayed to them and offered sacrifices to them, and where are they now? Thousands of religions then and now, and at most only one can be true. The odds are against your being that one.

          • Rob Abney

            This is the point, no other god can be known through pure reasoning, only the one true God can. I don’t think your former baptist religion teaches that.

          • Art Davison

            Even assuming that there is an immaterial realm, I don't see how that proves the existence of a Gawd, and even if it did, that can't necessarily be your particular Gawd, and again even that wouldn't matter if there isn't a human soul.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Actually, as a philosopher, I have already addressed all these sorts of questions in previous articles on this web site. Just go to drbonnette.com and click on "Strange Notions," and all my articles are right there before your eyes!

            So, don't claim that these things are untrue or cannot be rationally demonstrated unless, and until, you are carefully examined some of the arguments that support them.

            Yes, we have agnostics and atheists on this web site, but most of the most active such commenters have done their homework and read at least some of the materials from the theistic side of things. They may still disagree, but they are not merely blindly rejecting everything without even examining the evidence and reasoning supporting the theistic position. What are you doing?

          • Rob Abney

            If you will admit that the human soul is not a religious invention then I’ll give you some evidence. Interested?

          • Art Davison

            Of course. Can't guarantee I'l comprehend it ,but I'll try.

          • Art Davison

            (didn't I already reply to this? Maybe in my dreams.)
            Sure. I'd be interested in evidence, trouble is I'll probably need a dictionary for the philosophical terminology

          • Rob Abney

            Good, you admit the soul is not a religious invention. Here’s an argument that uses no philosophical jargon but presents evidence that something is present.
            Consider what philosopher Peter Kreeft fittingly named the “Dead Cow Argument”: you come across two cows — one that is alive, and one that has just died. What is the difference between these two cows? Craig Payne, quoting Kreeft, explains:
            There appears to be no material difference (e.g., in size or weight or color) between the two cows. Yet something is clearly missing. What is it?” The obvious answer is that the cow is “clearly missing” its life – its “soul” or anima, in other words, its animating principle or form, that which causes the cow to live and develop as a cow.
            So the living and the dead cow, at this point, are still materially identical. Nevertheless, we can immediately observe that an immaterial difference exists, and a radically important one. As Kreeft notes, both cows have air in their lungs, but only one can breathe. This distinction is, as noted above, the “animating” principle of the matter: the form enabling a particular material substance to live. It is from this that we have the simplest understanding of what a soul is: the animating principle of a body.
            Certainly, this is only the beginning of a discussion on the soul, not the end. We’re still left to determine what sort of a thing the immaterial soul is, whether a human soul is like a cow soul, and so on. But this line of reasoning does dispel the absurd notion that the material is all that there is. https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/does-the-immaterial-exist/18321/

          • Art Davison

            Interesting ideas Rob.
            There is a difference between the 2 cows - the living cow has all its critical parts working, while the dead one has had a necessary component damaged to the point that it can't function, so the cow dies. The brain of the living cow receives input from the environment, decides the necessary reaction, and sends signals to the muscles to carry out the required movement . No soul needed.

            I believe you are saying that all living things have souls, including mosquitos and house flies, and of course snails and worms and jellyfish.

          • Rob Abney

            Yes, all living things including plants.

            What are you referring to, what does it mean for a necessary component to stop functioning? Since every part of the body is informed by the soul, any critical part that becomes separated from the soul means death.

          • David Nickol

            In autumn, does a tree's soul withdraw from individual leaves, causing them to be dead and fall off? If so, does the shape of the tree's soul change from that of a leafy tree to that of a leafless tree?

          • Rob Abney

            You've been in lockdown too long if that's how you understand trees and souls. Please provide the legalistic interpretation for us poor Catholics who don't understand our own texts.

          • Rob Abney

            Art, what makes one of the cows go “moo”?

          • Art Davison

            Its brain telling the lungs to expell a burst of air through its mouth. Don't tell me its soul does. Then assuming my soul guides my actions also, thenI have no need for such a large brain, as my soul can perform all my conscious actions.

          • Rob Abney

            You are correct about the cow brain function, but what makes that critical organ be categorized as alive?

          • Art Davison

            You can't convince me that some undetectable soul is the difference. All the cow's critical components are in working condition and functioning properly, converting oxygen, water and food into energy to fuel the cells of the body and enable it to move as the brain directs. If some essential part becomes inoperable, the animal dies. It doesn't matter if the 'soul' is still in the cow.

          • Rob Abney

            I’m not asking you to “detect” an immaterial power only to acknowledge that there is something that animates the parts of the cow that lead you to recognize that it is either dead or alive.

          • Art Davison

            I don't believe that an immaterial, undetectable something can interact with material objects. How could this be possible?

          • Rob Abney

            In the same way that the immaterial roundness of a ball “interacts” with the ball, it makes it what it is. At some point you’ll have to consider why you believe or don’t believe rather than know or don’t know.

          • Art Davison

            The roundness of a ball is not immaterial since I can detect the shape wih my eyes. Taking a handful of clay and molding it into a reconizable shape hasn't added anything to it.

          • Rob Abney

            What makes the shape recognizable? You can detect the ball in front of you is round but where did you get the notion of roundness. Are some balls less round?

          • Art Davison

            A quantity of matter occupies space, which means it must have a shape. Humans may deliberately modify this shape, but the result doesn't have any particularl significance except to the human.

          • Jim the Scott

            Nice dodge! Yer answer can be summed up as "just because" which is no answer at all.

          • Art Davison

            Stating that 'roundness' is anything more than a geometric shape is ridiculous.

          • Jim the Scott

            Except the question was "where did you get the notion of roundness"?

            So you either dodged it or you don't understand the question.

          • Rob Abney

            Are you claiming that roundness only exists in your mind, maybe you are a god.

          • Art Davison

            Roundness is a geometic shape that I can recognize. I cannot comprehend how it can be some mysterious quality.

            Unlikely that I am a gawd, as I don' t believe in them.

            I no nothing of Philosophy, which I know is obvious to you. However, Christopher Hitchens was a philosopher and he never espoused your beliefs.

          • Rob Abney

            Sorry, I don’t think I can change your thinking at this stage of your life, so we can end the discussion.
            Hitchens was not much of a philosopher, but if you liked him then you might also like his brother Peter, the only difference between the two was that Peter worships God.

          • Art Davison

            Okay Rob. I guess we can agaree to disagree, so to speak.
            Reminds me of my favourite t-shirt saying:-
            'I'm not arguing, I'm just explaining why I'm right.' lol
            Stay Safe!

          • Jim the Scott

            >However, Christopher Hitchens was a philosopher and he never espoused your beliefs.

            That is not a convincing statement(Hitchens philosophical incompetence not withstanding).
            Prof Stephen Barr is a physicist & a PhD and a Catholic who espouses our beliefs.

            Now what?

            Art seriously dude go read some Jack Smart or Graham Oppy (Atheists of substance) and you might present us an interesting challenge. Or not. Please yerself.

            Cheers.

          • Art Davison

            My Mommy taught me about roundness.

          • Rob Abney

            Ask her to explain it again, pay more attention!

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Just as a side note, may I respectfully suggest you read carefully my article here that demonstrates this exact point -- and does so through something you can check yourself without doing terribly sophisticated philosophy arguments?

            https://www.hprweb.com/2020/06/materialisms-unnoticed-achilles-heel/

            It uses something that even dumb bunnies can do. :)

          • Art Davison

            In your article you state "And yet, sense experience can do something that mere matter cannot do, that is, unify the whole of what is sensed in a single act of apprehension."
            An intelligent robot can 'see' objects and react appropriately. It can see humans and distinguish between individuals, and tell the diference between different objects and different animals. Sounds like sight to me. Without a soul.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            This just tells me that you did not read my article carefully, since it tells you precisely why no purely material thing can apprehend a sense object as a whole.

            Forgive me if I am not overwhelmed by the "intelligence" of a computer of any type. They are essentially a pile of junk assembled by very smart people who program its functions to imitate human cognition and thought processes. As an early programmer at Ford Division when we had an IBM 705 and a 1401 computer, the eternal lament was that the computers did what you told them to do, not what you wanted them to do. I realize AI establishes "self-learning" programming within the newest computers, but the problem is that a computer could still make audible sounds of "Cogito ergo sum," and it still would not be thinking nor even know that it existed at all. Computers know nothing at all. If you think they do, this just proves you do not understand how they work.

            But i still stand behind the reasoning in my article, which you clearly do not understand.

          • Art Davison

            I never claimed that a computer controlled robot was intelligent, just that, if it could detect and identify objects without a soul, why can't a huuman, using the biological equivalent of the robot's sensing system, do the same, wiithout a soul?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Two points:

            First, I did not say that animals' ability to experience sense objects as a whole proved that they had a soul. Read the article carefully. What I said was that to sense physically-extended objects as a whole requires a non-material sense power, that is, a power that is not itself extended in space.

            The article does go on, later on, to suggest that a world in which living things have substantial forms we call souls would complete the picture. But that was a separate issue.

            Second, the issue is not intelligence. Dumb bunnies, which have no intelligence at all, still can have sense experience of their carrots as a whole -- because, like with us humans, their sensory powers are not extended in space.

            Robots may "detect" and "identify" objects because they are programmed to react that way in the presence of objects. But, what they cannot do is to have the subjective sense experience of "seeing" and "feeling" the objects to which they physically react.

            There is a whole world of difference in the way the physical world must be understood once you realize that animals have immaterial sense experience, since that immaterial factor now enters into understanding all things that exist.
            This is the aspect that materialists simply miss about the world -- and you do NOT need to prove God's existence or that of a spiritual human soul in order to see this truth.

            That is why my article focuses on a simple act that even a dumb bunny can do, namely, subjectively experience a sensed object as a whole.

            I know you are not used to thinking of things in these terms, since once conditioned to think of everything in terms of natural science and physical reality, one automatically reinterprets all data in those terms.

            But the problem for such thinking is that it simply cannot explain how something as simple as seeing a physically-extended object as a whole is simply impossible for a physically-extended "receiver." That is why you have to real the argument in the article very slowly and carefully.

          • Art Davison

            But you danced around my question. Why cannot humans have the biological equivalent of the robot's object sensing system?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            First, because your robot does not have a "sensing" system. It has a "reaction" system. It has no subjective experience at all, since a pile of physical objects is merely an accidental unity with no ability to have subjective experience of wholes. That was the point of the article.

            Second, because even if the biological "equipment" does the same things as the robot's parts and programming does, that is not sufficient to explain how animals have subjective experience of wholes.

            The whole point of the article is that it takes more than physically extended parts in space to explain how experience of unified wholes can take place.

            You really need to set aside your preconceived notion that the physical robot somehow can just automatically have this "experience of wholes" and reason your way through exactly how this is possible in purely physical terms. It simply cannot be done. That is what my article explains in detail.

          • Art Davison

            Okay Dennis, if I accept your argument that humans have souls, where does that lead? If the soul survives death, what happens to it?

          • Dennis Bonnette

            But you do not see what I am driving at. I don't want you to just "accept for the sake of argument" that humans have souls -- and then we go off debating all the possible rational and religious consequences of that fact.

            Please come back to the article itself. It does NOT primarily prove that humans have SPIRITUAL souls, or souls at all.

            Rather, it aims to open the reader's eyes to an astonishing fact. That is, that even dumb bunnies, lowly animals, must have something not at all physical in their make up. That it takes something immaterial in a living, sensing thing to enable it to know whole things in its perception.

            This does not apply just to humans. It applies to chimps, rabbits, snakes, and cock roaches!

            Philosophy is not about learning what others have said about the world. That is history of philosophy.

            You will have no philosophy at all unless you yourself understand the truth of what you discover about reality.

            I am trying to pry open the epistemic lid and get readers to see that this reality we live in cannot be just a physical cosmos. It has a provable non-material aspect to it.

            If a reader can just begin to see the force of this argument into the reality of some non-material things existing, then -- just maybe -- he will begin to reexamine his whole worldview and begin to see the whole of reality in a different light.

            That is why I don't want you to skip over my argument and just go on debating over things where each side stakes out positions to defend -- but no one has discovered something really new and really true about all creation.

          • Art Davison

            What animates a live animal? The lungs and digestive tract fuel it. The circulatory system distributes the resulting energy to the cells of the muscles. The brain decides on an action, and the nervous system sends the appropriate signals to the muscles. No soul needed.

          • Rob Abney

            Maybe you forgot but we’ve already been over this.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Of course there is something that animates the parts of a cow, causing me to recognize that it is alive. It's called the nervous system, and it's completely physical.

          • Rob Abney

            Brilliant. What’s animating the nervous system?

          • Joseph Noonan

            Do you actually need me to explain the biology to you, or are you just being difficult? You can't possibly believe that biologists don't know how the nervous system works, can you?

          • Rob Abney

            I am trying to be difficult to the materialistic way of thinking. So if you can do it then tell me what makes the nervous system work, not how it works.

          • Joseph Noonan

            I am trying to be difficult to the materialistic way of thinking.

            You know very well that that's not what I meant by "difficult".

            So if you can do it then tell me what makes the nervous system work, not how it works.

            "What makes it work" and "how it works" mean the exact same thing.

          • Jim the Scott

            >"What makes it work" and "how it works" mean the exact same thing.

            So programing my old VCR or DVD player is the same as building one from scratch?

            Who knew?

          • Joseph Noonan

            That has nothing to do with what I just said. Neither you building a VCR nor you programming one is "what makes it work" in this context. What makes it work is the actual process going on inside it that causes it to do the things it does.

          • Jim the Scott

            >That has nothing to do with what I just said.

            Would that you would treat us with the same curtesy?

          • Jim the Scott

            In case you didn't see this.....

            Using Modal Logic to defeat the PSR & attack the notion God is necessary being is comically wrong.

            >"if A is necessary, and A is sufficient for B, then B is also necessary."

            Here is why the above is nonsense. It comes down to ambiguity. What is A? How is A necessary and in what sense? How is A sufficient for B? In what sense is B necessary? Is B's necessity identical to A or is it Necessary in a different sense?

            When you fill in the blanks and assume the scholastic version of the PSR it falls apart. A is Necessary Being/Existence in Essence. A is the sufficient cause and reason for the existence/being of B. It does not follow that B's being/existence is necessary being/existence in essence since if it has necessary being in essence it doesn't need A to cause or be the reason for its existence. At best you could could say if A causes B's existence and is the reason for it then it is necessary it should exist but it is not necessary in & of itself.

            You are not giving us "logic" buddy but base sophistry.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Why are you reposing your comment from a different article in this thread? Were you just too impatient to wait for me to respond to you in that thread? I've responded to your comments in other threads now. Try to stay on topic.

          • Jim the Scott

            So begins yer non-starter objections and fallacies of equivocation.

            >That's hardly a weird claim.

            It pretty much is since God is one in essence and three in subsisting divine relations. So he is One in one sense and three in another. A contradiction is claim God is One and Three at the same time in the same sense.

            >If God isn't a moral agent, then he isn't all-good.

            Only by yer subjective ad hoc standards not by any philosophically or metaphysically coherent ones. God is not a good bike rider since by definition the divine essence cannot ride a bike. But that doesn't make him not All Good as we Classic Theists understand All Good.

            >I don't really care about classical theism's bizarre attempts to define "God" in a way that doesn't conform to the way believers actually use the term...

            What you are doing here is complaining I don't believe in the God you wished I believed in. Too bad.
            Here do some learning before you bore the heck out of us offering polemics for a "god" neither of us believes in.

            https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/07/classical-theism-roundup.html

            >The God of Catholicism is certainly a personal being, and so is anything that I would be willing to call "God".

            God is only personal because He has intellect and will analogous to our intellect and will. God is not a person like we are as that would be an unequivocal comparison and God cannot be compared to creature unequivocally.
            Sorry but that is not the God of Catholicism but some "god" of yer own making.

            >So you don't have any idea what the Euthyphro dilemma is. (Hint: It has nothing to do with the problem of evil).

            Epicurus' dilemma then. Thank you I will correct that right away.

            Of course you won't do the same. You will still pretend God is a theistic Personalist entity and that Catholicism teaches that and of course it doesn't. You still pretend the Rationalist PSR is unequivocally the same as the Neo-scholastic. I can correct my mistakes. I have yet to see you do so. That is a great character flaw if you ask me?

            >If you want to talk about a God who is all-good but not morally good, then you simply aren't even addressing the problem of evil.

            God is not a moral agent. I don't believe God is a moral agent in order for you to "win" you have to put on the hat of a theistic apologist & convince me a Moral Agent God which we are both Atheists toward exists before you point out the problems with that belief. Yeh good luck with that.

            You really want to waste my time doing that do you?

            >The problem of evil is not about some other use of the word "good".

            We are presupposing the scholastic and Aristotilan metaphysical definitions Good and you are substituting yer own which we do not accept. Good luck with that. This is yer typical way of arguing. Do you have anything to offer but fallacies of equivocation?

            >If the same moral rules that apply to humans don't also apply to God, then there is no objective morality.

            That is off topic. I lack belief in any "god" who is unequivocally compared to a human. So why waste my time arguing against the God you wished I believed in instead of the one I do believe in?

            >Morality is not about what you "owe" people in the sense of some sort of payback or bargain.

            Again with the fallacies of equivocation! Sorry but that is our definition & understanding and we don't give a rat's behind about yer definition. It is Our God whom we are discussing not the one you wished we believed in.

            >A good being treats others well regardless of whether he owes them anything. If a person allows horrible things to happen to others just because he doesn't owe them anything, then he is a horrible person.

            Rather a virtuous rational creature etc..rest you said. God is not a creature and no God who is unequivocally compared to creatures exists as far as I am concerned. So yer objection is a non-starter.

            >This is funny because before reading this, I was going to point out that the way you are describing "God" sounds more like Plato's form of the good than any deity.

            Which is common to all Classic Theists. You OTOH are only familiar with Theistic Personalism. I am an absolute Atheist toward any such "god" and so are all the classic Christian Theologians of antiquity.

            >Apparently, this is what you call "God". But that's not what any ordinary believers mean by "God", nor is it what atheists mean when they say they don't believe in God.

            So what? Ordinary knuckle draggers thing Big Bang was a literal explosion in the void of space somewhere. Like in the old GoldKey Star Trek Comics. I assume you know that is NOT what Big Bang literally was? In a similar manner plebs believe Evolution is animals turning into other animals and "getting better" which is not what natural selection believes.

            Sorry but if you don't understand sophisticated theology or philosophy I am not interested. I have no desire to discuss "Magic Old Man In White in Sky" or "Cosmic Gandalf" with you. N

            >You cannot get around problems with God's existence by just defining something else, like the form of the good, to be "God".

            I just did. You cannot convince me a Moral Agent God who is not The Form of the Good exists. I am already an Atheist toward that God. I am Catholic and a scholastic.
            You are a fundamentalist.

            >That's one hell of a double standard.

            Double standards only exist between equals. God is not our equal and I don't believe in any God who is.....

          • Jim the Scott

            Don't think I didn't notice you delete yer erroneous criticism of God as Not a Moral Agent. You cannot escape.

          • Joseph Noonan

            If any of my comments have been deleted, it's because Disqus Mark's them as spam. It does this to long comments all the time.
            So maybe try getting a new hobby rather than obsessing over my comments, and stop making a total jack*ss of yourself.

          • Jim the Scott

            I have a better idea. Stop bothering my friend Dr. B by filling his comments boxes with dozens of posts. He doesn't like it anymore then you do if I do it to you. Savvy?

            Also stop pretending you know what you are talking about. All you are doing is cribbing van Inwagen and Bennett's criticism of the Rationalist version of the PSR and then you turn around and argue by equivocation & special pleading it applies to the Neo Scholastic one. You never explain how it applies you just assert it by fiat. I OTOH in quoting Feser and others I showed it doesn't apply.

            Live with it.

            Then there is yer confusing logical argument with formal argument in yer ineffective so called "example" of a logical contradiction in the doctrine of the Trinity. I did that one in my sleep. It wasn't hard.

          • Joseph Noonan

            I have a better idea. Stop bothering my friend Dr. B by filling his comments boxes with dozens of posts.

            Are you seriously going to attempt to take some sort of moral high ground after you falsely accused me of dirty deleting, spammed the same comments over and over on multiple threads, including threads that contained completely unrelated discussions, and constantly spewed vitriol?
            Dr. Bonnette and I were having a civil discussion until you decided to interrupt it, and "filling comment boxes with dozens of posts" is kind of the entire purpose of this site (look at just about any thread on this site, and you'll see more than dozens). Dr. B actually said that he appreciated me going through his post point-by-point.

            He doesn't like it anymore then you do if I do it to you.

            I don't have any problem with you responding to my posts. What I do have a problem with is responding with something completely irrelevant to the original post, making false accusations, and being a condescending, self-aggrandizing jerk. So far, I have not seen a single comment from you that doesn't fit one or more of those categories.

            Also stop pretending you know what you are talking about.

            So far, you haven't done a good job demonstrating that I don't, and you most certainly haven't demonstrated that you know what you're talking about (at the very least, you've demonstrated that you lack the basic skills necessary for civil discussion).

            I did that one in my sleep.

            I'm not surprised. The arguments in your comment did have the quality that one would expect if they were written in your sleep.

          • Jim the Scott

            >Are you seriously going to attempt to take some sort of moral high ground after you falsely accused me of dirty deleting, spammed the same comments over and over on multiple threads, including threads that contained completely unrelated discussions, and constantly spewed vitriol?

            Yes he and I talk on the phone. He thinks you are flooding his combox with nonsense and you are ignoring his arguments.

            >Dr. Bonnette and I were having a civil discussion until you decided to interrupt it, and "filling comment boxes with dozens of posts" is kind of the entire purpose of this site (look at just about any thread on this site, and you'll see more than dozens). Dr. B actually said that he appreciated me going through his post point-by-point.

            He is polite too a fault I will give him that but he also doesn't think you have the knowledge to discuss this matter intelligently or competently. I mean you insist on yer own definitions and not ours. What is the point in talking to you?

            >I don't have any problem with you responding to my posts. What I do have a problem with is responding with something completely irrelevant to the original post, making false accusations, and being a condescending, self-aggrandizing jerk.

            Funny that is my problem with you.

            > So far, I have not seen a single comment from you that doesn't fit one or more of those categories.

            Again funny that etc.....

            >So far, you haven't done a good job demonstrating that I don't,

            No the burden is on you to know what you are talking about before you offer criticism and let us face it. You don't know the difference between the Rational vs Scholastic PSR and you don't know Logical Contradictions from Formal one and out of left field you think the Transitive principle of Logic can be applied to the Trinity by confusing the senses of Person and Essence?

            This is what we call the Dunning-Kruger Effect. You are so incompetent in yer knowledge of Scholastic Philosophy you don't even realize you are incompotent. But buddy let me tell you. Every scholastic here knows.

            > you've demonstrated that you lack the basic skills necessary for civil discussion)

            Civility end when the sophistry begins for me. I am not a nice person. But I understand Scholastic philosophy. You simply don't. Don't get mad scrub go read some books.

          • Jim the Scott

            I've read over again some of yer responses to Dr. B and it is astounding yer ability to commit verbal sophistry. You should get a job in politics. At best you are a nominalist on crak.

            Let us look at these two statements you made.

            >If A is a necessary being, and A is a sufficient reason for B, it follows logically that B is necessary.

            >If you don't believe that a necessary being can be the sufficient reason for another necessary being, that's fine.

            The first statement is vague in that it doesn't explain how B is "necessary" and in what sense.

            The second is a formal contradiction. Yet you claim to justify it by logical argument but it is clear it requires formal argument. Formally speaking if A is necessary being then it is its own reason for it to be. If A is the reason for B and if A is not the same being as B then by definition B can only be contingent since if it was necessary it would be its own reason to be & would not need A and since A is its reason to be and since they are not the same being then B must be contingent.

            Of course we are discussing the nature of its being because we are presupposing the scholastic version of the PSR “there is a sufficient reason or adequate necessary objective explanation for the being of whatever is and for all attributes of any being”.

            The rationalist version formulated by Leibniz says "The principle of sufficient reason, namely, that nothing happens without a reason. (G VII 355; LC L2; AG 321, our emphasis)". Which is overly general and subject to the logical criticism of van Inwagen and Bennett given Leibniz metaphysical presuppositions which are different from the scholastic.
            Also given presuppose that propositions are among the things the Rationalist PSR says require an explanation, and that for an explanans to be a sufficient reason for an explanandum involves its logically entailing the explanandum. But while rationalist versions of PSR might endorse these assumptions, the Thomist understanding of PSR does not.

            So given all these above facts I don't see how van Inwagen and Bennett criticisms can apply to the Neo-scholastic version of the PSR.

            To date yer like someone arguing what is the best type of gasoline to put in a VOLT because the type you recommend works well in FORD's. Except a VOLT doesn't run on gas. It is an electric car and it is not convinving for you to claim since they are both cars yer they are absolutely equivalent.

            I am afraid there is nothing left to discuss.

          • Joseph Noonan

            I've read over again some of yer responses to Dr. B and it is astounding yer ability to commit verbal sophistry.

            You have some weird obsessions.

            The first statement is vague in that it doesn't explain how B is "necessary" and in what sense.

            In my discussion with Dr. Bonnette, I explained what definition of "necessary" I was using. Apparently, you didn't actually read it. Or, more likely, you did but chose to ignore it and then post a couple of out-of-context quotes here for no discernible reason.

            The second is a formal contradiction.

            That's just laughable, especially given that you just tried to argue that something can only be called a contradiction if it's an explicit contradiction of the form X and not X. Please explain to me the formal contradiction in saying that it's okay if someone else believes something.

            Formally speaking if A is necessary being then it is its own reason for it to be.

            Aside from being incoherent (Something cannot be its own reason for being because that is a circular explanation), you are simply ignoring the definition of necessity that I was using there. Go back and actually read the thread.

            “there is a sufficient reason or adequate necessary objective explanation for the being of whatever is and for all attributes of any being”.

            That's the version of the PSR that my argument is formulated against. I'm starting to think you haven't actually read my original argument against the PSR.

            The rationalist version formulated by Leibniz says "The principle of sufficient reason, namely, that nothing happens without a reason.

            If that's the version of the PSR that you're calling the "rationalist version" (which is strange considering that you previously referred to the propositional PSR as the rationalist version, but this is a totally different formulation), then I haven't even attempted to argue against the "rationalist version" of the PSR with my argument.

            A Necessary being is the reason for another necessary being?

            I didn't claim that it could be, which is why I said it's fine if Dr. B doesn't believe it, but you're also not even using the same definition of "necessary", so your argument is, as you might put it, a total non-starter.

          • Jim the Scott

            >In my discussion with Dr. Bonnette, I explained what definition of "necessary" I was using. Apparently, you didn't actually read it. Or, more likely, you did but chose to ignore it and then post a couple of out-of-context quotes here for no discernible reason.

            Neither he nor I care at all about yer made up self serving definitions. Go learn our definitions. You refuse so there is nothing to discuss. Like yer attempted redefinition of the Trinity. I no more care about yer made up definitions then the Graduate Students in biology care about some creationist made up definition of natural selection.

            >That's just laughable, especially given that you just tried to argue that something can only be called a contradiction if it's an explicit contradiction of the form X and not X.

            So basically you don't understand the difference between a formal contradiction vs a logical one?

            >Please explain to me the formal contradiction in saying that it's okay if someone else believes something.

            I got nothing that isn't even English. That is piss poor grammar even for moi whose sucky grammar is legendary across the net.

            >Aside from being incoherent (Something cannot be its own reason for being because that is a circular explanation),

            This statement only makes sense if you are conflating causality with sufficient reason which it appears you are doing.

            >you are simply ignoring the definition of necessity that I was using there. Go back and actually read the thread.

            Yes I am because we are only interested in our definition not yer self serving ad hoc made up definition.

            >That's the version of the PSR that my argument is formulated against. I'm starting to think you haven't actually read my original argument against the PSR

            You are just badly repeating the argument from van Inwagen and Bennett and pretending it applies to the Scholastic version of the PSR. It simply doesn't.

            >If that's the version of the PSR that you're calling the "rationalist version" (which is strange considering that you previously referred to the propositional PSR as the rationalist version, but this is a totally different formulation), then I haven't even attempted to argue against the "rationalist version" of the PSR with my argument.

            Where did I literally say that and in response to what literal words written by you? You can't answer. You are just making it up at this point.

            >I didn't claim that it could be, which is why I said it's fine if Dr. B doesn't believe it, but you're also not even using the same definition of "necessary", so your argument is, as you might put it, a total non-starter.

            Well as Doc B just told you this is a word salad.

            Good day too you sir. I said good day.

          • Rob Abney

            What makes it work" and "how it works" mean the exact same thing.

            Then why do we use different words?

          • Joseph Noonan

            Have you never heard of a synonym?

          • Rob Abney

            I have, but those words are not synonymous.

          • David Nickol

            In the case of a heart transplant, when the heart is still in the donor (braindead but on a ventilator), it would seem that the donor's soul has already left his body, yet the heart is alive. Does it somehow have a soul of its own? And what about when the heart is transplanted into the recipient? Does the recipient's should take over the job of animating the heart?

          • Rob Abney

            You are getting repetitious, you've presented the same gotcha scenario many times.
            Do you know if a heart keeps beating if it is ripped from the chest as a sacrifice to the sun-god?
            I have no information about a recipient's shoulder animating a heart, that seems nonsensical.

          • Art Davison

            By definition, all faiths are blind (belief with no proof)

          • BTS

            I couldn't resist:
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/803c344e2d3757d7724eef70bc86c259a850fdf1511aa46c5d3d01a53b97f5b3.jpg

            Here's hoping Brandon has a sense of humor, or I may be riding off into the sunset.

          • Rob Abney

            Now use your words to describe what you mean.

          • BTS

            Now use your words to describe what you mean.

            I cannot do better than David N. already did.

          • Rob Abney

            I didn’t think you could Mr Popularity.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Because you are an engineer and not a philosopher, I can understand why you do not understand (1) that what you think are the mere "conjectures" of Aristotle entail a good number of carefully reasoned arguments leading the mind to truths about human nature, and (2) that not all knowledge is natural scientific knowledge, and therefore, not all truths about human nature must be (empirically?) verified.

            For example, how do you empirically verify that you are experiencing love for another human being? How do you empirically verify that all truths must be empirically verified?

          • Art Davison

            I've read Aristotle's treatise on souls, and as far as I can determine, it's simply conjecture. He also believed that the world consisted of 5 elements - earth, air, fire water and ether.
            As for love, IMHO, it's a strong feeling of wanting to be with another person because you enjoy their apppearance and personality, and you have a desire to offer him/her your support and in many cases have a sexual interest, etc. I could go on.
            Happy Canada Day.
            '

          • Philip Rand

            Art Davison

            The subjective experience you refer is simply a consequence of the practical reasoning of Fish's placebo psychotherapy model, i.e. circularity.

            Fish's placebo psychotherapy model is provably wrong; similar to your Flying Spaghetti Monster.

          • Art Davison

            So you're saying that dolphins, chimps and rabbits have souls, as do my potatoes and the dandelions in my lawn.
            Seems criminal to eat a carrot.

          • David Nickol

            If God created the universe, then surely even if human beings are made only of matter, God could re-create a human body with the necessary brain configuration to preserve a lifetime of memories. If it's possible to imagine the transporter on Star Trek disassembling a human body and beaming it to another location precisely reassembled, then surely it's possible to imagine the creator of the universe doing basically the same thing (except the reassembling is done at a distant place and time).

          • Art Davison

            "Imagine" is the key word. Recreating human bodies is just as imaginary as the Star Trek transporter.
            With 2 Trillion galaxies in the Universe, each with 1 billion stars, most of them with a number of planets, there must be a great many with intelligent life, otherwise, as the science fiction character said "It's an awful waste of real estate" So why would the Gawd of this vast creation, consider giving eternal life to the semi-intelligent primates on a mediocre planet orbiting a small star in an insignificant galaxy?

          • David Nickol

            Sorrow for one's sins is not genuine unless it is accompanied by a firm resolution to stop committing them. Hence, real repentance cannot leave one "totally evil."

            But imperfect contrition (fear of punishment) is sufficient for absolution if the evil person makes a good confession. There would have to be a true resolve never to sin again, but in the case of a deathbed confession, that might not be so difficult to muster.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            You are correct, of course. I deliberately did not try to get into the distinction between imperfect and perfect contrition, since it was not necessary in order to show that one could not be "totally evil" after repentance. As you may know, the Church urges the penitent to try to evoke sentiments of sorrow for offending the goodness of God as well as fear of just punishment for sin. While a deathbed confession may sound easier to have purpose of amendment, it is also easy in ordinary circumstances, since the fear of just punishment and love of God may indeed deter the will to sin at that time. Human nature being what it is, of course, will frequently start the process all over again. That is why salvation for most people is probably not a matter of never sinning, but rather, never giving up on oneself or on God's mercy.

          • Rob Abney

            Based on your age then you better figure out if you need to repent soon!

          • Art Davison

            You actually believe that Hell exists, with fire and torture, wailing and gnashing of teeth for infinity? I'm on the same level as Adolph Hitler or Pol Pot? That idea is used to scare litle children.

          • Art Davison

            All I said was abortion was the mother's choice. Of course once a child is born killing it is murder. You're deliberately
            muddying the waters.

          • cosmonow

            Why is it murder five minutes after birth but morally permissible to kill a child five minutes before birth? What about one hour before birth? A day? A month? In your view, what exactly makes it permissible to kill a human being before birth, but not afterwards?

          • Art Davison

            My moral code would require me to try to save the drowning child.
            As an aside, I find it significant that almost all the major religions are based on "Sacred Writings" compiled over a thousand years ago, when humans were superstitious, and ignorant of how the universe was constructed and how it worked.

          • Dennis Bonnette

            I am not so sure that last paragraph works so well. The greatest Greek mind, Aristotle, held that the world was eternal and mocked the Greek anthropomorphic gods -- yet he still rationally argued to a first mover unmoved that moved all things through final causality.

            You refer to what you call "my moral code." The problem with your moral code is that it is yours. Since you do not receive it from a transcendent God, you can change it any time you want to -- in which case, your morality may not even be stable, since it is the product of your own will.

          • Art Davison

            Of course I could change my moral code, but why would I? I want to first do no harm and improve life for others when possible.
            I assume the 10 Commandments are the basis for your morals. The first four have nothing to do with anything except stroking God's ego -

          • Dennis Bonnette

            "I want to first do no harm and improve life for others when possible."

            Unless you understand the nature of man and the metaphysical context of his existence, you have no objective criteria by which to determine what actually causes harm and improvement to a human being.

            As a mere animal, we might seek only pleasure. But reason tells us that pleasure alone is not sufficient. The science of ethics is determined by a rational understanding of human nature adequately considered. That is the basis for natural law ethics.

            Ethics should not be confused with the Ten Commandments, even though the findings of natural law ethics will comport with the implications of the Ten Commandments, because the same God is the Author of both reason and revelation.

            There is a bit more to all this than what you describe, since you first have to know whether we are creatures of God or merely the end result of blind evolution. That is why ethics presupposes both philosophical psychology and metaphysics. Otherwise, you are just guessing and have no rational basis for establishing moral obligation.

          • Art Davison

            morality is basically a set of laws that enables civilization to function. No Gawd needed

          • Dennis Bonnette

            Maybe you think that God is not needed. But if you are wrong and God is real, then your ethics had better take his role in the creation of human nature into consideration.

            That is why ethics is not a "stand alone" science. It cannot be intelligently studied without first studying philosophical psychology (since that is where one determines whether man has a spiritual and immortal soul) and metaphysics (since that is where one determines whether God exists and is the author of human nature). You cannot determine what is right or wrong for man until you know what kind of being he is and what is the ontological context of his life.

            If God does exist, trying to do ethics without consulting his input into the structuring of human existence would be like buying a new car and then failing to look at the manufacturer's maintenance book they put in the glove compartment.

          • cosmonow

            Catholic Christianity is not locked in the past as you assume. The bible is indeed the inerrant word of God but it isn't our only source of sacred truth. The Lord lives on in His apostolic church by way of the holy sacraments and the ongoing teaching authority of the Magisterium. The Catholic Church emphasizes the unity of all truth. There can be no real contradiction between the truths of science, philosophy and authoritative Church teaching. The Church is perfectly up to date with how the universe was 'constructed' and how it works; in fact many of the essential breakthroughs in modern science were made by Catholic clergy scientists (not to mention lay Catholic scientists) - Roger Bacon, Gregor Mendel and Georges Lemaitre (priest, astronomer and professor of physics, who first proposed what came to be known as the 'Big Bang' theory of cosmic origin) being just a few. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_clergy_scientists

          • Art Davison

            Funny, isn't it that Gawd supposedly wants us to believe in him and act in certain ways, yet his instructions are contained in a book that is so confusing that there are thousands of different Christian sects, each with their own interpretation of the Holey Babble, and to make matters worse, if you had been born in Saudi Arabia, or India, odds
            are that you wouldn't be a Christian of any description

          • cosmonow

            An ‘unwanted’ child is desperately wanted by thousands of people keen to adopt children. Is it better to be dead than to be adopted into a loving family? Or, at worst, is it better to be dead than to be raised in difficult circumstances by a mother who didn’t want you? People are resilient. They can overcome difficulties and go on to lead happy, productive lives. It’s not up to us to unilaterally decide to kill them just because they might not be raised in ideal circumstances.

          • mmac1

            The Spanish Inquisition is called the Spanish Inquisition b/c it wasn’t run by the Pope (then it would be a Papal Inquisition)-local inquisitions often had local motivations underlying them. It is a little known fact that the Papal Inquisitors were much more friendly to defendant’s than local inquisitors-people if charged would literally run to the nearest Papal inquisitor to try to get the trail in his court. An interesting lecture on this is available on a Great Courses about the Middle Ages IIRC by a professor from William &Mary.

      • cosmonow

        A demonstrably silly phrase. One need only look at the genocidal history of totalitarian socialism to see that the secular world is replete with evil frequently committed by quite good people who, at least sometimes, were motivated by good intentions.

        • Joseph Noonan

          I'd hardly call that evidence that "the secular world is replete with evil", given that totalitarian socialism is not what most secular governments subscribe to, and in many cases, it isn't secular at all (state atheism is just as anti-secular as theocracy). However, you are right that both religious and nonreligious ideologies can motivate good people to do bad things.

  • Joseph Noonan

    These trends are compounded by the proliferation of socially isolating, addicting forms of entertainment like pornography, video games, social media, and smartphones that affect rising numbers of Westerners.

    Even if you think all these things are bad, are they really worse than low life expectancy, gun violence, children living in single-parent households, and all the other problems correlated with religion? Also, since when does religiosity lower the use of video games, social media, and smartphones? Does America use these things any less than other developed countries? Even when it comes to pornography, it remains to be seen whether religion actually decreases the use of it. Sure, most religions discourage pornography, but this usually just leads to people feeling guilty over using it, rather than people refraining from using it. And that's sure to lead to a lot more emotional problems than using pornography with the understanding that this doesn't make you a sinner or mean that you could go to hell.

    • cosmonow

      Which religion is in favour of low life expectancies, gun violence or broken families?

      • Joseph Noonan

        I am referring to a fact mentioned in this article, that all of those things occur more often in religious countries (in particular, they are much more common in the U.S. than in other developed countries). The author seemed to be arguing, "Sure, religion might have something to do with those things, but look at all these bad things that religion discourages," while pointing to things that are not nearly as bad.

        • cosmonow

          I’m sure you know that correlation doesn’t always entail causation. And since every religion I can think of actively supports good health, gun safety and sound family life, - we cannot in fairness blame religion for any of those problems.

          • Joseph Noonan

            And that would have been a good argument for the article to make. However, it wasn't the argument the article made. Instead, the article seemed to grant that these things are caused by religion and then tried to turn our attention to other things and argue that they are caused by nonreligion.

  • Joseph Noonan

    Population growth follows a logistic curve, so lowering birth rates are inevitable, and this isn't such a bad thing, like you make it out to be. If birth rates didn't decrease, population would increase exponentially, and this would lead to catastrophic overpopulation that would just get worse and worse with each generation. I don't think we have any good reason to try to avoid the natural result of population growth, which is population becoming stable near the carrying capacity of a region. If this leads to economic problems, there isn't really any way to avoid them, since overpopulation would lead to just as many problems, so it seems like the better course of action is to find ways to deal with the resulting economic issues, rather than try to get people to have more babies than they want. You mentioned that one of the reasons birth rates are declining is because of access to contraception. Do you really think that it would be a good idea to increase birth rates by getting rid of or discouraging the use of contraception? That would just lead to people having children they don't want and in many cases aren't able to take care of, and I don't think anything good will come out of that. What about simply encouraging people to reproduce, through religious or other means? Even that is a bad idea - if someone is going to be happier without children or with fewer children, should we really encourage them to have more children just because we are worried about an aging population, which is inevitable anyway?

  • Joseph Noonan

    Indeed, the European colonial powers that dominated the globe beginning
    in the sixteenth century—England, France, Spain, and Portugal—all
    aggressively sought to extend their faiths to the peoples they
    conquered.

    I thought you were trying to demonstrate why religion is a good thing. What you said here is true, and the success of Western society can be attributed at least in part to imperialism, but that came at the cost of oppressing non-Western societies. It certainly wasn't in line with the liberty, self-determination, and human rights that Western societies now value.

    • Ben Champagne

      Do you do live gigs? I would love to pay to have your comedy stylings done live. So good!

      • Joseph Noonan

        Why not just admit that you don't have a response to this argument rather than making yourself look foolish with a nonsensical comment? If you disagree with what I said, do you have an actual response?

        • Ben Champagne

          I'm sorry, do you think any volume of factual information would make a difference to you? Hilarious.

          • Joseph Noonan

            do you think any volume of factual information would make a difference to you?

            Seeing as it has already done so in the past, yes. However, given your comments, I seriously doubt that you are actually able to present any factual information or even have any kind of serious discussion at all. So far, every comment I have seen from you is simply you trying ineptly to ridicule people you disagree with without providing a single counter-point (and even making hilarious excuses for why you won't present any). Exhibit A: the comment you just made!

    • VicqRuiz

      We don't know that those indigenous societies would have over time experienced Enlightenments of their own and come to value liberty, self-determination, and human rights. Maybe, maybe not.

      I do know that Cortes managed to conquer the Aztecs largely because the latter had so viciously oppressed their Mexican neighbors, and that coastal African nations were more than happy to sell captive members of inland nations to the white slave trader.

      The difference between the Western conquerors and those they conquered was largely a difference of technology rather than ethics.

      • Joseph Noonan

        I'm not trying to argue that the conquered people were more ethical than the conquerors. I'm simply arguing that the conquerors were acting unethically. The article presents it as a good thing that imperialist powers aggressively spread their religions, but it isn't.

        • VicqRuiz

          Human beings are inclined to act unethically, especially when they see something which they may be able to get away with taking from somebody else.

          Although I am not a Christian, one thing in Christianity's favor is its assumption that humans are generally weak and corruptible. Tends to result in governments that have a strogn rule of law with checks and balances. The philosophy that man is naturally virtuous and perfectible tends to dysfunctional or totalitarian states.

          • Joseph Noonan

            It seems to me like quite the opposite is true. Philosophers who think that humans are naturally good tend to endorse high levels of freedom. After all, you don't need a totalitarian regime to keep people in line if they are already good to begin with. On the other hand, if you believe that humans are corrupt and weak, then you probably endorse a very controlling government to prevent life from being "poor, nasty, brutish, and short". The governments that have allowed for the most personal freedom are almost always secular ones. Christian governments and other religious governments always impose unjust restrictions on their subjects. I think this refutes the idea that it is Christian philosophy that allows for the type of government we have in the modern day.

          • VicqRuiz

            It's the philosophy that says we can create a New Humanity, free of all the dross of the past, which leads to guillotines, gas chambers and firing squads. Because humans just can't be manipulated in that way. We are often a disobedient lot, and that's a feature, not a bug.

            When you start with the idea that humans are subject to the temptations of power, and should never entirely be trusted in positions of authority, you get better governments just about every time.

            Personally the only countries I would want to live in are those which have a blend of both Christianity and Enlightenment thinking in their cultural makeup.

          • Joseph Noonan

            It's the philosophy that says we can create a New Humanity, free of all the dross of the past, which leads to guillotines, gas chambers and firing squads.

            I don't think Christianity is the only way to avoid this outcome or even the best way. My point still stands that secular governments have the most personal freedom, and secularism is an idea that is in many ways at odds with the way Christianity operated for centuries. The governments of Christendom for most of its history were officially religious, and many imposed religious restriction on people. Although these governments didn't use guillotines, gas chambers, or firing squads, that was just because those methods hadn't been invented yet. Plenty of people have been painfully executed over religion.

            When you start with the idea that humans are subject to the temptations of power, and should never entirely be trusted in positions of authority, you get better governments just about every time.

            That's not a fundamentally Christian idea. Christianity says that humans are subject to temptation, but it definitely doesn't say that they can't be trusted with authority. It's quite open to interpretation on that point. Christianity has been used to justify the exact opposite of this idea - think of how the divine right of kings was used to justify absolute monarchy. On the other hand, Enlightenment values, which developed in large part in opposition to the Christian hegemony of the day, are very clear on this point.

            Personally the only countries I would want to live in are those which have a blend of both Christianity and Enlightenment thinking in their cultural makeup.

            I think the only reason you can say this is that the Enlightenment occurred in the West, where Christianity is the dominant religion, so most countries that have Enlightenment values also have Christian influences in their culture. To me, it's clear that the elements of Western culture that make it so great to live in a Western country are Enlightenment values, not Christian values. Just look how many problems Christian influence is causing in American culture right now - we have a large bloc of people who explicitly oppose separation of church of state, seem determined to force their religion into the government, don't want basic science taught in schools, treat Trump with the same kind of fervor that I'd expect from North Koreans towards Kim Jong Un, support discrimination against atheists, LGBT people, and Muslims, etc., etc. Obviously, I'm not saying that all Christians are like this, but they are a significant and very influential portion of the U.S. population, and they are making America a worse place for all of us. All of the things I just mentioned are caused by their religion. In less religious countries, fundamentalism and dominionism don't have much influence on most people's lives. And currently, America is falling behind those less religious countries on nearly every measure of wellbeing. If America became less religious, we would be one step closer to becoming one of the most prosperous countries and to emulating the values of the Enlightenment.

          • Joseph Noonan

            It's the philosophy that says we can create a New Humanity, free of all the dross of the past, which leads to guillotines, gas chambers and firing squads.

            How is a culture based on Christianity the only way to avoid that? Or even the best way? Besides, you say this like Christianity hasn't been used to justify executing dissentors, totalitarianism, or genocide, but it has been.

            When you start with the idea that humans are subject to the temptations of power, and should never entirely be trusted in positions of authority, you get better governments just about every time.

            Christianity only assumes that first part. Some might interpret Christianity as saying that humans can't be trusted with power, but that's not how the absolute monarchs who used Christianity to justify the divine right of kings interpreted it. Or how the Church has historically interpreted it.

            Personally the only countries I would want to live in are those which have a blend of both Christianity and Enlightenment thinking in their cultural makeup.

            I think the only reason you can sag this is that most countries with Enlightenment values happen to have a blend of Enlightenment and Christian values. But that has nothing to do with Christianity being good - the reason for this is that the Enlightenment occurred in Christian countries, largely as a reaction against Christian hegemony. Currently, the countries that measure highest on basically all ratings of prosperity are also the ones that are the least religious. In America, we see all kinds of problems being caused by religion - whether it's discrimination against atheists, LGBT people, and Muslims, dominionists trying to force their religion into the government and public schools, creationists denying science and trying to prevent basic biology and geology from being taught, or opportunists using religion to manipulate people. We wouldn't have these problems if we were a less religious society. So I would much rather have that "blend of both Christianity and Enlightenment thinking" skew as much toward Enlightenment thinking as possible.

          • VicqRuiz

            I think we'll have to cordially disagree. Although I find Christianity to be logically unsustainable, I also find that Christendom, although flawed, has produced more of what I value than other cultures.

          • Joseph Noonan

            We may not disagree as much as you think. I don't dispute that Christendom has produced many things that I value - I simply don't give the credit to Christianity for this. Liberal democracy and secularism, for example, are a product of the Enlightenment more than anything else, and I don't give Christianity credit for that movement even though it occurred in Chistendom.

          • VicqRuiz

            My take is that during the late seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, the powers that be in Western Europe took a hard look at the bloody conflicts from ~1500-1680 and came to the conclusion that "We can't have any more of this. We can't have people killing each other in large numbers over whether Christ is bodily present in the communion wafer, or whether priests can take wives, or whether infants should be baptized."

            The upshot was that although there was still discrimination against minority denominations (Huguenots in France, Catholics in England) the idea that the state should have a religion to which all its subjects were compelled to adhere on pain of death evaporated over the period of a few decades, and that's when real freedom of thought began to be possible.

            The reason why I see Christianity as a prerequisite is that unfortunately this only seemed to have happened in (Christian) Western Europe and its dependencies (and Israel). The Islamic world in particular has been desperately in need of a reformation or an enlightenment for quite a while now.

          • Joseph Noonan

            But there wouldn't even have been a need to stop bloody religious conflicts if Christianity didn't exist as a motivation for those conflicts. The Enlightenment was, in part, a reaction to Christianity, but I don't give Christianity credit for a movement that sprung up to oppose Christianity's bad influences. I agree that the Muslim world is in need of a reformation, but I don't think the fact that the Enlightenment happen to occur here and not there is a justification for giving Christianity credit. Christianity had already been around for 1700 years when the Enlightenment happened, so it's hard to claim there's a direct causal link there. The Islamic world hasn't even been around for 1700 years yet, so this can't even work as an argument that Christianity is better than Islam.

          • Mark

            Wow, care to cite the history books you gathered these assertions from?

          • Joseph Noonan

            Which assertions are you disputing? Many of the things I said in my comment aren't even directly about history, but about the logical consequences of certain philosophies.

      • Raymond

        Don't forget the smallpox.

    • cosmonow

      Empires are not entirely good or bad and some empires were better than others. Although I agree that the European empires sometimes oppressed non-Western societies, in other ways they liberated them from evil superstitions such as human sacrifice. If you live in a free, prosperous country today it was probably lucky enough to have once been part of the British Empire; Canada, the U.S, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India, most of East Africa - all thriving liberal democracies based on British principles of Christian virtue, parliamentary democracy, equality before the law, free markets & free trade. Above all, the British Empire led the world in abolishing the evil of slavery. I realise that the British Empire was also guilty of much wrong-doing but, on balance, I think you can make a strong case that it was a force for good in world history. The same might be argued for the Mughal Empire in India, the Buddhist Maurya Empire, the French Empire, possibly even the Roman Empire. Imperialism always involves an imposition on the right to self-determination but it is absurd to imagine that all empires are bad in all ways, at all times. In the immortal words of Monty Python, “what have the Romans ever done for us?”

      • Joseph Noonan

        in other ways they liberated them from evil superstitions such as human sacrifice

        In rare cases, yes, but, on the whole, it was much worse for these countries under colonial rule than it had been before. Besides, you are getting dangerously close to a simplistic view of the enlightened Europeans versus the barbarous rest of the world, where the Europeans are "civilizers" who actually had the subjugated people's best interests at heart. Hopefully we can agree that that vision is outdated and inaccurate.

        If you live in a free, prosperous country today it was probably lucky enough to have once been part of the British Empire; Canada, the U.S, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India, most of East Africa

        These countries only prosper now because they were liberated from the British empire. Under British rule, they were oppressed. Besides, you've given examples of some prosperous countries that were once part of the British empire, but those aren't the most prosperous countries anyway. Here's one example of a firm that actually created an index of prosperity, with the rankings of the highest countries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legatum_Prosperity_Index
        Former British colonies are on there, but they don't top the list.

        all thriving liberal democracies based on British principles of Christian virtue, parliamentary democracy, equality before the law, free markets & free trade.

        Some of those are true, but the most prosperous countries today are also the least religious.

        Above all, the British Empire led the world in abolishing the evil of slavery.

        Britain was not the first place to come up with abolition of slavery, even among the countries that had slavery in the first place. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_abolition_of_slavery_and_serfdom And I hardly feel that abolishing a horrible practice is a point worthy of commendation when the practice never should have existed in the first place. Britain may have abolished slavery, but Portuguese imperialists were the ones who started it in the first place.

        Imperialism always involves an imposition on the right to self-determination but it is absurd to imagine that all empires are bad in all ways, at all times.

        I never claimed that all empires are bad in all ways at all times.

        • cosmonow

          ‘In rare cases ...’
          Human sacrifice was far from rare in Meso-America. Thankfully, the Conquistadors brought an end to that evil practice. Similarly, the British stopped suttee - or widow burning - in India. Many indigenous customs were indeed barbaric and Christian civilisation brought great moral improvement.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Human sacrifice was not rare in Meso-America.

            Compared to the number of the people the Conquistadors killed, it was. Besides, I'm talking about all societies, not just one.
            We don't know exactly to what extent sati was practiced, but opposition to it was not led solely by Christians. Hindu reformers opposed sati as well.

            Many indigenous customs were indeed barbaric and Christian civilisation brought great moral improvement.

            Some indigenous customs were horrible. So were some Christian customs. Overall, colonialism wasn't good for any of the societies that were colonized - it only benefited the imperialists.

        • cosmonow

          That is not to say that indigenous people were intrinsically evil or that there was nothing of value in their cultures. All human beings are capable of discerning the good by way of natural law.

          The index of prosperity you posted is based on debatable criteria. But even by its own lights it confirms my thesis that Canada, the U.S, New Zealand, Australia and other ex. members of the British Empire are among the most prosperous and free countries on earth. The Nordic countries listed are almost all liberal parliamentary monarchies that were often deeply influenced by the UK - the Mother of Parliaments - in their democratic development. Furthermore, those Scandinavian countries are all Christian to the core. Their contemporary secular humanism is the dying gasp of their Protestant rebellions. Humanism is the incoherent legacy of the catastrophic rejection of Catholic Christendom. And British / Nordic style humanism is as good as secularism gets! It chugs along on the fumes - or the poignant wisp of incense - of Christian civilisation. But at least it is still in many ways Christian in its moral principles. Huge swathes of the ‘enlightenment’ project took a much darker road in the French Revolution and it’s various genocidal socialist descendants.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Any index of prosperity is based on debatable criteria, but what other criteria are you going to use? You didn't use any criteria when you originally claimed that the countries of the former British empire were the most prosperous.
            The index doesn't confirm that ex-members of the British Empire are the most prosperous countries on Earth. It confirms that they are prosperous, but they aren't the most prosperous. You originally said, "If you live in a free, prosperous country today it was probably lucky enough to have once been part of the British Empire," but that is demonstrably false. Also, do you notice something about the former British colonies that you list as confirming your thesis - Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia? None of these countries are populated primarily by their indigenous populations. The majority of all of these countries is made up of the descendants of the people who did the colonizing. Imperialism increased the prosperity of the imperialists - that is not in question - so it's no wonder these countries ended up being prosperous. The problem with imperialism is what it does to the indigenous people, who end up being oppressed and exploited for the welfare of another nation.

            The Nordic countries listed are almost all liberal parliamentary monarchies that were often deeply influenced by the UK - the Mother of Parliaments - in their democratic development.

            Even if they copied the idea of liberal democracy from the UK, that has nothing to do with imperialism, so it doesn't justify imperialism. The UK doesn't get sole credit for the idea of liberal democracy, though, so this entire argument makes no sense.

            Furthermore, those Scandinavian countries are all Christian to the core.

            Seriously? They're the most secular countries in the world. Christianity is still the most common religion, but it plays an extremely minuscule role in society there.

            Their contemporary secular humanism is the dying gasp of their Protestant rebellions. Humanism is the incoherent legacy of the catastrophic rejection of Catholic Christendom.

            Secular humanism isn't a Protestant idea, and it has nothing to do with rejection of Catholicism specifically. It rejects all forms of theocracy, regardless of what religion they're associated with. Also, given that the most prosperous countries all embrace secular humanism, it's not "catastrophic". Far from it.

            It chugs along on the fumes - or the poignant wisp of incense - of Christian civilisation. But at least it is still in many ways Christian in its moral principles.

            This is a No True Scotsman fallacy. When you find out that all of the most prosperous countries are secular, you assert that their values aren't truly secular and that they're actually Christian values in disguise. I have yet to see any evidence for such assertions.

            Huge swathes of the ‘enlightenment’ project took a much darker road in the French Revolution and its totalitarian descendants.

            Totalitarianism is antithetical to Enlightenment values. And the reasons that the French Revolution failed have nothing to do with secularism.

        • cosmonow

          // Those countries only prosper now because because they were liberated from the British Empire. Under British rule, they were oppressed.// Most of the countries I mentioned were never oppressed by or liberated from the British Empire ( except arguably the indigenous minorities in those countries ). Canada, Australia and New Zealand, for example, had no need to be liberated from the empire. They were, for the most part, enthusiastic and loyal participants in that empire. They became sovereign independent nations in gradual, mutually agreed steps. There was never any harsh rupture from the empire and they remain close allies with the UK to this day. Indeed we all share the same monarch as the Head of State in all four countries. We are all happy to be members of the Commonwealth. But my main point is that the empire left in place principles of governance such as parliamentary democracy, equality before the law and free market economies that enabled Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong and the U.S etc. to become free & prosperous nations (albeit the historical events concerning the empire and our American cousins in the US. was much more fractious and less clear-cut at least until recent times).

          • Joseph Noonan

            ( except arguably the indigenous minorities in those countries )

            That's the oppression I was talking about. Oppressing indigenous populations is what imperialism refers to.
            You mentioned India and East Africa in your original comment, both of which suffered under British imperialism and had to be liberated from it, which is what I was referring to. You also mentioned the U.S., which fought a war to get rid of British control. You'll also notice that the colonists in the U.S. who threw off British rule created a form of government that resembles modern liberal democracy much more closely than what Britain had at the time, which makes it hard to say that Britain is solely responsible for introducing these ideas.

        • cosmonow

          // Britain was not the first to abolish slavery ... // True, there had been piecemeal attempts to abolish slavery in the past but the British Empire was the global power that did most of the heavy lifting to bring it to an end in modern history.

          • Joseph Noonan

            Britain was the only nation that had the power to cause a significant change throughout the entire world at that time. That doesn't make Britain morally better than any other nation that abolished slavery. And it certainly doesn't justify imperialism or prove that Christianity is good. Note that there is a difference between imperialism and empire. Imperialism is a specific form of policy. An empire is a type of country (usually referring to one that implements imperialism). An empire does much more than just imperialism, so the empire can still do good things, or even be good overall, even if imperialism is evil. The world isn't black and white.

        • cosmonow

          // Portuguese imperialists were the ones who started it in the first place.// I presume you meant the Atlantic Slave Trade. You realise, of course, that slavery predated European imperialism by thousands of years and was commonplace in many indigenous societies, almost all of the ancient world, Africa, the Islamic world and the Americas - long before Europeans got involved in the horrible business of slavery.

          • Joseph Noonan

            I presume you meant the Atlantic Slave Trade.

            Yes, I meant to say the Atlantic Slave Trade there, not slavery as a whole. Putting the word "it" there was a blunder on my part - I should have been clearer.

            You can't give Christianity or imperialism credit for abolishing slavery just because Britain was one of the first countries to do so unless you are also going to give Christianity and imperialism the blame for the Atlantic Slave Trade, since it was started by Christian imperialists. When you focus solely on the fact that Britain abolished slavery within its empire, you are trying to have your cake and eat it too.

  • George

    Well personally I can think of some religious leaders who would turn the United States into a living totalitarian nightmare if they got their way. Christian Dominionists like the domestic terrorist Matt Shea want to turn back the clock and make America a religious theocracy. He's an elected official, and felt emboldened enough by the popularity of Trump to share a manifesto with associates, one of whom bravely blew the whistle on its existence.

    I thought I should add that wrinkle to this discussion. If the religious conservatives on this site got their way, how could they stop, say, The Handmaid's Tale from becoming a reality? Would they want to stop it?

    • BTS

      I thought I should add that wrinkle to this discussion. If the religious conservatives on this site got their way, how could they stop, say, The Handmaid's Tale from becoming a reality? Would they want to stop it?

      I think an argument can be made that "Handmaid's Tale America" is in its nascent stages.

    • Mark

      I have no desire to be a politician. I was raised a dipped in blue democrat, my Father was a union member. That pro-labor party of the worker no longer exists. Now I tend to lean right on most matters, so I feel I'm qualified to answer your question. First, I think it is imperative to understand that Catholics that know Catholic teachings believe in the principle of subsidiarity. There are also teachings on what justifies war. A protestant personal interpretation of the Bible and it's basis for just war would be rejected outright.

      Lastly regarding the Handmaid's tale, I admit I've not