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Old 03-29-2001, 05:15 AM   #181
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Omnedon1:
Just provide the math, PolyCoward. Don't point me to someone else's article; just show me the math. If you have any guts or integrity at all. Which I sincerely doubt
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</font>
Of all of the hundreds of people I’ve talked to on discussion boards, you are definitely in the top 3 in terms of being the most illogical and/or ignorant of the things you claim to know. When presented with evidence and arguments you make up the rules as you go in order to eliminate the things with which you disagree. When you are shown a skeptic like Richard Carrier who does the same things as I do you hold me to a different standard. And before you go spouting off about how I was making claims for miracles, think again Einstein… I was making a claim that “Jesus taught in parables” which could hardly be considered miraculous. You’ve proven the amount of guts and integrity you have – zero. Your own side has told you as much.

When I tell you that well respected atheistic scholars like Gerd Ludemann use the same basic historical criteria as I do you make no response other than to say that historians who have been in their fields for decades are simply wrong. You don’t say why they’re wrong. You don’t give any alternative criteria of your own. You don’t say why you’re more qualified than they are. You basically make skeptics look bad.

I’m glad this discussion has dragged on for this long because its given everyone a chance to see exactly how you think. Its amazing that you seem to think your beliefs require absolutely no defense. When friend and foe alike tell you that you’re ignorant and making a fool of yourself, do you ever stop to think, “Hey, maybe I should re-evaluate what I’m saying.” You should have quit while you were behind. All you’ve done is given skeptics a bad name. I’m sure most of them are thinking “Get off our side”. I won’t be responding to anymore of your posts in this thread since you’ve proven to be incapable of reasonable discussion and very capable of ignoring any argument presented to you. Feel free to have the last word… I hope we can have more reasonable discussions on other topics in the future.


Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 03-29-2001, 05:26 AM   #182
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob K:

Question #1: Why is it that when atheists/agnostics/skeptics create and require standards for gods including requiring gods to show themselves and perform deeds that prove they are gods that theists/Xns eventually if not immediately come up with the "manipulation" complaint as if that complaint is somehow illegal/illogical/irrational/unreasonable?
</font>
Because it doesn't matter how large the miracle is or how many miracles occur, most skeptics still say "Its not enough". The skeptics to whom I was referring don't want to believe in a god. They're saying, "I know there are arguments for god but they're not good enough for me."

God isn't going to show himself/herself to someone who doesn't want to find him. Why should he/she? I think god reveals enough to those who truly and sincerely want to find him/her. This doesn't mean we obtain exhaustive knowledge of god. We don't.

So my one question to you is: "How would god show himself/herself to you in such a way as to fully convince you of his/her existence?"

Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 03-29-2001, 06:17 AM   #183
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:
God isn't going to show himself/herself to someone who doesn't want to find him. Why should he/she? </font>
So this God prefers to hide unless someone wants to find it?

Seems to me if a person wants to "find" something badly enough they will whether that thing actually exists or not.

How exactly is this God "found" in any case? Does the simple desire to find it highten ones senses or endow them with some kind of ESP? Is it a warm feeling? Improved eyesight? Is this entity physically heard somehow?

You may not believe this, but if there is a deity of some sort I do "want" to know it exists. It would be an intriguing discovery after all.

 
Old 03-29-2001, 09:07 AM   #184
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Polycarp:

Originally posted by Bob K:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Question #1: Why is it that when atheists/agnostics/skeptics create and require standards for gods including requiring gods to show themselves and perform deeds that prove they are gods that theists/Xns eventually if not immediately come up with the "manipulation" complaint as if that complaint is somehow illegal/illogical/irrational/unreasonable?</font>

Your words:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Because it doesn't matter how large the miracle is or how many miracles occur, most skeptics still say "Its not enough". The skeptics to whom I was referring don't want to believe in a god. They're saying, "I know there are arguments for god but they're not good enough for me."

God isn't going to show himself/herself to someone who doesn't want to find him. Why should he/she? I think god reveals enough to those who truly and sincerely want to find him/her. This doesn't mean we obtain exhaustive knowledge of god. We don't.

So my one question to you is: "How would god show himself/herself to you in such a way as to fully convince you of his/her existence?"</font>
So now you are asking the question I asked of you?

Here is the text of my previous topic post re: Standards for the Analysis/Evaluation/Judgment of Gods:
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">How would we know a god is a god if ever one attempted to reveal itself to us?

If we have no standards for accepting claims of godism, then anything goes, and anyone or anything can be a god.

We would expect gods to be more powerful than mankind individually.

We would expect gods to be more knowledgeable than mankind collectively.

We might not expect the gods to be more benevolent than mankind individually or collectively, but, of course, it would be nice if they were.

We might not expect evil to exist as a force, but, instead recognize that natural forces may have no intent, being only natural forces, and, therefore, without intent, and that mankind individually by greed, or excessive desires/desiring, can cause human unhappiness [as when individuals want more than they can have and refuse to accept that fact as a fact].

We would need the gods to fit at least some of the following standards:

1. We need a god to come as itself or send a messenger; we would need the god/messenger to reveal itself in a form we can perceive by our senses of sight/hearing/touch/smell/taste; to be in a form we can understand: human-like, animal, a burning bush, etc., but, hopefully, not some kind of psychedelic swirl of lights or/and cacophony of sounds, etc., that we might not be able to perceive and recognize to be a god/messenger, or in a dream [to avoid confusions], or as a sound/voice/image in one’s head [again, to avoid confusions]; and, hopefully, to be in a form we could videotape for future reference.

2. We would need the god to be more powerful than man individually [able to do things man individually cannot]; we would need the god to be more knowledgeable than man collectively [knows more than man collectively knows].

3. We would need the god/messenger to perform miracles, defined as caused effects man individually or collectively cannot yet cause/create; gentle miracles would be preferred instead of terrifying/threatening miracles, gentle miracles including healings, cures of uncurable diseases, generation or regeneration of missing limbs, raising the dead, if possible, changes of the weather on demand, movings of mountains. changes in the courses of rivers, assemblages of animals, birds, insects, fish on command, etc.; and we would need all miracles to be preceded by an announcement of the miracle--we would not need an announcement of a miracle after the fact of the miracle.

4. We would need the god/messenger to be willing to spend time with us, to answer our questions completely, to tell us of the origins of life [and if replicable by man, then man ought to replicate the origination of life], to tell us if or not there is a life after death, what it will be like, and how it can be achieved if there is a test individuals must pass, to tell us of how to cure currently uncurable diseases, generate/regenerate missing limbs, control the weather, tell us if or not the god can save the Earth from the expected destruction of the Sun, but if the god cannot or will not prevent the destruction of the Earth by the expected explosion of the Sun, then we will need the god/messenger to tell us if another planet exists whereupon mankind can live, where it can be found, and how mankind can get to it if our present technology is not sufficient to get us there; moreover, the god/messenger must tell us what the god wants from us, how we are to worship the god, what is the gods’ ultimate moral code, the god/messenger must tell us if or not the god hears all prayers, and if or not the god answers any prayers, and if not all then which prayers are heard/answered, and why, etc.

5. If the god/messenger were intent upon giving mankind an holy book, then we would need that book to be subject to standards of inspiration/authorship/guidance by the god in all its original forms, translations, and copies, to be free of multiple stories of the same people/things/events existing/occurring at the same timepoints [one story per set of people/things/events]--to be free of contradictions, to be free of historical inaccuracies, to be free of archaeological inaccuracies, and to be free of confusing language [to be easily read by any humans who can read, not just an elite group, such as priests, or scholars], and to contain the complete theology of the gods.

These standards are reasonable means by which humans might be able to recognize gods if they exist and if they decide to communicate with humans. These are not necessarily commandments the gods must follow, for, assuming that they are more powerful than mankind individually, the gods could do whatever they wanted. But, nevertheless, if they wanted to convince us they are gods, then we will need the gods to at least perform miracles, for otherwise, we would have no means of determining that they are gods and thus more powerful/knowledgeable than man.

I have chosen to use expressions indicating human needs of gods rather than making commandments [musts/should/oughts/etc.] that the gods must follow. Thus, instead of the form “The gods must ...” I prefer to use the form “We need the god [or god/messenger] to ...”

I would expect that the gods most likely would be understanding of the standards mankind would have to have to analyze/evaluate/judge claims of godism.</font>
What are YOUR standards for the analysis/evaluation/judgment of beings claiming to be gods/messengers of gods/sons of gods?
 
Old 03-29-2001, 05:05 PM   #185
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob K:
What are YOUR standards for the analysis/evaluation/judgment of
beings claiming to be gods/messengers of gods/sons of gods?
Quote:
</font>
I know you might be shocked, but I find a lot of agreement with you on your
list. I do disagree with item #5 on your list. If god exists, and your
items 1-4 were in effect, then I don't think #5 is absolutely necessary in
exactly the way you worded it. I don't understand why its necessary to have
a book that meets all of the criteria you listed. It would seem to require
not only god to be perfect, but also all of the mere humans who were
involved in trying to explain events. I don't think its reasonable to
expect humans to be perfect in the same way god is perfect.

My standards are based on probability, as I'm sure yours are also. I ask
myself if it is more likely god exists compared to god not existing. After
sorting through all of the relevant evidence (I won't bore you with the gory
details) I concluded it was more likely that god existed.

I then asked myself a lot of the same questions you listed (some very good
ones in there) in order to figure out how a god would "prove" itself to us.
If a person made exotic claims to godhood, then I would need something
extraordinary as evidence. For me, the evidence for the resurrection of
Jesus was enough to persuade me that it occurred. A person who claimed to
be divine and came back to life after being dead for two days would be a
person whose claims seemed to be ratified. The evidence for the
resurrection has not been enough to persuade you and I understand your
perspective. I'm certainly not going to be able to convince you
Christianity is true so that isn't what I'm trying to do. I'm simply
explaining how I arrived at my conclusion.

Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 03-29-2001, 08:46 PM   #186
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Polycarp:

One of the superserious problems in trying to create standards for identifying gods involves the possibility that demons as well as gods might exist and the necessity for creating standards for identifying demons in contrast to identifying gods, so we can be sure that we are dealing with one or the other.

This is a question akin to wondering whether or not your parents truly love you. The only sure proof occurs over time--if your parents continuously say they love you and express their love in their actions and reactions, even until their deaths, then you can be sure they love you, but there is always the possibility that they might either change their minds or else reveal their hatred of you even unto the last minute of their lives.

A clever demon might perform enough good deeds indicating it has more knowledge and capacities than man to persuade us that it is a god, and then drop the reality upon us when we have made a commitment to it. In that sense we would be truly deceived, and our commitment would be truly innocent, but the point is that we might not be able to develop sufficient standards to avoid misjudging a demon.

Of course, once we determine the truth about the deception of a demon we could rescind our commitment, and a merciful god would understand that we did not deliberately accept and commit to a demon, and, if so, at least in theory we would be forgiven for our naïveté.

There is no knowing for certain what the gods would do.

There would always be the question of why the gods would permit demons to deceive us.

If I were a god, I would not permit such deception.

But there is an excellent chance that demons do not exist. There is no necessity that they must. But they are mentioned in the NT of the Xn Bible, therefore, if gods exist, demons must exist.

This line of thinking lead us inevitably back to the fundamental question concerning religion: Do gods exist?

Because of the numerous problems accepting so-called holy books to be genuine holy books, perhaps the best we can do is to let the question stand unanswered until the gods themselves decide to do something to prove themselves to us and thus answer the question, hence the need for standards for identifying gods.

[This message has been edited by Bob K (edited March 30, 2001).]
 
Old 03-30-2001, 02:03 PM   #187
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:
So this God prefers to hide unless someone wants to find it?
</font>
I'm sure you'll hate this statement, but if God did leave no room for you to rationalize away His existance, all repentence would be forced. That is, you'd have no way to follow God for the right reasons & we all know about those who follow God for the wrong ones [abuse of power, hypocracy, etc.]

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Seems to me if a person wants to "find" something badly enough they will whether that thing actually exists or not.
</font>
That works the same way in ignoring something ;] I think the preponderance of the evidence at the very least lies in our favor, so it becomes a matter of who is rationalizing what. Self examination shows me that I'm not & we can't both be right...

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
How exactly is this God "found" in any case? Does the simple desire to find it highten ones senses or endow them with some kind of ESP? Is it a warm feeling? Improved eyesight? Is this entity physically heard somehow?
</font>
Read the Bible, it tells you :] It's useful for more than thumping people with, you know... :] Revelation 3:20 springs to mind, but I know there are many other places.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
You may not believe this, but if there is a deity of some sort I do "want" to know it exists. It would be an intriguing discovery after all.
</font>
Good, maybe you'll find out, then :] I don't know what "want" means, though I suspect that I have some idea what you meant. Try figuring out what the Bible really says about theological issues [e.g. concerning salvation & faith :], hopefully you'll discover something :]
 
Old 03-30-2001, 03:17 PM   #188
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob K:
One of the superserious problems in trying to create standards for identifying gods involves the possibility that demons as well as gods might exist and the necessity for creating standards for identifying demons in contrast to identifying gods, so we can be sure that we are dealing with one or the other.

This is a question akin to wondering whether or not your parents truly love you. The only sure proof occurs over time--if your parents continuously say they love you and express their love in their actions and reactions, even until their deaths, then you can be sure they love you, but there is always the possibility that they either change their minds or else reveal their hatred of you even unto the last minute of their lives.

A clever demon might perform enough good deeds indicating it has more knowledge and capacities than man to persuade us that it is a god, and then drop the reality upon us when we have made a commitment to it. In that sense we would be truly deceived, and our commitment would be truly innocent, but the point is that we might not be able to develop sufficient standards to avoid misjudging a demon.

Of course, once we determine the truth about the deception of a demon we could rescind our commitment, and a merciful god would understand that we did not deliberately accept and commit to a demon, and, if so, at least in theory we would be forgiven for our naïveté.
Quote:
</font>
Again I agree with virtually everything you’ve said in this portion of your post.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> There is no knowing for certain what the gods would do.

There would always be the question of why the gods would permit demons to deceive us.

If I were a god, I would not permit such deception.

But there is an excellent chance that demons do not exist. There is no necessity that they must. But they are mentioned in the NT of the Xn Bible, therefore, if gods exist, demons must exist.
Quote:
</font>
For the sake of argument lets say demons do exist. Its not necessary to conclude that because someone is deceived by a demon that god will hold them accountable for the deception. Again for the sake of argument, if the person was truly seeking god and was deceived, then I don’t necessarily believe god will condemn them for it.

I’d like to focus on your comment where you said: “If I were a god, I would not permit such deception.

In essence this is the problem of evil. In order to eliminate the potential for evil (deception), then you would need to eliminate the freedom of demons. Demons (fallen angels), by nature, are free agents. The bible says a third of them chose to rebel against god. I think god is limited in what he/she can do by the free will of humans and angels/demons. Anytime freedom is given there is a great risk involved in what the “free agent” will do with their freedom. God gave free will in order to have an open relationship with creation (love). Without free will, love is non-existent. The thing that makes love truly special is that it’s a choice and not something forced or ordained by any sort of god. “Forced love” is an oxymoron., a more accurate term is “rape”.

If you (or I) were god, then the only way we could eliminate the potential for deception would be to remove free will. I don’t think this is the best solution. Do you?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> This line of thinking lead us inevitably back to the fundamental question concerning religion: Do gods exist?

Because of the numerous problems accepting so-called holy books to be genuine holy books, perhaps the best we can do is to let the question stand unanswered until the gods themselves decide to do something to prove themselves to us and thus answer the question, hence the need for standards for identifying gods.
Quote:
</font>
First let me say that I don’t think we can establish the existence of a god by the means of a book (even an alleged holy book). So if we establish the probability that some sort of god exists by using philosophy, science, etc. , ONLY THEN can we attempt to find out how this god may have revealed himself/herself to us. You are correct to say that the god(s) need to do something to prove himself/herself to us. I think the resurrection of Jesus meets this criteria, but I know you disagree.

From your previous comments on demons, I would assume that you would propose that demons could bring about a resurrection in order to deceive us. However, this begs the question. You need to assume god exists in order to have any demons to do the deceiving. IF god exists AND the resurrection occurred, then EITHER it was an act of god OR an act of demons. I think we would agree on this statement. Is there a better way for god to reveal himself than for him to come to earth and not only tell us, but also show us, how to live our lives in the way we were meant to live? How would this “revealer” prove his godhood? I can’t think of a much more “real” way than by rising from the dead. If a demon can do this, then why would they have picked a person to resurrect who taught such high ethics as recognized from people of many backgrounds? (These questions are rhetorical). It doesn’t make sense that demons would ratify the claims of a person who taught universally recognized ways of increasing the good of humanity.

Peace,

Polycarp
 
Old 03-30-2001, 07:06 PM   #189
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I'm sure you'll hate this statement, but if God did leave no room for you to rationalize away His existance, all repentence would be forced. That is, you'd have no way to follow God for the right reasons & we all know about those who follow God for the wrong ones [abuse of power, hypocracy, etc.]

I don't typically "hate" statements, but I do find them hard to understand sometimes.

You say that this deity leaves room for people to "rationalize away" its existence. This seems strange. God purposefully makes it rational not to believe he exists?
If so, then I guess I don't have much to worry about since I do indeed think disbelief is rational.

madmax: Seems to me if a person wants to "find" something badly enough they will whether that thing actually exists or not.

response: That works the same way in ignoring something


Perhaps, but you made the statement in regard to coming to belief, not the other way around.

If your making the argument that all atheists don't want to know a God exists, you'll have to support that argument. I'm not sure how you'll do that.

I think the preponderance of the evidence at the very least lies in our favor, so it becomes a matter of who is rationalizing what. Self examination shows me that I'm not & we can't both be right...

I don't happen to think the preponderance of the evidence is the least in your favor. Self examination shows me that I'm not rationalizing anything away and we both can't be right....

madmax How exactly is this God "found" in any case? Does the simple desire to find it highten ones senses or endow them with some kind of ESP? Is it a warm feeling? Improved eyesight? Is this entity physically heard somehow?

response: Read the Bible, it tells you :] It's useful for more than thumping people with, you know... :] Revelation 3:20 springs to mind, but I know there are many other places.


As a former Christian of 15+ years I have read much of the bible, but I need to understand your argument. First I have to "want" to believe a God exists and then I have to read the bible. Is that it?

This approach would seem to fall under the fallacy of begging the question. I see no good reason to believe the bible is the word of any deity.

Common sense would seem to suggest that if a deity exists and wants me to know of its existence then it would present evidence of itself in a much less amibiguous manner.

You may not believe this, but if there is a deity of some sort I do "want" to know it exists. It would be an intriguing discovery after all.

response: Good, maybe you'll find out, then :] I don't know what "want" means, though I suspect that I have some idea what you meant. Try figuring out what the Bible really says about theological issues [e.g. concerning
salvation & faith :], hopefully you'll discover something :]


Thanks, but I'm pretty familiar with those concepts as they relate to the bible. As far as I know, I have nothing to be "saved" from.
The bible is a interesting collection of Hebrew mythology but not much more than that in my opinion.
 
 

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