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Old 01-16-2001, 11:38 AM   #161
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penatis:

"Please tell me one thing: If I approach all religious works in precisely the same way, how is that bias?"

Well, I can't speak to your exact beliefs. However, I think I see two big "biases" in your approach: lack of belief in the existence of a God, and lack of belief in supernatural events. Now, as to the supernatural I am one of the world's biggest skeptics. However, I simply can find no reason to say *definitely* that no supernatural thing has ever occured. Also, I am in no position to say that they couldn't have happened then because they *seem* not to happen now.

penatis:

"I think you will have to admit that you do not approach the Qu'ran or the Book of Mormon the same way you approach the NT. So, who is more biased, you or me?"

The only way that I feel I differ in my research is that I believe that the supernatural *could* exist and that a God does exists. I sometimes rather think that a natural occurance was interpreted as a supernatural occurance. However, that may be jaded, because it is easier for me to think that a God would work purely though nature.

I try not to start my research with the assumption that something is false because I want to know the truth. I try to give a religion or religious text a *big* benefit of the doubt.

For instance, people used to belive the city of Troy and the events that took place there to be fictional until the city was excavated...

I believe that even if we found the autographs of the gospels and their dating benefited Christianity, people would claim they were made up or find something else. Some just don't seem to want to accept that they could be true and that the authors might have been sincere and reporting the facts.

I don't think that at your level of investigation that you would think this way, but it is very disturbing to me when people assume the worst intentions of the authors and people behind the books. I don't think I have *ever* thought this way at least of any relious texts and I don't think it is very wise.

I feel that I am very critical and admit errors and problems in the Bible where others might not (who knows but what I am admitting to some problems that might later resolve themselves?). However, I have not seen anything that seriously undermines my beliefs. I believe that God's message has survived intact enough for us to understand even through man's errors.

I don't think either of us is completely neutral. If I'm right and so is the Bible, then I'm more unbiased in saying that our verses from Matthew might exist even if we don't currently have the proof. I am keeping an open mind. However, if you're right and there is no God and the Bible is wrong, then I am more biased in saying the same. Therefore, I think the real question is who's right and who's wrong? Since we can look back through all of history and be pretty sure we will never know the answers for sure, then one must take some stand for what he believes to be true. I guess we've each done this and each have our own biased presuppositions...

Anyway, I'm rambling. Maybe this makes some sense to you, maybe not.

Ish
 
Old 01-16-2001, 12:55 PM   #162
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I couldn't remember my sources for my ancient Troy example, and I hate giving example lest I not be believed. So, I did a search on the web and found what I believe to be a fairly reputable source though it is not where I originally read this:

ENCYCLOP∆DIA BRITANNICA
"In 1822 Charles McLaren suggested that this was the site of Homeric Troy, but for the next 50 years his suggestion received little attention from classical scholars, most of whom regarded the Trojan legend as a mere fictional creation based on myth, not history."

CAVEAT: Be *very* careful about off-handedly declaring something legend, myth, make-believe, etc.

Ish
 
Old 01-16-2001, 09:53 PM   #163
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I'm not impressed with Ish's Troy argument, because that would demonstrate that the Gods of Olympus are real beings who ought to be worshipped -- and is that something that Ish believes?

And to all of you, if you were challenged to justify your position on Zeus, Hera, Athena, and the rest, what would you say?

I'd ask: where is the evidence that they are anything other than pure fantasy? Without some positive evidence, I see no good reason to accept that they exist.


 
Old 01-17-2001, 06:21 AM   #164
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lpetrich:
"I'm not impressed with Ish's Troy argument, because that would demonstrate that the Gods of Olympus are real beings who ought to be worshipped."

Ipetrich, I think you have put my *caveat* on a Procrustean Bed. In other words, I think you've streched my meaning. What I'm offering with the example of Troy is simply a warning about simply dismissing things as fiction and not giving them a *big* benefit of the doubt at least in starting your investigation. Don't automatically start with the notion that these things were made up. Regardless, I was not using this as some sort of proof for God's existence as you seem to have taken it.

Now, as to your example dealing with the Olympian Gods. I don't start from the perspective that they are fiction. As a matter of fact, I believe there might be *real* historical people behind them. You would do well to at least consider this possibility rather than dismiss their stories as complete fiction.

Ish
 
Old 01-17-2001, 10:32 AM   #165
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ish:
penatis: "Please tell me one thing: If I approach all religious works in precisely the same way, how is that bias?"

Ish: Well, I can't speak to your exact beliefs. However, I think I see two big "biases" in your approach: lack of belief in the existence of a God, and lack of belief in supernatural events.

How is the lack of belief in the unproven a "big bias?" Your statement would be analoguous to my saying to you, "Ish, you have two big biases: You lack belief in the existence of Ahura Mazda and you are skeptical about anecdotal stories of ghosts, goblins, angels, demons, and fairies."

Ish: Now, as to the supernatural I am one of the world's biggest skeptics.

You do not seem skeptical at all to me. After all, by definition, all gods are of the supernatural realm.

Ish: However, I simply can find no reason to say *definitely* that no supernatural thing has ever occured.

Why not? Isn't it possible?

Ish: Also, I am in no position to say that they couldn't have happened then because they *seem* not to happen now.

What we do know is that women are not impregnated by angels or holy spirits and dead people do not come to life. If you think these things happen and only "seem" not to, then you and I really don't have much to discuss.


penatis:

"I think you will have to admit that you do not approach the Qu'ran or the Book of Mormon the same way you approach the NT. So, who is more biased, you or me?"

Ish: The only way that I feel I differ in my research is that I believe that the supernatural *could* exist and that a God does exists.

Why not begin from a neutral position and base your conclusions on the data?

I have to go back to work. More later...

Ron

[This message has been edited by penatis (edited January 18, 2001).]
 
 

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