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Why the Christian Worldview led to the Success of Science in the West

In Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science Hillel Ofek explores why the Arabic world went from dominating scientific inquiry as late as the 13th century to a scientific backwater:

Given that Arabic science was the most advanced in the world up until about the thirteenth century, it is tempting to ask what went wrong — why it is that modern science did not arise from Baghdad or Cairo or Córdoba. . . . [The] civilization’s geopolitical decline . . . can be traced back to the rise of the anti-philosophical Ash’arism school among Sunni Muslims, who comprise the vast majority of the Muslim world. . . Put simply, it suggests natural necessity cannot exist because God’s will is completely free. Ash’arites believed that God is the only cause, so that the world is a series of discrete physical events each willed by God. . . . The Ash’ari view has endured to this day. Its most extreme form can be seen in some sects of Islamists. For example, Mohammed Yusuf, the late leader of a group called the Nigerian Taliban, explained why “Western education is a sin” by explaining its view on rain: “We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain.”

Why did this anti-rationalist view arise in Islam and not in the West? In a word, Christianity. The predominate view of Islam is that God is completely free and that any regularity we observe might evaporate tomorrow. Apples fall down because God wills it. Tomorrow God might will that they fall up. Therefore, why should we inquire as to why the fall down? There is literally nothing to investigate. In contrast the West was open to free inquiry, and it is a risable secular myth that Christianity impeded science:

Galileo’s house arrest notwithstanding, his famous remark that “the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how heaven goes” underscores the durability of the scientific spirit among pious Western societies. Indeed, as David C. Lindberg argues in an essay collected in Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion (2009), “No institution or cultural force of the patristic period offered more encouragement for the investigation of nature than did the Christian church.” And, as Baylor University sociologist Rodney Stark notes in his book For the Glory of God (2003), many of the greatest scientists of the scientific revolution were also Christian priests or ministers.

The Church’s acceptance and even encouragement of philosophy and science was evident from the High Middle Ages to modern times. As the late Ernest L. Fortin of Boston College noted in an essay collected in Classical Christianity and the Political Order (1996), unlike al-Farabi and his successors, “Aquinas was rarely forced to contend with an anti-philosophic bias on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities. As a Christian, he could simply assume philosophy without becoming publicly involved in any argument for or against it.” And when someone like Galileo got in trouble, his work moved forward and his inquiry was carried on by others; in other words, institutional dedication to scientific inquiry was too entrenched in Europe for any authority to control. After about the middle of the thirteenth century in the Latin West, we know of no instance of persecution of anyone who advocated philosophy as an aid in interpreting revelation. In this period, “attacks on reason would have been regarded as bizarre and unacceptable,” explains historian Edward Grant in Science and Religion, 400 b.c. to a.d. 1550.

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95 Responses to Why the Christian Worldview led to the Success of Science in the West

  1. 1

    There is no meaningful basis for science or morality without a rational god. As science has flourished in the West under Christianity, so too have moral systems of society and governance advanced and flourished. When science and morality are removed from their necessary first principles, both science and morality suffer.

  2. Wait, are you saying that the God of Christianity (which is the same as the God of Islam, BTW) cannot will apples to float or fall up?

    Methinks that science was taken away from Islam because of power-hungry people. You cannot have your underlings be too knowledgeable. Hey, just like Darwinism and neo-darwinism!

  3. 3

    The more literate people there were, first within the Roman church and then outside, the more exposure there was to the use of and deference to reason by Jesus and Paul. Both exemplified principled thinking on theological and prescriptive matters and on problem resolution.

    “On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

    They laid the groundwork so that Luther’s theses could really sting and lead to reformation AND competition. Which was the most “true”, wasn’t fought just militarily, but intellectually.

  4. Islam has been the antithesis of reason for its entire history precisely because it has been a religion in which physical violence has been an accepted (and even mandatory) course of action for the settlement of disputes about doctrine and belief.

    Those periods in which inquiry have flourished under Islamic rule are precisely those periods in which that rule as been most nominal.

  5. Have you read the Bible lately? Or ever? Physical violence has been an accepted (and even mandatory) course of action for the settlement of disputes about doctrine and belief.

    Heck just look at Ireland and you will see a religion in which physical violence has been an accepted (and even mandatory) course of action for the settlement of disputes about doctrine and belief.

  6. There are such instances, but Christianity is based mostly on the teachings of Christ which include, “Love your enemies” and “turn the other cheek.”

  7. Christendom has accepted, condoned, and often encouraged violence. I see the distinction that it wasn’t usually to settle disputes about doctrine.
    But violence is violence, and dead people are dead people. I don’t think the distinction matters.

  8. What God can or cannot will is not the matter of discussion. It is what God has willed, such as the constant, natural order of nature, that allows us to presume the universe would be a case for scientific inquiry.

    which is the same as the God of Islam, BTW

    You’re flaunting your ignorance, Joseph.

    Methinks that science was taken away from Islam because of power-hungry people. You cannot have your underlings be too knowledgeable.

    Is there a reason you go with your own theory as opposed to what historians who’ve studied the matter have to say?

  9. The distinction is that a violent Christianity is at odds with its founder. Christianity loses its “Christ-ness” when it engages in the Crusades, for example. I doubt that most of the Crusaders had ever read the bible or really understood Christian doctrine.

  10. I agree. Jesus explicitly stated that his followers were identified by their following him, not by calling themselves his follower.
    The “no true Scotsman” fallacy is no fallacy in this case. Those who do not act as Christians are (or were) not Christians.

    Some might point out that many Israelite kings were wicked. But they belonged to that nation and to God whether they liked it or not.
    All should examine the history of those over the centuries who have called themselves Christians, and their leaders, and decide for themselves whether they followed the scriptures, or did a lot of evil while sprinkling just enough ‘holiness’ on top to look holy. Jesus said that we should make that judgment for ourselves.

    Sorry, I’ve gone all heavy again. To tie it back to the topic, when we look back at the influence of Christians on history and science, we should consider carefully to whom we apply that name.

  11. So we have God, the Father, saying and doing one thing and we have God, the Son, saying and doing the opposite.

    Talk about an internal conflict.

  12. Wow, a typo in the first sentence???

    “In Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science Hillel Ofek explores why the Arabic would went…”

  13. We could agree if you meant God rather than god…

  14. Hi Scruffy! How the heck are ya?

    The God of Islam is the God of Abraham. Abraham is the father of Ishmael, his first born son and Ishmael is the father of Islam.

    Then there is Isaac, Abraham’s second son, who is the father of Judaism.

    The God of Abraham is the God of Ishmael, is the God of Isaac, is the God of Islam and is the God of Judaism, which by extension means it is the God of Christianity.

    That is what the study of theologians and historians say.

    The other part- about power-hungry people keeping others ignorant- is also based on history, ie observations and experiences.

    It is what God has willed, such as the constant, natural order of nature, that allows us to presume the universe would be a case for scientific inquiry.

    Like rising from the dead. :roll:

  15. Mutation…

  16. Well, my reason may not be as nuanced as some of the other reasons presented for why science has taken root, and flourished, in Christian cultures, and not other cultures, but to put it bluntly this is why I feel science has taken root and flourished in Christian cultures;;

    John 15:5
    “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

    ====================

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. … This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” [pantokratòr], or “Universal Ruler”… The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.”
    Sir Isaac Newton – Quoted from what many consider the most important, culture impacting, science masterpiece of all time, “Principia”

    Christianity and The Birth of Science – Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://vimeo.com/16523153

    In this short video, Dr. Stephen Meyer notes that the early scientists were Christians whose faith motivated them to learn more about their Creator…

    Dr. Meyer on the Christian History of Science – video
    http://www.thetruthproject.org.....000287.cfm

    A Short List Of The Christian Founders Of Modern Science
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov
    http://www.scigod.com/index.ph.....File/18/18

    The Origin of Science
    Excerpt: Modern science is not only compatible with Christianity, it in fact finds its origins in Christianity.
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/aug.....rigin.html

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47431.html

  17. Joseph, you show such insight…

    In contrast to your view, Steve Turner (cited by Ravi Zacharias) point out the minor differences between the Gods of Islam and Christianity:

    In a humorous short article in which he highlighted some of the silly beliefs people hold today, Steve Turner wrote, “We believe that all religions are basically the same, at least the one we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation sin heaven hell God and salvation.”

    Steve Turner, Nice and Nasty (Marshall and Scott, 1980).

    Or from another source:

    “We believe that all religions are basically the same . . . They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation.” (Steve Turner, British Journalist; quoted by Ravi Zacharias in Harvard lecture “Is Atheism Dead? Is God Alive?” in November, 1993.)

    Source: http://www.xenos.org/classes/p.....vang_2.htm

    The original full piece by Taylor (source?) is brilliantly clever btw.

  18. Joseph,

    Care to provide the verses necessary to back up your claims…?

  19. Or perhaps deleterious mutation?

  20. Sorry but this is too good not to post:

    http://www.apuritansmind.com/a.....rnercreed/

    “Creed” on the World — By Steve Turner

    We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
    We believe everything is OK
    as long as you don’t hurt anyone
    to the best of your definition of hurt,
    and to the best of your knowledge.
    We believe in sex before, during, and
    after marriage.
    We believe in the therapy of sin.
    We believe that adultery is fun.
    We believe that sodomy’s OK.
    We believe that taboos are taboo.
    We believe that everything’s getting better
    despite evidence to the contrary.
    The evidence must be investigated
    And you can prove anything with evidence.
    We believe there’s something in horoscopes
    UFO’s and bent spoons.
    Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
    Mohammed, and ourselves.
    He was a good moral teacher though we think
    His good morals were bad.
    We believe that all religions are basically the same-
    at least the one that we read was.
    They all believe in love and goodness.
    They only differ on matters of creation,
    sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.
    We believe that after death comes the Nothing
    Because when you ask the dead what happens
    they say nothing.
    If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its
    compulsory heaven for all
    excepting perhaps
    Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn
    We believe in Masters and Johnson
    What’s selected is average.
    What’s average is normal.
    What’s normal is good.
    We believe in total disarmament.
    We believe there are direct links between warfare and
    bloodshed.
    Americans should beat their guns into tractors .
    And the Russians would be sure to follow.
    We believe that man is essentially good.
    It’s only his behavior that lets him down.
    This is the fault of society.
    Society is the fault of conditions.
    Conditions are the fault of society.
    We believe that each man must find the truth that
    is right for him.
    Reality will adapt accordingly.
    The universe will readjust.
    History will alter.
    We believe that there is no absolute truth
    excepting the truth
    that there is no absolute truth.
    We believe in the rejection of creeds,
    And the flowering of individual thought.
    If chance be
    the Father of all flesh,
    disaster is his rainbow in the sky
    and when you hear
    State of Emergency!
    Sniper Kills Ten!
    Troops on Rampage!
    Whites go Looting!
    Bomb Blasts School!
    It is but the sound of man
    worshipping his maker.

    Steve Turner, (English journalist), “Creed,” his satirical poem on the modern mind. Taken from Ravi Zacharias’ book Can Man live Without God? Pages 42-44

  21. NZer:

    Care to provide the verses necessary to back up your claims…?

    Pick up a Bible and start reading- You will read about a God who wiped out all but 8 people, a God OK with genocide- Jericho anyone?

    But no, I cannot cite chapter and verse. I can cite many years of Catholic education…

  22. Joseph, perhaps that says something about your Catholic education?

    So you have made no attempt at reconciling these versus and building a Biblical picture of God?

    The Biblical God is angry, and He hates sin, and He also has full ownership of all life since He created it. Thus He may destroy or take life as He wills. He owes us nothing, thus it is fully by His Grace that we are saved, and nothing can be contributed from us. (Or put another way — Salvation is by Grace Alone, by Faith Alone, in Christ Alone.)

    Further, while God has the moral right to give and take life as He choses, we do not because He is the creator and we are the creature. Thus the command to us not to murder and to turn the other cheek is not inconsistent with God’s behavior.

    Sorry, but I cannot see any contradictions in my understanding… perhaps you would care to point them out for me :-)

  23. You could find further recent discussion of this subject here btw:

    http://www.mandm.org.nz/2011/0.....art-i.html

  24. 24

    Collin: “Christianity loses its “Christ-ness” when it engages in the Crusades,”

    True for the most part if you take the crusades in the context of the revisionist 18th and 19th century scholars. However these are the same people who invented the flat earth myth to slander. To understand the Crusades in context you need to go back to the founding of Islam in the 7th century.

    The prophet Mohamed launched Islam after he claimed to have a vision and an exchange with the angel Gabriel. Islam then took off like a rocket, and within 100 years, 2/3 of the Christian world had been conquered and converted. All that remained of Christianity after the 7th century was nested in western Europe. (The single unifying force of all the scattered European countries was the Church). In the early 8th century, after lighting up 2/3 of the Christian world, Islam moved on the remaining 1/3. They breached Europe through France, and were met by Charles Martel at the now famous battle of Pointers. It is quite possible that if Charles and company were not successful in this battle, that Islam would have breached Europe and the remaining 1/3 of Christianity would have been wiped clean.

    “Charles’ victory is widely believed to have stopped the northward advance of Umayyad forces from the Iberian peninsula, and to have preserved Christianity in Europe during a period when Muslim rule was overrunning the remains of the old Roman and Persian Empires.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tours

    Naturally some scholars contest that the battle was not that important. I would argue that these scholars share the same worldview objectives as the scholars who invented the flat earth myth.

    Now within this historical context, fast foreword a few centuries to the first crusade.

    “While the Crusades had causes deeply rooted in the social and political situations of 11th-century Europe, the ultimate event actually triggering the First Crusade was a request for assistance from Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos. Alexios was worried about the advances of the Seljuqs, who had reached as far west as ?znik, not far from Constantinople.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Crusade

    The recapture of Jeruselum from Islamic control was another objective of the first Crusade.

    “The First Crusade (1096–1099) was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem.”

    So when the entirety of the historical context is considered, it seems conflict with Islam was inevitable. These men either got rolled, or they held the line. Christians by no means always acted in good faith and only in defense either. But to use the Crusades as some example of Christianity running wild for blood sport and conquest is simply false.

  25. Well, Joseph, could you refer me to the verse that directs Christians to settle a dispute by violence? Book, chapter, and verse, please.

    It is true that the Israelites were commanded to invade and conquer certain territories, and to punish specific forms of misconduct, but neither they nor Christians have any authority whatsoever from God to employ violence in service to doctrinal goals. In fact, Christians have no authority to employ violence at all, for any cause. The fact that people professing to be Christians have acted otherwise is beside the point; such people had no sanction from God.

    And if you had read the Bible recently, or ever, you would know this.

  26. Joseph, these are not instances of doctrinal disputes being settled by violence.

  27. I see why you quoted the whole. It’s difficult to get the flow of this piece without the whole. Very insightful, ironic, humorous and terrible at the same time.

  28. “Pick up a Bible and start reading- You will read about a God who wiped out all but 8 people, a God OK with genocide- Jericho anyone?”

    Pick up a Bible and read it from beginning to end once a year for life and keep its words readily accessible to your mind and heart and you will discover a God who spent several thousand years reconciling sinful human beings to himself and has not ceased.

  29. Catholics vs Protestants is all about doctrinal disputes and many times they were at least attempted settlement via violance.

  30. Or maybe find evidence for ancient astronauts…

  31. Thank you for reminding me why I ain’t religious…

  32. I gave it up for Lent…

  33. One might ask why the God of the Bible didn’t make his intentions a lot clearer

  34. If he hates sin so much, why hasnt he, or a his representatives, been here in person running the show?

  35. I’m with Joseph on this. Why is the Biblical God angry? Did he not anticipate sin?

  36. Wait a minute. Didn’t the Christians get their worldview from the Jews? Why aren’t we lauding the Jewish worldview?

  37. Well, the Christians corrected that worldview. Only the uncorrectable still hold to it.

  38. Any chance someone could recommend a good (non-revisionist) book dealing with this stuff? No 1,200 page tomes please. Something readable and historically accurate (as much as is possible).

  39. Why aren’t we lauding the Jewish worldview?,,,

    Because Jesus defeated sin and death on the cross on our behalf so that we may cleansed of our sins before a infinitely just and holy God and inherit eternal life in heaven.

    Breathtaking Performance Of Agnus Dei From Child Singer – Music Videos
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=K7WZYPNX

  40. Since Joseph wrote:

    “Have you read the Bible lately? Or ever?”

    perhaps you should ask him.

    Or you could read Romans 1. This text seems to make it quite plain that God hates sin and is angry against sinners. (Or read Jonathan Edward’s (one of America’s greatest ever scholars) Sinners in the hands of an angry God.)

    Romans 1:18-32 — God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

    18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/pa.....ersion=NIV

  41. Well, who defines Christianity as it SHOULD be Joseph? The church, or Christ Himself?

  42. 42

    Haven’t the Jews contributed disproportionately to science?

  43. That has nothing to do with the context of my question which is worldviews amenable to science. Christians didn’t invent their worldview. They got it from the Jews.

  44. Indeed they have

  45. Mike, I personally think that that is a much better question. Well, FWIW…

    Paul’s advice to Timothy was to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

    I consider Christianity to be very simple, but also very deep. Even a simple person can understand it and love Jesus, yet a genius scholar can study for 80 years and still be just beginning.

    Or as the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 11:

    Doxology

    33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
    34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”[j]
    35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”[k]
    36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

  46. Wow, the UD website just did something dodgy to my comment and returned me to the homepage?!

    My reply was:

    Mike, I personally think that that is a much better question. Well, FWIW…

    Paul’s advice to Timothy was to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

    I consider Christianity to be very simple, but also very deep. Even a simple person can understand it and love Jesus, yet a genius scholar can study for 80 years and still be just beginning.

    Or as the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 11:

    Doxology

    33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
    34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”[j]
    35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”[k]
    36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

  47. Often we say the “Judaeo-Christian worldview”.

  48. ‘Christians didn’t invent their worldview. They got it from the Jews.’

    Well, I ‘got my worldview’ from the fact that Christ was there for me, at a low point in my life, when i called on Him. i.e. I realized that there is far more meaning and purpose to this life than just particles accidentally bumping into each other.

  49. Reviewing Mike’s question, it is amazing to me just how ignorant most people are to the most basic basic’s of Christianity.

    Ask yourself the simple question — why did God send Jesus (the God-man) to die? Why did God “crush” him (Isaiah 53)?

    If God is not 100% holy and perfect, and a hater of sin, then what would be the point?

  50. So Joseph. Are cars and motorcycles the same? They both have wheels with rubber tires. They both have engines that run on gasoline and travel to speeds in excess of 100 mph. People drive them to work on public roads.

    This is how the God of Christianity and the god of Islam compare. There are enough differences to make them different entirely while Islam claims that theirs is the same as the Christian God and that they have the true representation.

    God did command the Hebrews to kill every man, woman and child in Canaan but you miss the other side. The Canaanites practiced ritual sex and human (child) sacrifice for centuries. God told Abraham 400 years prior that He was waiting for their crimes against humanity to come to a head.

    Was it wrong for the Allies to invade Nazi Germany? Many women and children were killed in carpet bombings over Berlin. We all understand that the Nazis, like the Canaanites, brought the death and destruction upon themselves and see it as just deserts.

    Because the command to kill the Canaanites was a judgment for their horrendous sin, God is consistent. Jesus will do the same when he returns.

    Jewish king Manasseh, according to the OT, did what the Canaanites did before Joshua. The streets of Jerusalem were filled with blood. The Jews practiced the Canaanite religions for much less time but faced judgment of being overrun by the Babylonian empire and taken into captivity.

  51. A worldview is much bigger than that however. Read Nancy Pearcey’s book “Total Truth” and see how the Christian worldview **should** apply to every single big and small piece of every part of your life every moment of the day.

    FWIW, atheism simply replaces the Christian doctrines of creation, fall, redemption, anthropology and eschatology with the parallel systems of darwinism and so on.

    And in more recent times, the “sacred” priesthood that once controlled knowledge and thought in Europe has been replaced with a “secular” priesthood that now controls the knowledge and thought channels in the West.

  52. Well, I surely think that for me realizing God was/is really real, and indeed ‘personal’ to each of us, certainly effected ‘every single big and small piece of every part of my life every moment of the day’;

    Another Heatstopping Performance From Child Brazilian Singer – Inspirational Videos
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FFJ29MNU

  53. Barry,

    Lead is a chemical element, a soft, dense metal. Led is the past tense form of the verb to lead.

    I point this out for the following reason: Any faux pas (a false step in French) on the part of an ID advocate will be used as ammunition that he does not know what he is talking about.

    ID advocates are held to an extraordinarily high standard of perfection. One false step and we are told that we have lost our minds, are anti-science, ignorant, or want to impose a theocracy. However, Darwinists are the ones who have lost their minds, are anti-science, ignorant, and want to impose an anti-theocracy.

    Unlike ID proponents, Darwinists are held to no standards whatsoever, especially empirical scientific standards. They have crafted what can only be described as a materialistic cult for this very purpose.

  54. I’m fine, Joseph, thanks for asking.

    Tell me, have you come across any Muslim who says that Jesus of Nazareth is God?

    Like rising from the dead. :roll:

    We would first need the constant of the dead staying dead in order to conclude that the dead do not rise, wouldn’t we?

  55. I’d just like to point out that this ongoing discussion acts as a perfect counter to that “ID is just Christian creationism in a bow-tie” argument. Here we have a number of ID advocates having vastly differing opinions on religious outlook. And Joseph himself explicitly stating he is NOT religious. Anyway…continue on gentlemen.

  56. Well, no, I think you’ve got one ID advocate in this discussion who is not espousing a Christian view of some sort. The other differing opinions are simply differing on Christian doctrine.

  57. 57

    Correct. All is Jewish. Christians, however were the Jews who believed Christ was the foretold King.

  58. Apologies if I mistakenly referred to some people as ID friendly when they weren’t. For some reason I had assumed mike1962 was ID receptive. You, Timbo, I have never come across. Lol. However, my point still stands, consider the book Nature’s IQ (written by turkish hindus) and David Berlinski as further evidence. And again apologies for My ignorance of some UD commentators

  59. 59
    material.infantacy

    Thank you. Exactly. As Gentiles, we are grafted in to a promise — Jewish in its very nature — the Mystery. We are supported and given life by the Root of Jesse.

    Revelation 22:21

  60. 60

    The violence associated with the demand to recognize the marriage of Anne Boleyn in England, and that of the persecution of the Huguenots in France would both seem to be over doctrinal disputes.

  61. Two Jews, three opinions??? :-)

  62. One thing that bears worth repeating, the thing that stands in stark contrast to the popular, media driven, atheistic views of the science that ‘sets us free from ancient religious superstition” today, is that Christianity, far from being ‘anti-science’, was, from the best we can tell from history, a necessary catalyst for modern science to take root and flourish into our world today:

    “However we may interpret the fact scientific development has only occurred in a Christian culture. The ancients had brains as good as ours. In all civilizations, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, India, Rome, Persia, China and so on, science developed to a certain point and then stopped. It is easy to argue speculatively that science might have been able to develop in the absence of Christianity, but in fact, it never did.” – Robert Clark

    Moreover, many of the founders of science would be considered Christian fanatics in today’s ‘materialistic/atheistic science’ culture;,,,

    Excerpt: Many of the founders of modern science were also very interested in theology. If you read Pascal, this is obvious. Mendel was a monk. Newton often said his interest in theology surpassed his interest in science. Newton did end his Principles with:

    “This most beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being…This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God.”

    As Charles Hummel notes,

    “Newton’s religion was no mere appendage to his science; he would have been a theist no matter what his profession.”

    Boyle set up Christian apologetics lectures. Babbage and Prout contributed to an apologetics series called the Bridgewater Treatises. Aggasiz, Cuvier, Fleming, Kelvin, and Linnaeus were what we now call ‘creationists.’,,,
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

    Lecrae – Fanatic w/lyrics – music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35iRA37TqgQ

    I wonder would Isaac Newton be granted tenure at Iowa University, or any top American University, making such a ‘fanatical’ statement today as to suggesting God had/has a direct hand in establishing such order on the universe??? Gonzalez certainly wasn’t grated tenure, though his work was cutting edge and without peer. Moreover, it never was Gonzalez’s science for a privileged planet that was directly challenged, but it was merely his personal ‘religious’ (common sense?) view of having the audacity to give glory to God for imposing such order on creation;

    The Privileged Planet – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV5zkifLSbc

    Privileged Planet – Observability Correlation – Gonzalez and Richards – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5424431

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    – Jay Richards

    Guillermo Gonzalez & Stephen Meyer on Coral Ridge – video (Part 1)
    http://www.coralridge.org/medi.....=CRH1118_F

    Guillermo Gonzalez & Stephen Meyer on Coral Ridge – video (Part 2)
    http://www.coralridge.org/medi.....=CRH1119_F

    This example of Gonzalez is just one example of many blatant attacks on the Christian/Theistic worldview,,, And as shocking as it may be for those of atheistic bent to believe, it is found that the atheistic/materialistic worldview, is the actual worldview that is truly ‘anti-science’ in its endeavor, for atheism/materialism presupposes chaos instead of order at the basis of reality:

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

  63. Hi Scruffy!

    What part of the following don’t you understand:

    The God of Islam is the God of Abraham. Abraham is the father of Ishmael, his first born son and Ishmael is the father of Islam.

    Then there is Isaac, Abraham’s second son, who is the father of Judaism.

    The God of Abraham is the God of Ishmael, is the God of Isaac, is the God of Islam and is the God of Judaism, which by extension means it is the God of Christianity.

    That is what the study of theologians and historians say.

  64. bb,

    What part of the following don’t YOU understand:

    The God of Islam is the God of Abraham. Abraham is the father of Ishmael, his first born son and Ishmael is the father of Islam.

    Then there is Isaac, Abraham’s second son, who is the father of Judaism.

    The God of Abraham is the God of Ishmael, is the God of Isaac, is the God of Islam and is the God of Judaism, which by extension means it is the God of Christianity.

    That is what the study of theologians and historians say.

  65. Jesus was not a Christian. So He did not define Christianity.

  66. I am NOT religious. If the Bible, Qu’ran, and every other reliious text were refuted today I would not be bothered.

    I have looked around enough to understand there isn’t any ONE religion who “has it right”- but that is another story…

  67. By emphasising Gods ultimate freedom, perhaps Muslims managed to avoid the slavish commitment to scepticism of miracles and the naturalism that would inevitably give rise to something like the Darwinism that came to dominate Western thought.

    Perhaps the Muslim scientists(sorry, the Arab scientists)recognised that faith in (scientific)progress was replacing faith in God, and that the fruits of science and discovery can bring some harm as well as good.

    The Christian world took off recklessly from where Muslims left off, only to see their religion decimated by sceptical thought, the heart taken out of it by secularism, their historical achievements denied, and the fruits of their work used to bring humanity to the verge of self destruction.

    It’s not easy holding together an empire (that was twice the size of the Roman empire) for hundreds of years. The reasons why Muslim science declined is clearly tied in with the decline in financial support for science , brough on by the decline in the Islamic empire, due to wars, corruption, and arrogance etc, just as the secular Western world is declining for the same reasons.

    It’s nice to see UD begin to acknowledge the debt that is owed to Muslims e.g. as effective initiators of the programme to turn science into a universal search for knowledge that transcended religion, culture and time.

    Naturally, such an admission, made on a predominantly Christian oriented website, had to be made in such a way as to take the shine of the achievement.

  68. Hi Alan,

    I hope you are well. You said:

    Perhaps the Muslim scientists(sorry, the Arab scientists)recognised that faith in (scientific)progress was replacing faith in God, and that the fruits of science and discovery can bring some harm as well as good.

    And I find this fascinating. Something in that for sure.

    I can see a large and interesting gap between theory and practice here: Islam, in theory, particularly as espoused by the Qu’ran is just about as good as it gets. Unfortunately, the practice of Islam – by certain groups in certain parts of the world – does not do the Qu’ran (and its wisdom) justice.

    Whereas Christianity, in theory, particularly as espoused by the Bible, can be problematic: especially when it comes to reconciling St Paul’s teachings with the Jewish tradition he attached those teachings to. And yet the practice of Christianity – by certain groups in certain parts of the world – more closely resembles Islam!

    With the discipline of good religious theory, we can, in practice, embrace the Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture (esp. the Qu’ran and the Old Testament) and make substantial progress as a civilization.

    Not that we have, in practice, but that’s the theory!

  69. BTW Scruffy, Sir Isaac Newton, a Christian, was a Unitarian, meaning he did not accept the divinity of Jesus. It seems Jesus as a God came well after Christianity started- the trinity stuff was an add-on.

  70. Hi everyone,

    Perhaps I can share a little bit of light on this theological dispute, as it pertains to a medieval philosophical dispute which I discussed in my lengthy reply to Professor Michael Tkacz (a Thomist critic of Intelligent Design) last year. What it boils down to is three views of Divine causality: conservationism, concurrentism and occasionalism. Darwinist Christians adopt the first view; medieval Christians (with very few exceptions) adopted the second; medieval Muslim philosophers adopted the third. (A few Christian philosophers have defended this view, as well.) Here are the views, in a nutshell.

    Consider the example of fire heating and subsequently burning a piece of cotton. Where does God fit in? Three views are possible.

    (1) Conservationism. God immediately conserves the fire and cotton in being, but He takes a back seat when it comes to change: He is simply a remote first cause of the cotton’s burning. He is not immediately involved.

    (2) Concurrentism. God immediately conserves the fire and cotton in being. Additionally, whenever a natural change occurs, it is immediately caused by both God and the creature. What do concurrentists mean by immediate? They mean two things.

    (a) First, God acts through natural agents: they are His instruments, whereby He achieves the effects that He wants to bring about. Here, the effect is immediate because it is directly intended by God as an end; natural agents being the means to producing it.

    (b) Second, God acts in co-operation with each natural agent. God is not just a remote cause: He acts in partnership with each and every natural agent in a causal chain. His co-operation with each agent is absolutely vital: for without God’s co-operation, no action by a natural agent would produce any effect whatsoever. The natural agent would still retain its powers and dispositions, but it would be prevented from exercising them if God “turned off the taps” on His side.

    (3) Occasionalism. In this scenario, divine causal activity is maximal and creaturely causal activity is non-existent, since divine causal activity is the only type of genuine causality. Creatures provide at most an occasion for God’s activity, which is direct and immediate in bringing about all effects in nature. Thus cotton burns in a fire, the fire isn’t really burning the cotton. God is burning it. He just happens to only do it when the fire is around. The fire is the occasion of God’s burning, but not the cause.

    I discuss the differences between these viewpoints here:

    http://www.angelfire.com/linux.....l#smoking5

    and in a lengthier “scholarly” exposition here: http://www.angelfire.com/linux.....l#smoking5 . (I’d recommend reading the shorter account first. And if you’re wondering about whether concurrentism makes God directly responsible for evil, don’t worry: I discuss that too.)

    What is the upshot for science? If you’re a concurrentist, you will believe that God is free; He can switch off His co-operation with any causal agent, any time He wants to. This is what He did for the three young men in the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3): the fire retained its inherent disposition to burn, but because God refrained from co-operating with it in His normal way, the fire was powerless to burn the young men. Even when God does this, however, causal agents (e.g. fire) retain their inherent dispositions, which spring from their nature. Thus God can stop an apple from falling down by refusing to co-operate with the Earth’s attractive force of gravity, but He cannot change the law of gravity tomorrow and command apples to subsequently fall up. Gravity is inherently attractive; to make the Earth repel apples instead of attracting them, God would have to literally destroy the Earth and replace it with a new kind of entity – maybe one possessing negative mass. Concurrentism, then, allows God to suspend the normal course of events, but He cannot change the nature of a thing while keeping it the same thing. Apples cannot fall down today and up tomorrow.

    Occasionalism is very big on God’s absolute liberty. The Earth, on the occasionalist view, doesn’t make apples fall; God and God alone does. And if God wants apples to fall down on Tuesday and up on Wednesday, who’s to stop Him?

    Conservationism (also referred to as weak deism by its opponents) says that God is not immediately involved in natural changes. He just keeps apples and the Earth in being; He doesn’t make apples fall. Conservationists don’t like acts of Divine intervention at all. The course of Nature never changes, on their view: they regard Divine intervention, and even God’s refraining from co-operating with causal agents in their normal fashion (as in the example of the fiery furnace) as interference with what they call the “autonomy of creatures”. Their God is very much a “behind-the-scenes” God: He conserves things in being, but never intervenes.

    What are the implications for science? If you’re an occasionalist, the idea of a scientific law makes no sense. Most Muslim philosophers in the Middle Ages were occasionalists; Barry’s point is that that’s why their science stagnated.

    That leaves two remaining “science-friendly” views: conservationism and concurrentism. The former might seem more science-friendly, as it gives Nature (and hence scientific inquiry) total autonomy. That’s why most scientists loathe ID. ID, by the way, is very compatible with concurrentism (which allows God to act as an immediate causal agent); however, one could still be a conservationist and an ID-supporter, if one believed in a front-loading version of ID, where God packs in all the information at the Big Bang.

    Conservationism, however, by regarding scientific laws as set in stone, discourages intellectual inquiry as to why these laws hold in the first place. Laws are “just there” and cannot be changed. Scientists who take this view of Nature tend to fall into the intellectual trap of regarding the laws of Nature as necessary. In fact, they are nothing of the sort: they are totally contingent.

    On the other hand, the occasionalist answer to the question of why laws of Nature hold (because God wants them to) is scientifically uninformative and allows God to do anything He wants, for any reason. Such a solution makes God whimsical and irrational.

    Concurrentism offers a middle way: it allows scientists to ask why God acts in the way He does. God makes laws for a reason – i.e. the production of a universe that is capable of supporting life (and especially intelligent life). Having made things with certain dispositions, God does not and cannot remake them: God cannot make gravity an attractive force tomorrow. God can however suspend the laws of Nature for a grave reason (e.g. protecting human lives) if He chooses to do so. Additionally, He is free to “reach in” and manipulate the cosmos (e.g. bringing chemicals together to make the first living cell), if front-loading proves insufficient to bring about the specific ends He desires, as physicist Dr. Rob Sheldon argues that it would in some cases (see his article The Front-Loading Fiction ).

    Well, I hope that clears the air a little. I personally believe in giving credit where credit is due: Muslim scholars, for many centuries, were the preservers of the science and philosophy of the Greco-Roman world. They also acknowledged God’s freedom to over-ride Nature whenever He saw fit. Failure to recognize this point puts science in a straitjacket: one becomes blind to the sheer contingency of the world. It is a pity that medieval Muslim philosophers over-emphasized God’s freedom; however, I think that modern Muslim philosophers might warm to the philosophy of concurrentism, if it is presented to them in an intellectually attractive way.

    Well, that’s enough from me. What do other readers think?

  71. NZer,

    This text seems to make it quite plain that God hates sin and is angry against sinners.

    It’s important to note that God’s anger is not like man’s anger. That’s why in the space of a few verses we are told to avoid wrath while yielding to his wrath. Why okay for him and not for us? Because we get irrational and act wrongly when we are wrathful. When we are angry it tends to dominate us. God may be angry over sin, but notice that he is not presently acting on that anger. Rather, he is acting out of love toward those who anger him. When the time comes that he does act on that wrath, it will be controlled and just.

  72. NZer @4.2.1.2.1

    Here’s a couple

    The Crusades: The Worlds Debate by Hilaire Belloc

    God’s Battalions by Rodney Stark

  73. Joseph,

    Islam was not founded by Ishmael and was a supposed “correction” to Christianity centuries later. The only connection to Ishmael was that this was a religion manufactured by his descendents.

    Part of the “correction” was a man-made definition of God that rendered him “other”. The distortions makes Islam a cult that honors another god of their own manufacture.

    It’s like a car dealer trying to sell a motorcycle as if it’s a sedan. Or the repackaging of Abraham Lincoln as a homosexual as they’re doing in California now.

  74. If someone were to describe you as having characteristics that are not yours you would say “that’s not me”. Even though the fictional description has your name and address.

  75. bb,

    Mohammed founded Islam as a religion for Arab people. Mohammed is a descendent of Ishmael, who is said to be the father of the Arabs. Hence Ishmael is the father, not the founder, of Islam.

    It all go back to Abraham. It is the same God- just because they worship God differently does not mean it is a different God.

  76. Hi Chris

    A widely circulated anecdote describes a visiting Muslim scholars impression of the West, over 100 years ago:

    “I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but not Islam.”

    This irony is not lost on Muslims, given that over one thousand years ago, their predecessors established hospitals, universities, a legal system, public services, orderly societies and advanced cities would provide a blueprint for Western civilisation.

    I am certainly not an expert on the Muslim failure to continue to build on several centuries of scientific progress, but I do know that people are the same everywhere, and civilisations fail for many of the same reasons. The rise and fall of civilisations is a common theme in the Qur’an, and it is apparent to any Muslim that, as fallible individuals, we, rather than Islam, are to blame for our current predicament. One only needs to look around and see the extent to which most Muslims fall short of the Islamic ideal, to see why we are where we are today.

    That is not to excuse the West, who, from their current position of dominance, are able to relentlessly present a narrative in which Muslims are the backward extremists who always initiate violence, while they are the unfortunate victims. This relentless propaganda has led to a situation in which Muslims are seen as being suspect, generally. Western domninace allows responsibility and accountability, even for dreadful excesses, to be simply brushed aside e.g. the death of over one million Iraqi’s based on poor intelligence (or worse).

    When Christianity was the dominant inflence on Western society (formerly Christendom), Christians experienced periods of darkness, superstition and religious extremism too. Many recent examples of Christian extremism can be pointed to. Muslims recognise that they are subject to all the same failures, temptations, weaknesses and extremist trendencies as the rest of Mankind, as the following hadith (saying) of the Prophet Muhammad(saw)indicates. It says essentially that the Muslims will start following the people of the book (Christian and Jews), so much so, that if they enter a lizard hole, the Muslims will do the same.

    Generally, Muslims believe that the best people were the direct followers of Muhammad (SAW), known as the “Sahaba” followed by those who learned from the sahaba after the death of the Prohet (SAW) and so on. So while this gradual decline in true religious knowledge and sincere practice was predicted, the job of the sincere Muslim is to stem the tide as far as possible by reviving the best of what went before. Knowledge, and in particular scientific knowledge, has to be treated with patience and caution, due to the harm caused by attempting to reconcile faulty science with religion.

    Rather than deny each others achievements, I hope to see Muslims, Christians and Jews participating together, in this ID effort. We should be natural allies as far as ID is concerned. I recently attended the ID summerschool at Malvern. The highlight for me was finding myself at a table with a Christian and a Jew who shared the same hope.

  77. 77

    I don’t see any difference between the Muslim and the Materialist “might makes right” maxim; they just point to different ultimate justifications. A god that is right by warrant of might is not any better than right warranted by material might.

  78. First its not the west. its about people and not regions on the globe.
    i know they try to say Islam civilization was great in science but in reality it was ninor stuff. that they retreated from even that is not evidence that without the retreat they would of done very much.
    I insist the progress of the modern world came from a rise in the intelligence of certain peoples.
    The intelligence is not from trickle down smarts from Italian elites.
    It was from the rise of the common man in the new protestant societies.
    A rising tide lifts all boats.
    From a general rise came specific progress.
    its simple.
    Smart people figure things out and so one has what they, wrongly, call science.

    In fact science is just a manifestation of the protestant peoples.
    Everything got better.
    Especially in the British world as it had the most determined and numerous of bible believing Christians.
    Modern civilization and science is the result of Puritan/Evangelical English and Scottish people way ahead of the rest.
    in short as one would expect the true faith brought man the best.

  79. Hi Alan,

    I hope others are enjoying your contributions as much as I am! I love that quote, too:

    I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but not Islam.

    Ultimately, objective religious truth (or the Book of Scripture) is not in any way affected by the rise and fall of Jewish, Christian, Muslim or indeed any other civilizations. Likewise with scientific truth (or the Book of Nature): indeed, it would come as no surprise to me if we’re missing numerous important chapters from the Book of Nature (lost with the destruction of long-forgotten civilizations), areas of scientific knowledge that we’ll never regain.

    I am in strong agreement with you when you say:

    Rather than deny each others achievements, I hope to see Muslims, Christians and Jews participating together, in this ID effort. We should be natural allies as far as ID is concerned.

    That is certainly the best and truest way forward. We are natural allies in more than just ID too. Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error.

    I wish I was at the table in Malvern too… God willing, a similar opportunity will arise in the future.

  80. 80

    All religion adds to “right” is a different (nonhuman or inhuman) might.

  81. africangenesis,

    All religion adds to “right” is a different (nonhuman or inhuman) might.

    So?

  82. 82

    So, even if “might makes right” were characteristic of materialism, which I don’t accept, it doesn’t distinguish it from religion.

  83. africangenesis,

    Materialism doesn’t make any kind of right, the old is/ought dilemma.

  84. AG:

    Why not respond to the disucssion here on that there is a serious candidate for an IS who can in fact ground OUGHT, breaking the might makes right circle.

    GEM of TKI

  85. [blockquote]So, even if “might makes right” were characteristic of materialism, which I don’t accept, it doesn’t distinguish it from religion.[/blockquote]

    It may not distinguish it from all other philosophies, but it does distinguish it from the theistic philosophy of a god that is good (not “has” good qualities, but “is” good, as the non-alterable – even by god – objective source of what good is). Thus it isn’t the “might” of any entity that makes any arbitrary goal good; it is what good is at the source of all that exists, a fundamental quality of all existence – even god’s.

  86. 86

    Sorry, logged in with the wrong name above … I’m meleagar. Now if I can just figure out how to erase that account and keep it from auto-logging :)

    One of the things I find really interesting is that it seems that many materialists/atheists have problems understanding the concept of first principles, and argue as if their arguments require no axiomatic basis, or at least can be drawn without really understanding the necessary ramifications of their premise.

    If “good” is relative, it is necessarily true that anything can be justified as moral, and the consequence of that is as long as one has the might (physical, emotional, rhetorical, willful, intellectual) to claim an action as moral, then that action is moral by consequence of its innate subjective-ness.

    I may not initially like the taste of beer, but I can, over time, develop a taste for it, and grow to enjoy it, which means that I have made beer “good” by force of might. Similarly, there may be some things I dislike (find immoral), but by training myself, and desensitizing myself, I can claim those things (by a form of might) as moral, because I can learn to enjoy them.

    If one cannot see that without an objective basis for “good”, one must essentially be a moral solipsist, and thus lose all grounding for arguments about morality, I’m not sure how to even proceed. Arguments based on which personal proclivity is “better” are not rational unless they are compared to some objective standard.

  87. However, a God (the only God) who rules by justice, by what IS as opposed to what IS NOT, by example of what outht to be and backs it up by appeal to our sense of ought is justified also by might. Might by itself bears no justification.

  88. 88

    Gem of TKI,

    “Namely, that there is a possible class of being that does not have a beginning, and cannot go out of existence; such are self-sufficient, have no external necessary causal factors, and as such cannot be blocked from existing. And once there is a candidate to be such a necessary being, if the candidate is not contradictory in itself [i.e. if it is not impossible], it will be actual. ”

    Begs the question. Assumes the being that cannot go out of existance, came into existence. We’d have to know more than just generalities, to know whether it is possible. If it is made of matter what prevents it from going out of existance. If it has no mass, does it really “exist”?

  89. Many materialists I have encountered were/are of the opinion that it is not right to judge behaviors in other cultures as evil. I had a discussion with one such materialist who supposed that in some cultures it’s the norm for fathers to sell their daughters into sexual slavery, or for yet other cultures to allow a father to kill a daughter due to sexual infidelity and we have no business judging them for such.

    Of course not all materialists believe this; most, in fact condemn it, and rightfully so, but relative morality tends to stem from materialist beliefs.

    Cultures that approve of the above examples tend to be theistic cultures who accept that there’s a theistic basis for morality. So for them, the behaviors are justified on that basis.

    Of course we also live in a predominantly theistic culture in the US (Canada, UK, etc), and we for the most part condemn such behaviors. We don’t do so on the basis of relativistic morality but on certain Judaeo-Christian moral imperatives.

    The materialists who object to/condemn such behaviors have no concrete basis for such an objection or condemnation.

    At the same time the moral relativists have no basis for the “rightness” of moral relativism either.

    Part of what seems to cause materialists to doubt the theistic basis for morality is that they often point to such examples with the question of why there should be any difference from one theistic culture to another. Why is the behavior ok in some theistic cultures but not ok in others? with the conclusion that all morality is relative, even theistic morality.

    The problem with this assessment is that it assumes that the behaviors are necessarily consistent with theistic morality. To assume that since not all theists behave the same, that there’s no basis for theistic morality is an example of a failure to distinguish exactly what the basis for theistic morality is, and a failure to differentiate between the behavior exhibited in a theistic culture and what theism teaches about morality.

    Many Islamic cultures tend to criticize Christian cultures because of the immorality exhibited by some, forgetting that it is not Christian teaching that encourages such behavior. It’s the same misunderstanding as we get from materialists.

  90. Did they do good old Euclidean Geometry? That seems to be a crucial test.

  91. AG:

    You seem to confuse a logical case for an assumption.

    Have you done the half burned match exercise yet?

    What does it tell you about the nature of a contingent being? Do you not see that such a being has one or more necessary causal factors, absence or withdrawal of which are incompatible with existence?

    Do you then see that by logic, we can contemplate a POSSIBILITY, the existence of a being that has no such factors. Such a being is not dependent on external events or factors, so it will not have a beginning, and since no such factors are there to be withdrawn it has no end.

    A classic, generally accepted example is the sort of thing like the truth in 2 + 3 = 5, which has no beginning or end, it is so in all possible worlds.

    A candidate for such a being will either be so in all possible worlds, or it will be IMPOSSIBLE. As a simple instance, again we see cases where we see 2 + 3 = 5 is true in this possible and indeed actual world. It holds in all possible worlds.

    The challenge comes in when we see that our observed universe is contingent and had a beginning. That points to a beginner that at root is a necessary being.

    Which — together with the evident fine tuning of the cosmos — brings up possible candidates that are not very comfortable for materialists.

    So what?

    Back in the heyday of the steady state cosmos, it was held that our contingent planet was caused within a wider cosmos that was a necessary being. It’s just that the evidence has gone the other way since the 60′s: our observed cosmos as a whole now seems per evidence, to be contingent.

    The logic follows, as can be checked in any decent study on modality or possible worlds.

    So, please stop tossing around unjustified claims of “assumptions.”

    GEM of TKI

  92. 92

    “Many materialists I have encountered were/are of the opinion that it is not right to judge behaviors in other cultures as evil.”

    Judge not lest ye be judged. Few materialists these days acknowledge the debt they owe to their judeo/christian heritage.

  93. 93

    “A candidate for such a being will either be so in all possible worlds, or it will be IMPOSSIBLE.”

    Not really, it could be POSSIBLE to imagine without contradiction, and it just didn’t happen. And why would it be a “being”, and not some inanimate it, dark matter perhaps? Change the definition and you could define a whole menagerie into existence by the same “logic”.

    The singularity of the big bang puts a limit on our knowledge looking back in time in a certain way. But that singularity, just like dark matter, dark energy, and the singularities that are black holes are just the current problems with general relativity which obviously is an incomplete theory. The big bang doesn’t make the universe contingent, in the sense of constraining what came before to a “being”. If there was a “creator” that somehow initiated this process, there is no reason the creator would have to have survived the big bang and still be with us.

  94. AG:

    Have you done the half-burned match exercise yet?

    (Can you therefore tell us what we learn from it about things that have a beginning and their necessary causal factors? if you refuse to do this, then that tells us that you fear the consequences of doing this, for your preferred conclusions.)

    Now, do a logical step: conceive of a candidate being without necessary causal factors. Will such have a beginning? No.

    If it has no beginning, then if it is, it has always been, and will always be. (Example, the truth in the statement 2 + 3 = 5)

    If a candidate for such status has had no beginning and it is not, then by the flip side of the logical coin, it will never be. It is impossible for it to be as it has no on switch, so to speak, and it is not on. (BTW, being is being used rather broadly.)

    Do you see the immediate sense of impossibility?

    As to the contingency of the observed universe, that is actually the same as the contingency of the match flame. For it to have a beginning, it depends on an external necessary causal factor. And that there was credibly a beginning, is not now a serious controversy, given the Hubble evidence, and the 2.7 K background cavity radiation. That evidence does not really depend on the validity of general relativity theory, which is why I pointed to the cavity radiation issue.

    So, even through a multiverse speculation, we are looking at an underlying necessary being. T

    GEM of TKI

  95. 95

    I take it that you aren’t using “being” in the sense of an intelligence?

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