Does Good come from God II – Harris vs Lane

The debate: Does Good Come From God II by Sam Harris vs William Lane Harris 7 April 2011 at Notre Dame is now on YouTube.

Part 1 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 2 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 3 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 4 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 5 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 6 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 7 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 8 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God

Part 9 of 9 – Harris vs Craig – Does Good Come From God
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Apologetics 315 has posted the audio link the Full Debate MP3 Audio here (120 min)
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I found the debate a fascinating test of technical debating skills vs red herrings and emotional appeals. (PS please post links to transcripts when available.)

This debate provides an interesting framework within which to examine the ID related question:
Does Information come from an Intelligent Agent?

Harris claimed that the axioms of science are accepted and obvious to everyone and provide the basis for proving there is no god. However, atheists commonly presuppose naturalistic materialism.
How can one scientifically examine if an intelligent agent exists or is causative, if one a priori excludes intelligent agents from possible causes?

I posit that in testing for an intelligent cause, one must presuppose:

1) Intelligent agents exist. (e.g. humans)
2) Intelligent agents can influence nature. (e.g. this post)
3) Some intelligent intervention can be detected. (e.g., forensics)
4) An intelligent agent may be a cause for an observed phenomena.

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April 11 See JonnyB’s follow on post:

Sam Harris Delivers Riveting Oration Championing Deism

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245 Responses to Does Good come from God II – Harris vs Lane

  1. One teacher commented, after seeing the Red Herring tirade of Harris, that he was going to show this debate to his class for a classic example of how NOT to debate.

    Besides Harris’s refusal to honestly address the main topic of the debate, the other thing that annoyed me most about Harris is that he continually acted as if materialistic atheism had sole propriety on science and logic. This is simply ridiculous. Logic is a unchanging immaterial entity and science would be impossible without logic. Yet if ‘material’ is held to be the only ‘real reality’ (which is a empirically false view), then logic in its pure transcendent form would be held to be merely illusory. i.e. we would not trust that our reasoning within science was trustworthy in the first place since we would not trust logic. This is another reason why Christian Theists were at the forefront in establishing the scientific revolution!

  2. Craig as usual made a compelling, detailed opening speech, establishing definition of terms early and supporting his premises. Also, he wisely exposed Harris’ attempt to redefine “good” in a way that enables his view of human specie-ism. In fact, Craig did well to demonstrate early on the moral ineptness of Harris’ view of beneficial well-being (which is subjective and apparently defined only by Harris). In the process, Craig showed that Harris’ view really isn’t objective, and that morality, even according to Harris, cannot have a material foundation. As part of Craig’s positive presentation of his view, I think he made an excellent case that some moral values are objective in the philosophical sense, and for the immateriality of the origin of objective moral values. In Craig’s second presentation, he correctly exposed Harris misunderstanding between “universal” and “objective” moral values.

    Harris’ presentation. In short, he was well spoken on his opening speech, seemed sincere. However, he seemed to ignore Craig’s previous expose of his attempt to arbitrarily redefine “good” as being somehow equivalent to feeling good or pleasure or otherwise lack of displeasure (a purely Epicurean concept). Also in his opening speech, he wasted time deploring his perceived double-standards in others who espouse morality, but of course did not hold himself to that any standard. In this regard, his time would have been better spent making a positive case, instead of merely complaining. And in his opening speech he said religion is not necessary for universal morality. But Harris does not espouse universal morality, but objective morality. Apparently he wasn’t sure what he believed during the debate. That might explain some of the redefining of terms and obfuscation going on later in the exchange. Regardless of whether his negative opinion of religion (or God), and evasion of the term “good” as Craig used it and “objective” in the philosophical sense (also how Craig used it), Harris was just boring. I was really hoping for a positive case for objective morality having a foundation not of a maximally moral Being, otherwise referred to as God. What I heard was evasions, and unfortunately ignorant, and rather childish complaints about how God enslaves people and alleged, unjust massacres, complaints which reflect a infantile degree of understanding of the context in which these complaints have their source.

    Craig delivered the goods, Harris didn’t.

  3. Laws of Logic;

    Five main laws of logic:

    A. Law of Non-contradiction

    B. Law of Identity

    C. Law of Excluded Middle

    D. Principle of Sufficient Reason

    E. Principle of Causality

    You cannot think correctly without following the above five laws.

    The first three were used by Aristotle to refute skeptics objections to syllogisms. The last two are added by the German logician Liebniz.

    Law of Non-contradiction

    A cannot be both B and non-B at the same time and in the same sense.

    “Nothing can both be and not-be”

    Propositions cannot be both true and false.

    Law of Identity

    x is x.

    Whatever is x, is x.

    Law of Excluded Middle

    Either x or non-x.

    Every proposition must be true or false.

    Principle of Sufficient Reason

    Everything that is has a sufficient reason why it is.

    (Both why it exists and what it is.)

    Principle of Causality

    Everything that acts or changes has a reason or cause why it acts or changes.

    Can also be stated:

    Everything that begins to exist has a reason why it exists.

    ie. Stuff just doesn’t pop into existence.

    http://www.gregcaughill.com/ph.....logic.html

  4. OT: jon specter, I got a video just for you showing that atheists and Theists can get along;

    A bipartisan group of legislators won’t give up on Oregon
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZi4JxbTwPo

  5. Harris was terrible. On almost exactly the same subject, Shelly Kagan was much better against Craig.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ety_mode=1

    The best part comes when they sit and start conversing.

  6. bornagain77

    Harris . . . acted as if materialistic atheism had sole propriety on science and logic.

    Important observation.
    Craig detailed how there is no objective basis for morality in atheism.
    Harris tried to wear “science” as the basis for all his arguments.

    As noted above, one’s presuppositions are critical to what “science” is and can do. “Science” with neutral presuppositions provides an objective (multi-viewer) basis for reporting and modeling natural phenomena.

    When Harris sais there is no evidence for god – is it because:
    1) He has not looked?
    2) He excludes the possibility a priori
    3) He takes others word for it?
    4) He actually has looked?

    Would Harris accept evidence if it was presented? etc.

  7. 7
    CannuckianYankee

    DHL,

    “When Harris sais there is no evidence for god – is it because:
    1) He has not looked?
    2) He excludes the possibility a priori
    3) He takes others word for it?
    4) He actually has looked?”

    I think you left out 5) He doesn’t like the Christian God and 6) All of the above (provided that looking for God is equivalent to physically looking for an immaterial God like the Soviets did in space).

    Off Topic:

    Apparently a brand new thing over at EvolutionNews is the ability to comment. I guess we have a new ID blog competitor (of sorts) on the block.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/comment-policy.html

  8. Re: “5) He doesn’t like the Christian God”
    He does not appear to like any “god” nor does it appear that he has tested between claims made for the various gods or for a Supreme Being.

  9. 9
    CannuckianYankee

    DLH,

    “nor does it appear that he has tested between claims made for the various gods or for a Supreme Being.”

    This is true. He seems rather conflicted as to the specific nature of the various claims of faith without getting into how they were derived. He seems particularly ignorant about the history and development of Islam as a specifically Abrahamic religion, liken to Judaism and Christianity – when he makes pronouncements about our predicament if it is true.

    I don’t think he really understands the kalam Cosmological argument – though that’s not what the debate was about. I think if the debate was about the existence of God Craig would have pounded him even harder.

  10. This may be useful for those doing the behind-the-scenes techie stuff re these debates:

    http://news.slashdot.org/story.....or-YouTube

  11. In the debate, one of the overriding concerns from Harris, it seemed to me, is that Harris would so vehemently attack what he perceived to be the unjustness of hell,,, the hell of any religion. But Harris, in his ‘mortal ignorance’, does not realize/accept that we really do have ‘eternal souls’ that, upon our deaths, i.e. separation from our physical temporal bodies, either must be reconciled with God, who is the primary source of all that is good, or must be separated from God and thus from all that is good. There simply is no ‘plan b’ once you enter eternity. Yet we have a big problem in that we are, in our present state, ‘sinful’ beings! Moreover it is impossible for us to attain, by our own strength, the perfection required for God’s infinite justice on sin, thus God Himself had to make the ‘perfect propitiation’ for our sins through Jesus. Harris may dislike what he presently perceives to be the ‘unjustness’ of hell but he is merely looking at the picture through his fallible, temporal, and all too human, ‘mortal eyes’ and does not fully realize the gravity of our present situation, and more certainly, he does not realize the sheer gravity that our present choices have in effecting our eternal destination once we enter eternity, upon our deaths to this ‘temporal’ world;

    Notes;

    The unification, into a ‘theory of everything’, between what is in essence the ‘infinite world of Quantum Mechanics’ and the ‘finite world of the space-time of General Relativity’ seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man. Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into this ‘unification’ of the infinite and the finite:

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    Philippians 2: 5-11
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    further note;

    ,,,If scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light which made the “3D – photographic negative” image I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) in Judeo-Christian cultures. It is in their testimonies that you will find mention of an indescribably bright ‘Light’ or ‘Being of Light’ who is always described as being of a much brighter intensity of light than the people had ever seen before. All people who have been in the presence of ‘The Being of Light’ while having a deep NDE have no doubt whatsoever that the ‘The Being of Light’ they were in the presence of is none other than ‘The Lord God Almighty’ of heaven and earth.

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

    further note; as to the importance of having Christ in your life;

    It should be noted: All foreign, non-Judeo-Christian culture, NDE studies I have looked at have a extreme rarity of encounters with ‘The Being Of Light’ and tend to be very unpleasant NDE’s save for the few pleasant children’s NDEs of those cultures that I’ve seen (It seems there is indeed an ‘age of accountability’). The following study was shocking for what was found in some non-Judeo-Christian NDE’s:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand – Todd Murphy:
    Excerpt:The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of ‘going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    ————-

    Hebrews 2:14-15
    “Since we, God’s children, are human beings – made of flesh and blood – He became flesh and blood too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could He die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could He deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread.”

    further notes;

    Bill Wiese on Sid Roth (23 minutes in hell) – Reality of ‘Eternal Dimension’ discussed in description of video
    http://www.vimeo.com/21230371

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  12. 12

    Harris’ ideas and beliefs are a confused mess.

  13. Kyle Butt examines:
    Samuel Harris, Christ’s Resurrection and the Nature of Belief
    He shows that Harris addresses the strawman of the Pope’s statements on the resurrection, rather than grappling with the historical records of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection.

    Harris dismisses prophecy.
    It does not appear that he has dealt with the probabilities of the fulfillment of prophecy. See:
    J. Barton Payne, The Encyclopedia of Prophecy, The Complete Guide to Scriptural Predictions and Their Fulfillment 1980 Baker Book, ISBN 978-0801070518

    Times arrow and the four forces of nature provide no basis for prophecy being fulfilled.

    Yet Payne details 1,817 entries on fulfillment of prophecy, discussing 8,352 predictive verses!

    Even assuming a factor of 2 probability for the fulfillment of each prophecy, parts per 2^1817 should be “significant”! I think that is rather larger than 10^120.

  14. DLH, in trying to get a handle on the huge numbers involved for prophecy fulfillment, I liked this from Ankerberg;

    The Case for Jesus the Messiah — Incredible Prophecies that Prove God Exists By Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon, and Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr.
    Excerpt: But, of course, there are many more than eight prophecies. In another calculation Stoner used 48 prophecies (even though he could have used 456) and arrived at the extremely conservative estimate that the probability of 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is one in 10^157. How large is the number 10^157? 10^157 contains 157 zeros! Let us try to illustrate this number using electrons. Electrons are very small objects. They are smaller than atoms. It would take 2.5 times 10^15 of them, laid side by side, to make one inch. Even if we counted four electrons every second and counted day and night, it would still take us 19 million years just to count a line of electrons one inch long.
    But how many electrons would it take if we were dealing with 10^157 electrons? Imagine building a solid ball of electrons that would extend in all directions from the earth a length of 6 billion light years. The distance in miles of just one light year is 6.4 trillion miles. That would be a big ball! But not big enough to measure 10^157 electrons. In order to do that, you must take that big ball of electrons reaching the length of 6 billion light years long in all directions and multiply it by 6 x 10^28! How big is that? It’s the length of the space required to store trillions and trillions and trillions of the same gigantic balls and more. In fact, the space required to store all of these balls combined together would just start to “scratch the surface” of the number of electrons we would need to really accurately speak about 10^157. But assuming you have some idea of the number of electrons we are talking about, now imagine marking just one of those electrons in that huge number. Stir them all up. Then appoint one person to travel in a rocket for as long as he wants, anywhere he wants to go. Tell him to stop and segment a part of space, then take a high-powered microscope and find that one marked electron in that segment.
    What do you think his chances of being successful would be? It would be one in 10^157.
    http://www.johnankerberg.org/A.....1103-3.pdf

    further notes;

    Isaiah 53 and the Dead Sea Scrolls – verified prophecy before the birth of Christ
    http://www.allaboutarchaeology.....olls-2.htm

    One Of The Most Compelling And Remarkable Prophecies In The Old Testament.

    Isaiah 53 – Prophecy Fulfilled
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVaeT1hbswo

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241

    Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Israel 1948 – article
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Bibl.....;id=449317

  15. Bornagain:

    “But Harris, in his ‘mortal ignorance’, does not realize/accept that we really do have ‘eternal souls’ that, upon our deaths, i.e. separation from our physical temporal bodies, either must be reconciled with God, who is the primary source of all that is good, or must be separated from God and thus from all that is good.”

    I have three questions. I have asked them before, but have never received a satisfactory answer.

    1. How do you know that this is true? I am not asking you why you believe it. I am asking for some unimpeachable source of truth.

    2. Can you give me an unequivocal definition or description of “good” (in the moral sense of the term)? Something that would allow me without question to know when I am being “good” and when I am not?

    3. What is the unimpeachable source for the definition or description in answer to question 2?

  16. Bruce David. to answer your first question, let’s begin by establishing the fact that we actually enter do enter eternity (a timeless dimension) upon death; To do that let’s look at how the ‘frameworks/dimensions’ of reality are ‘positioned’ relative to one another:

    How Teleportation Will Work -
    Excerpt: In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed. — As predicted, the original photon no longer existed once the replica was made.
    http://science.howstuffworks.c.....ation1.htm

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a (photon) qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport.
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation (separation) of its ‘infinite’ information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. (i.e. a photon ‘disappeared’ from the ‘material’ universe when the entire information content of a photon was ‘transcendently displaced’ from the material universe by the experiment, when photon “c” transcendently became transmitted photon “a”). Thus, Quantum teleportation is direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. ‘transcendent’ information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, telling energy exactly what to be and do in the experiment. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed and, in information demonstrating transcendence, and dominion, of space-time and matter-energy, becomes the only known entity that can satisfactorily explain where all energy came from as far as the origination of the universe is concerned. That is transcendent information is the only known entity which can explain where all the energy came from in the Big Bang without leaving the bounds of empirical science as the postulated multiverse does. Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, a photon of energy, as transcendent information does in teleportation, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities as energy does possess in the first law of thermodynamics (i.e. Energy cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means according to the first law).

    “I discovered that nature was constructed in a wonderful way, and our task is to find out its mathematical structure”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    Reflections on the ‘infinite transcendent information’ framework:

    The weight of mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. As well, mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light, because, from our non-speed of light perspective, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for the mass going the speed of light, whereas conversely, if mass could travel at the speed of light its size will stay the same while all other frames of reference not traveling the speed of light will disappear from its sight. As well time, as we understand it, would come to a stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time stopping at the speed of light’ concept more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light?

    Special Relativity – Time Dilation and Length Contraction – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSRIyDfo_mY

    For us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, only gets us to first base as far as quantum entanglement, or teleportation, are concerned. That is to say, traveling at the speed of light only gets us to the place where time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, ‘past and future folding into now’, framework of time. This higher dimension ‘eternal’ inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not ‘frozen within time’ yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    It is very interesting to note that this strange higher dimensional, eternal, framework for time, found in special relativity, finds corroboration in Near Death Experience testimonies:

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    It is also very interesting to point out that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), is also corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as an observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences:

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    Speed Of Light – Near Death Experience Tunnel – Turin Shroud – video
    http://www.vimeo.com/18371644

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – view
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    Also, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them, but, and this is a big but; this ‘timeless’ travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. In information teleportation though the ‘time not passing’, eternal, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but also in our temporal framework. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus ‘pure transcendent information’ is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which ‘It’ resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned).

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane – Child Prodigy

    Logic also dictates ‘a decision’ must have been made, by the ‘transcendent, eternal, infinite information’ from the primary timeless (eternal) reality ‘It’ inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive by yet another line of evidence besides the necessity for a ‘first mover’ to explain quantum wave collapse.

    The First Cause Must Be A Personal Being – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4813914

  17. Now to solidify the Theistic postulation that we have a soul;

    ,,,There is a mysterious ‘higher dimensional’ component to life:

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale
    with body size as power laws of the form:

    Y = Yo M^b,

    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.
    http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/~dre.....18_257.pdf

    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.,,, The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection.” Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-369806

    4-Dimensional Quarter Power Scaling In Biology – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5964041/

    Though Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini rightly find it inexplicable for ‘random’ Natural Selection to be the rational explanation for the scaling of the physiology, and anatomy, of living things to four-dimensional parameters, they do not seem to fully realize the implications this ‘four dimensional scaling’ of living things presents. This 4-D scaling is something we should rightly expect from a Intelligent Design perspective. This is because Intelligent Design holds that ‘higher dimensional transcendent information’ is more foundational to life, and even to the universe itself, than either matter or energy are. This higher dimensional ‘expectation’ for life, from a Intelligent Design perspective, is directly opposed to the expectation of the Darwinian framework, which holds that information, and indeed even the essence of life itself, is merely an ‘emergent’ property of the 3-D material realm.

    Earth’s crammed with heaven,
    And every common bush afire with God;
    But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
    The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
    – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems? A.C. McINTOSH
    Excerpt: It is proposed in conclusion that it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.
    http://journals.witpress.com/journals.asp?iid=47

    Quantum entanglement holds together life’s blueprint – 2010
    Excerpt: “If you didn’t have entanglement, then DNA would have a simple flat structure, and you would never get the twist that seems to be important to the functioning of DNA,” says team member Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford.
    http://neshealthblog.wordpress.....blueprint/

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA & Protein Folding – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    Further evidence that quantum entanglement/information is found throughout entire protein structures:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-374898

    It is very interesting to note that quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints, should be found in molecular biology, for how can the quantum entanglement effect in biology possibly be explained by a material (matter/energy) cause when the quantum entanglement effect falsified material particles as its own causation in the first place? (A. Aspect) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles, as Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the material particles themselves to supply! To give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Improbability arguments of various ‘special’ configurations of material particles, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply since the cause is not within the material particles in the first place! Yet it is also very interesting to note, in Darwinism’s inability to explain this ‘transcendent quantum effect’ adequately, that Theism has always postulated a transcendent component to man that is not constrained by time and space. i.e. Theism has always postulated a ‘eternal soul’ for man that lives past the death of the body.

    Further notes:

    The ‘Fourth Dimension’ Of Living Systems
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1Gs_qvlM8-7bFwl9rZUB9vS6SZgLH17eOZdT4UbPoy0Y

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – March 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

  18. These following studies and videos confirm this ‘superior quality’ of existence for our souls/minds:

    Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – Dr. Ben Carson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585/

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives:
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The Extremely ‘Monitored’ Near Death Experience of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)
    http://findarticles.com/p/arti....._65076875/

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....Flies.html

    Study suggests precognition may be possible – November 2010
    Excerpt: A Cornell University scientist has demonstrated that psi anomalies, more commonly known as precognition, premonitions or extra-sensory perception (ESP), really do exist at a statistically significant level.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....ition.html

    Mind-Brain Interaction and Science Fiction (Quantum connection) – Jeffrey Schwartz & Michael Egnor – audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....8_39-08_00

    In The Wonder Of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind, Eccles and Robinson discussed the research of three groups of scientists (Robert Porter and Cobie Brinkman, Nils Lassen and Per Roland, and Hans Kornhuber and Luder Deeke), all of whom produced startling and undeniable evidence that a “mental intention” preceded an actual neuronal firing – thereby establishing that the mind is not the same thing as the brain, but is a separate entity altogether.

    “As I remarked earlier, this may present an “insuperable” difficulty for some scientists of materialists bent, but the fact remains, and is demonstrated by research, that non-material mind acts on material brain.” Eccles

    “Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder.”
    Heinrich Heine – in the year 1834

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,,,,Nobel prize winner W. Penfield could sometimes induce flashes of recollection of the past (never a complete life review), experiences of light, sound or music, and rarely a kind of out-of-body experience. These experiences did not produce any transformation. After many years of research he finally reached the conclusion that it is not possible to localize memories (information) inside the brain.,, In trying to understand this concept of mutual interaction between the “invisible and not measurable” consciousness, with its enormous amount of information, and our visible, material body it seems wise to compare it with modern worldwide communication.,,,

  19. But how do I ‘know’ that there are different destinations for souls in the eternal realm?

    To that question I can only appeal to the studies of NDE’s. Especially of foreign non-Judeo Christian cultures;

    All foreign, non-Judeo-Christian culture, NDE studies I have looked at have a extreme rarity of encounters with ‘The Being Of Light’ and tend to be very unpleasant NDE’s save for the few pleasant children’s NDEs of those cultures that I’ve seen (It seems there is indeed an ‘age of accountability’). The following study was shocking for what was found in some non-Judeo-Christian NDE’s:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand – Todd Murphy:
    Excerpt:The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of ‘going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves.

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand: Discussion of case histories By Todd Murphy, 1999:
    Excerpt: We would suggest that the near-constant comparisons with the most frequently reported types of NDEs tends to blind researchers to the features of NDEs which are absent in these NDEs. Tunnels are rare, if not absent. The panoramic Life Review appears to be absent. Instead, our collection shows people reviewing just a few karmically-significant incidents. Perhaps they symbolize behavioral tendencies, the results of which are then experienced as determinative of their rebirths. These incidents are read out to them from a book. There is no Being of Light in these Thai NDEs, although The Buddha does appear in a symbolic form, in case #6. Yama is present during this truncated Life Review, as is the Being of Light during Western life reviews, but Yama is anything but a being of light. In popular Thai depictions, he is shown as a wrathful being, and is most often remembered in Thai culture for his power to condemn one to hell. Some of the functions of Angels and guides are also filled by Yamatoots. They guide, lead tours of hell, and are even seen to grant requests made by the experient.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington:
    Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here.
    Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back.
    Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living.
    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibe.....4&amp

    India Cross-cultural study by Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia Medical School and Dr. Satwant Pasricha of the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India
    Excerpt: “Suddenly I saw two big pots of boiling water, although there was no fire, no firewood, and no fireplace. Then, the man pushed me with his hand and said, “You’d better hurry up and go back.” When he touched me, I suddenly became aware of how hot his hand was. Then I realised why the pots were boiling. The heat was coming from his hands! When I regained consciousness, I had a severe burning sensation in my left arm.” Mangal still had a mark on his left arm that he claims was a result of the burning. About a quarter of Dr Pasricha’s interviewees reported such marks. http://www.rediff.com/news/1999/apr/06pas.htm

    The Japanese find death a depressing experience – From an item by Peter Hadfield in the New Scientist (Nov. 30th 1991)
    Excerpt: A study in Japan shows that even in death the Japanese have an original way of looking at things. Instead of seeing ‘tunnels of light’ or having ‘out of body’ experiences, near-dead patients in Japanese hospitals tend to see rather less romantic images, according to researchers at Kyorin University. According to a report in the Mainichi newspaper, a group of doctors from Kyorin has spent the past year documenting the near-death experiences of 17 patients. They had all been resuscitated from comas caused by heart attacks, strokes, asthma or drug poisoning. All had shown minimal signs of life during the coma. Yoshia Hata, who led the team, said that eight of the 17 recalled ‘dreams’, many featuring rivers or ponds. Five of those patients had dreams which involved fear, pain and suffering. One 50-year-old asthmatic man said he had seen himself wade into a reservoir and do a handstand in the shallows. ‘Then I walked out of the water and took some deep breaths. In the dream, I was repeating this over and over.’ Another patient, a 73-year-old woman with cardiac arrest, saw a cloud filled with dead people. ‘It was a dark, gloomy day. I was chanting sutras. I believed they could be saved if they chanted sutras, so that is what I was telling them to do.’ Most of the group said they had never heard of Near-Death Experiences before.
    http://www.pureinsight.org/node/4

    Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in a Melanesian Society by Dorothy E. Counts:
    Excerpt: “When you were in your village you claimed to be an important man. But in this little place you have been eaten up by a knife, a dog, and a pig. And now fire will utterly destroy you.” When the loudspeaker had finished, a fire blazed up and destroyed the remains.
    http://anthropology.uwaterloo......Death.html

    Several studies (Pasricha, 1986, Schorer, 1985-86) & Kellehear, 1993) Murphy 1999,2001) have indicated that the phenomenologies of NDEs is culture-bound. (Of Note: Judeo-Christian Culture NDEs are by far the most pleasant “phenomena”)

    Researching Muslim NDEs, on the web at the NDERF home page, I find that there are only a handful of Muslim NDE experiences out of the thousands of NDE’s they have listed on their web site. There is only one really deep Muslim NDE in which there is a reference to “the Light”. Not surprisingly, this NDE occurred to a teenage boy. In the handful of somewhat deep adult Muslim NDEs that I have read about, the Muslim NDES never mentioned “the Light”, “Supreme Being” or a “Being of Light”. If this holds steady for all adult Muslim NDEs, then this will fall into stark contrast to the majority of deep Judeo/Christian NDE testimonies of adults for the western world.

    Greyson and Bush (1996) classified 50 Western reports of distressing NDEs into three types:
    * The most common type included the same features as the pleasurable type such as an out-of-body experience and rapid movement through a tunnel or void toward a light but the NDEr, usually because of feeling out of control of what was happening, experienced the features as frightening.
    * The second, less common type included an acute awareness of nonexistence or of being completely alone forever in an absolute void. Sometimes the person received a totally convincing message that the real world including themselves never really existed. (note* according to one preliminary study, a similar type of this NDE may be very common among the Buddhist culture of China)
    * The third and rarest type included hellish imagery such as an ugly or foreboding landscape; demonic beings; loud, annoying noises; frightening animals; and other beings in extreme distress. Only rarely have such NDErs themselves felt personally tormented.

    Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands – The Lancet; Pim Van Lommel-
    Excerpt: In a prospective study, we included 344 consecutive cardiac patients who were successfully resuscitated after cardiac arrest in ten Dutch hospitals…. Findings 62 patients (18%) reported NDE, of whom 41 (12%) described a core experience.
    http://profezie3m.altervista.o.....et_NDE.htm

    The Seattle Study; Pediatrics by Dr. Melvin Morse and Kimberly Clark Sharp
    Seattle Study- Morse discovered that of the 26 children who came close to dying, all but two reported NDEs that were eerily similar to what Moody had described. (This equates to a 92 to 93% NDE rate for children. (Reader’s Digest Spirited Away – Sullivan)
    http://www-scf.usc.edu/~zen/files/spiritedaway.htm

    The Gallup poll in 1992 was of U.S. adults, and found 5% had a NDE: .05 = (number of those surveyed with a prior history of NDE)/(total number surveyed). That equates to 15 million of a population of 300 million
    http://www.nderf.org/number_nde_usa.htm

    THE FOUR TYPES OF NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES

    1) Initial Experience (sometimes referred to as the “non-experience”) Involves elements such as a loving nothingness, the living dark, a friendly voice, or a brief out-of-body experience; perhaps a visitation of some kind. Usually experienced by those who seem to need the least amount of evidence for proof of survival, or who need the least amount of shakeup in their lives at that point in time. Often, this become a “seed” experience or an introduction to other ways of perceiving and recognizing reality.

    Incident rate: 76% with child experiencers; 20% with adult experiencers

    2) Unpleasant and/or Hell-like Experience (inner cleansing and self-confrontation) Encounter with a threatening void or stark limbo or hellish purgatory, or scenes of a startling and unexpected indifference, even “hauntings” from one’s own past. Usually experienced by those who seem to have deeply suppressed or repressed guilts, fears, and angers, and/or those who expect some kind of punishment or discomfort after death.

    Incident rate: 3% with child experiencers; 15% with adult experiencers

    3) Pleasant and/or Heaven-like Experience (reassurance and self-validation) Heaven-like scenarios of loving family reunions with those who have died previously, reassuring religious figures or light beings, validation that life counts, affirmative and inspiring dialogue. Usually experienced by those who most need to know how loved they are and how important life is and how every effort has a purpose in the overall scheme of things.

    Incident rate: 19% with child experiencers; 47% with adult experiencers

    4) Transcendent Experience (expansive revelations, alternate realities) Exposure to otherworldly dimensions and scenes beyond the individual’s frame of reference; sometimes includes revelations of greater truths. Seldom personal in content. Usually experienced by those who are ready for a “mind stretching” challenge and/or individuals who are more apt to utilize (to whatever degree) the truths that are revealed to them.
    Incident rate: 2% with child experiencers; 18% with adult experiencers
    http://www.theglobalintelligen.....007/fringe

  20. Bruce your second question was,

    ‘Can you give me an unequivocal definition or description of “good” (in the moral sense of the term)? Something that would allow me without question to know when I am being “good” and when I am not?’

    Bruce it all depends on what your ultimate reference point for good is. If you, as William Lane Craig pointed out in the debate, hold to the conclusion that objective morality must find its ultimate foundation in God as the locus for the highest possible good that can exist, as I find to be a overwhelmingly reasonable position, then you are being ‘good’ if you do His will and grow in your eternal relationship with Him. As to what is His exact will is for your life?, I can only point to what William Lane Craig also pointed out in the debate, it is summed up in, Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.,,,

  21. Bruce as to question 3, in pure objectivity, I would hold the resurrection of Jesus to be the unimpeachable source testifying that all moral authority finds its source in God. But of course, in your own personal dealings with neo-Darwinists, you know how hard it is for people to be purely objective in their evaluation of evidence, thus, in this matter with you, I would be very surprised if you, in your pantheistic leanings, agreed with me on the ‘unimpeachableness’ of the resurrection.

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    Turin Shroud 3-D Hologram – Face And Body – Dr. Petrus Soons – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5889891/

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

  22. Here is another well written summary:

    How William Lane Craig thrashed Sam Harris like a naughty puppy
    Excerpt: In the end, my sense was that Craig was quietly exasperated at Harris for failing to deliver; and Harris was exasperated at Craig for being a Christian.
    http://thinkingmatters.org.nz/.....hty-puppy/

  23. This week, Unbelievable Christian Radio has the author of the book Craig plugged in the debate:

    Is God a Moral Monster? Paul Copan & Norman Bacrac
    http://www.premierradio.org.uk.....x?mediaid={BD4A5C6A-9C16-417C-8C3D-5D833B5F654C}

  24. this link should work;

    http://www.premier.org.uk/unbelievable

    just click to listen

  25. 25

    Bornagain:

    I asked you for an unimpeachable source of truth. You gave me records of NDEs. This could count as evidence, after a fashion, but hardly as an unimpeachable source. The primary reason is that the differences among various peoples’ experience could have many different explanations, only one of which is that they reflect the actual reality that exists beyond the grave. For example, a person’s NDE could reflect what they believe is actually going to happen to them after death, which will be influenced but not determined by the culture in which they live. In our culture the vast majority of people do not believe that they are going to go to Hell, either because they are evangelical or Catholic Christians and believe that they have been “saved” by their belief in Jesus or having gone to confession, or like atheists or others like me, they don’t believe that a loving God would create a Hell at all. Another explanation is right in the quotes in your comment, at the end where you list the four types NDE, in which a reason is given for each type, based on what the individual having the NDE needs to experience at that point in his or her life.

    Regarding what is “good”, you said, “Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and your neighbor as yourself.,,,” To me, this is very close to my own idea of what constitutes appropriate action in any given circumstance, which is the answer to the question, “What would Love do now?” (“Appropriate” being defined in this case as that which most closely reflects Who We Really Are.) However, this doesn’t seem to correspond to what Christians generally regard as moral action. For example, casual sex would not be proscribed as long as it is done lovingly, nor homosexual activity either. Furthermore, it gives us very little if any guidance regarding actions that fall under the heading of integrity: one can easily imagine many circumstances when lying could be the loving thing to do, or even stealing. It doesn’t tell us at what point a developing human fetus becomes a human being either. Nor does it give us any clue regarding what God wants from us regarding our relationship to Him other than to love Him. How are we to worship Him, or indeed are we to worship Him at all? In general, the admonition to love God and each other doesn’t yield any hard and fast moral rules for behavior, since every circumstance is unique, and an action that is unloving in one circumstance may be just the opposite in another.

    Regarding using Jesus as one’s source of truth, I have been doing some research since we last conversed, and I have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot know what Jesus said or did with any certainty. There is no historical record of Jesus life dating from the first century after his death other than the New Testament. In that document, the earliest writings are Paul’s letters, but Paul never knew Jesus and in any case gives us very little information regarding his life. The earliest gospel, Mark, was written anonymously (all the gospels were written anonymously and later attributed to purported authors). It collects stories of his life. Where did those stories come from? They were transmitted orally by Christians speaking to others whom they wished to convert, who in turn told them to others, etc. This went on for some 3 to 4 decades after Jesus’ death before the author of Mark wrote them down in Greek. At some point they had to have been translated from the original Aramaic. The last gospel, John, was written 6 to 7 decades after Jesus’ death. We can have no way of knowing to what extent the stories were changed during that period of oral transmission.

    Furthermore, the gospels contradict each other in many ways. For example, Matthew has Mary and Joseph living in Bethlehem, where Jesus is born and then fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod’s orders to kill all the babies under the age of 2. Finally, after Herod dies, they return, but go to Nazareth instead of Bethlehem because they are worried about what Herod’s son, the new king, might do. Luke’s version has them traveling to Bethlehem for the census (of which there is no historical record, by the way), where Jesus is born in a stable. Thirty three days later, they return to Nazareth. Another example: According to Mark, Jesus said nothing during his trip to be crucified, and says nothing while on the cross until the very end, when he utters that cry, full of pathos, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” According to Luke, however, he speaks to the women crying for him on the way, and he speaks to the convicts being crucified next to him. He also says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” and at the end says, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Also, John contains a very different account of Jesus’ life than do Mark, Matthew, and Luke. These are but three of many, many examples of contradictions between and among the gospels and the other books of the New Testament.

    In addition, we do not have the originals of the books that make up the New Testament. We have copies of copies of copies, the very earliest from the second century after his death. Furthermore, the copies are full of errors, some inadvertent, some intentional where the text was changed deliberately to conform more closely to what the scribe thought was the true teaching. Scholars have spent a great deal of effort to reconstruct what the earliest versions actually said, but there are situations where they simply can’t be sure what was in the original.

    All of this supports an inescapable conclusion that we really don’t know and can never know the details of Jesus’ life and teachings. One can believe that the New Testament as it has come down to us (after painstaking scholarship) is the true word of God, but that must be a matter of faith. (And even then, how does one reconcile the contradictions?) There is no logical reason to believe that it is so.

  26. Bruce David, It seems to me that you are on very shaky ground in your refusal to accept the consistency of the hellish accounts of NDE’s from pantheistic countries. Sure individual accounts are suspect as to integrity due to the ‘human factor’, but such consistency across such a broad sample base for pantheistic NDE’s negates your objection. As to your objection that many different explanations are plausible, first I refer you to this video (again) and this book;

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffery Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences – book
    http://www.amazon.com/Evidence.....0061452556

    second I referred you to the fact that reality itself testifies to what is reported in NDE’s i.e. special relativity conforms to the ‘eternality of time’ reported in NDE’s, as well ‘the tunnel’ reported in NDE’s conforms to what we know will happen ‘optically’ as we approach the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light (pretty stunning empirical conformation!!!). As well I cited evidence that conclusively shows that we have a ‘higher dimensional’ component to our makeup that is not limited by time or space, which conform to the ‘soul postulation’ of Theism, and is certainly not a ‘original’ pantheistic postulation, though pantheist shamelessly borrow it or discard it whenever pressed one way or the other. As well I outlined, with experimental support, how reality is actually constructed, A highest transcendent realm, A eternal realm, and A temporal realm.,,, As well I presented very plausible evidence that links the Shroud of Turin (i.e. resurrection of Christ) with the ‘unification’ of General Relativity and quantum mechanics, which happens to be the greatest unsolved mystery in mathematics and physics today. Yet you completely ignored this stunning piece of evidence so as to attack the Bible. Though I could link several videos defending against chosen point of attack, I will just point to one thing to defend the Bible, the fulfilled prophecy of Israel becoming a nation in 1948;

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241

    Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Israel 1948 – article
    Excerpt: As such, we can know for certain that the Bible, in one of the most remarkable prophecies in history, accurately foresaw the year of Israel’s restoration as an independent nation some two thousand five hundred years before the event occurred.
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Bibl.....;id=449317

    I don’t know Bruce, it is really not my responsibility to try to make you be fair with the evidence, but it seems fairly clear to me that you would rather look for anything small thing at all to object to, whilst ignoring the truly wondrous evidence presented to you. i.e. exactly why should your nit-picking on supposed ‘inconsistencies’ in the Bible outweigh stunning prophetic fulfillment that took World War II to bring to fulfillment???

  27. Bruce David
    re: “1. How do you know that this is true?”
    What is objective truth? On who basis do you recognize evidence? Can anything be known about historical events?

    In keeping with the ID theme, I encourage you to examine all the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    For a through legal evaluation of the evidence, see:
    Simon Greenleaf (1846)(the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University) An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice
    Reprinted 1995 Kregel Publications

    Frank Morrison Who moved the stone?
    2006 Authentic media ISBN 978-1850786740
    Online

    Josh McDowell Evidence that Demands a Verdict, 1999 Thomas Nelson ISBN 978-0785242192

  28. Bornagain. You said, “Bruce David, It seems to me that you are on very shaky ground in your refusal to accept the consistency of the hellish accounts of NDE’s from pantheistic countries.”

    The “hellish accounts of NDE’s” carry no weight with me because I am certain that there is no Hell, and I can prove it. I have included the proof below. But let’s say for the sake of argument that we accept that Hell exists. How do I know how to keep myself out of it? Really! As I have pointed out already, the Bible itself is contradictory on the subject. Some gospels say that it is only necessary to love and be kind to each other. Paul says that it is only by accepting Christ as one’s savior, that what we do has no bearing on whether we are made right with God. How do I decide, particularly given that none of the New Testament can be trusted to be accurate? Or maybe the Catholics are right, and I will go to Hell if I have any unconfessed sin on my soul regardless of what else I do? And what if Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism, have the correct idea? How do I decide which, if any, of these conflicting views is correct?

    And as for prophesy, how do you reconcile the fact that Jesus himself in Mark and Matthew prophesied that the Kingdom of God, when the moon would turn red and the stars fall from the sky and evil would be vanquished and the Son of Man would come in riding on the clouds to rule the earth, that all this would happen while some of his disciples were still alive? Obviously, this did not happen, so where does that leave your vaunted Biblical prophesy?

    PROOF THAT THERE IS NO HELL

    Undefined terms
    1. love
    2. moral

    Definitions
    1. immoral: the opposite of moral.
    2. to love someone unconditionally: to love someone no matter what they do.
    3. to judge an act or a person: to decide or conclude that the act or person is immoral.
    4. to punish: to cause suffering and/or death to someone in retribution for their having committed an act that is perceived as immoral (ie., has been judged).
    5. soul: the consciousness of a human being that survives the death of its physical body.
    6. Hell: a place whose purpose is to punish souls who have been judged after they die.
    7. Justice: rewarding moral behavior and punishing immoral behavior.

    Axioms
    1. To judge an act committed by a person is to judge the person also.
    2. Whenever one judges someone, they do not love them.
    3. Everything God does has a purpose.
    4. A human being is equivalent to the soul of that human being.
    5. God loves all human beings (and thus all souls) unconditionally.

    Theorems
    1. God will never judge an act committed by a human being/soul.
    Proof: Assume that God judges such an act. Then by Axiom 1, God also judges the person who committed it, and by Axiom 2, God does not love that person. Therefore the act that that person committed has resulted in God not loving them, and by Definition 2, God therefore does not love that person unconditionally. But this contradicts Axiom 5.
    2. God will never punish a human being/soul.
    Proof: Assume that God punishes someone. By Definition 4, punishment is in retribution for what God perceives as an immoral act. Thus, by Definition 3, God has judged that act. But this contradicts Theorem 1.
    Corollary: Justice is not one of God’s attributes.
    Proof: By Definition 7, justice involves punishment. Since God will never punish a human being/soul, justice is not a characteristic of His actions.
    3. God did not and will not create a Hell.
    Proof: Since the purpose of Hell is to punish souls (Definition 6), and since God will never punish a soul (Theorem 2), if God created a Hell, it would be for no purpose. But this contradicts Axiom 3.
    Corollary: If the Bible states that there is a Hell in the meaning of Definition 6, then the Bible is incorrect or has been misinterpreted.

    Notes:
    1. There are two meanings for “to judge”. One is to assess guilt or innocence, as in a courtroom trial or the last judgment. The second is as I have defined it above in Definition 3. Throughout this short exposition I have used the word only in its second meaning.
    2. I suspect that Axioms 1 and 2 will be the most controversial among anyone following this series of proofs. I am certain that they are both true, based on my own personal experience.
    Axiom 1: This is because our judgment of the morality of an act includes the intention of the person acting. For example, suppose someone is shopping and has an item he or she intends to buy in his or her hands. In order to browse a magazine they put the item in their pocket and after returning the magazine to the rack absentmindedly exit the store forgetting about the item in the pocket. We would not conclude that the action (taking the item without paying for it) was immoral, just forgetful. On the other hand, if someone performed the exact same action but left the store in full knowledge that the item was in his or her pocket, deliberately not paying for it, he or she would be judged as having done something immoral. Since the immorality of an act is dependent on the intention, one who commits an immoral act is ipso facto immoral.
    Axiom 2: This is because the essence of love is to unite, and the essence of judgment is to separate, and I know from introspection that when I am judging another, I am not loving them, and when I love them, I do not judge them. I may observe that what they are doing does not serve them or reflect who they truly are, but this is not the same as judging them (deciding that they are an immoral person).

  29. DLH. You said, “In keeping with the ID theme, I encourage you to examine all the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

    Jesus may have been resurrected. However, the “historical evidence” is entirely contained within the New Testament, which for reasons I laid out in #25, simply cannot be trusted as accurate unless one performs an act of faith that it is.

  30. 30

    Bruce David,

    Jesus may have been resurrected. However, the “historical evidence” is entirely contained within the New Testament, which for reasons I laid out in #25, simply cannot be trusted as accurate unless one performs an act of faith that it is.

    It is an act of faith that you’re not a brain in a vat, that your reasoning has any purchase on the world, that you’re not stuck in a dream in a coma. Besides, the New Testament is a collection of books, by different authors, because it has been brought together as one bigger book is not a reason to regard it as unhistorical. All historical books you must take on faith.

  31. —Bruce David: “DLH. You said, “In keeping with the ID theme, I encourage you to examine all the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

    —”Jesus may have been resurrected. However, the “historical evidence” is entirely contained within the New Testament, which for reasons I laid out in #25, simply cannot be trusted as accurate unless one performs an act of faith that it is.”

    Notice how blithely you shrug off all the evidence that DLH alludes to, a ton of which you know nothing about and all of which is based on reason, not faith. Have you read any of the works cited? If not, then you are in no position to comment on the matter. Will you ever? I seriously doubt it. Your lack of intellectual curiosity is astounding.

    I would be willing to gamble that you cannot produce even one of out of the hundred or more rational arguments on behalf of the resurrection–arguments that you happily discount without even being aware of their existence.

    With respect to the criticisms you present @25 most are either bogus, uninformed, or irrelevant. I am confident that are not curious as to why that is the case, so I will not bother to elaborate.

  32. That should read, “I am confident that [you] are not curious as to why that is the case,”…..

  33. 33
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce David,

    We meet again. I have several excellent books upon my shelf, which would refute your statements regarding the New Testament and the historical Jesus. Among them are:

    New Testament Documents:

    The Historical Reliability of the Gospels: Craig Bloomberg.

    http://www.amazon.com/Historic.....038;sr=1-1

    The Canon of Scripture: FF Bruce.

    http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Sc.....038;sr=1-1

    Historical Jesus:

    Jesus and the Victory of God: NT Wright.

    http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Vi.....038;sr=1-1

    Wright has 3 extensive volumes in a series covering the historical Jesus. This is one of the 3.

    The Real Jesus: Luke Timothy Johnson.

    http://www.amazon.com/Real-Jes.....038;sr=1-1

    I Believe in the Historical Jesus: J Howard Marshall.

    http://www.amazon.com/Believe-.....038;sr=1-1

    The Historical Figure of Jesus: EP Sanders.

    http://www.amazon.com/Historic.....038;sr=1-1

    And the one I think is the most thorough:

    The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ: Gary R. Habermas.

    http://www.amazon.com/Historic.....038;sr=1-1

    There are common themes throughout these books and others, which would suggest that:

    We can know a whole lot about the life of Christ and what he said and did.

    The fact of Christ’s life is indisputed.

    The fact of the crucifixion is indisputed.

    There are several historical facts mentioned in the New Testament, which are verified by archeology.

    While we have evidence that the New Testament was written within the 1st Century AD – certainly before 100AD, it is reasonable to suggest that the New Testament was written earlier than we currently have physical evidence for. There is internal NT evidence, which shows that certain events which should have been known and mentioned by the authors were in fact unknown and unmentioned – if in fact the gospels and Acts were written later as suggested by a few scholars. It is these omissions (such as the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70), among other internal evidence, which force most scholars on all sides of the liberal/conservative spectrum to conclude that the gospels and acts were written much earlier than we currently have physical evidence for, such as actual NT manuscripts; the oldest dating to ca 125AD.

    Peter Carsten Thiede has an interesting hypothesis that a payrus fragment from Matthew’s gospel called the “Jesus Fragment”, dates to ca 40-50 AD. Most scholars put Matthew a little later – up to 65AD. But one thing is pretty clear, Matthew was not the first gospel, which if Thiede is correct, places Mark even earlier.

    Such is unprecedented in the whole spectrum of ancient documents. Only the life of Jesus can be so readily constructed from contemporary and near contemporary sources. You’re simply wrong when you suggest that we can’t know much about what Jesus did or said. I think you’re reading (if any) is rather selective.

  34. Bruce David;

    A eastern European,, much like you, could not believe that God, who is the source of all love, could condemn someone to hell. Then he saw some of the greatest atrocities in recent history, with the ‘ethnic cleansing’, rape, murder, torture etc.. of his people. Then he realized that righteous wrath and love are not incompatible, i.e. He saw that God would have to be ‘righteously angry’ and ‘judgmental’ precisely because of his love. Thus Bruce David,,,

    PROOF THAT THERE IS A HELL

    http://www.martinfrost.ws/html.....grave1.jpg

  35. cont. Bruce David,

    As well, though you will probably scoff at this little tidbit of evidence, please note Bill Wiese’s comment, near the beginning of this video, of ‘a tunnel’ as he transitioned to the ‘eternal dimension’

    Bill Wiese on Sid Roth – video (23 minutes in Hell) – Reality of ‘Eternal Dimension’ discussed in Description
    http://www.vimeo.com/21230371

    Though just sort of mentioned in passing be Bill, ‘a tunnel’ conforms exactly to what we know will happen as the ‘higher eternal dimension’ of the speed of light is approached???

    ,,, Please note how 3-D reality folds and collapses into a tunnel shape, in direction of travel, as the constant for the speed of light is approached, in this following video. Please pay particular attention to the full relativistic effect at the 3:22 minute mark;

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    Note how the full relativistic effect at the 3:22 mark matches the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ effect noted in many Near Death Experiences, as well as conforms to the tunnel experience Bill Wiese mentioned in the video;

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    ,,, Further note:

    this is, IMO, a better video testimony by Bill in which he gives Biblical references for what he saw, as well as ‘reasons why hell exists,,,

    23 Minutes In Hell – Full Length video testimony – High Quality – Bill Wiese
    http://www.vimeo.com/16641462

  36. Bruce David, this may interest you

    John Hagee – Escape from Hell – video
    http://www.youtube.com/view_pl.....0C8B16C31B

    Movie description;

    Do You believe in life after death? Dr. Eric Robinson wants to believe and experience that infinite love and warmth that near death testimonies claim is on the other side of life. His colleague, Dr. Marissa Holloway, is on a crusade to alleviate the fear of death and suffering by proving to the world that heaven awaits everyone. In a moment of desperation, Dr. Robinson faces death and discovers the reality of hell – a place the Bible portrays – a hell from which we must all escape.

  37. Bruce David, further notes;

    The End of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Dr. William Dembski – video promo of book
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO-1jdvU7fo

    Book excerpt of “Finding a Good God in an Evil World”;
    http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    Amazon link of ‘Finding a Good God in an Evil World’;
    http://www.amazon.com/End-Chri.....0805427430

    —————–

    Does God Exist? – Elementary Student vs. Atheistic Professor
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007708/

    If God Exists, Why is there Evil? – Dr Norman Geisler – video
    http://www.youtube.com/view_pl.....B5E122C07F

  38. Clive Haden: “It is an act of faith that you’re not a brain in a vat, that your reasoning has any purchase on the world, that you’re not stuck in a dream in a coma. Besides, the New Testament is a collection of books, by different authors, because it has been brought together as one bigger book is not a reason to regard it as unhistorical. All historical books you must take on faith.”

    What you say is true. Therefore each of us is necessarily thrown back onto themselves and their own inner knowing to decide what to take on faith. I find Conversations with God and books like Seth Speaks far more compelling than the Bible. You are perfectly entitled to have faith in the historical accuracy of the Bible. I have no quarrel with that. However, know that it is an act of faith, and others’ intuitive knowing may take them in other directions.

  39. Clive Haden: Oh, and by the way, those books that were collected into the New Testament contradict each other (see my post #25 for a few examples, but there are many, many more). How do reconcile that with your faith that the Bible is historically accurate?

  40. Bruce David, I am not completely adverse to accepting a pantheistic book (Conversations with God), even though the best comprehensive NDE studies of pantheistic cultures are overwhelming hellish in their character. Highly suspect but not completely adverse. Merely show me the prophetic scriptures of any pantheistic book that accurately predicted the future thousands of years in advance. I would then at least admit that you are not completely misguided in your attack on Christianity and the Bible.

  41. f/n; Bruce David, this is pretty cool, it verifies prophecy and historical accuracy in one fell swoop;

    Isaiah 53 and the Dead Sea Scrolls – verified prophecy before the birth of Christ
    Excerpt: the following corresponds to Isaiah 53 in today’s Old Testament. Remember, this text was dated 100 to 335 years before the birth of Jesus Christ!

    Translation of the actual Great Isaiah Scroll (Isaiah 53), beginning with line 5 of Column 44:

    5. Who has believed our report and the arm of YHWH to whom has it been revealed And he shall come up like a suckling before him
    6. and as a root from dry ground there is no form to him and no beauty [+to him+] and in his being seen and there is no appearance
    7. that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and knowing grief
    8. and as though hiding faces from him he was despised and we did not esteem him. Surely our griefs he
    9. is bearing and our sorrows he carried them and we esteemed him beaten and struck by God
    10. and afflicted. and he is wounded for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities, the correction
    11. of our peace was upon him and by his wounds he has healed us. All of us like sheep have wandered each man to his own way
    12. we have turned and YHWH has caused to light on him the iniquity of all of us He was oppressed and he was afflicted and he did not
    13. open his mouth, as a lamb to the slaughter he is brought and as a ewe before her shearers is made dumb he did not open
    14. his mouth. From prison and from judgment he was taken and his generation who shall discuss it because he was cut off from the land of
    15. the living. Because from the transgressions of his people a wound was to him
    16. And they gave wicked ones to be his grave and [a scribbled word probably accusative sign "eth"] rich ones in his death
    17. although he worked no violence neither deceit in his mouth And YHWH was pleased to crush him and He has caused him grief.
    18. If you will appoint his soul a sin offering he will see his seed and he will lengthen his days and the pleasure of YHWH
    19. in his hand will advance. Of the toil of his soul he shall see {+light+} and he shall be satisfied and by his knowledge shall he make righteous
    20. even my righteous servant for many and their iniquities he will bear. Therefore I will apportion to him among the great ones
    21. and with the mighty ones he shall divide the spoil because he laid bare to death his soul and with the transgressors
    22. he was numbered, and he, the sins of many, he bore, and for their transgressions he entreated.
    http://www.allaboutarchaeology.....olls-2.htm

    Dead Sea Scrolls – Dr. Don Patton – video
    http://video.google.com/videop.....7621315062

    “In Extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New testaments – corroborating key points of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.”
    Jeffery Sheler – ‘Is The Bible True’, U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 25th, 1999, pg.52

  42. StephenB: “Notice how blithely you shrug off all the evidence that DLH alludes to, a ton of which you know nothing about and all of which is based on reason, not faith.”

    This belief you have that reason can prove that Christian doctrine is true (which Christian doctrine?) or that the Bible is historically accurate (how do you reconcile the contradictions?) is, frankly, nonsense. You can prove anything with reason. All you have to do is make the appropriate initial assumptions. See my proof that Hell does not exist in #28 for an example. Furthermore, as I have said before, there are examples in history and in recent times of absolutely brilliant philosophers who were spiritually astute and well educated in using reason who have come to other conclusions than that Christian doctrine is true. One such is Ibn al ‘Arabi, the Sufi philosopher who was known as the “pole of knowledge”. Another, more recent is Bulent Rauf, another Sufi and my former teacher’s teacher, who was said to have “worn the hat” of Ibn al ‘Arabi in our time. These men were geniuses, steeped in philosophic understanding, totally comfortable with the use of reason, and they came to other conclusions than the ones you cite.

    Reason is incapable of finding real truth by itself. It can only show what follows logically from something else. To find truth, one must start with something whose truth is known from some source other than reason (faith, intuition, experience, natural knowing, etc.).

  43. Bruce David:

    The terrible, terrible lake of fire
    Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu’s story:

    I learned later that I actually died for three days. My body decayed and stunk of death, and my heart stopped beating. My body was prepared for cremation and was put through traditional Buddhist purification rites.

    The king of hell told me to look into the lake of fire. I looked and I saw the saffron colored robes that Buddhist monks wear in Myanmar. I looked closer and saw the shaven head of a man. When I looked at the man’s face I saw it was U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw [the famous monk who had died in a car accident in 1983]. I asked the king of hell why my former leader was confined to this lake of torment. I said, “Why is he in this lake of fire? He was a very good teacher. He even had a teaching tape called ‘Are You a Man or a Dog?’ which had helped thousands of people understand that their worth as humans is far greater than the animals.” The king of hell replied, “Yes, he was a good teacher but he did not believe in Jesus Christ. That’s why he is in hell.”

    I was told to look at another person who was in the fire. I saw a man with very long hair wrapped on the left hand side of his head. He was also wearing a robe. I asked the king of hell, “Who is this man?” He replied, “This is the one you worship: Gautama [Buddha].” I was very disturbed to see Gautama in hell. I protested, “Gautama had good ethnics and good moral character, why is he suffering in this lake of fire?” The king of hell answered me, “It doesn’t matter how good he was. He is in this place because he did not believe in the Eternal God.”

    Athet Paulu after this experience:
    After this experience the monk is reported to have become very bold. The Burmese authorities arrested him time after time, but many people all over Burma have been saved as a result of the testimony from this resurrected monk. Source: source Magazinet 16/97 friday 2 May 1997
    http://cambodiaforjesus.com/

    Monk and Jesus Miracle Story
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOLEW3heQwA

    here is the transcript:

    The Buddhist Monk and Jesus
    Excerpt: Monk “And then the man turned and he walked away, going toward the door. And when he got to the door, he turned back around, and he said,

    Jesus: ‘My name is Jesus.

    Monk: “Now, I had never heard that name before, so I didn’t know who Jesus was. He didn’t tell me anything else about himself, only his name. And then I think I must have fallen asleep again. But later on in the night, I felt warmth in my leg. By morning, I had feeling. And when the doctors came to prep me for surgery, my leg was healed.”
    http://www.asiastories.com/?p=7

    Thousands Of Burma Buddhist Monks Embrace Christianity, Missionaries Say
    Excerpt: “In recent weeks, 4,700 Buddhist monks were led to Christ through our ministry,” a missionary said in a statement speaking on condition of anonymity. “It appears that the Holy Spirit had urged these monks and nuns to call our evangelists to come and share the Gospel of hope and love. After several intense discussions, close to 80 percent of the monks present in each of the monasteries raised their hands to accept Christ, and then kneeled down to pray and receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.”
    http://www.worthynews.com/1620.....naries-say

    Hindu Woman asks Jesus to Make Himself Real – HE DID!!! – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKp8w1qR5XM

  44. 44

    Bruce,

    The books do not contradict themselves, and besides, you’d have to have faith in them–that they were actually written for starters, and that they were about something in particular, and whether there was any actual events that they either do or do not conform to, to even say that there are contradictions that would have any meaning. All of this is taken on faith, as with any historical book. You have faith in lots of aspects even to claim any meaningful idea, even contradictions, to the texts of scripture.

  45. Bornagain: “Merely show me the prophetic scriptures of any pantheistic book that accurately predicted the future thousands of years in advance. I would then at least admit that you are not completely misguided in your attack on Christianity and the Bible.”

    You assume that a fulfilled prophesy is the only criterion of truth of a source of revelation. I don’t. Furthermore, the prophesies you cite are in the Old Testament, which by rights should make you a Jew, not a Christian, since the prophesy that Jesus himself makes in the New Testament (that the Kingdom of God would be realized on earth in his apostles’ lifetimes) was NOT fulfilled.

    I do not see my words as an “attack on Christianity and the Bible” either. I see them as merely pointing out the difficulties in an unexamined assumption that the Bible gives us an accurate record of Jesus’ life and death. My purpose is to show that an objective look at the actual facts implies that Christian belief is a choice to have faith rather than a recognition of objective truth. This purpose is born out of a reaction to posters like you and StephenB who in your arrogance assume that you know the truth and that the rest of us, who are moved by other sources of revelation that we regard as valid, are benighted fools.

  46. Bruce David, call me arrogant if you want, but I’m doing my best to be fair with the evidence, and kind towards you, especially since you clearly are in such grave error in your pantheism that very well ‘could have’ consequences you cannot even imagine right now! Why do you refuse to address prophecy??? Is it or is it not a sure mark of the ‘supernatural’??? Does it not concern you in the least to be so biased as to not require even a modicum of outside verification of your pantheistic book; Conversations with god???

  47. This is just plain blind;

    ‘Furthermore, the prophesies you cite are in the Old Testament, which by rights should make you a Jew, not a Christian,’

    The Isaiah 53 prophecy was about Jesus!!!!! Furthermore Jesus correctly predicted this:

    Luke 21-24
    ‘and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’

    Do you really want me to look up the supposed discretion of prophecy you cited for you, or do you even care to be ‘truthful’ and search the matter out for yourself??? ,,, As well I find it very interesting (strange?) that you have truth defined in such a way as to make you final arbiter of truth no matter what evidence is presented!!!

  48. Bornagain: Response to #43 and others of similar ilk:

    Read Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton. He is a hypnotherapist who developed a technique for regression that took people back to prior lives. It was so powerful, however, that he found some of his clients remembering going through their death in their last life and into their existence between lives. He refined this technique and was able to regress over 1000 people into remembering between life existence. What he found turned him from his atheism into a believer in a spiritual reality that included reincarnation. Mainly, it was the consistency of the reports he got from his clients that did it for him, given that these men and women did not know each other and had no knowledge of each other’s sessions.

    The books he subsequently wrote (cited above) recount over 100 of these case histories and collectively give us a picture of what “between life” life is like. So you see, I have my own evidence that contradicts yours. How do we know who is right? One has to choose what to believe. It’s as simple as that.

    Another interesting source of information about what it’s like between lives is Seth, the entity channeled by Jane Roberts. According to Seth, our beliefs are very strong causes of what we actually experience, even after we die. So if we believe that we are going to Hell, we will actually experience that (but only temporarily, not for eternity). This may be an explanation of those experiences in your links.

  49. Bruce David;

    ‘How do we know who is right?’

    Because my studies are of people who have actually, physically, died!!! And yours are merely ‘hypnotherapy’. For crying out loud Bruce David, imparting ‘suggestions’ to a mind is the very heart of the ‘hypnotherapy’ practice. Can’t you see your blatant bias in all this???

  50. Bornagain: The prophesy to which I refer is in Mark: “Truly I tell you, some of those standing here will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God come into power” (Mark 9:1) Later, after describing the upheavals that will accompany the end of the age, he says. “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place.” (Mark 13:30)

    “As well I find it very interesting (strange?) that you have truth defined in such a way as to make you final arbiter of truth no matter what evidence is presented!!!”

    We are each one of us of necessity the final arbiter of truth FOR OURSELVES. There is no escaping this. We must each decide what and whom to believe. There is no outside authority that can do that for us, for the simple reason that there are innumerable such “authorities” all claiming their own legitimacy, and each of us must make the choices that lead us to our own assessment of the truth.

  51. Bornagain: “For crying out loud Bruce David, … can’t you see your blatant bias in all this???”

    Oh, I see, and you are completely objective, are you?

  52. Clive Hayden: I apologize for misspelling your name earlier. You said,
    “The books do not contradict themselves, and besides, you’d have to have faith in them–that they were actually written for starters, and that they were about something in particular, and whether there was any actual events that they either do or do not conform to, to even say that there are contradictions that would have any meaning. All of this is taken on faith, as with any historical book. You have faith in lots of aspects even to claim any meaningful idea, even contradictions, to the texts of scripture.”

    With all due respect, the books do contradict themselves. I have described only three of many such contradictions in post #25.

    And yes, I do have faith that there were books written, which have been copied by scribes through the centuries and have eventually come down to us in the form in which we now have them. What I don’t have faith in is the proposition that what we now have is a true account of Jesus’ life and teachings.

    As I say, I have no problem with you or anyone else having such a faith, but I still maintain that such a faith to be honest must somehow confront and reconcile the contradictions that exist between and among the various books of the New Testament.

  53. OK Bruce David let’s take a closer look at the Jesus’ teaching concerning the end times;;

    The Olivet Discourse

    Jesus saved His fullest discussion of things to come until shortly before He died. This discussion, known as the Olivet Discourse, took place on the Tuesday evening between Palm Sunday and the day of the Crucifixion. Matthew’s record of Jesus’ words on this occasion requires two long chapters. Rather than reprinting the discourse in full, we will ask the reader to peruse it in his own Bible. The discourse arose out of a discussion earlier in the day, between Jesus and His disciples.

    1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
    2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
    3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

    Matthew 24:1-3

    The disciples had offered to show Jesus the magnificent buildings of the Temple (v. 1). Jesus had replied that not one stone would be left upon another (v. 2). Sometime later, as He sat on the Mount of Olives, perhaps gazing across the valley at the beautiful scene of the city spread out before Him, certain disciples—Mark informs us that it was Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3)—came to Him privately and sought further information (v. 3). They asked, when will these things (the destruction of the Temple) be, and what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the world (v. 3). They evidently thought that all these developments would be concurrent.

    Jesus’ answer is an ingenious mixture of fact and symbol. In the first section of the discourse (Matt. 24:4-31), He gives a straightforward, literal account of events during the time of the end. In the middle section (Matt. 24:37 to 25:30) He presents a series of parables dealing with events attending the rapture of believers during this period, and in the last section (Matt. 25:31-46) He returns to a narrative style, describing an event just after the close of the age: the Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats. In response to the disciples’ original questions, He inserts a direct answer between the first and middle sections.

    32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
    33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
    34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
    35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
    36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

    Matthew 24:32-36

    Here, He says four things.

    An event will be signaled as imminent by the budding of the fig tree (v. 32-33).
    A generation shall not pass before all these things are fulfilled (v. 34).
    We can be sure that Jesus will return, as He promised (v. 35).
    But no one can know exactly when Jesus will return (v. 36).

    To make sense of these answers, we must understand that the disciples had, no doubt unwittingly, presented Christ with two distinct questions. The first question was, “When shall these things be?” The disciples meant, “When will the Temple be destroyed?” Their second question was, “What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?” “Coming” corresponds to the Greek word parousia (“presence”), a technical term referring to the glorious presence that Jesus will manifest at His coming. In Matthew 24:27, Jesus uses the term with reference to His coming at the end of the Tribulation. In Greek, “end of the world” is sunteleias tou aionos, which means simply “completion of the age.” The disciples wanted to know when Jesus would come and set up His kingdom. The answers to both questions lie hidden in Jesus’ riddling oracle, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. This generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled” (vv. 32-34). By “generation,” He evidently meant the generation that starts with the leafing out of the fig tree.

    With reference to the first question, the expression “these things” (v. 34) refers to the destruction of the Temple, an event that the disciples also called “these things” (v. 3), and the fig tree is the actual fig tree that Jesus found and cursed on Monday of Passion Week (Mark 11:11-14, 19-21). The disciples saw this tree putting forth leaves in A.D. 33, and the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, less than a generation later. Jesus’ prediction that the Temple would be destroyed less than a generation after the disciples saw the budding of the fig tree was therefore fulfilled.

    With reference to the second question of the disciples, “these things” (v. 34) are the events He has enumerated in the preceding verses (in vv. 4-31), and the fig tree must be understood figuratively.

    The Fig Tree

    The question of great moment, therefore, is what the fig tree represents. Many commentators throughout church history have agreed that it represents the nation of Israel. In this symbolism Jesus is alluding to a vision of Jeremiah.

    1 The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
    2 One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
    3 Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
    4 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
    5 Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
    6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
    7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
    8 And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:
    9 And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.
    10 And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.

    Jeremiah 24:1-10

    The prophet saw the people of Israel as two groups of figs, one good, the other bad. The Lord told him that the good figs, representing the godly portion of the nation, would someday be planted like a fig tree, never to be rooted up.

    The same imagery occurs more than once during Jesus’ ministry. For example, He uttered the following parable about a year before His death.

    6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
    7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
    8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
    9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

    Luke 13:6-9

    The standard interpretation is that the owner is the Father, the keeper is Christ, and tree is Israel. If this interpretation is correct, the meaning of the parable is transparent. Jesus’ ministry has gone on for three years without any fruit and the Father is ready to set Israel aside, but the Son pleads for the nation, asking that it be cultivated another year and given another chance.

    But notice Jesus’ view of the fig tree a year later, after the year of prolonged opportunity had passed by.

    11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
    12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
    13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
    14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
    15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
    16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
    17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
    18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.
    19 And when even was come, he went out of the city.
    20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
    21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.

    Mark 11:11-21

    Why did Jesus curse the fig tree—a mere tree whose only fault was that it had not yet borne fruit? The incident is obviously symbolic. The day before the cursing of the tree was Palm Sunday, the day of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, when He presented Himself to the people and their leaders as the Messiah, in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9. The response of the nation was divided. Although some individuals accepted Him, the nation as a whole rejected Him. In particular, the elders of the people rejected and severely opposed Him (Matt. 21:15). Therefore, in His justice and holiness, God rejected the Jewish nation. Subsequently, less than forty years later, in A.D. 70, God judged the Jews by destroying their city and scattering them throughout the civilized world.

    Now it should be perfectly clear why Jesus cursed the fig tree on the morning after His triumphal entry. The two incidents are linked together. The cursing of the tree was a picture of the judgment that would soon fall on Israel because Israel had rejected their Messiah.

    Now it should also be perfectly clear what the parable of the fig tree in the Olivet Discourse means. As the disciples were walking into the city on Tuesday morning after Palm Sunday, they noticed that the tree which Jesus had cursed the day before had withered and dried up. Later, on Tuesday evening, when the memory of the withered fig tree was still fresh in their minds, Jesus spoke the parable in question. He said that when the church sees the fig tree leafing out again, it will know that “it is . . . at the doors.” The Greek for “it is” can also be translated “he is.” In prophecy, “door” is often a symbol for the passageway between heaven and earth (Rev. 4:1). What the parable means, therefore, is that when the nation of Israel revives after its coming disintegration and death in A.D. 70, the return of Christ will be imminent.
    http://www.themoorings.org/pro.....rael1.html

    This also may be of interest to you:

    Even Sir Isaac Newton, who is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, scientist who has ever lived, was a avid student of Bible prophecy:

    Sir Isaac Newton’s Prediction For The Return Of Christ – Sid Roth video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041154

    “Prophetic Perspectives, 2008-2015″ – Jim Bramlett
    Excerpt: For years I have been intrigued with Newton’s interpretation of Daniel 9:25 and the 62 weeks and 7 weeks (62 X 7 = 434 years, and 7 X 7 = 49 years), counted “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem.” In his commentary on Daniel, a copy of which I have, Newton wrote that the interpretation of those 69 weeks is usually incorrect, violating the Hebrew language. He said the two numbers should not be added together as most scholars do, but the 434 years refer to Messiah’s first coming (which he demonstrated), and the 49 years refer to His second coming, after Israel is reestablished, an idea unheard of 300 years ago but happening in our generation The start date for counting has been controversial. Many thought the 49-year-count would be the date of Israel’s rebirth on May 14, 1948, but, alas, that did not work out. Other dates were tried unsuccessfully. But what if the count begins on one of the two most historical dates in Jewish history, the date in the miraculous Six-Day War when Israel captured Jerusalem and the Temple Mount: June 7, 1967? Assume the 49-year count (49 Jewish years X 360 days = 17,640 days), does start on June 7, 1967. Using a date-counter Web site at http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html we learn that the 17,640-day count takes us exactly to September 23, 2015. September 23, 2015 is the Day of Atonement! What are the odds against that? Many have believed that the Second Coming will be on the Day of Atonement. If he knew this, old Isaac Newton would be doing cartwheels and back flips right now.
    http://www.prophecyforum.com/b.....tives.html

    The following scripture, which Jesus Himself spoke, gives significant weight to the idea that we should start our count of 17,640 days from the time Jerusalem came back into the hands of the Hebrews instead of counting the days from when Israel became a nation.

    Luke 21:24
    “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

    This following videos give ‘astronomical’ weight to the preceding prediction by Sir Isaac Newton of how the ‘days of Daniel’ are to be counted and is indeed very sobering:

    Mark Biltz Talks About The Return Of Christ On Sid Roth – Solar & Lunar Eclipses – 2014 – 2015 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4056071

  54. Bruce David as to;

    Mark 9
    1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

    And yet right after that we have;

    The Transfiguration
    2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

    Though that would surely convince me that I had seen the kingdom of God come with power, they also personally witnessed ‘that the kingdom of God has come with power.’ in the resurrection in which Jesus said to his disciples after His resurrection;

    Matthew 28:18
    ‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’

    Thus with the transfiguration, and especially with Christ’s victory over sin and death, I would say most certainly that the disciples did,,, ‘not taste death before they see (saw) that the kingdom of God has (had) come with power.”’

  55. Bornagain:

    All you have shown is that any “prophesy” in scripture is open to multiple interpretations. This is also true of the prophesies in the Old Testament which have been interpreted to portend the coming of Jesus. It’s all in the interpretation, and if you’re clever, you can always work it around so it says what you want it to.

    To me the passage in Mark 13:30 is unequivocal. Jesus has just descirbed events which will come: the sun and the moon will grow dark, the stars will fall down from heaven, and the Son of Man coming in clouds in great power and glory will be seen. Then, using the fig tree as a metaphor, he says that just as when the fig tree puts forth its leaves you know that summer is near, when you see the things he has just described you will know that he is near, at the very gates. Finally, he says that “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.” What could be clearer? He is saying that the then current generation (his generation) will see what he has just described. And, of course, this did not happen.

    You clearly want very much for it to be the case that (your interpretation of) Christianity is unequivocally true. But guess what? God didn’t set it up that way. God set it up so that there is reason to believe in each of the world’s religions and also reason not to believe. My view is that this is deliberate, so that we ultimately understand that the truth is within each of us, and that part of our task here on earth is to find that truth within ourselves.

  56. Bruce David, I stand behind the interpretation of scriptures I have given, for the interpretations I gave, concerning Jesus’s teaching on the end times, takes the entire passage, as well as the surrounding circumstances in which they were said by Jesus, into context,,, whereas you are merely pulling scriptures out of context, without further scrutiny, just so as to justify your belief in pantheism. As with the other evidence I have presented, and as StephenB stated earlier, it is clear that you will ignore everything contrary to your preconceived bias! In my opinion, in matters of religion you seem to be no better than neo-Darwinists who refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence for design simply because they don’t want to believe in God no matter what the evidence says.

  57. To clearly illustrate the absurdity you will put up with,,, Bruce David please tell me does evil exist????

  58. Bornagain: “To clearly illustrate the absurdity you will put up with,,, Bruce David please tell me does evil exist????”

    If God created the physical universe for a purpose, and if the existence of what we call evil within that universe is essential for the fulfillment of that purpose, then what we perceive as evil from our limited perspective while we are in the physical clearly will not be perceived as evil from the larger perspective, either by us when we are able to see from that larger perspective or by God, who always sees from the largest perspective there is.

    The purpose of our experience of evil, as I have explained many times, is so that by comparison, we can EXPERIENCE ourselves as the opposite of evil. This experiencing of our magnificence in all aspects of that magnificence is the purpose of physical reality, and it is delicious, awe-filled, joyous, and loving.

    So you see, denying the existence of evil is “absurd” only if you already are certain that evil exists. It’s a circular argument.

  59. Bruce David
    Are you seeking to know the truth? Or
    seeking every excuse to avoid the truth?

    Mark 9:1 “And He used to say to them, “This is the truth I tell you – there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste of death until they shall see the Kingdom of God coming with power.”

    William Barclay writes: “What worries some people is that they take this as a reference to the Second Coming; . . But this is not a reference to the Second Coming at all. . . . Scarcely more than 30 years later, Christianity had swept through Asia Minor. Antioch had become a great Christian Church. It had penetrated Egypt. The Christians were strong in Alexandria. It had crossed the sea and had come to Rome and swept through Greece. Christianity had spread like an unstoppable tide throughout the world. It was literally and astonishingly true that in the life time of many there, against all expectations, Christianity had come with power. So far from being mistaken Jesus was absolutely right.” p 214 The Gospel of Mark, ISBN 0-664-20184-9

    Mark 13:30 “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place.”

    Barclay continues: “ . . . for this sentence does not refer to the Second Coming. It could not when the next sentence says He does not know when that day will be. It refers to Jesus’ prophecies about the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple which were abundantly fulfilled.” p 336.

    Are you brave enough to examine the facts and learn the truth? Or are you using any and every excuse to avoid facing the facts and hiding from the consequences?

    Have you considered the implications of any of Jesus’ prophecies that were obviously fulfilled?

    Will you pluck up enough courage to read Simon Greenleaf and address the best rules of evidence in evaluating the facts?

  60. —Bruce David: “Furthermore, the gospels contradict each other in many ways. For example, Matthew has Mary and Joseph living in Bethlehem, where Jesus is born and then fleeing to Egypt to escape Herod’s orders to kill all the babies under the age of 2 are worried about what Herod’s son, the new king, might do.

    —Luke’s version has them traveling to Bethlehem for the census (of which there is no historical record, by the way), where Jesus is born in a stable. Thirty three days later, they return to Nazareth.”

    There is no contradiction at all. Luke’s report begins earlier and provides critical information about events that preceded Jesus’ birth. Matthew gives us the relevant information about the escape to Egypt after the birth. While there is much in common among them, each of the four Gospels provides information not contained in the other three. That is why there are four of them. Each report is an independent narrative, which makes the total effort more credible, not less.

    In fact, both the authors you allude to are only reporting some of the events, though they each write about key elements—(Jesus was born in Bethlehem and later went to Nazareth)— and each selects a portion of the total history to make a specific point. Luke emphasizes historical elements in which Jesus is accepted; Matthew emphasizes historical accounts in which Jesus is rejected.

    Each of your arguments can be taken apart with equal ease. There is no reason to go through them all. Your sources, whoever they are, are unreliable. More to the point, your record of avoiding any and all of the relevant evidence on historical Christianity is becoming legendary.

  61. Bruce David you state;

    ‘what we perceive as evil from our limited perspective while we are in the physical clearly will not be perceived as evil from the larger perspective, either by us when we are able to see from that larger perspective or by God, who always sees from the largest perspective there is.’

    So in God’s eyes evil does not really exist??? Furthermore, Jesus death and resurrection as a atoning sacrifice for all the sins of mankind was totally pointless towards our justification in God’s eyes??? How many scriptures do you have to mangle, and ignore, to justify that belief Bruce??? Bruce in your fantasy-land afterlife, does Hitler get as much of an ‘attaboy’ from God as Mother Teresa does since he contributed so much to enabling that,,, ‘we can EXPERIENCE ourselves as the opposite of evil.’

  62. 62
    CannuckianYankee

    A little OT:

    I wanted to address the issue of Jesus prophecies concerning his second coming and the destruction of Jerusalem. They are clearly separate issues in Jesus’ own words:

    1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

    3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

    4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

    9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

    15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

    22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

    26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

    29 “Immediately after the distress of those days

    “‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
    the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

    30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

    32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
    The Day and Hour Unknown
    36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

    42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. [Matthew 24:1-44 NIV]

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

    There are several prophecies involved here. The first is the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which was fulfilled in 70AD by the Romans.

    This bit of information confused the disciples, so they asked for clarification on two separate issues:

    “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

    So they are asking 1) when the destruction of Jerusalem will happen, and 2) what are the signs of Jesus’ second coming and the end of the age?

    I think it’s clear that the disciples are the one’s linking the destruction of Jerusalem with the 2nd coming, and Jesus clarifies this for them by pointing out that certain signs will appear before that time, which will signal the 2nd coming, and that the only thing they need to be concerned with is that they not be deceived by false Messiahs and false prophets who are in fact attempting to herald the 2nd coming prematurely, and that they keep watch and pray. Why? Because nobody knows the day or the hour. It remains a mystery.

    So Jesus made several prophecies here which have already been fulfilled:

    The destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. This event is clearly only the beginning of a period Dispensational and Reform theologians have called “The Church Age,” which continues to this day.

    The arise of false prophets and false Messiahs.

    His own fame throughout the world, with certain false actions being done in his name.

    And he made several prophecies, which have not as yet been fulfilled, concerning his second coming and the end of the age.

    So to say that Jesus’ prophecies concerning the end times were not fulfilled when he said they would be is to misread exactly what he said. He gave no time for his second coming or for that matter, for the destruction of the temple. None of his prophecies have a time limit to them. Some were fulfilled while others have not as yet been fulfilled. Allowing thousands of years for their fulfillment is therefore logical given the nature of his discourse – as not specifying dates; only particular events and particular outcomes.

  63. Bruce David, I was just talking to a friend about your quote here;

    ‘You assume that a fulfilled prophesy is the only criterion of truth of a source of revelation. I don’t.’

    after I had pointed this prophecy out here;

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241

    Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Israel 1948 – article
    Excerpt: As such, we can know for certain that the Bible, in one of the most remarkable prophecies in history, accurately foresaw the year of Israel’s restoration as an independent nation some two thousand five hundred years before the event occurred.
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Bibl.....;id=449317

    To top it off Jesus predicted this;

    Luke 21:24
    “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

    Now Bruce, I don’t take prophecy to be the ‘only criterion of truth of a source of revelation’, and could bore you to tears with many other lines of evidence I use for establishing an ‘unimpeachable’ foundation in Christianity, but BRUCE??? This is a prophecy that was predicted 2500 years in advance to the exact year, and even to the exact time of year. To top that off, This prophecy was fulfilled as a direct result of the aftermath of World War II , which has effected the entire world!!!! That you could so nonchalantly say ‘well I don’t use prophecy as the only criterion for truth’ in the face of such a jaw dropping prophecy, is to completely miss the point!!! I mean come on Bruce give me a break! The man I was talking to, when I had mentioned that you denied the prophecy had any particular relevance for you, shook his head in disbelief. and I shake my head in disbelief too;,,,

  64. To all of you:

    Why do you keep quoting scripture to me as evidence for this or that belief that you have when I have already given you excellent reasons why scripture simply cannot be trusted to give us accurate information regarding what Jesus did and said, UNLESS you already accept ON FAITH, which I do not, that scripture does so? (#25)

    DLH said, “Are you seeking to know the truth? Or seeking every excuse to avoid the truth?”

    I think this pretty well summarizes the attitude of the lot of you: you know what the truth is and the rest of us (the majority of human beings on the planet) do not.

    Let me tell you something about myself. I have been a seeker of truth for most of my adult life, and I am now nearly 70 years old. I have had several spiritual teachers, including Reshad Feild, a Sufi master, for 15 years. I have studied a number of spiritual traditions and many, many spiritual sources, some of them quite deeply, and frankly, I find the arrogance with which you assume that your own particular spiritual source is the only one that contains truth to be myopic and spiritually provincial, to put it mildly.

    No spiritual tradition has a lock on the truth, and every spiritual tradition has at least some insight into the truth. One has only to read the poetry of Hafiz or Rumi, Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda, the Tao Te Ching, anything by Ibn al ‘Arabi, or any of hundreds of other sources to know that this is true.

    I find the very idea that God would be so unfair, so cruel, so UNLOVING as to set the world up the way conservative Christianity has it (namely, that only those who decide to accept Jesus as their savior will avoid spending eternity in Hell) an abomination, and such a distortion of God’s unconditional love as to make it unrecognizable. What are you all THINKING?!

    The human race is in the process of destroying itself at this moment in history. A large part of the reason why is those factions of each tradition–Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism–that believe that theirs is the only way to God or the truth. The exclusivist religions are the problem, not the solution. When we can all say, “Ours is not the only way, ours is just another way,” a huge step towards peace and understanding among all people will have been achieved. And such a statement is the actual truth. Just open your eyes and look around.

  65. 65
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce David,

    You’ve made specific pronouncements about the scriptures themselves:

    “Oh, and by the way, those books that were collected into the New Testament contradict each other.” #39

    “I find Conversations with God and books like Seth Speaks far more compelling than the Bible.” #38

    “Jesus may have been resurrected. However, the “historical evidence” is entirely contained within the New Testament, which for reasons I laid out in #25, simply cannot be trusted as accurate unless one performs an act of faith that it is.” #29

    “Regarding using Jesus as one’s source of truth, I have been doing some research since we last conversed, and I have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot know what Jesus said or did with any certainty. There is no historical record of Jesus life dating from the first century after his death other than the New Testament.” # 25

    Therefore, since your contention is with the writings of the Bible, to the Bible we must go.

  66. 66
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce David,

    By using the scriptures themselves, we have proven you wrong. Now it’s time to face the facts. You have made uninformed proclamations about the Bible, and we have shown those proclamations to be wrong.

    You were wrong specifically about:

    The fact of the resurrection,

    The evidence of what Jesus said and did,

    The evidence of prophecy,

    The notion that the gospels contradict one another,

    The unwarranted truth of extra-Biblical texts such as “Conversations with God” compared with scripture.

    Given the above, you simply have nothing to stand on.

    You’re treading on dangerous ground when you hold a couple of quacks above God’s word.

  67. CannuckianYankee: “By using the scriptures themselves, we have proven you wrong. Now it’s time to face the facts. You have made uninformed proclamations about the Bible, and we have shown those proclamations to be wrong.”

    You have done absolutely nothing of the sort. I have shown that the scriptures themselves, based on the results of Biblical research universally accepted by Biblical scholars, simply cannot be trusted to convey Jesus’ life, death, and teachings accurately. It is logically contradictory to use the Bible itself to refute this fact.

    StephenB: “There is no contradiction at all. Luke’s report begins earlier and provides critical information about events that preceded Jesus’ birth. Matthew gives us the relevant information about the escape to Egypt after the birth.”

    No, you are wrong. Luke has Mary and Joseph living in Nazareth, travelling to Bethlehem for the census where Mary gives birth, and returning to Nazareth after satisfying the “Law of the Lord” with respect to the birth. This refers to Leviticus 12, and takes 33 days. Thus, in Luke’s account, they go from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Jesus is born, and they return in a little over a month.

    In Matthew’s account, they live in Bethlehem. Jesus is born there and then they flee to Egypt until after Herod’s death. They then return to the Holy Land, but to Nazareth rather than Bethlehem.

    The two accounts flat out contradict each other. There is no getting around it.

  68. 68

    Bruce David,

    I have shown that the scriptures themselves, based on the results of Biblical research universally accepted by Biblical scholars, simply cannot be trusted to convey Jesus’ life, death, and teachings accurately. It is logically contradictory to use the Bible itself to refute this fact.

    The Bible is a collection of books, so how is it logically contradictory that the books should be evidence for the proper history of Jesus? You may as well say that since the Encyclopedia has been collected into one volume, it is logically contradictory to use any part of it as evidence for any other part.

  69. Bruce David you state this;

    ‘based on the results of Biblical research universally accepted by Biblical scholars’

    Yet this statement is false, for Biblical scholars ‘universally’ agree with the core of the Bible;

    Defense Of The Historical Jesus From Supposed Higher Criticism Of Biblical Text And Historical Reliability – William Lane Craig
    http://www.vimeo.com/11144955

    Thus Bruce David, since Biblical scholars agree with the reliability of the Bible, are you merely misinformed or are you being deliberately deceitful?

    History proves Christ’s resurrection – article
    http://www.c-bstatesman.com/ne.....RISEN.html

    notes:

    These following video, and quotes, show, that as far as the historical evidence is concerned, Jesus assuredly rose from the dead.

    The Historicity Of The Resurrection Of Jesus – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYdzUYyIKMM

    Consider these following quotes on the historical Jesus:

    A British agnostic once said “let’s not discuss the other miracles; let’s discuss the resurrection. Because if the resurrection is true, then the other miracles are easily explained; and if the resurrection is not true, the other miracles do not matter.”

    Sir Edward Clark — a prominent lawyer in Great Britain “As a lawyer, I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. To me, the evidence is conclusive; and over and over again in the high court, I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling. The Gospel evidence for the resurrection I accept unreservedly as the testimony of truthful men to facts that they were able to substantiate.”

    Canon Westcott — for years a brilliant scholar at Cambridge University “Indeed, taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it.”

    Thomas Arnold — Professor of History at Oxford University; author of a 3-volume history on ancient Rome “I have been used for many years to study the history of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them; and I know of no fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”
    http://www.awordfromtheword.org/what-if.htm

    “I humbly add I have spent more than 42 years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world and am still in active practice. I have been fortunate to secure a number of successes in jury trials and I say unequivocally the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.”
    Sir Lionel Luckhoo. A British lawyer knighted for his work. He won 245 consecutive cases.

    “Let [the Gospel's] testimony be sifted, as it were given in a court of justice on the side of the adverse party, the witness being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth.”
    Simon Greenleaf from his book “Testimony of the Evangelicals”. Greenleaf was one of the founders of the Harvard Law School who wrote the book “A Treatise on the Law of Evidence”. He was an atheist until some students challenged him to examine the evidence for the resurrection of Christ.

    “I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....28.74.html

    “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity, pages 40-41

    Here are a few more videos on the historical reliability of the resurrection of Christ:

    Can We Trust The Bible Written 2000 Years Ago? Dr. William Lane Craig – Short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reYBCz_kf1c

    Does God Exist? – Argument From The Historical Jesus – Kirk Durston – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4171869

    f/n

    The following video is downright eye-opening with its evidence for authenticity of the Bible:

    The Physical Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwTVFk1HK3Y

  70. Bruce David (#67)

    Thank you for your post. With respect to the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke, you write:

    The two accounts flat out contradict each other. There is no getting around it.

    I used to argue in the same way as you do, before I returned to the Christian faith several years ago. Three brief points in response:

    1. If the contradiction were really that open-and-shut, as you claim, then why did the early Church accept both books as inspired by God? Are you seriously saying they didn’t read the books they accepted, or that they were all so stupid that they simply didn’t notice the discrepancy? Highly unlikely.

    2. Why didn’t the pagan critics of Christianity (e.g. Celsus) point out the inconsistencies of the infancy narratives, if they were as obvious as you say? While the pagans had many objections to Christianity, this wasn’t one of them. This suggests that according to the literary conventions of the time, which allowed biographers to make use of literary devices like the telescoping of events widely separated in time, and the omission of material irrelevant to the author’s purposes, the gospels of Matthew and Luke could be viewed as complementary rather than contradictory.

    3. In fact, the difficulties you raise have all been dealt with in detail by the Christian apologist Glen Miller in his article:

    http://www.christianthinktank.com/infancyoff.html

    The article is well worth reading.

    Finally, on the exclusiveness of Christianity: it is one thing to assert that Jesus is the only way to God; quite another to assert that non-Christians are all damned. We have no right to put limits on the mercy of God, who wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), and we should remember that He has ways of saving people that we cannot dream of. I know many non-Christians whose goodness I greatly admire; and I do not doubt that God, who knows the inner secrets of the human heart, has His own way of reaching these people and overcoming any psychological barriers to belief which are no fault of their own, in their dying moments. We should also keep in mind that God is a respecter of human choices, and that those who obstinately reject Him in their final moments will spend eternity without Him, as they have chosen to do.

  71. Clive Hayden: “The Bible is a collection of books, so how is it logically contradictory that the books should be evidence for the proper history of Jesus?”

    I didn’t say it was logically contradictory. I said that based on what we know about the source of the books (they are written records of stories that were orally transmitted for several decades before they were written, and they were not written by their purported authors, except for eight of Paul’s letters), the fact that we only have copies of copies of copies, etc., and it is well known that literally thousands of changes were made in the copying processes, some of them deliberate changes to conform to the theology of the scribes, that the originals were written in Greek and the stories were originally in Aramaic, and that the books of the New Testament contradict each other in many respects, the conclusion is obvious that they cannot be trusted to accurately reflect what Jesus actually said and did.

  72. vjtorley: “Finally, on the exclusiveness of Christianity: it is one thing to assert that Jesus is the only way to God; quite another to assert that non-Christians are all damned. We have no right to put limits on the mercy of God, who wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), and we should remember that He has ways of saving people that we cannot dream of. I know many non-Christians whose goodness I greatly admire; and I do not doubt that God, who knows the inner secrets of the human heart, has His own way of reaching these people and overcoming any psychological barriers to belief which are no fault of their own, in their dying moments. We should also keep in mind that God is a respecter of human choices, and that those who obstinately reject Him in their final moments will spend eternity without Him, as they have chosen to do.”

    A couple of responses:

    1. Bornagain77 would not agree with much of what you have written, unless I have not understood him at all.

    2. It appears to me that the assertion “Jesus is the only way to God” contradicts what you say later in the paragraph.

    3. I do not reject God, and have not for almost all of my adult life. I do, however, reject the concept of God espoused by several commenters in this and other threads, which I identify as conservative Christian.

  73. Bruce David you state;

    ’1. Bornagain77 would not agree with much of what you have written, unless I have not understood him at all.’

    You have not understood me at all.

    And once again you are either severely misinformed or you are deliberately deceitful when you state:

    ‘and it is well known that literally thousands of changes were made in the copying processes, some of them deliberate changes to conform to the theology of the scribes, that the originals were written in Greek and the stories were originally in Aramaic, and that the books of the New Testament contradict each other in many respects, the conclusion is obvious that they cannot be trusted to accurately reflect what Jesus actually said and did.’

    At least you went from ‘universally’ agreed by Biblical scholars to the lesser tense ‘it is well known’;

    Once again here is William Lane Craig on what Biblical scholars ‘overwhelmingly’ believe about the reliability of the Bible:

    Can We Trust The Bible Written 2000 Years Ago? Dr. William Lane Craig
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reYBCz_kf1c

    Please look at the video so you will not spread misinformation again!!!

  74. and this video;

    Defense Of The Historical Jesus From Supposed Higher Criticism Of Biblical Text And Historical Reliability – William Lane Craig
    http://www.vimeo.com/11144955

  75. Bruce David, there is a greater witness to the Bible’s validity,,, Besides the personal witness of Christ’s reality from millions of people who have experienced the presence of His spirit, many people, including myself, argue that the Bible itself is proof of God’s supernatural and personal involvement with man because, among other things, the Bible is ‘alive’, and I mean that in a way that specifically differentiates the Holy Bible from inanimate objects. This is because the words of the Holy Bible have in fact ‘come alive’ and spoken directly into my life, during times of extreme need in my life. Moreover this ‘coming alive’ of the Bible, has happened for others while I was in their in the presence:

    Strange But True – Miracle Testimony
    https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AYmaSrBPNEmGZGM4ejY3d3pfNTNocmRjZGtkdg&hl=en

    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    The Word Is Alive – Casting Crowns – music video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5197438/

    Here is an interesting point of authentication for the Holy Bible. The New Testament gospel is actually hidden within Genesis:

    The New Testament Hidden In Genesis – Chuck Missler – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4193378

    Interestingly, the Bible also has a ‘hidden watermark’ of a ‘heptadic structure of sevens’ which authenticates it as inspired by God:

    The Holy Bible – God’s Watermark Of Authenticity – Ivan Panin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4136566

    IS GOD A MATHEMATICIAN? – Ivan Panin
    Excerpt: It was in 1890 that Dr Panin made the discovery of the mathematical structure underlining the vocabulary of the Greek New Testament. He was casually reading the first verse of the gospel of John in the Greek: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with the God and the Word was God…”. Dr Panin was curious as to why the Greek word for “the”‘ preceded the word “God”‘ in one case and not the other. In examining the text he became aware of a number relationship. This was the first of the discoveries that led to his conversion and uncovered the extensive numeric code.
    http://www.wordworx.co.nz/panin.html

    Here is a defense of the integrity of Ivan Panin’s impressive work on Bible Numerics from ‘higher level’ criticism:

    BIBLE NUMERICS EXAMINED — PART 2
    http://www.cuttingedge.org/news/n1363.cfm

  76. vjtorley: “In fact, the difficulties you raise have all been dealt with in detail by the Christian apologist Glen Miller in his article:”

    Well, I did read the link, and I must say it is only believable by someone who has a very strong desire for the gospels not to contradict each other.

    For example, while it is true that Matthew does not explicitly state that Joseph and Mary live in Bethlehem, it is obvious from the text that this is what is meant. They start out in Bethlehem, and they would have returned to Bethlehem after Herod’s death had they not been warned about Archelaus. They go to Nazareth not because they used to live there, but because it is there they will be safe from him. And while the statement from Luke, “And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth.” doesn’t contain the word “immediately,” it still states that they returned when the rituals were complete, not sometime later after a long stay in Egypt.

    So I stand by my statement. The two accounts flat out contradict each other.

  77. —Bruce David: “This belief you have that reason can prove that Christian doctrine is true (which Christian doctrine?) or that the Bible is historically accurate (how do you reconcile the contradictions?) is, frankly, nonsense. You can prove anything with reason.”

    Yes, I know that you have no use for reason are, therefore, impervious to reasoned arguments. Although I communicate with you in an official capacity, I am really speaking to onlookers who are reasonable and who are not impervious to reasoned arguments.

  78. Bornagain: “You have not understood me at all.”

    Have I not? Let’s test it.

    Do you agree, then, that no matter what a person believes in his or her lifetime, “that God, who knows the inner secrets of the human heart, has His own way of reaching these people and overcoming any psychological barriers to belief which are no fault of their own, in their dying moments.”? Do you also agree that the crucial question regarding their after death fate is whether or not they “obstinately reject Him [God]” (that is God, not Jesus)?

    If you can answer “yes,” then I agree I have misunderstood some at least of what you believe. But if you do answer “yes,” then you can put your mind at ease with regard to my own fate, because I have accepted and embraced God for most of my adult life.

  79. —Bruce David: “So I stand by my statement. The two accounts flat out contradict each other.”

    Translation: “Oops, I changed my mind. Although reason is useless as a defense for Christianity, it may be useful for attacking Christianity.” Unbelievable!

  80. Bornagain: “Can We Trust The Bible Written 2000 Years Ago? Dr. William Lane Craig”

    I watched the video. It doesn’t address any of the points I made. I never said that we can’t trust the Bible because it was written 2000 years ago. I pointed out a number of specific facts accepted by virtually all Biblical scholars today regarding how the books of the New Testament were originally written and how they have come down to us today. I state these originally in #25, and summarize them again in #71. I then draw the conclusion from these facts, that given how flawed the historical record is, we can have no certainty that we know accurately what are the facts of Jesus’ life and death, unless that certainty comes from an act of faith.

    I still stand by that statement.

  81. But Bruce you are using reason :) LOL funny how you will deny the validity of anyone else’s arguments just so to adhere to your absurd pantheism, but when it suits your purpose you have no qualms to becoming a hypocrite and using the very same tactics you disavowed! Have you no integrity of Character???,,, Bruce this video is much more clear as to accuracy of scripture;

    Defense Of The Historical Jesus From Supposed Higher Criticism Of Biblical Text And Historical Reliability – William Lane Craig
    http://www.vimeo.com/11144955

    And that is the video I meant to list primarily,,, since it deals with the most famous scripture critic alive today; Bart Ehrman

    As to your objection that certain passages flat out contradict.,,, What amazes me is that, much like your blatant hypocrisy with StephenB, you will go to Herculean efforts to deny the relative importance of prophecy in scripture, that has been fulfilled and verified, thus establishing the ‘supernatural watermark’ on the Bible, yet when it comes to a fairly minor passage of passage, that Dr. Torley offered reasoned argument for, you all of the sudden claim this passage of scripture takes on the weight of importance that you should have rightly given to the prophetic passages in the first place. The hypocrisy is simply dripping out of every post you make Bruce!!!

  82. 82

    Bruce David,

    I have shown that the scriptures themselves, based on the results of Biblical research universally accepted by Biblical scholars, simply cannot be trusted to convey Jesus’ life, death, and teachings accurately. It is logically contradictory to use the Bible itself to refute this fact.

    To which I replied: The Bible is a collection of books, so how is it logically contradictory that the books should be evidence for the proper history of Jesus? You may as well say that since the Encyclopedia has been collected into one volume, it is logically contradictory to use any part of it as evidence for any other part.

    To which you replied: I didn’t say it was logically contradictory. I said that based on what we know about the source of the books (they are written records of stories that were orally transmitted for several decades before they were written, and they were not written by their purported authors, except for eight of Paul’s letters)….

    Um, yes you did say “It is logically contradictory to use the Bible itself to refute this fact.” If there were changes, you would have to have an original in order to see the change. But you say there are no originals, so how do you know there were changes? What are you using for comparison?

  83. StephenB: “Translation: “Oops, I changed my mind. Although reason is useless as a defense for Christianity, it may be useful for attacking Christianity.” Unbelievable!”

    Perhaps you find it unbelievable because you have misquoted me. What I said was that reason BY ITSELF is powerless to arrive at truth, ANY truth, not just Christian “truth”. Reason must have something accepted as true without proof before it can draw any conclusions. Again, I refer you to my proof that Hell does not exist in #28.

    I should have added, however, that reason is also useful in revealing logical contradictions in an argument. My bad.

  84. Bornagain: Have you noticed how when Darwinists have no real response to someone’s argument they descend into insult and ad hominem attack?

    Look at your last post to me (#81) and see if you might not detect a similar pattern.

  85. Clive: “Um, yes you did say ‘It is logically contradictory to use the Bible itself to refute this fact.’”

    When I used the term “logically contradictory”, I was referring to the use of the Bible itself to refute questions regarding its accuracy that arise from a knowledge of the circumstances of its origin and transmission down to the present day. I didn’t say that it was logically contradictory that a collection of books “could be evidence for the proper history of Jesus.”

    “But you say there are no originals, so how do you know there were changes? What are you using for comparison?”

    It isn’t me. It’s Biblical scholars. And what they use is the fact that there are hundreds of copies of the original books now available, dating from the second century (in a few cases) onward, and these copies do not agree with each other (there are literally thousands of discrepancies among them).

  86. No Bruce, the facts are that you deny the ‘stunning’ importance of this scripture of prophecy;,,,

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241

    Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Israel 1948 – article
    Excerpt: As such, we can know for certain that the Bible, in one of the most remarkable prophecies in history, accurately foresaw the year of Israel’s restoration as an independent nation some two thousand five hundred years before the event occurred.
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Bibl.....;id=449317

    In fact you stated,,,

    ‘You assume that a fulfilled prophesy is the only criterion of truth of a source of revelation. I don’t.’

    Yet you then turn around, after Pooh Poohing perhaps the most stunning fulfilled prophecy known to modern man, and elevate a minor ‘supposed’ discrepancy of the Bible, that plausible reason was given by Dr. Torley for, and all of the sudden this minor passage of scripture is slam dunk for you to Deny the validity of everything that Jesus is recorded as saying in the Bible!!! No Bruce I stand by my observation, your are extremely biased in your judgment. And that makes you a hypocrite. You being a hypocrite is a fact of written record on this very thread,, and is not something I am making up just to hide from any hypothetical lack of evidence that you ‘hypocritically’ (there’s that word again) accused me of!

  87. Bornagain:

    When you can read what I actually wrote and respond thoughtfully to it, we can have a conversation. As long as you insist on setting up a straw man version of my thinking and then on that basis accuse me of hypocrisy, there really is no point in continuing.

  88. —Bruce David: “The two accounts flat out contradict each other. There is no getting around it.”

    There is no contradiction at all.

    Leaving out a number of events in between the key points, it’s really very simple:

    Joseph betrothed and married Mary in Nazareth.

    The family moved to Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

    From Bethlehem, they fled to Egypt.

    From Egypt, they returned to Nazareth, where Mary and Joseph first lived.

    Nothing that either Matthew or Luke says bring any of these events or their chronology into question. The two Gospels are meant to complement one another– and they do.

    With respect to the details on the flight to Egypt, the facts are clear: After the child was born, Joseph and Mary waited 40 days for the purification. Only then did they seek refuge in Egypt. Following that, they returned to Nazareth. Luke says nothing about the flight to Egypt, and mentions only the Purification and the return to Nazareth. Luke says, “After they had performed all things according to the law, they returned to Nazareth.” He does not say “immediately” after and it is obvious that he is speaking of the faithful observance of the law. He is not trying to fix the exact time of the return.

    Luke selectively leaves some things out; Matthew selectively eaves some things out. You continue to labor under the illusion that an omission is a contradiction. If you don’t understand the difference between the two words, look them up in a dictionary.

  89. With regard to the birth and infancy narratives of Jesus, it seems to me obvious that neither Luke nor Matthew is interested in historical accuracy. That doesn’t make them less important, valuable, or inspired: it just means that the stories are not told for reasons of history. (Matthew, for example, who emphasizes the Jewishness of Jesus, writes the Egypt story to construct parallels to Old Testament history (going “into” and “out of” Egypt just like ancient Israel, being saved from infantacide just like Moses). This is not history but the ancient Jewish genre of midrash.

    So my response is, of course they contradict each other: so what? What’s important is what each author is trying to convey.

  90. —Bruce: “What I said was that reason BY ITSELF is powerless to arrive at truth, ANY truth, not just Christian “truth”. Reason must have something accepted as true without proof before it can draw any conclusions.”

    Well, you said we can “prove anything” using reason, which indicates that reason isn’t very good tool for distinguishing truth from falsehood.

    In any case, please don’t keep me in suspense. What would that “something” be? Give me an example of this something in action and show me how it helps you draw a conclusion.

    —”I should have added, however, that reason is also useful in revealing logical contradictions in an argument. My bad.”

    If, as you said, we can use reason “prove anything,” can we use reason to reveal a contradiction and also show that it is not really a contradiction at all?

  91. Trying to “reconcile” the gospels as history and trying to “refute” the gospels as history: different ways of having the wrong priorities.

  92. Bruce David, the problem is not that I don’t understand your arguments and am thus setting up ‘strawmen to refute, the problem is that I do understand your arguments and the primary objective of your arguments. Which you objective is to try your level best to undermine the authority of scripture just so as to undermine the clear meaning of what Jesus said and did. To accomplish this goal you have ignored StephenB’s principles of right reason, as well as the stunning prophetic scriptures which give the Bible a one of a kind ‘supernatural watermark’ distinctness from any other known ancient scripture. You do this because you are a die hard pantheist who cannot stand the though of a ‘eternal’ judgement after this life! Does that pretty much sum up your thinking?

  93. —QuiteID: “So my response is, of course they contradict each other: so what? What’s important is what each author is trying to convey.”

    Show me the contradiction. Please be specific.

  94. Stephen, what matters is that Matthew is telling a story, and Luke is telling a story, and each of them is describing the story for their own reasons. I guess in your version, Mary and Joseph get warning that the child is in danger, wait about a month, and then flee? In Matthew Jesus seems to be “from” Bethlehem but grows up in Nazareth, which Matthew mistakenly thinks has something to do with “Nazorean.” In Luke Jesus gets shipped to Nazareth because of some crazily designed census. It seems clear that Jesus was really from Nazareth and that both Matthew and Luke (for different reasons) had Jesus born in Bethlehem because Nazareth was an entirely insignificant little town that never appeared in any records before this.

    You can make them fit together, if you’re convinced that they must and you’re willing to go round your backside to get to your elbow. I don’t see why that’s important, though. Frankly I don’t think any Jew reading Matthew in the first century would have seen it as historical in any event. It’s clearly midrash, a retelling of ancient stories for a new purpose. That only makes it “wrong” if your faith depends on a literal-minded dogmatism.

  95. QuiteID, I’m wondering if you’ve heard of theories about why Matthew would describe Jesus as having to be a ‘Nazarene’, to fulfill what was ‘spoken by the prophets’? One popular theory is that, in conjunction with the correct term ‘Nazarite’, instead of ‘Nazarene’, truly denotes what was written or spoken by the prophets, such as in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah, when they mention the ‘BRANCH of the Lord”. The Hebrew word for Branch is the root form (NZR) of the Nazarite word found in the Old Testament Scriptures.

    As for the Jesus being born in Bethlehem, it was to fulfill Micah 5:2. and I think the Lukan Census problem has been correctd, if i’m not mistaken, here’s a reference.

    http://hypotyposeis.org/weblog.....ke-22.html

    Sorry, i used to know how to post links in code correctly.

  96. StephenB:
    “Well, you said we can “prove anything” using reason, which indicates that reason isn’t very good tool for distinguishing truth from falsehood.

    In any case, please don’t keep me in suspense. What would that “something” be? Give me an example of this something in action and show me how it helps you draw a conclusion.”

    I already gave it to you–my proof that Hell doesn’t exist in #28. You see, you can prove anything as long as you make the appropriate initial assumptions (which I labeled axioms and definitions in my proof). For the record, I accept all my definitions and axioms in that proof as true, based on personal experience, faith, and inner knowing. However, I don’t expect that you will.

  97. Right, bornagain, and the reason the gospel writers would leave out details that would corroborate the exact story of the other existing gospel is to obtain as much writing space as possible because writing scrolls was no cheap and easy task (the writer would omit certain details to convey what was missing in gospel(s) written prior). I’m sure James White mentions this issue in depth in one of his books, as does Craig.

  98. Bruce David, so I show evidence for the reality of the soul, the trustworthiness of NDE testimonies, the consistency of hellish accounts of Near Death Experiences in pantheistic countries, the structure of reality, and yet this matters not one iota to you for you just set up a bunch ‘fluff’ axioms that have your preferred conclusion built into their premises, and Wah La!!! Hell disappears for you??? Man, Bruce what in the world are you doing on an ID site??? Most people here, who believe in Design, are here because they follow the evidence wherever it leads no matter what others may think, yet you in this instance with panthesim, just like the neo-Darwinists with evolution, find evidence against your position just to be so much of a trivial thing to be rationalized away with whatever excuse you can imagine. I can tell you for sure that I certainly would not find such comfort so easily in ‘devised axioms’ when the evidence presented for hell against your pantheistic position was so strong, especially strong for those living in a completely foreign culture with no exposure to Christ.

  99. 99
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    “I already gave it to you–my proof that Hell doesn’t exist in #28. You see, you can prove anything as long as you make the appropriate initial assumptions (which I labeled axioms and definitions in my proof). For the record, I accept all my definitions and axioms in that proof as true, based on personal experience, faith, and inner knowing. However, I don’t expect that you will.”

    This is an example of your methodology for determining truth – and it’s patently absurd. Let’s break it down:

    “You see, you can prove anything as long as you make the appropriate initial assumptions.”

    IOW, anything can be true if you start with certain assumptions; whether true or not. Well if you don’t start with true assumptions, nothing will be true.

    Problem: Bruce, anything cannot be true if you start with certain assumptions – you stated “appropriate,” (not sure what you mean by that), but it seems clear that initial assumptions can be quite arbitrary according to your own preferences (“I accept all my definitions and axioms in that proof as true”). That is not proof, but satisfying one’s own position without evidence.

    “based on personal experience, faith, and inner knowing.”

    See this is the problem. Your truth does not start with self evident first principles of reason, which would be true for all others. Your truth is only true for you. So in your reasoning, 2+2=4 might be true for you, but it could be 2+2=6 for others.

    So when you say:

    “I already gave it to you–my proof that Hell doesn’t exist in #28.”

    You are making an utterly meaningless statement to the rest of us, who don’t share your basis for truth. Quite frankly, further discussion with you is fruitless. This post is more for the onlookers than for you.

  100. whoops, i double checked, and most of the OT prophecies about the branch are of a different Hebrew word for Branch, though there is one accurate prophecy with the right Hebrew word in Isaiah 11:1, and this is the usual applied prophecy to Jesus. Though I think that theory still holds up, especially seeing as how in Numbers 6, the Nazarite vow probably had something to do with the foundations of the name of the town, as well as it being of a lowly status, as referred to in John.

  101. Bornagain:

    You’re not going to like this, and you will undoubtedly accuse me of stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the truth again, but I will give it one shot.

    There are several reasons why I do not regard fulfilled prophesy to be that persuasive:

    1. The Bible, when one includes both testaments, is a book that was written by many authors over a period spanning centuries. Let’s say for the sake of argument that this spectacular prophesy of the future history of Israel is actually true, as presented in the video. What does it prove? Only that one of the many authors had a vision or knew someone who had a vision of what was to come that actually panned out. So? Does that prove the validity of the writings of all the other authors of the Bible? Not to me.

    2. Fulfilled prophesy is not limited solely to the Bible. Even quite ordinary people can have prophetic dreams or visions that come true. I know of some examples that happened to friends of mine, and there are many records of such things occurring.

    3. Many of the prophesies that are claimed to have been fulfilled, when one examines them, are clearly open to multiple interpretations. It is often the case that they have been force fit, so to speak, to events that actually transpired.

    4. Some of the prophesies regarding Jesus seem to have been force fit in reverse. For example, the authors of both Paul and Matthew knew that the prophesy regarding the coming of the Messiah had him being born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, so they each apparently made up a story of his birth that accomplished the end of agreeing with that prophesy. Another example: the prophesies in the Old Testament regarding the coming of the Messiah do not mention that he dies on the cross, so they co-opted passages such as Isaiah 53:1-6 which do not mention a Messiah at all.

    5. You may think it insignificant, but I regard Jesus’ failed prophesy in Mark that his generation would see the end times and the arrival of the Kingdom of God as a major failure of Biblical prophesy to be fulfilled, particularly since it came from the lips of Jesus himself.

    In sum, I appealing to Biblical prophesy as a warrant for the truth of the entire Bible is simply not compelling to me.

  102. CannuckianYankee: “This is an example of your methodology for determining truth – and it’s patently absurd.”

    You completely misunderstand the point of the proof. It was not to demonstrate that there is no Hell, even though I accept the proof as valid, nor was it to demonstrate how I arrive at truth. Rather it was to demonstrate the limits of the use of reason in discovering truth. My contention is that reason BY ITSELF is powerless to arrive at truth. It has to be used in conjunction with something that is accepted as true from some source other than reason. And then, you are quite right. The conclusions that reason draws will only be as valid as the initial assumptions.

    It is not my method for determining truth. I believe that each of us is made in the image and likeness of God, and that this includes the capacity for knowing everything. However, when we are born into a physical body, part of the process is that we forget Who We Really Are. The point of physical existence is to remember, and this occurs very gradually, over many lifetimes. As this remembering happens, it is like veils are being lifted one by one, and we see more and more clearly into the true nature of existence. This is the process by which we finally arrive at an awareness of the Truth. It really has very little to do with reason, but paradoxically, without the capacity for reason, one is unable to utilize this knowledge effectively.

  103. —Bruce David: “You see, you can prove anything as long as you make the appropriate initial assumptions (which I labeled axioms and definitions in my proof).”

    So, if I make the initial assumption that Jupiter can exist and not exist at the same time, I can prove that point, and likewise, if I make the opposite initial assumption, I can prove that point as well. That is, indeed, a liberating logical structure.

    —”For the record, I accept all my definitions and axioms in that proof as true, based on personal experience, faith, and inner knowing. However, I don’t expect that you will.”

    OK. I now have a better idea of the reasoning process that led you to conclude that the Gospels contain contradictions and that evil doesn’t exist. If your initial assumptions, and personal experiences are calling the shots, if you reject the non-negotiable principles of right reason, and if you have made your final commitment to the process of inner knowing, I certainly don’t want to spoil your party.

    What I don’t understand, though, is why you don’t acknowledge my initial assumptions, my personal experiences, and my inner knowing, all of which led me to conclude that there are no contradictions in the Gospels. You did, after all, say I was “wrong.” Are your initial assumptions, personal experiences, and inner knowings better than mine?

  104. Bornagain, it just can’t enter the realm of possibility for you that what is absolutely compelling evidence for you just is not for someone else, can it?

    I have given you what to me are very good reasons for rejecting the conclusions you come to based on your evidence. You ignore them, call them trivial, and accuse me of having “rationalized [them] away with whatever excuse [I] can imagine.”

    You are simply wrong. The beliefs I have come to are the result of a lifetime of study and contemplation, of arduous work on myself through several different spiritual disciplines, and a great deal of thought. Your attempt to trivialize it only demonstrates your narrow mindedness and inability to step out of your little box of fundamentalist Christian dogma, even in your imagination. But don’t worry. In twenty or thirty more lifetimes, it will be amazing how much your horizons will have expanded.

  105. CannuckianYankee, welcome back. I have missed your contributions.

  106. 106

    StephenB: “You did, after all, say I was “wrong.” Are your initial assumptions, personal experiences, and inner knowings better than mine?”

    I just finished looking back through my comments and I couldn’t find any in which I said you were wrong about whether Luke and Matthew contradict each other regarding the circumstances of Jesus’ birth. I did in replies to other posters state that I stood by my conclusion that they flat out contradict each other, however.

    To answer your question, that which I take to be true a priori is valid for me. That which you take to be true is valid for you. It seems pretty clear to me that, for example, you take it as a given that the Bible is the revealed word of God and as such can contain no contradictions. I have no problem with that as long as you recognize that it is an a priori assumption on your part and not something that can be arrived at through reason. It should be obvious, however, that any conclusions you draw that depend on that a priori assumption will not be accepted by me, since I make no such assumption.

  107. Bruce David, you are one confused puppy!

  108. Bruce David you state,

    ‘In sum, I appealing to Biblical prophesy as a warrant for the truth of the entire Bible is simply not compelling to me.’

    First I hold all your 5 premises as invalid, but for the sake of argument let’s look at the hypocrisy of your judgement if we were to presume any of your premises to be true. first, You downplay the significance of perhaps the most powerful prophetic scripture known to modern man, A prophecy of Israel becoming a nation, again, after an extended exile of a few thousand years (a genuine miracle that Israel should even stay together as a culture), a fulfilled prophecy which in itself has ‘interwoven’ the entire meta-narrative of the Bible!!! A meta-narrative which Jesus himself prophesied here,,,

    Luke 21-24
    They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

    ,,, and yet even though these prophesies are in black and white, interwoven towards the meta-narrative of the entire Bible, with no possibility of misinterpretation (though you have certainly tried your very dogmatic best to misinterpret them LOL),,, You have the audacity to say Jesus predicted His return within the lifetime of the apostles???,,, Bruce YOU ARE the one who is not judging correctly! Jesus’ teachings are full of parables of a ‘extended time’ to his second coming. Yet you twist certain scripture severely to your bias of wanting to find fault, all whilst ignoring the meta-narrative that testifies against your extremely ‘trivial’ bias. Frankly Bruce it is hard for me to see how you can be so blind to your own blindness.

  109. 109
    CannuckianYankee

    Mind if I steer this debate back on topic?

    To get a clear perspective of where Harris stands regarding religion:

    “A glance at history, or at the pages of any newspaper, reveals that ideas which divide one group of human beings from another, only to unite them in slaughter, generally have their roots in religion. It seems that if our species ever eradicates itself through war, it will not be because it was written in the stars but because it was written in our books; it is what we do with words like “God” and “paradise” and “sin” in the present that will determine our future.”

    “Intolerance is thus intrinsic to every creed.”

    (Harris, The End Of Faith)

    So Harris begins his book with sweeping and emotional pronouncements on the evils of religion, without once considering the evils and wars that have been started as the result of atheism – remember Vietnam, Korea, Pearl Harbor and WWII in general; Stalin, Hitler…What do these have to do with religion? What religious creed did Hitler follow other than his perceived destiny as Fuhrer of an everlasting and secular Third Reich?

    And these words of Harris are merely from the introduction to his book – and in that there’s plenty more such pronouncements. It’s not surprising that he can’t muster a challenging response to the reasoned arguments of WL Craig.

  110. 110

    Bornagain: “Frankly Bruce it is hard for me to see how you can be so blind to your own blindness.”

    Well, I could say the same about you, so I think at this point we really have nothing more to say to each other.

  111. Bruce you state;

    ‘I think at this point we really have nothing more to say to each other.’

    If only that were true. :)

  112. CannuckianYankee: You write, quoting Harris,
    “A glance at history, or at the pages of any newspaper, reveals that ideas which divide one group of human beings from another, only to unite them in slaughter, generally have their roots in religion. It seems that if our species ever eradicates itself through war, it will not be because it was written in the stars but because it was written in our books; it is what we do with words like “God” and “paradise” and “sin” in the present that will determine our future.”

    So what is the cause of so much slaughter if it isn’t religion? I believe it is the illusion of separation. We have forgotten that we are all one–one humanity, one human family (one with all of life, actually). This plays out in religion as the belief that my religion is better than your religion. From there it is a short step (a step not always, taken, certainly, but often enough, unfortunately) to the belief that God (or Allah, or Jehovah, or Krishna) wants, nay even demands, that we impose our “true” religion on those “other” people through force. An alternative script is to see those others as threatening our religion and conclude that force, often preemptive force, is a necessary response.

    But as you point out, you don’t need religion for this kind of tragedy to occur. Hitler’s belief for example, rooted in the same illusion of separation, that the Aryans were the master race, resulted in the same kind of slaughter (or worse, actually).

  113. Bornagain: If that smiley face is an olive branch, I accept it. Can we be friends and just agree to disagree?

  114. —Bruce: “I just finished looking back through my comments and I couldn’t find any in which I said you were wrong about whether Luke and Matthew contradict each other regarding the circumstances of Jesus’ birth. I did in replies to other posters state that I stood by my conclusion that they flat out contradict each other, however.”

    Once again, you are trying to bend reality to conform to your wishes. Your exact words were, “No, you are wrong.” Of course, I was not wrong, but that doesn’t matter for the moment, nor does it matter who you were arguing against. The point is that you trust your “inner knowing as a standard for arriving at truth,” but you don’t trust everyone else’s inner knowing as a standard for arriving at truth, otherwise, there would be no dispute. One’s inner knowing cannot be an arbiter to settle intellectual disputes, because inner knowing is subjective. Only the objective first principles of right reason can do it. I
    —”To answer your question, that which I take to be true a priori is valid for me. That which you take to be true is valid for you.”

    Yes, I know you believe that, but what you don’t understand is that what we take to be valid or sound may not be valid or sound. We have to test our assumptions against reason and reality, neither of which you respect.

    –”It seems pretty clear to me that, for example, you take it as a given that the Bible is the revealed word of God and as such can contain no contradictions.”

    It isn’t a given. It is a proposition that can be tested, verified or falsified. If someone thinks he or she can find a contradiction in the Gospels, they are free to present their evidence. Since I know that this proposition is false, I a free to refute it, and, as I have demonstrated, I am prepared to do that.

    –”I have no problem with that as long as you recognize that it is an a priori assumption on your part and not something that can be arrived at through reason.”

    Whether a given set of propositions contain contradictions can be proven in no other way other than using logic and reason.

    —”It should be obvious, however, that any conclusions you draw that depend on that a priori assumption will not be accepted by me, since I make no such assumption.”

    You think everyone is correct in the context of their own assumptions and there is no objective means of discerning who is right and who is wrong, except, of course, when someone exercises their own “inner knowing” and draw conclusions different from yours. In that case, you will devote days of your time to show them how wrong they are.

    I guess I am with CY, I am inclined not to waste any more of my time with this kind of nonsense.

  115. StephenB, once again I am impressed with your ability to so clearly articulate complex issues in such a easily graspable manner. It truly is a breath of fresh air, especially when having to deal with people who seem to be pathologically bent on the exact opposite goal.

  116. StephenB: “I guess I am with CY, I am inclined not to waste any more of my time with this kind of nonsense.”

    I agree that it is nonsense. What we disagree on is which one of us is guilty of it. The idea that you can arrive at any kind of truth through reason alone is definitely nonsense. I have presented two pieces of evidence in support of this: first, that if reason alone could arrive at truth, then philosophers would long ago have agreed on what that truth is, and second, that mathematics has demonstrated the only reliable method of generating valid inference, which always involves starting from axioms and definitions. You consistently ignore both of them.

    I think, like with Bornagain, we have nothing more to say to each other.

  117. 117

    StephenB:

    Or let me put it another way. How is it that reason is capable of ascertaining the truth, yet Kant, Schopenhauer, Lock, Berkeley, Hume, Russell, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Bergson, Sartre, Santayana, Hegel, and Ibn al ‘Arabi all somehow missed it? How is it that you know what the proper use of reason is to ascertain truth, yet all these giants of philosophy didn’t?

    Doesn’t it give at least a little pause? Isn’t there even occasionally a little chink in the armor of your certainty that you might ask the question, “Is there maybe something I might be missing here?”

  118. —Bruce: “Or let me put it another way. How is it that reason is capable of ascertaining the truth, yet Kant, Schopenhauer, Lock, Berkeley, Hume, Russell, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Bergson, Sartre, Santayana, Hegel, and Ibn al ‘Arabi all somehow missed it? How is it that you know what the proper use of reason is to ascertain truth, yet all these giants of philosophy didn’t?”

    If you want me to explain the errors of a given philosopher’s system, you will have to pick one at a time. Just to get started, you can get a feel for the errors of Hume, Kant, and Locke by reading “Little Errors in the Beginning” by Mortimer Adler. It’s on the internet.

    Meanwhile, reflect on this fact: Kant, who was probably the most influential of the bunch, told us that we cannot know anything about ultimate reality. Now consider the fact that his philosophy contradicts itself since he would have to know something about reality to make the claim.

    Or what about Russell? He challenged theism’s proposition that everything that exists must have a cause by asking “Well then, who made God?” Obviously, he forgot that God is defined as the “uncaused” cause.

    Or what about Hume, who, in one breath, tells us that cause and effect do not exist in nature, and, in another breath, tells us miracles violate the laws of cause and effect. The academy loves this kind of idiocy. I don’t.

    These men were not great philosophers in the sense that they were profound thinkers. They were great in terms of their influence and fame, but they were simply promoting old errors with new labels. As Fulton J. Sheen once said, “It is a very good practice when one is absolutely sure that he has a brand new idea that no one ever thought of before to go back and see how the Greeks put it.”

    —“Doesn’t it give at least a little pause? Isn’t there even occasionally a little chink in the armor of your certainty that you might ask the question, “Is there maybe something I might be missing here?”
    Don’t you think that question is a little vague to elicit a meaningful answer?

  119. bornagain77 @115, thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it very much.

  120. 120
    CannuckianYankee

    Onlookers,

    I’m going to attempt to illustrate Bruce’s thinking in context with the Craig/Harris debate.

    He states at 116:

    “The idea that you can arrive at any kind of truth through reason alone is definitely nonsense. I have presented two pieces of evidence in support of this: first, that if reason alone could arrive at truth, then philosophers would long ago have agreed on what that truth is,”

    It does not follow, first of all that if philosophers disagree on what is truth that at least one of those philosophers cannot know what that truth is.

    This is Harris’ error regarding religion as well.

    Therefore, simply because there are a large number of religious beliefs, which contradict one another, does not mean that at least one of those beliefs can’t be true.

    Bruce illustrates this kind of thinking here (which is parallel with Harris’ own thinking):

    “So what is the cause of so much slaughter if it isn’t religion? I believe it is the illusion of separation. We have forgotten that we are all one–one humanity, one human family (one with all of life, actually). This plays out in religion as the belief that my religion is better than your religion.”

    No, not so. There is a huge difference between the fact that we are all one human family, and ought to treat each other with dignity and respect; and the particularism of certain religions – Christianity being one. Christianity does not teach that we should slaughter those who don’t conform to Christianity; it in fact teaches the opposite. That there have been those in history who have slaughtered in the name of Christianity does not diminish Christianity itself, but diminishes those very one’s who did not follow the Christian way, but were influenced by the ways of the world.

    Furthermore, it emphasizes two things that are true about Christianity: 1) Jesus own prophecy that there would be those who do evil in his name, and 2) That the Kingdom of God is not of this world. You don’t arrive at the kingdom through slaughter, and those who believe so will meet their own demise.

    So when Bruce states: “The idea that you can arrive at any kind of truth through reason alone is definitely nonsense,” what he apparently means is that one arrives at truth by an emotional appeal through manipulating and twisting reason to conform to one’s own emotional proclivities. This is also Harris’ tactic. It didn’t work in the debate, and it’s certainly not working here at UD.

  121. 121

    StephenB: Response to #118:

    You’re missing the point. If reason is capable of revealing truth, then these men should agree with you. You assert that reason can reveal the truth, yet what you apparently mean is that reason AS USED BY YOU, and maybe a few others, is capable of revealing the truth.

    Can’t you see how useless that is? Either it’s a false idea that reason can reveal truth, or else reason is basically useless, since the vast majority of the most brilliant men in the history of philosophy are apparently unable use it correctly.

    Forgive me if I find the notion that only you and a few others are capable of using reason correctly a bit hard to swallow. The only reasonable conclusion is that reason by itself is powerless to ascertain truth.

  122. 122
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce:

    “The only reasonable conclusion is that reason by itself is powerless to ascertain truth.”

    Question is: did you use reason to arrive at that conclusion?

    It would make a good stand-up routine.

  123. 123
    CannuckianYankee

    StephenB,

    Excellent points at 118.

  124. 124
    CannuckianYankee

    jgray2,

    You have brought up some interesting points. but apparently this thread has gone off in another direction. It would be interesting to further such a discussion though. :)

    QuiteID,

    Have you ever had to do an investigation where you interview several witnesses? I have done so on many occasions, and there’s a phenomenon, which arises. Oftentimes several witnesses will testify to the same event with different details. Sometimes the person doing the investigation will assume that having different details means that one of the witnesses is lying, because of the assumption that different details means contradiction. However, with further investigation, quite often an investigator is able to harmonize the differing testimony of two differing witnesses, which quite often exonerates them, and leads to maybe a 3rd or 4th suspect among the witnesses, or from another party.

    This is what I believe is going on in the gospels. I think you require further investigation in determining them to be contradictory.

  125. CannuckianYankee, you’re assuming that the gospel writers were attempting to write history. Certainly Matthew is not, at least in the first five chapters: he’s writing a kind of fable in which Jesus is a new Moses, complete with an an ambiguous birth, an endangered infancy, an exodus from Egypt, a period of wandering in the desert, and a declaration of law from a mountain. Your adherence to the straightjacket of legal testimony is a modernist add-on to an ancient text. It does not impact the real truth of the gospels to say they are not historical truth.

  126. 126

    Bruce David,

    It isn’t me. It’s Biblical scholars. And what they use is the fact that there are hundreds of copies of the original books now available, dating from the second century (in a few cases) onward, and these copies do not agree with each other (there are literally thousands of discrepancies among them).

    Did you watch bornagain77′s post of William Lane Craig’s video about this? The differences or so called discrepancies are nothing doctrinal. It’s amazing to me that someone would deny the Grand Canyon in front of them because there are pebbles in his shoes.

  127. 127
    CannuckianYankee

    QuiteID,

    “CannuckianYankee, you’re assuming that the gospel writers were attempting to write history.”

    This is correct. I am assuming that, but I make that assumption based on scriptural evidence, namely Luke:

    “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
    The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
    5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron….” (Luke 1:1-5 NIV)

    “Your adherence to the straightjacket of legal testimony is a modernist add-on to an ancient text.”

    Where midrash is apparent I do not deny. But it is clear to me that the gospel writers were at least attempting to write historical facts based on what was passed down, while employing their own particular take on what occurred. Luke has apparently done this.

    Furthermore, the early Church fathers depended upon the gospels as history, so it’s not exactly a modernist spin.

    What’s a modernist spin is the notion that it doesn’t matter whether the gospels are history. This is problematic in that the truth of Christianity depends on an historical fact – that of the resurrection.

    And I quote Paul in that regard:

    “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NIV)

    “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19 NIV)

    So for Paul the entire Christian faith depends upon the truth of an historical event. If that event had not occurred, Christianity is meaningless. This is hardly a modernist notion.

  128. Bruce David, as Clive pointed out this following video, which you may have missed yesterday, is excellent. It even has the whole Bethlehem ‘controversy’ at about the 25 minute mark (But I recommend watching the whole video since it lays the criterion out used by Biblical Scholars to establish the historicity of Jesus):

    Defense Of The Historical Jesus From Supposed Higher Criticism Of Biblical Text And Historical Reliability – William Lane Craig
    http://www.vimeo.com/11144955

  129. 129
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    Now that you’ve decided to discuss on topic, allow me to address:

    “So what is the cause of so much slaughter if it isn’t religion? I believe it is the illusion of separation. We have forgotten that we are all one–one humanity, one human family (one with all of life, actually). This plays out in religion as the belief that my religion is better than your religion. From there it is a short step (a step not always, taken, certainly, but often enough, unfortunately) to the belief that God (or Allah, or Jehovah, or Krishna) wants, nay even demands, that we impose our “true” religion on those “other” people through force.”

    First of all, Christianity does not teach that the gospel is spread through force. That this has happened in history only illustrates that Christian doctrine can be twisted and used as a force for evil.

    Christianity is spread through word of mouth – preaching, and is adhered to through choice, not coercion. If it is adhered to through coercion, it is not authentic, because the truth of the gospel must be held in one’s heart – not through lip-service.

    Furthermore, for you to claim that religion that views itself as the only truth is problematic, is to completely ignore your own pronouncements concerning inner knowing and “Conversations With God,” for you too have pronounced that approach as the only legitimate approach to truth.

    So your religion has its own particularism, which you can’t reasonably deny.

  130. 130
    CannuckianYankee

    Clive, BA77, others,

    The video of Craig dismantling Bart Ehrman illustrates two very important points:

    1) Ehrman himself treats the gospels as historical accounts – contrary to QuiteID’s assertion that it matters not whether they are history. Apparently to Ehrman it does matter, and his argument is that the history is inaccurate.

    2) Craig, on the other hand dismantles Ehrman based on the observation that he is not an historian; rather a textural expert.

    I think the most revealing part of the video is when Craig points out that Ehrman believes that the scriptures we have today are pretty much what was written 2,000 years ago – that what we currently have is 99% accurate, and what is not accurate is trivial.

    Furthermore, Ehrman took over from the great textural critic Bruce M. Metzger, who did not share Ehrman’s cynicism.

  131. 131

    CannuckianYankee,

    What’s a modernist spin is the notion that it doesn’t matter whether the gospels are history.

    Exactly right.

  132. 132
    CannuckianYankee

    QuiteID,

    “Certainly Matthew is not, at least in the first five chapters: he’s writing a kind of fable in which Jesus is a new Moses, complete with an an ambiguous birth, an endangered infancy, an exodus from Egypt, a period of wandering in the desert, and a declaration of law from a mountain.”

    I’m not persuaded to jump to that conclusion. I take it that Matthew was projecting an historical account of Jesus’ lineage, that is different than the lineage illustrated by Luke in the 3rd Chapter of his gospel.

    Again, difference does not mean contradiction; and there’s the element of two parents involved, that of Mary, and that of Joseph, who both have their separate lineages. Consider this.

  133. 133
    CannuckianYankee

    QuiteID,

    Consider also that the lineages both omit certain details, which if you were to do your own investigation on the differences, you would find that you could reasonably harmonize both.

  134. “’The only reasonable conclusion is that reason by itself is powerless to ascertain truth.’

    Question is: did you use reason to arrive at that conclusion?”

    No, I did not. To call something “reasonable” is not to use reason in any formal sense, like a proof which yields undeniable truth. This is an argument more like a conclusion that ID is “the most reasonable explanation” for some phenomenon. It is not a proof. I have been using the term “reason” throughout these discussions as meaning a process that generates a proof, since StephenB claims that he can discover unassailable truth through reason.

  135. 135

    QuiteID

    So the problem of the differing lineages can be accounted for from two differing perspectives – that of omition of certain details, or two separate lineages through mother or father. Both of these approaches do not lend any credence to the notion that they are contradictory – just different. I’m not certain which I would accept as the better of the two, but I am certain of one point – that they are not necessarily contradictory.

    With that, I’m not inclined to jump to a conclusion, which appears to completely subjectify the texts in question. I think the more reasonable approach is to hold the accounts as historical until one can reasonably attest that they are not.

  136. CannuckianYankee: “Furthermore, for you to claim that religion that views itself as the only truth is problematic, is to completely ignore your own pronouncements concerning inner knowing and “Conversations With God,” for you too have pronounced that approach as the only legitimate approach to truth.”

    No, I never did. I have said throughout this thread and others to which I have contributed that there is truth in every tradition. Conversations with God resonates with my inner knowing more than any other tradition I have encountered it is true, but I would never say that it is the only source of truth in the world. I consider Sufism to be a very close second, along with Yogananda’s brand of Hinduism and certain forms of esoteric Buddhism.

  137. CannuckianYankee: “It does not follow, first of all that if philosophers disagree on what is truth that at least one of those philosophers cannot know what that truth is.

    Therefore, simply because there are a large number of religious beliefs, which contradict one another, does not mean that at least one of those beliefs can’t be true.”

    You don’t get my point either. StephenB claims that reason by itself can discover truth. My assertion is that if that is true, then ALL those philosophers should agree with him, since they were all intellectual giants highly trained in the use of reason. The fact that none of them do is very strong evidence that in fact reason alone is powerless to discern truth.

    “Christianity does not teach that we should slaughter those who don’t conform to Christianity; it in fact teaches the opposite.”

    I never meant to give that impression. If that’s how you understand what I wrote, I apologize. What I was trying to convey is my conviction that it is a belief in the illusion of separation that is responsible for the slaughter (and other misfortunes). When I talked about religion in that context, I meant that that illusion can have the effects I described within a religion. However, I never meant to imply that such effects were in any way intrinsic to the religion itself.

    “So when Bruce states: “The idea that you can arrive at any kind of truth through reason alone is definitely nonsense,” what he apparently means is that one arrives at truth by an emotional appeal through manipulating and twisting reason to conform to one’s own emotional proclivities.”

    Have you actually read what I have been writing? You certainly don’t understand it. Please reread posts 42, 83, 96, 102, and 116 and try again.

  138. CannuckianYankee @131: Thank you.

  139. Interestingly, Craig’s presentation ties in very well with the two themes we have been discussing, namely the reliability of the Gospel narratives and the first principles of right reason. I could write pages on this, but I will summarize:

    Notice how often Craig points out that if a certain proposition is true, then the opposite proposition cannot be true. Also, the four criteria he alludes to must be rigorously defined in ways that explain the contexts in which they can and cannot be used. There can be no excluded middle, so to speak. This happens all throughout the presentation.

    We need some kind of test to discern when these criteria are being faithfully or unfaithfully applied, conflated, or even misunderstood. Assuming the laws of logic [affirming the existence of a historical event is irreconcilably different from negating it] Craig, exposes the many examples in which Ehrman does, in fact, misapply the criteria, reflecting a “sloppy” brand of scholarship that indicates a breakdown in rational thought.

    Similarly, it is only by utilizing reason’s principles that Craig can identify the difference between Ehrman, the private scholar, and Ehrman, the public dissembler. And, again, notice how reason’s rules expose the folly of appealing to “probability theory” uniformed by “background information.”

    Post-modernism, Darwinism, and New Age Spirituality, however, admits of no such limitations. Someone from one of those camps might say, “Gosh, I wonder if Christ could have risen from the dead while also remaining in his tomb? Who is to say otherwise?” or “I wonder if the Gospels could have written themselves. Did they really need an author?” “Who are you to impose your suffocating principles of right reason on me? I gotta be me! I gotta be free! I accept all my definitions and axioms in that proof as true, based on personal experience, faith, and inner knowing.”

  140. CY, so in your reconciliation of the two accounts, how and when does the flight to Egypt happen?

    On another issue, you write,

    So for Paul the entire Christian faith depends upon the truth of an historical event. If that event had not occurred, Christianity is meaningless.

    Add “for Paul” to the last sentence and I’ll agree with you. Paul’s perspective is Paul’s perspective.

  141. 141
    CannuckianYankee

    “CY, so in your reconciliation of the two accounts, how and when does the flight to Egypt happen?”

    I’m not certain. A “reconciliation” as you call it (I much prefer harmonization – because I don’t believe in this case there is anything to reconcile) does not require that both accounts state exactly the same thing. Again; one account omits the flight to Egypt. However, there does not appear to be any contradiction in the accounts with such an omission.

    “Add ‘for Paul’ to the last sentence and I’ll agree with you. Paul’s perspective is Paul’s perspective.”

    Paul’s perspective is also Luke’s perspective as well as the perspective of the three other gospel writers. Consider that all of the gospels – including John are concerned with the fulfillment of prophecy. Such fulfillment makes no sense whatsoever apart from an historical account of their fulfillment – unless of course you play games with those accounts by suggesting (as some do) that they were somehow a “spiritual” fulfillment.

    But if you look at the approaches of all four gospel authors and Paul carefully, it becomes clear that all are concerned with actual history, and not simply an esoteric spiritualization of prophetic events. Either they are historic or Christianity means nothing. I don’t buy the argument that Paul had an entirely different perspective than those of the gospel authors. I have no reason to do so.

    Let me ask you this – do you believe that the resurrection was a physical and historic event?

  142. CY, try to harmonize the flight to Egypt. Tell me how it makes sense.

    As for the resurrection as an actual physical event, I don’t know and don’t care. The original ending of Mark (Mark 16:8) has an empty tomb but no risen Jesus, who appears in later additions. Luke and Matthew, of course, used Mark for one of their sources but added different accounts of how the resurrection was discovered. John’s a completely different animal, as he is in so many ways: much later, and with a picture of Jesus at odds with the others.

    I don’t think any of this matters. Believe what you want about what’s historically true. I’m interested in what the stories mean.

  143. I realize that you’d like to know my “real” belief about the resurrection, because this will allow you to classify me. You’ll get to decide whether I fit your criteria of what constitutes a true Christian. This in turn will allow you to make all sorts of other assumptions about me.

    Let me just say that I too once held that view, and I’m glad to be rid of it. For me, Christianity is about following Christ. It’s about a practice of faith, not faith as a matter of getting my beliefs in proper order, ready for inspection by you or any other person.

  144. 144
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    “No, I did not. To call something “reasonable” is not to use reason in any formal sense, like a proof which yields undeniable truth.”

    I’m really not getting the twisting that goes on here. Reason is simply applying sound principles to a proposition to determine if it adheres to such principles. For example, if someone states a proposition that apples and oranges are the same things, I can use reason’s principles in determining that such a proposition is not sound according to those principles.

    If such a proposition is heralded as a scientific one, then the principles of reason can be used (for example) to show that oranges have a different molecular structure than apples; and therefore, are not the same thing.

    A child could watch Sesame Street, and apply similar principles with apples, oranges and blocks of wood – “One of these things is not like the other,” and through reason, determine that apples are similar to oranges, but not as much to blocks of wood.

    It’s not an issue then of undeniable proof, but of determining through these principles, which is the more reasonable proposition.

    If you’re not using reason, then you’re not arriving at any truth in any sense of the word, and in that case, your arguments are simply meaningless. But of course I believe that you have used reason – despite your denial. The problem is that your reason does not appear to follow first principles of reason; and that may be where you are confusing not only yourself, but others who are reading your posts and thinking as I am thinking: “say what?”

  145. 145
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    “I never meant to give that impression. If that’s how you understand what I wrote, I apologize.”

    No apology is necessary. I perhaps wrongfully assumed that you were agreeing with Harris’ assessment of religion. Clearly your perspective is different than his. And I apologize for the error.

  146. This may be of interest to some: Short video responses to Bart Ehrman; (Some are

    The Ehrman Project
    http://ehrmanproject.com/

    I haven’t seen all of the videos but this particular video seems relevant to addressing Bruce’s pantheistic position;

    Is there a central message throughout all 66 unique books of the Bible?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVgpkG4Ks1s

  147. Also of related interest:

    Why are the birth narratives so different? (Part 1) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC78xZ97sdo

    Why are the birth narratives so different? (Part 2)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GgtyksNmyo

    ————–

    they even have an old favorite, Plantinga, weighing in on Bart;

    Dr. Alving Plantinga – “Have you personally experienced evil in your life?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYpzWvX_Quc

    Dr. Alvin Plantinga – “Why does God allow his creation to have freewill?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcTdes3MSYY

  148. 148
    CannuckianYankee

    “CY, try to harmonize the flight to Egypt. Tell me how it makes sense.”

    It makes sense in that Mary and Joseph got word of Herod’s evil intentions, and escaped to Egypt. The period of time may have been, I would guess, fairly short, since it is well established by history that Herod died in 4BC. Jesus’ birth must have been some time before that, but perhaps not too long before.

    I don’t believe it is actually necessary to make any more sense from this than what I’ve just stated. The issue is rather trivial, and it has no bearing on the truth of the gospels.

    The main point I would like to make is that the flight from Egypt can be easily harmonized with Luke’s account where he omits the event simply because Luke does not say that Mary and Joseph did not take Jesus to Egypt. He simply omits this information, and the information he gives does not appear to contradict Matthew’s information in any way. Matthew’s account simply adds more information to Luke’s, while Luke lends information, which Matthew omitted.

    So you can put the two accounts (Matthew and Luke) together as one (as many have done) and find harmony. Titian’s (AD120-180) Diatessaron is the first known attempt to harmonize the canonical gospels. His work was the standard text in the Syriac speaking Churches until the 5th Century. So some of the very first Christians depended on a harmonization of the Gospels as their word of God. The Diatessaron includes all of the passages, which you seem to have a problem with. Apparently they weren’t a problem for the Syriac speaking Church of the 2nd Century on.

    You state:

    “For me, Christianity is about following Christ. It’s about a practice of faith, not faith as a matter of getting my beliefs in proper order, ready for inspection by you or any other person.”

    For me Christianity is also about following Christ and the practice of faith. For me faith is reasonable, and in order for me to make reasonable sense of Christianity I’m required to understand the scriptures according to their intent and not according to my own natural proclivities. I am certain that the faith I hold is continually open to inspection by others and God Himself. I wouldn’t have it any other way, as I understand that the scriptures demand this.

    There’s a lot of claims made about Jesus, which from close inspection simply are not true from a comparison with what the scriptures state. If you’re really looking for what does not harmonize with Christianity you only really need to look at history – both from the practices of some who claimed to be Christian and from those who have based their faith in scriptures along with some other text(s).

    Christianity is not the same as Islam, for example; but if you apply your reasoning contextually, it’s difficult to assess this difference. After all, Islam is spiritual, and also holds Jesus as an historical figure – only he was never crucified, and he was merely a profit of lesser significance to Mohammed.

    Are you then saying that those of the Islamic faith are Christians as well, since they have faith that Jesus existed, and they exhibit a certain spirituality? What then does faith in Jesus really mean if Jesus was not only the historic figure of the Christian scriptures, but crucified and resurrected as the scriptures state? Where is your demarcation, which differentiates Christianity with any other religion, which holds Jesus as an historical figure?

    Furthermore, there are some who claim to be Christian, who make hate-filled proclamations against certain groups of people (does Rev. Phelps ring a bell?). Without inspection of those groups with the scriptures, how are you to determine if Rev. Phelps is following Christ when he pickets the funeral of a soldier, who’s sexual orientation is not even known to him – and what would it matter if it was?

    From what do you determine then, what is true and what is not? It seems to me that for you it matters not; but I have determined that the scriptures state one thing and not the other according to principles of reason, in the same way as any other reasoned approach to truth.

  149. CY, the Diatessaron has the visit to Jerusalem and the presentation in the Temple come before the flight to Egypt. So in that text, Mary & Joseph have Jesus circumcized, presented, then take him back to Bethlehem, encounter the Magi, and flee to Egypt. This is obviously ridiculous. If they went to Bethlehem for the census (of which no other record exists, and of which Matthew seems unaware — he makes Jesus a Bethlehem native who moves to Nazareth), they would not return there after going to Jerusalem a month later.

    Maybe the Diatessaron is wrong, and the flight to Egypt took place first. Equal problems occur in that case.

    It’s much simpler to affirm what seems obvious: that both stories are just that, stories, told for a purpose. They are not “false” just because they’re not literally true.

  150. CY, you ask, “Where is your demarcation, which differentiates Christianity with any other religion, which holds Jesus as an historical figure?”
    I’m uninterested in telling other people they aren’t Christians. As a former evangelical and inerrantist, I used to be interested in that, but not any more. I’m happy to affirm that you’re a Christian if you take that designation. We can have a conversation about what that means for you and for me, and I’m happy to express my disagreement on certain issues, but I’m not going to deny the truth of what you affirm to yourself. I don’t know anybody that well.

  151. 151
    CannuckianYankee

    QuiteID,

    “The original ending of Mark (Mark 16:8) has an empty tomb but no risen Jesus, who appears in later additions…”

    Not so. Even if you allow that the verses from 16:9-20 were not in the original manuscript of Mark: which many scholars doubt, there is still the resurrection attested to by the angel:

    “But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.5 He has been raised!6 He is not here. Look, there is the place where they laid him. 16:7 But go, tell his disciples, even Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.” 16:8 Then7 they went out and ran from the tomb, for terror and bewilderment had seized them.8 And they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” (Mark 16:6-8 NET)

    Which leads me to ask: have you actually read Mark, or are you simply repeating what you’ve heard from detractors?

  152. CY, you say it’s an angel, but the text calls him a “young man.” I’ve read Mark many, many times. Have you? If so, why are you putting words in Mark’s mouth?

  153. 153
    CannuckianYankee

    QuiteID,

    “CY, the Diatessaron has the visit to Jerusalem and the presentation in the Temple come before the flight to Egypt. So in that text, Mary & Joseph have Jesus circumcized, presented, then take him back to Bethlehem, encounter the Magi, and flee to Egypt. This is obviously ridiculous. If they went to Bethlehem for the census (of which no other record exists, and of which Matthew seems unaware — he makes Jesus a Bethlehem native who moves to Nazareth), they would not return there after going to Jerusalem a month later.

    Maybe the Diatessaron is wrong, and the flight to Egypt took place first. Equal problems occur in that case.”

    Nice try, but we then approach another issue. The fact that we’ve harmonized the texts does not mean that we have arrived at all the events that took place. There could (and probably is) still missing information still not mentioned. So your assumptions do not hold even if the Diatessaron is correct. Furthermore, neither text states that Joseph is a native of Bethlehem.

    I think what you’re probably hung up on is Matthew’s introduction of Nazareth as a fulfillment of prophecy, while Luke seems to suggest that Mary and Joseph originated from Nazareth, and that it wasn’t simply somewhere they went to fulfill prophecy. And I have to say that your conclusion regarding these two texts is far off the mark. Again, an omission of information is not the same as a contradiction. Here we have further omission – even though we have as much information as the gospels are willing to provide.

    Furthermore, to determine that because a text from the 1st Century does not meet with your 21st Century standard of clarity, means that they are meant to be simply stories without historic merit, is simply ridiculous.

    As I pointed out in several passages, the gospel writers most certainly intended their accounts to be historical and not simply lessons in esoteric spirituality. Yet you seem to rest your argument that they cannot be historical on one problematic passage of scripture, which can have other explanations in light of missing information.

    Quite apart from your assertions, it is within an historical context that Paul is able to make the proclamation regarding the meaningless of Christianity apart from the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of Christianity. But of course you dismiss Paul in preference to your own natural proclivities; which you don’t even appear to question.

    It is “according to the scriptures” that Jesus was crucified. It is “according to the scriptures” that he rose from the dead, and for which there were hundreds of witnesses, and it matters to faith.

    I have no problem pointing this out to people who are not believers, or to people who like you who are sitting on the back side of the fence and not even wanting to see the other side, on the issue of the historicity of the resurrection. Not wanting to offend someone is not my concern when their salvation may be at stake.

  154. 154

    CannuckianYankee: Re #144.

    The subject of the right use of reason has been a discussion that began between me and StephenB. I was responding to his assertion that he can determine truth through reason alone. To me that means using reason to arrive at knowledge that is unassailable, not simply reasonable.

    If you want to define reason to include ascertaining what is reasonable, not just absolutely true, that is an entirely different discussion.

  155. —Bruce David: “The subject of the right use of reason has been a discussion that began between me and StephenB. I was responding to his assertion that he can determine truth through reason alone. To me that means using reason to arrive at knowledge that is unassailable, not simply reasonable.”

    You are using the word “alone” is an an equivocal and misleading way. I can say, in principle, and with certainly, that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. That is not using “reason alone” to arrive at truth. It is using reason coupled with the knowledge that Jupiter does, in fact, exist. With that knowledge I can say, with certainly, that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist because the principle of non-contradiction, as a non-negotiable law of thought, forbids that possibility.

    You do not accept that law of thought, which means that you are not, and cannot be reasonable.

    —”If you want to define reason to include ascertaining what is reasonable, not just absolutely true, that is an entirely different discussion.”

    Reason is a broader and a more sophisticated concept than logic and its laws, but you cannot bypass the latter to get to the former. You cannot graduate to the second-grade level of intelligent reasoning without passing the first-grade level of valid logic.

  156. 156

    “CY, you say it’s an angel, but the text calls him a “young man.” I’ve read Mark many, many times. Have you? If so, why are you putting words in Mark’s mouth?”

    Why are you taking words out of his mouth by saying that he doesn’t mention the resurrection, when he clearly does?

  157. 157

    “I’m uninterested in telling other people they aren’t Christians.”

    Neither am I. I’m more interested in the people who know they aren’t Christians.

  158. —QuiteID: “Stephen, what matters is that Matthew is telling a story, and Luke is telling a story, and each of them is describing the story for their own reasons.”

    They are not “telling a story” for their own reasons, they are selecting historical subunits for their own reasons. It is not at all the same thing. If you hold fast to two general principles you will be in good shape: First, everything that was in every report happened but not everything that happened was in every report. Second, each report was independent from the other.

    —”It seems clear that Jesus was really from Nazareth and that both Matthew and Luke (for different reasons) had Jesus born in Bethlehem because Nazareth was an entirely insignificant little town that never appeared in any records before this.”

    And you think that WE are making stretches?

    —”You can make them fit together, if you’re convinced that they must and you’re willing to go round your backside to get to your elbow.”

    Four independent reports telling the same basic story from different vantage points is far more believable than one account, just as four witnesses are better than one– especially, when the reports often make the reporters look bad.

    –”I don’t see why that’s important, though. Frankly I don’t think any Jew reading Matthew in the first century would have seen it as historical in any event. It’s clearly midrash, a retelling of ancient stories for a new purpose. That only makes it “wrong” if your faith depends on a literal-minded dogmatism.”

    You forget that Christianity is a historically based religion. If Christ was not foretold, did not perform miracles, did not a perfect life, did not willingly give up his life, and did not rise from the dead–if those things didn’t really happen, then Christianity is a farce.

  159. StephenB: “You are using the word ‘alone’ is an an equivocal and misleading way. I can say, in principle, and with certainly, that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. That is not using ‘reason alone’ to arrive at truth. It is using reason coupled with the knowledge that Jupiter does, in fact, exist. With that knowledge I can say, with certainly, that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist because the principle of non-contradiction, as a non-negotiable law of thought, forbids that possibility.

    You do not accept that law of thought, which means that you are not, and cannot be reasonable.”

    The proposition that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist at the same time is simply a tautology. It does NOT require the knowledge that Jupiter exists to be valid. But it tells us nothing about the state of the actual world. We are no wiser regarding the existence of Jupiter than we were before we stated it.

    I say “reason alone” because if by using reason to arrive at truth you mean using reason to draw conclusions from “facts” about the actual world, then those facts (drawn from experience, revelation, intuition, inner knowing, etc.) are exactly what I was talking about when I stated that reason must have something accepted as already true before it can draw any conclusions regarding the nature of reality. But then, as CannuckianYankee correctly points out, the truth of your conclusions will be entirely dependent on the truth of your initial assumptions.

  160. CY, You ask,

    “Why are you taking words out of his mouth by saying that he doesn’t mention the resurrection, when he clearly does?”

    But that’s not what I said! I wrote,

    The original ending of Mark (Mark 16:8) has an empty tomb but no risen Jesus, who appears in later additions.

    Try to read more carefully please.

  161. StephenB, you write,

    If you hold fast to two general principles you will be in good shape: First, everything that was in every report happened but not everything that happened was in every report. Second, each report was independent from the other.

    Why should I hold to either of those? The first is simply an article of faith, and the second is highly doubtful given the obvious textual dependence of Matthew and Luke on Mark.

  162. BD:

    Re:The proposition that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist at the same time is simply a tautology.

    Actually, it is based on an undeniable, self-evident law of reality stated in words. A law of reality that was so long before we were around to pronounce it.

    As such it is not itself a tautology, a restatement of the same thought in different words, like: a bachelor is an unmarried male.

    If you try to act as though a thing A can be real and not real at the same time and place in the same sense etc, e.g that bus onrushing as you try to cross the street, BANG!

    Bye bye . . .

    (And that holds in the streets of Lhasa or Calcutta just as much as in those of London or Canberra.)

    So, let us get first things first, then deal with their implications. In this case, Jupiter cannot both be and not be in the same sense and time etc.

    My pet dog Jupe, in the first instance, or the planet in the second one, and also the old alleged dweller on Mt Olympus too. He of course, is not — discounting the odd devil or two playing at being one of the big boys, but that means that he cannot be.

    GEM of TKI

  163. QI: Kindly take a look here and here, and please check your selective hyperskepicism at the door — it is inevitably self-referentially inconsistent and self-refuting. G

  164. StephenB (responding to QuiteID): “They are not “telling a story” for their own reasons, they are selecting historical subunits for their own reasons.”

    In the Gospels, Luke and Mark tell different stories about the circumstances of Jesus birth. How do you know that in fact they have simply selected different parts of what actually happened to report? What use of reason allows you to conclude that? How do you know that they did not, as QuiteID alleges, actually make up two different stories for their own purposes?

    I submit that your certainty is a conclusion you draw from your belief, taken on faith, that the Bible, being the Word of God, cannot be self-contradictory.

  165. Kairosfocus: “As such it is not itself a tautology, a restatement of the same thought in different words, like: a bachelor is an unmarried male.”

    Your definition of “tautology” is too narrow. From the New World Dictionary: “A Tautology is a statement that is always true because of its structure—it requires no assumptions or evidence to determine its truth.”
    From Wikipedia: “a technical notion in formal logic, universal unconditioned truth, always valid.”
    From The Free Dictionary: “An empty or vacuous statement composed of simpler statements in a fashion that makes it logically true whether the simpler statements are factually true or false; for example, the statement ‘Either it will rain tomorrow or it will not rain tomorrow.’”

    Anyway, what’s your point? Was this an ad hominem attack, attempting to discredit me by implying that I don’t understand logic? What?

  166. —Bruce: “The proposition that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist at the same time is simply a tautology. It does NOT require the knowledge that Jupiter exists to be valid.”

    If a proposition is valid, it means that it is internally consistent. If a proposition is sound, it means that it reflects truth about the real world. If you begin with a sound assumption, that is, if your assumption about the real world is true, and if you reason validly, you will arrive at a sound conclusion about the real world.

    —”The proposition that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist at the same time is simply a tautology.”

    No, it isn’t “simply” a tautology. It is an example of the law of identity. [P cannot also BE not P]. If something has identity, it exists in the real world, as does the planet Jupiter, which cannot also be the planet Saturn.

    Do you agree that it is impossible for Jupiter to exist and not exist at the same time or don’t you? Do you agree that Jupiter cannot also be Saturn or don’t you? Do you agree that Christ cannot both be inside his tomb and outside his tomb or don’t you? These are questions about the real world for which there is only one reasonable yes or no answer. Can you provide that reasonable yes or no answer? I do not believe you can because I do not believe that you are a reasonable person.

  167. kairosfocus, I’ve read your materials on selective hyperskepticism before, but I don’t see how it’s applicable here even if I agreed with your coinage (I believe it’s yours, yes?). In what sense have I not exerted “the same standard . . . in assessing substantially parallel cases that make claims that one is inclined to accept”?

  168. —QuiteID: “Why should I hold to either of those? The first is simply an article of faith, and the second is highly doubtful given the obvious textual dependence of Matthew and Luke on Mark.”

    It really isn’t very complicated. The Gospel writers say explicitly that they were reporting history and telling the truth and you say boldly, and without any good evidence, that they were lying, even to the point of consciously misrepresenting the place of Christ’s birth. You have given no good reasons to support such a reckless charge.

  169. Besides prophecy, I have another line of evidence that supports the unique ‘supernatural watermark’ on the Bible that clearly indicates God’s ‘transcendent signature’ on the Bible;

    First, the following website, and video, has the complete working out of the math of Pi and e in the Bible, in the Hebrew and Greek languages respectively, for Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1:
    http://www.biblemaths.com/pag03_pie/

    Fascinating Bible code – Pi and natural log – Amazing – video (of note: correct exponent for base of Nat Log found in John 1:1 is 10^40, not 10^65 as stated in the video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wg9LiiSVae

    Moreover pi and e are found here in the most ‘enigmatic’ equation in all of mathematics;

    0 = 1 + e ^(i*pi) — Euler

    God by the Numbers – Connecting the constants
    Excerpt: The final number comes from theoretical mathematics. It is Euler’s (pronounced “Oiler’s”) number: e*pi*i. This number is equal to -1, so when the formula is written e*pi*i+1 = 0, it connects the five most important constants in mathematics (e, pi, i, 0, and 1) along with three of the most important mathematical operations (addition, multiplication, and exponentiation). These five constants symbolize the four major branches of classical mathematics: arithmetic, represented by 1 and 0; algebra, by i; geometry, by pi; and analysis, by e, the base of the natural log. e*pi*i+1 = 0 has been called “the most famous of all formulas,” because, as one textbook says, “It appeals equally to the mystic, the scientist, the philosopher, and the mathematician.”
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=3

    (of note; Euler’s Number (equation) is more properly called Euler’s Identity in math circles.)

    The ancient Hebrew sages actually believed that not only did God create the heavens and the earth but that He used the ‘word of God’ (the scriptures) as a template to do it. So finding pi in Genesis 1:1 correct to 4 decimal places, and finding a ‘circle’ for the Cosmic Background Radiation is very curious; i.e. with the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), the universe is found to actually be a circular sphere which ‘coincidentally’ corresponds to the circle of pi within Euler’s identity and Genesis 1:1:

    Picture of CMBR
    https://webspace.utexas.edu/reyesr/SolarSystem/cmbr.jpg

    Proverbs 8:26-27
    While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

    The Known Universe by AMNH – video – (please note the ‘centrality’ of the Earth in the universe in the video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    As well the universe is found to have a ‘flatness’ that corresponds to the diameter portion of pi;

    Did the Universe Hyperinflate? – Hugh Ross – April 2010
    Excerpt: Perfect geometric flatness is where the space-time surface of the universe exhibits zero curvature (see figure 3). Two meaningful measurements of the universe’s curvature parameter, ½k, exist. Analysis of the 5-year database from WMAP establishes that -0.0170 < ½k < 0.0068.4 Weak gravitational lensing of distant quasars by intervening galaxies places -0.031 < ½k < 0.009.5 Both measurements confirm the universe indeed manifests zero or very close to zero geometric curvature,,,
    http://www.reasons.org/did-universe-hyperinflate

    (of note this flatness of the universe is an extremely finely tuned condition for the universe that could have, in reality, been a multitude of different values than 'flat'):

    Moreover, in continuing this line of thought, this following video shows that the universe also has a primary characteristic of expanding or growing equally in all places,

    Every 3D Place Is Center In This Universe – 4D space/time – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3991873/

    This 'expansion' of every point in the universe is finely tuned to 1 part in 10^120. This expansion, or grwth, of the universe also 'coincidentally' strongly corresponds to e in Euler's identity as well as in John 1:1, because Base e is the constant that is used in all sorts of equations for finding what the true rates of growth and decay are for any given problem trying to find as such in this universe:

    Towards the end of the following video, Michael Denton speaks of the square root of negative 1 being necessary to understand the foundational quantum behavior of this universe. The square root of -1 is 'coincidentally' found in Euler's identity:

    Michael Denton – Mathematical Truths Are Transcendent And Beautiful – Square root of -1 is built into the fabric of reality – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003918&quot;

    I use to wonder why the square root of negative one was not also in the Bible, and then I found out from this following video that the square root of negative one, is more properly understood as a 'higher dimensional' number which can't be represented as a ordinary number;

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss & Riemann – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

  170. further notes:

    I find it extremely strange that the enigmatic Euler’s identity, Genesis 1:1, and John 1:1, would find such striking correlation to the reality of the universe. In pi we have correlation to the ‘sphere of the universe’ as revealed by the Cosmic Background radiation, as well pi correlates to the finely-tuned ‘geometric flatness’ within the ‘sphere of the universe’ that has now been found. In e we have the fundamental constant that is used for ascertaining exponential growth in math that strongly correlates to the fact that space-time is ‘expanding/growing equally’ in all places of the universe. In the square root of -1 we have what is termed a ‘imaginary number’, which was first proposed to help solve equations like x2+ 1 = 0 back in the 17th century, yet now, it is found that the square root of -1 is required to explain the behavior of quantum mechanics in this universe. The correlation of Euler’s identity, Genesis 1:1, and John 1:1, to the foundational characteristics of how this universe is constructed and operates, points overwhelmingly to a transcendent Intelligence, with a capital I, which created this universe for a humanity He could directly relate with! It should also be noted that these universal constants, pi, e, and square root -1, were at first thought by many to be completely transcendent of any material basis, to find that these transcendent constants of Euler’s identity, Genesis 1:1, and John 1:1 in fact ‘govern’ material reality, in such a foundational way, telling material reality what shape to be and how to ‘grow’, should be enough to send shivers down any mathematicians spine.

    Moreover,

    pi is required here:

    General Relativity (Einstein’s Equation)
    https://docs.google.com/File?id=dc8z67wz_52c9nxpz2h_b

    and;

    square root of negative 1 is required here:

    Quantum Mechanics (Schrödinger’s Equations)
    https://docs.google.com/File?id=dc8z67wz_51ck47zff3_b

    e is required here in wave equations, in finding the distribution of prime numbers, in electrical theory, and is also found to be foundational to trigonometry at the bottom of the page here,,, which was referenced earlier,,:
    http://www.biblemaths.com/pag03_pie/img0.gif

    Also of note; General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are notoriously difficult for mathematicians and physicists to ‘unify’,,,,, I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    The expansion of every 3D point in the universe, and the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe to each point of conscious observation in the universe, is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence that Physicists, and Mathematicians, seem to be having a extremely difficult time ‘unifying’ into a ‘theory of everything’.(Einstein, Penrose).

    THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY
    Excerpt: The biggest challenge to today’s physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics. However, these two pillars of modern science were bound to be incompatible. “The universe of general relativity is a smooth rubber sheet. It is continuous and flowing, never sharp, never pointy. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, describes a jerky and discontinuous universe. What the two theories have in common – and what they clash over – is zero.”,, “The infinite zero of a black hole — mass crammed into zero space, curving space infinitely — punches a hole in the smooth rubber sheet. The equations of general relativity cannot deal with the sharpness of zero. In a black hole, space and time are meaningless.”,, “Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge.
    http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/e....._mar02.htm

    Yet, the unification, into a ‘theory of everything’, between what is in essence the ‘infinite world of Quantum Mechanics’ and the ‘finite world of the space-time of General Relativity’ seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man. Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into this ‘unification’ of the infinite and the finite:

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

    Moreover there actually is physical evidence that lends strong support to the position that the ‘Zero/Infinity conflict’, we find between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, was successfully dealt with by Christ:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    notes;

    Of note to the zero/infinity conflict;

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    Evolution is a Fact, Just Like Gravity is a Fact! UhOh!
    Excerpt: The results of this paper suggest gravity arises as an entropic force, once space and time themselves have emerged.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....fact-uhoh/

  171. —Bruce David: “In the Gospels, Luke and Mark tell different stories about the circumstances of Jesus birth.”

    I really can’t take time to ask for more precision each time you use an equivocal word like “different” especially since I have already refuted some of your more precise claims about the alleged “contradictions.” I have explained why each account is not exactly the same as they other and why some things are left out. I have no intention of going over that again.

    —”How do you know that in fact they have simply selected different parts of what actually happened to report? What use of reason allows you to conclude that?”

    Because they said they were reporting what they saw and heard, and we know that not everyone heard and say what everyone else heard and saw. That is why there were four Gospels and not one. We also know that they were not ONLY writing narratives, but they were gathering raw materials to form specific themes for diverse audiences, Matthew-Jews, Mark-Romans, Luke-Greeks, and John-Christians. That is why the are being selective and that is how I know they were being selective. Are you now going to ask me how I use my reasoning to know they were writing for different audiences or can we move on.

    –”How do you know that they did not, as QuiteID alleges, actually make up two different stories for their own purposes?”

    I will give you just a few of the many:

    Because [a] there is no reason to believe that they were liars,[b] because their independent reports cohere, [c] because their enemies would have exposed their lies if they were liars, and [d] it would be to their disadvantage to die for something they knew to be a lie.

    —”I submit that your certainty is a conclusion you draw from your belief, taken on faith, that the Bible, being the Word of God, cannot be self-contradictory.”

    You misunderstand. The law of non-contradiction is not really so much in play here. On matters of history, we can take only evidence and draw inferences to the best explanation with greater or lesser degrees of probability. These are not IF A, THEN B type propositions.

  172. StephenB, I don’t say they were lying. I say, in the words of the Catholic priest, “The Bible is true, and some of it happened.” Matthew seems to be writing midrash, and Luke (who admits to dependence on others) is doing the best he can with sources.

  173. 173

    StephenB: “—Bruce: ‘The proposition that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist at the same time is simply a tautology. It does NOT require the knowledge that Jupiter exists to be valid.’

    If a proposition is valid, it means that it is internally consistent. If a proposition is sound, it means that it reflects truth about the real world. If you begin with a sound assumption, that is, if your assumption about the real world is true, and if you reason validly, you will arrive at a sound conclusion about the real world.”

    What you say is true but totally irrelevant to my statement. What has the process of logical inference from sound assumptions to sound conclusions got to do with whether or not a proposition is a tautology? And if it is a tautology, it requires no knowledge of the world to make it so, and gives us no knowledge about the world, either.

    ”’The proposition that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist at the same time is simply a tautology.’

    No, it isn’t ‘simply’ a tautology. It is an example of the law of identity. [P cannot also BE not P]. If something has identity, it exists in the real world, as does the planet Jupiter, which cannot also be the planet Saturn.”

    It is not an example of the law of identity; it is, as you correctly stated earlier, an example of the law of the excluded middle ~(P^~P), where P is the proposition, “Jupiter exists”. (Note: P in my statement is a proposition; in yours it is an object. So the two logical propositions are quite different.) This is a tautology and tells us nothing about the real world.

    If these are examples of how you use reason, you aren’t going to come any where near truth via THAT route. I’d give it up if I were you.

    “Do you agree that Christ cannot both be inside his tomb and outside his tomb or don’t you?”

    If you mean that Christ’s earthly body cannot both be inside his tomb and outside of it at the same moment in time, then yes, I agree.

    What’s your point?

  174. 174

    StephenB: “On matters of history, we can take only evidence and draw inferences to the best explanation with greater or lesser degrees of probability.”

    So this is the crux or your argument from reason? In your estimation, based on a lot of assumptions such as that the writers of the gospels were actual witnesses to what they reported and not lying, you conclude that it is highly probable that the Bible is accurate? And you expect me or anyone else to change my or their faith on that basis? Give me a break!

  175. —Bruce: “This is a tautology and tells us nothing about the real world.”

    So, you will not answer my questions: Can Jupiter also be Saturn? Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time?

    Enough said on that.

  176. —”So this is the crux or your argument from reason? In your estimation, based on a lot of assumptions such as that the writers of the gospels were actual witnesses to what they reported and not lying, you conclude that it is highly probable that the Bible is accurate?”

    There are many different arguments for many different questions. I was simply educating you on the author’s purposes for using selective history, which you were obviously not aware of. Context, context, context.

  177. 177

    StephenB: “—Bruce: ‘This is a tautology and tells us nothing about the real world.’

    So, you will not answer my questions: Can Jupiter also be Saturn? Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time?

    Enough said on that.”

    You can believe that those two propositions represent knowledge about the real world if you wish, but if they do, it’s pretty damn trivial. What I mean by knowledge is something like whether Jupiter actually exists, or even more important, God actually exists. You don’t get answers to those questions from tautologies!

  178. [If you mean that Christ’s earthly body cannot both be inside his tomb and outside of it at the same moment in time, then yes, I agree].

    —”What’s your point?”

    My point is that you didn’t call it a tautology. The same principle which allows you to say WITHOUT QUALIFICATION that Christ’s earthly body cannot exist both inside the tomb and outside the tomb is exactly the same principle that should have give you the good sense to say without qualification that Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time. I just had to keep the examples coming until you would finally confess it in some form.

  179. —QuiteID: “I say, in the words of the Catholic priest, “The Bible is true, and some of it happened.”

    The official position of the Catholic Church is that everything the Gospel writers reported, happened. If you have found a Catholic priest who thinks otherwise, send him to the Vatical II documents.

    –”Matthew seems to be writing midrash, and Luke (who admits to dependence on others) is doing the best he can with sources.”

    Midrash is simply a commentary or interpretation on biblical tests. It doesn’t invent new stories, treat them as historical facts, or function as fictional narratives without a text.

  180. 180

    StephenB “My point is that you didn’t call it a tautology.”

    Well, it actually isn’t a tautology. It is based on a presumed property of matter in the macroscopic world that it cannot be in two places at the same time.

    Note that this property is violated in the subatomic world. Until it is measured, for example, and the wave function collapses, an electron can be said to be both inside its atom and outside it at the same time.

    The tautological formulation would be, “It cannot be true that Christ is inside his tomb and Christ is not inside his tomb.” This is a different statement, because if he were somehow both inside and outside of the tomb, like the electron with respect to the atom, the tautology would still be true, but your formulation, “Christ cannot both inside the tomb and outside the tomb,” would be false.

  181. QI:

    First, the terminology is mine but — as is explicitly pointed out in the introduction by direct citation — the concept is Simon Greenleaf of Harvard Law School, a key founding father of the modern theory of evidence.

    Let me excerpt from His Testimony of the Evangelists:

    [26] . . . It should be observed that the subject of inquiry [i.e. evidence relating to the credibility of the New Testament accounts] is a matter of fact, and not of abstract mathematical proof. The latter alone is susceptible of that high degree of proof, usually termed demonstration, which excludes the possibility of error . . . In the ordinary affairs of life we do not require nor expect demonstrative evidence, because it is inconsistent with the nature of matters of fact, and to insist on its production would be unreasonable and absurd . . . The error of the skeptic [what I have termed descriptively selective hyperskepticism] consists in pretending or supposing that there is a difference in the nature of things to be proved; and in demanding demonstrative evidence concerning things which are not susceptible of any other than moral evidence alone, and of which the utmost that can be said is, that there is no reasonable doubt about their truth . . . .

    [27] . . . . In proceeding to weigh the evidence of any proposition of fact, the previous [prior] question to be determined is, when may it be said to be proved? The answer to this question is furnished by another rule of municipal law, which may be thus stated:

    A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence.

    By competent evidence, is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence, is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt. . . . . If, therefore, the subject is a problem in mathematics, its truth is to be shown by the certainty of demonstrative evidence. [which post Godel 'ent so certain no more] But if it is a question of fact in human affairs, nothing more than moral evidence can be required, for this is the best evidence which, from the nature of the case, is attainable. Now as the facts, stated in Scripture History, are not of the former kind, but are cognizable by the senses, they may be said to be proved when they are established by that kind and degree of evidence which, as we have just observed, would, in the affairs of human life, satisfy the mind and conscience of a common man. [Testimony, Sections 26, 27, emphases added.]

    Second, the applicability is plain, if you had followed the links.

    I suggest you work your way through especially Section B, in light of Section F. (Sections C, D, E and G are also quite relevant but more remotely.)

    Topics in Section B (and linked onwards from the TOC) include:

    B] Key case: Authenticity and the C1 NT (vs the C2 Gnostic “Gospels”)

    –> Historicity of the NT and the gospel as summarised in 1 Cor 15:1 – 11

    –> On alleged contradictions in the Passion narratives [onward link]

    –> Paul’s AD 55 summary and record of the AD 30′s testimony to the gospel

    –> On the C18 Deist skeptical theories [onward link]

    –> The minimal facts argument and appeal to the serious inquirer

    –> On the “pagan copycat” claim and the “parallel” myths on allegedly dying and rising pagan gods [onward links]

    –> On Afrocentrism and related issues concerning Egypt, the Patriarchs, Moses and the Exodus [onward links]

    –> The Morison challenge

    GEM of TKI

  182. BD:

    Pardon, but dictionaries do not have the last word on such philosophically highly charged matters.

    I see why you used “tautology” that way, but there is a lot more there than meets the eye. In particular, there is a crucial distinction that needs to be brought back into focus, between tautologies and self-evident foundational truths.

    I suggest you read here points 15 – 17 [and in the onward linked] on Adler’s remarks on little errors at the beginning and instructive truths, self-evident truths, and tautologies. (Reading onwards will show a way forward on building a sound worldview on first principles of right reason.)

    In the case of Jupiter, the relevant cluster of self-evident first principle of reality is that A is not non A, that A is A, that we do not have one thing as both A and not-A. These are constraints of reality, understood on our experience of the world and undeniable on pain of absurdity or worse — hence my bus example earlier.

    GEM of TKI

  183. Bruce David you state this;

    ‘Note that this property is violated in the subatomic world. Until it is measured, for example, and the wave function collapses, an electron can be said to be both inside its atom and outside it at the same time.’

    It is not violated for the electron either exist as a ‘higher dimensional’ wave function or it exists as a ‘uncertain’ particle. There is no in between state period! For you to try to extrapolate the wave function behavior to a 3-dimensional state to prove your insane philosophy is sheer dishonesty on your part!

  184. 184

    Bornagain:

    Please stop attacking my integrity! I was merely using the electron as an example to demonstrate to StephenB that the statement, “Christ cannot both be inside the tomb and outside of it.” is not a tautology, which it isn’t.

    The electron, in its uncollapsed state, CAN be said to exist both inside and outside of the atom, if you take the atom to be, say, a small sphere centered at the nucleus with radius equal to the average distance of its outermost shell.

    You know, you really need to get over this idea that people who don’t see the world the way you do are hypocritical or dishonest. There is another possibility: yous is not the only valid way of interpreting reality. I know that is hard for you to swallow, being so certain you are right and all, but it actually is true that intelligent, educated, and knowledgeable people can come to different conclusions regarding the nature of reality than you do. Get used to it.

  185. Well, Bruce, what is your answer? Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time? Yes? No? Maybe?

    If you say yes, I will say no more about it, though I reserve the right to bring it up again at a future date.
    If you say no, I ask that you provide the reason [i.e. the law of identity and the law of the excluded middle rule it out in principle].

    Or, you can just say “maybe,” meaning that your philosophy just doesn’t address problems like this and you prefer to withhold judgment.

  186. Bruce David, truth is NOT up for compromise, especially in science!,

    You demanding respect for your philosophy is as silly to me as a materialist demanding respect for his!

    ,,,Furthermore, You cannot extrapolate the distinct higher dimensional wave function onto a distinct 3-Dimensional state! If you must be so dishonest (or at least so misinformed) as to extrapolate the distinct ‘unobserved’ higher dimensional wave state onto a distinct ‘observed’ 3-Dimensional state, just so as contradict the law of identity, and just so that you may preserve your philosophical madhouse where the law of identity is not welcome in the least, then you have no integrity within science that I can see in the first place! i.e. The distinct ‘observed’ ‘particle’ state can NEVER exist both inside and outside an atom at the same time, whereas a distinct higher dimensional ‘unobserved’ wave state may but then again the entire atom would have to be ‘unobserved’ to accomplish such a state for any electron associated with an atom. The wave-particle states are two different, and completely unique, states and should respectfully be treated as such, instead of sullied as if the distinct properties of one state can be reflected to the distinct properties of the other, especially when dealing with the law of identity since the two states do indeed have their very own unique identities associated with them.

    notes:

    Double-slit experiment
    Excerpt: Any modification of the apparatus that can determine (that can let us observe) which slit a photon passes through destroys the interference pattern, illustrating the complementarity principle; that the light can demonstrate both particle and wave characteristics, but not both at the same time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....experiment

    Double Slit Experiment – Explained By Prof Anton Zeilinger – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6101627/

    further notes;

    ,,,It is impossible for a human mind to ever ‘emerge’ from any 3-D material particle which is itself semi-dependent on our ‘observation’ for its own collapse to a 3D reality in the first place. This is more than a slight problem for the atheistic-evolutionary materialist who insists that our minds ‘emerged’, or evolved, from 3D matter. In the following article Professor Henry puts it more clearly than I can:

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    Astrophysicist John Gribbin comments on the Renninger experiment here:

    Solving the quantum mysteries – John Gribbin
    Excerpt: From a 50:50 probability of the flash occurring either on the hemisphere or on the outer sphere, the quantum wave function has collapsed into a 100 per cent certainty that the flash will occur on the outer sphere. But this has happened without the observer actually “observing” anything at all! It is purely a result of a change in the observer’s knowledge about what is going on in the experiment.
    http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.u.....tm#Solving

    Why, who makes much of a miracle? As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,,,
    Walt Whitman – Miracles

    That the mind of a individual observer would play such an integral, yet not complete ‘closed loop’ role, in instantaneous quantum wave collapse to uncertain 3-D particles, gives us clear evidence that our mind is a unique entity. A unique entity with a superior quality of existence when compared to the uncertain 3D particles of the material universe. This is clear evidence for the existence of the ‘higher dimensional soul’ of man that supersedes any material basis that the soul/mind has been purported to emerge from by materialists. I would also like to point out that the ‘effect’, of universal quantum wave collapse to each ‘central 3D observer’, gives us clear evidence of the extremely special importance that the ’cause’ of the ‘Infinite Mind of God’ places on each of our own individual souls/minds.

    Psalm 139:17-18
    How precious concerning me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

  187. 187
    CannuckianYankee

    QuiteID,

    “But that’s not what I said! I wrote,

    ‘The original ending of Mark (Mark 16:8) has an empty tomb but no risen Jesus, who appears in later additions.’

    Try to read more carefully please.”

    That’s exactly what you wrote, and you stated it in the context of my question; “do you believe that the resurrection was a physical and historic event?”

    And your answer was:

    “As for the resurrection as an actual physical event, I don’t know and don’t care. The original ending of Mark (Mark 16:8) has an empty tomb but no risen Jesus, who appears in later additions. Luke and Matthew, of course, used Mark for one of their sources but added different accounts of how the resurrection was discovered. John’s a completely different animal, as he is in so many ways: much later, and with a picture of Jesus at odds with the others.”

    So if Luke and Matthew used Mark, and Mark’s narrative included the resurrection as I have pointed out (and which you’re apparently attempting to deny here); then it stands to reason that Luke’s as well as Matthew’s account of the resurrection are as historically based as Mark’s. In fact Matthew and Luke actually lend more historical information to the event, so they’re not entirely dependent upon Mark.

    You also appear to be making the blatant assumption that since Mark’s gospel was written first, and that the other two borrowed from Mark, that their own unique contributions are therefore suspect. This does not follow in the least. I’m not certain what to make of your take on John, but that’ a matter I’ll skip over here.

    So even if Mark ends at 16:8, the resurrection is still present, and it is present in the other 3 gospels. You can make mincemeat of those facts, but one thing you can’t do is make them go away.

    But you say you’re more interested in what the stories mean.

    Well let me help you out and save you some time: They mean absolutely nothing if they are not historical. The gospels mean absolutely nothing without the resurrection as history. Without the resurrection as history they are not gospels; there’s no good news. Without the resurrection as history, you and I and everyone else are still in our sins with no redemption and Christianity is utterly meaningless and spiritually useless. I hope that helps.

  188. BREAKING: The collapse of MG’s claims on CSI

  189. 189

    StephenB: “Well, Bruce, what is your answer? Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time? Yes? No? Maybe?”

    Ok, Stephen, I’ll play your little game, but I’m not going to give you a simple answer. I’m going to give you something that reflects the complexity of my actual thought on the matter.

    If we rewrite the question in its purest tautological form, it would be, “Can the proposition ‘Jupiter exists.’ be both true and false at the same time?” If we hold the meaning of the proposition constant, which means holding the meanings of both “Jupiter” and “exists” constant, then the answer to this question is no, by virtue of the meanings of the words “true” and “false”.

    But if we don’t hold the meanings of “Jupiter” and “exists” constant, then it is possible for the proposition to be both true and false at the same time. Allow me to illustrate. My philosophy is very much like that of Bishop Berkeley. In it, there is no actual physical universe “out there” independent of ourselves. All there is is mind (creative intelligence) and the contents of mind–thoughts, perceptions (sense impressions), emotions, memories, etc. An object (e.g., a table, a chair, or Jupiter) is a construct in our minds built out of our experience, primarily perceptions and memories. So the “reality” that we inhabit when we are in the physical is actually a kind of virtual reality. But instead of a computer running the show as in a computer game, God controls the big picture so that our experiences correspond sufficiently that we can accept the illusion as real.

    Thus, if we don’t hold the meaning of “exists” constant, the proposition “Jupiter exists” CAN be both true and false at the same time. It can be true in the sense that there is a mental construct called Jupiter that exists in our minds and that of God, and false in the sense that it does not exist “out there” in and independently existing material reality.

  190. Bornagain: “You demanding respect for your philosophy is as silly to me as a materialist demanding respect for his!”

    It would behoove you to learn the difference between respect for the person and respect for his or her philosophy. It would also behoove you to realize that everyone does the best they can with what they are given, and that a materialist is a materialist not because they are stupid, or even a bad philosopher, but because they simply don’t see what perhaps you can see. And I submit that a little more humility on your part might be in order here, an acknowledgement that it is still possible that you yourself may also have missed seeing something. Or do you actually believe that it is not possible for you to be mistaken when it comes to philosophy?

    As for the rest of your post, I have a couple of comments:

    1. My example of the electron being both inside and outside of the atom at the same time was just that, an example. It was not essential to the argument that the proposition in question (“Jesus cannot be both inside his tomb and outside of it.”) is not a tautology. If I am mistaken about the science, it doesn’t really matter.

    2. My understanding of the Schrodinger equation is that for any given point in time, it gives a probability distribution in three dimensional space of where a particle will be found when its position is actually measured, and that this distribution is non-zero everywhere in the entire universe (although of course very, very small almost everywhere). (If there are any physicists reading this, please correct me if I’m wrong here.)

    Now this equation is purely a mathematical device for predicting the outcomes of experiments, and it has been thoroughly confirmed experimentally. However, the physical interpretation of this equation is still an open question, and theorists differ regarding it. One possible interpretation, however, is that the particle exists as a “probability wave” until and unless it is measured (and the Schrodinger function collapses), so that it actually exists throughout space in its uncollapsed state.

    Thus, if we (somewhat arbitrarily, granted) define an atom to be a sphere centered on the average position of its nucleus and having a radius equal to the average position of its outermost electron ring, and if we accept the above interpretation of the Schrodinger equation, then an electron in its Schrodinger (uncollapsed) form in, say the innermost ring of an atom can indeed be said to exist both inside and outside of the atom at the same time.

  191. Correction: in post #189, the very last “and” in the very last sentence should read “an”.

  192. 192

    kairosfocus: “I suggest you read here points 15 – 17 [and in the onward linked] on Adler’s remarks on little errors at the beginning and instructive truths, self-evident truths, and tautologies.”

    Well I certainly agree that there are self-evident truths, and that they are undemonstrable. Furthermore, it has been my contention all along in this and other threads that the use of reason absolutely requires such undemonstrable truths in order to be able to conclude anything beyond a tautology.

    In fact, if you will look in my post #28 you will find a proof of mine that explicitly states the undemonstrable truths (the axioms) upon which my reasoning rests.

    I believe that that proof is instructive in another way also. I expect that many of the contributers to threads in UD would reject the conclusion of the proof (that Hell does not exist), which means that they would have to reject at least one of my axioms (assuming I have made no errors of inference, which I don’t believe I have). My point is that what is one man’s self-evident truth is another man’s error. Ie., self-evident truth is not so cut and dried as it might at first appear.

    As another example, the truth of Adler’s WCT 3: “We live in a real world that exists, and contains individual things that also have real existence.” for me depends on the meaning of the word, “real”, which he leaves undefined, but I believe includes the notion of a separate existence, independent of our minds. Like Bishop Berkeley, I hold that there is no such independently existing material reality. See my post #189 for a brief explanation of that. I say brief, because Berkeley took over 200 pages in Principles of Human Knowledge/Three Dialogues to fully explain it.

    In fact, it is my view that the vast number of different points of view in Western philosophy is largely due to different assessments of what constitutes self-evident truth.

  193. —Bruce: “Thus, if we (somewhat arbitrarily, granted) define an atom to be a sphere centered on the average position of its nucleus and having a radius equal to the average position of its outermost electron ring, and if we accept the above interpretation of the Schrodinger equation, then an electron in its Schrodinger (uncollapsed) form in, say the innermost ring of an atom can indeed be said to exist both inside and outside of the atom at the same time.”

    I am not going to wade into your dubious description of a quantum event because even what you have written cannot be reconciled with the law of non-contradiction [or the law of identity, for that matter] which is as follows: A thing cannot be true and false [or exist and not exit] at the same time and under the same formal circumstances.

    I don’t use the word “under the same formal circumstances” every time I allude to the law because I have to introduce it to Darwinists and New-Agers almost daily and repeatedly. Indeed, I can’t keep from laughing when members from both groups, almost all of whom would never have heard about it if I hadn’t brought it up, promptly begin to lecture me on the subject as if they had known about it for longer than one day. UD is truly an entertaining place to hang out.

  194. With respect to you answer to my question @ 189, the purpose of the exercise was served. Your philosophy will not allow you to answer a basic, common sense question. Every reasonable person knows that Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances.

    Still, I appreciate the fact that put your world views on the line and subject them to scrutiny. Typically, our mutual adversaries, the Darwinists, do not have the intellectual courage to do that. They love to ask questions and seek clarification, but when the questions come their way, they head for the tall grass. The recent episode with MathGirl provides a good example of this kind of behavior.

  195. BD:

    Do you deny that we live in a real world that has an existence separate from us?

    Who is denying? Where? How? And how am I seeing it from probably thousands of miles away? Oops, is there such a thing as distance if there is no reality?

    Reductio ad absurdum

    The debates in question more often have a lot to do with staring absurdity in the face and trying to deny it.

    GEM of TKI

  196. 196

    Kairosfocus: “Who is denying? Where? How? And how am I seeing it from probably thousands of miles away? Oops, is there such a thing as distance if there is no reality?

    Reductio ad absurdum”

    You very well know that reductio ad absurdum is a term in formal inference in which you prove a proposition by assuming its contrary and reaching a contradiction of some already established truth. There is no reductio ad absurdum here. My position simply strikes you as absurd. That does not make it so.

    It is like an airline pilot in a flight simulator. In the virtual world of the simulator, the airport to which the pilot is flying is miles away. In reality it doesn’t exist at all. It is simply an illusion (but an illusion with a purpose, and an illusion in which the pilot chooses to immerse him or herself, just like earthly existence).

    In my philosophy, there is no such thing as space as an actual reality. It is an illusion, along with the illusions of time and matter.

    You confuse absurdity with what you simply disagree with (like StephenB and Bornagain77). All of you suffer from an inability to imagine possibilities beyond what you believe to be true.

  197. Bruce David,

    I love you as a human being, but I hate your incoherency in defending your absurd philosophy, and I also hate your lack of integrity to even admit your philosophy is bunk. ,,, Moreover your axioms, to establish that hell does not really exist, are all fluffiness. Primarily the problem is that your ‘axioms’, if they can really be called that, have your predetermined conclusions built into their premises, which should send a huge red flag up to you.

    Moreover your axioms, cannot provide an objective moral basis to live by, just as atheism cannot provide one, and furthermore your ‘axioms’ do not conform to what we know to be true for the hellish NDE’s we have record of; i.e. your ‘axioms’ fail to pass empirical verification;

    Bill Wiese on Sid Roth – Reality of ‘Eternal Dimension’ discussed in Description
    http://www.vimeo.com/21230371

    It should be noted: All foreign, non-Judeo-Christian culture, NDE studies I have looked at have a extreme rarity of encounters with ‘The Being Of Light’ and tend to be very unpleasant NDE’s save for the few pleasant children’s NDEs of those cultures that I’ve seen (It seems there is indeed an ‘age of accountability’). The following study was shocking for what was found in some non-Judeo-Christian NDE’s:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand – Todd Murphy:
    Excerpt:The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of ‘going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves.

  198. BD:

    I was showing the patent reductio on attempted denial.

    Similarly, the problem with simulator or Matrix or brain in vat or Plato’s cave worlds — apart from propaganda-dominated ideologically charged-up states that cynically manipulate communities [such are in the end self-defeating] — is that they all end up radically denying the general credibility of mind and senses.

    Once you commit yourself to that sort of radical suspicion, the credibility of your own mind falls apart too.

    That is one of the problems with atheism, when it is seen as entailing the mass delusion of the vast majority of humanity.

    Yet another reductio.

    GEM of TKI

  199. PS: Say, you are in Lhasa, and you are crossing a street, with a bus running fast down on you. Do you reason thusly:

    In my philosophy, there is no such thing as space as an actual reality. It is an illusion, along with the illusions of time and matter . . .

    . . . and set out across the road, as “matter” and “space” and “time” are all illusions?

    If so, with all due respect, your view is suicidally delusional.

    If you do cross the road like the rest of us, with due attention to the physical import of buses rushing down the road in front of us, then with all due respect you do not really believe what you say you believe; save maybe in an academic sense.

    Either way, such a belief is a reductio.

    Now, perhaps, what you mean is something else, a point in WCT 1, from Josiah Royce: Error exists.

    Yes, we may be — probably are — in part mistaken about hje world and ourselves, but the fact of error and the further fact that error exists is undeniable on pain of absurdity, soon enough leads to the conclusion that truth that is knowable to a certainty on pain of absurdity on attempted denial exists.

    Truth exists, knowledge exists. Worldviews that deny such — such as radically relativist ones — fall apart.

    Further to this, reality exists and we live in it, known on pain of further absurdity as was shown above. And “absurdity” does not merely mean disagreement, it means that one’s claims fall apart like we saw.

    Going further, selectively using absurd radical skeptical arguments to dismiss what you do not like, is itself another absurdity, as it is self-referentially incoherent. Selective hyperskepticism is a fallacy in short.

    And more . . .

  200. 200
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    “In my philosophy, there is no such thing as space as an actual reality. It is an illusion, along with the illusions of time and matter.”

    How do you test your philosophy by its own internal consistency? IOW, how do you know by your philosophy that the philosophy itself is not an illusion (read: delusion)?

    What internal tests can you do to confirm that your philosophy is true; or does it matter to you?

  201. 201
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    I think what we will find in the differences between your philosophy and say KF’s, StephenB’s, BA77′s, mine or several others’ on this site who share in the same or similar, that we cannot only affirm the internal consistency of the philosophy, but also show that yours is false.

    Are you up to such a challenge, or (again) does it matter to you?

    In other words, I believe that you cannot determine your own philosophy to be correct by its own internal consistency, and by our philosophy we can show that it is false.

  202. 202
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    Furthermore, in your philosophy how do you know that the God you speak of is not also an illusion?

  203. 203

    CannuckianYankee: “What internal tests can you do to confirm that your philosophy is true; or does it matter to you?”

    What internal test do you have that can reliably determine that you are not dreaming right now? And if you are dreaming, then all your assumed external reality is entirely in your mind.

    You see, you have no internal test either.

  204. 204

    StephenB: “Every reasonable person knows that Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances.”

    That’s it? That’s all you got? Another “Everybody knows” rejoinder?

    I give you two long, carefully thought out paragraphs explaining how the apparent paradox can be resolved, and all I get from you is “Every reasonable person knows…”? No analysis of my thinking, no explanation of where you believe I made a mistake?

    You remind of a Darwinist, confronted with the careful analysis of a Behe, Dembski, or Stephen Meyer, and unable to find a hole in the argument, comes back with “Every real scientist knows that evolution is true.”

    It strikes me that there are two possible explanations for the lameness of your reply: either you didn’t understand what I wrote, or you can’t find anything wrong with it but are not honest enough to admit it.

  205. Bornagain: “Primarily the problem is that your ‘axioms’, if they can really be called that, have your predetermined conclusions built into their premises, which should send a huge red flag up to you.”

    Of COURSE they are! That is always and inevitably the case with a logical inference. The conclusion is always built into the premises, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to draw the conclusion from them. Duh!

    The question is, if you disagree with the conclusion, then which axiom do you believe is false? If you can’t answer that question, you have a serious problem in your belief structure.

  206. CannuckianYankee: “In other words, I believe that you cannot determine your own philosophy to be correct by its own internal consistency, and by our philosophy we can show that it is false.”

    I believe that my philosophy is internally consistent. If you believe that it isn’t, show me the internal contradiction. I’m all ears. (Just so we’re on the same page, recall that an internal contradiction means you can conclude P and ~P from within the system, not that it conflicts with something you believe is true but is not derivable within the system in question.)

  207. kairosfocus: “Similarly, the problem with simulator or Matrix or brain in vat or Plato’s cave worlds…is that they all end up radically denying the general credibility of mind and senses.”

    I ask you the same question that ID proponents ask materialists who demand that science be limited to methodological naturalism: what if it’s actually true? What then?

    What if the physical universe actually IS an illusion? And what if part of the purpose of life in the physical is eventually to discover that fact? In that case just as the methodological naturalist will never discover the truth about the natural world, someone who accepts the illusion as real will never learn what he or she has come here to discover.

    You know, this idea that the physical universe is an illusion is not limited to me. Not at all. As I have already mentioned, it is the central point of Bishop Berkeley’s philosophy. It is also one of the central ideas of Sufism and many other spiritual traditions. Attacking it based on some version of the idea that it is absurd is not very effective. There are too many really smart, deep thinkers who not only do not find it absurd, but actually believe that it is true.

    And before you charge me with an appeal to authority, I am NOT saying that that proves that it is true. I only present it as evidence that the idea is a reasonable philosophical stance.

  208. kairosfocus: “Say, you are in Lhasa, and you are crossing a street, with a bus running fast down on you. Do you reason thusly:

    In my philosophy, there is no such thing as space as an actual reality. It is an illusion, along with the illusions of time and matter . . .

    . . . and set out across the road, as ‘matter’ and ‘space’ and ‘time’ are all illusions?”

    When you are playing a virtual reality video game, if you don’t pay attention to the internal rules of the game, you will probably “die”. What this means is that you are ejected from the game environment, and have to enter it again to play some more. It’s the same with the virtual reality that is earth. If you don’t pay attention to the internal rules of this world, you will probably die. What you will find then is a corresponding situation: you will find yourself ejected from the “game” and back in actual reality, your true home. In order to play the game some more, you have to re-enter virtual reality, which means getting yourself born again.

    A major difference, however, is that in this virtual reality, the rules CAN be broken, if you are advanced enough (a big “if”). This is how masters perform miracles–they deeply understand the illusory nature of earthly existence. And there are myriad examples of miracles that have been recorded throughout history.

    A major problem with your philosophy is the mind-body problem. Our souls are non-material, but our brains are material. How is it that our non-material thoughts and intentions can affect activity in the brain at all, and how is it that activity in the brain can create any actual experience whatsoever? I doubt that you have an answer to these two questions. In my philosophy there is no mind-body problem because bodies don’t exist. All there is is mind.

  209. 209
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    “What internal test do you have that can reliably determine that you are not dreaming right now? And if you are dreaming, then all your assumed external reality is entirely in your mind.”

    I’m not interested in going on a trip with you down dodge lane. Could you please answer my question without attempting to steer the discussion in an altogether different direction? Answer my question, then I’ll answer yours.

  210. —Bruce: “That’s it? That’s all you got? Another “Everybody knows” rejoinder?”

    Yes, that’s it! The laws of non-contradiction and identity is where thought starts. If you don’t start there, you can’t think.

    —”I give you two long, carefully thought out paragraphs explaining how the apparent paradox can be resolved, and all I get from you is “Every reasonable person knows…”? No analysis of my thinking, no explanation of where you believe I made a mistake?”

    Careful thought? You refuse to answer the question, rephrase it, and call your new formulation a tautology, without even addressing the question. Then you write a lot of nonsense about different possible meanings of the word Jupiter.

    —”My philosophy is very much like that of Bishop Berkeley. In it, there is no actual physical universe “out there” independent of ourselves.”

    Yes, we all get that. Nothing exists but mind–pure idealism. What does that have to do with evading the original question? If you want to say that Jupiter is just a series of mental impressions, then answer the question on that basis or admit that you cannot answer it. Don’t run from it by reframing it.

    –”Thus, if we don’t hold the meaning of “exists” constant, the proposition “Jupiter exists” CAN be both true and false at the same time.”

    We? I don’t have any trouble holding my meaning.

    —”It can be true in the sense that there is a mental construct called Jupiter that exists in our minds and that of God, and false in the sense that it does not exist “out there” in and independently existing material reality.”

    You are going completely off the rails, first reframing the question and then trying to answer it from two different perspectives. That is not a rational response. Answer the question as an idealist [you] or a realist [me], but don’t conflate the two as you are trying to answer and think that you are making sense. If you can’t deal with the question without reframing it or conflating two irreconcilable world views, just say so and let’s be done with it.

    –”You remind of a Darwinist, confronted with the careful analysis of a Behe, Dembski, or Stephen Meyer, and unable to find a hole in the argument, comes back with “Every real scientist knows that evolution is true.”

    Once again, you reveal you inability to distinguish between the laws of thought and scientific speculation.

    …”either you don’t understand what I wrote, or you can’t find anything wrong with it but are not honest enough to admit it.”

    That problem is not that I don’t understand what I wrote. The problem is that YOU don’t understand what you wrote.

  211. BD:

    the consequences of walking out in front of a bus in Lhasa are sufficient to show the reductio you face.

    See if you can restart the “game” at a lower level that way; other than as glorified fertiliser and a soul answering to its maker for its words, thoughts and deeds.

    As tot he “what if it’s true” point, the problem is that ID is appealing to the weight of evidence and highlighting censorship by a new magisterium. Maya-worlds of various kinds, e.g the classic brain in a vat, boil down to undermining evidence and end up in a circle of absurdities as a result. And, no-one is censoring the proposal, we are just correcting it on reductio ad absurdum.

    If your view entails that the mind and our experiences are fundamentally delusional, then there is no difference between madness and sanity. Truth may be real but it is so far beyond any test, that it has evaporated into a fog of projective delusions.

    Reductio . . .

    GEM of TKI

  212. 212
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce to KF,

    “What if the physical universe actually IS an illusion? And what if part of the purpose of life in the physical is eventually to discover that fact? In that case just as the methodological naturalist will never discover the truth about the natural world, someone who accepts the illusion as real will never learn what he or she has come here to discover.”

    If the physical universe is an illusion as you suggest, you could never know it, because you could not know if anything even outside the physical is also not an illusion – You could not know if your own thoughts are not an illusion, and you certainly could not know if your philosophy itself is not a delusion – which I believe it is.

    You see, once by philosophy you determine that what you experience is an illusion, then even mind is an illusion – but you strangely hold onto the notion that mind is real and everything else is an illusion. This is inconsistent. You cannot know by your reasoning that even mind is not an illusion. So then not only is your philosophy self-defeating, you have no basis whatsoever for determining what is right and what is wrong – not even your own preferences – because they too could be an illusion. So your whole philosophy is just that – illusory.

  213. 213
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    “A major problem with your philosophy is the mind-body problem. Our souls are non-material, but our brains are material. How is it that our non-material thoughts and intentions can affect activity in the brain at all, and how is it that activity in the brain can create any actual experience whatsoever?”

    Wait a minute here. I though you said the physical world is an illusion. This would mean that our brains are not material, but an illusion. Please be consistent.

  214. 214
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    Disregard 213; apparently you do believe that even the brain is illusory. ;) Isn’t this fun?

  215. 215
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    One of the glaring problems with this sort of philosophy is in the “real world,” there’s an element of trust – of course you probably believe that trust is an illusion as well – but in my philosophy it is real, and to be quite frank, I couldn’t trust you – because you don’t seem to accept that the real world matters and is not an illusion. How then can I trust that you would be consistent with what we view as the real world?

    How about the issues of murder, theft, and a whole host of other crimes and sins. How could I trust that you wouldn’t consider murder itself as illusory and all in my mind?

    A person of your philosophy could excuse him/herself of murder and call it an illusion. I’m not suggesting that you even approach being a murderer, but to be as consistent as he/she can be with your philosophy, a murderer could use it to his/her advantage and excuse him/herself of murder itself – simply because he/she does not view murder as a part of reality.

    It’s these issues, which are troubling.

    No, I wouldn’t trust you or Bishop Berkeley, or any of the “many really smart, deep thinkers who not only do not find it absurd, but actually believe that it is true.”

    For that reason alone I could hold your philosophy as internally inconsistent and in fact dangerous – but it goes much further than that.

    Don’t misunderstand me here – I don’t believe that we can trust just anybody (even in the “real world), but there are signs in a person’s character, which allow me to assess that they could at least be trustworthy. I could not hold anybody of your philosophy (given that I know their thinking in that regard) to be trustworthy. I would hold them with the utmost suspicion – simply because of the potential for excuse.

  216. Bruce,

    I must say I, for one, agree with CannuckianYankee. However, there can be no scientific test for assertions like solipsism, as you say. That is just because our power of reasoning has been dramatically darkened by Adam’s sin. As a reflection of this, the scientific method is incomplete (see theorems of Tarsky and of Goedel). There are ALWAYS grounds for belief and, of all things, very much so in science.

    I personally have no doubts in the objectiveness of the existence of the world. As a child, I remember trying to peep through the door into the sitting room when there was no one there but the television was still working. I wanted to check if it was really working for no one. Every time I saw it working I remember doubting. I thought I must have looked at it too openly so it had time to switch itself on again for me :)

    I believe that (a) the material world is as real as spiritual reality; (b) since there are laws governing the latter, there must also be laws governing the former; (c) humans bearing an image of God are able to learn the laws of the material world to an extent that we can draw objective knowledge that it becomes useful.

    As far as I know, this kind of reasoning was put at the foundation of European science.

    Without the three points above, I don’t think that any structured reasoning is possible, science included.

  217. Bruce David you state;

    ‘The conclusion is always built into the premises, otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to draw the conclusion from them. Duh!’

    But Bruce David, you refuse to let your premises the opportunity to be falsified by the empirical evidence of the ‘real’ world, which you hold to be merely illusory! Or by the laws of Logic which you also hold to be secondary to your ‘inner knowing’! Thus since you refuse to let any checks and balances influence your philosophy, you have in fact made yourself sole arbiter of what is ‘real’ and what is ‘logical’ in whatever ‘fluff axioms’ you yourself decide to create at the outset of your supposed exercise in logic and deduction. It is all very self-deceiving, in that you have fooled yourself into thinking you are being reasonable. In your philosophy no absurdity built into the axioms would ever be pruned out!

  218. —Bruce David: “Thus, if we don’t hold the meaning of “exists” constant, the proposition “Jupiter exists” CAN be both true and false at the same time. It can be true in the sense that there is a mental construct called Jupiter that exists in our minds and that of God, and false in the sense that it does not exist “out there” in and independently existing material reality.”

    The law of identity REQUIRES the meanings to be held constant, ie. A thing cannot be and not be at the same time and UNDER THE SAME FORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

    [a] Your idealism, which defines Jupiter as subjective and mere sense impressions = One set of CIRCUMSTANCES

    [b] My realism, which defines Jupiter as a a real object perceived by the senses = a set of CIRCUMSTANCES

    Thus, Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. [Either under your Idealism or my Realism]

    You are trying to argue that Jupiter can exist and not exist at the same time IF WE CHANGE THE CIRCUMSTANCES, that is, that is if you consider your idealism in the context of my realism.

    –”It can be true in the sense that there is a mental construct called Jupiter that exists in our minds and that of God, and false in the sense that it does not exist “out there” in and independently existing material reality.”

    Well, of course it can be true and false at the same time if we change the circumstances, but the law of identity says that Jupiter cannot exist at the same time UNDER THE S-A-M-E FORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

    Please tell me that you finally understand the point so we can end this irrational dialogue.

  219. 219

    Eugene S,

    You make some excellent points in # 216, which really are the points, which led to the very rapid development of scientific methodology – namely: that the universe is reasonable (governed by laws), and one can apply reason to investigate the particular phenomena, which make the universe what it is precisely because God is not only the Creator of the universe (reality), but the author of reason.

    Your most important point I believe is your 3rd: “humans bearing an image of God are able to learn the laws of the material world to an extent that we can draw objective knowledge that it becomes useful.”

    It is this premise with which WL Craig is able to make his reasoned arguments for the objectivity of morality (and anything else that stands to reason) – stemming from God’s character. Morality is reasonable and objective because God himself is reasonable and objective.

    Unlike some of the pronouncements in this thread, you have summed up the very basis for our ability to reason – and it’s objective, and not simply a matter of appealing to one’s own natural proclivities. Harris clearly doesn’t get this, as some in this thread do not.

    To make the claim that reality is illusory is thus to dishonor the author of our reality and our ability to make sense of that reality; and apparently God himself has designed it in such a way as to render a denial of reality as ultimately self defeating.

    It is not to the great and famous philosophers of our age then (the old and new atheists and the new agers), that we owe our allegiance, but to the author of the grand philosophy of objective reason.

  220. James Clerk Maxwell and the Christian Proposition
    Excerpt: The minister who regularly visited him in his last weeks was astonished at his lucidity and the immense power and scope of his memory, but comments more particularly,[20] … his illness drew out the whole heart and soul and spirit of the man: his firm and undoubting faith in the Incarnation and all its results; in the full sufficiency of the Atonement; in the work of the Holy Spirit. He had gauged and fathomed all the schemes and systems of philosophy, and had found them utterly empty and unsatisfying – “unworkable” was his own word about them – and he turned with simple faith to the Gospel of the Saviour.
    http://silas.psfc.mit.edu/Maxwell/maxwell.html

  221. 221
    CannuckianYankee

    BA77,

    Exactly. I should have added at the end of 219 that God’s primary reason is that He be known to us. He’s not hiding from us. All the defeat of the world’s philosophies ultimately lead us to the Savior.

  222. 222
    CannuckianYankee

    I’m continually reminded of the following whenever discussing philosophy:

    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

    20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25 NIV)

  223. 223
    CannuckianYankee

    Continuing at 27:

    “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NIV)

    It’s not that worldly philosophy does not have a certain rationality, but that it seeks wisdom apart from God, which scripture clearly states is frustrated – (read self-defeating).

    Why? So that no person can make claims to superior wisdom apart from the path that God has set before us; which is open to all, and not simply to the learned. Not all are capable of rising to the standards of the learned, but all are capable of lowering to the standards of the weak, lowly and despised. Thus God can reach every one of us.

    There is another philosophy mentioned in this thread, which is liken to Gnosticism; which is open to a select few initiates (I think we know which one that is). Gnosticism was defeated in the early Church for that very reason – but like all heresies, it raises its ugly head from time to time. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

  224. Bornagain: “I love you as a human being, but I hate your incoherency in defending your absurd philosophy, and I also hate your lack of integrity to even admit your philosophy is bunk.”

    Thanks for the love. I love you, too.

    Really, though really, Bornagain, do you honestly believe that I secretly see my philosophy the way that you do? Really? I have come to my beliefs through years of deep study of philosophy and spiritual traditions, and considerable contemplation. If anything should be obvious from our discussions on these threads it is that I have thought my ideas through carefully. And I’m not stupid.

    The only way that you can legitimately accuse me of a lack of integrity is if you believe that I don’t really believe what I write. I can state to you categorically, without any hesitation, that I have written nothing here that I do not hold as true.

    I think the difficulty here is that you simply cannot envision the possibility that a philosophy different from yours could be legitimately held be someone, and I believe that this is because you are so certain that yours is absolutely true and that anyone who is honest with themselves will recognize this. Obviously, I disagree, and I submit that the long history and immense variety of Western philosophy supports my position.

  225. StephenB: “Well, of course it can be true and false at the same time if we change the circumstances, but the law of identity says that Jupiter cannot exist [and not exist] at the same time UNDER THE S-A-M-E FORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

    Please tell me that you finally understand the point so we can end this irrational dialogue.”

    I don’t find the dialog irrational at all. I just see you as way too rigid in your thinking processes. I have already answered your question. See the second paragraph in my original response (#189).

    By the way, the law to which you are referring is the law of excluded middle (~[P^~p]), not the law of identity, which simply states, for all A, A=A.

  226. —Bruce: “I have already answered your question. See the second paragraph in my original response (#189).”

    No, you didn’t. I asked you a very specific and a very reasonable question: “Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances?” It is manifestly dishonest of you to say you answered it, and it is obvious that you never will.

    —”By the way, the law to which you are referring is the law of excluded middle (~[P^~p]), not the law of identity.”

    You don’t know what you are talking about. The law of the excluded middle is the complement of the law of identity; they are logically inseparable. It doesn’t matter, though, because you do not accept either formulation. You believe that Bruce is made in the image and likeness of God and is also the same God from which he was made. No Western philosopher, even your unorthodox hero George Berkeley, was ever whacked out enough, or illogical enough, to believe that.

  227. Bruce David, evil is a very interesting thing. In the debate Sam Harris, in trying to defend the absurd position that materialistic atheism can ground objective morality, did not address the topic of the debate but focused instead, for a large part of the debated, on ranting about the evil in the world, particularly that evil perpetrated in the name of various religions, in particular Christianity and Islam (of course all the while completely ignoring the unmitigated horrors visited upon mankind by 20th atheistic regimes). As well I’ve seen atheists continually turn to ‘Bad Design’ arguments, instead of focusing on the fact that they have no evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution. Yet Bad Design arguments are theological in nature since they also, much like Harris’s argument (rant), are predicated on the fact that evil really does exists in this world. Thus even though it is not possible for atheism to ground an objective morality in the first place, and indeed evil cannot exists unless an ‘ultimate good’ does indeed exists ‘objectively’, the atheists none-the-less acts as if his worldview can ground objective morality. Whereas you Bruce, on the other hand, have denied the objective existence of evil altogether. Thus Bruce your philosophy also fails to provide an objective basis for morality and makes your philosophy, as Maxwell stated, ‘unworkable’. As kf and others have pointed out, you cannot live consistently in your worldview. You may sit here pontificating about how you imagine how good the world to really be, but when the rubber meets the road, you live your life fully consistently as if evil objectively exists. Thus the only thing that is shown to be ‘illusory’ in your arguments, is not the evil you maintain is illusory, but is indeed your very own thinking as to rationalize evil away, and all the while you are living fully consistently as if evil really does exist. The disconnect between what you say and how you live is the very thing that testifies against you!

    This video may interest you;

    A brilliant serial killer videotapes his debates with college faculty victims. The topic: His moral right to kill them.

    Cruel Logic
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qd1LPRJLnI

    ————

    G.O.S.P.E.L. Poetry Slam; To The Point
    http://vimeo.com/20960385

  228. Bruce David, I’m curious, in your worldview exactly what do you tell people who are trapped by a life of sin???

    ————

    Casting Crowns Set Me Free – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N2hB7ENRRE

    John 8:34
    Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

  229. The johnny-come-lately depictions by Hagee et. al. of the Everlasting Hell that is held as orthodox by most Christian denominations, don’t hold a candle to the descriptions of it made over the course of the centuries by many and varied Roman Catholic divines…

    The next day brought death and judgement, stirring his soul slowly from its listless despair. The faint glimmer of fear became a terror of spirit as the hoarse voice of the preacher blew death into his soul. He suffered its agony. He felt the death chill touch the extremities and creep onward towards the heart, the film of death veiling the eyes, the bright centres of the brain extinguished one by one like lamps, the last sweat oozing upon the skin, the powerlessness of the dying limbs, the speech thickening and wandering and failing, the heart throbbing faintly and more faintly, all but vanquished, the breath, the poor breath, the poor helpless human spirit, sobbing and sighing, gurgling and rattling in the throat. No help! No help! He – he himself – his body to which he had yielded was dying. Into the grave with it. Nail it down into a wooden box the corpse. Carry it out of the house on the shoulders of hirelings. Thrust it out of men’s sight into a long hole in the ground, into the grave, to rot, to feed the mass of its creeping worms and to be devoured by scuttling plump-bellied rats.

    And while the friends were still standing in tears by the bedside the soul of the sinner was judged. At the last moment of consciousness the whole earthly life passed before the vision of the soul and, ere it had time to reflect, the body had died and the soul stood terrified before the judgement seat. God, who had long been merciful, would then be just. He had long been patient, pleading with the sinful soul, giving it time to repent, sparing it yet awhile. But that time had gone. Time was to sin and to enjoy, time was to scoff at God and at the warnings of His holy church, time was to defy His majesty, to disobey His commands, to hoodwink one’s fellow men, to commit sin after sin and to hide one’s corruption from the sight of men. But that time was over. Now it was God’s turn: and He was not to be hoodwinked or deceived. Every sin would then come forth from its lurking place, the most rebellious against the divine will and the most degrading to our poor corrupt nature, the tiniest imperfection and the most heinous atrocity. What did it avail then to have been a great emperor, a great general, a marvellous inventor, the most learned of the learned? All were as one before the judgement seat of God. He would reward the good and punish the wicked. One single instant was enough for the trial of a man’s soul. One single instant after the body’s death, the soul had been weighed in the balance. The particular judgement was over and the soul had passed to the abode of bliss or to the prison of purgatory or had been hurled howling into hell.

    Nor was that all. God’s justice had still to be vindicated before men: after the particular there still remained the general judgement. The last day had come. The doomsday was at hand. The stars of heaven were falling upon the earth like the figs cast by the fig-tree which the wind has shaken. The sun, the great luminary of the universe, had become as sackcloth of hair. The moon was blood-red. The firmament was as a scroll rolled away. The archangel Michael, the prince of the heavenly host, appeared glorious and terrible against the sky. With one foot on the sea and one foot on the land he blew from the arch-angelical trumpet the brazen death of time. The three blasts of the angel filled all the universe. Time is, time was, but time shall be no more. At the last blast the souls of universal humanity throng towards the valley of Jehoshaphat, rich and poor, gentle and simple, wise and foolish, good and wicked. The soul of every human being that has ever existed, the souls of all those who shall yet be born, all the sons and daughters of Adam, all are assembled on that supreme day. And lo, the supreme judge is coming! No longer the lowly Lamb of God, no longer the meek Jesus of Nazareth, no longer the Man of Sorrows, no longer the Good Shepherd, He is seen now coming upon the clouds, in great power and majesty, attended by nine choirs of angels, angels and archangels, principalities, powers and virtues, thrones and dominations, cherubim and seraphim, God Omnipotent, God Everlasting. He speaks: and His voice is heard even at the farthest limits of space, even In the bottomless abyss. Supreme Judge, from His sentence there will be and can be no appeal. He calls the just to His side, bidding them enter into the kingdom, the eternity of bliss prepared for them. The unjust He casts from Him, crying in His offended majesty: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. O, what agony then for the miserable sinners! Friend is torn apart from friend, children are torn from their parents, husbands from their wives. The poor sinner holds out his arms to those who were dear to him in this earthly world, to those whose simple piety perhaps he made a mock of, to those who counselled him and tried to lead him on the right path, to a kind brother, to a loving sister, to the mother and father who loved him so dearly. But it is too late: the just turn away from the wretched damned souls which now appear before the eyes of all in their hideous and evil character. O you hypocrites, O, you whited sepulchres, O you who present a smooth smiling face to the world while your soul within is a foul swamp of sin, how will it fare with you in that terrible day?

    And this day will come, shall come, must come: the day of death and the day of judgement. It is appointed unto man to die and after death the judgement. Death is certain. The time and manner are uncertain, whether from long disease or from some unexpected accident: the Son of God cometh at an hour when you little expect Him. Be therefore ready every moment, seeing that you may die at any moment. Death is the end of us all. Death and judgement, brought into the world by the sin of our first parents, are the dark portals that close our earthly existence, the portals that open into the unknown and the unseen, portals through which every soul must pass, alone, unaided save by its good works, without friend or brother or parent or master to help it, alone and trembling. Let that thought be ever before our minds and then we cannot sin. Death, a cause of terror to the sinner, is a blessed moment for him who has walked in the right path, fulfilling the duties of his station in life, attending to his morning and evening prayers, approaching the holy sacrament frequently and performing good and merciful works. For the pious and believing catholic, for the just man, death is no cause of terror. Was it not Addison, the great English writer, who, when on his deathbed, sent for the wicked young earl of Warwick to let him see how a christian can meet his end? He it is and he alone, the pious and believing christian, who can say in his heart:

    O grave, where is thy victory?
    O death, where is thy sting?

    Every word of it was for him. Against his sin, foul and secret, the whole wrath of God was aimed. The preacher’s knife had probed deeply into his disclosed conscience and he felt now that his soul was festering in sin. Yes, the preacher was right. God’s turn had come. Like a beast in its lair his soul had lain down in its own filth but the blasts of the angel’s trumpet had driven him forth from the darkness of sin into the light. The words of doom cried by the angel shattered in an instant his presumptuous peace. The wind of the last day blew through his mind, his sins, the jewel-eyed harlots of his imagination, fled before the hurricane, squeaking like mice in their terror and huddled under a mane of hair.

    The preacher’s voice sank. He paused, joined his palms for an instant, parted them. Then he resumed:

    – Now let us try for a moment to realize, as far as we can, the nature of that abode of the damned which the justice of an offended God has called into existence for the eternal punishment of sinners. Hell is a strait and dark and foul-smelling prison, an abode of demons and lost souls, filled with fire and smoke. The straitness of this prison house is expressly designed by God to punish those who refused to be bound by His laws. In earthly prisons the poor captive has at least some liberty of movement, were it only within the four walls of his cell or in the gloomy yard of his prison. Not so in hell. There, by reason of the great number of the damned, the prisoners are heaped together in their awful prison, the walls of which are said to be four thousand miles thick: and the damned are so utterly bound and helpless that, as a blessed saint, saint Anselm, writes in his book on similitudes, they are not even able to remove from the eye a worm that gnaws it.

    – They lie in exterior darkness. For, remember, the fire of hell gives forth no light. As, at the command of God, the fire of the Babylonian furnace lost its heat but not its light, so, at the command of God, the fire of hell, while retaining the intensity of its heat, burns eternally in darkness. It is a never ending storm of darkness, dark flames and dark smoke of burning brimstone, amid which the bodies are heaped one upon another without even a glimpse of air. Of all the plagues with which the land of the Pharaohs were smitten one plague alone, that of darkness, was called horrible. What name, then, shall we give to the darkness of hell which is to last not for three days alone but for all eternity?

    – The horror of this strait and dark prison is increased by its awful stench. All the filth of the world, all the offal and scum of the world, we are told, shall run there as to a vast reeking sewer when the terrible conflagration of the last day has purged the world. The brimstone, too, which burns there in such prodigious quantity fills all hell with its intolerable stench; and the bodies of the damned themselves exhale such a pestilential odour that, as saint Bonaventure says, one of them alone would suffice to infect the whole world. The very air of this world, that pure element, becomes foul and unbreathable when it has been long enclosed. Consider then what must be the foulness of the air of hell. Imagine some foul and putrid corpse that has lain rotting and decomposing in the grave, a jelly-like mass of liquid corruption. Imagine such a corpse a prey to flames, devoured by the fire of burning brimstone and giving off dense choking fumes of nauseous loathsome decomposition. And then imagine this sickening stench, multiplied a millionfold and a millionfold again from the millions upon millions of fetid carcasses massed together in the reeking darkness, a huge and rotting human fungus. Imagine all this, and you will have some idea of the horror of the stench of hell.

    – But this stench is not, horrible though it is, the greatest physical torment to which the damned are subjected. The torment of fire is the greatest torment to which the tyrant has ever subjected his fellow creatures. Place your finger for a moment in the flame of a candle and you will feel the pain of fire. But our earthly fire was created by God for the benefit of man, to maintain in him the spark of life and to help him in the useful arts, whereas the fire of hell is of another quality and was created by God to torture and punish the unrepentant sinner. Our earthly fire also consumes more or less rapidly according as the object which it attacks is more or less combustible, so that human ingenuity has even succeeded in inventing chemical preparations to check or frustrate its action. But the sulphurous brimstone which burns in hell is a substance which is specially designed to burn for ever and for ever with unspeakable fury. Moreover, our earthly fire destroys at the same time as it burns, so that the more intense it is the shorter is its duration; but the fire of hell has this property, that it preserves that which it burns, and, though it rages with incredible intensity, it rages for ever.

    – Our earthly fire again, no matter how fierce or widespread it may be, is always of a limited extent; but the lake of fire in hell is boundless, shoreless and bottomless. It is on record that the devil himself, when asked the question by a certain soldier, was obliged to confess that if a whole mountain were thrown into the burning ocean of hell it would be burned up In an instant like a piece of wax. And this terrible fire will not afflict the bodies of the damned only from without, but each lost soul will be a hell unto itself, the boundless fire raging in its very vitals. O, how terrible is the lot of those wretched beings! The blood seethes and boils in the veins, the brains are boiling in the skull, the heart in the breast glowing and bursting, the bowels a red-hot mass of burning pulp, the tender eyes flaming like molten balls.

    – And yet what I have said as to the strength and quality and boundlessness of this fire is as nothing when compared to its intensity, an intensity which it has as being the instrument chosen by divine design for the punishment of soul and body alike. It is a fire which proceeds directly from the ire of God, working not of its own activity but as an instrument of Divine vengeance. As the waters of baptism cleanse the soul with the body, so do the fires of punishment torture the spirit with the flesh. Every sense of the flesh is tortured and every faculty of the soul therewith: the eyes with impenetrable utter darkness, the nose with noisome odours, the ears with yells and howls and execrations, the taste with foul matter, leprous corruption, nameless suffocating filth, the touch with redhot goads and spikes, with cruel tongues of flame. And through the several torments of the senses the immortal soul is tortured eternally in its very essence amid the leagues upon leagues of glowing fires kindled in the abyss by the offended majesty of the Omnipotent God and fanned into everlasting and ever-increasing fury by the breath of the anger of the God-head.

    – Consider finally that the torment of this infernal prison is increased by the company of the damned themselves. Evil company on earth is so noxious that the plants, as if by instinct, withdraw from the company of whatsoever is deadly or hurtful to them. In hell all laws are overturned – there is no thought of family or country, of ties, of relationships. The damned howl and scream at one another, their torture and rage intensified by the presence of beings tortured and raging like themselves. All sense of humanity is forgotten. The yells of the suffering sinners fill the remotest corners of the vast abyss. The mouths of the damned are full of blasphemies against God and of hatred for their fellow sufferers and of curses against those souls which were their accomplices in sin. In olden times it was the custom to punish the parricide, the man who had raised his murderous hand against his father, by casting him into the depths of the sea in a sack in which were placed a cock, a monkey, and a serpent. The intention of those law-givers who framed such a law, which seems cruel in our times, was to punish the criminal by the company of hurtful and hateful beasts. But what is the fury of those dumb beasts compared with the fury of execration which bursts from the parched lips and aching throats of the damned in hell when they behold in their companions in misery those who aided and abetted them in sin, those whose words sowed the first seeds of evil thinking and evil living in their minds, those whose immodest suggestions led them on to sin, those whose eyes tempted and allured them from the path of virtue. They turn upon those accomplices and upbraid them and curse them. But they are helpless and hopeless: it is too late now for repentance.

    – Last of all consider the frightful torment to those damned souls, tempters and tempted alike, of the company of the devils. These devils will afflict the damned in two ways, by their presence and by their reproaches. We can have no idea of how horrible these devils are. Saint Catherine of Siena once saw a devil and she has written that, rather than look again for one single instant on such a frightful monster, she would prefer to walk until the end of her life along a track of red coals. These devils, who were once beautiful angels, have become as hideous and ugly as they once were beautiful. They mock and jeer at the lost souls whom they dragged down to ruin. It is they, the foul demons, who are made in hell the voices of conscience. Why did you sin? Why did you lend an ear to the temptings of friends? Why did you turn aside from your pious practices and good works? Why did you not shun the occasions of sin? Why did you not leave that evil companion? Why did you not give up that lewd habit, that impure habit? Why did you not listen to the counsels of your confessor? Why did you not, even after you had fallen the first or the second or the third or the fourth or the hundredth time, repent of your evil ways and turn to God who only waited for your repentance to absolve you of your sins? Now the time for repentance has gone by. Time is, time was, but time shall be no more! Time was to sin in secrecy, to indulge in that sloth and pride, to covet the unlawful, to yield to the promptings of your lower nature, to live like the beasts of the field, nay worse than the beasts of the field, for they, at least, are but brutes and have no reason to guide them: time was, but time shall be no more. God spoke to you by so many voices, but you would not hear. You would not crush out that pride and anger in your heart, you would not restore those ill-gotten goods, you would not obey the precepts of your holy church nor attend to your religious duties, you would not abandon those wicked companions, you would not avoid those dangerous temptations. Such is the language of those fiendish tormentors, words of taunting and of reproach, of hatred and of disgust. Of disgust, yes! For even they, the very devils, when they sinned, sinned by such a sin as alone was compatible with such angelical natures, a rebellion of the intellect: and they, even they, the foul devils must turn away, revolted and disgusted, from the contemplation of those unspeakable sins by which degraded man outrages and defiles the temple of the Holy Ghost, defiles and pollutes himself.

    – O, my dear little brothers in Christ, may it never be our lot to hear that language! May it never be our lot, I say! In the last day of terrible reckoning I pray fervently to God that not a single soul of those who are in this chapel today may be found among those miserable beings whom the Great Judge shall command to depart for ever from His sight, that not one of us may ever hear ringing in his ears the awful sentence of rejection: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels!

    The preacher began to speak in a quiet friendly tone. His face was kind and he joined gently the fingers of each hand, forming a frail cage by the union of their tips.

    – This morning we endeavoured, in our reflection upon hell, to make what our holy founder calls in his book of spiritual exercises, the composition of place. We endeavoured, that is, to imagine with the senses of the mind, in our imagination, the material character of that awful place and of the physical torments which all who are in hell endure. This evening we shall consider for a few moments the nature of the spiritual torments of hell.

    – Sin, remember, is a twofold enormity. It is a base consent to the promptings of our corrupt nature to the lower instincts, to that which is gross and beast-like; and it is also a turning away from the counsel of our higher nature, from all that is pure and holy, from the Holy God Himself. For this reason mortal sin is punished in hell by two different forms of punishment, physical and spiritual.

    Now of all these spiritual pains by far the greatest is the pain of loss, so great, in fact, that in itself it is a torment greater than all the others. Saint Thomas, the greatest doctor of the church, the angelic doctor, as he is called, says that the worst damnation consists in this, that the understanding of man is totally deprived of divine light and his affection obstinately turned away from the goodness of God. God, remember, is a being infinitely good, and therefore the loss of such a being must be a loss infinitely painful. In this life we have not a very clear idea of what such a loss must be, but the damned in hell, for their greater torment, have a full understanding of that which they have lost, and understand that they have lost it through their own sins and have lost it for ever. At the very instant of death the bonds of the flesh are broken asunder and the soul at once flies towards God as towards the centre of her existence. Remember, my dear little boys, our souls long to be with God. We come from God, we live by God, we belong to God: we are His, inalienably His. God loves with a divine love every human soul, and every human soul lives in that love. How could it be otherwise? Every breath that we draw, every thought of our brain, every instant of life proceeds from God’s inexhaustible goodness. And if it be pain for a mother to be parted from her child, for a man to be exiled from hearth and home, for friend to be sundered from friend, O think what pain, what anguish it must be for the poor soul to be spurned from the presence of the supremely good and loving Creator Who has called that soul into existence from nothingness and sustained it in life and loved it with an immeasurable love. This, then, to be separated for ever from its greatest good, from God, and to feel the anguish of that separation, knowing full well that it is unchangeable: this is the greatest torment which the created soul is capable of bearing, poena damni, the pain of loss.

    The second pain which will afflict the souls of the damned in hell is the pain of conscience. Just as in dead bodies worms are engendered by putrefaction, so in the souls of the lost there arises a perpetual remorse from the putrefaction of sin, the sting of conscience, the worm, as Pope Innocent the Third calls it, of the triple sting. The first sting inflicted by this cruel worm will be the memory of past pleasures. O what a dreadful memory will that be! In the lake of all-devouring flame the proud king will remember the pomps of his court, the wise but wicked man his libraries and instruments of research, the lover of artistic pleasures his marbles and pictures and other art treasures, he who delighted in the pleasures of the table his gorgeous feasts, his dishes prepared with such delicacy, his choice wines; the miser will remember his hoard of gold, the robber his ill-gotten wealth, the angry and revengeful and merciless murderers their deeds of blood and violence in which they revelled, the impure and adulterous the unspeakable and filthy pleasures in which they delighted. They will remember all this and loathe themselves and their sins. For how miserable will all those pleasures seem to the soul condemned to suffer in hellfire for ages and ages. How they will rage and fume to think that they have lost the bliss of heaven for the dross of earth, for a few pieces of metal, for vain honours, for bodily comforts, for a tingling of the nerves. They will repent indeed: and this is the second sting of the worm of conscience, a late and fruitless sorrow for sins committed. Divine justice insists that the understanding of those miserable wretches be fixed continually on the sins of which they were guilty, and moreover, as saint Augustine points out, God will impart to them His own knowledge of sin, so that sin will appear to them in all its hideous malice as it appears to the eyes of God Himself. They will behold their sins in all their foulness and repent but it will be too late and then they will bewail the good occasions which they neglected. This is the last and deepest and most cruel sting of the worm of conscience. The conscience will say: You had time and opportunity to repent and would not. You were brought up religiously by your parents. You had the sacraments and grace and indulgences of the church to aid you. You had the minister of God to preach to you, to call you back when you had strayed, to forgive you your sins, no matter how many, how abominable, if only you had confessed and repented. No. You would not. You flouted the ministers of holy religion, you turned your back on the confessional, you wallowed deeper and deeper in the mire of sin. God appealed to you, threatened you, entreated you to return to Him. O, what shame, what misery! The Ruler of the universe entreated you, a creature of clay, to love Him Who made you and to keep His law. No. You would not. And now, though you were to flood all hell with your tears if you could still weep, all that sea of repentance would not gain for you what a single tear of true repentance shed during your mortal life would have gained for you. You implore now a moment of earthly life wherein to repent: In vain. That time is gone: gone for ever.

    – Such is the threefold sting of conscience, the viper which gnaws the very heart’s core of the wretches in hell, so that filled with hellish fury they curse themselves for their folly and curse the evil companions who have brought them to such ruin and curse the devils who tempted them in life and now mock them in eternity and even revile and curse the Supreme Being Whose goodness and patience they scorned and slighted but Whose justice and power they cannot evade.

    – The next spiritual pain to which the damned are subjected is the pain of extension. Man, in this earthly life, though he be capable of many evils, is not capable of them all at once, inasmuch as one evil corrects and counteracts another just as one poison frequently corrects another. In hell, on the contrary, one torment, instead of counteracting another, lends it still greater force: and, moreover, as the internal faculties are more perfect than the external senses, so are they more capable of suffering. Just as every sense is afflicted with a fitting torment, so is every spiritual faculty; the fancy with horrible images, the sensitive faculty with alternate longing and rage, the mind and understanding with an interior darkness more terrible even than the exterior darkness which reigns in that dreadful prison. The malice, impotent though it be, which possesses these demon souls is an evil of boundless extension, of limitless duration, a frightful state of wickedness which we can scarcely realize unless we bear in mind the enormity of sin and the hatred God bears to it.

    – Opposed to this pain of extension and yet coexistent with it we have the pain of intensity. Hell is the centre of evils and, as you know, things are more intense at their centres than at their remotest points. There are no contraries or admixtures of any kind to temper or soften in the least the pains of hell. Nay, things which are good in themselves become evil in hell. Company, elsewhere a source of comfort to the afflicted, will be there a continual torment: knowledge, so much longed for as the chief good of the intellect, will there be hated worse than ignorance: light, so much coveted by all creatures from the lord of creation down to the humblest plant in the forest, will be loathed intensely. In this life our sorrows are either not very long or not very great because nature either overcomes them by habits or puts an end to them by sinking under their weight. But in hell the torments cannot be overcome by habit, for while they are of terrible intensity they are at the same time of continual variety, each pain, so to speak, taking fire from another and re-endowing that which has enkindled it with a still fiercer flame. Nor can nature escape from these intense and various tortures by succumbing to them for the soul is sustained and maintained in evil so that its suffering may be the greater. Boundless extension of torment, incredible intensity of suffering, unceasing variety of torture – this is what the divine majesty, so outraged by sinners, demands; this is what the holiness of heaven, slighted and set aside for the lustful and low pleasures of the corrupt flesh, requires; this is what the blood of the innocent Lamb of God, shed for the redemption of sinners, trampled upon by the vilest of the vile, insists upon.

    – Last and crowning torture of all the tortures of that awful place is the eternity of hell. Eternity! O, dread and dire word. Eternity! What mind of man can understand it? And remember, it is an eternity of pain. Even though the pains of hell were not so terrible as they are, yet they would become infinite, as they are destined to last for ever. But while they are everlasting they are at the same time, as you know, intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an insect for all eternity would be a dreadful torment. What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For all eternity! Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness; and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all? Yet at the end of that immense stretch of time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been all carried away, and if the bird came again and carried it all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would scarcely have begun.

    – A holy saint (one of our own fathers I believe it was) was once vouchsafed a vision of hell. It seemed to him that he stood in the midst of a great hall, dark and silent save for the ticking of a great clock. The ticking went on unceasingly; and it seemed to this saint that the sound of the ticking was the ceaseless repetition of the words – ever, never; ever, never. Ever to be in hell, never to be in heaven; ever to be shut off from the presence of God, never to enjoy the beatific vision; ever to be eaten with flames, gnawed by vermin, goaded with burning spikes, never to be free from those pains; ever to have the conscience upbraid one, the memory enrage, the mind filled with darkness and despair, never to escape; ever to curse and revile the foul demons who gloat fiendishly over the misery of their dupes, never to behold the shining raiment of the blessed spirits; ever to cry out of the abyss of fire to God for an instant, a single instant, of respite from such awful agony, never to receive, even for an instant, God’s pardon; ever to suffer, never to enjoy; ever to be damned, never to be saved; ever, never; ever, never. O, what a dreadful punishment! An eternity of endless agony, of endless bodily and spiritual torment, without one ray of hope, without one moment of cessation, of agony limitless in intensity, of torment infinitely varied, of torture that sustains eternally that which it eternally devours, of anguish that everlastingly preys upon the spirit while it racks the flesh, an eternity, every instant of which is itself an eternity of woe. Such is the terrible punishment decreed for those who die in mortal sin by an almighty and a just God.

    From Chapter 3 of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce.

  230. StephenB: “—Bruce: ‘I have already answered your question. See the second paragraph in my original response (#189).’

    No, you didn’t. I asked you a very specific and a very reasonable question: “Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time and under the same formal circumstances?” It is manifestly dishonest of you to say you answered it, and it is obvious that you never will.”

    If you had an ounce of flexibility in that rigid little mind of yours, you would see that my formulation is logically equivalent to yours. You have my answer. Deal with it.

  231. Bornagain: “You may sit here pontificating about how you imagine how good the world to really be, but when the rubber meets the road, you live your life fully consistently as if evil objectively exists.”

    With all due respect, sir, you do not know how I live my life. Furthermore, your pontification about my life is grounded in a fundamental lack of imagination. You simply cannot imagine how a person can live a life that is radically different from yours.

    I live my life consciously knowing that evil doesn’t exist in any OBJECTIVE sense. Just get it. I also know that a subjective EXPERIENCE of the illusion of evil is necessary in order to have an EXPERIENCE of myself and others as good. Since I value this experience, I label some things I observe in this world of illusion as evil, all the while knowing that I have made a SUBJECTIVE assessment for the purpose just stated.

    You are essentially saying that it is impossible for me to do this. Bornagain, my friend, you have no clue.

  232. So to deny the objective reality/identity of something is called ‘flexible thinking’. Bruce, there is nothing ‘equivalent’ with your ‘flexible logic’ and with StephenB’s rigid logic! You live in a philosophical/scientific madhouse, in which ‘distinction of identity’ dissolves into a Alice In Wonderland house of mirrors!

  233. 233

    “If you had an ounce of flexibility in that rigid little mind of yours, you would see that my formulation is logically equivalent to yours. You have my answer. Deal with it.”

    I’ve been following your discussions for sometime.

    You’ve now turned to ad hominem and emotional outburst in place of rational argument. This is a common trend with you. Stop telling people they lack imagination and are inflexible in their thinking. This is a typical modern fallacy which appeals to the vague notions of not being “progressive” enough. It’s just silly and means nothing. For all your exasperation at people’s immodesty and epistemological certainty…pot meet kettle. The ideas you are in opposition to have been the basis of western philosophy and thought for a few thousand years (Hellenistic philosophy, Aristotle etc., later refined by the Medievals, Aquinas etc.).

    To paraphrase Chesterton, the point of opening your mind is to close it again on something substantial.

  234. Bruce: I was made in the image and likeness of God.

    Bruce: I am also the same God from whom I was created.

    Rational Person: How can you be both the creator and the thing created?

    Bruce: Because my inner knowing told me so.

    RP: But it is impossible to be both the creator and the thing created.

    Bruce: What a rigid little mind you have.

    RP: Well, what about MY inner knowing.

    Bruce: My inner knowing is better than your inner knowing.

    RP: Did you arrive at this conclusion as a result of your inner knowing, or was it a product of Neale Walsh’s inner knowing.

    Bruce: His inner knowing became my inner knowing.

    RP: Well, whose inner knowing was it?

    Bruce: Ultimately, the idea of inner knowing came from him, but the real inner knowing is my own.

    RP: But you said you are also a disciple of the Idealist George Berkeley, and even he, whacked out as he was, believed in the Law of Non Contradiction. Did he have a rigid little mind as well. Was his inner knowing also deficient.

    Bruce: Actually, I am a disciple of many teachers, all of whom contradict themselves on critical issues. So, if my Pantheism is refuted, I claim to follow Berkeley’s idealism, but if my idealism is refuted, I claim to be a classic Pantheist. If that doesn’t work, I can escape to Walschian Pantheism, which isn’t really Pantheism–but so what?

    RP: So, you have many positions and the fact that they do not cohere is no problem.

    Bruce: Correct. My inner knowing takes logical precedence over (Oops, I mean is better than) the law of non-contradiction anyway, so I can be perfectly reasonable even when I am contradicting myself. Also, I like to give lectures on the same rules of logic that I do not believe in, do not practice, and didn’t know about it until last week.

  235. 235

    HouseStreetRoom: “You’ve now turned to ad hominem and emotional outburst in place of rational argument. This is a common trend with you. Stop telling people they lack imagination and are inflexible in their thinking.”

    If you have been following this thread for some time then you know that my ideas have been attacked as ridiculous and absurd and that I personally have been attacked more than once (by StephenB among others) as dishonest and hypocritical.

    My “rigid little mind” remark was perhaps a little beyond the pale, but it was out of annoyance at being accused yet again of dishonesty. Don’t you think it might be just a tad one sided of you to single me out for criticism of launching an ad hominem attack?

    As for their lacking imagination and being inflexible, that I will not retract. They do lack imagination and they are inflexible in their thinking. I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em.

  236. 236

    Idealism Apologetic

    To everyone:

    On the subject of my philosophical position, which seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest, there are too many comments to answer each individually, so I am going to write a sort of Idealism Apologetic, if you will. I know that most of you will object to this on some ground or another. Let anyone reading this thread judge for him or herself whose ideas make the most sense.

    Introductory notes: To make it easier to refer to my philosophy, I will label it idealism for the purposes of this post. (But please don’t come back and attack my position by identifying it with some other brand of idealism that is different from mine. That would be a waste of everyone’s time.) In general, I see three possible metaphysical positions regarding the true nature of reality: materialism, idealism, and dualism. By dualism I mean the philosophy that there are two types of entities in the universe: mind (or soul) and matter, and that each of these is real and can exist independently of the other. I won’t deal much if at all with materialism, because I don’t recognize any materialists among you. So this apologetic will primarily consider idealism vs. dualism. Idealism, of course, is the philosophy that all there is is mind (or soul) and the contents of mind, which for my purposes include all of the following phenomena: thoughts, intentions, perceptions (sense impressions), emotions, memory, and imagination.

    I want to dispose of one thing at the outset. I am under no obligation whatsoever to prove that my philosophy is internally consistent, a deucedly difficult, if not impossible, thing to do in any case. I am describing my philosophy to you. I works for me. If you can show me that it is internally inconsistent (by demonstrating two contradictory propositions within it), I am definitely interested. But I have no desire to undertake the arduous task of attempting to prove its consistency.

    Let’s start with a question: What is it that we perceive when we perceive something? The answer is that what we perceive are perceptions, that is, phenomena of the mind. Our perceptions include sights, sounds, tastes, smells, heat, cold, sensations of touch. All of these are phenomena of the mind. When I look at something, say my desk, I see its shape and its color, etc. These sensations, these sights, are phenomena that exist in my mind. We can assume or believe that our perceptions give us information about objects that exist “out there” (that is, outside of our mind), but we can never know that this is true. Why? Because all knowledge of any world “out there” comes to us through our perceptions, and our perceptions are within the mind.

    Put another way, there is no reliable test that can tell us at any moment in time whether or not we are dreaming. There is no reliable test that can tell us that our perceptions are not entirely the product of mind.

    How about indirect evidence? Our perceptions during waking life seem to have two qualities that argue for their being a reflection of an externally existing reality: regularity and universality. Regularity in general means that they conform to the laws of physics. This can be exemplified by my experience that the coffee mug I left on my desk last night is still there in the morning. And if I leave on vacation for a week, it will still be there when I return (unless the cat has knocked it off). Universality means that my wife and son also experience the mug as being on the desk, and apparently even my cat. One explanation for these two qualities is that there really is a mug “out there”. But another is that all minds are connected in an invisible matrix that exists within the mind of God, and that God, for His purposes, maintains the regularity and universality that support the illusion of an external world. Either explanation fits our experience.

    What would God’s purpose be for maintaining such an illusion? I have explained my view of this in many other places, and to go through it again here would take way too much space, so I’ll leave that unexplained for now.

    To sum up, just based on our experience of the “external” world, both idealism and dualism are adequate explanations.

    Problems with Dualism

    The Mind/Body Problem: The most glaring problem with a dualistic philosophy is the mind/body problem. In dualism there are two different substances—mind and matter. They are completely different. Yet they each exert causal influences on the other. Intentionality in the mind is somehow able, through the brain (a material object) to cause the body (also a material object) to move and speak. Likewise, a dualistic point of view requires that the material body, through the senses sending nerve impulses to the brain, be able to create the qualia (mental phenomena) we experience: sights, sounds, tastes, etc. There is no explanation in dualism how the two completely different types of substance can influence each other. There is of course no mind/body problem in idealism because matter does not exist.

    Quantum Weirdness: In quantum mechanics, particles (of which all matter and energy are comprised) exist, if they can be said to exist at all, as Schrodinger “probability waves”, each of which is smeared throughout the entire universe. They only coalesce into a particular location when they are observed by a mind. This implies that when my wife and I (and the cat) close the bedroom door go to bed, leaving the living room empty of conscious entities, all of the particles comprising the living room revert to their Schrodinger equation state, and the living room ceases to exist as the living room we always experience when we are there. It takes an observing consciousness to get it back. Once again, in dualism the question begs to be answered: how is it possible that consciousness (mind) can have such a profound causal effect on matter, which supposedly exists independently of it? There are even quantum theoretical experiments in which the observer’s ability to collapse the Schrodinger equation travels BACKWARDS in time. In idealism, quantum mechanics simply represents the rules by which the illusion is created. It’s an interesting question why God would set it up so weirdly, but there are possible answers, one of which is that it is a very strong clue that what we perceive as reality is actually an illusion.

    Miracles: Jesus is not the only person of whom it was reported that he or she had the ability to perform miracles. There have been many, many such eyewitness reports of many, many people throughout history. I have even personally known people who have performed miracles. Miracles by definition are acts or events that violate the laws of the material universe. Such events really have no explanation in a dualistic system other than that all those reports are lies, or perhaps Divine intervention. But why would God intervene so many times in so many cultures with so many different people? In idealism (my version, remember), every person has the capacity to perform miracles, but most of us don’t really believe it, and unless you believe it, the ability is effectively unavailable to you, although it can be manifested even in ordinary people in times of crisis. There are many stories, for example, of a mother lifting a car off her child before she had time to realize that such an action was physically impossible for her, and a friend of mine as a young woman once actually teleported herself across her yard to escape an attacker (the attacker fled in terror).

    Others Who Share My Beliefs

    My purpose in listing others who agree with me is not to convince anyone that I am right by an appeal to authority argument. Rather, it is as evidence that my views are not as absurd and ridiculous as some of you have charged.

    Aside from many mystics, such as the Sufis, who regard this world as “the world of appearances” and not reality, there are a number of philosophers and others who share my idealistic philosophy. Among them are:

    Bishop Berkeley: I have mentioned him before, so I won’t say much about him, except that he is considered to be one of the great British empirical philosophers. John Stuart Mill wrote that he considered his work to be of “greatest philosophic genius”.

    Richard L. Thompson: Thompson is a mathematician who has done scientific research in quantum physics, mathematical biology, and remote sensing. He is the author of seven books, one of which is Maya, the World as Virtual Reality. In it, he reconciles modern physics in detail with the idea of our experience being virtual reality.

    Robert Lanza and Bob Berman: Robert Lanza, M. D. has hundreds of publications and inventions, and over two dozen scientific books: among them, “Principles of Tissue Engineering,” which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. Bob Berman is one of the best known astronomers in the world. Their book is Biocentrism. Before anyone attacks me, I know that that the authors do not come right out and say that they believe that all there is is mind, but if you read the book carefully, that is the only conclusion that makes sense from what they present, which is basically that the world does not exist until we perceive it. Our perception brings it into existence.

  237. 237

    StephenB: re #234.

    Nice little straw man argument. Not worthy of response, however.

  238. 238

    Bruce David,

    So a belief is sincerely held, so what? Sincere-ity doesn’t mean true. If you hold that conflicting and contradictory beliefs can be held sincerely, and that therefore, since they are held sincerely, that they are both true, well, this obviously cannot be true, because it is a contradiction.

  239. Bruce David, the evidence you discuss here;

    ‘There is no explanation in dualism how the two completely different types of substance can influence each other.’

    ,,,is false for we now do have evidence of how the transcendent mind influences the physical body,,,

    Quantum Coherence and Consciousness – Scientific Proof of ‘Mind’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6266865/

    Particular quote of note from preceding video;

    “Wolf Singer Director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (Frankfurt) has found evidence of simultaneous oscillations in separate areas of the cortex, accurately synchronized in phase as well as frequency. He suggests that the oscillations are synchronized from some common source, but the actual source has never been located.”
    James J. Hurtak, Ph.D. – Ph.D. on non-local consciousness

    I hold this evidence, from Wolf Singer, to be concrete proof for the ‘transcendent mind’ of man, since the ‘simultaneous actions’ in the brain are ‘instantaneous’ and are thus impossible to be explained by, or reduced to, any of the physical ‘space-time energy/matter’ chemical processes of the brain.

    ,, i.e. Bruce, if the brain were merely an illusion as you maintain, how in the world could we deduce a differentiation of action so as to deduce the presence of a mind in the experiment??? Your philosophy provides no framework for understanding this!!!

    ,,, As for all your other ‘quantum weirdness’ examples, focused mainly on violations of space-time constraints, this all actually fits very well within the Theistic framework (which is as such, transcendent framework, eternal framework, and temporal framework) and the quantum evidence certainly does not fit within the pantheistic framework since you hold there really is no distinct ‘separateness’ from god to be postulated, or measured in the first place! i.e. it actually should be very surprising to you that such ‘distinctness of time-frames’ exist since ‘all is god’ in your view.,,, That basically is the problem with your philosophy on all levels it is examined, put simply it is just a bunch of ‘flexible mush’ that makes no solid predictions for science, nor does it provide any solid foundation for one to live his life by. Myself, I choose the solid Theistic foundation of Christ, for that foundation provided the bedrock to launch the scientific revolution; as well as the bedrock for me to base my life on here and now, and as well certainly base it on in the life hereafter:

    The Christian Founders Of Science – Henry F. Schaefer III – video
    http://www.vimeo.com/16523153

    Solid Rock – the 5th service band Featuring TRU-SERVA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4jD70Y-mQ0

    ,, I also fascinated by the fact that Christ seems to have unified the ‘materialistic’ framework of general relativity with the theistic framework of quantum mechanics;

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    Turin Shroud 3-D Hologram – Face And Body – Dr. Petrus Soons – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5889891/

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

  240. 240

    Clive: “If you hold that conflicting and contradictory beliefs can be held sincerely, and that therefore, since they are held sincerely, that they are both true, well, this obviously cannot be true, because it is a contradiction.”

    When have I ever said that I hold that sincerity is a criterion of truth? My protestations of sincerity of belief were in response to being accused of dishonesty and hypocrisy, not as evidence of the validity of my philosophy.

  241. —Bruce: “Aside from many mystics, such as the Sufis, who regard this world as “the world of appearances”

    …..”Bishop Berkeley: I have mentioned him before

    …”John Stuart Mill wrote that he considered his work to be of “greatest philosophic genius”

    ….”Richard L. Thompson”

    ….”Robert Lanza and Bob Berman: Robert Lanza, M. D. has hundreds of publications and inventions,…”

    Did any of these men believe, as you do, that they were made in the image and likeness of God and that they were also the God in whose image they were made?

    Of course not.

    Did they, like you, think that they were both the Creator and the creature?

    Of course not.

    All the name dropping in the world will not help your case here.

  242. 242
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    “This implies that when my wife and I (and the cat) close the bedroom door go to bed, leaving the living room empty of conscious entities, all of the particles comprising the living room revert to their Schrodinger equation state, and the living room ceases to exist as the living room we always experience when we are there.”

    Unless of course, unbeknownst to you there is a thief in the living room shortly after you close your door, who manages to steal all your valuables. Of course, in your philosophy, neither the living room, the thief or your valuables actually exist, so a court of law could not logically hold the non-existent thief accountable for the theft if you are being consistent.

  243. 243
    CannuckianYankee

    Bruce,

    “Problems with Dualism

    The Mind/Body Problem: The most glaring problem with a dualistic philosophy is the mind/body problem. In dualism there are two different substances—mind and matter. They are completely different. Yet they each exert causal influences on the other. Intentionality in the mind is somehow able, through the brain (a material object) to cause the body (also a material object) to move and speak. Likewise, a dualistic point of view requires that the material body, through the senses sending nerve impulses to the brain, be able to create the qualia (mental phenomena) we experience: sights, sounds, tastes, etc. There is no explanation in dualism how the two completely different types of substance can influence each other. There is of course no mind/body problem in idealism because matter does not exist.”

    It is not a glaring problem, but reality. They compliment each other, rather than contradict.

    In order for you to have a logical problem with dualism, you really have to show that our dualistic nature is an absurd contradiction, which it is apparently not. When I think about doing something and do it in the real world, my thoughts complement my actions. While I can think of doing something that is impossible in the real world, I cannot actualize that thought in the real world. Also, that I can think of something and not do it demonstrates that I have the free-will to not do what I think. There’s really no contradiction.

    What is an absurd contradiction is your own belief that matter does not exist. It doesn’t work for you or anyone else in a universe where beliefs have very real consequences. It might work if living consistently with such beliefs is externally inconsequential, but I think we have shown that you can’t live consistently with that belief externally in the “real” world, no matter how many philosophers you have gathered around to agree with you.

    Your philosophy only works for you in the abstract, but it cannot be applied in any meaningful way to reality. For example, you cannot think of doing something impossible to do, and actualize it in the “real” world. You cannot make a square circle, for example. If your philosophy was consistent, you could think of pretty much any reality, and actualize it in the “real” world, because all that exists are your thoughts.

    This is why I asked you to demonstrate the internal consistency of your philosophy. It has no internal consistency, and as such, it is self-defeating; and when I say self-defeating, I mean in the “real” world of our experiences.

    You can only hold that the “real” world does not exist by first assuming that it doesn’t exist – Internally by your philosophy; which is circular. You appeal to the authority of others who think like you, but if you were to think consistently, they too do not exist. you could not appeal to anything outside yourself, and as such, you could not substantiate any of your claims apart from yourself. But the very fact that you do try to substantiate your beliefs outside yourself, demonstrates further that you are being inconsistent with what you claim to believe.

    Dualism is the only position, which allows us to deal with all reality – the physical and the abstract consistently. Materialists cannot be consistent, and strong idealists, such as yourself cannot be consistent.

    You might call it rigid and unimaginative, but somewhere down the line we need to be able to grasp reality without imagining that it is anything other than it is.

    To repeat what HSR stated:

    “To paraphrase Chesterton, the point of opening your mind is to close it again on something substantial.”

    This is exactly right.

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    To all of you attempting to show that my philosophy is absurd, inconsistent, etc., etc.

    In my view, all any of you are doing is demonstrating your inability to see beyond your own paradigms. What you all see as absurd or logically contradictory looks so to you because you are so mired in your own world view that you simply cannot see any other possibility.

    When you call my ideas absurd or self contradictory, then you not only call me a fool, you also call Bishop Berkeley, Richard Thompson, Robert Lanza, and Bob Berman fools. And fools they were and are not. I’m not saying you must agree with me, but you betray your own intellectual impoverishment when you attempt to reduce these ideas to absurdity or inconsistency. In calling these obviously brilliant deep thinkers fools, you only end up looking foolish yourselves.

    You really are just like the materialist who sees a belief in God or spirit as absolutely without any foundation other than wishful thinking, and has no problem at all with the absurdity that qualia are simply electrochemical activity in the brain.

    I’m tired of pointing out the errors in your criticisms, only to have it go over your heads yet again.

    I’ll let my ideas stand as I have presented them up to now. Let anyone reading this thread with an open mind judge for him or herself.

  245. —Bruce: “When you call my ideas absurd or self contradictory, then you not only call me a fool, you also call Bishop Berkeley, Richard Thompson, Robert Lanza, and Bob Berman fools. And fools they were and are not. I’m not saying you must agree with me, but you betray your own intellectual impoverishment when you attempt to reduce these ideas to absurdity or inconsistency. In calling these obviously brilliant deep thinkers fools, you only end up looking foolish yourselves.”

    You believe that were made in the image and likeness of God AND that we are also the God in whose image we are made. That belief is self contradictory. The painter cannot also be his painting. None of the men you mentioned ever subscribed to any such nonsense, so you should stop associating their names with it. You may be on board with their brand of self-centered Idealism, but they are not on board with your brand of irrational Pantheism.

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