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Everything posted by wellnamed

  1. I think the way Christians in Europe appropriated/incorporated pre-existing pagan holidays/rituals is fascinating but I think the idea that Easter -- as celebrated by modern Christians -- has nothing to do with Jesus is clearly wrong. They kept the pagan name (well, except the Eastern Orthodox) and some of those pagan-y aspects and substituted a lot of other symbolism about the resurrection. The relationship between any modern Christian holiday and the gospels or 1st century Christian practice is tenuous at best, but that's true across the board. Some Christians become very uncomfo
  2. Yeah, sounds about right. I don't think all attempts at rationalization are fundamentally dishonest, though. Clearly some are. Perhaps I'm just too sympathetic of people like myself
  3. nontheistpilgrim: it wouldn't surprise me if there were significant differences between the US and the UK, which I can't speak to, with regards to "pew Christians". Although I'm sure what you said about most people never being exposed to the difficult questions is true here too.
  4. I read something recently which touched on this general topic and I've lost the link But something like: the world is really complex, and we generally can achieve only a fairly limited understanding of a great many things with the info available to us. So, it's almost always possible for intelligent people to find ways to manipulate their working theories of the world to account for inconvenient facts while preserving the core of their beliefs. It's a form of rationalization. We probably all do it to some extent: it's easier to try to tweak our views than to have to reject our entire f
  5. Yeah, so I think it's clear that the genealogies exist because of the Jewish expectation at the time that the Messiah should be descended from David. It's probably worth mentioning that the doctrine of the Trinity comes about much later, in the fourth century, and was conceived of by Greek Christians who were much less concerned with that question, which might explain the apparent tension. If you read Gregory Nazianzen or the other principle inventors of the trinitarian doctrine you'll find they have their own reasons which are quite disconnected from Jewish concerns about the line
  6. I do think it's difficult for Christianity to escape its own exclusivism, reflected in the lyric you noticed. There's a lot of tradition to overturn to try to make Christianity into a pluralistic religion that can recognize other paths. "No one comes to the Father except through me" is pretty deeply baked in. So, to the extent that one of the fundamentals of fundamentalism (heh) is the belief that this is the only way I think your point is pretty valid. Attempts to make the religion more palatable in a modern, secular, pluralistic context have an uphill battle. It's a battle I eventually gave
  7. There are two important differences between these two propositions: The amount of time over which we are measuring the possibility of some outcome occurring and the difference in specificity between "living" and "non-living" as categories of matter and "alive" and "dead" as states of an individual. But really there's close to being the same difference. So, the odds of abiogenesis taking place over some short period of time in some specific place (say 3 days in Jerusalem :P) is vanishingly small, but we have a lot more than 3 days and a much wider possible context, and the processe
  8. Just curious, what makes you think this is more likely? I'm mostly ignorant but just from basic chemistry it seems like you just need the opportunity for various elements (and eventually compounds) to come into contact under the right conditions, and it's not clear to me why those conditions should be more likely off-planet. I guess I could imagine certain chemical combinations needing conditions that might be easier to arrange within stars or nebulae or whatever, but is there evidence for that regarding the specific compounds needed for abiogenesis?
  9. If you want to get way too picky, the SEP article on correspondence theories of truth is fun.
  10. Fair enough. I saw monergism mentioned but didn't think hard enough about the implications
  11. I haven't had a chance to keep up but I appreciate the update. I'm curious how it goes. It's so uncommon to see anything resembling an actual discussion between people with vastly differing views that I think it should certainly be encouraged. I mean I'm sure that from their perspective the goal is evangelization and I have no interest in that goal, but dialogue and mutual understanding is a very good thing imo, to whatever extent it's possible.
  12. Despite the fact that the N.T. proclaims that no one knows when, it's still clearly the case that the biblical texts contain this eschatological view of time, that there's a linear flow of events leading inexorably towards a conclusion. And I also think people intuitively grasp that it's a bit awkward to have that expectation sort of floating out there in space for thousands of years, when Jesus seemed to imply that it would be much shorter (e.g. Matthew 24:34). So I think that's important background that primes people to think in those terms. It's easy for people to think "the end must be soo
  13. nit: It's not logic that dictates that, it's experience I think your general point about the need to consider which explanations are more parsimonious (or abductively more likely) is good, and the recent conversations reminded me of this as well.
  14. Granted that apparently he was inviting people to debate, but their terms of service say: We do not "argue" with nor do we solicit the membership of people who espouse secular or cultic ideologies. We believe that our conversations are to be faith building and posts that advance heretical or apostate thinking will be immediately deleted and the poster permanently banned from the forum. This is a Christian community for people to explore the traditional theologies of Classical Protestantism. Those who would challenge the peace and harmony that we enjoy here as fellow believers are d
  15. I sort of randomly stumbled upon this blog from Scientific American today (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/how-wrong-should-you-be/) and part of it reminded me a bit of that explanation of healing, and the problem with ad hoc explanations: Here another answer comes from cognitive science, in a paper by Samuel Gershman of Harvard University titled “How to Never Be Wrong.” In the paper Gershman considers the problem of auxiliary hypotheses. The idea is that any given theory comes with a set of undisclosed assumptions, which can protect the core theory from being dis
  16. I think that's probably about right grammatically (as far as a translation), but I expect someone is trying to make too much of the different verb tenses. English does allow for a continuous present tense using a participle and some form of the verb to be, as you said: "We are being healed". But you wouldn't conclude purely from grammar that such a sentence implied that the healing never ends The grammar allows for it to some extent but I think people present what are fundamentally interpretive decisions as grammatical ones because presenting them as a consequence of grammar makes them seem m
  17. I've seen this stance before, although not all Christians accept it. From an outside perspective the most glaring problem with it is just that it's very ad hoc, a very "just so" explanation. From an internal Christian perspective the problem is that the justification for God ceasing to heal miraculously is pretty weak. It's clearly working backwards from the apparent lack of healings to find some explanation which could harmonize with biblical accounts of healing. Actually I guess that's the same complaint both times. It's noteworthy that this explanation is ad hoc regardless of whether or not
  18. Other than (perhaps) the "for shits and giggles" throwaway line, that seems like an entirely reasonable topic to me.
  19. I tend to prefer discussions to debates but the same ideas probably apply, except maybe the expectation that it's about changing people's minds? But I also suppose my criteria for participation is whether or not I find something interesting and not whether I think it fulfills some other purpose I would definitely have given up on internet message boards a long time ago if I thought the goal was to change people's minds on anything. I think it's clear though that people do change their minds about all kinds of things, it's just that it usually happens slowly over time rather than s
  20. I don't think this quite exhausts the list of reasons why one might choose to debate. I might debate a topic even when I expect that neither myself nor my interlocutors are likely to change our minds, if... - I think I might learn something new (even if it doesn't change my overall perspective). - I'm interested in understanding better how other people think about the topic, or in trying to understand more precisely where I think they are wrong - I'm interested in refining my ability to present a particular type of argument, or in figuring out better ways to communicate m
  21. I don't think this thread is even particularly hostile, but I also think it might be too much to expect no hostility. It's an interesting question though, about what the goal ought to be. It's an interesting idea that there is value to having an active Lion's Den for the benefit of demonstrating arguments against Christianity. I'm not sure everyone would agree with that though. Or, it's not clear whether that's preferable to just letting people ask questions about Christian arguments they are troubled by, no Christians needed? I can understand why some people are more hostile than others ju
  22. It's not the only consideration, but it's one that I find reasonably important. For example I would argue that there are theological constructions and views about a properly Christian way of life which would be easier to sustain if there was actually good evidence for something like the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. To be clear, there are also a great many theological and historical claims which I think are unsustainable regardless of the above. How one evaluates the likelihood of a virgin birth, a resurrection from the dead, or a great flood doesn't depend much on how Christians
  23. This is nitpicky but I think it's OK to call it a choice. Although I know what you mean, i.e. I think you mean that it's a choice which is compelled by the strength of the evidence (or lack thereof). It's not an arbitrary choice or a simple matter of subjective preference. It's a decision which we believe to be justified. We choose to disaffiliate from various religious groups, or to cease certain religious practices, or to disavow certain beliefs for good reasons. But I also think some people choose to continue their affiliations, practices and beliefs in many cases long after the
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