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Sermon On Fine Tune Argument


Neon Genesis
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The problem is that they claim to have seen Jesus after he was crucified. What kind of outside forces could have caused these types of experiences? If they were delude, it still doesn't explain an empty tomb. If they were deluded, it wouldn't likely have taken the form of seeing Jesus risen from the dead as the only resurrection they would know would be the general resurrection at the end of time. It also doesn't explain that many people would have to have had different delusional experiences at different times and in different places, while others would have to have had group delusional experience. Many have studied this claim and have found that it does not have explanatory power and scope to address all the details of what we know of the events. I would be happy to point to you some articles if you're interested.

 

We don't know the apostles themselves claimed to have seen the resurrected Jesus as we don't have access to the actual words of the apostles given that they didn't write anything down. What we have are gospels being written decades after the life of Jesus claiming the apostles had seen Jesus raised from the dead. But in the earliest manuscripts of Mark's gospel, which is the earliest gospel written, there are no records of the risen Jesus appearing to the apostles. The earliest Christian writings we have access to are the letters of Paul and nowhere in Paul's letters does he say there was an empty tomb nor does he reference any of the resurrection accounts in the gospels, like Jesus appearing in the upper room or doubting Thomas touching the flesh of Jesus. Paul's resurrection accounts are visions of a spiritual Jesus, not a physically raised Jesus. There is simply no evidence of an empty tomb other than later hearsay which is not evidence at all and it's more likely the Romans never even gave the body of Jesus back to the apostles but they fed Jesus' body to the dogs to be eaten.
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I actually don't the disciples were deceived by outside forces(unless jesus counts,which I think does to a certain extent), I would say there simply deluded but that is another debate entirely. I have my own views on that.

 

The problem is that they claim to have seen Jesus after he was crucified. What kind of outside forces could have caused these types of experiences? If they were delude, it still doesn't explain an empty tomb. If they were deluded, it wouldn't likely have taken the form of seeing Jesus risen from the dead as the only resurrection they would know would be the general resurrection at the end of time. It also doesn't explain that many people would have to have had different delusional experiences at different times and in different places, while others would have to have had group delusional experience. Many have studied this claim and have found that it does not have explanatory power and scope to address all the details of what we know of the events. I would be happy to point to you some articles if you're interested.

 

Did you ever reply to Hans/Oroborus' and my inquiry regarding if they were aware of the resurrection from the OT. Would they have been familiar with these stories, and would they have understood them as real happenings?

 

 

 

1 Kings 17:17-24 (English Standard Version)

 

Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son

17After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18And she said to Elijah,(A) "What have you against me, O(B) man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!" 19And he said to her, "Give me your son." And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20And he cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?" 21© Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child’s life[a] come into him again." 22And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and(D) he revived. 23And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, "See, your son lives." 24And the woman said to Elijah,(E) "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth."

 

2 Kings 4 18-37 (English Standard Version)

 

Elisha Raises the Shunammite’s Son

18When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. 19And he said to his father, "Oh,(M) my head, my head!" The father said to his servant, "Carry him to his mother." 20And when he had lifted him and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. 21And she went up(N) and laid him on the bed of the(O) man of God and shut the door behind him and went out. 22Then she called to her husband and said, "Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to(P) the man of God and come back again." 23And he said, "Why will you go to him today? It is neither(Q) new moon nor Sabbath." She said, "All is well." 24Then she saddled the donkey, and she said to her servant, "Urge the animal on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you." 25So she set out and came to the man of God® at Mount Carmel.

 

When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, "Look, there is the Shunammite. 26Run at once to meet her and say to her, 'Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?'" And she answered, "All is well." 27And when she came(S) to the mountain to the man of God, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, "Leave her alone, for she is in bitter distress, and the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me." 28Then she said, "Did I ask my lord for a son?(T) Did I not say, 'Do not deceive me?'" 29He said to Gehazi,(U) "Tie up your garment and(V) take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone,(W) do not greet him, and if anyone greets you, do not reply. And lay my staff on the face of the child." 30Then the mother of the child said,(X) "As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So he arose and followed her. 31Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. Therefore he returned to meet him and told him, "The child(Y) has not awakened."

 

32When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33So he went in and(Z) shut the door behind the two of them(AA) and prayed to the LORD. 34Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as(AB) he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up(AC) and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36Then he summoned Gehazi and said, "Call this Shunammite." So he called her. And when she came to him, he said, "Pick up your son." 37She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground.(AD) Then she picked up her son and went out.

 

(Sounds like full-contact CPR).

 

2 Kings 20-21

 

20So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of(T) Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21And as a man was being buried, behold, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha, and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

 

(Weird...what's going on here?)

 

So...these resurrection stories were unfamiliar to them?

 

Phanta

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Since you have yet to respond to my earlier reply I have decided to delve further into this statement. I've set aside all the ad hominem and misrepresentations in your post and instead decide to get the focus back on fine-tuning.

 

I'm not sure to what you are referring when you speak of ad hominem or misrepresentations, so I won't reply to these assertions directly. It would be helpful if you would make specific assertions, rather than these cryptic ones so that I could make a more direct response.

 

Stars are luminous massive celestial bodies that are held together by gravity, right? Thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen releases energy and this energy helps provide life sustaining light and energy we now enjoy on Earth. Stars are essential in a life sustaining universe, correct? Stars created almost all of the naturally occurring elements heavier than Helium, another necessary requirement for the development of life. What are the chances that stars would form given random chance not only in other universes but in this one as well? 1 in 4. 25% of the time given random chance at the outset of the formation of this or other universes, stars would form. Even more so if we interpret stars even more broadly. Even if the physical constants are not met for the formation of stars even White Dwarfs or Neutron stars would be able to form, themselves energy sources.

 

I don't know how you come up with your probabilities. It would seem that you would need to know a lot more to make such a determination. For example, what is the mass of the universe? What is the ratio of mass to gravity? Does the universe operate according to the same laws as ours? These are but a few questions that would need to be answered before any such calculation could be made. In other words, you are making blind speculations here.

 

So no, to appeal to brute facts is not an appeal to ignorance since the universe and it's physical constants are formed by random chance, and the physical constants that you cite as fine-tuning are able and have been show to hypothetically vary in star sustaining universes, one of the foundational requirements for life formation. The physical constants seen in this universe are in fact brute facts, since they are the result of random chance.

 

How do you come to conclude without question-begging that the universe's laws and constants are the result of random chance? Have you even considered how outlandish that statement is? I have given some of the figures for how finely tuned the universe's laws and constants are and they are beyond chance occurrences. Quantum physicist, John Polkinhorne has said that if you take just one parameter of the early picoseconds of the universe, the expansion in relation to the contraction of the universe, the probability of that precision happening by chance would be the same as taking aim at a one square inch object at the other end of the universe and hitting it bullseye. Barrow and Tipler figure that there are at least fifty constants that have to be fine tuned for a life-permitting universe to occur. Constants like the strength of gravity or the weak force which must be tuned to one part in ten to the 100. Each of these constants would have to be similarly fine tuned. You are exceeding the bounds of credulity to say that they all occurred at just the right time, in just the right way by chance alone.

 

How did we get a universe from nothing? If the total energy of the universe is balanced between positive energy (matter, antimatter, photons..) and negative energy (gravity) the resulting net energy of the universe is zero. The universe is essentially nothing, but is balanced between positive energy and negative energy. So what is needed for this universe to form is a small spark of energy, because well, the universe is inflating, right? Quantum fluctuations happen all the time, antiparticles and particles form all the time. Coupled with Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle one could potentially see a Quantum Fluctuation that would last long enough in order for that spark to happen.

 

This is of course one of the many theories about how the universe as we know it could form and it's one that I enjoy reading up on. It's an interesting concept and discussion it's shame a lot of the mathematics of it flies over my head though.

 

Here is the problem with your explanation, you assume energy exists, but that is not the definition of nothing, that would be something. So, you haven't addressed the question. This is a word trick that many scientists are trying to pull over. That if you balance positive energy and negative energy, you end up with a net zero. But where did the positive and negative energy originate? How about the law of gravity, from where did it originate? This is the explanation that Hawking is trying to advance, but it is getting serious critique by many of his colleagues, including Roger Penrose. Let's get back to the question of why anything exists rather than nothing at all? How did energy or matter come into existence? M-theory is one that may not be resolved in our lifetimes. It has approximately 10 to the 500 possible explanations, so it will take more powerful computers and a lot of testing at CERN to resolve it.

 

LNC

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I'm not sure to what you are referring when you speak of ad hominem or misrepresentations, so I won't reply to these assertions directly. It would be helpful if you would make specific assertions, rather than these cryptic ones so that I could make a more direct response.

 

See my later post, wherein you stated I was veering the conversation wildly in directions that were not pertinent to the conversation. Trying to control the debate and what we are discussing is attempting to wrest control of the conversation so that you can inject your own opinions without allowing the conversation to naturally progress of it's own accord.

 

 

I don't know how you come up with your probabilities. It would seem that you would need to know a lot more to make such a determination. For example, what is the mass of the universe? What is the ratio of mass to gravity? Does the universe operate according to the same laws as ours? These are but a few questions that would need to be answered before any such calculation could be made. In other words, you are making blind speculations here.

 

http://arxiv.org/PS_...0807.3697v1.pdf

 

While you talk past me, I speculated that universes containing stars are potentially life supporting universes right?

 

How do you come to conclude without question-begging that the universe's laws and constants are the result of random chance? Have you even considered how outlandish that statement is? I have given some of the figures for how finely tuned the universe's laws and constants are and they are beyond chance occurrences. Quantum physicist, John Polkinhorne has said that if you take just one parameter of the early picoseconds of the universe, the expansion in relation to the contraction of the universe, the probability of that precision happening by chance would be the same as taking aim at a one square inch object at the other end of the universe and hitting it bullseye. Barrow and Tipler figure that there are at least fifty constants that have to be fine tuned for a life-permitting universe to occur. Constants like the strength of gravity or the weak force which must be tuned to one part in ten to the 100. Each of these constants would have to be similarly fine tuned. You are exceeding the bounds of credulity to say that they all occurred at just the right time, in just the right way by chance alone.

 

http://arxiv.org/PS_...4/0604027v1.pdf

 

And how do you come to your conclusions without falling back to presuppositional arguments? Have you even considered how outlandish your statements are? You are exceeding the bounds of sanity by saying that they all occurred because your "definition" of a god magically popped them in to existence. Is it god or turtles all the way down?

 

Also, see earlier article. Let's hypothetically say, that the universe was fine-tuned by a deity. Myself and many others have asked, which deity than? Is it your classical "philosophical" deity? Really? Why?

 

Here is the problem with your explanation, you assume energy exists, but that is not the definition of nothing, that would be something. So, you haven't addressed the question. This is a word trick that many scientists are trying to pull over. That if you balance positive energy and negative energy, you end up with a net zero. But where did the positive and negative energy originate? How about the law of gravity, from where did it originate? This is the explanation that Hawking is trying to advance, but it is getting serious critique by many of his colleagues, including Roger Penrose. Let's get back to the question of why anything exists rather than nothing at all? How did energy or matter come into existence? M-theory is one that may not be resolved in our lifetimes. It has approximately 10 to the 500 possible explanations, so it will take more powerful computers and a lot of testing at CERN to resolve it.

 

LNC

Dude, seriously you are talking past me at this point. You are assuming nothing exists, sure philosophically even scientifically we can debate this topic on end for hours. How do you define nothing? But if you, LNC, define it, it is still something because you are attaching meaning to it. Nothing is used as an indefinite pronoun, which of course means something! Would you define consciousness as nothing as opposed to the brute existence of a tree, which has more "being"? Does the First Law of Thermodynamics apply to a non-closed system because the system has yet to be set?

Yes, I am familiar with Roger Penrose, thank you. Is it possible that during the big bang, black holes the size of a nucleus popped into existence due to the quantum foam? The interesting thing is that the tinier a black hole, the more powerfully space-time is distorted around it and distortions in space-time allude to the existence of strong gravitational fields. Hawking has shown that gravitational fields surrounding such a hole would give enough energy to the quantum foam to coerce the particles into real existence. Calculations show that in the big bang the initial extreme conditions would also have been enough to create real particles out of the gravitational energy of the rapidly expanding universe.

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Okay, we agree. FrogsToadBigGrin.gif

 

 

Woot!

 

Still ignores the evolution of our species, and the various other species that died out on this planet. All 99% of them.

 

 

Why is that necessarily a bad thing? We wouldn't have the fossil fuel that we have were it not for all of those animals dying off so long ago. One could argue that it is because of all of these previous species living and dying that we are able to sustain ourselves today. Why do you see extinction of species to be a problem?

 

The issue at hand is whether or not this planet is truly hospitable to life as we experience it. Is this planet the result of a creator who finely-tuned this planet to be hospitable to all life, or is it a planet that formed with the necessary elements, physical properties, ozone layer and various other requirements for life to evolve?

 

 

Your scope is quite narrow. The only reason that this planet can exhibit life-sustaining properties is because it is within a universe that allows it to have these properties. The universe is finely tuned such that this planet can also be finely tuned to permit life, and higher life forms at that. The planet is hospitable to life, even higher life forms, and we are the evidence of that fact.

 

I could delve in to this but it may derail the conversation. Free will and whatnot is a whole other can of worms.

 

 

OK, we can set that aside for later. But, the other question I asked is whether you believe that every life form is a result of God creating that specific life form, or do you believe in some forms of evolution that allow new species and strains to come about?

 

Good I am glad you have watched them. Speculation is different than positing a non-falsifiable deity. Metaphysically, Christians cannot agree on the exact nature of their deity, so what world-view or version of the Christian deity do we insert? Certainly, many scientists disagree, that is the point of science. To disagree and offer up various explanations that best fit observable data.

 

The Christian world-view cannot agree on: 1) Where we come from; 2) What is our purpose; 3) How do we get along; and 4) Where we are going. The myriad of thoughts and revelations within the Christian world-view become so muddled, divining which one is right based off no ultimate grounding results in the many variations we see today.

 

 

Non-falsifiable theories that are posited as science are worse than positing a deity. One can falsify the existence of a deity in many ways. 1) show that the universe always existed or came about out of nothing, by nothing; 2) show that life came about via natural processes; 3) show that morality can be objectively grounded apart from a deity; 4) show that consciousness and intentionality can be naturalized; 4) falsify the resurrection of Jesus; 5) show that the existence of evil cannot be reconciled with God's existence.. These are just some of the ways that one could make a run at falsifying God's existence.

 

When you say that Christians can't agree on the exact nature of God, to what are you referring? If it involves peripheral issues, that is irrelevant; however, if it involves core issues, that is different. So, maybe you could inform me as to what those differences are and who are the parties that hold them. So far, all you have done is made an assertion with no evidential support.

 

I have not posited that science holds the keys to ALL knowledge, a misrepresentation on your part. Application of the basic Scientific Method is our best tool for obtaining knowledge, if it is not, please demonstrate how it is not.

 

 

Great, what else would you consider as sources of knowledge besides science? Would you consider philosophy to be a valid field of knowledge? Here is a problem with saying that science is our best tool for obtaining knowledge, and this is a problem I posed in my last post; prove that statement scientifically. You cannot. So, this best method cannot even prove that it is the best method.

 

Part of the argument as I stated before was that if we find gaps in knowledge, how do we fill that gap? Do we posit the existence of a non-falsifiable deity, who himself comes with logical fallacies? So you stated, "What are these logical fallacies?" And I responded in kind. And now you respond back saying I am leading the discussion down various paths, when one of the facets of the argument against the fine-tuning of the universe is how the universe as we observe it does not fit in with the generic deity of the Christian world-view. This is not even the specific deity of the Christian world-view or even the specific deity that humans have believed, but rather one with a laundry list of attributes. The Problem of Evil is indeed a facet of the argument for or against the fine-tuning of the universe, because a universe that is "hostile" or contains evil makes us call into question the creative abilities of the deity in question. So basically, I have responded to your posts, and to which you reply that I am not keeping the topic on hand, even though the topic arrived at that point through our own conversation.

 

I would like to hear your alternative supernatural explanation for the universe, if at least to clear the air.

 

What are the specific gaps in knowledge that you see and want to fill? Until you identify the gaps, you cannot seek the answers to fill them. Again, you are making a false claim, that God's existence is a non-falsifiable claim. I have given five ways that one could begin to falsify God's existence. There are debates that you can watch on YouTube that are based upon whether God exists. These are smart people and they wouldn't waste their time if it was a non-falsifiable claim as you believe. You make the claim that God comes with logical fallacies - to what are you referring? It would be helpful when you make these assertions, if you would provide some basis for them. It is difficult to answer baseless charges and it is also a waste time.

 

You haven't done more than make assertions about the universe not fitting with God's existence, I need more to go by. I need specific details as to why you believe your assertion to be valid. I don't consider empty assertions to be valid arguments. If you want to deal with the POE, then make a specific case for it. However, I don't think it really has anything to do with fine tuning, it is a wholly separate argument. You haven't shown that the universe is hostile, you have shown that it has events that are actually necessary for the survival of life on the planet (tectonic activity), so you cannot simply say that God could both stop that activity and also supernaturally preserve life on the planet. You also must show that it is incumbent upon God to spare living creatures from any pain and suffering. I don't see how that follows when the Fall is taken into account.

 

My view is that the universe came into existence at the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago. It came into existence out of nothing, but the act of a Creator. I believe that the universe is extremely fine tuned for the existence of life and that life came about by the creative act of God. What other details do you want?

 

LNC

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Why is that necessarily a bad thing? We wouldn't have the fossil fuel that we have were it not for all of those animals dying off so long ago. One could argue that it is because of all of these previous species living and dying that we are able to sustain ourselves today. Why do you see extinction of species to be a problem?

 

Death, sex, reproduction, extinction even is a part of the evolutionary process. I don't see it is a problem, the way that I would see it as a problem would be in trying to reconcile the existence of a loving, personal God, why couldn't/wouldn't this God conceive of a better process? You say it is a God who can't act contrary to his nature and is "limited" in acting through the natural order. How is this God any different than a Pantheist view of a God? Would this God be different than Einstein's "God"? Would this God be able to perform miracles if it is limited to working only within the natural order of things?

 

Your scope is quite narrow. The only reason that this planet can exhibit life-sustaining properties is because it is within a universe that allows it to have these properties. The universe is finely tuned such that this planet can also be finely tuned to permit life, and higher life forms at that. The planet is hospitable to life, even higher life forms, and we are the evidence of that fact.

 

And I would argue that your scope is quite narrow by citing your previous statement on the extinction of species within the Christian world-view. The planet is semi-hospitable enough for evolutionary process to take place in order to give rise to the life as we now see it, despite the extinction of mass amounts of species beforehand. Surely, you see the hypocrisy of arguing that previous species died out just so we could have fossil fuels is not a limited world-view? Mass extinction happened so that soccer mom's could drive Escalades?

 

 

OK, we can set that aside for later. But, the other question I asked is whether you believe that every life form is a result of God creating that specific life form, or do you believe in some forms of evolution that allow new species and strains to come about?

 

Why would I believe it was through any other process? You have stated that diseases and viruses were the result of the Fall of Man, where did these things originate? Where did the concept of these things come from if there was a deity that created "everything". A deity who acts only in the natural world seems to me to be nothing more than Pantheistic in that, you do not believe that this deity can act contrary to it's natural definition. What is different from this view of a God than from Einstein's view of a "God"? Is this God able to perform miracles which are contrary to the natural processes?

 

Non-falsifiable theories that are posited as science are worse than positing a deity. One can falsify the existence of a deity in many ways. 1) show that the universe always existed or came about out of nothing, by nothing; 2) show that life came about via natural processes; 3) show that morality can be objectively grounded apart from a deity; 4) show that consciousness and intentionality can be naturalized; 4) falsify the resurrection of Jesus; 5) show that the existence of evil cannot be reconciled with God's existence.. These are just some of the ways that one could make a run at falsifying God's existence.

 

I would like your opinion on why they are non-falsifiable? What makes them non-falsifiable? Is your God testable?

 

1) Yes, and? 2) Yes, and? 3) No, and? You are basing your morality on what?? A deity whom 4 billion people disagree with you on? Do you base your morality on the Bible? If so, which interpretation? 4) What is consciousness, please define it and show how it interacts with the material through the immaterial? 5) the existence of evil is one of the strongest arguments against the existence of God, refute it. And don't say I haven't "defined" it and dodge yet another question, you know what the problem is. Refute the existence of natural evil, of gratuitous evil and the concept of evil itself, from whence does it come if a deity created "everything"?

 

When you say that Christians can't agree on the exact nature of God, to what are you referring? If it involves peripheral issues, that is irrelevant; however, if it involves core issues, that is different. So, maybe you could inform me as to what those differences are and who are the parties that hold them. So far, all you have done is made an assertion with no evidential support.

 

Talk about dodging the issue! Is your God omnipotent or omnipotent enough to act only within the natural world? What are the characteristics of God? Is he loving, or is he a jealous God? Is he omniscient or is he only able to judge the future actions of humans? Is he immutable or is he able to change? To what "peripheral" issues do you allude? If you can't decide on "peripheral" issues, how will you find a definition on specifics? See earlier post on logical fallacies of God, which you dismissed by saying I was "angry" at God and leading the conversation down various paths beyond the topic.

 

Great, what else would you consider as sources of knowledge besides science? Would you consider philosophy to be a valid field of knowledge? Here is a problem with saying that science is our best tool for obtaining knowledge, and this is a problem I posed in my last post; prove that statement scientifically. You cannot. So, this best method cannot even prove that it is the best method.

 

I would consider science our best method of obtaining knowledge based on it's results, do you have a better method of obtaining knowledge? Prove that it isn't. Philosophy and all of it's corresponding fields are able to obtain knowledge certainly, but often times lead to abstract thought experiments. Do these lead to truths in and of themselves or do they expose the path to truth by exposing paradoxes and revealing a truth beyond the stated truth?

 

What are the specific gaps in knowledge that you see and want to fill? Until you identify the gaps, you cannot seek the answers to fill them. Again, you are making a false claim, that God's existence is a non-falsifiable claim. I have given five ways that one could begin to falsify God's existence. There are debates that you can watch on YouTube that are based upon whether God exists. These are smart people and they wouldn't waste their time if it was a non-falsifiable claim as you believe. You make the claim that God comes with logical fallacies - to what are you referring? It would be helpful when you make these assertions, if you would provide some basis for them. It is difficult to answer baseless charges and it is also a waste time.

 

You haven't done more than make assertions about the universe not fitting with God's existence, I need more to go by. I need specific details as to why you believe your assertion to be valid. I don't consider empty assertions to be valid arguments. If you want to deal with the POE, then make a specific case for it. However, I don't think it really has anything to do with fine tuning, it is a wholly separate argument. You haven't shown that the universe is hostile, you have shown that it has events that are actually necessary for the survival of life on the planet (tectonic activity), so you cannot simply say that God could both stop that activity and also supernaturally preserve life on the planet. You also must show that it is incumbent upon God to spare living creatures from any pain and suffering. I don't see how that follows when the Fall is taken into account.

 

My view is that the universe came into existence at the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago. It came into existence out of nothing, but the act of a Creator. I believe that the universe is extremely fine tuned for the existence of life and that life came about by the creative act of God. What other details do you want?

 

And there are debates that you can go on and watch on YouTube that debate God's existence. See previous post on logical fallacies, but wait, I thought I was leading the conversation down so many different paths? So I answer you, and now you say I haven't answered you! Talk about a non-answer!

 

It is difficult to have a debate with you if you constantly shift the focus of the debate, and then try to refocus it on a previous topic that I have already posited queries about. Reframing the entire debate seems to be your modus operandi where you attempt to bring the conversation back to your own purview and take the conversation back past the handful of posts, leaving us in a circular conversation, where you will respond that I have baseless and unfounded claims. Really, LNC? This is the way you argue?

 

God of the gaps - is there a natural explanation for the origins of the universe or a supernatural one? Why is there a supernatural one? If every other mystery in the universe so far has been found to have a natural explanation it would seem you have shrinking gap. But of course, you would say that God only acts within natural processes, well what differentiates your god from a Pantheistic god? Can't I say God is everything contained within the natural order of things? But will you begin tacking on various attributes that you can't prove? "There is a gap" in our understanding of something, therefore a supernatural occurence or reason must be inserted. Why is your explanation better than a natural one?

 

Your limited, naturalistic God does not actually seem that different than from a Pantheist God. Why is your God separate from nature if it can only act within nature? If it can act outside of nature, why didn't it create outside of nature?

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Non-falsifiable theories that are posited as science are worse than positing a deity.

 

No they aren't - this is just asinine.

 

btw you've been here for over two years and never gained an inch with anyone on anything. Better ask your 'god' for some better arguments, or maybe ask it to drop us some real, honest, incontrovertible proof it's actually there.

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Unless we define what God is like, we cannot determine whether he exists.

That's rather an odd take!

 

If something exists you observe its characteristics; all agree that's how it looks/smells/behaves/reacts/etc., and that observation is then the definition of the thing. You can't just make up something to have certain qualities and then set about proving it's real.

 

Yes, we do that with God as well; however, philosophically, we have to make other assumptions as well and then test them. Perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, etc.

 

LNC

 

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Lnc's method also is biased.

 

All of our methods are biased  to some extent, yours as well.

 

The key is to identify where our biases reside and to then try to compensate for them.<br><br>LNC

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Yes, we do that with God as well; however, philosophically, we have to make other assumptions as well and then test them. Perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, etc.

How?

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The problem is, that feature you would name white on Tuesdays green on Saturdays doesn't change, its from a definition sense, retarded to name something different on Tuesday, but the name doesn't change what it actually is. That would be reality, something that is material but doesn't change because of perception. That reality is what logic, regardless of label is based of. If its Thursday and the label changes so what, its just the label changes, not the actually perceived thing. I am also assuming nature is uniform in this, if you want to know. I am also assuming that there is, a reality that is not based in perception and that would exist regardless of our existence.

 

I probably should have been clearer to say, that labels are not important, its what that is being labeled that is. And its what is being labeled (nature) that where logical absolutes come from.

 

If we have no reason to believe it could possibly change, why consider the possibility. Nature is after all understood to be uniform at all times.

 

How can logical absolutes come from matter? Matter does not make logical relations as matter has no intentionality (thoughts that are about other things). Matter is the movement of particles and that movement is not about anything, so logic cannot be grounded in matter. Logic can be about material things, but it is a category error to claim that logic comes from nature.

 

LNC

 

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I'm not saying that our nature is immutable, that is only true of God. However, we do have eternal natures, I believe.

So you're saying that the phrase "in the image of God" really means "eternal nature," nothing else?

 

So the phrase is kind of a figure of speech, not literally "image," right?

 

No, I am not saying that eternality is the only aspect that we share with God's nature. We also have mind, emotion, and will, which are three more aspects that we share and which do not derive from matter. I believe that image means image, that we reflect some of God's nature, it is not a mere figure of speech.

 

Because of the Fall of man our natures have been corrupted from the way that we were initially created. That is why we are different from what we are intended to be. Jesus came to earth to show us what man was intended to be and to offer the opportunity to be restored to that original nature. The culmination of that restoration won't happen in this life, but in the next; however, the offer is there and the price has been paid by Jesus for our redemption and restoration.

So is this a different image of God or the same as the eternal image?

 

The image (the same image) was marred by the Fall and Jesus came to bring restoration for all who would trust in him.

 

LNC

 

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So are your talking about logic absolutes, or logic fully, because I would say that all logic is based of absolutes like non contradiction just as a example. I would like to know, if you think there is a difference or not. The absolutes of logic would always exist regardless of our existence. Just because we might not exist doesn't mean things can violate the three logical absolutes. Now all the stuff that we would base of those absolutes would be gone, but not those absolutes.

 

Logic would not exist in the absence of minds since logic consists of concepts and concepts are the products of minds. Like I said, if all that existed was mindless matter, then logic would not exist. If there is no thinking, there is no contradiction. Contradiction is when two ideas are opposite at the same time and in the same way. However, if there are no minds, there are no ideas, therefore, no logic. Think about it. Logic is propositional in nature and with no minds, there are no propositions.

 

I used the word concept, with the assumption of the existence of our minds. Like I said above, logical absolutes would still exist but anything based of that would be lost. I assumed you recognized the difference, maybe you don't based of what your saying, between logic as whole and the absolutes which all of logic is based on. Can I explain how a mind exists from a purely naturalistic perspective. Not really. I do have a problem with the other option, we have no evidence of a mind existing without matter. Seems to me, matter is a necessary part of the equation. How that translates from matter to non matter, I can' really say.

 

I have explained above why logical absolutes would not exist apart from minds, so I won't repeat myself. The problem is that you seem to think of logic as somehow non-propositional and that is false. In fact, please explain how logic could exist without propositions. It can't be done. You are left with matter bumping into other matter, that's all. Whether matter is a necessary part of the equation, mind is not equivalent to matter. I can say that matter didn't always exist and as for mind, it either emanates from matter as a property, in which case it would be a complete ride along with no downward causal effects, or it exists as a different non-material part of us, which means that it would require origin other than matter. That would seem to indicate a pre-existent mind. However, I can argue for a disembodied mind by arguing that the cause and fine tuning of the universe is as a result of this mind.

 

We probably could just for the sake of it, drop objective morals and pick that up later. But my point there was, We first hear about god in that era, the laws and regulations of the NT and OT reflect that era. If there was some objective moral divine absolute, then all "moral improvements" like say women liberation or gay rights, or just simply dropping the barbarism would be a sin and therefore wrong. Outside of the rather unintellectual issues with that, which say I or any other atheist would have with that, it begs credulity. Even if we failed and sinned, etc, we still wouldn't be glibly put "more moral then god." Unless moral is at least partially subjective, we wouldn't see moral change from then. Morality would be more consistent at least some level throughout different society and through history itself. Unless you believe we are incapable of any good at all really.

 

We first hear about it during this time as that is the first time people were able to codify and write down these types of events and regulations; however, it doesn't mean that they didn't exist prior to that time. Again, don't confuse the grounding of morality with its application, that is only to mix up two arguments together. Morality is either subjective in nature or objective. To say it is at least partially subjective is to say that it is objective. For if any moral value is objective in nature, then morality is objective. Now, people may apply morality subjectively, but that doesn't mean that morality is subjective, it just means that people are applying the principles that way. If it is always wrong to torture babies for fun (something I believe is an objective principle), then whether I decide that I think it is OK to do on every third Tuesday of the month is irrelevant to the objective nature of the principle. But again, let's not confuse tow arguments together, those being how we ground morality (the ontology) and how we understand morality (the epistemology).

 

LNC

 

 

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Unless we define what God is like, we cannot determine whether he exists.

That's rather an odd take!

 

If something exists you observe its characteristics; all agree that's how it looks/smells/behaves/reacts/etc., and that observation is then the definition of the thing. You can't just make up something to have certain qualities and then set about proving it's real.

 

Yes, we do that with God as well; however, philosophically, we have to make other assumptions as well and then test them. Perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, etc.

 

LNC

Remember, Sybaris said that the definition you quoted was speculation, and you said it was a definition instead. In this definition, you set about to propose certain qualities. If we really observe and agree upon god's characteristics too, then what is a definition can you provide for him based on observation, as opposed to as opposed to making an a priori assumption that god has certain qualities and creating your definition from those assertions? Where has god, and some of his qualities been observed? Based on this observation, how does god look, smell, behave, react?

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Yes, we do that with God as well; however, philosophically, we have to make other assumptions as well and then test them. Perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, etc.

How?

I would like to know this, as well. Do you believe we have tested god's perfection, omnipotence, and omniscience? Do you believe someone has confirmed these qualities by testing them? If so, describe the test(s) performed and the results that lead you to your conclusions.

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Unless we define what God is like, we cannot determine whether he exists.

That's rather an odd take!

 

If something exists you observe its characteristics; all agree that's how it looks/smells/behaves/reacts/etc., and that observation is then the definition of the thing. You can't just make up something to have certain qualities and then set about proving it's real.

 

Yes, we do that with God as well; however, philosophically, we have to make other assumptions as well and then test them. Perfection, omnipotence, omniscience, etc.

 

LNC

Remember, Sybaris said that the definition you quoted was speculation, and you said it was a definition instead. In this definition, you set about to propose certain qualities. If we really observe and agree upon god's characteristics too, then what is a definition can you provide for him based on observation, as opposed to as opposed to making an a priori assumption that god has certain qualities and creating your definition from those assertions? Where has god, and some of his qualities been observed? Based on this observation, how does god look, smell, behave, react?

Of course, if we actually where able to make good observations, we wouldn't have 1000's of different religions.

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I will credit you lnc with this, you have had to make me, become more thought out in my views on logic, thank you for that.

 

I get the impression lnc, you would think, it we don't exist, reality wouldn't look like it does, it would somehow change. Statements like, things can't countradict, or be two different things, things like that. What are the absolutes, they are the realities of noncountradiction, law of excluded middle etc. Like you always triumph, absolutes always exist. Define a absolute for me, within the context of logic?

The following quote comes in relation to the transcendental arguement, but the wording it used is similar to what I am trying to use. I tried to put the idea, which i agree with in my own form, but its just isn't working so I have to quote it.

 

It is true that the conceptual statement that 'A=A' cannot be photographed, frozen weighed or measured. It is an abstract. However the semantic statement refers to the physical nature of things that do exist and are material and are absolutely contingent on physical existence. Atoms are [Atoms]. Motion is not, [not motion]. Heat is not [heat and not heat] at the same time
http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=TAG#Version_2 Logic, as we know of it, wouldn't exist without a mind able to process it, since no concepts can be created without a mind to either conjure them up or observe them. But its basis would always exist, because its reality. The semantic statements(the concepts) would be gone,but the physical existence which they are based on would still be here. If all there is no universe, and just blackness there is no logic either. Since there is nothing to base the concepts off of. They couldn't form without the basis. So yes one could say reality and nature is logical, even if one its not around to say it is or conceptualize it. Its not logical to say, light can exist in the same place as dark, because physical existence doesn't allow it to happen. But if a mind didn't exist would there be a thing to be around to think that no, if there is a mind, anyone could do that, god or us. Anyone can say with certainty what reality can or can't do.

 

Logic is a proposition, how so? And even if it was, its just a declaration of reality, which exists the way it is, regardless of minds.

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We first hear about it during this time as that is the first time people were able to codify and write down these types of events and regulations; however, it doesn't mean that they didn't exist prior to that time.

How, is those laws not existing before there creation even possible, unless god and his law are two different standards.

 

Morality is either subjective in nature or objective.
What about, speaking outside of what I previously argued, there being a objectively that is applied a in a multitude of different ways. I would say for example, via the evolutionary explainable for morality, that preventing harm is the objective point. Now how that is applied, its its application.
To say it is at least partially subjective is to say that it is objective.
How the hell does that work?

 

Now, people may apply morality subjectively, but that doesn't mean that morality is subjective, it just means that people are applying the principles that way.
I agree

 

If it is always wrong to torture babies for fun (something I believe is an objective principle), then whether I decide that I think it is OK to do on every third Tuesday of the month is irrelevant to the objective nature of the principle. But again, let's not confuse tow arguments together, those being how we ground morality (the ontology) and how we understand morality (the epistemology).

 

LNC

Funny I agree with you for the most part, I tried to voice my disagreements, but I don't think that destroys what I am saying, because I am arguing, for what would be the consequence of a theistic version of what I believe to be set out by evolution. I am saying if there is a god given objective morality(which I would define at best, the types of things set out by the Old testament) that, there would be less application, less well subjectivity to be frank about it, just simply, one set pattern, throughout the ages.

 

If you must now what I think its the evolutionary version of that one set pattern, its avoiding harm to yourself and others.

 

Funny how much we actually agree on this, and how profound the differences are.

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Lnc's method also is biased.

 

All of our methods are biased to some extent, yours as well.

 

The key is to identify where our biases reside and to then try to compensate for them.LNC

 

Your a christian apologist. No offence,but as far as I can tell, bias, is the name of the game. Its one of the reasons, I lost faith the soundness of apologetic arguements, it requires one, to be bias towards christianity.

 

But I do agree with what you said. I am just saying, i am not sure how well you apply that.

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Which Christian worldview? Catholics say that God created the universe through the big bang and evolution and that Genesis is just a fable. Why should I believe your claims over theirs?

 

I would say the Christian worldview that most closely aligns with the Bible as that is considered to be revealed truth. Now, you make claims about the Roman Catholic understanding of the Bible and I would ask you to back up that claim with official Catholic statements as those are the only that actually speak for the Catholic church (of which I am not a member). I don't know of any official Catholic teaching that states that Genesis is a fable, nor do I see the Pope making those statements. Can you point me to your source for these assertions? However, even if the Pope did make such statements, the Christian worldview is what God has revealed it to be, not what man has corrupted it to be when that has happened.

 

 

Gnostics say that the universe was created by an evil false god. Why should I believe your claims over theirs? Which Christian purpose should I believe in? The purpose we're supposed to follow is different by denomination. The End Times Christians say our purpose is to get the Jews back into power in Israel to bring about the Second Coming. Christian Reconstructionists say our purpose is to turn America into a Christian theocracy that should be ruled by Old Testament law. Evangelical Christians say our purpose is to convert the world to their version of Christianity. Liberal Christians say our purpose is to execute social justice through liberation theology views. Which Christian purpose is the correct one and why should I follow your purpose over anyone else's? Christians don't agree with each other on anything in morality. Some Christians say God loves and accepts homosexuals while other Christians say gays should be put to death. Some Christians say abortion is murder while other Christians believe it's a woman's right to choose. Some Christians believe women should be submissive to men and not be allowed to preach or have leadership roles. Other Christians believe that God allows women to preach and support equal rights for women. Some Christians believe Jesus calls Christians to practice non-violent pacifism while other Christians use the bible to justify violence and wars. So which Christian morality should we believe in and why should we believe your morals over any other Christian's? Christians don't agree with each other on what happens when we die. Some Christians say everyone goes to heaven. Others say only true Christians go to heaven. Some Christians say hell is a spiritual separation from God. Others believe hell is a real physical place. Some Christians say hell is only temporary and other Christians say hell is eternal. Which afterlife belief is the correct one and why should I believe your afterlife belief over other Christians'?

 

I don't know that the Gnostics have ever been recognized as being Christians, so that is a non-starter as an argument.

 

As for the Christian purpose, it is clearly defined in the Bible, the purpose of man is to worship God and glorify him forever. It is not that God needs our worship, so don't go that route with your response. God is not some egoist - he is self-sufficient and needs nothing, still it is right for man to worship God as God deserves worship.

 

I think you are confusing some secondary ideas with ultimate purpose when you cite these various groups. I don't know that any of them would say that this is the ultimate purpose of man. How do I know? Well, let's take a couple of examples you cite. The so-called Second Coming Christians would not have existed within the early church as the Jews were in the land of Israel. The Christian Reconstructionists idea would not fit within Biblical Christianity either as America didn't exist, nor was it even a thought in the early church. Nowhere in the Bible does it speak of converting the whole world and as an Evangelical myself, I've never heard this given as a purpose for being a Christian. In fact, I cannot convert anyone, that is the job of God. Liberal theological views didn't exists as you state them until the late 19th to early 20th century, so that doesn't make sense of the Bible. Although the Bible does speak much about justice, that is not the first calling of Christians.

 

Regarding agreement among Christians about morality, it depends who you define as a Christian and from where they derive their views on morality. I would agree that there are many who call themselves Christian who don't reflect the views of the Bible. So, it gets down to the question of what defines a person, what they call themselves or what they believe. Man's opinions and views are not what is important, it is what God thinks. I don't align my thinking with that of man, I try to align my thinking with that of God. If a person calls himself a Christian, yet denies all that the Bible teaches and lives in a manner that is contradictory to what a Christian is called to, I would then go with what Jesus said:

 

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." Luke 6:43-45

 

Again, what is most important is not what man says, but what God says, and we learn about what God says and thinks through the Bible.

 

LNC

 

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As for the Christian purpose, it is clearly defined in the Bible, the purpose of man is to worship God and glorify him forever. It is not that God needs our worship, so don't go that route with your response. God is not some egoist - he is self-sufficient and needs nothing, still it is right for man to worship God as God deserves worship.

 

Your a smart fellow lnc, but sometimes you don't see bullshit when it stares you straight in the face. If he is self sufficient and needs nothing, whats the point of this. So if he doesn't need people worshiping him, why create a situation, that even made worse, by the creation of hell. Was he bored, if it didn't satisfy some need, this is bad, and it doesn't satisfy some need and just did it anyway,the situation seems to me, to be more cruel and evil then before. And even if I am wrong on the cruel and evil part, it still seems awfully unnecessary. At least to me.

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I would say the Christian worldview that most closely aligns with the Bible as that is considered to be revealed truth. Now, you make claims about the Roman Catholic understanding of the Bible and I would ask you to back up that claim with official Catholic statements as those are the only that actually speak for the Catholic church (of which I am not a member). I don't know of any official Catholic teaching that states that Genesis is a fable, nor do I see the Pope making those statements. Can you point me to your source for these assertions? However, even if the Pope did make such statements, the Christian worldview is what God has revealed it to be, not what man has corrupted it to be when that has happened.

It has long been accepted that Catholicism is compatible with evolution and the big bang and Catholics don't believe Genesis is a literal account. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19956961/ns/world_news-europe/
LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy — Pope Benedict XVI said the debate raging in some countries — particularly the United States and his native Germany — between creationism and evolution was an “absurdity,” saying that evolution can coexist with faith.

 

The pontiff, speaking as he was concluding his holiday in northern Italy, also said that while there is much scientific proof to support evolution, the theory could not exclude a role by God.

 

“They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the pope said. “This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”

 

 

I don't know that the Gnostics have ever been recognized as being Christians, so that is a non-starter as an argument.

This is a No True Scotsman fallacy and you just ignored my question again and didn't answer why I should believe you over the Gnostics.

 

As for the Christian purpose, it is clearly defined in the Bible, the purpose of man is to worship God and glorify him forever. It is not that God needs our worship, so don't go that route with your response. God is not some egoist - he is self-sufficient and needs nothing, still it is right for man to worship God as God deserves worship.

What is the correct way to worship God and how do you know your way of worshiping God is the correct one?

 

The Christian Reconstructionists idea would not fit within Biblical Christianity either as America didn't exist, nor was it even a thought in the early church.
Even in the bible, there were Christians who were Paul's rivals who believed all Gentiles should be required to follow the old law to be Christians. You mean you've never heard of the Judaizers before or the Ebionites?

 

Nowhere in the Bible does it speak of converting the whole world and as an Evangelical myself, I've never heard this given as a purpose for being a Christian. In fact, I cannot convert anyone, that is the job of God.
So you're saying the Great Commission isn't in the bible? That would be news to millions of evangelicals around the world.

 

Liberal theological views didn't exists as you state them until the late 19th to early 20th century, so that doesn't make sense of the Bible. Although the Bible does speak much about justice, that is not the first calling of Christians.
Jesus said in John 10:10 that his purpose was to bring life.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

 

Regarding agreement among Christians about morality, it depends who you define as a Christian and from where they derive their views on morality. I would agree that there are many who call themselves Christian who don't reflect the views of the Bible. So, it gets down to the question of what defines a person, what they call themselves or what they believe. Man's opinions and views are not what is important, it is what God thinks. I don't align my thinking with that of man, I try to align my thinking with that of God. If a person calls himself a Christian, yet denies all that the Bible teaches and lives in a manner that is contradictory to what a Christian is called to, I would then go with what Jesus said:

 

 

 

LNC

Those Christians who you say are following man instead of God also claim to be following God and they say you're the one who's following man. So again, why should I believe your moral beliefs are more correct than them? If Christianity is the only true source of morality, then how can two Christians read the same bible and come away from the same bible with two opposing views on homosexuality?
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I would be surprised if you have anything that I haven't heard before in some way or from apologetics. In fact every line you have said here I have heard from xtian apologists.

OK, I'm glad to hear that you are interacting with Christian apologetics

 

Talking about the appearance to the 500, what counts as a appearance, we would like to say it was a full bodily jesus, but how do we know that without assuming innerrancy and the stories are straight.

Why do we have to assume inerrancy to believe that these accounts are historically accurate? Do we appeal to inerrancy in secular historical accounts to establish that they are accurate? No. Neither do we assume that the historian was sloppy or inaccurate in recording the details unless we have reason to believe otherwise. 1 Corinthians, from which this account has come, is considered to be one of the earliest of the NT epistles and attributed to the Apostle Paul. Historians don't generally question the reliability of this book or this chapter (15).

 

This is not to say I assume the stories are automatically wrong either I would agree in saying hallucination is unlikely, but as compared to a god miracles, eeehhh someone who says a wizard did it, has no room to talk on likelyhood. Your right being deluded isn't the full answer, I am just saying it contributes to the mentally that would create a heretical view(a resurrected body not dealing with the end times mass resurrection), that is called cognitive dissonance reduction, and its called being a cult. And even if I am wrong there, I would say only then, its confirmation bias, after all jesus said the kingdom of god would come in the disciples lifetimes. Part of the problem i have with trusting the gospels in saying this like there was a bodily appearance that ate with him and things like that, is that everyone who saw him would have known, instead of some doubting like, they did. I think at best the bodily appearances are embellishment and if there was any actual experience of something they called jesus appearing, it wouldn't have been like portrayed in the gospels. A more philosophical problem I have with it, can miracles happen. If miracles can't happen, then arguing the resurrection is pointless.

I will respond with more when i am not so tired.

 

I think you are confusing the argument (whether intentionally or not). No one considers God to be a wizard, nor does wizardry have anything to do with this discussion. However, you have a bias against the supernatural and I would ask on what that bias is based, if anything? Do you know that it is not possible that God could exist? Do you know that God doesn't exist? If so on either question, could you give me the evidence or reasoning behind your conclusion?

 

I don't think you have a basis for making such a claim. What would make this group susceptible to cognitive dissonance or becoming involved in a cult? The people were from different backgrounds, with different views of Jesus (both before and after the resurrection) and therefore should respond differently if they saw a non-veridical vision. Paul certainly was not in a position to be seeking a vision as he was a persecutor of the church. James was a skeptic of Jesus' claims as was his brother Jude. As for the crowd, we don't know enough about them to make psychological claims and judgments two millennia later.

 

I'm not sure what the nature of your objection is to the bodily resurrection. You say those who experienced Jesus' bodily resurrection would have known - known what? Who doubted after seeing the bodily resurrection and how do you know this? I see no examples of people who experienced the bodily resurrection and then doubted. Thomas was a skeptic until he saw the risen Jesus, then he believed. I don't understand your reasoning for considering this embellishment, nor your evidence of this claim. Why wouldn't these experiences be written about in the Gospels? It seems to me that they certainly would be.

 

With regard to miracles, why can't they happen? What prevents miracles from happening? Can you give evidence that they cannot?

 

LNC

 

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Is LNC seriously claiming most historians believe that 1 Corinthians 15 is a historically accurate account of the resurrection? I'm sorry but just no. And Thomas was not a skeptic in any sense of the word. Nobody in the ancient world was a skeptic. Everyone in the ancient world believed in God and miracles.

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