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WalterP

Does this explain the impasse between Christians and no-Christians?

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Hello.  :)

 

Recently I bought this book... https://www.amazon.co.uk/Short-History-Truth-Consolations-Post-Truth/dp/1786488884 ...and I was wondering if it can help break the impasse that seems to exist between the Christians and the non-Christians in this forum.  What is this impasse?  Well, this thread serves as a good example.

 

https://www.ex-christian.net/topic/82607-is-it-actually-impossible-to-reason-with-a-devout-christian/

 

Without saying anything for or against either side, I'd just like to draw your attention to the pattern of communication (or miscommunication) that I think I see here.  The non-Christians try to pin the Christians down to specifics, asking them specific questions about specific things.  The Christians seem to find it difficult to answer the questions in ways that satisfy the specificity desired by their questioners.  Please note that I do not lay any kind of fault or blame at the Christians door for the difficulties they seem to have here.  I simply see a certain pattern.

 

However, when questions appear to be repeatedly evaded, tempers become frayed on both sides and the thread doesn't go anywhere.  You'll note that I've said that questions appear to be evaded.  From the non-Christian p.o.v., the failure to specifically answer what seems to be an easy question often appears as evasion.  But this need not be so.  What if the Christians simply cannot give a specific answer, because there is a mutual incomprehension at work here?  What if the questions that are asked simply cannot be answered in the specific terms that the non-Christians desire?  

 

Perhaps the Christians cannot comprehend why the non-Christians cannot see the truth in their terms, while the non-Christians cannot comprehend why the Christians cannot see the truth in their terms?  If that's so, then neither side is at fault or to blame.  Its just that two different and independent understandings of what is meant by the word 'truth' are in operation here.  Both sides think that their 'truth' is true and the other's is not.  Neither side properly comprehends the other's truth.  If so, that situation would go a long way to explaining why threads like the above example get stuck in repetitive loops of mutual misunderstanding, confrontation and accusations of dishonesty.  

 

Ok, enough of this speculation on my part.  Now its time for me to say what's caused me to think about how this all happens.  

 

The book, A Short History of Truth is broken down into ten chapters and a conclusion.  Chapter 1 deals with Eternal Truths.  I found the following excerpt to be interesting, because I could look back to when I was a Christian and identify with what was being outlined.  Here is the relevant part.  The emphasis is not mine, but the author's. 

 

 

 

To be religious is to accept that there is a divine mind beyond human comprehension, so of course our own understanding will be limited and partial by comparison.  Rather than insisting on pinning truth down, the rational thing for the religious to do is accept that faith is somewhat mysterious.  The essential truths for the believer can become not so much facts about the cosmos but insights into how we ought to live, ways of orienting ourselves towards the transcendent.

 

Religion does not just promote different truths, it advocates different grounds of truth.  The truth of religion is something many believers feel almost viscerally.  It connects to their very sense of self, identity and belonging.  It is as much, or more felt than thought.

 

The impatient atheist finds all this evasive.  The modern, scientific outlook is one in which you could make a list of the purported facts about the world and tick them off as true, false, or unknown.  And you certainly don't do this on the basis of feelings, no matter how strongly felt.  This seems simple enough but when it comes to the truths people live by, history has taught us that this is just not how it works.

 

 

 

When I was a Christian I used to feel this way.  I used to believe that my understanding of the divine was woefully inadequate.  That all human understanding of the divine was inadequate.  That the divine couldn't be specified or pinned down in any way that would satisfy a non-Christian.   So, to an extent, I can identify with the Christian position and the difficulties a Christian might experience in trying to articulate what they feel is true.  

 

Which brings me back to my point about mutual incomprehension between the Christians and the non-Christians.  If both parties hold to different grounds of truth, then its no wonder that questions phrased using one kind of truth cannot be answered by the other kind of truth.  If Christians feel certain things to be true and also believe that these truths are beyond human comprehension, then its hardly surprising that they cannot answer with anything but their feelings and the claim that these things cannot be understood, but must be accepted by faith.

 

Conversely, if the non-Christians think certain things to be true and believe that these truths are understandable by humans, then the inability of the Christians to give them the answers they want in non-Christian terms is often viewed as evasion and/or dishonesty.  But neither side need be at fault or to blame here.  Instead, it could be that both sides are just using different languages.

 

I offer this possibility for the consideration of all.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't really see miscommunication as the problem. Believers live in their own little world and have their own rules and "facts." Miscommunication happens when people speaking the same language hear the wrong message of make assumptions in error. An impasse is inevitable, though, when one person claims X and the other asks for evidence and the evidence for X turns out to be "you just have to believe."

 

As recently demonstrated on Ex-C, it often comes down to the believer restating their argument over and over that is essentially, "We don't have all the answers to the myriad problems with Christianity and its Bible, but you must have faith that it will all eventually make sense somehow." They've been saying that to non-believers for a couple thousand years now.

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57 minutes ago, florduh said:

I don't really see miscommunication as the problem. Believers live in their own little world and have their own rules and "facts." Miscommunication happens when people speaking the same language hear the wrong message of make assumptions in error. An impasse is inevitable, though, when one person claims X and the other asks for evidence and the evidence for X turns out to be "you just have to believe."

 

As recently demonstrated on Ex-C, it often comes down to the believer restating their argument over and over that is essentially, "We don't have all the answers to the myriad problems with Christianity and its Bible, but you must have faith that it will all eventually make sense somehow." They've been saying that to non-believers for a couple thousand years now.

 

Let's back up a little, please Florduh.

 

If you're familiar with this video... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0qKZqPy9T8 ...you'll have noticed that Sean Carroll makes the point that the religious position of William Lane Craig is 'poorly defined'.  He says this about four or five times.  Carroll is saying this, not just about WLC, but also about everyone who holds to a religious position.  I think that you and I would probably agree.  The beliefs of the religious are poorly defined.  Yes?   But does that lack of definition automatically mean that a religious belief is a faulty, untrue or wrong one?

 

I ask because Carroll holds to a 'belief' that is just as poorly defined as anything from religion.

 

Carroll is a strong advocate of the Inflationary Multiverse.  While this theory appears to be firmly grounded in science, everything it predicts about what lies beyond the observational limits of our universe is not just 'poorly defined', but totally impossible to define.  Yet, Carroll is deadly serious in his 'belief' in it, even though he can produce no objective evidence for it.  In terms of evidence for anything beyond our universe, Inflation is on the same footing as String theory.  Neither has any.

 

So Florduh, would you accept my contention?  I contend that just because a belief is poorly defined and has remained so many years, it is not automatically wrong.  

 

It could be right and it could be true, but because we lack definition, we just don't know.  The religious position of belief by faith without evidence is not dissimilar to Carroll's belief in the multiverse without evidence.  So, if you're going to write off religious beliefs as wrong because they lack definition, then surely you're obliged to also write off Carroll's belief in the multiverse as wrong, too?   

 

What say you?  As skeptics are we too quick to write off the undefined as wrong/untrue/faulty?

 

Walter.

 

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35 minutes ago, WalterP said:

As skeptics are we too quick to write off the undefined as wrong/untrue/faulty?

If something is undefined, then what are we talking about? There is nothing there to declare wrong/untrue/faulty. It's undefined. What am I missing?

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1 minute ago, florduh said:

If something is undefined, then what are we talking about? There is nothing there to declare wrong/untrue/faulty. It's undefined. What am I missing?

 

Florduh,

 

Forgive me if I've read you wrong in this thread.  I took your words... Believers live in their own little world and have their own rules and "facts." ...to be a disparagement of the religious position.  If, in fact, you were just saying that their world, their rules and their facts are... undefined, then I apologize.  

 

That which is undefined cannot be declared to wrong, untrue or faulty. 

 

But, by the same token, the person who holds an undefined belief cannot be declared to be evasive or dishonest if they cannot give a specific answer about their beliefs. 

 

Wouldn't you agree?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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4 minutes ago, WalterP said:

 

But, by the same token, the person who holds an undefined belief cannot be declared to be evasive or dishonest if they cannot give a specific answer about their beliefs. 

I'm not sure I agree, in the case of christianity.  As I pointed out to edgarcito, we have the bible, which is supposedly the divine revelation of god himself.  It defines both the god and the beliefs/tenets of the christian religion.  Various interpretations might lead to disagreements between believers; but I'm not sure that counts as lack of definition.

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2 hours ago, WalterP said:

But, by the same token, the person who holds an undefined belief cannot be declared to be evasive or dishonest if they cannot give a specific answer about their beliefs. 

I guess I'm brain dead today. Still missing something, I guess.

 

Seems to me if someone can't define their beliefs, then they actually have no beliefs. "I believe there's a troll or something under the bridge, or maybe it's a fairy gone bad. Maybe it's not under the bridge, but I believe it's somewhere and it's either a troll or a fairy. Or maybe it's something else, but it's definitely there. Prove me wrong."

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One of the interesting things I think that leads to an impasse is that Christians (Or religious people in general) seem to have to methods of epistemology. Their first and primary one is the one we exercise each day. We don't close our eyes, have faith, and walk across the road simply believing you'll cross safely. We someone tells you that their friend told them that the guy down the road has a pet komodo dragon we don't just accept the claim. We all generally exercise a rational epistemology to make sense of the world so that our interpretation is as correct as possible... except when it comes to religion where suddenly questions that would be perfectly reasonable under any other circumstance are suddenly touted as unreasonable, or are evaded or ignored.

 

That I think is one of the big disconnects between Christians and non-Christians. We all use this method that helps us agree on reality, but on religion you can lower the standards or throw them out the window entirely.

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9 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

the guy down the road has a pet komodo dragon

Komodo Dragons are known to exist, so there's that going for him.

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45 minutes ago, florduh said:

Komodo Dragons are known to exist, so there's that going for him.

 

Exactly, but no one will just go, oh yeah, komodo dragon, yeah sure he has one. Why no doubt he got it all the way from Komodo island.

 

But apparently an immaterial transcendent being  with no evidence? Of course it exists. I have faith.

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6 hours ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

I'm not sure I agree, in the case of christianity.  As I pointed out to edgarcito, we have the bible, which is supposedly the divine revelation of god himself.  It defines both the god and the beliefs/tenets of the christian religion.  Various interpretations might lead to disagreements between believers; but I'm not sure that counts as lack of definition.

 

Well, I can't speak for Edgarcito, Professor.  But, when I was a devout believer I acknowledged that the Bible was sufficiently complete for the salvation of man, but not a fully complete description of the true nature of god or of the divine mysteries associated with him.  

 

So, taking the notion of sufficiency and applying it here, perhaps a Christian can legitimately claim that the Bible is not the complete revelation of God.  Not complete, but a sufficient one for the purpose the Bible was intended.  Therefore, to ask Christians for FULL answers, where only PARTIAL knowledge is available to them is to put them in an impossible situation.  The amount of information they have is limited and what there is, is so open to varying interpretations that they have no hope of giving you the specific definitions you would like.  

 

 I'm sure you'll agree with me that it would be unreasonable to ask someone with a map of only North America to give you specific and definite information about ALL of the continents.   Their map was never intended to give that information. 

 

Thank you.

 

Walter. 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, WalterP said:

Neither side properly comprehends the other's truth.

 

I have to disagree with the notion that ex-christians don't understand the Christian side. We are ex-christians because we once were Christians. We were on their side, many of us for many years. We get it. We really do. However, we've come to realize that it's bunk.

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4 minutes ago, Citsonga said:

 

I have to disagree with the notion that ex-christians don't understand the Christian side. We are ex-christians because we once were Christians. We were on their side, many of us for many years. We get it. We really do. However, we've come to realize that it's bunk.

 

Exactly.

 

Part of the impasse might be the realisation of such bunk and the lack of rational critical thought that goes towards accepting such bunk.

 

I get frustrated when a new Christian apologist comes along and presents a new, never heard before awesome argument... oh wait, no sorry, they trot out the same tripe that's been debunked or pointed out why it's flawed time and again.

 

The last debate I listened to the Christian started off by saying: I hope I don't commit any logical fallacies, then promptly lead with the fine tuning argument.

 

"If the galaxy wasn't this way life wouldn't be here."

 

No shit sherlock, and we wouldn't be here arguing about why the galaxy wasn't fine tuned for us. Has it occurred to Christians that we have arisen in a galaxy in which we can arise in, and now look about our surroundings and go, oh look at me, this hole seems made just for me. Why I fit it perfectly. And maths describes it. It must have been the jelly bean monster did it!

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4 hours ago, florduh said:

I guess I'm brain dead today. Still missing something, I guess.

 

Seems to me if someone can't define their beliefs, then they actually have no beliefs. "I believe there's a troll or something under the bridge, or maybe it's a fairy gone bad. Maybe it's not under the bridge, but I believe it's somewhere and it's either a troll or a fairy. Or maybe it's something else, but it's definitely there. Prove me wrong."

 

No, its ok, Florduh.

 

Perhaps this will help.  Going back to Sean Carroll, I said that his belief in a multiverse was poorly defined.  That's because no information whatsoever can reach us from beyond the visual horizon of our universe.  So, he cannot test what he believes about it.  In science, an un-testable theory or prediction cannot lead to a better definition of anything.  Carroll cannot define the multiverse any further than to theorize or speculate about it.  But this lack of definition doesn't mean that he holds no belief in it or about it.  You see that?

 

Now transfer that idea of un-testability over to the Christians.  They have beliefs which they cannot test in any way.  So, what they believe in is also poorly defined and will always stay that way.  Therefore, when it comes to definition of beliefs and the testing of them, their beliefs and Carroll's are on an equal footing.  Neither can make any headway.  

 

Both the Christians and Carroll hold to beliefs, but they cannot define them better, nor can they test them.  Their inability to define and test doesn't mean that their beliefs don't exist.  One party believes in a multiverse they cannot properly define and the other believes in a god they cannot properly define - yet both parties DO have these beliefs.

 

Would you accept that, Florduh?  

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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26 minutes ago, Citsonga said:

 

I have to disagree with the notion that ex-christians don't understand the Christian side. We are ex-christians because we once were Christians. We were on their side, many of us for many years. We get it. We really do. However, we've come to realize that it's bunk.

 

Hello Citsonga and LogicalFallacy.  :)

 

This is one Ex-Christian talking to two other Ex-Christians.  I get it too.  I really do.   But let me ask you guys three questions. 

 

When you were Christians did God give you a complete understanding of Himself? 

 

Did you believe that He should have given you that understanding?

 

Did you believe that as human beings, you could understand God completely?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, WalterP said:

 

No, its ok, Florduh.

 

Perhaps this will help.  Going back to Sean Carroll, I said that his belief in a multiverse was poorly defined.  That's because no information whatsoever can reach us from beyond the visual horizon of our universe.  So, he cannot test what he believes about it.  In science, an un-testable theory or prediction cannot lead to a better definition of anything.  Carroll cannot define the multiverse any further than to theorize or speculate about it.  But this lack of definition doesn't mean that he holds no belief in it or about it.  You see that?

 

Now transfer that idea of un-testability over to the Christians.  They have beliefs which they cannot test in any way.  So, what they believe in is also poorly defined and will always stay that way.  Therefore, when it comes to definition of beliefs and the testing of them, their beliefs and Carroll's are on an equal footing.  Neither can make any headway.  

 

Both the Christians and Carroll hold to beliefs, but they cannot define them better, nor can they test them.  Their inability to define and test doesn't mean that their beliefs don't exist.  One party believes in a multiverse they cannot properly define and the other believes in a god they cannot properly define - yet both parties DO have these beliefs.

 

Would you accept that, Florduh?  

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

I accept that beliefs exist, some well founded and others not so much. I don't think a scientist's belief in a working theory compares to religious belief. Dr. House once said he always assumed he was right because he couldn't do his work if making the opposite assumption. Science is always testing new waters and discarding failed hypotheses; including Dr. House, cosmologists and theoretical physicists. My problem with equating religious belief with that is that the true believer claims to have all the answers, he just doesn't know what they are. Big difference to me. YMMV.

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Just now, florduh said:

I accept that beliefs exist, some well founded and others not so much. I don't think a scientist's belief in a working theory compares to religious belief. Dr. House once said he always assumed he was right because he couldn't do his work if making the opposite assumption. Science is always testing new waters and discarding failed hypotheses; including Dr. House, cosmologists and theoretical physicists. My problem with equating religious belief with that is that the true believer claims to have all the answers, he just doesn't know what they are. Big difference to me. YMMV.

 

Sorry Florduh, but there's a flaw in your argument.

 

A hypothesis or theory is only discarded in two circumstances. 

 

First, when its been tested by evidence and found wanting.  I've covered this with Disillusioned and JoshPantera in the thread about William Lane Craig.  Hawking and Penrose's singularity theory has been tested by evidence discovered in 1998, found wanting and has since been discarded.  The second circumstance is when a theory is found to have an internal contradiction or to be inconsistent in some way. But Carroll's belief in a multiverse cannot be tested by evidence and cannot be defined well enough to test whether or not its logic is consistent.  Yet, his belief in the multiverse definitely exists, because he holds strongly to it. 

 

Also, do true believers claim to have all the answers?  I certainly didn't when I was Christian.  And I don't think Edgarcito has made that claim recently.  Just the opposite, I'd say.  When he claims that this or that is part of God's plan, surely he's making a faith-based claim?  He doesn't claim to know ALL of the plan or even any particular part of it.  instead, by faith and not by evidence or knowledge, he believes that there is a plan.  He can't define the specifics of the plan because he doesn't know what they are. 

 

So, asking Edgarcito for specifics of God's plan is on the same footing as asking Carroll for specifics about the multiverse.  Neither party can give you what you want, not through any fault of their own, but because what you are asking them for is beyond their ability to discover.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter. 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, WalterP said:

Also, do true believers claim to have all the answers?

Yes, either a concrete answer (the earth is 6,000 years old) or they use the permanent place holder "God Did It!" He works in mysterious ways, but they still know he did it. You just need faith.

 

Science expects new information to modify or replace any theory that currently represents the best reflection of known facts and likely extrapolation. True Believers don't even look for more information once they know what the Good Book has to say about it, or what they think it says. Of course there are outlier scientists and researchers who fall in love with a pet theory and will even lie to maintain it, but that is the exception.

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Just now, florduh said:

Yes, either a concrete answer (the earth is 6,000 years old) or they use the permanent place holder "God Did It!" He works in mysterious ways, but they still know he did it. You just need faith.

 

Science expects new information to modify or replace any theory that currently represents the best reflection of known facts and likely extrapolation. True Believers don't even look for more information once they know what the Good Book has to say about it, or what they think it says. Of course there are outlier scientists and researchers who fall in love with a pet theory and will even lie to maintain it, but that is the exception.

 

Florduh,

 

When Christians say, 'God Did It!' that is a poorly-defined claim on their part.  They cannot provide any better definition, no matter how many times you ask them.  

 

Yes, I take your point about the functional differences between science and religion and the procedural differences between them.  But those differences count for nothing when both systems of thought are asked to do what is beyond them.

 

Scientists can theorize all they like about other universes, but to press them for specifics about these other universes is to ask science for something it cannot tell you.

Likewise...

Christians can believe by faith all they want about God, but to press them for specifics about these divine mysteries is to ask religion for something it cannot tell you.

 

Do you now see the thrust of my argument?

 

It's equally pointless to ask a scientist or a theist for what they cannot give you.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

(Going to bed now.  See you on the morrow.  G'night.)

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55 minutes ago, WalterP said:

First, when its been tested by evidence and found wanting.  I've covered this with Disillusioned and JoshPantera in the thread about William Lane Craig.

 

I'll take that cue as time to step in.

 

55 minutes ago, WalterP said:

Hawking and Penrose's singularity theory has been tested by evidence discovered in 1998, found wanting and has since been discarded.  The second circumstance is when a theory is found to have an internal contradiction or to be inconsistent in some way. But Carroll's belief in a multiverse cannot be tested by evidence and cannot be defined well enough to test whether or not its logic is consistent.  Yet, his belief in the multiverse definitely exists, because he holds strongly to it. 

 

I'm not sure what's on your mind here, Walter? I for one have always been upfront with everyone about the limitations of truth claims in both science and religion. Carroll (if he actually believes as you've framed it) has seriously screwed up and wrecked his own credibility. Of course we can't "believe" in inflationary theory and the related multiverse scenarios without evidence. If we did something like that we'd be no better than christians doing similar. That should be obvious. Science is not a parallel replacement belief for religion and should never be treated as such. What's wrong with what christians are doing is just as wrong if waged in a secular setting, IMO. 

 

55 minutes ago, WalterP said:

So, asking Edgarcito for specifics of God's plan is on the same footing as asking Carroll for specifics about the multiverse.  Neither party can give you what you want, not through any fault of their own, but because what you are asking them for is beyond their ability to discover.

 

Thank you.

 

Walter. 

 

That was my point, though. While I'm not aware of any christians claiming to know all of the specifics of gods plan, I do expect that they can follow simply logic and reason because while brainwashed, they are still human beings capable of what human beings are capable of doing (proven by all of us who were just as brainwashed and then thought about it and moved on). Especially when the said christian has already began to realize that god as an absolute being must be very pantheistic in scope and depth as Edgarcito led on.

 

That has implications that land this side of the cosmic mystery, in fact. We were not discussing anything too mysterious to know or understand, we were merely follow through the logical conclusions that stem from making a specific claim. Where one person has thought it out already, and the other person has merely just waded in and is unprepared to deal with the necessarily implications of a given claim. Mysterious to the person who hasn't travel down that path very far, not so mysterious to the person who has. The mystery is one side in that scenario, not absolute, and not beyond knowledge and experience. 

 

This isn't really some, 'god works in mysterious ways' situation. Either god is as claimed, or god is not.

 

We were dealing in black and white terms. For the benefit of Edgarcito and anyone reading along who might benefit from thinking the claims out further. The only problem is that god is being presented as a logical contradiction by the christians. This starts in the first chapter of Genesis. It doesn't get any better by Revelation. At the end of the day, none of this is very mysterious. It's just falsifiable claims presented as "truth." These are not theories comparable to science, either. They're myths about the world and humanity. There's no equal footing with science. I've made this very clear in my own debates with apologists. They are making specific claims like the world was created as the bible says. Those claims can be falsified in their own ways. 

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12 hours ago, florduh said:

I don't really see miscommunication as the problem. Believers live in their own little world and have their own rules and "facts." Miscommunication happens when people speaking the same language hear the wrong message of make assumptions in error. An impasse is inevitable, though, when one person claims X and the other asks for evidence and the evidence for X turns out to be "you just have to believe."

 

As recently demonstrated on Ex-C, it often comes down to the believer restating their argument over and over that is essentially, "We don't have all the answers to the myriad problems with Christianity and its Bible, but you must have faith that it will all eventually make sense somehow." They've been saying that to non-believers for a couple thousand years now.

This is so blessed limited in scope.....rather disappointing.  Let's take love for example.... you would say the facts are the actions around the feeling.  I believe there was another here that said, ah, we really know a lot now about what is love....chemistry, hormones, etc.  Again, look at this closely.....very very limited.  Love is not predictable.  If it were strictly biological, and we were to understand it, then we should be able to measure and reproduce it.  And the actions representative of someone's love, even more unpredictable.  AND you sir, have pretty much limited your scope of perspective to THESE "facts"!  Granted we don't have the capability to reproduce what we are speculating, but this shouldn't discount a theory for love outside of our current understanding. 

 

I have my own thoughts about the subject....haven't closed the loop to make a decent assumption, but I'll tell you what......it's damn sure not the non-believer status quo.  Hope you get it before you die.

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2 hours ago, WalterP said:

Hello Citsonga and LogicalFallacy.  :)

 

Hi! *waves*

 

2 hours ago, WalterP said:

This is one Ex-Christian talking to two other Ex-Christians.  I get it too.  I really do.   But let me ask you guys three questions. 

 

When you were Christians did God give you a complete understanding of Himself? 

 

Well there are two ways to answer this. If I reassert my past Christian self I would say he didn't up to the point I stopped believing, but we (the church) were always striving to understand God better and praying that he would give a complete revelation of himself.

 

Now I look at the question and say it makes no sense. I don't believe God exists. I'm sure we can agree that a non existent being cannot give an understanding of itself?

 

Not really sure about the point behind this question Walter. If I asked you did Zeus ever give you a complete understanding of himself how would you answer?

 

 

2 hours ago, WalterP said:

Did you believe that He should have given you that understanding?

 

Well, not "should". We didn't believe God was under any obligation to do anything that mere humans might think of.

 

Now as an Ex Christian I tend to think that if God is indeed beyond our understanding as some Christians assert then what's the point. Essentially God to Humans is a bigger gap than Humans to Ants - and never the twain meet there do they?

 

Now, swinging around to a theological aspect I would say because God wants us to know him, and have a relationship as sons and daughters then yes he should give a compete understanding. The God of the bible is not some far off incomprehensible thing that modern Christianity now asserts. Apparently we are supposed to be able to comprehend God. Attempts at saying "well humans simply cannot understand God, he is beyond our comprehension" is just another evasion tactic to get around the problem of the divine hiddenness of God.

 

2 hours ago, WalterP said:

Did you believe that as human beings, you could understand God completely?

 

I guess I kind of answered that with my theological spiel above? Yes I did - provided God revealed himself.

 

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I agree with Walter’s hypothesis; that there are different ways of thinking and that cross communication can be difficult or impossible. Just this week I was thinking about a book written back in 1972 titled “Fire In The Lake” by Frances FitzGerald, which is a history of Vietnam and America’s involvement in it. She makes the same point: that the world views and thought processes of two different peoples, in this case Americans and Southeast Asians, were so different that it was impossible for them to communicate, and certainly impossible to accept the viewpoint of the other.

 

And what I read in this thread goes to the definition of what truth means to each different party and the difficulty of finding some common ground for understanding. While this is an interesting issue to discuss, I would suggest that the problem for those of us who are not Christian is that part of the Christian truth is to push their view onto others. Personally, I have no issue with anyone holding something true that does not match my truth. I do, however, have a problem when someone tries to push their notions onto me. And just as America’s self-righteous attitude did not work in S. E. Asia, Christianity’s self-righteous truths do not work for many people everywhere. One of those self-righteous truths is Christianity’s insistence that it is right and that everyone should follow its precepts, and its tendency to force those precepts upon others, through brute force, the force of law, or overt or covert social pressure. 

'

In short, have your own truth, just leave me alone with mine.
 

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10 hours ago, WalterP said:

 

Well, I can't speak for Edgarcito, Professor.  But, when I was a devout believer I acknowledged that the Bible was sufficiently complete for the salvation of man, but not a fully complete description of the true nature of god or of the divine mysteries associated with him.  

 

So, taking the notion of sufficiency and applying it here, perhaps a Christian can legitimately claim that the Bible is not the complete revelation of God.  Not complete, but a sufficient one for the purpose the Bible was intended.  Therefore, to ask Christians for FULL answers, where only PARTIAL knowledge is available to them is to put them in an impossible situation.  The amount of information they have is limited and what there is, is so open to varying interpretations that they have no hope of giving you the specific definitions you would like.  

 

 I'm sure you'll agree with me that it would be unreasonable to ask someone with a map of only North America to give you specific and definite information about ALL of the continents.   Their map was never intended to give that information. 

 

Thank you.

 

Walter. 

 

 

 

 

I suppose if one considers oneself to be not in full possession of the facts, then belief would serve as an alternative to investigation.  Problematically, as Florduh has pointed out, christians believe themselves to be in full possession of The Truth; until called upon to support, or justify, it.  Then, suddenly, they are seeing as through glass darkly.

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10 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

Part of the impasse might be the realisation of such bunk and the lack of rational critical thought that goes towards accepting such bunk.

I don't necessarily believe that all christians are totally devoid of rational thought, even toward their own beliefs.  There are (perhaps precious few) beliefs or thought processes that are well-thought, even logical, in spite of the original premise being flawed.

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