Tom: Walt, No, you are wrong. The evidence [about personhood of a fetus, morality of abortion, and existence of religious experience] is the cumulative scientific knowledge that builds my world view.
Walt: The cumulative scientific knowledge about the world to date is incomplete. Thus a worldview based only on the cumulative scientific knowledge is based on insufficient information. There is no scientific basis for judging what is a person, what is morally right or wrong, nor for the validity or invalidity of religious experience. There is some data on religious experience effects on the brain, but that data says nothing about the experiences themselves.
Tom: Our understanding of the brain tells us that we are our brains.
Walt: If I understand you correctly Tom, I think you are saying that our identity, or personhood, is equivalent with our brains. That is a philosophical question that has bewildered people for thousands of years, and especially for the last 400 years or so since Descartes. I am not aware of any research that has pinpointed our human identity, or the concept of personhood, to our brain. It is merely a speculative interpretation by some of the current understanding of neuroscience. The data is inconclusive about whether there is more or not to mind and emotion than mere matter and chemicals. One must take an apriori physicalist view of mind to say we are only our brains rather than to take into account that there is no known mechanism for which matter can produce a conscious mind. There are physicalist theories, but no scientific validation. Philosophically, it is the naturalistic fallacy to say mere matter can produce self-aware matter. The same fallacy applies to saying matter is equivalent to personhood. What do you take away in order for a person to no longer be a person? If I transplant a brain from a dead body into another body with a dead brain, do I have a new person, the person who was the brain, or the person who is the body? Considering that there are memories and DNA in a body as well as in a brain, it gets complicated. But on top of that, the question about mind and consciousness really makes it difficult.
Tom: A group of molecules that haven’t got a brain are not sacred and there is no reason to claim that we should spend money and resources to create a human being from these molecules.
Walt: First, a fetus is not a mere group of molecules. It is a living thing with a DNA and if left alone, it will fully develop into a human being. Second, we aren’t the ones by our money and resources creating a human being from these molecules. The original couple that started the process are responsible for bringing a living egg and living sperm together in order to create a whole new life. It cost them nothing financially to get that started. I know you do not accept biblical statements, but the Bible does say that God created that life. You might ask why God would create a human being that is unwanted? God might ask why that couple made it possible for Him to do it if they didn’t want it?
Tom: If I claim that there is a golden teapot in orbit around the Sun you have no way of disproving it. Because you can’t disprove it does that mean the probability is 50/50?
Walt: Actually I can disprove it! If you say there is a teapot in orbit around the Sun, you have some means by which you came to know it. Otherwise, your claim is bogus since I know you have no way of knowing.
Tom: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Walt: I agree with that!
Tom: The claim of the supernatural is the most extraordinary claim and will require more evidence than it says so in a book. We also have the story of Jack and the Beanstalk in a book but we don’t believe that actually happened.
Walt: First, with regard to Jack and the Beanstalk, has anyone ever claimed it was a true story just because it was in a book? You have presented a false analogy. I’m sure that in your mind it is a great analogy, but if you really think so, you have a quite lacking understanding of the claims of the Bible (which is common among many atheists – a few who have seriously studied it do understand the contents of the Bible but they got off on a philosophical tangent). Second, the claim of the supernatural is not all that extraordinary, but the claim that a man was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, was violently murdered, and then rose physically from the dead is indeed quite extraordinary. That claim has quite a bit of evidence. Here are a list of books sitting right in front of me that discuss these evidences: The Resurrection of Jesus by Michael Licona; The Evidence for God by Paul Moser; The Coherence of Theism by Richard Swinburne; Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham; The Historical Reliability of the Gospels by Craig Blomberg; New Proofs for the Existence of God by Robert Splitzer; Reinventing Jesus by Komoszewski, Sawyer and Wallace; Cold-Case Christianity by Warner Wallace; Quantum Physics and Theology by John Polkinghorne; True Reason by Gilson and Weitnaur; The Christ Files by John Dickson; The Reason for God by Timothy Keller; Who Made God? by Edgar Andrews; Reasons for Faith by Geisler and Meister; Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig; and Apologetics for the 21st Century edited by Louis Markos. I didn’t list every relevant book I have on biblical reliability, and evidences for God and the resurrection, but these just happen to be the ones sitting on my desk. I also have a slew of books written by atheists that are bankrupt because they fail to understand the essence of the Bible and have a myopic view of things. So, it is not that I haven’t looked at what the atheists have to say on this matter.
Tom: We CAN prove if something unseen/unheard (personal evidence) on the other side of the Earth is true, i.e. Does China exist.
Walt: That WAS my point! Evidences exist. You have to go look at them, not assume from the get go that they don’t exist.
Tom: We setup a Null hypothesis experiment. We can reference pictures, artifacts, meeting Chinese tourist, people who have visited there, etc (the HO) as compared to the alternative hypothesis (H1) that China is made up. We measure the alpha type 1 errors vs the type 2 and determine the probability truth of the hypothesis. We then can determine whether the hypothesis can be rejected. We do it all the time. We then setup experiments (i.e like sending probes to the Moon before sending a man to verify our hypothesis) to verify before we risk life, money, time, making political policy, passing on ill thought out facebook pics, etc.
Walt: OK. Not a bad idea to test with probes as far as going to the moon is concerned. I am quite familiar with you hypothesis testing since my background is in radar and electro-optics sensing. As well, I’m working on a paper, although it is going slow because I don’t have much extra time right now, that uses a multidimensional Bayes Theorem analysis to investigate the probability the gospel is true. Some work has been done in the past, but I don’t think it was done correctly.
Tom: This can also be done for faith. In fact it has been done for certain of our doctrines. Examples: 1) Just Google ‘Templeton Prayer Study’. Good, sincere Christian doctors giving witness to the power of prayer & verifying the validity of the many verses covering this topic. The short of it showing that there was no statically difference to their double blind study. Do as many people believe as we think, i.e. when your kid gets an ear infection, do you take them to the doctor 1st or to your prayer group. 3) We can examine the discussion of theologians, such as in the clergyproject.org where many are questioning personal experiences. 4) Start researching all of the Bible contradictions. Ask could a perfect being, our God write this or is there a higher probability that it was written just by men. 5) Do we really believe verses like Mark 16:16-18 and drink poison and let snakes bite us. NO, Christianity would come to an end immediately like Jonestown!. We use our brains to rationalize those verses away like women having to submit, slavery is ok, the Sun revolves around the Earth.
Walt: Ok, what you have said here shows you don’t have much knowledge in this area. A biblical scholar understands the contradictions (there are books that talk about those, but most are taken out of context or just flat out misinterpreted), and what is behind Mark 16 (a note in most Bible tells you what is going on there). An experienced theologian understands what is going on when clergy question experiences. And the average Joe on the street could probably tell you why Jonestown is a very different deal. There are good reasons a person who believes in God goes to a doctor. The prayer statistics is explainable as well. It would take me a while to write up explanations for these. The best way forward for me to answer these is to first let you provide me contradictions that I can then show you are not. And, over the next couple of weeks, as I have time, I can write up explanations for the other items.
Tom: To complete Walt, it always comes down to humans. Whether being a Bronze Age author storyteller to a pulpit leader who interprets it to masses of people who add tons of ‘personal evidence’ to give impression that one side as more evidence. We are all human and can make mistakes.
Walt: That’s right. And why do you think you have not made a mistake?
Tom: But thank goodness for Man’s curiosity and courage to overcome such opinion (i.e. Galileo) and to look at the data unbiased and overcome tradition. But if you are going to push your view by bringing FAITH into the equation of politics then it needs to be able to prove itself and be open to question.
Walt: I didn’t know I was pushing my view into the equation of politics. Abortion is not a political issue, it is a moral issue. I have opened up dialogue for questioning.
Tom: And this has only just begun. Until recently, anyone who even had such questions were condemned or shunned.
Walt: That is too bad.
Tom: But with recent topics coming to ahead and the internet, we are starting to have discussions on what has been mandated from our Maker. But until then, I have to disagree with you, the Courts do have the advantage. They have their statements and the data to support it.
Walt: What data? Besides, I still say that just because a court made a decision that a women can have an abortion, doesn’t make it right. It is still murder.
Tom: I look forward to the evidence to back our faith. I think the verdict is out on that. At least to make our Christian side to hold our tongue when passing judgment. And anyways Walt, wasn’t there a lot of murdering by God in writings? (Food for thought.)
Walt: Again, taken out of context. A good book that addresses that is Is God a Moral Monster by Paul Copan.
Tom, I’ve been to other parts of the world where things happen that you don’t see in the U.S. that have no scientific explanation. It is not a matter of being fooled. Bizarre things do happen. When I write up about the prayer statistics, it will help explain why these things happen in certain cultures and not here (as much), as well as why it is wise for even a Christian to go to a doctor no matter where you live in the world.
There is a clear difference between Christian faith and Santa Clause – again a false analogy. Santa Clause is known to be a fiction. The Christian faith started with eyewitnesses. Whether those eyewitnesses were mistaken, is something to discuss. But to lump Christian beliefs with beliefs of Jack and the Beanstalk and Santa Claus is being true is being facetious.
Tom: Such ostridge head in the sand is what truly causes bias and mis-verdicts being made.
Walt: Talking about having a plank in the eye!
Tom: The first premise of science is that there is no supernatural, and it works.
Walt: That is NOT the first premise of science. It is a premise that enables science for what science does – examine natural causes Yes it works, for studying the natural world. That does not mean there is no supernatural realm. What is you argument against the Kalaam Cosmological Argument? If there is no supernatural, you have to have a counter argument that is not a logically fallacy.
Tom, you appear to subscribe to scientism. Not all scientists do. It is a religion in its own right. It is the savior of the world which its adherents bow down to. If you are opposed to cults, be careful of that one! All false gods are not as satisfying as the one that created the world. False gods are good at blinding people and giving them false hope.
On a final note: remember those pictures that looked like a bunch of random patterns that you had to look at just right to see the 3D pattern jump out? An atheist’s arguments usually are based on the random patterns that seem to indicate there is no picture. The theist has found there is an underlying picture in what seems like noise on the surface.
It is very sad when blindness has removed the ability to see and know and experience true faith. It will always be impossible to understand and comply with God’s view unless you come to the same laser point and start there..His HOLY WORD the Bible. I am not an educated person but and led and prompted by God’s Holy Spirit which dwells within me. As a result of that I have guidance and direction and am sensitive to the things that God has clearly stated in His Word. If we do not start at the same point of understanding and the same ground I believe there is only one way for a blind person to see….the same way it happened in the Bible…God must remove the scales personally and by personal request to do so. I am so saddened to see and hear that someone can be so blinded that life in the womb can be dismissed without a thought and destroyed all the while thinking that murder is not! The only way you can ever SEE is to personally ask God to remove the blindness and that those scales on your HEART will be ripped away and you can see clearly from your heart. Abortion is a matter of the heart…not the womb! Life is God’s and God’s alone..man playing God will ultimately bring each man who has face to face with HIS Creator and that my friend without the cleansing blood of CHRIST will be a time your side of the matter will have no value! I pray that you come to SEE with your heart and know JESUS is the only answer to blindness of the heart! In Christ, Delieta
Walt, Thanks for the list of theology book references. I also have a large list on my bookshelf. It was one of the things that started to make me realize there was a problem in Oz. Why do you have to have books larger than the Bible to understand a perfect teacher/author? When I realized that there was a higher probability that we were reading stories from the imagination of Bronze age, patriarchal based tribe of men (funny, no women authors), I then stopped taking it so Literally. One in particular is FF Bruce’s “The Canon of Scripture”. The link below summarizes a very plausible hypothesis that should be considered when deciding to base our morals, policies, lifestyle on these writings. I would appreciate your answer to its last question.
After your review we should then be on the same footing to look at my “Jack in the Bean stock’ comparison. I wanted to start there because I was sure, I hope, that we both agree that we could logically below that one away. Then using that logic criteria, we could then see that we could check off on the other 32,999 man made gods. I think we will agree there also. Look forward to your opinion on these. Note, my goal is to make sure we are truly on solid ground. Your brother in Christ, Tom.
Delieta, Welcome to the discussion. Just wanted you to know that I am not blind. I have 20/20 corrected vision ;-). Look forward to getting you up to speed.
“Why do you have to have books larger than the Bible to understand a perfect teacher/author?” To provide historical and other contextual data to counter the hypothetical arguments developed by 19th-20th century critics. If you had been a believer, you should know that not everyone who critiques the Bible has the aid of the “perfect teacher/author.” Those who have that aid and have academic creditionals write these books to help bridge the gap up to at least the posssiblity of intellectual consent that might lead to faith for those confused by these critics.
The video presents a legend itself, that developed as presented approximately 2000 years after the fact by academics, mostly in Germany, who apriori chose to discard the supernatural content of the Bible (miracles and prophecies) rather than investigate it in context. A link is provided below to a paper I wrote a few years back to defend the position that the first three gospels were written prior to A.D. 70. Post A.D. 70 dating is conjecture and clearly baseless given some will date them to the second century while there is good reason to believe they were written prior to the war in Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. Once it is understood that there is no good basis (other than bias against supernaturalism) for the later dating, it can be understood that the video is itself a legend.
Paper link: https://isaiahc6v8.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/an-evangelical-defense-of-the-four-gospels-1.pdf
Daniel 9 is fairly accurate at pointing to a crucifixion of the Messiah to the early 1st century A.D. and to destruction of the city of Jerusalem as well as the sanctuary. No Rabbi in the last 100 years would qualify. Jesus is the only one who fits that prediction written more than 500 years prior to the event.
As far as the question at the end of the video, I see that the atheist position is much more “arrogant” than the Christian position given the slander common of atheists despite the rapid growth of the movement out of Palestine in the first century and its prophetic predictions. That there are gullible people does not automatically prove the followers of Jesus in the middle of the first century were as well. Also, Hercules does not have the prophecy nor specific historical context with eyewitness reports that Jesus does to put them in the same category. Frankly this was the first I ever heard of a comparison of Jesus to Hercules. Maybe that was for dramatic effect given how ridiculous the comparison is. I’ve heard other comparisons that were more compelling, but still inadequate. A good book on that is: “The Gospel and the Greeks: Did the New Testament Borrow from Pagan Thought?” by Ronald Nash.
About Paul – if the gospels already existed, as I argue they did in the linked paper, and Luke is the side kick of Paul, which he was, than why would Paul need to talk about the gospel details? The churches he wrote to already knew the gospel. They needed assistance with respect to theology, unity, and disciplines, not the details of the gospel accounts. The creed in 1 Corinthians 15 indicates Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised to life and that creed would have been recited between five to 15 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
I have FF Bruce’s “The Canon of Scripture,” also his book “The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?” Those are two books that were on the shelves that I didn’t add to the list of what was sitting on my desk. Why did you mention that book? It does not support your position and it does not support the video – especially since it has to do with the acknowledgement of the books in the Old and New Testaments, not the writing of the books themselves. What was finally acknowledged does not detract from the gospels nor most of Paul’s letters. All four gospels were widely accepted at the beginning of the second century and there was witness then of their authenticity. As you can see in my paper in the previous reply, the authorship of the gospels is well supported by internal witness as well as external. Another book that is written for the average person to read about the reliability of the gospels is, “Can We Trust the Gospels? Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John” by Mark D. Roberts. He got his Ph.D. at Harvard in New Testament and Christian orgins and his conclusion agrees with most conservatives.
Walt, (Letter coding at beginning of paragraphs/sections is to help facilitate discussion without me having to repeat each section I am responding to in my reply. Walt)
A: You have to be patient with the atheist rebuttals that only started showing up in the 19th/20th century. Remember, before then we did a good job condemning and keeping them down. A bread crumb for all to think maybe there is a problem in OZ. But you don’t need atheist to point out what is wrong, there is always another religious person who will tell you that you’re wrong. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfA6mTgl7tU
B: I mentioned FF Bruce because of past apologetic debates I have seen between Protestants & Roman Catholics. The argument was brought up that with the many different Bible book listings found between early century congregations, that no one could guarantee they had the right # of books, or the right list. You can see this in the book & Apostle Father Writings; lots of debate. It is how some groups conclude that you have to have a magical Magistrate to figure out the controversy. I have to disagree with your ‘we have it right now’. Come on, the RCs & Ps still to this day still have different Bibles and let’s not bring up the groups who define words differently. Sidebar: Too bad you didn’t make comment to Ed’s “JC didn’t say go and make 40,000 different churches”. I could have used your support. What is your view on that? But as I have always mentioned, ‘man’ has a great brain/storytelling and can come up with how to keep the story going.
C: Which leads to your NT prophecies such as ‘gospel will be spread to the World’. By the time that was written, it was spread to at least a few other regions. That falls into the Nostradamus category of’ we are covered since anything can fill it’. Now wouldn’t it have been nice to have a scripture like “One day you will sail west xxx legions and when the Sun reaches its highest North you will find a mountain made of granite while none other around it. In it will be my Word on gold plates with all the proper words” (sorry, that has already been taken by another group). But of course as you had mentioned on Ed’s page, we can NOT prove an event such as resurrection. This of course requires, as you mention above, that you’ve got to have faith and not look behind the curtain. And watch out for your OT prophecies; remember that other religious groups have refuted those. All rabbis have refuted that JC is not the Messiah. There are lots of prophecies that follow on their face. They fall into 3 main categorizes, Fabricated, misquotes or misapplications. Here is a good link refuting them: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2529F79EEAF4B995
D: I like your ‘NT done before Temple Destruction”. Only problems with that, not all scholars agree and we do have a wailing wall. E: You will also find on this Youtube list some special nuggets such as a list of JC followers referenced in the Gospels who are never listed again after resurrection. I mention this for another bread crumb that comes up in Bible study, the statements like “how could they NOT believe when they saw all these great miracles that we don’t see now”. It becomes obvious when you realize that these are legend writings! F: You also discount Hercules over Jesus because of ‘eye witness’ accounts. But remember even Joseph Smith had witnesses.
G: You have a great hobby. But these are trying times with us living on a planet that has limited resources that our children are going to have to deal with. H: Also, we are not the only large religious group. Man has created over 33,000 different gods. It is arrogant to think we have the right one just because of where we have grown up. Islam is spreading and there are others that we need to address. They use the same ‘no evidence’ arguments that you use to justify their harsh judgment decisions. When you resear.ch World Religions, countries seldom convert http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDelhZQdCKQ
I: We need to have unity and require objective evidence of all. We must pop their bubble of delusion. We need to at least to start to show the 32,999 others that theirs is imaginary.
Please see links below:
Letters correspond to paragraph/sections in Tom’s previous response. My replies immediately follow the letters. This is to help streamline things a bit. – Walt
A: The “church” did a good job of putting a lot of people down who didn’t agree with their views from the late second century on. So, I wouldn’t cry pity for the atheists as a unique group undergoing persecution. Today among orthodox Christians, there are more martyred around the world than the previous two millennia put together. We can see a type of persecution coming from atheists toward Christians. Now that they tend to be more vocal and have more influence in universities and government, they want to push their own religion into the national sphere. It is ironic that they want a government free of religion, yet they want the government to promote theirs! Most will say they don’t have a religion – but a religion is about what you worship. Atheists worship their own works and try to push it on others. This is really ironic because in the early Reformation, the reformers did much of what they accused the Catholic Church of doing in terms of persecutions, control, etc. It seems whoever is in power, will use their power to promote their own position and be sure to retain it. So, in that sense, atheism is just another man-made religion.
I watched the video in section A. In the last 20 years, there actually has been more unity among denominations, even with the Catholic Church than since the Reformation. Much of the divisions have to do with politics and human egos; with disagreements about secondary doctrines of Scripture that are not entirely clear – much because some things of God are beyond human understanding or experience; some because of lack of study of the Scriptures in the proper contexts and with sensible methods of interpretation; and some because there were folks who wanted to return to the first century ways of doing church while others were conservative and didn’t want to rock the boat too much. One statement in the video is that Luther divided from the Roman Church. The fact is that Luther did not want to divide from the church. All he wanted was for the church to stop acting like a political establishment and start acting like a church. The reaction of the church against him caused the separation. One unfortunate result of a break is that it emboldens others to break as well, regardless of whether they have sufficient reason to do so. Notice though that despite corruption on the whole in the Catholic Church at that time of Luther, there were sincere believers that God worked through to maintain His true church at the core. I do have to say that the video is quite slanted in that it ridicules many things about various denominations, but it does not present any of the history and context of what happened and why it happened. I am definitely pro-science, but I could make a video of such a slant as well to show how ridiculous the scientific establishment can be. The root cause of such craziness is people, not God. It could be considered a miracle that the church as a whole still exists despite the sinfulness of man.
The basic message of the Bible is straight forward and clear and the majority of Christian denominations find agreement on those points. Those few areas where there are disagreements on these widely accepted points can be tied to a personality who decided what is taught in the mainstream is not right and went and convinced a bunch of others as much. Human sin clouds the understanding of humans with regard to the things of God and it clouds those who rebel against God even more.
The epistles in the New Testament show that there were counter movements that the apostles had to deal with pretty early on. That has never stopped. I’m sure you don’t believe in a Satan. I didn’t use to. But let me say that if there is a Satan, who would do all he could to cause confusion, fracturing, and tarnishing of the church as he could. He does well at it, but Christ has prevailed.
Here are some biblical passages from Paul to Timothy, and then Peter, that speak to this very thing:
1 Tim 1: 3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions
1 Tim 4: 1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
1 Tim 6: Teach and urge these things. 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
2 Tim 3: 1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
2 Pet 2: 1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
As well the letters from Jesus through John to the six churches in Revelation 2 and 3 show churches, in the late 1st century already having problems. The Corinthians where acting like the world rather than the church per Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. Does all of that mean the church is floundering and doesn’t have a pilot? No. It means that God has saved a bunch of really messed up people who like sheep really want to go their own way. And despite that, the church has survived!
B: This is a smoke screen, Tom – making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Roman Catholics acknowledge that the extra books in their Bible are lessor in importance (secondary canon) than the primary canon that THEY accepted in the 4th century. The issue of those secondary books is that they were in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) that the earliest Christians used and not in the Hebrew texts which is the basis for the Protestant Bible. They had always been acknowledge as secondary.
On your last point about 40,000 different churches. What Jesus said was to go to all the people groups of the world making disciples, baptizing them and teaching them everything He had taught the original apostles. Each church is a local congregation of baptized believers that subscribe to His commandments. Because of the power that people not adhering to the commandment of Christ can attain by gaining control of such groups, there have been problems. But, the church overall has survived despite it.
C: I looked at the videos against the Messianic prophecies very quickly to get the gist. I don’t have the time to write a refutation for all of it. In general, the guy has good points but nothing earth shattering or new. If I can hunt down a reference to answer these specifically I’ll let you know. Plenty has been written and I don’t have anything myself written up about these. I’ve lectured on some, but the PowerPoint slides would not be suffiencient as stand alones. For example, I’ve talked much on the virgin birth prophecy in Isaiah. But, a good discussion is required for understanding the Hebrew word Almah and how it is to be understood in both the context of Isaiah and as a New Testament prophecy, as well as the translation into the Greek of the Septuagint. As well, the suffering servant prophecy of Isaiah 52-53 and just who is the servant is a favorite twist of Rabbis. There indeed is a shift on the nature of the servant between the various passages in Isaiah such that Israel cannot be the servant in chapter 53.
Here are two links that discuss the virgin birth prophecy in Isaiah as I would have:
A book I use on the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament that explains a lot of these things is: Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament Editors Beale and Carson
Here is an article on the Isaiah 53 suffering servant discussion – who is the servant? Context, as usual, is very important: http://carm.org/does-isaiah-53-predict-jesus-messiah
To your comments in paragraph C, it is pure bologna to compare the Great Commission to a Nostradamus type of prophecy. First of all, the Great Commission (I stated it above, from Matthew 28:18-20) is not a prophecy, it is a commandment. Second of all, you don’t need detailed instructions in order to fulfill it.
Also, of course the Rabbis have refutations of the prophecies since they are opposed to Christianity (the Rabbis are the descendants of the Pharisees for the most part). What they do is put a twist on an interpretation that was developed after the first century of the Hebrew text, whereas the Christians of the first century were using the Greek text. The Greek was translated by Hebrew scholars about 300 years before Christ who translated according to how they understood the Scriptures. Should accept the interpretation of the Hebrew text by a person opposed to Christianity after the 1st century rather than an unbiased scholar/translator from before Christ? The Hebrew text prior to the Masoretes of 7th century had no vowels and the interpretation was supported by oral tradition. That didn’t get written down until after 200 A.D. How do we know that new interpretations were developed in the oral tradition when at that time there was much animosity between orthodox Jews and Christians who were mostly Gentiles at that time?
D: Not all scholars agree on a lot of things, so that doesn’t prove much. Especially given many of the scholars have bought into the German critical methods that a-priori dispose of anything supernatural. There is much to be said about the traditions that are closer to the time than to biased scholars thousands of years later.
I’m not sure what you meant by the wailing wall.
E: Didn’t see anything in the videos about this. After the gospels, the New Testament focuses on the writings and acts of the apostles. So, I’m not sure why you are expecting other names to be mentioned. Acts itself was written by Luke, who was part of the team with Paul during his missionary journeys. Obviously that is going to be more about Paul and someone else. We do have many stories about many of the other early disciples but many are fanciful and can’t be validated.
F: Joseph Smith was caught in fraud with his translation of the Abraham fragment. Also, it is not clear any of his eyewitnesses actually saw the golden tablets, but even if they did that is not proof they came from a divine origin. That would be like saying the Israelites saw Moses’ stone tablets but they could not honestly testify that the tablets were written by God (except for all of the other excitement going on at the time which makes it is more reasonable to assume Moses’ story to be true). There are no miracles for which Smith’s eyewitnesses to testify to. Each of Jesus’ eyewitnesses actually saw the miracles, three of them saw Him transfigured, and more than 500 people saw Him resurrected. As well, Jesus’ coming in the first century and dying a brutal death followed by rising from the dead was predicted. Joseph Smith’s coming was not. There is not much to compare between Jesus and Joseph Smith. If you wanted to compare Smith to Paul or somebody like that, then maybe we have something to talk about – apples to apples, but not when comparing Smith to Jesus. Rather, Jesus has to be compared to other mythical figures to consider Him mythical. And so, how many mythical figures do we have that have eyewitnesses and were predicted over a period of two thousand years prior?
G: Why do you call this a hobby? I retired from Northrop Grumman just a little over two years ago to fulfill my calling to missions. I take this very seriously. Your statement reminds me of a Hindu friend of mine in Florida who says that I would do more good for humankind if I continued to work as an engineer/scientist rather than to become a missionary. But the problem is that my friend is blind to the needs of the world. The world doesn’t need more high tech gadgets as much as it needs a heart change. A heart change can’t happen by looking within where the corrupt heart lies. The problem with the world is mankind itself. No scientific or engineering efforts will ultimately save mankind if he is so intent on destroying his families and what makes him human. A heart change for the world will make a monumental difference in the world, even if only a fraction of mankind has that heart transplant.
H: And what does “us” not being the only large religious group have to do with whether there is a God, whether there are objective morals, and whether Christianity is true? You mention Islam. It is the product of a man, even a man God worked with, who decided to take matters in his own hands and had an offspring that would be the leader of a major large religion that would always be the antagonist of the Jewish religion (out of which the Christian religion came). If that man, Abraham, had trusted God, that would never have happened and the world scene today would look much different. One man’s sin can affect an entire world!
I don’t think I ever claimed to believe in Christianity because that is where I grew up. Maybe you did, which may be why you reject it. I may have gone to church here and there, but I was more into New Age and Buddhist beliefs prior to becoming a Christian at age 37 than I was into any Christian beliefs. I would have sounded more like you prior to that. So, please don’t assume I’m a Christian by default out of ignorance. I’m a Christian first, because God got my attention, and second, because I studied it and find it the only rational faith that explains the world we live in and truly changes people. I did not change because I wanted to change. I was quite happy with my life beforehand. It wasn’t the best life, but it seemed fine having not known any better. But now knowing better, I would not exchange my life now for the status I had then for anything. What is arrogant is to look at a corrupt world, which the Bible explains, and say that the Bible is not true! What is arrogant is to think that man can save himself. What is arrogant is saying that a newly conceived human life is not a human life because of convenience. What is arrogant is thinking a blind man can see. If one really understands the Bible, the history of religion, the effects of sin on people and the world, the effects of sin in ther own life, and what it means to be born again, even as an atheist, they wouldn’t give the kind of arguments you have presented so far against Christianity. Of course and atheist wouldn’t have a clue what it means to be born again. What is honest for an atheist is to admit that he doesn’t have faith in Jesus Christ because he doesn’t want to have faith in Him and prefers faith in himself, not because of any so called rational arguments. There is no rational argument against the biblical faith when one understands that faith. It stands out against all the world relgions as well when one understands that faith.
I: Tom, I agree the body of Christ should have unity – but not at the cost of destroying ourselves because of lack of faith in Christ Himself. There are some who are judgmental towards those who have had abortions. There are some who are judgmental against homosexuals. And, so on. But, they are wrong and misunderstand their place in Christ! We are not to judge them for their past behaviors, but embrace them and show them the love of Christ so that they can be transformed as well, put off the old self and put on the new, and come to unity in the heart of God. In that love, they will see how they have sought their own pleasures and preferences in direct contrast to what is good that God wants for all mankind. Eternal life means accepting the life of God for our own. It does not mean going to church to learn morals and then living like the devil.
My response on the amputee issue is coming later. It is a favorite smoke screen of athiests. There are places today were amputees have had limbs regenerated, but that is rare and I’ll explain why it is rare later. Do note that in the New Testament, not all people were miraculously healed.
As far as Dawkins is concerned, he is one of those atheist who wishes to slander for his own purposes and does not undersand the Christian faith. He projects and then knocks down (strawman fallacy) a picture of Christianity that is only true of the medieval faith for the most part. Even his definition of faith – step 1, is HIS definition, not that which is in the Bible. There are plenty of new books out to show why his arguments hold no water.
I wish I had more time (I already used an evening I didn’t have to spare) to write an encylopedia for you to answer all these. But I have my doubts about whether it would do any good anyway. One has to be truly seeking answers for them to be of benefit. Some who read this may be seeking and for them I may try to get to these things. But as far as our dialogue goes, I only expect to go back and forth with you trying to convince me Christianity is false and me trying to show you that such a conclusion as that requires a leap of faith – one that assumes all the facts are understood when that is far from the case. To truly understand requires the Holy Spirit. Delieta witnessed to me on an airplane. I did what she suggested and prayed for God to open my eyes. It took about four months, but He saved me one day when I least expected it. I radically transformed my thinking. I had whole new eyes. Now, having experienced the truth of Christ and His Holy Spirit, there is no way I could ever deny Him. All those arguments in those videos are noise added to the real picture. It takes seeing the picture just right for the noise to be filtered out and the real picture to be seen for what it is.
Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. If you don’t seek and you don’t knock, it is because you prefer your own gods over the God who is. Even in the church, there are weeds and wheat. Those weeds make the church look bad. But the wheat is real. It produces fruit if one lets Christ work through them by submitting to His lordship and His salvation.
Tom [Comments by Walt] said:
o Letter after BCx – trace to Walt’s replies – Tom (Let me know if you want me to lay it out differently.)
Walt, (BC1-A) You can’t consider atheists to be the ones to persecute or a religion. They don’t pray to a god and they are only responding to all the judgment rocks that people throw from their stain glass windows at them. [Walt: Religion is about worship. People worship in various ways of whatever is worthy of their devotion. Saying an atheist does not pray to a god is to misunderstand what a god is and to think praying in the traditional sense defines religion. Some religions don’t pray, but meditate. Some just plain ponder. A god is that which rules a person’s life. It is plain and obvious that atheism in today’s form is a religion of naturalism and humanism. Also, the statement about judgment rocks is to miss the point of my comment. Throughout history, once the oppressed has gotten power, they have oppressed those of opposing views. It is not about rocks, eventhough that can make a person angry and want revenge, but it is about gaining and keeping power! That is the human tendency – it is called the fallen nature.] They just want religious people to give verifiable evidence for their statements. [Walt: What’s the point if they will reject it apriori? Where is the evidence that naturalism is the correct worldview? It is an assumption.] Something all of us Engineers like Ed, you & I expect in ever technical papers & especially from a vendor salesman. We left brain thinkers like you and I are always making sure we are not being tricked with our money and time. [Walt: Given that, why do you think Ed and I have been dupped? Maybe we see something with our analytical minds beyond what the atheist sees?] I am glad you can see that it’s ‘people who are the root cause of craziness’. [Walt: It’s biblical, besides obvious to the astute observer.] I meet so many who try to dump it on Satan, you know the old, “the devil made me do it”. [Walt: Also typical of humanity to blame our own actions on others. It started in the garden.] This is a bread crumb (BC) that lead me to realize that there is a man behind the curtain in OZ. If people are the crazies, then isn’t it very probable that they are the ones coming up with the Bronze age “God” stories? [Walt: It is not only very probable, but seems to be the case, and why they tend to deviate from the creator God and make gods of their own design. Even atheism has it’s own god so that they can deny the true God. Human beings are idol factories.] They had a lot of motivation if they could steal followers from another “Bubble” religious group. [Walt: Gives them power.] Here is a link showing who is the immoral:
Religion is Linked to Immoral Behaviour in New Study
‘Atheist’ Nations Are More Peaceful
[Walt: No details given for either study. What I know about the content of the first video is that it is true is that immorality increases in areas that have leglistic religions. In the second video, there are many more factors involved than just the religion of the majority of a country. It also has do to with education levels, prior religion, poverity levels, etc. Thus the video is slanted in order to make its point. Knowing India quite well, I would not say it is a more peaceful place than the U.S. It might be true that Hinduism puts a higher value on peace than American Christianity, but as far as the conduct of the population, I doubt India is more peaceful. Also, to compare a country like the U.S., a major world power, to a country like Sweden, is not a fair comparison, nor a country like Japan that was disciplined quite severely in World War II and has had to keep its military spending limited.]
(BC2-A) Walt, I agree that we are seeing more unity in the last 20 years. But I think it is because of a survival of the fittest as our ‘Bubble’ is downsizing. [Walt: Maybe so. But I also see even the Catholic Church going back to the Bible as the basis for attempt for unity with Protestants. When the authority is in humans, as it is in many religions, rather than the Bible, you have more of the splitting.] Like you, I liked Luther. He is one of my ‘breadcrumbs that point to the man behind the curtain in Oz!’ He forced a rebellion in what was thought to be a perfect interpretation of Yahweh’s Word. [Walt: I don’t know where you get your facts about Luther! He never forced a rebellion. He was very upset about peasant revolt. Later he might have overstepped his bounds in force, but he did not start rebellion. As well, I don’t think he claimed “perfect” interpretation. Rather he pointed out the Church’s errors, which many agreed were there. Regardless, however, even if he did, he is a man and his failures do not undermine faith in Christ – it shows why we can’t trust in man as our authority!] After more than a millennium, someone had the guts to stand up and say, ‘I disagree’. [Walt: Not with interpretation, but with the autrocities being carried out by the Church of the time. It was their abuses that got him rauled up.] Luckily he was living in an the right area where they protected him from the persecution. Not so lucky was Tyndall. Even today, we see persecution when someone dares to bring up a different interpretation such as your friend xxx and her cheap ‘blind’ crack. [Walt: I don’t know who xxx and her cheap … is? Maybe you can elaborate so I can respond to whatever you are claiming.] But I understand, it is what people do when they are part of a group. You should see my FSU/Gator friends go at it. [Walt: College athletics are more gods in my view.] We have evolved to be competitive. P.S. Link below explains the Bubbles:
How Man has evolved to help each other:
[Walt: You might as well not post the videos since they are all slanted and make your position look more ridiculous than you might be hoping for. This one shows ignorance in the biblical understanding of ethics. There are many legalistic religions in the world. Many atheists I know have come from the Catholic Church where legalism was strong. Others come from highly legalistic Protestant churches. Strong legalism has distorted their understanding of moral law. Most atheists also do not have a good understanding of the Bible (a small minority do, who actually do make reasonable arguments, even if misguided). In other words, they are biblical illiterate. It is important to state this, because how can an illiterate person setup a valid critique of what they don’t understand? This video claims that laws are arbitrary from the gods. In legalism, some teach that to be the case. However, biblically, the moral law is a representation of the character of God. The law is not arbitrary. And, the law, is not just a set of rules from a tyrant that wants to keep control over us (God can keep control despite us. And actually, He does.), but the biblical law is based on how love is dislayed and lived out with respect to God and to man. It is not arbitrary. All of the law can be taught as aspects of love. One problem is that many tell the rules, but don’t explain why, if they are followed, lead to a better quality of life.]
(BC3a-A): Walt, Your Paul to Timothy verses is classic ‘how do I keep my customer base by smashing the competition’. Paul and the Church was just getting started and didn’t want to see the collection plate drop. [Walt: You’ve got to be kidding me! To claim Paul had a modern motive is quite ridiculous. Do you know that he did not take an income from the churches?] They blast the competition with words like ‘they are of the devil”, “deceitful”, etc. But this is the opposite of other verses like work out your faith have an answer for your belief. [Walt: Really? Do you realize that working out your faith, having an answer for your belief, and giving caution about false teachers are verses in different contexts and thus are not talking about the same thing? Would it not make sense that if Jesus taught the apostles something of God, that anything that contradicted it was not of Jesus? Working out one’s faith has to do with one’s own assurance about their salvation – not anything having to do with false teachers. Having an answer is to know what was being taught was from Jesus so that it could be discerned from the false teaching. To think of movement simply as competition to Paul is to think that all of the movements back then were equally valid. Only one movement was directly descended from Jesus.] This is another BC to make one realize is there a cover-up and we aren’t willing to note we have some issues on our side. Think about it. [Walt: What is the evidence for a cover-up here and what are the issues? It seems the cover-up is in trying to rewrite history and reinterpret it according to personal preferences. Even this way of thinking is in competition with Paul. But making up a problem doesn’t mean there was a problem. We can get very imaginative, but it is better to stick to the facts than to use our imagination. What happened to using reason and evidence? It seems the atheistic argument is where gods are being fabricated as an attempt to mask the God who loves us and will rescue those who trust in Him. Why hate that God so much? It seems to me because of this false idea about rules and the legalism. You see how false teaching can cause people to go astray! All of that legalism has caused people to abandon the faith. While this is the work of men, do you not think Satan at least has some part in this attemp to turn people from the true God?]
(BC3b-A): You ask about Satan. I believe in anything that there is evidence for. But no evidence here. [Walt: That’s what I used to think. There is a coherent movement against God which is rather obvious when one steps back and looks. In the garden Satan said through the serpent, “God did not surely say!” Today many repeat that phrase in order to get people to turnaway from God’s Word.] Look closer at how Satan developed from almost nothing in the OT to something in the NT. [Walt: I have books on that. Most of it relates the mythology that surrounds Satan. But, as I just said, Satan was there from chapter 3 in Genesis 1.] A classic, give the people what they want and emphasis what they want to hear more of. Man, if not sick in the head, is the one who decides to do evil. [Walt: That he does, and he cannot ultimately blame Satan. People only do what they want to do. No one can force anyone to freely do what they really don’t want to do. Yet, that doesn’t mean that there is a spiritual movement over the landscape that has a lot of influence for those who desire what is pleasing to self, rather than what might be best.] The sooner we get away from this primitive thinking, the more we can help people, and especially to get them to sign up that THEY are responsible. [Walt: So, as I’ve been saying, it is wrong for people to blame their actions on Satan. So, I agree with getting people to be responsible! But, that does not take away from there being such a being.] Here is a link showing an interesting interpretation when you look closer at scripture, remember God Yahweh has killed a lot more (p.s. a violation of the 10 commandments) then Satan. Also, Yahweh was the one to 1st to lie to Adam & Eve (they didn’t die). [Walt: I’m not even going to bother with the video since I already know from what you just said it is a slant and all previous ones have been. To say God lied to Adam and Eve is to misunderstand what is meant by death – separation – and by the way, spiritual separation from God always leads to physical death – it just takes time. As well, to say God has killed more than Satan is to say you understand God’s motives to be less then honorable and that you know all that Satan has been responsible for. I seriously doubt you know what all Satan has done. Also, it appears you have another distorted view of God’s actions as presented by the atheists who don’t know what they are talking about.]
[Walt: Ok, I went ahead and watched the videos anyway. The second one had pretty cool music. I mentioned it before, but a good book to help put these apparent attrocities into perspective is “Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God” By Paul Copan. It is always a problem when an atheist reads from a 20th or 21st century perspective without consideration of the literary language and customs of the time. What is funny about the first video is that it is exactly the way Satan wants you to think! Isn’t it he who said God can’t be trusted in Genesis 3? Again, context and language needs to be taken into account. See the link for a paper I wrote about the destruction in Canaan: https://isaiahc6v8.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/wtucker-canaanpaper.pdf ]
(BC4-B): Walt, It might just be a mole hill when looking at Bible book differences in cannons, but remember the ‘stain glass rock throwers’ say it is perfect. I have always liked how the Apostle Fathers said it was just ‘inspired’, not directly from God. But this is another BC that should make you think as an Engineer that here is another “higher probability that all was made up by man”. Think about it. [Walt: Tom, I think your BC is frying your brain. Try Goodies instead. If you had any experience with how God’s providential hand works in the lives of men, you would understand how inspiration can result in a inerrant Word.]
(BC5-C): Glad you agree that the atheist Youtube videos bring up good points. [Walt: I think only one video made good points, but was still wrong.] Especially your note that Rabbis (members of other bubbles) that they “twisted” the verse. Come on Walt, Christians get that all the time. Maybe we should look closer to the verse. Interesting you note the virgin birth. Of all the power Yahweh was written up to have, why couldn’t a story of ‘right out of thin air that JC was made’ instead of having to involving & violating an innocent young girl. [Walt: Excuse me? Do you have any clue why there was an incarnation? The young girl was quite honored to be the mother of the Savior of the world. And what does that have to do with the prophecy?] But when you look at the background of the writers (primitive tribal desert men) [Walt: You talking about Isaiah? Read up on him sometime. I thought you had more biblical knowledge than that. You’re sounding like the atheists in those videos.] AND the fact you have a teenager who knew if she didn’t come up with something quick, she could be stoned to death for a premarital get together; it becomes obvious how this LEGEND got started. [Walt: If that was the only issue, then that possibility is something to consider. But, it doesn’t explain why coincidently Jesus would be a man of the stature He was and the movement would originate from Him that did. If I were you, it would make more sense to say it was written back into the story. God chose to use a virgin birth. He didn’t have to, but He did. Knowing that was how the Son of God was to enter the world, he inspired Isaiah to prophecy it – which had a near-term and far-term meaning. The Rabbi was only looking at the near-term meaning.]
You might say that the Great Commission/Nostradamus statement is bologna, but I know some Christian bubble groups would say you were being Apostate. [Walt: I think you are likely taking something out of context again. No normal person is going to say that a commandment is a prophecy.] They state the GC ‘spreading to the World’ fulfills specific prophecy. [Walt: What prophecy? Maybe you mean that a descendant of Abraham and of David will be a light to the nations? Which by the way, means one born from that line, and thus born of at least a human mother! If that is the prophecy you are talking about, they what you said previously is still bologna. Jesus didn’t need to give specific instructions on how to fulfill it. Instead, He gave the church His Holy Spirit to guide them – that is the them of the book of Acts.] But of course, everyone has their own interpretation. That is why an effort is needed on giving better backing. But of course, there is no evidence. Your “don’t have time to refute” avoids a very important issue. That being a lot is weighing on this. One weak concept and this house of cards collapse. Why would anyone base their moral/life decisions on such weak statements. This is too important to avoid. [Walt: Which issue do you want refuted? There is no issue if you are talking about the GC. If you could provide some reason to think the GC itself is a prophecy, then I can look at it and provide the refutation. I’ve never heard of such a thing before so I don’t know how to respond. If you are talking about refuting the Rabbi video – I provided links to articles that should have helped with my time problems for the major ones. Other than that, I asked you for a specific issue for me to address so I can keep it limited.]
(BC6-E): Think about it Walt. Even people were THERE didn’t stay in the movement! Of course they weren’t the focus, a leader who wants to sign up for his club doesn’t want you to look at the members who left! [Walt: Where is your evidence for this claim?]
(BC6-F): Hurray, you are starting to get it Walt! People in the 1800s questioned ‘are there eyewitnesses’ and put Smith on trial! How do you think our religion would do on trial today. Walt- You are making the same mistake. You state, “each of Jesus’ witness ACTUALLY saw the miracles. [Walt: I think I was talking about the resurrection in particular. But the authors of the gospels also saw the miracles they wrote about. They weren’t just told about them. As well, there was prophecy for Jesus, not for Smith. See Luke 1:1-4; 1 John 1:1-4; and 2 Peter 1:16-21] That is what the REAL Mormon witnesses said. Hello, this is what the Hercules Legend video notes, if people in 1800s could get caught up in a legend, why not 2000 years ago! Isn’t that more probable? [Walt: No. Apples and oranges. Show me the prophecies that Smith fulfilled and eyewitnesses of his resurrection and I’d think you have something. Again, you have a better argument comparing Smith to Paul than comparing him to Jesus. But even them, there were more apostles that Paul, so the movement was bigger than just him.]
BC6-G: Sorry for calling it a hobby. I didn’t know you were retiring. Enjoy. But speaking of humanity, especially since you are a right brainer, I hope you can focus on staying away from the what I call, ‘Now everyone hold the Dumbo feather, it is what is really making you fly’ and instead focus on getting them to lift themselves up. I noted this to a missionary doctor when I pointed out in his story that he ALWAYS took a sick person to his clinic instead of the church for laying of hands & prayer. He stated I was very insightful. He gave me a great statement I forward to you, “One pair of working hands is better than 7 billion praying hands”. [Walt: 7 billion praying hands praying in harmony will ensure wonders from the one pair of working hands.] That is why I bring my laptop to church now and help people get thru the job application process of so many companies. Instead of saying, I will pray for you, I REALLY help them. [Walt: First, I’d say what you are doing in helping is right – read James 2 :14-26. Anyway praying and not helping is not obeying Christ. Second, prayer would be wise – read James 5:16. Anyone relying soley upon works without prayer is not obeying Christ. Of course, for prayer to work, a person must know God.] I hope you do the same. When doing so, you will really be helping. A little like what Bill Gates does, no religious side baggage. [Walt: A lot can be done if one has the money. But when one lacks it, God can show Himself. It is difficult to see God at work when we have the means. That is not saying to not use means when we have it. In a place where there is no docter, all you can do is pray. When needing something and not having the money nor the connections, prayer really helps.] Maybe you could help to teach people like Delieta to not throw rocks like her “your blind” crack she did to me. [Walt: Ah, now I know what you were talking about previously. She has her point. God used her to begin the process of waking me up. There are gentle and tactful ways to say things, and I teach people to do so. But at times, bluntness is needed.]
BC6-H: It has everything to do with it. It is another bread crumb. You are happy to throw rocks at it and the other 32,998 man made gods, but you won’t remove the plank from your eyes that maybe ‘us’/we have the same problem. You mention Abraham. Look closer at the Sacrifice Isaac story. A god ask someone to murder an innocent person as a test! It makes God to look psycho. [Walt: Isaac points to Christ where He gave His Son as a sacrifice. In the end, a substitue ram was provided. It is hard to understand why Abraham would do it unless you read Hebrews 11:17-19 and see that Abraham believed God would resurrect him. It is hard to understand why God would give up His son unless you understand the predicament we are in being born apart from God in unrighteous forever separated from Him unless He did something to remedy the situation.] But when you look at it as story created by primitive, tribal bronze age desert people; it makes total sense. [Walt: When you look at it as a typology of how God was going to redeem man, it is amazing!] The sooner you realize this, the more you can help others. [Walt: The sooner you understand the real need of mankind, the more you can help them.] Don’t consider me a New Ager or Buddhist, there is no evidence for them also. I am a “just the facts” person. [Walt: I wish you were, because many of the “facts” you appear to be trusting in are not the facts of the faith. Keep in mind that I am right-brained as you say, studied to think like a physicist at MIT, became a high-level engineer, and now have nearly completed seminary training where I’ve learned the history of the church, the history of how we got the Bible we have, how to do proper exegesis/hermeneutics, all of the ways various people have interpreted the Bible, about other world religions, and I have experience as a pastor dealing with peoples hurts and needs as well as their questions about God, so it not not as likely that I have a plank in my eye preventing proper perspective. Above all of that, which only amounts to intellectual knowledge and personal experience, I was born-again at age 37 eventhough I confessed Christ as a youth. I understand what it means to be a false Christian. I know what it means to have the Holy Spirit. I understand the power strugggles of men and why religions have does what they have done through the years. I understand why the Christian church, even, is in the fragmented shape it is in. I understand a lot because I probably over-analyze things. But I can tell you, that you really have gone down a rabbit trail with this atheist nonsense. You have said anything yet I haven’t heard before as if I should be surprised that my faith is a based on a fragile house of cards. The fact is my faith is well established on reason and experience, and on history and meaning. Your BCs have really fooled you. The man behind the curtain is God Himself, who wants us to seek Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. When we do, we will be transformed. That there are people out there giving Christianity a bad name is unfortunate, but a reality. Yet, there are many who give it a good name. It is more unfortunate that they are far and few between. We need more of them! Too many weeds and not enough wheat. If we stop making up stories about why we can’t trust God, maybe we can bring real hope to people. It is my aim not only to help people in need, as Jesus woud have us do, but to teach the truth of His Word and to preach the gospel so that people may have eternal life and no longer be swimming in a sea of futility.]
But the big thing about Islam is that it is growing and it is really mean. If we don’t unite, it can overcome us unless we require objective evidence from them. But of course, they will require it of us. [Walt: Have you ever noticed the radical ones aren’t interested in reason?] The time is ticking, we need to move on this. [Walt: Do you not think God knows about this? He is the one that said Ishamael would be the father of this movement. I’m not saying we sit around as if not a concern, but my point is that this is bigger than us. This is something where we must trust God. Ever read Isaiah? Israel and Judah failed to trust God by trusting in other nations. I just preached on Isaiah 40 this week. We are not to trust men, nations, or any idols of our making, but to trust God. He will deliver. His word stands! Knocking down His word only amounts to building a false god which is easy to knock down and can’t save a flee.] And the time is ticking on you and me, we only have a short time on this Earth, and there is no evidence of an afterlife [Walt: Is that so? What kind of church do you go to? Ever heard of Gary Habermas and JP Moreland?], all are just from Bronze age writings. I hope there is one, but it not good to jump on a bandwagon when there is no evidence, and worse to start making decisions for our short life on this Earth based on Bronze age writings, there are much better methods of logic. [Walt: Even in the remote chance the Christian faith is not true, it isn’t a bad deal if we follow it.]
There are many books that have been written that say the World is corrupt, but that doesn’t make them true. [Walt: Not because of the books, but logic and mere observation would show that to be true.] Remember what we agree upon, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The minute you realize the Bible is just written by men, then you can realize that thru our constant editing or interpretation, Man has always been doing the edits/saving. The sooner we drop the Dumbo feather, we can make better decisions. [Walt: To be honest, I think you have picked up that feather. Where is you coherent objective evidence that the Bible was only written by men without any divine inspiration/intervention? Critical scholarship is not that evidence. It is assumes aprior that there is no supernatural. Once you assume that, you have to make up a bunch of stuff contrary to what common sense would tell you to try to explain it. Which of the multitiude of theories should we believe about when the various books were written? There are as many theories as there are critical scholars. Why not believe the plain story?] It makes since that religion was created by Man, it is part of our evolution. [Walt: That is a view] How do you keep a rebellious teen on the farm so he can learn from the elders how to watch out for the sabre tooth tiger, you tell me him a story that Gods are mad when he hears thunder. [Walt: And is that what the Bible teaches? The Bible says not to believe in mythology.] It will work for a while until he can turn on his left brain and figure it out. Religion will always be with us, it is part of Man’s imagination that he want fulfilled, not an immeasurable force touching us. It is a cop out to say, “it is a personal testimony”. We need to call that on the carpet & stop it. It will lead people to making poor decisions. [Walt: Making up stories about the Bible and the Christian faith causes people to make poor decisions as well.]
(BC7-I): I look forward to your “Christians don’t pray for amputees” response. That glaring one since we were told, “All prays are answered”. [Walt: Cite the verse please! I know of no such verse!] But it leads to another bread crumb, listed below are things I noticed that really show that Christians don’t believe. What do you think?
1. People make plans / think about things up until they die, not beyond [Walt: I don’t understand what you are saying here. Are you sure your presumption about the afterlife is not at play here? I think about things beyond this life as well as about things in this life.]
2. People are afraid of death – the more religious are more afraid. [Walt: What is your evidence for this? I think those of the Christian faith, in particular those who are born again are NOT afraid of death. They might be afraid of pain, but not death. Even Jesus wasn’t too crazy about the pain of going to the cross – but He could do it because He know what was on the other side.]
3. You find out your spouse is an atheist and you want a divorce [Walt: No Christian I know.]
4. All we can do now is just pray [Walt: Sometimes this is all you can do.]
5. Not worried about hell [Walt: Why should a Christian be worried about hell?]
6. Nobody prays for amputees [Walt: Really? Nobody? And in no way?]
7. People have to fight for their God, He can’t fight for himself [Walt: Read Joshua sometime]
8. When other people hear God’s voice we think they’re nuts [Walt: Guess I’m nuts]
9. People are willing to play a “fair” game which wouldn’t be fair if someone could cheat by praying [Walt: Not sure what you mean here either. Are you talking about football? I’m not sure why people pray to win a game as if God should pick sides. Also, it is selfish – not a Christian motivation. A person should pray that they do their best and glorify Christ in all they do!]
10. People don’t feel cheated when a lottery winner claims they won due to prayer [Walt: Most Christians don’t play the lottery.]
11. People divorce and remarry even though it goes against what God wants [Walt: Too much influence of the culture and in my view it shows they may be involved in a religion, but not have a relationship with Jesus.]
12. People remarry when their spouse dies even though their spouse is in Heaven watching [Walt: Jesus spoke about this. It doesn’t seem to be a problem.]
13. People have sex (and do other things) even though God is everywhere and watching you [Walt: Is that supposed to be a problem? God created sex. Now if you are taling about illicit sex, then again I go back to the relationship with Jesus problem.]
Tom Conclusion: I am sorry if you think you have spent too much time on this. We are called to have an answer for our faith. Again, I give you heads up. The storm is coming & more and more religions are being called on the carpet for their judgment beliefs. The Gay issue is next. You have been forewarned.
[Walt: I hope you actually have evidence. So far you have not made the case that abortion is okay. You have only cited the decision of a court. So, if you are going to use the same kind of argument about homosexuality, then you might as well not say anything. I expect you will just mention more of the slanted type views based on a few extremists who do not represent the biblical position. Nothing you have said so far discredits the Bible. So, if you want to make a case that homosexuality is acceptable, then you need to provide a biblical basis. I will not respond to anything that is based on what the extrements say and do. BTW, my apology for not being able to spend more time to provide answers in detail to your objections. I truly am very busy and have no down time. I have to give up doing something I should be doing in order to do this. My reason for doing this is to show you and the others reading it that the atheist view is untenable. I could put more time on specific issues and still not meet that end. (Yet, on certain ones, like prayer for the amputee, I will need to in order to show why that one doesn’t hold as much water as some think.) Whereas if I show how you don’t have reason on your side, that what you think is reason is only conjecture based on a false understanding of the Christian faith, then it will be clear.]
I made comments within square brackets starting with “[Walt: —]” interspersed within Tom’s message above.
To summarize: The problem with your position Tom is that it fails to see the uniqueness of the historic biblical faith relative to other ancient near eastern religions, it fails to comprehend the Bible in context – both literary and culturaly, and it falls into the snair of the naive arguments of the atheists who make those videos who are provided highly slanted arguments that don’t take all data into account (mostly their bias). The idea of unity is difficult to maintain when one’s unity is with a culture that declares human life is mere cells and that one should not counsel a women on trying to find alternatives to abortion.
I don’t know your story of why you have gone negative other than your over reliance on BC powder for your headaches, but it is interesting that you seemed to have gone from a background of a type of faith to nonfaith whereas I have gone the other direction. I was never an atheist, but I had my doubts about the Bible. When the eyes are opened up and one sees what they didn’t see before, a passion develops for God and His word that many don’t have because it is understood what was being missed. The most active Christians I know are the ones who were former atheists. It is easy to throw rocks at the Bible and the church and think people will run. But, it is something else to actually take notice and see what is at the core of it all. Religion is cultural and most of your rocks hit it. A relationship with Jesus Christ is personal and real. The church is a place for fellow followers of Jesus to work together as the body of Christ serving the world. In many places it has ended up as a country club full of weeds run by pastors who don’t even have a relationship with Jesus. So no wonder the churches are all messed up. Yet that does not mean we forsake the assembly of the saints.
The most difficult thing about the Christian faith is that people who are blind don’t realize it until the blindness is cured. It is difficult to explain. But those who have undergone spiritual rebirth know exactly what I’m talking about. God is the only one who can heal that blindness – so that one can see clearly at a distance. You knock prayer, but it is prayer and turning to Christ and trusting in Him, that will enable that spiritual rebirth. It is crazy trusting in videos made by more blind people who don’t see that a glass half empty is also half full of life sustaining water. The message, “God did not surely say,” from the very beginning plunged all of humanity into the situation where there is chaos, conflict, false relgions, war, abortions, and amputees.
With regard to prayer, between now and when I can get to the writeup, take a look at the paper at the link below on James 5:13-20 that I wrote for an advanced Greek class. Be sure to look at what I say in the extended introduction that I put in the appendix, as well as the conclusion. This paper doesn’t quite answer your question about the amputee, there is more to be said about that in particular, but it does help for seeing how a verse is to be understood that is often cited for healing by prayer.
As a teaser to the later writeup, consider that the type of healings you see in the New Testament do occur on occasion, yet still rare, in other parts of the world, and in the U.S, on an even more rare basis. No doubt there are false reports, but there are also reports by people I consider reliable. I know of one report of a healed amputee, but unfortunately I can’t remember who told me about it and where in Asia it occured. These kinds of miracles are associated with introduction of the gospel into highly spiritually opposed regions. Once they occur, they don’t continue to occur except on rare occasions. Since this is rare, most of the time, there are no dramatic healings. Rather, God uses unfortunate situations for a person to trust Him to overcome the adversity and then use them to minister to others in the same adversity. Ultimate healing will take place in the general resurrection. We are not in heaven yet and the physical world is still fallen for the time being – so there will be adversity. Until then, most of us undergo spiritual healing and God is involved providentially in our situations to help us through the sufferings that we encounter in this fallen world.
Click to access james-5-exegesis.pdf
So far Tom has made comments about his BCs and I’ve briefly responded to each saying more or less that most of them ignore context, facts, logic, and so forth with minimal backup because of time contraints. I’ve given links to some articles. But I do need to go into reasonable detail on why Tom’s arguments ignore context, facts, logic, and so forth. So, I’m letting those following this know that over the next several weeks (probably about two to three weeks per), I will post detailed commentary on the following topics:
– Scriptural and historical basis for the fracturing of the modern church and why that is not evidence for a lack of the truth of the core message of the church – the gospel, but actually supports it. Can we know the message that Jesus taught? Is the behavior of Christians throughout history and around the world an excuse to not pay attention to what Jesus taught, or more likely and indicator that what He taught was and is true?
– Prayer and miracles – what are we to expect when we pray and why do we not see miracle after miracle when we pray? (Even in Jesus’ day!)
– Mythology – Is it reasonable to think the Bible is different and not to be taken in the same way as the myths of other religions from prior to the enlightenment?
– Uniqueness of Christian faith – Is it arrogant to think the Christian message is true and that of other religions are not (there is always some truth in all religions)? What makes Christianity different than Mormanism, Jehovah Witnesses, Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and etc.?
– Is there a distinction between religion as many atheists talk about it and faith? Is faith blind? Is faith reasonable? Is there faith involved at the very root of science? Do many make too much of miracles in their daily talk? Why is the resurrection of Jesus reasonable to believe happened despite the fact that people dead for three days do not come back to life? Why is it not reasonable to believe in a flying spaghetti monster and unicorns (what are false analogies, strawmen, and begging the question)?
– Do demons exist? If so, what or who are they, i.e, what was Jesus casting out? Is Satan behind every problem?
Now that I have posted this, I am on the hook to do it. So for those of you who do believe in the power of prayer, please pray that I can get the time and do a good job putting the positions together in a readible, coherent, and logical fashion.
[WALT: Comments by Walt are provided as previously in square brackets with name after left bracket]
Walt, (1a) I have to disagree with you on saying atheism is a religion. Here is a quote from Pat Condell’s video that summarizes the problem with that approach: Well, I suppose atheism is a religion in the same way that creationism is a science, or Islam is a religion of peace. In other words, when language no longer really means anything. How can atheism be a religion? Who do they worship, and who is going to kill them if they don’t? Atheism doesn’t demand absolute unquestioning obedience or make threats about eternal damnation, nor does it take childish offence over trifles. It doesn’t protect sex offenders from justice nor does it treat women like livestock. In a way it is a shame it’s not a religion because we might be able to get a few tax breaks out of it, but no, atheism doesn’t get any special privileges. There are no schools teaching atheism to children as a belief system, paid for with public money. Nor does atheism require anyone to tithe part of their income to keep con men in luxury. So you see, it doesn’t even begin to qualify as a religion worthy of the name.”
For more detail: God bless atheism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4mWiqkGy-Y
[Walt: First of all I’m not sure why I should trust Pat as an expert on religion. Second of all, based on what he said, he clearly is not an expert on religion. As usual, this is a very slanted statement intened to be scarastic and rediculing religion without taking into account what the essence of religion is. I stated previously what religion is – is it about worshiping something of value. Obviously the caricature of religion given by Pat is not of value worthy of anyone’s attention. For an atheist, what is worthy of worship is the atheist’s own position, naturalism, scientism, and intellectualism. What is unfortunate is that with the kind of statements made intellectualism goes out the window since intellectualism involved evaluating something fairly, not by stacking negative characteristics of human behavior without any regard for the positives.
Pat says atheism is a religion if we redefine the world religion. But, it is clear that Pat has redefined it by his view of religion – so who is the one redefining? But, if we want to agree that religion is the things Pat says is religion, then it is a fact that many followers of Jesus are not religous at all! Which, by the way, many will claim they are not because they see religion as a human activity that has nothing to do with biblical Christianity. However, to be correct, the Christian faith is a religion, just as James says in 1:27. Yet, by the use of the word, regardless of what some guy on a youtube video wants to say in his ridicule, is about worship. And, all people worship something. Something in their life is valuable to them and seen as setting their identity and purpose in the world.]
1b) Also think about how they have stood up to other religions such as Islam. They should be given credit for that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQzuFrMRA3M
[Walt: Anybody knowledgable about Islam could have done what Dawkins did in this video. I wouldn’t call his pointing a finger a dispute of atheism being a religion itself.]
(2) You state it is a religion of naturalism & humanism. And what is wrong with that. [Walt: Saying atheism is a religion is not a judgment claim. Clearly your negative view of religion causes you to presume my saying it is a religion in its own right is a negative statment. My saying it is a religion is like saying the sky is blue. It is a matter of definition. I do think it is wrong to worship naturalism and humanisn, but that is beside the point.] You and I both agree that man created 32,999 of the 33,000 man made gods, we only differ by 1. When you realize that the writings of Yahweh were made by humans, than no harm. Atheist are just taking you and my scientific method to analyze a problem. [Walt: I have yet to see anyone use the scientific method to say there is no God. Rather, I have seen many, including Dawkins for one, who make philosophical statements in lieu of scientific analysis and claim it is scientific.] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method .
No evidence, no belief. [Walt: What is the evidence that causation actually exists? Without drawing a conclusion that causation truly exists, we can’t really do science, yet there is no scientific proof that causation exists! Yet we all believe it. It is a philosophical problem. I’m not a Hume fan, but read him sometime if you don’t think there is some faith in us even believing the scientific method is justifiable.] And everything of the world is nature, what is wrong with studying that [Walt: Who said there was a problem is studying that? That atheists worship it doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing. Food has value in my life and is a good thing, but I get into trouble when I worship it. Also, money is a good thing, but it also can cause great greed among people. The only thing wrong with worshiping nature is not the studying of it, but the lack of giving God credit for its existence and beauty.], great things like medicine, inventions, etc have come via that. [Walt: And that is great, but does it make it worth worship above the one who gave us the means by which to do it?] You and I would be without a job. [Walt: We probably would have had different jobs and would have never known the difference if nature was not so predictable and useful for creating culture.] Only religion is of the supernatural, no evidence. [Walt: Supernatural does not mean no evidence – it only means not material. I don’t see your thoughts, but do they exist? I see evidence of your thoughts. I also see evidence of God’s work in the world. That He is not a material beings does not mean He does not exist. What it does mean is that science, that studies the natural world, can’t study God in an empirical sense.] Atheism alone is no more a religion than health is a disease. [Walt: Since disease is a lack of health, that would mean by analogy, that religion is a lack of atheism. But if religion is about worship of things or persons of value, then that would mean atheism is valueless. I don’t think you really want to claim that.] One may as well argue over which brand of car pedestrians drive. – AronRa [Walt: To be frank, some of you arguments are like that. To help you out a bit, what most people say is that they are opposed to “organized religion.” What there is good “organized religion,” the negative stacking of your youtube friend pertains to “organized religion” in general. Organized religion is religion dictated by humans. While there are organized atheist groups, and many of them read the scriptures of people like Dawkins and believe them not seeing the flaws in a lot of what he says, most atheists are independent to practice their faith as they see fit, just as most followers of Jesus are. Biblical Christianity is not based on a heirarchy of power. Organized religion is. Yet, that does not mean that followers of Jesus do not assembly together to build each other up in the faith and to do ministry toegether.]
3) To answer your question Walt, of “why present to atheist, if they are to reject it”: It is because you haven’t given proof yet for your null hypothesis. They are holding you to a proper scientist standard that you have been taught at MIT and a followed for decades. Until then you are just a noisy gong. [Walt: You know that many scientists are believers. It is a false notion that has been propagated to think that science is opposed to religion. Besides, I repeat the problem with proving causation. If we can’t prove it or disprove it, does that mean it doesn’t exist. Are you willing to throw causation out the window because you cannot empirically prove it? There is plenty of evidence for the truth of the Christian faith. Fact is, many don’t want to look at it. Thomas Nagel, an atheist, looked at the writings from those involved with studies in Intelligent Design. He set aside the propaganda that it is just another form of creationism and seriously read there stuff. He know says Darwinism is at its end. He isn’t a theist, but he sees the logical fallacies in neo-Darwinism. Yet so many are brainwashed that they can’t even conceive of it not being true. But the one thing Nagel admitted is that doesn’t want there to be a God. Yet, he is being intellectually honest. See: http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Cosmos-Materialist-Neo-Darwinian-Conception/dp/0199919755/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362258051&sr=8-1&keywords=Nagel%5D
If you plot human knowledge versus time you will see that it is fairly flat for many thousands of years. Then around the middle of the 17th century it starts to grow, exponentially. It started around the time of Newton and Galileo, who gave us the scientific method. As time goes on we have learned how to learn, better and better. One thing we have in our bag of tricks is the Null Hypothesis. That is why the proof is on you Walt. [Walt: There is much in life that we don’t establish null hypotheses for and yet we are very well convinced they are true. Do you assume your wife does not love you and then do blind double tests to see if there is a correlation that indicates it is probably? Or do you look at evidence that she does? As well, is false the opposite of true? How do you know? Have you ever done a test to prove it? Some (who are wrong by the way), claim that quantum physics has shown that false is not the opposite of true. The problem with that is that all of science is based on principles of logic (not necessarily systems, but at the minimum just their basic principles that we intuitively know regardless of the system devised to notate it). You are demanding what you yourself do not do in your day to day life. When looking for the Higgs Boson, were they assuming it didn’t exist, or that it did exist and try to find ways to verify it? If they assumed it didn’t exist, no one would have bothered looking for it. Do we assume without testing that it exists? Of course not. Yet, there was evidence of something that was Higgs Boson like, but it is quite difficult to prove it really was one and not something else. The idea is to continue investigating to see if it can be falsefied. Also, a good bit of science it done by looking for the best explanation and the simplest explanations. There is evidence for God, so we can’t stick our heads in the ground and assume there is not, especially given the consequences of having it wrong. There ought to be motivation to look at the evidence. My project of looking at a large probability space is to assemble the evidential space for and against the Christian faith (and others) and evaluate the likelihood of hypotheses based on relative coherence to the claims of each (algs used in automatic target recognition). I’m bothering to do the investigation, not throw rocks at religious institutions that I don’t like.]
Atheism and the Null Hypothesis
Another thing is that magic is always ruled out (i.e. naturalism is the correct worldview). You can think of this as an assumption or as a ground rule. [Walt: regardless of whether it is likely correct, it is an assumption if you start with that rather than try to prove it one way or another.] If you don’t make this assumption then you have to entertain all sorts of crazy ideas and we really don’t know if we are in a computer simulation (the Matrix) or if our brains are hooked up to a machine in some alien spaceship zipping through space near the speed of light. [Walt: From the perspective of science, it investigates the natural world and is not interested in supposed magic. (It might have been way back when.) It is pragmatic for the most part. Thus even if we were in a matrix, it doesn’t matter unless we could not do science because of unpredictability. Whateve we are in, it is predictable and repeatable, so we do science in that way. Science is not about proving if there is a God or not. Science CANNOT answer the atheism question. The Null Hypothesis is not an appropriate test. Analysis of data is appropriate. If you limit your Null test to experiences, you have eliminated the more substantial data.]
The evidence that naturalism is the correct worldview is that plot of human knowledge versus time. [Walt: that is not evidence that it is correct, but that the natural world follows laws that we can discover. There is no theory for how life got started, how the universe started, and how mind has qualia. There are too many unanswered questions to say naturalism is all there is. The latest genetic research is revealing more and more design and less and less change by random mutations. It is more likely now that each has been made according to its kind, even if by space aliens, than that gradual descent explains the existence of human beings.] The point where exponential growth starts to occur is right where the magic was ruled out. [Walt: I’ll grant you that, but I’ll also say that it was Christian theism, exploring the wonders of God, that motivated it. Read the writings of the scientists from the 15th to 17th centuries and what they had to say about God. It wasn’t scientists that have rejected God, but philosphers whose work is not based on evidence! Their teachings have unfortunately influenced generations more and more so that even some scientists reject God apriori.]
Reality is whatever refuses to go away when I stop believing in it – Philip K. Dick [Walt: That is a good quote and agree with.]
Here is a good video:
Some things must be believed to be seen
[Walt: This video deals only with subjective evidences. While it is true that whey you believe in God you will see evidence of Him, that is only with regard to His involvement in people’s lives. And, I will agree that many give God credit for things that God probably had nothing to do with. But, there is the objective evidences that are historical, philosophical, literary, and so forth that also must be analyzed. You know that many believe in neo-Darwinism, they see evidence for it everywhere, but they believe in apriori! I hear all the time that evolution is a fact. I agree that evolution is a fact. But I disagree that Darwinism is a fact. There is no evidence what soever, especially clear evidence, that species have evolved from lower forms by show gradual chance. What there IS evidence for is abrupt changes which do not change for the existence of that lifeform (Stephen Jay Gould). As well, there are facts about the Christian faith. Those facts, as any, must be intepreted. They are evidences, even if one wants to intepret them negatively, and to fabricate stories to explain them away. But there is no more basis for believing those stories are true than to believe that the Christian faith is true and explains all of it. When comparing the Christian faith to Islam, Buddhists, and aliens, the overall evidence must be taken into account, not just the subjective experiences.]
We know about evolution now, they didn’t have it in the bronze age when the authors of the O.T. came up with the Genesis story. If they knew about it back then they probably wouldn’t have made up the garden story in the first place. [Walt: For what it is worth, there are theistic evolutionists who believe the garden story and that God has guided evolution. In their view, man became unique when God breathed His spirit into them.]
NonStampCollector has a couple videos you might like.
Genesis (take #1)
Genesis (take #2)
In these videos God makes it so Adam and Eve won’t be eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then as years go by the human population grows and everyone is happy, except God, because the idea of happy people is boring. So He hits the reset button.
[Walt: Why is the idea of happy people boring. That is what He will end up with in the end. It really comes down to trusting God. Adam and Even thought God was holding something back on them. Why do people not trust Him today and go their owh way? Because they think He is holding back on them. Look at your own position! The garden story is repeated in every human’s life. Albeit all people having descended from A&E are born apart from God and are not in the garden from the start. Every person is given the instinct to know there is a God. Yet, all follow idols and false gods seeking salvation from them. The humanist relies upon himself and the naturalist relies upon science to ultimately save him. Is that bad? Only in that all of it is flawed and does not seek true righteousness and God Himself, who is the ultimate goodness and satisfaction of all men. Rewriting the garden story does not change anyone’s situation – instead is represents the serpent saying, “Did God say?”]
4a) Bible stories:
Walt – You that we have to wait over a 1000 years before we get a better answer to the Abraham killing Isaac test. The author of Hebrews 11:17-19 says it is so Abraham did it because he was to be resurrected. [Walt: Don’t know what you mean by better answer, but the time space was over 2000 years]
That sir, is sick! To murder an innocent child so I can get a reward. [Walt: Abraham did not kill his child. God prevented that. Maybe you meant Jesus? Was He an innocent child? I believe He was an adult who freely gave Himself. Your comment is again gross propaganda from atheists that twists things way out of context.] That’s terrible & it makes Yahweh look like a psychopath loon! [Walt: It makes Yahweh willing to sacrifice for us so that no one has to endure a life forever apart from Him. There is no greater love than that one lay down his life for another. Folks in the military do it all the time. Do you call their parents psychopaths? But there is more to it than that. Did Jesus remain dead? No! If He had, there would not be any salvation through Him. It would do no good for Him to die in our place and not conquer death.] Who wants to follow a leader like that! [Walt: ME!!!! And every other person who understands the gospel as it is, not as it is propagandized.] And don’t forget the Jephthah in Judges 11. [Walt: What do you think happened to Jephthah’s daughter? For one thing, that was his vow. God did not make him do it. Second, it was quite stupid of him if he meant it the way English translations say it. He had no idea who would walk out of the house and on top of that, human sacrifice was clearly against Mosaic law. But third, what exactly was the vow? The end of that chapter does not say she was burned. If anything, it implies it. But given she never knew a man – she may have been given in service to the Lord like a nun. That would be a whole offering. Yet, it still wasn’t right without the daughter’s consent. If he did sacrifice her, he was not doing what was pleasing to the Lord and was entirely in the wrong. Some say the Hebrew “waw” translated “and” might better be translated “or”. Some say a different Hebrew word would have likely been used if “or” was really meant. It is tough to know for sure what happened.] Just accept it Walt. The stories only make sense when you realize it was written by a primitive desert tribal bronze age man and not from a perfect God teacher. [Walt: Well this particular story is about a man’s stupid decisions. And in that, it is also the history of a people. That does not mean, however, that God isn’t using this story as an illustration on not making stuipd vows.] To depend on ‘inspiring’ primitive men to write it would be like giving the keys to your Jag to a drunken teen. It is totally irresponsible. [Walt: A sovereign God can use a drunken teen to drive His Jag without any problems.]
Do this at your next Bible study. I do it. After the snacks are done, pick up one of the butter knives. Say that a man just walked across the retention pond, raised your grandfather from the grave, says he is your creator and wants you to kill your grandchild. Ask who would do it? Most would say no & would instead call 911 to say there is a crazy in my presence. I have only had 2 people say yes (they also think the World is only 6000 years old by the way). I said you scare me & I won’t let you baby sit my kids. [Walt: How does this compare to anything in the Bible? Such a story would come out of nowhere and has no basis for anyone to take it seriously. Abraham has a lifelong relationship with the Lord and had miracles demonstrated before him that gave him confidence that somehow the Lord would turn the situation around – as He did! No one else was ever asked to sacrifice a child (and by the way, Isaac was probably a teen).]
Wait a minute. Walt, do you think the Universe is closer to 13.7 billion years old or 6,000? (I will then know where we have to go with this. ) [Walt: I am an old earther, but why should that matter?]
4b) Walt, you mentioned your credentials. I am impressed.
Walt, Don’t be ashamed if a MIT physicist graduate got duped. [Walt: I won’t be upset if a guy that hat a part in the discovery of quarks got duped either. Considering the better life I have now anyway, I wouldn’t consider it much of a loss if I were wrong. But, I consider it highly improbable that I am wrong on this.] I was an Engineering student and it took me 50 years before I figured it out. [Walt: 50 years to figure out engineering? From your profile pic, I didn’t think you were that old.] Come on, we all believed in Santa Claus. [Walt: And the comparison is?] Remember our evolution; we want to be part of the herd. [Walt: Not me! I always tried to be different! I would not even buy a car that everybody else was driving around.] It is hard to overcome cultural traditions, especially until recently when this close tradition was confronted. [Walt: It is hard, but I didn’t become a born again believer until I was 37. So, what I had to overcome was in the opposite direction. I had to overcome what you now believe. I know see the horrible error and how easy it is to be blind!] And there have been other great minds who made mistakes, look at Edison blowing off AC motors. And Tesla worked for him! What a big mistake! All I am asking is for you to do is to re-examine your experiment setup. You would do it if your radar algorithm data wasn’t matching. [Walt: If it doesn’t match when I finish, I’d be surprised, but then I’d wonder why and try to see if it is telling the correctly story or I missed something in the model.] It is obvious because you are now having to write large papers to just explain a view verses. [Walt: This is because it is an assignment with a minimum number of pages. But it also goes with thoroughness. Better to do the detail than be duped by simplistic arguments from Dawkins and others like him. There are much smarter atheists.] The minute you accept the setup that we have had for 2000 years, you will never get the right answer. [Walt: What if that setup has been right and your presumptions about it are what is incorrect?] Don’t you see it Walt? That is why you have to keep writing papers larger than the Bible! [Walt: You must have a puny Bible.] You have to twist these Bronze age writings. [Walt: What have I twisted? It seems the atheists have twisted, and either because they are truly ignorant or because they don’t want to believe and will do whatever they have to to make themselves feel better by ridiculing people who do believe. I can understand some honest atheists, but most amaze me in how much they jump to conclusions without doing the research (which might take many pages to explain) when they advocate rational thought.] You will never get there! Your test setup is wrong! We are basing our morals & life decisions on man made writings. [Walt: Man’s writings would not have the consistency and prophetic power the Bible has. Men would not put accounts that put them in bad light into Scriptures they would want others to follow. Mere men’s writing would not have the wisdom and power to change people like the Bible has. Writings’ of men do not manifest the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person. Writing of men do not give accurate details that archeaology later confirms.] We have better data now. [Walt: We also have some errant interpretations of it.] Remember, many of the 9-11 highjackers’ were techos like you and me. And I know we both agree that they were duped! We are fighting 1000s of years of brainwashed tradition. [Walt: What is interesting that that tradition had strong tendencies to drift from the core, yet in the end, the core remains. Much of the brainwashing was in the drifting stuff – the stuff set up by men. What has often been fought against is the core that is the message of the Bible itself. Many don’t undestand God and try to fit Him into their understanding causing more error and division than ever. What I find is that if you take a group of people who just read the Bible for what it says and learn the context of the time, they will agree on the imortant stuff. Where there is difference among people who let the Bible speak for itself, it is not typically in what the Bible says, but in the theology we use to interpret it.]
To conclude: Enjoy your retirement. But your Hindu friend is ½ right. You don’t have to keep making new inventions, but at least follow Bill Gates. He is helping mankind. Tutor math to students. Make youtube videos like those on TED.com. There are a lot of big problems the World is facing like overpopulation, limited resources, pollution, etc. Our kids and grandkids need our help. Our legacy can live on thru them and what we help them solve it. We are the left brainers, we know math. Use it!! [Walt: Thanks Tom. If the world had Christ in their hearts, most of these problem would be gone or minimal. There would be no need for orphanages, homeless shelters, hunger, kids in dire straights, and so on. Secular methods often cause more trouble because of their limited view than they help. We must have the big picture to fix the real problems. Putting band-aids on does not fix the real problem. People will vote right, do their jobs right, treat their wives, husbands, parents, and kids right if they have the heart transplant that only Christ can do. If the Bible was the mere product of men, that would not be possible because there would not be a Christ. Yet, there is. He lives. He is real! Those who know Him can’t deny Him anymore than I can deny I am typing this. I believe the Scripture teach once saved always saved for the one who is sealed with the Holy Spirit. That would many that those who drife from the Lord, were never sealed by the Spirit and were never given that clear vision that helps them see things so clearly. Jesus said to ask, seek, and knock and you will receive, find, and the door will be opened. It turns out that is true. James says you do not have because you do not ask. And when you do ask, you ask with wrong motives. Yet, wisdom is given to all who ask God for it. He will not withold it from any who come to Him with true motives.]
Stop wasting time trying to analyze Bronze Age writings, you have better things to do. Make every day special with your family and friends. Time is precious and short. You and I are entering the 4th quarter, make the most it. Though I would like it to be, there is no evidence that there is an after life. Just the stories people have made up from their near death experiences which have been generated now.
[Walt: This work does not help explain how some people were able to give detailed facts about the surgery or about events away from the hospital during the time of clinical death.]
I have commented to Tom’s latest reply by adding my comments in brackets within his most recent post above.
It is a common misconception that scientists rely on faith, just like theists do. People claim that you can’t truly “know” that the Sun will come up tomorrow, that your belief that it will involves faith. Actually it comes from evidence. The evidence has produced a model of the world. That model makes predictions. We know about angular momentum and what it would take for the Earth to stop spinning. We understand nuclear processes like fusion and have detailed models of the life of stars. We know the fate of our Sun with reasonable accuracy, at least through tomorrow, if not billions of years into the future.
As for your wife’s love we only know that within some certainty and that is based on evidence and a model of human behavior and emotions. A model makes predictions and as those predictions come true the model becomes stronger. The model you have tells you that you are X% certain that your wife loves you. As this withstands the test of time that value of X goes up. Or maybe you find out something that makes you suspicious and that value of X goes down. If you are on your first wife then you might be delusional and think that the value of X is 100.
The Higgs Boson is predicted by the Standard Model which was developed with lots of data obtained from experiments and observations. We assume it exists and that is why we do experiments to look for it. We still use the null hypothesis though when doing experiments to convince ourselves that it actually does exist. In that case we do assume that it does not exist when we look at the experimental data to make sure that what we see couldn’t have happened by chance. The null hypothesis is just a standard mathematical tool that every scientist should understand. Actually every citizen should also understand it so they don’t make nonsensical arguments in everyday life like you just did.
What is the evidence for God of which you speak? Be sure and watch this video to understand why your personal testimony will have limited effect on me.
The Problem with Anecdotes by QualiaSoup
Be careful when you open up your probability space into the imaginary. You may end up proving that the Jack and the Beanstalk story is likely.
I don’t see where Thomas Nagel says that Darwinism (whatever that is) is at an end.
Nagel doesn’t see how evolution by natural selection can result in consciousness. He also thinks that I.D. should not be rejected as being non-scientific. This is in contrast to what actual scientist say is scientific (Nagel is not a scientist, he is a philosopher).
I.D. (the one that is NOT creationism) does not dismiss evolution. Michael Behe, who came up with I.D., believes the world is billions of years old and that evolution is a fact. He just thinks that there must be times where magic was involved on occasion.
(I hate it when you type up something and then lose it. This is the second time responding. Oh well.)
On the matter of science and what we know and what we must assume to be true, it would be good for you to read some philosophy of science books. Some of the most fundatmental aspects of science cannot be proven. No null hypothosis, no test of any sort, any prove without a doubt that the underlying methodology of science is consistent with the way things really are. We have good reason to believe it is, but no proof. It is a common misconception among atheists that science does not have an element of faith involved with it.
On your explanation about a model for verificaton of my wife’s love, it can be applied to Christian faith as well. As one grows in their knowledge and experience in their faith grows.
You are not up on the Higgs work. If they had assumed it didn’t exist, they would have never found what they found. As of now, it is still only Higgs like. There has been no test yet to show it is different or the same Higgs that was being sought.
My testimony is never meant to convince someone God exists as some sort of proof, but it works with others evidences as a correlator. A testimony is more to get someone to question their beliefs, not necessarily to convince them of a belief. As the video says, it is a staring point, but it isn’t the whole story! (By the way, that was a good video showing why more is needed than a mere testimony to accept the truth of a claim. But, consider that we use testimony in court of law. Not one, but several along with whatever other evidence can be brought to bare.) The evidences for God are like pieces of a puzzle, that anyone can argue about independently, but as a coherent whole, there is only one clear picture. Such evidences. which I will discuss more at a later time as part of my planned essays I proposed last week, are a rational world, logical principles, objective morality, design – latest genetic research provides the most support, first cause requirements, biblical prophecies, new testament, 1st century development of the church, persistence of the faith, the correlation of the gospel to how things actually work in the world among people, unity of the entire Bible written of several thousand years, as well as personal experiences that are beyond coincidental.
My probability space is based on observables with test hypotheses looking for the best explanation.
I think I gave you the name of Nage’s book. His claim is in the very title! Then, you might read it if you are not convinced. (You know how titles can be misleading.) Are you claming a philosopher of Nagel’s stature doesn’t know anything about science and can’t address serious questions? Nagel is a leading philosopher and he addressed questions science cannot. Your first claim in your previous post shows a lack of understanding of the philosophy of science. Evidently you have no respect for it. Yet, philosophy’s job these days is to raise questions about methods, epistemology, and so forth. That Nagel has legitimte concerns does not mean they are not legitimate concerns even for the scientist. Most scientists continue their work despite these questions, but when it comes to arriving at objective truth, they are important questions.
I.D. that advocates theistic evolution denies neo-darwinian evolution. The only real difference is that “mutations” or changes are more specific and abrupt, and the process is not unguided.
I would say that it might be better if more scientists were trained in philosophy. Not that it is essential for doing science, but it helps for posing questions and seeing fallacies and limitations in certain explanations and conclusions.
As well, more non-scientists ought to be more familiar with it and they would then understand the reasoning behind your null hypothesis and why it is part of determining effectiveness of solutions and what its limitations are as well.
Walt, You say “There is no evidence what soever, especially clear evidence, that species have evolved from lower forms by show gradual chance.”
We find examples of ring species today which demonstrate the process of speciation.
It can be gradual or it can be abrupt. You can see this when running genetic algorithms. Genetic algorithms
are purely inside a computer but are based on evolution. You can watch the population evolve and they will gradually become more “fit” but on occasion there will be abrupt changes where a lucky mutation comes along and the population all of a sudden changes drastically. This happens when the environment doesn’t change at all. In the real world the envronment changes which would cause this to happen more often.
Evidence for Evolution, Part III
shows strong evidence that God is not involved in evolution. Retroviruses can insert “genes” into our chromosomes so that we can make more copies of the virus. The virus does not care which chromosome, or where in a chromosome, to insert this “gene.” There are billions of places to do this. If you are infected by one of these viruses then just about every cell in your body will have the insertion in a different location. If a sperm or egg gets infected then the offspring will have EVERY cell infected in the exact same place. Also all the descendents of the offspring will have the gene in the same exact location. Now of course the gene is usually deactivated or otherwise rendered non-functional – a person who has every cell making a virus isn’t going to survive to reproduce.
These viruses we find in our DNA are called endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). There are lots of them that we share with chimps and other animals and they are at the exact same location in our DNA. This is because we had a common ancestor that was infected with the virus. If you think it could have happened by chance then watch the video. You can see that God would not have inserted inactive ancient viruses in exactly the same location in our DNA between species, or at all.
I am glad we have had these conversations. There are many people like you who can benefit by my thinking outside the bubble. Also, if the stories of the God Yahweh were required to meet the objective evidence that you require for proof of evolution from lower forms, there would obviously be less members so that people wouldn’t be intimidated to speak their minds. Food for thought. To understand what bubble I am talking about watch this video:
How do we know that Christians are delusional?
For a better understanding of the fact of and evidence for evolution you might want to get this book:
Why Evolution Is True
If you want to understand how evolution works then just read Darwin’s book. Just understanding the law of evolution is helpful.
Variation + Inheritance + Differential reproductive success = Evolution
This law can be seen in action in genetic algorithms which are solving problems in computers everywhere.
P.S. Can we start breaking out these different topics on your blog. This present one is getting long.
Tom, I don’t have time to fully respond right now, but there are a number of problems in what you are saying:
1) Notice that ring species are still the same thing, just unable to breed.
2) I am very familiar with genetic algorithms and know that the matching mechanism is designed and it does not represent the complexity of higher life forms very well. It is great for solving an informational problem by optimization seeking. Evolution does optimization seeking, but the algoritm is overly simplistic and doesn’t show prove descent of species as we know them today, nor that God was not involved.
3) It used to be thought that “junk DNA” was indeed junk from evolution. Turns out that ENCODE has shown a high amout of that has functional purpose. Just as mitochondria is inserted into a cell, it has vital function for the cell. You don’t know that the placement of the virus has intended design purposes for fighting infections. The intepretation of the data is based on a theory where there may be another explanation. How do you do a null hypothesis for this?
4) As usual, the delusional video is slanted and doesn’t give the whole picture. From what I know that wasn’t said, I’d say the people who made the video were delusional. I will be covering it as part of what I proposed, why the Christian faith is not the same as Mormonism and Islam. It is not an apples to apples comparison and most of the information needed for valid comparison in these videos you keep providing is missing.
5) I have the Coyne book and I have a pretty good understanding, I think, of darwinian evolution. By the way, you know that the theory is far surpased Darwin! That is why I keep referring to neo-darwinian, rather than darwinian evolution. For the point, I do not deny evolution. What I deny is common descent by an unguided process. (I stand by my statement, however, that there is no evidence for neo-darwinian evolution. It is an interpretation and extension of the evolution that does exist into a larger framework that might not be valid.)
As I can get to it, I’ll look at dividing this up. I have something I want to post that should help “illuminate” the problem between you and I and I will start that in another post.
Video from SBTS in Louisville on “Is God a Moral Monster?” Seems appropriate to post the link here:
God in the Dock: Is God a Moral Monster?
Walt, So you are starting to take off your blinders and are starting to look at the bread crumbs (SBC starts a panel to address whether the OT makes our God look like a psychopath)! Good for you. There is a big storm going on outside of our stain glass windows that requires left brainers like you and I to prepare our fellow members to convert to without them being over shocked. The SBC references the 4 new atheist horsemen. Check out the debate between Hitchens and Blair. He references how when the Bible was being canonized, it was debated whether we should dump the OT. Now it is coming back to bite us. Most of the video links I have sent came from my old Sunday School youth. The next generation isn’t putting up with our old commentary icing over the contradictions. But it looks like it will leave guys like you with lots of $ for writing your dissertations to explain more contradictions. Lots of work for you, enjoy! I hope you are getting paid well. I predict that the next battle will be the gay marriage/boy scout issue. When the pulpit guys (by the way, go to clergyproject.com; maybe even your own pastor is an atheist!) realize that they are going to lose their federal tax exemption via discrimination, they will need someone like you to move the “it’s an abomination” verses over to the Mark 16:16-18 Christians can drink poison category. You have a creative mind (like the guys who came up with the NT stories) to make it happen. Could you imagine what the World would be like if we didn’t turn off our left side of our brains and take our eye off the ball and went for all this super natural stuff (see pic below). Makes you want to repent and turn your life around 😉
Note: Sorry for the sarcasm, just following your friend, xxx, “they are blind” approach.
Its too bad that when your xxx friend shared her testimony on that airline flight, that you didn’t share back your Physics work. Maybe she would have gotten excited and wanted to even go back to school. And we then could have had another person working on solving all these hard problems we face today. May I suggest you put all that hard MIT left brain power of yours and make youtube ‘teach physics’ videos. A little like the TED.com project. Time is much shorter than you think Walt with no evidence it goes on for infinite (another great sales pitch), note another bread crumb.
But be prepared Walt, shortly you are going to see a lot of church people start asking more questions. It literally knocked me off my feet when my house of cards collapsed. We left brainers like you and I have an obligation to help clean up this mess that we covered up via our dissertations. We owe it to our fellow friends. Think of it like Dumbo the elephant dropping at terminal velocity while holding his delusional feather. We have all these fellow church members who followed all of these 33,000 man made gods waking up. They have spent their whole lives totally believing this delusion. When they lose their feather, some might not realize that they, humanism, have really been making all the decisions all this time. They will crash so hard (wait a minute; if you know of any people like this who are reading this blog, then please remove this debate; I don’t want to hurt anyone), without even trying to fly themselves. It is the job of us left brainers like you and me to be the mouse, who keeps them calm and teaches them that everything is ok and we can make it.
Apparently I’ve done all I can for you. Here are some books that might benefit you & get your left brain started again. If not, enjoy your retirement and your ministry. Us, still in the game will have to do it without your MIT knowledge. To bad:
Don’t Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking
How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life
Better yet, buy and watch this Teaching Company DVD course on critical thinking:
Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills
Also, here is a back fill on some of your past questions:
[Walt: I deleted the links in the backfill section since they were already posted.]
We find examples of ring species today which demonstrate the process of speciation.
It can be gradual or it can be abrupt. You can see this when running genetic algorithms. Genetic algorithms are purely inside a computer but are based on evolution. You can watch the population evolve and they will gradually become more “fit” but on occasion there will be abrupt changes where a lucky mutation comes along and the population all of a sudden changes drastically. This happens when the environment doesn’t change at all. In the real world the envronment changes which would cause this to happen more often.
This video (Evidence for Evolution, Part III) shows strong evidence that God is not involved in evolution. Retroviruses can insert “genes” into our chromosomes so that we can make more copies of the virus. The virus does not care which chromosome, or where in a chromosome, to insert this “gene.” There are billions of places to do this. If you are infected by one of these viruses then just about every cell in your body will have the insertion in a different location. If a sperm or egg gets infected then the offspring will have EVERY cell infected in the exact same place. Also all the descendents of the offspring will have the gene in the same exact location. Now of course the gene is usually deactivated or otherwise rendered non-functional – a person who has every cell making a virus isn’t going to survive to reproduce.
These viruses we find in our DNA are called endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). There are lots of them that we share with chimps and other animals and they are at the exact same location in our DNA. This is because we had a common ancestor that was infected with the virus. If you think it could have happened by chance then watch the video. You can see that God would not have inserted inactive ancient viruses in exactly the same location in our DNA between species, or at all.
I am glad we have had these conversations. There are many people like you who can benefit by my thinking outside the bubble. To understand what bubble I am talking about watch this video:
How do we know that Christians are delusional?
For a better understanding of the fact of and evidence for evolution you might want to get this book:
Why Evolution Is True, by Jerry Coyne
If you want to understand how evolution works then just read Darwin’s book. Just understanding the law of evolution is helpful.
Variation + Inheritance + Differential reproductive success = Evolution
This law can be seen in action in genetic algorithms which are solving problems in computers everywhere.
Tom, I took off my blinders about 13 years ago and saw the light. Ironically my specialty in physics is light and now I deal with spiritual light. I agree that there is a storm brewing (it has already started) and I am preparing for it. As far as the Old Testament being dropped, that was never discussed among orthodox believers. Abandoning the Old Testament would be like denying your mom, her story, and how that has influenced you. Important information would be missing.
Thanks for the links on critical thinking. One of the required classes for my seminary degree, which I will complete this May, is a class on critical thinking. So, I’ve read plenty on the subject. That is how I am able to identify the multitude of fallacies in many of your positions. Many things you just assume and many you take as correct as heard from others without critically assessing the arguments. For nearly all of the videos you have provided link there is serious slanting going on. You should know better than to base your position on slanted arguments, hasty generalizations, strawmen, and such.
I apologize that I have not been able to post my epistemology argument yet for why we see things differently and how the divide can be overcome. It is high on my list and where I think the discussion must start if it is going to amount to anything (repeating links to bad videos isn’t going to get us anywhere), but this is also mid-terms time and preparing for those is higher priority at the moment. I will likely have it up by the end of next week if not earlier (I hope earlier, so that we can have something serious to discuss).
By the way, I was just thinking yesterday about making physics tutorials. It is funny that you should suggest it.
As I said previously, ring species are not all they are cracked up to be. Yes species can diverge, but that does not prove macroevolution takes place. At the most, it suggests the possibility and proves adaptability of a species is what takes place. Many times the sudden jump you mention is detrimental. How do you know God didn’t design the current species by large sudden jumps across the board? Stephen Jay Gould suggested it with his punctuated equilibrium theory. Also, I already mentioned that genetic algorithms are designed by engineers to solve optimization problems. In a genetic algorithm, a very large number of mutations occur and are truly random across the sequence. In the real world, only certain kinds of mutations will be passed on and benefit the animal to development of a higher function. Such algorithms show the astronomically high number of generations that must occur to reach something like human beings.
If you believe there IS evidence that God is not involved in evolution, if indeed Darwinian evolution has occurred, then you might take a look at chapters 1 and 2 of “Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, & Naturalism,” by Alvin Plantinga. Actually, the whole book would be good for you to read. I don’t agree 100% with everything he says, but he lays out very well why it is presumptuous and not within the realm of science to say God had nothing to do with evolution. Do you remember junk DNA? It used to be used as an argument against design. The ENCODE research put that to rest. In the same way, you don’t know everything there is to know about the retrovirus. Much is being assumed about it. More research may show why they are located where they are and in the species they are in.
Hopefully, I can get to the next post soon on epistemology. How do we know what we know and how can we reconcile differences other than talking past each other?
Nike Blake Griffin said:
An analogy may even be seen in new efforts to understand the origin and structure of the universe. We can only study the effects of the big bang; we cannot observe the moment of creation. Yet we have a strong belief that this is the way things came to be (even if you are a creationist, you can believe this). In the same way, we are able to see the effects of the resurrection, to hear testimony of appearances, and to see signs in the after effects of it that lead to strong belief.