CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

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Atheists are intent upon echoing the constant refrain, "no empirical proof for God."   If God is empirical then the lack of empirical proof counts against belief. Yet, there's more to this than just a demand for evidence of some fact. They have vested an entire world view imn the notion that empirical knowledge is the only valid knowledge. So they are willing to give up logically obvious positions in order to get this child's advantage of being able to insist that our little limited view point on this dust mote in a vast sea we have yet to plumb,  is somehow indicative of real empirical proof of the nature of the universe.

One example of the sacrifice of logic to push empiricism is seen in my recent confrontation with an atheist (call him "Dusty") on Victor Reppart's Dangerous Idea blog. [1] Defending Hartshorne's modal argument I advanced the notion that if God can be conceived analytically without contradiction then God is not impossible. He of course assumes that science is the only form of knowledge so for him empirical evidence is more real than deduction. In fact he thinks inductive reasoning is just pretending, He treats my argument a though I said if there's no contradiction then God is empirical. If there is no logical contradiction then God is possible not proven. The thing that takes God beyond mere possibility is being non-contingent not being uncontradictory.

From time to time atheists have tried to disprove God with parsimony. Or they might at least argue that parsimony renders belief less likely. [2] If God is not given in empirical data then God is not subject to the demands of parsimony its unfair to expect it. I don't imagine that parsimony would prove anything anyway it'snot a proof. There are different kinds of parsimony and belief in God meets some of them. For example, God is a more elegant and economical as a solution than naturalism. [3] Just as the more insightful atheists, such as Parsons, don't argue to disprove God but in terms of likelihood, then so to do i argue not to prove god but to warrant belief. Belief may be warranted without proving the existence of God.

To many atheists God is contrary to the rules of science because he's the product of something called "supernatural."[4] They don't have the slightest idea where the concept comes from or what it really says, but they are sure it's stupid and don't' want anything do to with it. So God can't be parsimonious because he's supernatural. These atheists are merely reacting to the modern post enlightenment concept of SN as that which stands in opposition to scientific data or modern secular thinking.It really ha nothing to do with the Christian concept of the Supernatural.[5] The so Called Rules of science are not a guide to ontology.That God is not given in empirical data is a function of God not given sense data, that is not a disproof it merely means that God represents an aspect of beyond that beyond our ability to spy on.

God could only be the subject of parsimony if he is the object of empirical investigation. I can see why atheists want this to be true, because they could pretend that they've ruled out God, with their penchant for ignoring God arguments, and their glass half empty outlook which always finds the negative, the dark, the bad, refuses proof, refuses the benefit of a doubt only the cutting edge of doubt. But God is not the object of empirical investigation, nor can he be by definition. thus he cannot be judged by parsimony. The whole idea contradicts phenomenology in the first place. So typical of atheists to cherry pick reality so they accept the schools of philosophy that help them and consign as hog wash any kind of thinking that they can't understand (which is most of it).

God cannot be empirical. There are three reasons. These reasons are deductive. The reasons themselves do not require empirical proof because they are deductive. In fact they could not be empirical and claim to  prove that God is beyond the empirical because they would have to have empirical evidence of God to say that, which would be a contradiction.

The three reasons are absolute:


God is not given in sense data.

Empirical means experienced first hand. In modern terms we speak of empirical proof in  terms of scientific observation but it's not really empirical in the traditional sense. It's really inductive reasoning, it's extrapolation from a representative sample to a generalized probability. If God was a big man in the sky with a localized existence I would say the lack of empirical proof is a good reason not believe. But God is more basic than that. God is more analogous to the laws of physics in that we know his effects but he has no localized existence that can be observed directly.



God is not a thing  in creation, 

Not a thing alongside other things  that is, but is the basis of reality: God is being itself. If we could say the universe contains trees and oranges, and mutt dogs and swizzel sticks and mud pies and jelly and fish and comic books and flt tires and roofs and taxes and stupid people, and God, then they would have a point. What's wrong with this list? God is not just another thing. God created all that stuff and everything else. Nothing would exist without God. So God is not along side jelly and swizzle sticks in creation. As St. John of Damascus said "God exists on the order of Being itself." God is not a product of things in creation, god is the basis of all reality. Thus, God may not be treated as things in creation. God is not contingent because he' snot produced by a prior thing. He's not part of creation, the basis of it, so obviously he can't be given in sense data he can't be understood in a empirical way.


The graphic that I have chosen above really says it all. Reality itself is framed by God, by God's being and creative energies but we ca't see that because it's the frame it'most a tangible thing in tyhw world or not given  in sense data.

God is eternal.

Because God always was, never came to be, is not dependent upon anything else for his existence, we can say that God, if there is a God, then God had to be, it's not a matter of maybe God might not have existed. God must be either necessary or impossible. This is what Harsthorne drives home in this modal argument.

Because the concept of God is that of eternal necessary being, God cannot be contingent and since empirical things can only be contingent, God cannot be the object of empirical study. These arguments prove conclusively and beyond question that God cannot be empirical. Since God cannot be empirical it makes prefect since that there is no obvious evidence for God in of the kind some atheists seek, such as  stars lining up to spell out his name or any of that nonsense. It might just be that God is parsimonious in some sense, but not in the sense of being more scientific. which is I think the way most atheists use the term "Parsimony" (because they don't know any better).

Of course there is empirical evidence that can warrant belief in God. For that I recommend my book


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Ground breaking research that boosts religious arguemnts for God to a much stronger level. It makes experience arguments some of the most formidable.Empirical scientific studies demonstrate belief in God is rational, good for you, not the result of emotional instability. Ready answer for anyone who claims that belief in God is psychologically bad for you. Order from Amazon 







Sources

[1] Stardusty  psyche, "Exchange with David Brightly," "comments," Dangerous Idea blog
https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=10584495&postID=5659799769651012438
(accessed 1/18/17)

there are 221 comments and still running,

[2] Stenger 2007, pp. 17–18, citing Parsons, Keith M. (1989). God and the Burden of Proof: Plantinga, Swinburne, and the Analytical Defense of Theism. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0-87975-551-5.

Original Stemger is Victor J. Stenger,  (2007). God: The Failed Hypothesis—How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-59102-652-5.

[3] Joseph Hinman, "Eligance of The God Hypothesis," Doxa: Christian Thought in thei21st Century, On line Resoirce no date imndicted. URL:
http://www.doxa.ws/cosmological/Elgegance.html (accessed 1/18/17)

it is not a contradiction on my part to say that my Parsimony argument might offer rational warrant to believe, but that God is not a subject of parsimony. I said there is a distinction in types. What atheists mean by it and what I mean by the term are two different things. My argument turns upon being an elegant idea, so God need not be empirical to be judged elegant; all one need know is a concept


[4] Benson Saler, “Supernatural as a Western Category,” Ethos, Vol. 5, issue 1, first published online 28 Oct., 2009, 31-53 35. PDF URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/eth.1977.5.1.02a00040/pdf (accessed 1/25/2016).

see also Stenger, Failed hyp.... op cot

[5] Benson Saler, “Supernatural as a Western Category,” Ethos, Vol. 5, issue 1, first published online 28 Oct., 2009, 31-53 35. PDF URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1525/eth.1977.5.1.02a00040/pdf (accessed 1/25/2016).




This is a reprint of the last chapter of my ebook Hitler's Christianity. In it I address claims that in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, Hitler should still be reckoned a Christian because...well, because!!


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In spite of all the information we have presented in this volume, and the twisted nature of Hitler's Positive Christian beliefs, and of the Nazi persecution of mainstream churches, and in spite of the attempted destruction of European Jewry, there are critics who will nevertheless insist that this is insufficient to disqualify Hitler (or any Nazi figure) as a Christian. We will now consider a collection of objections designed to argue this point, although ineffectively.


The Self-Profession Argument


The first objection has been formulated by one online atheist source as follows:


The basic problem (for religious folks) is that Hitler said he was a Christian, and God apparently didn't feel the need to disagree in public.


We may disregard the rather childish supposition that God is in some way obliged to think on our behalf, and save us the trouble of critical discernment when it comes to the religious professions of others. The key argument in this statement is that: Hitler was a Christian, because he said he was one. In the same way, referring to theologians like Kittel who accepted Nazi doctrine, Ericksen says: "Their self-definition as believing Christians cannot be doubted." He notes other signals of their religious allegiance: A professed personal meeting with Christ; being asked to preach; practicing piety, and regular Bible reading and prayer. [1]


A more sophisticated variation of this argument can be found even in the otherwise excellent historical work of Steigmann-Gall, who points out that "many Christians of the day believed Nazism to be in some sense a Christian movement." He further states that "only false-consciousness theory allows us to contend that millions of sincere Christians could create a non-Christian movement." And, finally, he adds that proponents of Positive Christianity "maintained that their anti-Semitism and socialism were derived from a Christian understanding of Germany's ills and their cure." [2] Though written in more formal terms, the argument is little different in substance than that of the former atheist website; namely, a self-profession and self-conception is sufficient to objectively classify one's self as a Christian.


We may immediately note that this argument sets a rather low bar of evidence for how one may be defined as a Christian. If simple self-profession and self-conception is all that is required to define one's personal identity, without any reference to objective criteria, then there is little to stop even a hardened atheist from referring to themselves as a Christian.


This is not so outlandish a proposition as one might suppose. Among the wide variety of movements on the market today is one that terms itself "Christian atheism." The sum of this view is that, while Jesus is not God, and God does not exist, the moral teachings of Jesus are superior and ought to be followed.
The designation of "Christian atheism" leads to a salient point. As we have noted in prior chapters, cults or deviant movements are frequently posed as, "Christianity plus," or, perhaps "Christianity minus," with the implication that the differences make the variation purer than, or superior to, mainstream Christianity. Can we accept that when a person or group adds a term (or beliefs) to differentiate themselves from another group, that this might place them outside the defining bounds of that other group?


Indeed, the extra designation exposes a key problem with the "self-profession" argument. The critic is intent upon resting in the broad definition of "Christian" as defining a group or body of persons which would include Hitler. One critic put it this way: "A Christian is simply a person who believes in God and Jesus in some form or manner." Needless to say, such a broad designation is difficult to defend. [3]


But let us grant for the sake of argument that Hitler and his associates added the designation "Positive," to define themselves separately from other persons designated as "Christian." The critic argues that Hitler was a Christian in order to suggest that persons in the category of "Christian" are somehow immoral, dangerous, or could be responsible for the sort of evils Hitler perpetrated. But why then use the broader designation of "Christian" rather than the more specific designation of, "Positive Christian?" Why not say, as we all will agree, that it is "Positive Christianity" specifically that leads to immorality in its adherents?


The "Variety of Christianity" Argument


The above offers a segue into the second form of objection, which is that Hitler's Positive Christianity was simply another "variety" of Christianity. One atheist critic put it this way:


There can be little doubt that Hitler was a Christian. You really don't get to disqualify Hitler's beliefs just because you believe a different version.


And, yet another atheist critic said:


The trouble is, there are thousands and thousands of different groups out there and they all claim to be Christians. Isn't it just a little bit arrogant to say that a Jehovah's Witness, a Mormon or a Roman Catholic is not a true Christian, especially since they might well say the same about you? Since as far as I can see there is no way of being able to decide who is and who is not a Christian Adolf Hitler's claim to be one is as good as yours.


Steigmann-Gall again provides a more sophisticated form of the argument: "[T]he Nazis represented a departure from previous Christian practices. However, this did not make them un-Christian." [4]


As with the first objection, however, the critic is refusing to consider objective criteria, and is instead making an emotional appeal to the sensitivities of those who are designated as not Christian. It is at this stage that we must now show that objective criteria are the only basis whereby a person's religious identity can rightly, and must be defined. To illustrate this, I have created what I term the Patriot Analogy.


As one may ask, "Who is really a Christian?" it is also possible to ask "Who is a loyal, patriotic American?" (Of course, the reader may substitute any national or political designation for "American.") Would it be someone who:

  • Displays a flag?
  • Is willing to join the military (or other organization) to serve the country? Or, to serve the country in other ways outside an organization?
  • Knows the contents of the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence?
  • Knows the laws of America? Arguably, these are all things (though not the only things) one can or must do to be called a Patriot. Yet of course, the absence of these things does not cause us to say someone is not a Patriot. At a minimum we suggest they must love their country. Yet if they do none of these things, or are unwilling to do them, or refuse to do them, what do we say? Is it evident that they do love their country as they profess? They may be:
  • A real patriot, but not an active one; or,
  • A patriot who takes issue with some of the claims of the country upon them, but still loves the country and adheres to the core values of the nation; or,
  • A "wolf in sheep's clothing" pretending to be a Patriot, for whatever reason (i.e., like friendship, etc.) By now one can guess that this is analogical to the question, "Who is a true Christian?" Let's rework some of the questions above. Who qualifies as a real Christian? Someone who:
  • Displays a cross or a Christian T-shirt?
  • Is willing to join the church (or other organization) to serve the body of Christ? Or, to serve the body in other ways outside an organization?
  • Knows the contents of the Bible?
  • Follows the precepts of the Bible? Arguably, these are all things (though not the only things) one can or must do to rightly be called a Christian. So in light of the above, does the absence of these things not cause us to say someone is not a Christian?
  • At a minimum we suggest they must love God, and Jesus. Yet if they do none of these things, or are unwilling to do them, or refuse to do them, what do we say? Is it evident that they do love their God as they profess? They may be:
  • A real Christian, but not an active one; or,
  • A Christian who rejects some part of the Bible's teachings, but still adheres to the core principles of the faith; or,
  • A "wolf in sheep's clothing" pretending to be a Christian, for whatever reason (i.e., like friendship, etc.) Of course, there is another issue: What about someone who is a member of a cultic group (like the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses) who qualifies on all counts for the list above? In that case, the question turns not just upon, for example, whether they follow the Bible, but it also follows upon whether they do so accurately. Ericksen pointed out that professed Christians as Kittel performed actions in accord with that profession (e.g., Bible reading and prayer). This adds a step to the argument, but is no more definitive. These actions are expressions of devotion to a specific doctrine, but if the doctrine is a false one, those actions may as well be directed to a brick wall.

  • If someone claimed adherence to the Constitution, but professed to somehow read out of it a model for a dictatorship (!), wouldn’t we rightly wonder of their ability to be defined as a “patriotic American?" Certainly, the more selective a person is with beliefs, the less likely it is that they can satisfy the definition of "patriot" to a given cause.


    Now, let us turn this back to the issue of Hitler's religious beliefs. Is it really impossible to wedge Hitler or anyone else into the fold at our convenience, just because they say "I am a Christian?" To do so, one must show that Hitler was at the very least loyal to Christian principles, otherwise, the claim is unreasonable. To illustrate the folly of the critics, can you imagine a conversation like this being seriously pursued?
  • Skeptic: "Osama bin Laden is a patriotic American!"
  • Christian: "What?"
  • Skeptic: "He said in one of his own speeches he was!"
  • Christian: "Anyone can call themselves a patriotic American, but that doesn't make them one."
  • Skeptic: "Oh yeah? How can you judge who is a patriotic American?" Of course, it is always possible that some flag-waving, Bill-of-Rights-quoting person out there is really some sort of false patriot, a terrorist in disguise plotting to blow up something, but we recognize that such people are the exception rather than the rule. Nevertheless, consider the absurdity of designating, as an American patriot, someone who, in parallel to the major deviations of Positive Christianity:
  • Declares that we should ignore half of the Constitution, including more than half of the Amendments;
  • Claims that George Washington was actually a Communist;
  • Believes that we should ignore the nation's laws and just concentrate on activities like having Fourth of July picnics. How much credence would we give to someone who advertised this as “Positive Patriotism?”

  • There is one final point, which shows that this objection can also backfire. One frequent argument of Christian apologists is that Hitler was inspired by the teachings of Darwinism. We will not here pursue the accuracy of that claim, but it is rather instructive to consider one Skeptic's response to this argument:


    ...what reached Germany was not the English version of Origin of Species, it was a translation by German paleontologist Heinrich Georg Bronn that was a main source of German notions of Darwinian evolution, and those notions were a distortion of Darwin’s views. Bronn had a substantially different conception of evolution than Darwin, and Bronn’s translation apparently incorporated a good bit of his own conception rather than being a straight translation of Darwin. Bronn even added an extra chapter to OoS to incorporate his own ideas. [5]


    Using the same logic of critics, however, can we not say that Bronn's "distortions" are merely another "variety" of Darwinian teachings? The critics who use the "variety of Christianity" argument end up cutting off their nose to spite their face.


    The Flattened Criteria Argument


    Once a critic is compelled to consider objective criteria as a way to define who is a Christian, an attempt may be made to flatten the criteria by classifying Hitler's Positive Christianity variation as somehow comparable to the mainstream. In this regard, the critical issue is whether the key variations of Positive Christianity -- a bowdlerized canon, a dejudaized Jesus, and a hypertrophied orthopraxy -- are sufficient to divorce it from mainstream, orthodox Christianity. The matter is somewhat tendentiously summed up by one critic as follows:


    Hitler was no more anti-Christian than your run-of-the-mill Protestant bigot. His Christianity was odd, surely, but so is that of many die-hard believers today.


    Concerning the canon of Positive Christianity, Steigmann-Gall, though he admits that Hitler's conception of Christianity "contained a good deal that was far from orthodox," [6] says that the criterion of canonicity "do[es] not constitute a reliable gauge, as others whose Christian credentials are undisputed would similarly fail to pass." [7] Unfortunately, Steigmann-Gall does not say to whom he refers in this context, only vaguely saying that “the rejection of the Old Testament in fact found expression within bona fide varieties of Protestantism." [8] But what were the "bona fide varieties?" Steigmann-Gall does not explain, so no answer can be directly made. Why would it not be argued in reply that the "varieties" Steigmann-Gall has in mind are not "bona fide" at all? And why would this not especially be the case for Positive Christianity followers, whose radical surgery on the canon involved discarding some 80 to 90 percent of it?


    What about the doctrine of a dejudaized Jesus? As we noted earlier, one critic has pointed out that the Aryan Jesus of Positive Christianity has parallels in mainstream views that depict Jesus as a blond, blue-eyed Anglo-Saxon. But this is an inapt comparison. Mainstream depictions of Jesus in this fashion come of a mistaken idea that all Jews of the first century were white Anglo-Saxons. In other words, it is not the result of an active racism, as was the case with Positive Christianity, but rather, the result of simple ignorance. At the same time, if we ignore questions of Jesus' fundamental identity, and say that someone who "follows Jesus" counts as a Christian, we are left to admit into the Christian fold all manner of outlandish deviations. As noted earlier in this volume, one of my "favorite" books as an apologist is titled The Elvis-Jesus Mystery, by Cinda Godfrey. This amazing volume declares that Elvis Presley was the Messiah, and as the title indicates, makes a direct connection between the fundamental identities of Elvis and Jesus. If we follow the logic of such types of critics to its proper conclusion, even Godfrey must be admitted to be a Christian!


    It is true that even early Christianity was subject to a certain amount of diversity. Nevertheless, it must also be apparent that diversity has its limits. Critics naturally have no desire to place limits on the acceptable limit of diversity within Christianity, but if they fail to do so, they risk making the definition of "Christian" so broad that it has no meaning at all.


    Steigmann-Gall writes, "By detaching Christianity from the crimes of its adherents, we create a Christianity above history, a Christianity whose teachings need not ultimately be investigated. Seen in this light, those who have committed such acts must have misunderstood Christianity, or worse yet purposefully misused it for their own ends. 'Real Christians' do not commit such crimes." [9] But this is not a matter of detaching Christianity from the crimes of its adherents. This is a matter of whether, indeed, the alleged adherents have, in fact, misunderstood, distorted or misrepresented Christianity, according to a set of objective criteria, and not their crimes. In the final analysis, the critics simply do not do enough analysis to answer this question.


    Notes
    [1] Ericksen, Theologians Under Hitler, 39.
    [2] Steigmann-Gall, Holy Reich, 5, 6, 10.
    [3] A distinction should be made, though, between defining "Christian" in historical and theological terms, and defining it in strictly anthropological terms. Social scientists with no concern for theology may define a wide variety of groups as "Christian" using the same broad definition as the critic, with no intention to besmirch the Christian belief. Of course, the critic may try to shift the goalposts by arguing that Hitler was anthropologically a Christian, when whether he was theologically a Christian is far more meaningful in terms of their argumentative goals.
    [4] Steigmann-Gall, Holy Reich, 262.
    [5] Accessed August 10, 2013.
    [6] Steigmann-Gall, Holy Reich, 37.
    [7] Ibid., 6.
    [8] Ibid., 11.
    [9] Ibid., 267.

    Unmasking Jesus Myth 
     
     
    [Following is a slightly revised version of a review that can be found at Amazon.)
     
    The back cover to Stephen J. Bedard’s Umasking the Jesus Myth reads, "This book puts forward the evidence for Jesus and exposes the false claims of the Jesus Myth theory." I give Unmasking the Jesus Myth five stars because it fulfills its stated purpose effectively and succinctly.
     
    Having previously coauthored (with Stanley Porter) the award-winning Unmasking the Pagan Christ, and now leading the Hope's Reason Ministries, Bedard is well equipped to unravel the often tangled web of Jesus myth speculations. His relatively compact survey first traces the history of the movement, beginning with the theologically-stripped “historical Jesus” proposed by Albert Schweitzer, followed by the increasingly skeptical concepts of, for examples, Bruno Bauer, G.A. Wells, Earl Doherty, Robert Price, D.M. Murdock (aka Acharya S.), Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, and  of course, Richard Carrier.
     
    This is followed by an overview of evidence for Jesus, which naturally begins with the Gospels as prima facie historical (specifically biographical) narratives, but also includes the writings of Paul, the Testimonium of Josephus, and others. A critical evaluation follows, of various presumed Pagan parallels to Jesus, such as Osiris, Horus, Dionysus and Mithras. An ensuing discussion of Jesus Mythicism and the New Atheism helps the reader to better understand mythicism by locating it within its larger social and ideological contexts. For apologists, the most valuable portion of the book might be the brief guide for seeking a fruitful dialogue with skeptics of the Jesus revealed in the New Testament.
     
    Supplementing the five chapters comprising the body of the book are three quite useful appendices. These address, first, Paul and the historical Jesus, then methodological problems associated with the Jesus Myth movement, and finally, a brief critique of the popular but transparently biased "Zeitgeist" movie.
     
    Unmasking the Jesus Myth is a great resource for anyone (like me) with an interest or active involvement in apologetics but perhaps lacking familiarity with the ideas and personalities underlying the arguments of the Christ myth movement in particular. For Christian believers and apologists generally, most of us would do well to be reminded of the importance of Christ's historicity, an issue with which the apostles were familiar and the truth of which they were ever ready to defend. With the recent resurgence of Gnosticism, and a corresponding rise in the popularity of mythicism (a revival of Docetism, essentially), believers in the twenty-first century would be well advised to get a copy of Bedard’s book and likewise equip themselves to answer myth with fact.
     
    


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    This is one of the most complex issues there is,especially Hartshorne's version which I use,or one similar to his. On Victor Reppert's Dangerous Idea Blog I found our old friend Stardust makimng the claim that there are no valid arguments for God. As it turns out he didn't know what valid meant. He didn't know in logic it refers to the technical presentation of the argumet Arguments must be both valid and sound, soundness refers to truth. After dancing around that for a bit I decided to just challenge him to debate the modal argument.

    My argument:

    1. God is either necessary or impossible.
    2. God can be conceived without contradiction.
    3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible.
    4. God is not impossible.
    5. God is necessary.
    6. That God's existence is necessary is a good reason to believe that God is real.
    7. Therefore, believe in God's reality is warranted.

    Notice I don't say god's "existence," Those of you who follow my blog and have seen my discussion of Tillich will understand this, for the rest of you it';snot important. Notice also that I argue in terms of warrant and not proof. Both Hartshorne and Plantinga refuse to contend they have prove the existence of God but Plantingia argues that the nodal argument is warrant for belief.[1]

    Dusty argued:


    "IF God exists THEN it is logically necessary that(God exists)"Only in the tautological sense that this statement applies to all existent things. If a thing exists then it is necessary that it exists since it is existent. That makes god nothing special.
    Metacrock (me): 
    wrong, you are not paying attention ,What is being said is that there are only two possibles regarding God's modal status, either necessary or impossible. In other words no middle ground, if God exists he must exist he can't be a maybe, he could not have failed to exist, if there is a God there had to be a God. The only alternative is that if God does not exist it's impossible that God could have existed God either exists and it is necessary that he does or he doesn't exist and if so it's because he could not exit.

    Dusty:
    If you mean some notion of alternative possibilities that makes god special necessarily then no, one can speculate that something gave rise to god, god's god, but maybe god's god died, though previously greater than god, but now dead, so now god exists.
    Meta:
    Nope doesn't work that way. God has to be eternal or he can't be at all., he could not have a cause.If God exists he exists as a necessity, A necessity doesn't have a cause,if it did it would be contingent.

    Dusty
    The speculative alternative formulations are unbounded, hence the assertion of necessity is false.
    Meta
    wrong modal operators are not "unbounded." Yes there is a limitless field of speculation concerning God but NOT where modal operators are concerned.

    Dusty
    Fail from the git go, but then, you did not fully define your terms so you might think you have some definitional alternatives to these failings.

    Line 3 is a non-sequitur. Just because we can imagine something that does not contradict itself as we imagine it does not mean the reality of the universe can possibly accommodate a realization of that fantasy.
    Meta
    p3 is the lynch pin of the thing, it's anything but irrelevant, the argent turns upon it. 


    [This argument is about logic and it came in the discussion when we where arguing about validity.So how constriction is regarded in logic really matters.The concept of impossibility is about logical contradiction. Since impossibility is obtained by being illogicality contradictory the lack of contradiction means possibility,]

    Dusty

    Hartshorne is asserting that mere fantasy is sufficient to allow for external realization. He obviously has a hard time separating fantasy from reality, but that is typical of the theistic mind.

    Meta
    No logician in the world thinks that, he is not saying that,

    [He's equating using logic to Establishment of truth by logic with fantasy because he thinks empiricism is the only form of knowledge. As iv say below his position of empiricism as the only true knowledge cannot be proved empirically, He has to use logic to establish probability then to connect probability to empiricism.We know logic can tell us some things about the world. For example we don't have to go look for square circles we  know there are none because the concept contradicts itself. For positive understanding of truth content thorough logic see below.]


    Dusty

    The whole argument hinges on thinking makes it so, an absurd notion. Why anybody takes this nonsense at all seriously is truly a wonderment for me.



    It's so sophomoric to reduce the work of a recognized great thinker to "he thinks thinking makes it so." No he did not think that.He thought that the ontological principle is true. in other words if the terms of a proportion spell out the truth content of the proposition when understood then we have to assume the truth of the argument if the prepositions are valid.

    Tillich's example of this principle is that the principle of truth cannot be disputed without admitting to the validity of the principle. One can only say the principle is false if one is willing to admit that truth exists and this principle departs from it, Thus to dispute the truth of truth is to accept the proportion that truth exists. Truth can never be disputed as truth or as sound based upon a logical denial. This is 
    Duane Olson explaining Tillich's view:
    The indubitability of the norm of truth is shown by a reductio argument regarding the process of knowing. In different places and in different ways Tillich points out that denial and doubt in knowing presuppose the norm of truth.[17 in the article] I want to systematize Tillich’s reductio argument at this point to show that all major theoretical postures presuppose this norm.

    We can imagine four major postures taken by a subject to any theoretical judgment. One could affirm the judgment, claiming it corresponds with reality; one could deny the judgment, claiming it does not correspond; one could doubt, question, and debate the judgment; or one could claim a decision cannot be made about the judgment. All of the options presuppose the subject’s ability to apply a correspondence-norm, or norm of truth. Certainly one must apply a norm to affirm a judgment. One must also apply a norm, however, to deny a judgment. Any negative judgment presupposes and lives from the positive bearing of a norm of truth by the subject. One cannot deny that a judgment corresponds to reality without presupposing the subject’s ability to make judgments about reality. Doubting, questioning, or debating a judgment presuppose a norm of truth as well. One could not debate the veracity of a judgment without presupposing the capacity in the debaters to determine that veracity. Doubting or questioning a judgment is only meaningful under the presupposition of a norm that gives validity to that questioning and doubting. Finally, the claim that one cannot know whether a judgment is true presupposes the bearing of a norm to determine how or why a decision cannot be made.

    It is important to note that the argument for a correspondence-norm, or norm of truth, is on a different level than arguments about the specific nature of the correspondence between subject and object. The correspondence itself may be conceived in terms of naïve realism, idealism, or a multitude of positions in between. Every theory about the nature of the correspondence, however, relies on the presupposition of a correspondence-norm that would make it possible to formulate, and affirm, deny, debate, or declare uncertain that theory. Put differently, the theory of the specific nature of the correspondence between subject and object is another field of knowledge that is subject to the ultimate criterion of knowledge, which is what is disclosed in the idea of a correspondence-norm.

    To claim that the capacity to apply a norm is indubitable is the same thing as saying the subject bears an indubitable awareness of truth. In other words, when one analyzes the major postures toward judgments and shows how a norm of truth is presupposed as something borne by the subject in every posture, one is pointing out an awareness of truth the subject has, though it is something the subject may overlook, especially in doubting or denying particular truths. Through the reductio argument, one focuses attention on the fact that the subject bears a norm of truth, thus raising it to conscious awareness. I speak more below about the character of this awareness, but for now I simply affirm something Tillich presupposes, which is the identity between the affirmation that the subject bears a norm of truth and the subject’s awareness of this norm.[2]


    Heartshorne's version is the evocation of necessity with the possibility of God. In other words necessity is such that if X is necessary and possible the possibility of X means it must exist because it can't be merely possible if it's necessary. That's where no p3 comes in. The only two possibilities for go are necessary and impossible, If God is possible hes not impossible and thus must be necessary. This is all guaranteed by the nature of modal operators. Modal operators are words that disclose the modes of being; hence"modal" logic. Modes of being are states such as necessity or contingency.  Donald Wayne Viney and George W. Shields document:
    Hartshorne considered the empiricist position regarding the ontological argument as the least tenable. The second premise says, colloquially, if God is so much as logically possible, then it must be the case that God exists. Hartshorne calls this “Anselm’s principle,” or more forcefully, “Anselm’s discovery.” The discovery is that God, as unsurpassable, cannot exist with the possibility of not existing. Put differently, contingency of existence is incompatible with deity. Anselm’s formula that God is “that than which nothing greater can be conceived” means, among other things, that any abstract characteristic for which something greater can be conceived cannot properly be attributed to deity. [3]

    Dusty also tried to confuse soundness with empirical knowledge, after I pointed out the distinction between sound and valid, That is not the case either, its not abouit empirical evidence we are still dealing in logical argument. Here is the distinction on these terms:


    I. Truth, Validity, and Soundness: probably the three most important concepts of the course.
    A. First, let us briefly characterize these concepts.
    1. truth: a property of statements, i.e., that they are the case.
    2. validity: a property of arguments, i.e., that they have a good structure.
    (The premisses and conclusion are so related that it is absolutely impossible for the premisses to be true unless the conclusion is true also.)
    3. soundness: a property of both arguments and the statements in them, i.e., the argument is valid and all the statement are true.
    Sound Argument: (1) valid, (2) true premisses (obviously the conclusion is true as well by the definition of validity).
    B. The fact that a deductive argument is valid cannot, in itself, assure us that any of the statements in the argument are true; this fact only tells us that the conclusion must be true if the premisses are true.[4]

    Empirical evidence is not the issue, Most atheists on the net make the assumption that empiricism is the only real form of knowledge and logic is just made up and doesn't prove anything this something no one can prove with any empirical standard.I dom't argue that i can prove the existence of God. The issue originally was validity,I shewed the argument here is valid, It's also sound because the preemies are true  and the argument is valid. Does that prove god is real? No but it's a good reason to think he is, Therefore belief in god is warranted,




    Sources


    [1] Donald Wayne Viney and George W. Shields  "Charles Hartshorne Theistic and Anti-theistic Arguments," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: a Peer Reviewed Academic Resource. Internet online resource. no date indicated, URL: http://www.iep.utm.edu/hart-t-a/#H1 (accessed 1/15/17).


    Donald Wayne Viney
    Email: don_viney@yahoo.com
    Pittsburg State University
    U. S. A.

    George W. Shields
    Email: George.shields@kysu.edu
    Kentucky State University
    U. S. A.
    [2]Duane Olson, “Pual Tiillich and the Ontological Argument,” Quodlibet Journal vol. 6, no 3, July-sep 2004, online journal, URL: http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/olson-tillich.shtml visited 8/4/10
    Olson has two foot notes in this quotation which are important to examine:

    1) “In one of the more significant recent monographs on Tillich’s thought, Langdon Gilkey flatly states “[Tillich] denied that an argument for the transcendent power and ground of being was possible” (Gilkey on Tillich (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2000), 105). Gilkey never discusses Tillich’s use of the traditional arguments.” (2) “In his detailed and extensive volume on the ontological argument, Graham Oppy mentions Tillich’s name only once in the literature review, and he never analyzes any of Tillich’s statements (Ontological Arguments and Belief in God (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 275). To Oppy’s credit, he discusses a type of argument to which Tillich’s is related. I comment on Oppy’s analysis of this argument in the final section of this paper.”

    [3] Donald Wayne Viney and George W. Shields  "Charles Hartshorne Theistic and Anti-theistic Arguments," op cit

    [4] Introduction to Logic, PLE

    http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/tvs.html











    One of the various disagreements I had with IM Skeptical regarding my recent post, "Should Philosophy of Religion Be Ended?", concerned whether there are possible worlds in which the laws of logic do not hold. I maintain that the laws of logic must hold at every possible world if the very concept of "possible worlds" is to have any meaning whatsoever. Once it is permitted that the rules of logic are not themselves necessary truths, we are left with no means to distinguish possible truths from necessary truths, let alone possible worlds from impossible worlds (e.g., worlds that both exist and do not exist at the same time). Skeptical, in order to refute arguments for God from logic – like the "Lord of Non-Contradiction" paper by Anderson and Welty – to the contrary contends that there may be possible worlds in which rules of logic do not in fact hold.
     
    Skeptical then suggested that despite their appeals to logic theists make special exceptions for theism, and asked me this: "Do you believe that the doctrine of the trinity is true? If you do, then how does that square with the rules of classical logic?" Now I believe that question is worthy of a considered reply. For clarity's sake my own reply to the first part of the question is simply "Yes" But of course what skeptics are more interested in is the second part: why Christians like me believe in the Trinity, especially when we claim to place such a high premium on the validity of logic in understanding God and the world he created.
     
    Theologians have written volumes on the Trinity as a church dogma, as a description of divine ontology drawn from biblical statements, and as a model of divinity that lends itself to the activity of securing human redemption. Apologists, however, are the most interested in whether or not the Trinity is actually, or least potentially, coherent. That issue in turn concerns the logical relations among Father, Son and Spirit. According to Wayne Grudem, the set of propositions underlying the doctrine of the Trinity can be stated succinctly as
     
    1. God is three persons [hypostases].
    2. Each person is fully God.
    3. There is one God. 
     
    …the problem being that these appear inconsistent. However, there are no explicit contradictions here. Additional premises would be required to create an explicit contradiction, such as
     
    4. God is not three persons.  – or –
    5. Each person is less than fully God.  – or –
    6. There are many Gods (gods). Etc.
     
    Now I have already mentioned Plantinga's free will defense in the context of my ongoing discussion with Skeptical, but I believe it bears mentioning again. The free will defense appears analogous to a defense of the Trinity, in that the one who argues that the problem of evil renders God's existence impossible, like the one who charges that the Trinity is illogical, bears the burden of proving that the initial set in question is formally inconsistent and not merely counterintuitive. 
     
    Clearly it would be logically problematic to say that the one God is actually three separate beings. After all, that seems to be directly translatable to 1 = 3, which is contradictory (in that something, God, is said to be both one and not-one at the same time). At issue, though, is whether the relations among the members of the godhead are absolute reflexive identity relations. To put it another way, we need to ask ourselves: what exactly does it mean to say "God is Father, Son and Spirit," and to also say, "Father, Son, and Spirit are God"? If it's right to say that God is strictly equal to – nothing more and nothing less – all three members of the godhead, and vice-versa, then we are saying that one equals three and effectively speaking nonsense. But I don't think it's necessarily true that the relations among the members of the godhead are absolute reflexive identity relations.
     
    Some theologians, for example, have suggested these are "relative identities," wherein identity relations are still logically valid but in terms other than shared properties. Deutsch comments in the Stanford Encyclopedia: "It is possible for objects x and y to be the same F and yet not the same G, (where F and G are predicates representing kinds of things (apples, ships, passengers) rather than merely properties of things (colors, shapes)). In such a case ‘same’ cannot mean absolute identity. For example, the same person might be two different passengers, since one person may be counted twice as a passenger." Now this "passenger" analogy, like most other analogies, does not apply all that well to the Trinity, but for present purposes the fact that relative identities are possible is enough to undercut the argument that the Trinity is explicitly illogical. 
     
    While analogies proposed for the Trinity are typically imperfect (as analogies are generally), they do often serve to underscore that the Trinity is a mystery in need of an explanation rather than an example of explicit illogic. It should not surprise anyone that there are few, if any, applicable worldly analogies for a spiritual reality. And skeptics, at least those familiar with scientific theories, should know that on naturalism, nature houses numerous mysteries of its own: How an entropic universe can come into existence unaided; how quantum mechanics can be reconciled with general relativity; how chemical evolution can take place apart from replicators that only operate within living systems. Etc. Meanwhile there are some serious Trinitarian models that purport to provide solutions – or at least potential solutions – beyond merely pointing out that the Trinity is not formally contradictory. Those will have to be addressed by someone else, or at least at some other time.
     
     


    Photobucket

    Atheists on the internet are always talking about contradictions in the Bible. These alleged contradictions fall into many categories. Most can be extinguished simply by remembering that all language had connotative meanings and all good writing uses literary devices, but many are based upon an inadequate understanding of the nature of divine revelation. The problem is that most of these atheist notions of "contradiction" are only contradictions becuase they are judged according to the fundamentalist model, veral plenary inspiration, (aka "inerrancy") by which the Bible is understood as literal and perfect. Actually the model used for this concept is similar to the notion of the boss of company writing a memo to the employees. Dictated to a secretary but every word in the memo is exactly what the boss wants to say, the whole is literally the word the of the boss.

    The problem with the notions of revelation in the Christian tradition is that they are based upon the human understanding of what God would do. The human notion can be seen with the Book of Mormon—handed down from angels on high on Gold tablets—or the Koran—dictated by an Angel who grabbed Mohammed by the throat and forced him to write. The human notion tells us that there should be no mistakes, no problems, and the revelation should be ushered in with fanfare and pomp, clear and indisputable. But that is not the way of many religious traditions, and certainly not Christianity. There are problems, and even though most of them are conceived by ignorant people (most of the Internet atheists claims to "contradictions in the Bible" are based largely on not understanding metaphor or literary devices), there are some real problems and they are thorny. There are even more problems when it comes to the historicity of the text. But the important thing to note is that the revelations of the Christian faith are passed through human vessels. They contain human problems, and they are passed on safeguarded through human testimony. Even if the eye-witness nature of the individual authors of the NT cannot be established, the testimony of the community as a whole can be. The NT and its canon is a community event. It was a community at large that produced the Gospels, that passed on the Testimony and that created the canon. This communal nature of the revelation guarantees, if not individual authenticity, at least a sort of group validation, that a whole bunch of people as a community attest to these books and this witness.


    What is needed is a new model. We need a model that allows for the mistakes of culture and the presence of the kinds of texts we find in ancient lore, mythological and symbolic in places, becuase this is what we find in the Biblical text. The memo from the boss doesn't work as a model for the Bible becasue it's not faithful to the real way the word is handed down. A better model  would be a personal reminiscence with someone who interviewed the boss. That would allow for the personality of the author to get between the reader and the original subject matter, becuase that is what we find in the Bible. 




    The Traditional view of "Inerrancy."

    Most people tend to think in terms of all or nothing, black and white, true and false. So when they think about the Bible, they think it's either all literally true in every word or it can't be "inspired." This is not only a fallacy, but it is not even the "traditional" view. Even in the inherency camp there exists three differing views of exactly what is inerrant and to what extent. Oddly enough, the notion of verbal inspiration was invented in the Renaissance by Humanists! Yes, the dreaded enemy of humanism actually came up with the doctrine of inerrancy which didn't exist before the 19th century, in its current form, but which actually began in the Renaissance with humanists. The documentation on this point comes mainly from Avery Dulles, Models of Revelation, New York: Double Day, 1985. The humanist argument is documented on p. 36. He also demonstrates that the current Evangelical view basically dates form the 19th century, the Princeton movement, and people such as Benjamin Warfield (1851-1921). Proponents of this view include Carl C.F. Henry, Clark Pinnock, James I Packer, Francis Shaffer, Charles Warwick Montgomery, and others.


    Not all of those guys stayed in the camp of the evangelicals. The late Clark Pinnock for example, who started out as a read hot fundie who taught Paige Patterson, wound up being identified with "open theology" Regarded as a defector. Yet these are all models of revelation that were found in the evangelical camp. These are conservative views, at least according to Avery Dulles, in his ground breaking book Models of Revelation.





    Dulles Lists Five Versions of Inerrancy.

    *Inerrency of original autographs and divine protection of manuscripts.
    Proponents of this view include Harold Lindsell.

    *
    Inspiration of autographs with minor mistakes in transmission of an unessential kind.
    Carl C.F. Henry.

    *Inerrency of Textual intention without textual specifics.
    Clark Pinnock.

    *Inerrancy in Soteric (salvation) knowledge but not in historical or scientific matters.
    Bernard Ramm

    *Inerrent in major theological assertions but not in religion or morality.
    Donald Blosche and Paul K. Jewett







      
    I would isolate three major concerns in discussing why I reject inerrency (verbal plenary) model. I'm not putting these over as "contradictions in the Bible," but they problems with the model:

    (1) Doesn't account for different types of text

    (2) Idealized history

    (3) no room for mythology
    Knowing the kind of text is important because not all texts are meant to do the same things. Gensis is not intended to be a scientific text book or a literal history of creation. It's a borrowing of pagan myth (Sumerian, Babylonian) that was probably re-worked when Israelites were in the exile. It doesn't matter if it's not scientific, the author of Genesis had no concept of modern science it wasn't written to convey to us anything scientific. The spiritual truths that it communicates are communicated mythological, Mythology is a powerful psychological means of communicating certain kinds of truth. The History offered of Israel's sojurn in the wildernes and the establishment o the kingdom in the promised land is all idealized history. Modern archeology basically rules out most of the events in the conquest of Canaan. The point is they were making idealized history, recounting the glory of the past because they were slaves in exile.  There are better models of revelation that more accurately reflect these concerns. 



    Basic Models of Revelation:

    Dulles presents five models of revelation, but the faith model really amounts to little more than "the Bible helps you feel good," so I am presenting only four. This core summery will not come close to doing justice to these views. But time and space limitations do not allow a discourse that would do them justice.

    Revelation as History:

    The Events themselves are inspired but not the text. John Ballie, David Kelsey, James Barr. This view can include oral events; the inspiration of the prophets, the early kerygma of the church (C.H. Dodd) Creedal formulation, as well as historical events such as the atonement. This view was largely held by a flood of theologians up to the 1960s. According to this view the Bible is the record of revelation not revelation itself.

    Revelation as Inner Experience:

    This view would include mystical experience and views such as Frederich Schleiermacher's feeling of utter dependence (see argument III on existence of God). Religious doctrines are verbalizations of the feeling; the intuitive sense of the radical contingency of all things upon the higher aegis of their existence; part of the religious a priori.

    Revelation as Doctirne:

    This is the basic doctrine of inerrancy as stated above. In most cases it is believed that the autographs were inspired but some allow for mistakes in transmission and other inaccuracies of an inconsequential nature. This means that 90% of the criticisms made my atheists and skeptics on the internet don't count, because most of them turn on metaphorical use of language or scribal error. I take this position based upon personal experience on many apologetic boards.

    Revelation as Dialectical Presence:

    The view that there is a dialectical relation between the reader and the text. The Bible contains the word of God and it becomes the word of God for us when we encounter it in transformative way. Karl Barth is an example of a major theologian who held this view.

    No one of these views is really adequate. I urge a view based upon all of them. In some sense, that is, the Bible manifests versions of each of these views. So it is not just governed by one revelatory model, but is made of redacted material which exhibits all of these views. For example, the prophets spoke from their experience of God--their inner experience of God's prompting. Their words are recorded as the books of the prophets in the Bible. The Biblical prophetic books are then the written record of the inner experience of these men. The Gospels exhibit all of these tendencies. Passed on from oral tradition, redacted by members of the communities which passed on the traditions, they represent the written record of the events of Christ's life and ministry. In that sense the events themselves were inspired. But Jesus teachings, which we can assume were transmitted accurately for the most part, represent the word actually spoken by Jesus, and thus by God's perfect revelation to humanity. Jesus is the revelation; the Gospels are merely the written record of that revelation passed on by the Apostles to the communities. Thus we see both the event model and the revelation as doctrine model (traditional view). In the Epistles we see the inner-experience model clearly as Paul, for example, did not know that he was writing the New Testament. He demonstrates confusion at points, as when (in I Corinthians) he didn't recall how many of Stephan’s household he had baptized, but when it came to his answers on doctrinal matters he wrote out of the inner-experience of God. We can also assume that the redactions occurred in relation to some sort of inner-experience, they reflect some divine guidance in the sense that the redactors are reflecting their own experiences of God.

    I know these views sound wildly radical to most Christians, but they are based on the works of major theologians, including those of the most conservative schools. The dialectical model is vague and sounds unimpressive. It really seems to be tautological statement: the word of God becomes meaningful when we encounter it in a meaningful way. Therefore, I adopt a model of revelation based upon all four models (granting that we do encounter it in more meaningful ways at some times than at others, but provided we understand that this is not saying that it ceases to be the word of God when we don't so encounter it), and of the doctrinal model accepting the views that say inerrant in intent but not specific transmission. The transmission includes some mistakes but of a minor kind.

    My own model is a dialectical encounter model. It sees the Biblical text as the product of an encounter between humans and the divine. The upshot of the counter could take many forms. In some cases its a straight forward reporting of "this is what the Lord says." In some cases a reminiscence, in some cases a redaction of a borrowed myth as in the re-telling of the Sumerian Garden of Eden story. It's political propaganda and idealized history told by slaves in a foreign land to memorialize the glories of their bygone people, to preserve the faith. The purpose of all of that is to form a framework for the mission of Jesus as messiah. It's dialectical in that it works through an encounter between the reader and the text. The reader must have her own "divine-human" encounter in coming to understand the nature of the text and the truths it reflects for her own life.

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