Poetry has an amazing ability to move people, it’s something I actually grew up with a lot in my life, sadly as my schooling went on we were taught less about great literature and more about slogans, suchlike “gay’s okay”, and what can only be described as thought policing in the school’s well known PSHE (personal, social and health education) classes. This wasn’t North Korea, this was London, and increasingly it’s London and the rest of the UK which is being radically transformed, not by wonderful poetry, the sort which made the nations so beautiful, but by an insistent group of thugs destroying free speech and dissenting views under the guise of “tolerance.” They’re themselves of course the most bigoted and intolerant of all, ruining the lives of people they often pretend to be defending. With which Dr Micheal Brown wrote an excellent little poem on the subject as it’s find in American schools today:
Little Johnny went to school
There to learn a brand new rule;
No longer could the boys be boys
Or have their special trucks and toys;
Only six, so young and tender
It’s time for him to unlearn gender
And break the binding two sex mold
That hurtful thinking that’s so old.
Parents at home can have their say
But here at school, the slant is gay
In other words, to make things clear
There’s nothing wrong with being queer.
Having two moms is mighty fine;
To disagree is out of line.
We’ll dismantle the family
And smash religious bigorty
And keep the church out of the state
By saying faith is really hate.
Free speech can only go one way,
Since here at school the slant is gay.
So little ones, it’s time to learn
’bout famous queers, each one in turn;
Lesbian greats long neglected
Well-known gays just now detected.
Some, perhaps, were man-boy lovers;
We’ll keep that stuff under the covers.
GLSEN will fill in for Granny
And help kids find their inner-trannie.
Those born in a body that’s wrong
Will hear of sex-change before long.
And through the years as Johnny grows
He will learn that anything goes.
With Bill, who’s trans and Joe, who’s bi-,
And Sue, who thinks that she’s a guy.
United in the day of silence,
joining the Gay Straight Alliance –
A queer new system rules the day,
Since here at school, the slant is gay (Pages 86 and 87 of Dr Micheal Brown’s A Queer thing happened to America).
Lots more about this subject and the often imagined “homo hatred” as the months rumble on. If you’re unsure of how to feel about the ill-will that often surrounds the subject, or even if you aren’t, but rather want to test your own assumptions, keep an eye out for what’s really going on in the culture by way of my later posts. See if you too find the arguments and evidences as compelling as I do. Nevertheless, it’s not simply believers who appreciate poetry, music and the arts, in fact, having recently finished a conversation with a visitor named kaptonok, I can safely say their love of the verse far surpasses my own. Upon January 5, 2016 our exchange began, first beginning on the subject of supposed contradictions in the Bible, and continuing on into days and weeks you’ll get to read an array of arguments and counter arguments by both kaptonok and myself, culminating in an answer to the question “Which way does the evidence point, towards belief in God or agnosticism?” Enjoy.
kaptonok: Atheists often search the scripture to prove their point. The beauty of the Bible is its inconsistency you can prove almost any point you wish.* The vast multitude of interpretations testifies to the huge number of denominations. So I might as well muddy the waters with mine. Jesus was an all or nothing man. He put his whole heart and soul into how he lived.
Nearly everyone on the planet are compromise people, who are governed by all sorts of forces in their lives. Many compromise types like to think of themselves as all or nothing types, it projects a better image. The mature and observant are not fooled.
Oldschoolcontemporary: I believe the big question here is whether or not a person accepts the idea of authorial intention, and of course every time we write a letter, send a text message or even read a reply we’re secretly showing we believe in an author’s intentions, we too believe that we can get at the original meaning without anything interfering. In fact, I think your message actually completes itself in a very sharp fashion, as you first wrote “The beauty of the Bible is its inconsistency you can prove almost any point you wish.”, you then go on to answer these often alien interpretations: “Nearly everyone on the planet are compromise people, who are governed by all sorts of forces in their lives.”
Now, in many cases (certainly not all) I would say differing interpretations arise precisely because we’re as you have put it “compromise people.” Moreover, we’re compromised people (by which I mean to say sinners). An example, maybe you’ve heard of the show ancient aliens (a peculiar detour I know), well people who are drawn to this idea, the idea that aliens had some part to play in human history, or that we in the past were too ignorant/primitive to do simple tasks like draw patterns in the dirt, they’re very interested in the book of Ezekiel. Do we compromise and support their clearly absurd interpretation, surely not.
In my mind, this reinforces the earlier point about us being so badly compromised. The ancient astronaut theorists argue that Ezekiel, rather than having anything to do with God, had in actuality witnessed alien spaceships, and they argue this from the book of Ezekiel of all things, they claim sadly the Jewish people lacked the vocabulary to rightly explain their extraterrestrial encounter, for which they wrote of God and (in their minds) other ridiculous notions. Yet “Hebrew is one of the richest languages in history of the world”!*
It’s because we are so compromised that people believe they can rip and uncritically misuse texts so to gain some selfish aim of theirs, and in their minds the people they are clearly misleading are irrelevant (or perhaps they’re misled themselves). Lastly, if both you and I truly belong to a universe fashioned by God, and are blessed with minds able to understand its deep truths, then I think you would do yourself a disservice to write your views on Jesus are muddying the waters. I think we really can know something about this Jesus, so when you write “Jesus was an all or nothing man. He put his whole heart and soul into how he lived.” I find myself almost irresistibly nodding in agreement. Lewis in his extremely popular book Mere Christianity has a great deal to add to the discussion:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
kaptonok: Jesus was a Jew and he lived in a scientifically unenlightened age. He did not lose his Jewish faith he universalised and adjusted it. The Jews a tightly bonded tribe ( they still are) hated his universalisum. They believed they were God chosen tribe above all other humans. We still see this attitude in Christian circles today.
Jesus taught mankind was one large tribe and God had no favorites. He taught we need to put aside our imagined differences love, and serve one another. He also believed in ultimate justice that could act beyond the grave. I don’t believe in ultimate justice for me the murderer who shoots himself escapes justice. The ultra rich man who indulges himself until he dies escapes justice. Justice beyond the grave is very important in religious matters ; it makes us able to bear our ills and misfortunes with a smile.*
Oldschoolcontemporary: Let me try and unpack a little of what we’re both writing, kaptonok. You wrote “I don’t believe in ultimate justice for me, the murderer who shoots himself escapes justice. The ultra rich man who indulges himself until he dies escapes justice.” Are you not supposing the reality of such a thing called Justice when you write people can escape justice? It appears to me that you both believe and disbelieve in justice of some sort, yet if justice were merely defined as every person’s personal taste or preferred preference, it would then make no sense to say anybody escaped our subjective ideas of justice. If a person wrongs you, and they’re then put out of your reach by the grave, they didn’t really escape justice if justice is an illusion, rather they would have escaped your intended revenge. Nevertheless, if justice is not a feature of our universe, then whether or not anybody really extracted their measure of revenge wouldn’t matter one way or the other. Life on the leash would be just as pointless as life off of the leash, as the Christian apologist David Wood would say.
There’s much more here I’d enjoy an explanation of, nevertheless due to time constraints I’m going to bypass a few observations and move into the subject I feel has the most legs to it, that being Jesus son of Joseph. You wrote like so: “He (meaning Jesus) did not lose his Jewish faith he universalised and adjusted it. The Jews a tightly bonded tribe (they still are) hated his universalisum.” You’re certainly onto something when you touch upon the universality of the Christian faith, however, Jesus wasn’t simply hated for teaching sympathetically towards Gentiles, Samaritans and the like, rather Jesus Christ had suffered hatred and crucifixion due to who He believed He was. Jesus wasn’t simply an overly friendly rabbi whose teachings centered around humanity getting along, so for you and I to write on universality while forgetting the very special claims Jesus made about Himself would be an error.
For example, Jesus claimed to forgive sin, preform miracles and predicted His imminent death. Rudolf Bultmann, writing in 1926 recognized the very same: “There can be no doubt that Jesus did such deeds, which were, in his and his contemporaries’ understanding, miracles, that is, deeds that were the result of supernatural, divine causality. Doubtless he healed the sick and cast out demons.” Similarly John Piper, whose doctoral studies were done at the university of Munich, sheds light on the character and claims of Jesus: “Our first evidence of the resurrection, therefore, is that Jesus himself spoke of it. The breadth and nature of the sayings make it unlikely that a deluded church made these up. And the character of Jesus himself, revealed in these witnesses, has not been judged by most people to be a lunatic or a deceiver.”
Lastly, Scholar P. J. Tomson wrote on the subject: “Although he apparently considered himself the heavenly ‘Son of Man’ and ‘the beloved son’ of God and cherished far-reaching Messianic ambitions, Jesus was equally reticent about these convictions.* Even so, the fact that, after his death and resurrection, his disciples proclaimed him as the Messiah can be understood as a direct development from his own teachings.” Similarly the title “King of the Jews” which hung upon Jesus’ cross is historically verified, meaning we’re writing about a radical individual in the historic sense, someone who wouldn’t merely defy expectations, they’d change the world. Could this have been the work of a confused or deluded man, a madman, never, and surely no person could come away with such an idea having read the Sermon on the Mount. Perhaps than Jesus merely fooled people into believing He was someone He wasn’t, yet that couldn’t be right in either my or your eyes, since we’re both convinced of Jesus’ passion and commitment, liars make for excellent cowards, whereas Jesus faced His death with bravery and full knowledge it was about to happen.
So, was the man mad, bad or God? I’d be interested to get your take on that. In modern speak atheists have considered the question closed by their bringing to the table a forth option, legend.* Meaning Lewis’ question of whether or not Jesus was liar, Lord or lunatic became liar, Lord, lunatic or legend. Yet such an idea is clearly without warrant, so much so that even the radical German skeptic Gert Lüdemann imagines Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as being penned within two years of the crucifixion event itself. Legends simply can’t undermine the historic core of an event within the lives of eyewitnesses, rather the fact that so much of the material points to only one outcome testifies to the strength of that report. Jesus’ question to Peter remains a question we too are faced with in the now: “Who do you say that I am?”
kaptonok: Justice stems from the conscience of man. It is represented in the Bible in metaphor ‘ the tree of the knowlege of good and evil. A tiger cannot be evil nor a crocodile they have no consciences. The exact nature of the conscience will vary according to time and place.
Oldschoolcontemporary: Meaning you reject the idea of objective morality, the properly basic belief or an intuition, like our intuitive sense of other minds besides our own. Therefore, if a certain group of disreputable people in today’s culture (pedophiles) are later ushered into power in tomorrow’s world, your consciousness would only feel an illusory pain, a false sting which yelled “This isn’t right!”, however, in your rational mind you would realize that there’s nothing truly evil about their behavior.* So, in your mind, you’re comfortable to say raping defenseless children isn’t truly wrong, it’s simply wrong in your opinion?
Moreover, why ignore the epistemological (meaning our ability to experience and know) fact of objective morality for the mere ontology (the source)? Since you wrote to me in an earlier message that it’s our wishful thinking, our desire to bear an uncaring universe with a song in our heart and smiles upon our faces that motivates humankind to imagine justice in the universe. Surely your notion is mistaken on two levels, firstly, it’s clearly our moral experience that motivates people to believe that justice, even ultimate justice, is an actual feature of our daily lives, it’s not that the believers in real goodness find themselves in a cruel and uncaring universe, for which they begin supposing morality, rather they simply suppose it regardless of whether or not they’re cursed as lepers or fruitful as bunnies, regardless of their happiness or cruelty we’re moral agents. Secondly, your idea, even if correct, wouldn’t show morality didn’t exist, allow me again a chance to unpack your material:
“I don’t believe in ultimate justice for me the murderer who shoots himself escapes justice. The ultra rich man who indulges himself until he dies escapes justice. Justice beyond the grave is very important in religious matters ; it makes us able to bear our ills and misfortunes with a smile.”
Surely in the above you’re trying above to show that the belief in objective moral values and duties is mistaken due to how it came about, which is commonly known as the genetic fallacy, meaning even if how a person came to hold a belief might be faulty, that doesn’t mean the belief itself is faulty. For example, imagine I had what I believed was a throwing die better than most other dice for gambling, and I believed my die was so much better than the norm because A. It often landed upon six, and B. An astrologist told me the stars had aligned in my favor! Now, you could mock my belief in astrology, and show that the science was an absurd sham, but that doesn’t mean my die isn’t better than others for the purpose of winning me money. In fact, it turns out it’s a loaded die, my reasoning was faulty, but the belief was true, my die really was better than the others at winning me money.*
So why deny the clear and present experiential evidence for the truth of objective moral values. Wouldn’t we rightly call cold-blooded murderers, rapists and child abusers who didn’t feel guilty for their crimes handicapped, having simply a malfunction of the mind or brain or wherever it is you might believe the conscious of humanity to abide. Louis Anthony, an atheist philosopher appears to agree: “Any argument for moral skepticism is going to be based upon premises which are less obvious than the reality of moral values and duties themselves.” Meaning to accept your moral skepticism couldn’t be justified or rational. Again, Lewis tackles our subject in an insightful fashion:
“Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to-whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or every one. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.”
Furthermore: “I have met people who exaggerate the differences, because they have not distinguished between difference of morality and differences of belief about facts. For example, one man said to me, ‘Three hundred years ago people in England were putting witches to death. Was that what you call the Rule of Human Nature or Right Conduct?’* But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did — if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbors or drive them mad or bring bad weather — surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did? There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simple about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believes there were no mice in the house.”
Isn’t it possible (just possible) that your experiential data, data which I imagine can discern the difference between good and evil, is correct in a broad way? Yet if your moral experiences are correct in that broad fashion, then we’re capable of appealing to objective moral values, that objectivity can, nay, must be grounded in God, for anything other than God couldn’t possibly withstand the crushing weight of being the highest good (nor would they be worthy).
Kaptonok: Selfishness is admired by most western countries, we are encouraged to look after number one. Mrs Thatcher said there is no such thing as society in other words every man for himself. Have you not heard of the rat race or read about the bankers ? The purpose of socialism was to overcome unselfishness. The purpose of religion is the same. Due to survival of the fittest we push the weakest to the wall.
Now that was fine when we fitted into nature which is red in tooth and claw, but now we have eaten of the tree we no longer fit. I’m not skeptical of morals all humans are aware only too well of them. The famous atheist Sam Harris suggested in his book ‘The Moral Landscape ‘ that we use well-being to judge our actions.
It is similar to the golden rule do unto others as you would be done by. Crime and its punishment has changed tremendously and today the background and character of the defendant is taken into account. Some things that were formally crimes are no longer considered crimes. We are more enlightened now than ever before.*
Oldschoolcontemporary: To advance your world-view based upon sensationalist tabloid stories and newscasts isn’t well advised, in fact, merely to highlight a sector of failure in our banking world only goes to prove the vast majority of the banking world is holding to banking sector ethics (Yes! They do exist).* In addition, it appears to be that you’re confusing healthy competition with selfishness, rather it’s competition that’s widely encouraged, whereas to be selfish is looked down upon in the real world (perhaps not in television land). Competitiveness (hence the race in rat “race”) has always been thoroughly well liked.
Furthermore, Richard Dawkins’ best selling book The God Delusion would also undermine your notions of reality, at least it would if your views are as your last message shows (which I’m sure they aren’t). Dawkins on page 216 of his most popular work mentions the notion of reciprocal altruism, meaning a sort of parasitic nice guy gene or more likely behavior which leads people to behave in a certain way. Similarly a religious perspective would ordinarily disagree with you, meaning the most popular modes of thought disagree. Again from The God Delusion:
“In general, as my late colleague W. D. Hamilton showed, animals tend to care for, defend, share resources with, warn of danger, or otherwise show altruism towards close kin because of the statistical likelihood that kin will share copies of the same genes. The other main type of altruism for which we have a well worked-out Darwinian rationale is reciprocal altruism (‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’). This theory, first introduced to evolutionary biology by Robert Trivers and often expressed in the mathematical language of game theory, does not depend upon shared genes. Indeed, it works just as well, probably even better, between members of widely different species, when it is often called symbiosis. The principle is the basis of all trade and barter in humans too.”
The Biblical perspective would also speak to the banking crisis you mentioned earlier, because it’s wholly in keeping with the Biblical model of human behavior to say a section of the population could and shall go wrong morally: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”*
Not only did a faulty sector of our culture do wrong, they even approved of that wrong in their nearest co-workers, and who hasn’t also met such a person in their own life. It’s common to meet drunkards who’re offended if you aren’t a drinker too, or people who casually swear who aren’t happy if you aren’t also swearing. Meaning whether our attraction is for either an evolutionary or Christian interpretation of the universe, we’re held to a seemingly immovable moral law (whether real or illusory) imposing itself upon our kind.
“The purpose of socialism was to overcome unselfishness. The purpose of religion is the same.”*
After even the faintest study into comparative religions you couldn’t possibly hold to such an idea, it’s painting with far too broad a brush. Religions are oftentimes a product of differing cultures or even some lone visionary, meaning their purposes would be each as different as the founder behind the religion. Merely grazing the sheer diversity of religions would evidence the deep divide in purposes, Satanism, Hinduism, Islam, Voodoo, church of the flying spaghetti monster! etc etc into the thousands. The notion that Religion with a capital R shares with socialism a sort of unifying super purpose couldn’t be more mistaken.
Moreover you wrote: “Due to survival of the fittest we push the weakest to the wall. Now that was fine when we fitted into nature which is red in tooth and claw, but now we have eaten of the tree we no longer fit. I’m not skeptical of morals all humans are aware only too well of them.”
The issue isn’t whether or not you or I feel particularly skeptical of the moral experience, rather we’re required to answer whether or not (objectively speaking) good and evil are featured within our universe, if not they’re merely a matter of personal taste. Epistemology and Ontology would again be our question hereafter. Meaning if we’re content to believe in the moral experience (we’re experiencing its effect after all!), there’s then the question of whether an ontological foundation exists outside of the human mind, which it wouldn’t if you’re an ontological naturalist.
There’s however a sizeable section of our Western society (perhaps yourself included) who believe moral experience isn’t grounded in anything other than the subjective experience of each individual human (and perhaps certain advanced primates), rather they’re an accidental byproduct of us and our environment interacting with (nay, governed by) pre determined laws of physics. The implications of such a view as this not only eliminates the possibility of good and evil, but also first person perspective, freedom of the will and accountability for one’s life choices, therefore, at least under this model, they’re altogether illusory. Due to the wealth of philosophical, experiential or even scientific data which undermines such an idea as naturalism (which implies determinism) we’re in rejecting the notion entirely rational.
“The famous atheist Sam Harris suggested in his book ‘The Moral Landscape‘ that we use well-being to judge our actions.”
An academic elaboration upon the aim of Harris’ Moral Landscape would read as follows: “The purpose of Dr. Harris’ book The Moral Landscape is to explain the basis, on atheism, of the existence of objective moral values. He explicitly rejects the view that moral values are Platonic objects existing independent of the world. So his only recourse is to try to ground moral values in the natural world. But how can you do that, since nature in and of itself is just morally neutral.”*
The above however is merely an extension of your own musings, since you too pointed out animals like sharks aren’t guilty of rape when they forcibly mate, nor are monkeys thieves for taking fruit or shiny things that don’t belong to them. Thus far both yourself and a fundamentally Christian train of thought are in concert, by which I mean to write you’re reasoning from premise to conclusions in such a way that leaves no wiggle room for disagreeing.
However, why observe an objective moral standard of moral rights and wrongs under such a mirky set of assumptions as those Sam Harris possesses, these being atheism, naturalism and of course the evolutionary model of our origins. As we read from a prominent critic of Harris there’s no reason to do so: “On the atheistic view human beings are just accidental byproducts of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust called the planet Earth (red in tooth and claw as you rightly explained), and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. On atheism it’s hard to see any reason to think that human well-being is objectively good, anymore than insect well-being or rat well-being or hyena well-being.”
Darwin himself wasn’t ignorant of such implications as these: “If men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters, and no one would think of interfering.”*
That could very well happen if we rewind the film of evolution after all, for which there is no objective good under atheism. In closing: “If there is no God, then any reason for regarding the herd morality evolved by homo sapiens on this planet as objectively true seems to have been removed. Take God out of the picture, and all you seem to be left with is an ape-like creature on a speck of dust beset with delusions of moral grandeur.”
In a recent interview a Dr. Coyne while interviewing Harris explained their views on this wise: “So I am a determinist. I basically believe, and I think you agree with me because I’ve read your book, that at any one point in time it is completely the configuration of molecules in the universe and in particular in your brain that mandates what you do and that you could not have done anything other than what you did. In other words you don’t have any choices. You think you do, and it looks like you do, but you don’t really. And so I am a determinist in that sense. So are people like Dan Dennett who nevertheless maintain there is free will. They do that by a semantic trick; by redefining what free will is. You know those tricks. They are call compatibilists. My view is that it is purely a semantic game. Those people do it largely because for what you said – the notion that we don’t have free will, that we are more or less wet robots, is frightening to people. It is as frightening as the idea that we are going to die. We have to accept death because we see it all around us, but it is harder for people to accept that your brains are reflecting more or less physics.”
Would you be happy to say determinism, naturalism and atheism are an accurate interpretation of our human experience? Could it support a worthwhile concept of morality? It sounds very unlikely, not unless we play a word game with the word morality (Like how Dan does with freewill). If the idea of determinism is true however, we’re forced into metaphysical naturalism (or ontological naturalism), which I’m sure you’ll find as ridiculous as I do.* In a debate featuring Alex Rosenberg the silliness of their naturalism was explained by way of his own book. If you believe in the things it appears you do, those being atheism, naturalism and determinism (a sort of Trinity of silliness,) then you’re also constraint to agree in writing to the following:
There’s no thought.
There’s no meaning to written sentences.
There’s no true sentences (Yet surely this is either true or false!).
You’re not morally praise worthy or blameworthy for your behavior, which would include nobody being blameworthy for: Slavery. Raping children. Sexism, racism, homophobia.
We’re incapable of doing science.
You have no free will.
You do not plan to do anything.
You do not endure for more than two moments at a time.
You do not exist!
I don’t agree with the above list, rather we’re both accountable for our behavior, there are true sentences, we’re both either morally blameworthy or praiseworthy depending on how we treat one another, moreover, you have the freewill to choose either to believe or disbelieve, love or hate, pray or plot, you and I are at liberty to do these things because atheism, determinism and naturalism aren’t accurate! And of course both you and I exist, wouldn’t you agree? (Surely to agree or disagree would prove the point!)
What lessons should believers and unbelievers take away from part 1 of this extended conversation? Insofar as many of my conversations go, there’s normally a wave of my text, briefly interrupted by quotes and various arguments I’m using as they’re advanced by learned scholars, upon which the person I’m speaking with ordinarily picks a part of my argument they believe is vulnerable, or they’ll ignore the thing entirely. In my mind this is very important in coming to know the Lord, why? Because when I first started taking these questions seriously I’d ask myself “How much of the above do I disagree with?” I’d even go over my own questions and attempted counters against belief in God when arguments from the atheist community failed to satisfy. Was there an answer, something which made the above arguments for God invalid, no, in fact, neither atheists nor myself were producing valid criticisms to the above arguments.
There was lots of fire from unbelievers, an awful lot of rage, but no heat, they were the Wizard of Oz. So, again I’d ask myself, “How much of the above do I disagree with?” And the more I’d ask the more I’d come back with an answer, “Nothing.” I could honestly disagree with nothing in the above, the points were simply backed by a wealth of valid assumptions and evidences, moreover, I found myself unable to argue when Jesus Himself made claims, claims like they’re meek and mild, yet surely meek and mild people don’t say they’re meek and mild! He said these things, yet when the cynic in me rose an eyebrow to that Christ proved by His behavior to be every bit as meek and goodhearted as they first claimed.
Read and ask yourself the same, for example, how much of the Sermon on the Mount are you offended by, and if it’s as I’ve found that nothing in it offends, then why aren’t we saying society needs more of Jesus’ word? When religious wars happen, or priests abuse children, is it because they have too much of Jesus’ teachings, or not enough? I think the answer to that question is clear.
And as toxic as people have made religious conversation appear, both I and kaptonok continue to have an excellent exchanged concerning the subject of God. Although I do admit to many portions reading more like a fairly large lecture, with me playing headmaster to kaptonok’s more Socratic gadfly approach. Clearly my response to the gadfly approach is to use a shotgun, 😛 nevertheless, that’s the motivation the love of God can bring into somebody’s life. God’s love will always be a more effective tool for driving a person to study than an atheist’s hatred of the idea of God, which is why historically great thinkers have been believers, while greats who very specifically outline atheism as a big factor in their life have been so fewer and farther between.
This also explains why people who happen to be atheists are far more skillful in their criticism of religion than those who consciously rave over or are habitually defined by their affirmation of atheism, sadly it’s the sort of writer who believes they’re “an atheist” before anything else who we’re inflicted with today. In the case of kaptonok however, they’re not an atheist, although they certainly sympathize with many an atheist writer, as we’ll read in our follow up exchange. Moreover there’s the material of Alvin Plantinga, David Berlinski, Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath (including many many more), so, until then look forward to many more dialogues in the future. And especially for believers reading, feel free to comment below on anything in the above which had peaked your interest or needs clarifying.
― T. C. M