Joined: Jan. 2006
Mark: If you're still willing to continue the discussion, and managed to find your way here, here's my response to your latest post, which I could not post at PT because that thread had been closed to comments...
<i>…probably the biggest difference between my thinking and many of yours is that I take seriously the claim of the Bible to be a reliable revelation from God.</i>
Wrong again: the difference is that some of us take the Bible as a reliable revelation about a specific, and limited, range of subject-matter, which includes Man’s relationship to God but not natural science, while you seem to take it as an “infallible” source on ALL subject-matter. And as I said before (in a post you continue to ignore), we have good reason to believe that you are misusing the Bible and thus missing the point your God and his prophets are trying to make. And some of us who see this are themselves Christians.
<i>I think my arguments for the existence of God are empirical.</i>
What you “think” is incorrect, however many times you say it. You might as well say “I think the Earth is flat” over and over. Calling your arguments "empirical" does not make them so.
<i>We have, therefore, a deeper philosophical disagreement that undoubtedly affects the way we evaluate things.</i>
Translation: “It’s all a matter of opinion, not objective facts.” That’s how grade-school kids get out of a losing argument after their factual assertions have been debunked. This sort of reasoning is known as “crybaby subjectivism,” and sensible Christian evangelists avoid it, for a very good reason: You are admitting, in effect, that the atheist worldview is no less valid than yours, and you will never be able to bridge the gap and get the Good Word across it.
Jesus himself partied with politicians and other sinners, and never made any lame excuses about how he could never get anyone else to see things his way. Can’t you at least try to follow that example? It’s not like we’re about to nail you to anything.
<i>Richard Dawkins seems to agree with this analysis. In The God Delusion, he rejects Gould’s NOMA and argues that the existence of God is a scientific question.</i>
So now you use an atheist’s opinion to validate your own, but you won’t follow the example of your own Savior? That’s just beyond ridiculous.
<i>The Bible’s definition of “chew the cud” is broader than ours and can include rabbits. “Birds” in the Bible is a broader category than our modern one as well–it lumps pretty much all flying creatures together.</i>
In other words, the Bible is vague on scientific and technical matters, because that’s not what its authors wanted to talk about; therefore it cannot be considered reliable, let alone “infallible,” on those subjects. That’s what we’ve been trying to tell you all along.
<i>A lot of times, accusations of biblical error or contradiction stem from a superficial and shallow reading of the text.</i>
And reading the Bible only for its literal meaning, without admitting it might have a more important metaphorical or allegorical message, is about as “superficial and shallow” as it gets. (Notice how you’re going on and on about bats, birds, cud and Genesis, and saying NOTHING AT ALL about the Ten Commandments or the actual words of Jesus? You’re missing the whole point of the Bible!)
<i>“All your arguments are simply ungrounded assertions.” No, they are not. They are based in good logical thinking. They are substantive arguments that need to be dealt with on a deeper level than being merely dismissed without serious consideration…</i>
If you make unfounded assertions without serious consideration on your part, then you should expect those assertions to be dismissed without serious consideration on our part.
<i>Sometimes we get confused dealing with these things because we fail to distinguish what really exists, what must exist, etc., with mathematical ideas or concepts that may be useful mathematically but which cannot exist in the real world.</i>
If such “ideas or concepts” are useful and have real effects in the real world, then, for all practical purposes, they “exist in the real world.”
<i>“Who created God?” No one. God is a self-existent being.</i>
If the Universe can’t be “self-existent,” then how can you be at all sure God can be? This is yet another unfounded assertion that you make to support your own belief.
<i>“You keep saying you don’t understand things and then you say you do.” Like most people, I understand some things and not others. This is not exactly contradictory.</i>
In your case, it is: first you admit you don’t understand the technical issues that underpin our arguments, then you imply that you understand them enough to know we’re wrong.
<i>I am very familiar with biblical exegesis.</i>
Most of my Christian acquaintances, at least one of whom went to a Jesuit high school, would disagree with that assertion.
<i>“The Bible is not a science book.” That is true. It speaks in common-sense and phenomenological terms, rather than in strictly accurate 21st century biological or other scientific language. However, it does make understandable claims that mean something, and my assertion is that it is always right when it does so.</i>
You have repeatedly admitted that the Bible’s language is “imprecise;” therefore it cannot be “always right” on subjects where precision is required. You have just effectively admitted that your “assertion” is wrong.
<i>“A lot of Christians read the Bible differently.” I know. But that doesn’t prove they are right.</i>
And none of this proves you’re right, either. But the fact that those other Christians are more knowledgeable and honest than you, proves that they’re a lot more LIKELY to be right than you are.[I][/I][QUOTE][/QUOTE]