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Posted: 28 March 2008 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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Running errands, I stumbled across a used computer store. Neat! Now I have a power-cord and a spare at last.

PLaClair - 28 March 2008 07:55 AM
inthegobi - 28 March 2008 06:13 AM

One picks and chooses at a buffet also . . .  Kirk

Kirk, that statement does not add to, but diminishes the conversation. This is not a buffet, and the kind of picking and choosing is very different. Selecting a set of beliefs for a belief system requires internally consistent criteria. What several of us are saying is that you’re picking and choosing in a way that is internally inconsistent.

Well, okay, but you have to show me why my basis is internally inconsistent. That would help. The buffet example is pretty good, I think, for the limited purposes I needed it for. And it did its job; the original Q suggested that picking and choosing is per se wrong to do. And so in a philoospher’s step-by-step way, I established the contrary by giving one counter-example: not all pickings and choosings are wrong. It further did its job because here you are, tuning up your question. See Plato’s Meno and the Euthyphro for an extended example of tweaking questions and answers.

May I ask: what specifically do you see internally inconsistent about the choices I happened to make in earlier posts? Obviously I don’t think of my method of choice as internally inconsistent, so just as it stands your objection doesn’t help me too see my way clear of the problem yet.

For a very general answer, I provisionally accept whatever is taught by my Church, just on the ground of the Church’s authority, proven reliable (to me). Obviously that’s not good enough for you, but it’s fair to ask, once ‘inside’ a church or organization. You’re a ‘freethinker’ so you accept provisionally whatever people claim who seem expert to you and who tell you this or that. You’re probably not a polymath genius, and neither am I. Most of what anyone accepts at all, comes from the authority of others - either the authority that they have already run through certain arguments that you won’t or can’t do yourself, or on the basis of eye-witness accounts or more technically ‘observational reports’ of things and events which again one will not or cannot gain on one’s own.

Obviously also, I don’t *stop* there. But on a lot of secondary stuff - like that damn talking snake - I have no big fat opinion, precisely because there are more important issues further up the ‘logical stream’, and whatever way the higher-up things blow, so shall those things that depend upon them. In a similar way, if I were a pre-genes scientist, I wouldn’t worry that Darwin lacks any good account of how work his ‘gemmules’ of his evolutionary hypothesis. That will get panned out if it’s true (and it is); but if Darwin turned out wrong, that would be for reasons other than that he lacks an account of them. The gemmules could wait. And so can the snakes, and the ‘first man’ question, and world floods, and much else.

So much of what exercises the minds of the religious and non-religious alike is just bible-trivia - holy ghostbusting. IMVHO.

PS: See, all the above seems *very* reasonable to me. It’s not very original, either. But it’s not directly about christianity. And it’s kind of a philosopher’s way to put it.  But that’s who I am. Is this why it looks like I’m avoiding questions generally?

Kirk

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Posted: 28 March 2008 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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inthegobi - 28 March 2008 06:26 AM
Daisy - 26 March 2008 11:26 AM

what sins did I commit for him to decide to die for them without asking me first?

What can be simpler?

if it is what stopped you from answering it til I had to insist? yesterday I was walking down the street (downtown Los Angeles is infested with mice) I run into a hurt ugly looking cute baby mouse and and I pushed it with my booted foot into a close by hole so no one would step on him and kill him, he seemed to be in terrible pain, I felt the need to save the little rodin though he was of no use to me. As I was pushing him, he started to squweel. That told me that the pain has gotten greater as I was gently pushing him toward the hole.

What is the use of A god (not an insignificant mouse) deciding to die and come back to life for my human nature (something he presumably ingineered at the first place, in his own image) 2000 years b4 that happened? I have a problem seeing a poor little baby mouse suffer, let alone god. IF he gives tomatoe about me, why can’t he take this into account?

I don’t know you,

That’s an odd answer since throughout your posts, you seem to boldly imply that as God’s follower and what not you had an answer for everything and you knew everybody through him!!!didn’t you accuse me early on of having digged a hole from myself?!??!?doesn’t that translate to you claiming to know me? now you don’t?? I asked what hole? and of course you didn’t asnwer that question either.

so maybe you’ve failed to commit one damn sin.

In your god’s eyes, arent’ we supposed to be born sinners?! in your religion’s eyes (as well as the others) one doesn’t need to do jack matched potatoes to be labeled sinner or to say it like it is, to be culpable, they just are and from Birth!!!!!!!!! forget the sinning I am doing on this site ( LOL oh lord, sinning never felt so good!) , I am just talking about the sinning I’ve done before I even was born!!!! in reference to this, I pointed out (to you) what catholicism thinks of unbaptised children. But again you never commented back.

In one way, yup, the gods don’t consult us as to their decisions. But God does ask you - through people who do believe in HIm, generally in contemplation of the Universe and everything in it, and even - i’m told - He comes to each one of us individually - in person. And you have said or decided or feel ‘No thanks’. Again, there doesn’t really seem to be a question here - in my honest opinion. You really seem to be saying ‘I didn’t ask for it, and I haven’t done anything wrong enough to deserve damnation, so kiss off.’ Is this a fair re-casting of your question ma’am?

no it is not and you are not being honest either (we both know what the word honesty means). I, ‘ve stepped out of my native environment and came to him, nobody pressured me, no one scared or bribed me, what do you say to those who never heared of him and never will? this is not a question it’s comment.  ...” you are told”?? you neeed to start using your head and taking some initiative here, you are not going to live for ever Kirk, you are safe, you are not going to go to hell if you do LOL .

And let’s suppose you’re such a good person you don’t need saving.

saving from what hmmm ?!?

Then you would interact with God in a rather different way, but you can still interact with him. Belief in the gods isn’t just for people in trouble.

  been there, done that and I choose to remain in touch with reality.

You’ve got a lot of questions - I’ll do a little more maybe this afternoon, when I’ll be helping a friend at his house - and then nothing much til tuesday.

Kirk

thank you.

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Posted: 28 March 2008 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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Hi.

PLaClair - 28 March 2008 04:34 AM

[O]nce we say that certain of the usual understandings do not apply to God, then there’s no longer a point to the endeavor. The entire theology becomes pointless . . .

It’s fair to word this as “If certain parts are wrong, then the whole endeavor is wrong.” This objection is too broad, sir: it would also sink most any working scientific law, hypothesis or theory. Take Dalton’s original atomic theory; every one of its four assumptions is strictly false, and yet it’s ‘right’ in some deep sense. Taking up atomic theory was the way to go. Take another example, Galileo’s theory of falling and ballistic objects. It employs a spiral rather than parabolic curve for projectiles, yet the whole of his nascent kinetic physics isn’t utterly false on that ground. Take evolutionary biology; the fact that even key concepts like ‘species’, ‘success’ and ‘environment’ are hotly debated, and even ill-defined - not even that really sinks the whole endeavor, automatically. Specialists will sort that out.

Bottom line: I don’t think we can divorce ourselves from the content of the world, or what Brennen has called the quotidian details of reality, and still maintain our integrity.

Brennan used ‘quotidian’? I love that word. But I would include the rational justifying of our beliefs as part of our quotidian life - and rational justification is rejected by a completely naturalist world-view, to be replaced with ‘what people let you get away with’ - that’s a quote from George Lackoff’s Where Mathematics Comes From, applied to mathematics, and he’s a pretty big shot in the naturalism-neuroscience world. Quotidian life also includes continual instances of seeming to choose with a free will, also. Quotidian life also throws up numerous instances of situations where we judge actions to be ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in a sense other than ‘what the culture approves’. Dawkins said of charity on his interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air that he ‘approves’ of charity. For him, that all anyone does in calling an act ‘right’. And yet, quotidian life seems otherwise.

So IMHO, quotidian life is a great pressure against a wholly naturalistic world-view. It’s not proof just in itself, but it’s pressure. [I cut a long explanation; I ask you to just think hard about this, see if there’s any case at all for it, and then ask for clarification. I dont’ want to go off on analysis unneedfully.)

To take it from another angle, Kirk, the Christian/Catholic narrative (I grew up Catholic) is wholly unsatisfying to me, not just on emotional grounds, but also for objective and intersubjective reasons.

I think you’ll agree that I cannot defend the whole all in one gulp. And a man can speak to his gods without going into a church. I believe eventually you should, but - well, my church doesn’t believe in divorce, but separation is common and normal even, in a way. Sometimes you have to get outta the house. So non-church-attendance isn’t a big issue for me, or even being angry with God. Go ahead, get mad - there’s surely a lot to be angry about, if one puts one’s mind to thinking about it. Since I *don’t* like getting angry - I just get too hot under the collar, and start to ‘chew’ - I do indeed tend to not think about certain issues in my Church - or among any group - unless I need to.

Hm, then there’s this:

So I’m put in the very difficult position of having no question to ask you, Kirk, except a dismissive one: don’t you see where this puts you? That’s not a satisfying place for me to be in with anyone, let alone someone of your obvious kindness and intelligence. Is there a way out, except for us to “agree to disagree” and essentially not talk to each other about it?

Well, this is the easiest concern to answer of all! We’re on the internet. You can simply ignore anything I say, and inquire as to my health. Keep complimenting my intelligence and kindness too, if you don’t mind - i won’t stop you. smile

kirk

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Posted: 28 March 2008 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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PLaClair - 28 March 2008 04:34 AM

The answer you give in post 34 is wholly unsatisfying. The mother is not omniscient, but to answer your question, if she was, and she knew her child would murder dozen people, she would be obligated to prevent it, even if it required strangling the little nipper, as you put it.

Well! That’s one solution. Now; if the child grows up with a free will (just suppose for the moment) then the mother seems not blameworthy for her son’s future. He will will it (sorry for the clumsy construction), but it will be his to choose. It’s at the least very arguable - not obvious at all - that the mother should kill her son. Otherwise, we’d have something like Minority Report - and in general, the laws of most countries and cultures reject pre-emptive tactics like that. Now, why is killing future killers who (by supposition) have a free will in the matter a good idea, assuming also a Minority Report-like omniscience about the future? (Which I reject - I reject that the future exists at all, and so God lacks knowledge of the future. What He knows is every thing, intimately, here and now. And probably, He doesn’t predict what I ‘shall’ do - in the same way that my boss might be able to predict that i’m not going to work out at this job, but refuses to take that into account; he may well keep me on for a certain amount of time and let me make my own choices.

Kirk

Somewhere - i can’t find it - you mentioned a severe ‘disconnect.’ Well, yes, I feel the disconnect very strongly; soe of you are far, far from me and most all of my Christian acquaintances. Further, this forum is pretty far from most people in the world - none of us would make much sense to the vast numbers of people of the third world, who have much the same attitude still as Job did when he replied to his wife’s question why he doesn’t curse God for hurting him, that everyone knows evil is ‘of’ God.

So, the distance itself - note that ‘distance’ here is meatphorical, and yet is a goodmetaphor for a real property - is a good reason for me to be here. To see what one Christian is like, who’s not a cardboard figure in a new Atheist book, who’s not going to get into lame discussions about creationism, but who has some level of believe that’s often called ‘orthodox’ (not the denomination).

kirk

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Posted: 28 March 2008 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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Btw: I used an inaccurate word earlier - one should not be all that interested in whether a snake once talked; one should rather be interested in other things, which when sorted out will partially sort out such lesser things. Obviously if one important miracle occurred, then less important ones are plausible too (on the gum-wrapper-under-the-bleachers analogy; if you do find one, there’s no good reason you’ll fail to find two.)

Kirk

“I wish to become a teacher of the Truth.”
“Are you prepared to be ridiculed, ignored and starving till you are forty-five?”
“I am. But tell me: What will happen after I am forty-five?”
“You will have grown accustomed to it.”—Anthony De Mello, SJ

[ Edited: 28 March 2008 03:15 PM by inthegobi ]
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Posted: 28 March 2008 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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Daisy - 28 March 2008 11:18 AM

And let’s suppose you’re such a good person you don’t need saving.

saving from what hmmm ?!?

LOL  Love it, Daisy and the perfect expression too!

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 28 March 2008 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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inthegobi - 28 March 2008 02:07 PM

“I wish to become a teacher of the Truth.”
“Are you prepared to be ridiculed, ignored and starving till you are forty-five?”
“I am. But tell me: What will happen after I am forty-five?”
“You will have grown accustomed to it.”—Anthony De Mello, SJ

Certainly, one can at times be ridiculed for being a teacher of truth. But one can also be ridiculed by implicitly claiming to be a teacher of truth when one is, in fact, not.

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Posted: 28 March 2008 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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inthegobi - 28 March 2008 11:16 AM

Well, okay, but you have to show me why my basis is internally inconsistent. That would help. The buffet example is pretty good, I think, for the limited purposes I needed it for.  . . .  Kirk

Kirk,

The sense I have of “the limited purposes (you need) it for” is that you’ve decided in advance what conclusion you wish to reach, and select your beliefs based on what supports the conclusions you’ve already decided to draw. In other words, you’re not being objective. You interpret the Bible and your theology literally when that suits your purposes, and metaphorically when that suits your purposes. When the pieces don’t fit, it must be a mystery, beyond human knowledge. I get the sense that nothing can penetrate the wall of rationalization.

Most of the posts critical of your position have already shown you why your approach is internally inconsistent, but you won’t understand them unless you’re open to them. You may think you are, but you’re not - not yet. It’s pretty obvious.

Try it this way: Envision yourself without your theology. What would that look like? Can you see it? Is that a place you might like to be? Why or why not?

I can speak to you as an ex-Catholic who used to shut out any thought I did not wish to have. If it threatened the theology, I refused to think it. I can still remember doing that, consciously blocking ideas from my mind. If you cannot open yourself to another point of view, then how can you expect us to receive what you have to say?

To me, life is a constant search for meaning, growth and a sense of purpose. I wish you a long and productive journey. Perhaps we can have a meaningful dialogue here, but I think you need to look again at what you’ve already been told.

Paul LaClair

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Posted: 28 March 2008 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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inthegobi - 28 March 2008 12:07 PM

Hi.

PLaClair - 28 March 2008 04:34 AM

[O]nce we say that certain of the usual understandings do not apply to God, then there’s no longer a point to the endeavor. The entire theology becomes pointless . . .

It’s fair to word this as “If certain parts are wrong, then the whole endeavor is wrong.” This objection is too broad . . . . kirk

I don’t think it is fair to word it that way, or that the objection is too broad. The question has to do with whether God is a moral example. You can’t have it both ways, saying on the one hand that we are or wish to be god-like and on the other hand that godliness is beyond our comprehension. It’s another example of selecting belief as a function of what supports what you’ve already chosen to believe. If a point supports the theology, then it’s OK to say what God is about; if it does not, then one must say we do not understand God. The answer depends on what gets you to the conclusion you want to reach; there’s no merit or integrity in that.

You can’t properly compare that sort of thing to science or any other rational endeavor (1) because the answers are all pre-selected and (2) because it’s not rational or empirical. It’s just a set of rationalizations. Until you can appreciate the difference, which goes also to the modes and methods of thought, none of this will make sense to you.

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Posted: 29 March 2008 05:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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dougsmith - 28 March 2008 07:04 PM
inthegobi - 28 March 2008 02:07 PM

“I wish to become a teacher of the Truth.”
“Are you prepared to be ridiculed, ignored and starving till you are forty-five?”
“I am. But tell me: What will happen after I am forty-five?”
“You will have grown accustomed to it.”—Anthony De Mello, SJ

Certainly, one can at times be ridiculed for being a teacher of truth. But one can also be ridiculed by implicitly claiming to be a teacher of truth when one is, in fact, not.

Of course; and yet the joke was in the last three lines, not in the boast implicit in the first - just in case you didn’t catch it. The moral: Even if we grant that N really teaches truths, it won’t be the teaching of truths - and by extension the truths themselves - that will give N any comfort.

Nice to hear from you. What think ye?

Kirk

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Posted: 29 March 2008 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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PLaClair - 28 March 2008 08:46 PM

. . . You can’t have it both ways, saying on the one hand that we are or wish to be god-like and on the other hand that godliness is beyond our comprehension. . . .

I’ve bumbled the ‘edit’ feature. The post is repeated below.

[ Edited: 29 March 2008 07:38 AM by inthegobi ]
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Posted: 29 March 2008 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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PLaClair - 28 March 2008 08:46 PM

. . . You can’t have it both ways, saying on the one hand that we are or wish to be god-like and on the other hand that godliness is beyond our comprehension. . . .

This seemed like one ‘nub’ of your post. It counts as a question to me, even though it’s worded as a dilemma.

Yes, of course you can have ‘it’ both ways, even if you require some comprehension of God. IN fact you have the clue in your own words - you say exactly that what’s being had is being like God. And so all I’d need to have being like God as a reasonable goal is some idea of what God is like. I don’t need - it seems to me - the exact idea of God; i don’t need to fully comprehend him, like i look out the window and fully comprehend that it’s raining, and then fully comprehend by reasoning that my roses will not need watering today.

Now then: this sure looks to me a very direct reply to the actual dilemma you presented. That really puts us very far apart in our goals and aims if you find this prevaricating, and i find this about as honest as i can be. I’m a real, practicing teacher of philosopher; i really do think in a certain way, just on my own without any direct reference to my religion or personal beliefs. This seems to me about as direct an answer to the dilemma ‘cut’ from the post as it gets. The Christian therefore can’t reasonably be required to have an exact notion of God in mind to be reasonable about knowing what it’s like to be like God.)

Now, here’s another issue that’s difficult to talk about with you - we’re far apart here. Okay, i say God’s all loving. You and others give me sometimes very personal examples of your suffering or the sufferings you have witnessed. (First, my own preference, I’ve made clear: the harsh view of Job, that the typical religious already knows that evil is somehow a consequence of God’s being what He is. So in some way you can always “pin” evil on Him. The interesting question - to me - is as a religious man, who’s blameworthy, God? Who do I take to court, if only in the court of my own mind? A non-theist can only say: there is no justice, and no injustice, in the end. So my position about the problem of evil is that it’s relevant to “anti-theists” but not so much to a-theists. Does that make sense at least?)

So why am I so indifferent to suffering as going against a theory? My way of expanding on that is this: to me suffering is awful, and not relevant directly to the question of His love. The typical person, around the world, uses suffering as disbelief in their gods only in their weaket moments, not their usual, rational, well-fed and comfortable moments. Those re the times when someone is in the best position to reason, not the times inextremis.
[NB: heavily edited for clarity]

I hope that help clears up some confusion as to what I find interesting to answer, and what I may have been avoiding. I do have one very strange bar (to many here): I sympathize with sufferers, but dont find their suffering as evidence in a theory. I find it as pitiable. But the theoretical issues aren’t directly affected by them. Lots of students, child and adult, suffer in a much lesser sense of course, in learning calculus, and yet that doesn’t directly put the calculus on shaky grounds.

Thanks for probing this. I was unclear about this issue before then.

I’ll attempt a reasonable answer to your question about the impossibility of being rational outside of science (is that a good way to put it?) another time.

Kirk

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Posted: 29 March 2008 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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inthegobi - 29 March 2008 05:07 AM

Nice to hear from you. What think ye?

Interesting discussions ... I am a bit concerned about the implicit claim that scientific evidence isn’t always bulletproof and so we have as much reason to believe in miracles as we do in scientific theories. That can’t be right.

To start with, each religion has its own proprietary miracles. The medicine men are claimed to make the crops grow. The crops grow, so the medicine men are responsible. QED. Of course, oddly, the medicine men in the continent over make the same claims, using different rituals, and somehow the crops grow over there too.

Our Lady of the Big Nose heals broken limbs. Limbs heal, so she must be responsible. Just look at all the testimonies hanging in the church of Our Lady of the Big Nose. QED. Of course, if you look at ancient Greek shrines, they also have testimonies of healed limbs, but they used different rituals and prayed to different gods.

And then there is the story of an all powerful god who damned all the generations for the supposed sin of a single fictional pair. There is the claim that in order to take away that sin he needed to have his son (who is also somehow part of himself; this is never adequately explained) murdered. The story makes no rational sense. It is only sensible as a revised version of the general religious trope of human sacrifice. If we sacrifice something we want, by implicitly giving it up to the gods, then the gods will be more likely to favor us with happiness in return. It’s the same sort of bargain that humans make with each other, going by the general description of reciprocal altruism. The ancient Israelite religion was virtually entirely a religion of sacrifice, under the aegis of a supposed contract with Yhwh. Ancient Greek and Roman religions, as well as Central American religions, were all similar sorts of supposed deals with heavenly creatures. We provide them with burned offerings, they make the crops grow. Christianity is just a simple twist on this basic formula.

One can see how this sort of structure makes emotional sense to humans, since we are prone to view the universe as acting upon us with intentions. I even get angry at my shoelaces when they don’t tie right. But any dispassionate and careful investigation reveals these intuitive impressions to be simple illusions of the mind. My shoelaces aren’t out to get me. They’re just doing their normal, physical shoelacy things. Storms are not the mouths of the gods. So there is nobody to sacrifice to; if the sacrifices are for anything they are only to make other humans more confident and happy. All the rest is stories.

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Posted: 29 March 2008 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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dougsmith - 29 March 2008 08:43 AM

Interesting discussions ... I am a bit concerned about the implicit claim that scientific evidence isn’t always bulletproof and so we have as much reason to believe in miracles as we do in scientific theories. That can’t be right.

Indeed it’s not. Sound science and theistic apologetics approach and think about things in completely different ways. The former method is sound, while the latter is not, and the quality of each is proved by its track record.

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Posted: 29 March 2008 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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Mriana - 28 March 2008 05:09 PM
Daisy - 28 March 2008 11:18 AM

And let’s suppose you’re such a good person you don’t need saving.

saving from what hmmm ?!?

LOL  Love it, Daisy and the perfect expression too!


grin I am glad and humbled you did like it Mriana, and as to the expression, I say thank you guys and girls for putting it there at the first place.

Kirk’s learned technique might work with those ‘moutons’ and ‘chevres’ they usually attract at different related sites and buildings but it doesn’t here. They pull something as the above at someone assuming the person is not going to challenge them and just take their word for it, since the person as a believer is dictatorially commanded to on one hand, and on the other, they as lunies, just happen to know everything there is to know and we are supposed to take their soup for it. But the moment the said person stands, it’s the beginning of the end if not the end itself. the site I used to go to before I came here, each time I asked a questions or made comments that are totally within the christian perimeter, they usually either deleted my post or the entire freaking page just so they won’t have to answer it since they have no plausible asnwer to it. What does that tell one? that they are not real. If there is one thing skeptics and atheists are good at, it is to no mind putting themseves on the spot in the process of proving or disproving anything, and that is simply flooring.

[ Edited: 29 March 2008 12:53 PM by Daisy ]
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