Off Topic Messages

Mon Sep 19, 2005 6:55 pm

ColinB wrote:Pete -

Aren't you in danger of having your cake & eating it, too ?

You profess to be a believer, but anything crops up in the Bible that you don't like or can't defend, you say:

"Well, we shouldn't take it literally !"

Or does the expression 'running with the hare & the hounds' suit the situation better ?


Colin-
I certainly don't try to explain away everything I find difficult in the Bible by saying "don't take that part literally." For example the incidents of genocide committed by the Isaelites is something I damn sure don't like, but that I do take literally.

I recognize, as do Biblical scholars from both sides of the idealogical spectrum, that the Bible isn't a monolith, it's a collection of various writings from different time periods written by numerous authors. These writings cover a wide spectrum including: history, wisdom, songs, poetry, allegory, and personal letters. These writings employ literary devices such as symbolism, anthropomorphism, hyperbolic figures of speech. I believe that the authors worked under the influence of divine inspiration, but not in the same sense as that of a medium engaging in automatic writing under spirit possession.

But it seems to me Colin that Christian theists are in a 'damned if we do, damned if we don't' position when it comes to atheist critiques. A literal Genesis, young earth (6000 years old) 7- 24 hour day creationist will get criticized that their views don't accord with science. A non-literal Genesis creation Christian gets accused of trying to side-step the account's difficulties by saying "don't take it literally."

But the truth of the matter is that no answer or explanation offered, regardless of how good it might be, will satisfy you guys, because you're not really interested in the explanations (and if a good explanation is given you guys will rarely, if ever acknowledge it, you just move on to some other criticism). Your only really interested in your critiques since in your minds it bolsters your atheism.

But our fundamental disagreement on this topic Colin really boils down to this: You set the bar for the limits to reality at the physical, material universe. I set the bar higher, that there is a reality beyond the mere physical.

Mon Sep 19, 2005 7:14 pm

Pete -

Hey, you took so long in responding to my post, I thought you weren't going to bother !

It's true that our ideologies are so far apart that neither of us is going to convert the other, but the debate is interesting, nontheless.

My point was, that if parts of the Bible can be dismissed as untrue, then it follows that all of it can !

Your assessment of the fundamental difference between us was succinctly put.

I can't think of anything 'non physical' that I believe in.

Except perhaps the power of the human mind.

And that disappears when the physical body dies, doesn't it ?

Mon Sep 19, 2005 8:07 pm

Another damp squib fizzles out:-(

Pete I see you are the same age as my son John, son.

He is an atheist too:-)

At least you are trying to find an answer to the mystery of life. We all die searching for it :shock:

Maybe computers in the future will come up with something better for a secular society. Words of the Founding fathers, and Declarations of Independence and Biblical commandments seriously need updating.

A Charter for All Humanity.

Mon Sep 19, 2005 10:05 pm

ColinB wrote:Pete -

Hey, you took so long in responding to my post, I thought you weren't going to bother !


I've taken to not posting on Sunday's Colin (not for any religious reasons), and on Saturday I felt it was more of a priority to respond to Maurice and T.J. given that you and I have discussed this subject numerous times in the past.

ColinB wrote:It's true that our ideologies are so far apart that neither of us is going to convert the other, but the debate is interesting, nontheless.


The debate is interesting for sure. But I'm not trying to convert you or anybody else. I'm only trying to provide a counterpoint to atheist critiques for those who are seeking answers, Christians who may be weak in the area of apologetics, and even open-minded sceptics.

We may not be quite as far apart as you say. The last time we had the origin of the universe/life on earth discussion you were at least willing to go out on a metaphysical limb and propose interdimensional beings as a possible answer. You were willing to entertain the notion. These interdimensional beings would amount to a form of deism. So you tentatively stuck a toe in the ballpark. Still a long way from primo seats above third base, but what the hay, meet me at the concession stand and I'll buy ya a beer and a hot dog.

ColinB wrote:My point was, that if parts of the Bible can be dismissed as untrue, then it follows that all of it can !


Well, on the one hand you can choose to dismiss the whole thing outright because of a part here and there shown to be false or mistaken. But on the other hand you risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And of course you've got to actually prove that parts are false or mistaken.

ColinB wrote:I can't think of anything 'non physical' that I believe in.

Except perhaps the power of the human mind.

And that disappears when the physical body dies, doesn't it ?


That's the $64,000 question. As a theist I believe that something of us survives to the next realm of existence. Whether you use religious terminology such as soul or spirit or prefer modern scientific terms such as mind or consciousness I think you're basically describing the same thing. Scientists are still largely in the dark about the nature of mind/consciousness. They understand much about the workings of the brain itself, but as to how it ties into the mind they really don't know.
If energy cannot be destroyed then why couldn't the same be true for the mind? Perhaps the mind is a form of conscious energy.

Regarding that 'hound & hare' bit in your other post I take it that's an English expression? In my single days I used to be a bit of a hound - albeit one that ****ed like a hare! :lol:

Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:17 pm

Pete Dube wrote:I recognize, as do Biblical scholars from both sides of the idealogical spectrum, that the Bible isn't a monolith, it's a collection of various writings from different time periods written by numerous authors. These writings cover a wide spectrum including: history, wisdom, songs, poetry, allegory, and personal letters. These writings employ literary devices such as symbolism, anthropomorphism, hyperbolic figures of speech. I believe that the authors worked under the influence of divine inspiration, but not in the same sense as that of a medium engaging in automatic writing under spirit possession.


Having recognised that the Bible is written by numerous authors and that parts of it do not represent the literal truth, what prompts the belief that these numerous authors were working under the influence of divine inspiration? If a group of people writing now proclaimed that their words were driven by divine inspiration, they would be ridiculed relentlessly by Christians and non-believers. What's the difference between now and then? Could it be that it's easier to believe things written then, because we don't have to divorce them from modern realities? That alone makes them more mystical, for want of a better word. If your answer is a repeat of the causal agent point, that doesn't cut it for me. Even if there is a causal agent, that in no way suggests that anyone who contributed to the Biblical writings had any more idea what form it takes than we do now. I think that they were winging it just as much as the writers of other cultures were when penning other great religious texts. As far as I can see, all religious texts are fabricated nonsense and what people have historicaly believed has been governed not by truth, but by where in the world they were born. I'm not suggesting that there is no accurate historical content in the Bible, but I see no rational reason to believe the religious aspects. No offence meant to believers, it's just how I feel.

Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:51 pm

TJ -
I responded to your post on Wednesday, but it didn't go through. I'm not sure what happened , but I was annoyed that it didn't go through since I had stayed after hours at work to respond.

I'll re-respond sometime early next week. I just haven't had the time or inclination over the last couple of days for re-typing my response as it's fairly lengthy.

You pose some good questions.

Sat Sep 24, 2005 1:30 am

Thanks for taking the time out to respond Pete - particularly going to the effort of staying late at work. Too bad it didn't make it through.

Sun Sep 25, 2005 8:57 pm

Pete -

Can I just clarify something I said about the Bible.

I mentioned something along the lines of 'if you can dismiss parts of it as untrue, you can dismiss all of it'.

That was a clumsy way of putting it.

What I was getting at was, a lot of things owe their credence simply to the fact that they are mentioned in a holy book.

If the view is then taken that the book isn't so holy after all, and that some of the dodgier bits of it can be ignored, then that credence is severely weakened.

Ahh, I feel better now !