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Where I've been, and where I currently am

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  • Where I've been, and where I currently am

    (I have spent at least three days writing and re-writing this. The thoughts have been exceedingly difficult to formulate and discern, the words have been nearly insurmountable to extract. So I've simplified things and will probably try to progress one issue at a time at various, indeterminate times. Apologies for any possible/inevitable confusion caused by this rambling mess of words in this personal reflection.)

    You might have noticed that instead of listing any particular belief system in the faith designation line, I simply have a shrugging emoticon. This is because for a while, I've been at a stage in which I'm really not sure how to classify my beliefs, and so when asked, I can only give a baffled shrug. Older TWeb members might recall that I used to post about Christian apologetics. I want to clarify that I didn't definitively conclude that Christianity is false; rather, I reached a point at which I felt that I couldn't definitively say that it's true. See, I had always gone by the general principle "If you have anything higher than a 50% confidence level that each aspect of Christianity is true, you're warranted in believing it." And so for years, I struggled with all these various issues and arguments, weighing them in my mind, and ultimately decided that I met that 50% criterion. But some time during that crash period when this site was down, I realized that I could no longer say that--my overall confidence level had dipped below 50%. It didn't all of a sudden drop, mind you--as I said, I struggled with various issues and arguments for years. It was a slow, long process. I do, however, firmly believe with much more than 50% confidence that if Christianity is indeed true, believers are called to worship God with all their heart and soul and mind and strength, and to witness about God in such a manner as well. And, of course, I can't really do that if my confidence level in the various propositions is below 50%, and so I cannot in good conscience continue to identify as Christian.

    That said, I also cannot definitively identify as anything else. I can't say with more than 50% confidence that there is no deity in existence, or that any other conception of a deity exists, or what have you. I'm just...stuck in an awkward state of not really knowing what I believe, if that makes sense.

    So in the meantime, I figured I might as well lay out a few of the issues that contributed to my confidence level dropping below the threshold.


    I'm not sure how to piece together a coherent and consistent model of how "spiritual"/non-physical entities might interact with the world. I intended this post to be more of an outline than an in-depth analysis, but basically, it appears that human beings might not really have free will, that what we experience is actually illusory. For instance, as Benjamin Libet found in a famous experiment, the neural activity behind a subject's act of pushing a button actually occurs before the subject reports being aware of the conscious volitional decision to push it. Libet does allow for the possibility that a subject's consciousness allows the subject to freely veto a decision (i.e. he thinks we can freely choose to not do something), but this still seems to be at odds with the standard belief that we freely chose to actively engage in some sinful actions, or to actively do constructive, beneficial actions. It seems to me that if human beings do not genuinely have free will in committing sins or doing good works, then God cannot justly condemn or reward humans for their actions. But according to Christian theology, the very reason Jesus needed to die was precisely that human beings would otherwise have been under condemnation.

    In the past, I tried to get around this issue with a "Oh, we'll just wait and see, maybe neuroscientists will find something later that allows for genuine free will," or considered options like "Maybe God, with divine foreknowledge, created a world that unfolds in a purely physical manner, but in accordance with what each individual would have freely chosen." But now, these just seem like excuses to me. They feel contrived, like implausibly convenient cop-outs.

    And on that note, it ties into a larger issue...epistemelogical approach. The apologetic case for the historicity of the resurrection basically boils down to "Here are these historical facts about Jesus. The most statistically probable explanation of these facts is that he rose from the dead." But there's a substantial difference between intellectually toying with arguments and actually having a deep-seated belief in something. I can reason based on historical evidence that there probably was a religious teacher named Jesus who was crucified and died and that the tomb in which he was buried was later found empty, and that his disciples claimed to have seen him after his death. I can also reason that alternate explanations like "The disciples had mass hallucinations" might be flawed. But even if I intellectually conclude that belief in the resurrection is warranted, the overall picture in trying to synthesize all these various issues leads to a fairly convoluted and messy worldview that frankly, I can't say I truly believe. I have no proof or certainty that Jesus truly did rise from the dead and is still living at this very moment, literally as I type this post. Only vague, fuzzy weighings and attempted analyses of probabilities and whatnot. But those don't (and in retrospect, I'm not sure if they ever did) feel as if they fully align. What the head tried to hold as true didn't seem to match what was in the heart, and now the head might not hold it as true either. "Here are some intellectual propositions suggesting that God exists and Jesus rose from the dead," I'd essentially say, but then I'd come across a devotional or Facebook status from a religious friend exalting God in a prayer, and my arguments, even when there was no explicit refutation given, seemed hollow. They started to seem more like empty words than an expression of a heartfelt conviction.

    And so I find myself stuck. Some issues no longer seem reconcilable, and when I try to focus on what's supposed to be the foundation, the head seems unable to harmonize with the heart. I have more to say, but trying to piece this together has exhausted me. I'll just leave this as it is for now.
    Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

    I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

  • #2
    I am praying for you FM.
    "If you can ever make any major religion look absolutely ludicrous, chances are you haven't understood it"
    -Ravi Zacharias, The New Age: A foreign bird with a local walk

    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
    1 Corinthians 16:13

    "...he [Doherty] is no historian and he is not even conversant with the historical discussions of the very matters he wants to pontificate on."
    -Ben Witherington III

    Comment


    • #3
      Have you tried broaden your view and search without presuppositions or bias.

      The amount and nature of free will humans have is at present unknown, but science has determined that it is somehow limited. 'We have a will, but it is not necessarily free.'

      Do you have an open mind to extent of looking at the Baha'i Faith?
      Last edited by shunyadragon; 04-13-2015, 07:03 PM.
      Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
      Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
      But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

      go with the flow the river knows . . .

      Frank

      I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm not sure how to piece together a coherent and consistent model of how "spiritual"/non-physical entities might interact with the world. I intended this post to be more of an outline than an in-depth analysis, but basically, it appears that human beings might not really have free will, that what we experience is actually illusory. For instance, as Benjamin Libet found in a famous experiment, the neural activity behind a subject's act of pushing a button actually occurs before the subject reports being aware of the conscious volitional decision to push it. Libet does allow for the possibility that a subject's consciousness allows the subject to freely veto a decision (i.e. he thinks we can freely choose to not do something), but this still seems to be at odds with the standard belief that we freely chose to actively engage in some sinful actions, or to actively do constructive, beneficial actions. It seems to me that if human beings do not genuinely have free will in committing sins or doing good works, then God cannot justly condemn or reward humans for their actions. But according to Christian theology, the very reason Jesus needed to die was precisely that human beings would otherwise have been under condemnation.

        In the past, I tried to get around this issue with a "Oh, we'll just wait and see, maybe neuroscientists will find something later that allows for genuine free will," or considered options like "Maybe God, with divine foreknowledge, created a world that unfolds in a purely physical manner, but in accordance with what each individual would have freely chosen." But now, these just seem like excuses to me. They feel contrived, like implausibly convenient cop-outs.
        Have you ever checked out Inspiring Philosophy? He talks about a good bit of this stuff.

        derezzed83 also has a vid on free will. See below.



        He also has some other nice stuff on his channel. Check it out when you get the time.
        -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
        Sir James Jeans

        -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
        Sir Isaac Newton

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by fm93 View Post
          (I have spent at least three days writing and re-writing this. The thoughts have been exceedingly difficult to formulate and discern, the words have been nearly insurmountable to extract. So I've simplified things and will probably try to progress one issue at a time at various, indeterminate times. Apologies for any possible/inevitable confusion caused by this rambling mess of words in this personal reflection.)

          You might have noticed that instead of listing any particular belief system in the faith designation line, I simply have a shrugging emoticon. This is because for a while, I've been at a stage in which I'm really not sure how to classify my beliefs, and so when asked, I can only give a baffled shrug. Older TWeb members might recall that I used to post about Christian apologetics. I want to clarify that I didn't definitively conclude that Christianity is false; rather, I reached a point at which I felt that I couldn't definitively say that it's true. See, I had always gone by the general principle "If you have anything higher than a 50% confidence level that each aspect of Christianity is true, you're warranted in believing it." And so for years, I struggled with all these various issues and arguments, weighing them in my mind, and ultimately decided that I met that 50% criterion. But some time during that crash period when this site was down, I realized that I could no longer say that--my overall confidence level had dipped below 50%. It didn't all of a sudden drop, mind you--as I said, I struggled with various issues and arguments for years. It was a slow, long process. I do, however, firmly believe with much more than 50% confidence that if Christianity is indeed true, believers are called to worship God with all their heart and soul and mind and strength, and to witness about God in such a manner as well. And, of course, I can't really do that if my confidence level in the various propositions is below 50%, and so I cannot in good conscience continue to identify as Christian.

          That said, I also cannot definitively identify as anything else. I can't say with more than 50% confidence that there is no deity in existence, or that any other conception of a deity exists, or what have you. I'm just...stuck in an awkward state of not really knowing what I believe, if that makes sense.

          So in the meantime, I figured I might as well lay out a few of the issues that contributed to my confidence level dropping below the threshold.


          I'm not sure how to piece together a coherent and consistent model of how "spiritual"/non-physical entities might interact with the world. I intended this post to be more of an outline than an in-depth analysis, but basically, it appears that human beings might not really have free will, that what we experience is actually illusory. For instance, as Benjamin Libet found in a famous experiment, the neural activity behind a subject's act of pushing a button actually occurs before the subject reports being aware of the conscious volitional decision to push it. Libet does allow for the possibility that a subject's consciousness allows the subject to freely veto a decision (i.e. he thinks we can freely choose to not do something), but this still seems to be at odds with the standard belief that we freely chose to actively engage in some sinful actions, or to actively do constructive, beneficial actions. It seems to me that if human beings do not genuinely have free will in committing sins or doing good works, then God cannot justly condemn or reward humans for their actions. But according to Christian theology, the very reason Jesus needed to die was precisely that human beings would otherwise have been under condemnation.

          In the past, I tried to get around this issue with a "Oh, we'll just wait and see, maybe neuroscientists will find something later that allows for genuine free will," or considered options like "Maybe God, with divine foreknowledge, created a world that unfolds in a purely physical manner, but in accordance with what each individual would have freely chosen." But now, these just seem like excuses to me. They feel contrived, like implausibly convenient cop-outs.

          And on that note, it ties into a larger issue...epistemelogical approach. The apologetic case for the historicity of the resurrection basically boils down to "Here are these historical facts about Jesus. The most statistically probable explanation of these facts is that he rose from the dead." But there's a substantial difference between intellectually toying with arguments and actually having a deep-seated belief in something. I can reason based on historical evidence that there probably was a religious teacher named Jesus who was crucified and died and that the tomb in which he was buried was later found empty, and that his disciples claimed to have seen him after his death. I can also reason that alternate explanations like "The disciples had mass hallucinations" might be flawed. But even if I intellectually conclude that belief in the resurrection is warranted, the overall picture in trying to synthesize all these various issues leads to a fairly convoluted and messy worldview that frankly, I can't say I truly believe. I have no proof or certainty that Jesus truly did rise from the dead and is still living at this very moment, literally as I type this post. Only vague, fuzzy weighings and attempted analyses of probabilities and whatnot. But those don't (and in retrospect, I'm not sure if they ever did) feel as if they fully align. What the head tried to hold as true didn't seem to match what was in the heart, and now the head might not hold it as true either. "Here are some intellectual propositions suggesting that God exists and Jesus rose from the dead," I'd essentially say, but then I'd come across a devotional or Facebook status from a religious friend exalting God in a prayer, and my arguments, even when there was no explicit refutation given, seemed hollow. They started to seem more like empty words than an expression of a heartfelt conviction.

          And so I find myself stuck. Some issues no longer seem reconcilable, and when I try to focus on what's supposed to be the foundation, the head seems unable to harmonize with the heart. I have more to say, but trying to piece this together has exhausted me. I'll just leave this as it is for now.
          I sorry you are struggling with it...it's a curse of intelligent people that we (sometimes) overthink our Faith. I struggled for a while with many of the things of my faith, but thank God, I was lead out of it by really studying the Bible and basing my faith on what it said instead of what I was told to believe it said. I also had the blessing of a religious experience that forever marked me as a child of God. I have wished many times that I could let others experience what I did so that they would know just how real God is...but all I can do is pray for you and hope you too experience something akin to what I did years ago...
          "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

          "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for sharing this man. Your testimonial reminds us that apologetics can only go so far.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Raphael View Post
              I am praying for you FM.
              This doesn't help me with the situation, as I'm sure you understand, but I appreciate your concern.


              Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
              Have you tried broaden your view and search without presuppositions or bias.
              Tried, yes, but to be completely free of presupposition or bias is nearly impossible.

              Do you have an open mind to extent of looking at the Baha'i Faith?
              I think I know the vague outline of Bahai, but know next to nothing about Bahallulah or anything of that.


              Originally posted by Quantum Weirdness View Post
              Have you ever checked out Inspiring Philosophy? He talks about a good bit of this stuff.

              derezzed83 also has a vid on free will. See below.



              He also has some other nice stuff on his channel. Check it out when you get the time.
              I appreciate it, but I'm not sure that amateur-made YouTube videos are what I need in evaluating the overall philosophical consensus/discussion of this topic. Besides, I only mentioned one aspect for brevity; there are others, although I think I'll go into them in more detail at a later time.
              Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

              I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by fm93 View Post
                This doesn't help me with the situation, as I'm sure you understand, but I appreciate your concern.
                I would have posted a longer message and tried to deal with some of what you raised, but I am currently one armed (other arm is in plaster following surgery), and that makes typing frustrating.

                I did want you to know that whatever differences we may have and wherever your journey ultimately leads you, we do care about you and we are praying that you would find the answers you need.
                "If you can ever make any major religion look absolutely ludicrous, chances are you haven't understood it"
                -Ravi Zacharias, The New Age: A foreign bird with a local walk

                Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
                1 Corinthians 16:13

                "...he [Doherty] is no historian and he is not even conversant with the historical discussions of the very matters he wants to pontificate on."
                -Ben Witherington III

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Littlejoe View Post
                  I sorry you are struggling with it...it's a curse of intelligent people that we (sometimes) overthink our Faith. I struggled for a while with many of the things of my faith, but thank God, I was lead out of it by really studying the Bible and basing my faith on what it said instead of what I was told to believe it said. I also had the blessing of a religious experience that forever marked me as a child of God. I have wished many times that I could let others experience what I did so that they would know just how real God is...but all I can do is pray for you and hope you too experience something akin to what I did years ago...
                  Yeah, I don't think personal religious experience should be the end-all or the sole reason for belief, but it'd be nice if it could occur in tandem with intellectual arguments. I sometimes hear believers speak of "feeling the presence of God" and things like that...not sure if I've ever truly felt anything like that, but even if I have, it's been a long time since I did.
                  Last edited by fm93; 04-14-2015, 09:24 PM.
                  Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

                  I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fm93 View Post
                    I'm not sure how to piece together a coherent and consistent model of how "spiritual"/non-physical entities might interact with the world.
                    That's quite understandable. We're not operating with anything like a full set of the "facts" involved. When you combine that with the likelihood that "spiritual" entities are not willing test subjects, you're pretty much doomed to failure AFAICT.
                    I intended this post to be more of an outline than an in-depth analysis, but basically, it appears that human beings might not really have free will, that what we experience is actually illusory. For instance, as Benjamin Libet found in a famous experiment, the neural activity behind a subject's act of pushing a button actually occurs before the subject reports being aware of the conscious volitional decision to push it. Libet does allow for the possibility that a subject's consciousness allows the subject to freely veto a decision (i.e. he thinks we can freely choose to not do something), but this still seems to be at odds with the standard belief that we freely chose to actively engage in some sinful actions, or to actively do constructive, beneficial actions.
                    We still don't have a very good grasp at all of how consciousness works; as far as I know, we only have a superficial grasp of what types of mental activity/stimuli affect which areas of the brain at a macro level. At a micro level, we know how synapses work. What we don't have is how to relate them to consciousness. That the mental activity occurs before we are aware of the volitional decision does not in any way invalidate free will AFAICT.
                    It seems to me that if human beings do not genuinely have free will in committing sins or doing good works, then God cannot justly condemn or reward humans for their actions.
                    Agreed, which is why I am exceedingly wary of Calvinism.
                    But according to Christian theology, the very reason Jesus needed to die was precisely that human beings would otherwise have been under condemnation.
                    That's a rather incomplete view IMO. Jesus needed to become incarnate, die, and defeat death in order to reconcile humanity with God. All three of those are vital.
                    In the past, I tried to get around this issue with a "Oh, we'll just wait and see, maybe neuroscientists will find something later that allows for genuine free will," or considered options like "Maybe God, with divine foreknowledge, created a world that unfolds in a purely physical manner, but in accordance with what each individual would have freely chosen." But now, these just seem like excuses to me. They feel contrived, like implausibly convenient cop-outs.
                    I'm slowly coming to the opinion that Molina over-analyzed things. We all constantly make choices. It is an incredibly convenient cop-out IMO for people to contend they have no control over their actions, so they bear no responsibility for the consequences. Society is built on the idea that we have a free will and are thus responsible for our actions. If a significant portion of society began to behave otherwise, civilization would collapse in an instant.
                    And on that note, it ties into a larger issue...epistemelogical approach. The apologetic case for the historicity of the resurrection basically boils down to "Here are these historical facts about Jesus. The most statistically probable explanation of these facts is that he rose from the dead." But there's a substantial difference between intellectually toying with arguments and actually having a deep-seated belief in something. I can reason based on historical evidence that there probably was a religious teacher named Jesus who was crucified and died and that the tomb in which he was buried was later found empty, and that his disciples claimed to have seen him after his death. I can also reason that alternate explanations like "The disciples had mass hallucinations" might be flawed. But even if I intellectually conclude that belief in the resurrection is warranted, the overall picture in trying to synthesize all these various issues leads to a fairly convoluted and messy worldview that frankly, I can't say I truly believe.
                    Why? If the resurrection is true, why would that fact not cause a realignment of all else around it? (As an aside, as far as I can tell the theory of mass hallucinations has not a scintilla of scientific evidence in its favor.)
                    I have no proof or certainty that Jesus truly did rise from the dead and is still living at this very moment, literally as I type this post. Only vague, fuzzy weighings and attempted analyses of probabilities and whatnot. But those don't (and in retrospect, I'm not sure if they ever did) feel as if they fully align. What the head tried to hold as true didn't seem to match what was in the heart, and now the head might not hold it as true either.
                    What was in the heart which was at variance with your attempted intellectual assent?
                    "Here are some intellectual propositions suggesting that God exists and Jesus rose from the dead," I'd essentially say, but then I'd come across a devotional or Facebook status from a religious friend exalting God in a prayer, and my arguments, even when there was no explicit refutation given, seemed hollow. They started to seem more like empty words than an expression of a heartfelt conviction.
                    If your head and heart were at variance, I can fully understand that feeling.
                    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                    sigpic
                    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by fm93 View Post
                      I appreciate it, but I'm not sure that amateur-made YouTube videos are what I need in evaluating the overall philosophical consensus/discussion of this topic. Besides, I only mentioned one aspect for brevity; there are others, although I think I'll go into them in more detail at a later time.
                      If you're interested, there's a book called The Will and its Brain: An Appraisal of Reasoned Free Will by Hans Helmut Kornhuber and Lüder Deecke (The guys who discovered the readiness potential), who argue for something they call reasoned free will, it seems to be some sort of "free will within constraints". Here's the Amazon description of the book:

                      In 1964–1965, Hans Helmut Kornhuber and Lüder Deecke achieved a scientific breakthrough with the discovery of the Bereitschaftspotential (BP), or readiness potential. In The Will and its Brain, Kornhuber and Deecke present evidence that proves we can record activity from the human brain occurring prior to our volitional movements or actions. Such preparatory activity is generated by specific brain regions, particularly by the supplementary motor area (SMA) of the frontal lobe, which lies on the inner surface of the brain between the hemispheres. The primary (precentral) motor cortex (MI) later becomes activated in preparing for action. Consequently, the authors discriminate between two components of the preparatory activity of the Bereitschaftspotential: an early SMA-generated BP1 and a late MI-derived BP2. Between BP1 and BP2, the intentional activity runs over the so-called motor loop via the basal ganglia. Kornhuber and Deecke discuss these and other brain processing systems while focusing on the concept of free will. They claim that we, indeed, have free will. It may not be absolutely free, but free in terms of degrees. We can take efforts to increase our degrees of freedom through self-improvement, but we can also lose degrees of freedom through self-mismanagement.


                      http://www.amazon.com/Will-its-Brain...=UTF8&sr=&qid=

                      I haven't read the book myself yet (only the introduction and the first two chapters). They do make some assertions that I'm not sure I agree with, like lumping Paul and Luther as being on the same page when it comes to free will, and they are skeptical of mind-body dualism, but it does seem like an interesting read.
                      ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just adding my 2 cents...If you're using the historical record of the Resurrection as an apologetic for the existence of God or for theism in general, I think maybe that's a bit backwards. The Resurrection requires belief in a divinity to do the raising in the first place, so using it as an argument for God seems to me a bit circular. I suppose it could be used in some sort of cumulutive case where you point at certain unexplained miraculous events and reason from there that there must be some supernatural cause, and then reason that God must exist, but that's an upstream swim to me. I think instead it makes better sense to look at the other cumulative natural arguments for the existence of a god (moral arguments, intrinsic worth arguments, mind/body arguments, teleological arguments, cosmological arguments, ontological arguments, etc.), and then from there examine the arguments for specific religions (for Christianity it would be the Resurrection, fulfillment of prophecy, experiential arguments, etc.). Using the Resurrection as the sole, or primary lynchpin to your full belief in God and everything that follows is pretty heavy duty. Maybe that works for some people, but it seems like a lot of unnecessary strain.

                        Also, it seems to me that cold philosophical and intellectual arguments for belief in Christianity is only going to get you so far. At some point there is a very real Holy Spirit component to Christianity. This isn't something that's easy to explain, and it's not necessarily something that feels physical or something, but when you finally stop giving into that natural man and all his fears and nagging doubts, and stop resisting God's call on your life, and just make that decision, make that commitment to make Jesus your Lord, something does change. Something just...clicks. And that doesn't mean that you'll never have any doubts ever again, or that you won't still struggle to understand this world, this life, to understand God or why he does certain things, why he allows certain things, but...there is a peace, and a love, and an understanding that maybe even if you don't get all your questions answered today, someday you will...in God's time not your time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                          Just adding my 2 cents...If you're using the historical record of the Resurrection as an apologetic for the existence of God or for theism in general, I think maybe that's a bit backwards. The Resurrection requires belief in a divinity to do the raising in the first place, so using it as an argument for God seems to me a bit circular. I suppose it could be used in some sort of cumulutive case where you point at certain unexplained miraculous events and reason from there that there must be some supernatural cause, and then reason that God must exist, but that's an upstream swim to me. I think instead it makes better sense to look at the other cumulative natural arguments for the existence of a god (moral arguments, intrinsic worth arguments, mind/body arguments, teleological arguments, cosmological arguments, ontological arguments, etc.), and only from there examine the arguments for specific religions (for Christianity it would be the Resurrection, fulfillment of prophecy, experiential arguments, etc.). Using the Resurrection as the sole, or primary lynchpin to your full belief in God and everything that follows is pretty heavy duty. Maybe that works for some people, but it seems like a lot of unnecessary strain.
                          I see what you're saying but the way I view it is that if the existence of God is likely, or even possible, you can view the Resurrection as a live option when looking at it. I don't think our positions are that far apart, really.
                          "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fm93 View Post
                            Tried, yes, but to be completely free of presupposition or bias is nearly impossible.
                            I completely agree. I avoid many presuppositions of the traditional faiths. I have learned two reasonable presuppositions from Buddhism that helped my search: (1) Nothing is necessary. (2) Impermanence rules. All that is here will be gone in matter of a few hundred years, and beliefs and knowledge evolve over time.

                            I think I know the vague outline of Bahai, but know next to nothing about Bahallulah or anything of that.
                            The Baha'i belief is a more apophatic God that believes in a strictly monotheistic God. Revelation is the source human knowledge, both spiritual and physical evolves, over time. Even the scripture, beliefs and teachings of the Baha'i Faith are not fixed, and evolve over time. The only teaching of the Baha'i Faith that are infallible for this age are the moral teachings and spiritual Laws for humanity to live by. Many of these basic moral teachings agree with previous religions, but some moral teaching are made more specific in Spiritual Law, such as: All forms of slavery, and indentured servitude are forbidden.

                            The harmony of Science and Religion is an important principle that teaches the progressive advancing nature scientific knowledge is in a way Revelation and all scripture concerning the nature of our physical existence, including Baha'i scripture, must be understood in the light of the advancing knowledge of science.
                            Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                            Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                            But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                            go with the flow the river knows . . .

                            Frank

                            I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fm93 View Post

                              I think I know the vague outline of Bahai, but know next to nothing about Bahallulah or anything of that.
                              There are two threads in Comparative religion where I have described some aspects of the Baha'i Faith and why I believe, and some counter arguments of those who object to the Baha'i Faith for one reason or another.
                              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                              go with the flow the river knows . . .

                              Frank

                              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                              Comment

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