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Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Friday, April 08, 2005

Saints Be Preserved! Or, A”paul”ing Logic

Paul Manata has a big problem with me. Or, more accurately, he has a problem with who I used to be. He says that “my problem is not that he professes atheism. My problem is that he tries to pass himself off as someone who knew the doctrines of Christianity and rejected them.”

Whether or not Paul actually demonstrates the fact that I don’t “understand” Christian doctrine (he doesn’t), I think the more interesting aspect of this argument is very common among those Christians who dedicate themselves to an apologetic defense of Christianity, specifically to apostates. This approach, which I have seen countless times on ExChristian.Net, is summarized thusly: “You were never a true Christian.”

The more general application of this argument is a classic ad hoc fallacy, more commonly understood as “No True Scotsman.” The problems with this approach are obvious: the meaning of the term “Christian” changes depending on the individual beliefs of whichever Christian is offering the argument at the time. A Reformed Christian like Paul might say that, if I had professed belief as a Roman Catholic before I apostatized, that I wasn’t a True Christian, by which he means a Reformed Christian. Likewise, a Roman Catholic might say that, since I professed belief in Reformed Christianity, that I wasn’t a True Christian either. Clearly, it’s an argument that goes nowhere.

What sticks in Paul’s craw, however, is that I professed Reformed Christianity, as does he, but I became an apostate. The underlying psychological current of this dilemma is obvious: if one Reformed Christian can reject Reformed doctrine, what’s to stop Paul from doing the same? Since this terrifies him to no end, he has no choice but to postulate the following: that even though I had faith in Christianity, I didn’t properly understand Reformed doctrine, and therefore I wasn’t a true Christian. Now, of course this is just another variation of the fallacious argument I outlined above, but is this even Biblical?

Jesus talks about faith at length in the gospels, but not about understanding. In Luke 18, he asks if, ”when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Faith, not understanding. The apostle Barnabas is described in Acts 11 as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” Faith, not understanding. Even the apostle Paul says in Romans 3 that “we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.” Again, faith, not understanding.

But, surely, there is as much of an emphasis on doctrinal understanding in the Bible, right? Not so. The modus operandi of Jesus in the gospels is to teach by parable, which are so confusing that he has to explain them later to his disciples, the men who supposedly knew more about him than anyone! Would a god-man so concerned with understanding teach in riddles? It seems not. The apostle Paul says in Philippians, that “the peace of God… passes all understanding.” In other words, it cannot be understood.

What I don’t understand is why Paul felt it necessary to attack my understanding of Reformed doctrine, since if he understood it, he should know already that the fifth point of Calvinism perfectly explains apostates within his worldview. The Perseverance of the Saints: “Since God has decreed the elect, and they cannot resist grace, they are unconditionally and eternally secure in that election.” Nice and easy, right? But this also is uncomfortable for Paul. Because although this doctrinal point was conceived to make Calvinists more assured of their salvation, the presence of apostate Calvinists throws a big monkey wrench in the works. If I, as a professing Calvinist, can walk away from the faith, Paul is faced with two options, neither of which let him sleep well at night. 1) I’ll still be granted salvation, despite my apostasy, or 2) Paul himself could become an apostate in the future.

Either one looks fine to me.

Post a Comment


58 Comments:

At 4/08/2005 9:41 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

As much as I am loathe to disagree, I must doubt strongly the possibility that Paul, or any other presup, could become an "apostate". Unlike Christianity, unbelief actually requires some intelligence and self-responsibility.

 
At 4/08/2005 12:02 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Zach wrote: "But, surely, there is as much of an emphasis on doctrinal understanding in the Bible, right? Not so."

Zach, you're completely right on this. Proverbs 3:5 makes your point unmistakably clear:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

We can see this in the very nature of what Christians call "morality," which consists of a series of commandments that are to be obeyed, whether or not the believer understands them. And since they are not established on the basis of a rational context, there's nothing to understand anyway. That's why I say commands are suitable for dogs and robots, but not for human beings.

 
At 4/08/2005 12:33 PM, Blogger mrtruth declaimed...

Nice, concise post, Zach.

Another funny thing with Reformed Calvinists saying you don't 'understand,' and that's why you left, is the simple fact that they don't seem to mind if Christians DO take everything on faith, and not 'understanding John Calvin's Doctrine.'

So its OK for a Christian to simply believe and have faith (like Jesus said to do!) but if a professing Christian begins questioning things, understands the theology, but rejects it, they were never really a Christian.

I think I 'understand' the theology of Reformed Christianity pretty well. I simply don't believe its based on anything other than the whims of the men that created it. Likewise, I understand the issues of the upcoming Star Wars movie very well, but that doesn't make it real.

 
At 4/08/2005 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Not paul here but you have to kidding. You are a fool and do not understand Christian theology - particularly the perseverance of the saints.

Please stop embarrassing yourself.

 
At 4/08/2005 11:13 PM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

"Anonymous" is going ot hell because he does not understand scripture that's staring him in the face:

Matthew 5:22
"Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

Oops!

 
At 4/09/2005 1:59 AM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

"Not Paul Here"....

Thanks for that information-packed post!

Christians have many ways of interpreting 'the perseverance of the saints,' some hold to this doctrine, some don't. I know you think YOU'VE got the "TrueUnderstanding" but so do the dozens of other Christian sects.

However, as pointed out to you above, you are blantantly ignoring a command directly from the Lord Jesus mouth. A very poor testimony. For shame.

 
At 4/09/2005 9:08 AM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

anonymous-

I have to say, I really don't get why you people continue to accuse me of embarrassing myself. For one thing, embarassment is a subjective emotion, and for another, I would think that the embarrassment of an atheist would be like angelsong to a Christian. Why in the world would you want less of that?

I think it's much more likely that you're projecting your embarrassment of your silly doctrines onto me.

 
At 4/09/2005 2:33 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

hellbound allee or whatever your name is...

what an appropriate name!

you guys are just too funny...

Ps 14:1
The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
NASU

THE WORD OF GOD CALLS YOU A FOOL... COME ON, NOW, YOU LAZY THEOLOGIANS SHOULD KNOW THIS..

Zachary,

When you claim to be reformed but insinuate things on paul's comment section like "what's the difference between my (others) human nature and Jesus'" that's dumb.. if you knew the word of God you would know not to say dumb things like that

not reformed,

zach claimed to be reformed yet just perverted the doctrine. get with the debate, son.

"Christians have many ways of interpreting 'the perseverance of the saints,' some hold to this doctrine, some don't. I know you think YOU'VE got the "TrueUnderstanding" but so do the dozens of other Christian sects."

Wow thanks for the information packed post there not reformed...

 
At 4/09/2005 2:41 PM, Blogger Damian, the Left-Hand Player declaimed...

groundfighter's comment seems to mean SOMETHING, but I can't translate it from the native Dingus language. Anyone care to take a crack at it?

 
At 4/09/2005 4:33 PM, Anonymous francois_tremblay declaimed...

Hey Mr. Christian... listen to your own damn Bible :

Matthew 5:22
"Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

 
At 4/09/2005 4:42 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Groundfighter...

You're welcome for the information...let me know if you need more help!

So...its ok for you to ignore a direct command from the Lord Jesus himself about not calling people fools? How does the bible-believing sheep understand which of Jesus commands to ignore?

I see christians using the 'the word of God calls you a fool' excuse all of the time...but that still goes directly against what Christ said. Interesting....

 
At 4/09/2005 7:24 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Great post Zach! Hey... let me know when you get around to refuting my actual arguments instead of side-tracking.

Why don't you represent me acuratley, also? My problem is that you're literally ignorant but try and pass yourself off as someone who isn't. My problem is that you made yourself a bafoon by your good friday post. I showed it. You didn't refute it. You dropped the ball for your team... again!

Hey Franc, why don't you drop this hack from your line up? This way I could spend my time actually dealing with people who have at least read Philosophy For Dummies.

 
At 4/09/2005 8:33 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Hey franc and not reformed,

I have listened to it and it said you are a fool. As a matter of fact Jesus and Paul would say that you are a fool (calling attention to your unbiblical beliefs and actions, rather than as a personal offense.) Context means alot Franc.

Ps 14:1
The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."
NASU

 
At 4/09/2005 8:39 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

"Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

Mr. T must be burning in hell right about now, huh?

Hay Francy, I noticed you left out some words...

"Matthew 5:22 but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his BROTHER shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his BROTHER, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire."

Last time I checked we were not brothers. Indeed, if we have evolved then you are of the inferior Canadadus Foolus species and should be wipped out so the strong can survive.

Anyway, you're on the Zach List now. That is, people who pretend to think they know the Bible but then end up looking like foo.. uh, almost caught me... I won't say it... end up looking like Jack asses.

Also, check the context, if you want to be serious, it's talking about anger etc., not the righteous use of fool, e.g., how the Bible talks about unbelievers.

 
At 4/09/2005 8:41 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Just like any other Christian, when you say "in context", you mean "read it until you agree with me".

The Bible says DON'T CALL ANYONE FOOL. Simple. In context, you're an idiot and a fool.

 
At 4/09/2005 8:42 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Good point Paul (about brothers)... I was about to type up the exact same thing.

 
At 4/09/2005 9:00 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Listen to the sheep bleat!!!

BAAAA!!! BAAAA!!!! You're a fool!!! BAAA!!!!

Sheep are so cute and dumb.

Plus..the Bible calls you sheep, so I'm sure you won't take offense.

 
At 4/09/2005 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous declaimed...

Franc said:

"Just like any other Christian, when you say "in context", you mean "read it until you agree with me".

The Bible says DON'T CALL ANYONE FOOL. Simple. In context, you're an idiot and a fool."

Let's not be another Canadian atheist liar. It says don't call your BROTHER a fool. Why must atheist lie to win. Can't you beat us in rational debate?

 
At 4/09/2005 9:43 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"It says don't call your BROTHER a fool."

What do you think that means, fool ? Only people that your mother gave birth to ?

Why must Christians ignore all counter-arguments to win ? Can't you knock enough brain cells to tie your shoelaces together ?

 
At 4/09/2005 10:08 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Sheep...

so...

1. 'brother' has to be taken literaly as a 'birth brother,' and not a 'mankind brother,' and

2. 'don't call anyone fool' shouldn't be taken literally....

makes perfect sense!

BAAAA!!!!!

 
At 4/09/2005 10:11 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Notice the last two posts by Franc and not reformed.. That's hilarious and shows complete ignorance. Game over guys...

 
At 4/09/2005 10:13 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

groundfighter76...

You're hilarious! A precious addition to the wacky world of the internet.

Quickly now...run to your pen...the shepherd is calling!

 
At 4/09/2005 10:25 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Paul "issues man" Manata said:

"Also, check the context, if you want to be serious, it's talking about anger etc., not the righteous use of fool, e.g., how the Bible talks about unbelievers."

The righteous use of fool? Explain where Jesus made this distinction.

Plus..the Bible doesn't talk.

Thanks!

 
At 4/09/2005 10:28 PM, Blogger Hellbound Alleee declaimed...

Groundfighter make much nothing out of full mouth. --Tonto

I am always surprised by the utter denial Christians have when it comes to their own text. Even if it's the 1,567th time I've seen it, it still astonishes me.

 
At 4/09/2005 10:33 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4/09/2005 10:35 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Paul "issues man" Manata,

Actually...according to your worldview, donkeys, bushes, and snakes talk...so maybe your have a book that talks too.

Could those stories be the babblings of a primitive tribal people? Or are they TRUTH? I'll go ask my rabbit what he thinks.

 
At 4/09/2005 10:42 PM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

hellbound,

I am always surprised by the utter ignorance of those who are attempting a critique....;)

 
At 4/09/2005 10:48 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

non-reformed...

what are you blathering about? I've resolved the problem yet you still keep barfing 'refutations' out of your pie hole.

Anyway, you expect what you're saying to be taken rationally? How did rationality "evolve" from non-thinking matter, anyway? So I don't really see a difference between talking snakes and a bag of goop that thinks that the non-lingustic gave rise to the lingusitic.

Anyway, I'd love to se a formal argument which proves that snakes can't talk.

So, my worldview has talking snakes and yours has talking bags of goop.

 
At 4/09/2005 10:52 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Paul,

You don't know my worldview. I'm simply 'non-reformed.' That doesn't make me an evolutionist, a materialist, or any other 'ist' by default.

A formal argument against talking snakes. That sounds like a GREAT idea! How about right after you produce evidence that snakes, donkeys, bushes, and Bibles talk?

 
At 4/09/2005 11:10 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

not reformed,

So I assume you have a view on how rationality is possible given your "worldview?"

You implied that it was impossible that snakes could talk, I just want to know how your finite mind knows the limits of possibility.

Obvioulsy I take the word of the one who cannot lie and is all powerful as sufficient evidence. The evidence I give will be determined by our worldviews. So, we'll need to see if you even have a viable one from which to launch your criticisms. Personally, I think it's pretty dogmatic to think you know the limits of what could happen, has happened, or will happen. How much would you need to know to know that snakes could never talk? So, quit overstating your case.

 
At 4/09/2005 11:57 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Paul mentioned:

"Obvioulsy I take the word of the one who cannot lie and is all powerful as sufficient evidence."

however...your God DOES lie, decieve, and do all sorts of fun things to those He deems worthy of destruction...

1 Kg.22:23
"Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee."

2 Chr.18:22
"Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.

Jer.4:10
"Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people."

Jer.20:7
"O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived."

Ezek.14:9
"And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet."

2 Th.2:11
"For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."


So...I hope you'll forgive me not being ready to trust your source of truth. I eagerly await your evidence of talking snakes, donkeys, bushes, and Bibles!

 
At 4/10/2005 12:15 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Groundfigher76 wrote: “I have listened to it and it said you are a fool. As a matter of fact Jesus and Paul would say that you are a fool”

Anyone can insult another person by calling them names. By doing this, Jesus and the apostle Paul show that they can rise to the lowest common denominator. That is no remarkable achievement.

When they produce an argument, only then do they have something worth considering. But when they simply want to belittle others for not believing their claims on their say so, I'll consider the source. After all, they think the universe is a cartoon. Since Christians don't take reality seriously, it would be wrong to take Christians seriously.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:18 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul Manata wrote: “Hay Francy, I noticed you left out some words...”

Paul then quoted Matt. 5:22:

"Matthew 5:22 but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his BROTHER shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his BROTHER, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire."

Question for Paul:

Does the bible provide any objective method for determining whether another human being is or is not your “brother”? If it does, can you cite it for us, for purposes of discussion? My question is relevant to the extent that you think Matt. 5:22’s use of the term “brother” is relevant to the issue of whether or not it’s acceptable to label others as “fools.”

Got anything?

Paul wrote: “Anyway, you're on the Zach List now. That is, people who pretend to think they know the Bible but then end up looking like foo.. uh, almost caught me... I won't say it... end up looking like Jack asses.”

If and when you get an argument, Paul, I hope you take the time to present it instead of insults.

It's sad to see someone like Paul waste his mind like this.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:18 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Franc wrote: “Just like any other Christian, when you say ‘in context’, you mean ‘read it until you agree with me’.”

Indeed, Franc. Can I quote this in one of my pieces? It’s sure to come in handy, and it’s so right on target.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:22 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul Manata wrote: “I'd love to se a formal argument which proves that snakes can't talk.”

When one adopts the position that the universe is essentially a cartoon, snakes can do anything. On such a premise as the Christian’s view, how could one prove that snakes cannot compose romance novels or pilot 747s or wish Mt. McKinley into the Arctic Ocean? Paul Manata, do you have any arguments one way or another on these matters?

Paul writes: “my worldview has talking snakes”

I take that as a No.

I also take Paul Manata’s words as confirmation of Michael Martin’s point in his development of TANG, namely that Bahnsen’s citation of Genesis 8:20-22 to support the Christian’s “presupposition” of the uniformity of nature (apparently needed to justify induction) is inadequate. For if one’s worldview includes talking snakes, as does Paul’s, then Martin’s point seems to ring true:

“First, there is the question of why we should believe these passages. Why suppose that Noah existed? And supposing he did exist, why think that he made a covenant with God to continue the seasons? Second, there is the question of why we should interpret this passage to mean that nature will be uniform in the usual sense. After all, the seasons can be continued with huge changes in the uniformity of nature. In winter snow could be green, in spring flowers could have no smell, in summer grass could be pink, and so on. God did not say in detail how he would continue the seasons. Third, God's promise is compatible with inductive chaos in most of the universe. God said "that while the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease" (Gen. 8. 22) and this passage is compatible with a state of affairs in which the present of laws of nature do not hold outside of the Earth and its environs. Fourth, why suppose that God would necessarily keep his covenant with Noah? God can break a promise so long as He has morally sufficient reason to do. If we do not blame human beings for breaking covenants if they have good reasons, why should we blame God? Moreover, God might not be responsible for the failure of the uniformity of nature. Satan could have decided to work his evil ways by bringing inductive chaos into the world and God could not interfere without depriving Satan of his free will.” (Does Induction Presume the Existence Of The Christian God?)

Read ‘em and weep, oh ye that mourn.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:34 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Your fallaciously shifting your burden of proof. I suggest you read Walton's "Informal Logic" for rules on discourse. Anyway, Christians treat their opponent better than they treat us.

Briefly:

1. God Himself did not lie, now did He? He allowed the false prophet to get his come-up-ins, by the devices used by him.

2. same. You need to prove that God Himself lied.

3. Jer. *thought* the Lord had decieved the people since Jer. had a different interpretation of what God's blessings meant.

4. same.

5. same as 1 and 2.

6. Again, Gid didn;t lie, now did He?


So, are you gonna prove your case or are you all talk? You were probably a bully in school but when someone stood up to you you backed down since you really couldn't fight, huh?

 
At 4/10/2005 12:36 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

yes BB, the Bible does provide criteria. Read 1st John, mmkay.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:38 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul Manata wrote: “Obvioulsy [sic] I take the word of the one who cannot lie and is all powerful as sufficient evidence.”

Let me get this straight, Paul. You’re saying that “the one who cannot lie” is someone who is “all powerful”? We know that men have the ability to lie. But here you seem to be saying that someone who is “all powerful” is also “the one who cannot lie.” This can only mean that men have an ability that the person you call “all powerful” does not have. In other words, men have an ability your god does not have. How can that be?

I think what you’re saying is that you simply take the bible’s word on its say so, that is, on faith (i.e., uncritically, unthinkingly). In other words, you beLIEve it without argument. Isn’t that right, Paul?

Paul wrote: “The evidence I give will be determined by our worldviews.”

My worldview demands that you produce a talking snake if you want me to believe the claim that such a thing exists. For I will not believe your claim on your say so. Did you expect me to accept your claim on your say so?

Paul wrote: “So, we'll need to see if you even have a viable one from which to launch your criticisms.”

I do. My worldview recognizes that reality is what it is, independent of consciousness. I.e., that the universe is not a cartoon in the hands of some invisible master cartoonist. In fact, you yourself assume this every time you tie your shoes. Which means: you are barrowing from my worldview in order to live.

Paul wrote: “Personally, I think it's pretty dogmatic to think you know the limits of what could happen, has happened, or will happen.”

Your opinion is noted. But it’s irrelevant in the larger scheme of things.

Paul wrote: “How much would you need to know to know that snakes could never talk?”

Only that the universe is not a cartoon.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:41 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul Manata wrote: “yes BB, the Bible does provide criteria. Read 1st John, mmkay.”

I suppose this is in response to my question to Paul as to whether or not the bible provides any objective method for determining whether another human being is or is not your ‘brother’. Here Paul sends me on a wild goose chase, which suggests that the answer to my question is No.

As I suspected.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:44 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul Manata wrote: "I suggest you read Walton's 'Informal Logic' for rules on discourse."

Yes, Paul, you are right to point to sources outside the bible to settle disputes. I applaud you on this decision. It shows you understand that you won't find these answers in the bible. This gives us hope that one day you may in fact be teachable.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:51 AM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Paul "dancing and jiving" Manata,

you said " Your fallaciously shifting your burden of proof."

Is that like you shifting the discussion to my explanations of rationality when I asked you to back up your claims of talking vegetation? hhhhmmmmm

2 verses:

1 Kg.22:23
"Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee."


and

2 Th.2:11
"For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."


You think there is a meaningful distinction between GOD uttering a lie, and GOD causing a lie to be uttered?

If GOD causes people to be decieved that is lying. Period. You wouldn't apply this standard to any human that caused another to be deceived by their actions, would you?

You claimed your God doesn't lie, and that is your basis for truth. But God does deceive people...and He could deceive you too! Or do you have scripture to explain why God deceives some people, and not others? Your God that doesn't lie...heh heh...

Paul said: "So, are you gonna prove your case or are you all talk? You were probably a bully in school but when someone stood up to you you backed down since you really couldn't fight, huh?"

You're really a funny dude. The clown prince of Calvinism. Prove your God doesn't lie (deceive) people and produce your evidence of talking snakes, donkeys, plants, and books.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:59 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Okay, so your just a joke. You made the assertion that the Bible was silly for reporting such things, I asked you to back it up, you ran away. Sleep well tonight.

 
At 4/10/2005 1:00 AM, Blogger groundfighter76 declaimed...

Franc,

Can I also use your quote to show how atheists use straw man argumentation to "prove" their point? :)

Dawson,

No one is belittling anyone.

I have seen you say continually say such things as you can't find this or that in the bible. What you need to do is learn the context of the debate and what presuppositionalism is about before you "incinerate" it. that's like saying quasar's (insert what you will) aren't mentioned in the bible therefore the bible ain't true. that's genius dawson...

 
At 4/10/2005 1:08 AM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

A frightened and frustrated Paul uttered:

"Okay, so your just a joke. You made the assertion that the Bible was silly for reporting such things, I asked you to back it up, you ran away. Sleep well tonight."

I will sleep well indeed. I especially won't lie awake wondering if God is going to lie to me like he has to others.

I know you can't produce any evidence to back up your beliefs based on your book's silly claims..that's why you constantly try to shift the discussion. Just like you're doing again by not addressing my point about 'no distinction between lying and deceiving people.'

I ran away? You're the one dodging, dancing, and running...

 
At 4/10/2005 1:26 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

groundfighter76 wrote: "I have seen you say continually say such things as you can't find this or that in the bible."

Yes, this is true: I will not hesitate to point out when I cannot find something in the bible when apologists try to pretend that the bible is authoritative on a certain issue (such as morality, for instance). Those who want to defend the bible from such recognitions are free to correct me by pointing out passages in the bible which in fact do address the issue in question in clear terms. Typically that never happens. But I'm always willing to reconsider my original recognition if new information is presented to me.

groundfighter76 goes on: "What you need to do is learn the context of the debate and what presuppositionalism is about before you 'incinerate' it."

Since I don't think I'll learn this from someone like Paul Manata (who is too prone to resort to name-calling when things get rough - perhaps like Robbins he thinks it's a virtue), I've consulted sources authored by Van Til, Bahnsen, Frame, Pratt, and Oliphant, to name some of the more prominent exponents of presuppositionalism. I've read countless writings by amateur presuppositionalists (such as Paul Manata). Do you recommend any author specifically that I've missed?

groundfighter76 writes: "that's like saying quasar's (insert what you will) aren't mentioned in the bible therefore the bible ain't true."

This is not at all analogous to my criticism. On the contrary, I'm pointing out that any time an apologist pontificates on something that is not sourced in the bible, he has to seek outside the bible for authority. That undermines the claim that the bible is authoritative on the topic at hand. If the apologist presented the claim that the bible was authoritative on quasars, and yet the bible speaks of stars as if they were little rocks that fall from the sky (indeed, it does just this), then I'd be wrong not to point out to the apologist that he's severely mistaken. I'm just doing the same thing with other concepts, of which the biblical authors were obviously clueless.

Consider the issue of concepts. Paul Manata affirmed in one of his blog comments that the bible provides an account for concepts. I challenged him to provide some specific passages which do this. To date he has not met this challenge. I've challenged mightier apologists to do this, and in fact some have even conceded that the bible does not speak on the issue of concepts or their formation. In fact, Paul Manata himself, in apparent frustration over the issue, finally conceded the following in the same blog comments:

"The Bible was not meant to be a philosophic lexicon."

That says it all for me. Do you have anything of substance to add?

 
At 4/10/2005 2:16 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

NR-

I answerd your questions. Your response was to say, "If God was sovereign over the even therefore He himself lied." This is an assertion. NR thinks he can assert that I'm wrong. The problem is that he nowhere showed that God being sovereign over an event means that he himself did it. I'd like to see a valid argument to back up this assertion, or is NR going to run away again.

Now, that he hasn;t kmade his case, and I just showed it, hopefully he'll step up to the plate and back up his other assertion that it is impossible for snakes to talk. Can he do this? Everyone is wondering. Will NR (euthyphros roomate) actually put his money where his mouth is? Or, does he think that he can just assert that his opponants position is wrong? Well, this will be easy: "You're wrong NR." How bout dem apples.


BB-

Actaully, the atheist is lying again. First off, Dawson is well known for being an ass. I give atheists what they give everyone else and then watch them complain. Secondly, Bethrick asked me is the Bible MENTIONED or, SPOKE OF, concepts. I pointed out where it did. He then asked where the Bible accounts for it. I told him to read the book he said he read two times (and underlined it!) because that was my posiiton. He said that he had read it but ddin;t see what I was talking about. The problem is that there are many pages dealing with it and it is even headlined, in black large letters, LOGICAL AND CONCEPTUAL REASONING. ALl Bethrick had to do was to read the section for my theory of concepts. I mean, he read the book two times, and underlined it! And he missed out on a hundred pages!!! Then He asked me where the Bible uses the term and defines it. At this point I said that the Bible is not a philosophical lexicon. I'm not embarrassed by this. The point is, the Bible mentions what we call concepts and it also tells us how they are formed (by thinking God's thoughts after Him).

 
At 4/10/2005 4:32 AM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4/10/2005 4:35 AM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Crafty Paul claims I said:

"If God was sovereign over the even therefore He himself lied."

First off...what the hell are you trying to say here? Slow down...take some deep breaths...and type more coherently. Lucky for you, I'm pretty good at piecing together broken language fragments...so I MIGHT know what you were saying here.

you made another comment a few sentances later that probably is what you were trying to get across:

"The problem is that he nowhere showed that God being sovereign over an event means that he himself did it."

The verses I listed don't say God was sovereign over an event...it said God directly CAUSED the results of the deception. Read the verses again:

1 Kg.22:23
"Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee."

and

2 Th.2:11
"For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie."

There isn't any "God is simply allowing this to happen" going on in these verses...God is CAUSING the deception to happen. Its very clear. You may like to look at it differently, as it kind of hurts your "God doesn't lie" claims...but the verses speak for themselves.

another comment from Paul:

"Can he do this? Everyone is wondering. Will NR (euthyphros roomate) actually put his money where his mouth is?"

Everyone is wondering? Who? Does anyone here believe snakes, donkeys, and plants talk besides you, Paul?

And who is euthyphros? No clue on that one...

According to your God's own revelation, He lies when He wants to. So do His people. Your whole argument is based on a God that lies, and you can't sidestep it by trying to read the verses "out of context," as certain sheep are fond of saying.

 
At 4/10/2005 7:39 AM, Blogger Mark Kodak declaimed...

Calling God a. liar is the same thing as calling evil good.

Just what is the standard of right and wrong that you are using to judge the Christian God's actions? If there is an ethical standard superior to God, to which God himself is accountable, then this "God" is not God at all. In the Christian world-view it is logically impossible to accuse God of doing anything morally wrong. Jesus himself said that only God is good (Luke 18:19), so all "goodness" in anything can only be derivative. God's nature defines goodness itself. No matter how moral I try to be, one cannot consider me the objective standard of goodness, since even the word "moral" is meaningless unless it is used relative to God's character. Morality then refers to the degree of conformity to God's character. Else where is the moral difference between altruism and selfishness ?

Evil in this system must be defined as any "want of conformity to, or transgression of", His character or His commands. The conlusion then is that it must be good that he decreed the existence of evil. This is not the same thing as saying evil is good, a clear contradiction.


"When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself."

Hebrews 6:13


So, there is no one to hold God accountable, and there is no court that may press charges against him. No one judges God, because everyone is judged by him.



Then Job answered and said:
"Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength --who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?-- he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him. Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, 'What are you doing?' "God will not turn back his anger; beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab. How then can I answer him, choosing my words with him?

Job 9:1-14


Since we derive our very concept and definition of goodness from God, to accuse him of evil would be like saying that good is evil, which is a contradiction.

 
At 4/10/2005 11:35 AM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

NR-

He needs to lay out a logical syllogism that proves that if God is the cause of something that means God Himself did it. So, he ran away again. Is this guy dumb? You decide. No, he's not. He thinks that if you assert enough times then people will believe you. This is common amongst atheist sheeple.

So far NR has came here, made an assertion about talking snakes, when asked to back it up he ran his pie hole about God lying, when asked to back it up, he ran his pie hole about me being crafty... but NOWHERE has he proved what he's asserting. I think he may be a zit headed teenager.

 
At 4/10/2005 12:39 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

Mark,

I'm using your own standard of right and wrong...God...and His own words from his innerrant revelation...as you believe.

God condemens himself, within your own worldview. I believe this is called an internal critique. Showing that the whole reformed Christian concept is inconsistant. There are many parts of the bible that contradict and clash...and only by jumping through Gastrichian harmonization hoops can a believer make it make sense.

1 Corinthains 14:33:
14:33For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.


However...confusion REIGNS in the world of Christianity. What does this verse mean? What does that verse mean? Why can't the Holy Ghost filled believers agree on critical issues of faith?

yet another internal contradiction.

I know that you sheep have blinded themselves to these facts, and I know you'll have a long flowchart of seventeen steps to show that God didn't REALLY lie, and although God isn't the 'God of confusion' he does 'send a delusion' to trick people...

Have fun trying to make it all make sense while also trying to reconcile what your sense are telling you about the world around you, which isn't filled with talking bushes and smart-ass donkeys.

Paul,

Compare these two scenarios:

1. God sends a delusion to people to have them believe a lie.

2. One of your ex-con buddies hires a hitman to kill your covenant child.

In these cases who is responsible?

According to your own bible, clutched in your fearful sheep hands, your God causes people to believe lies. And your ex-con buddy that causes your child to be killed is causing this event.

I am fairly sure you don't apply the same standards of guilt to God that you do to humans...since you believe God can do what He will. But...the problem still remains...ignore it and be a sheep...or accept your belief is based on lies, and seek a new way in life.

 
At 4/10/2005 1:02 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul: “Actaully, the atheist is lying again. First off, Dawson is well known for being an ass.”

Translation: I’m sore at Dawson because he won’t accept my claims on my say so.

Paul: “I give atheists what they give everyone else and then watch them complain.”

Interesting. When and where do you give any rational principles? That’s what I give you. Why don’t you reciprocate?

Paul: “Secondly, Bethrick asked me is the Bible MENTIONED or, SPOKE OF, concepts.”

Here’s how the conversation went in the comments section of his blog about Buddhism:


Manata asks: "Does the 'concept exist'?"

Dawson: “How (and where) does the bible answer such questions? Does the bible provide an account for concepts?”

“I don't think it does.

“If you think the bible accounts for concepts, can you give us some citations? Book, chapter and verse would be helpful.”


Simple, straightforward questions, but in spite of this I had to ask my question again (several times even) since it was clear that Paul didn’t understand it the first time around. But instead of answers, Paul dished out attitude and insults, which is typically what we can expect from him if we don't take what he says on his say so.

Paul: “I pointed out where it did.”

You didn’t. Instead, you directed me to “our literature,” which I had to press you to specify. You then said “The Bible obviously tells us that there are concepts in the human mind.” Where does the bible say “there are concepts in the human mind”? If it “obviously tells us” this, where does it do this? Then you said, “The human mind, according to the Bible, is not material.” Where does the bible say “the human mind is not material”? And what does this have to do with answering my question? From this alleged statement in the bible (which you nowhere cited), you then attempted to draw the following conclusion: “Therefore, neither are the concepts.” It’s not at all clear how this follows, but it’s irrelevant anyway since this is not an account for concepts. In an unspeakably feeble attempt to try to rescue yourself, you pointed to Deut 11:18 which you quoted:

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.”

This passage says nothing about the nature of concepts and how they’re formed. It’s not an account for concepts whatsoever. Now, either the bible accounts for concepts, or it doesn’t. My question was not “Do modern theologians have theories about the nature of concepts?” It was: “Does the bible provide an account for concepts?” I don’t think it does (my concordance has three entries for the word 'conception' and in each case it refers to human reproduction, not epistemology; it has no entries for either words 'concept' or 'concepts'), but Christians are welcome to find it in the bible for me.

Paul: “He then asked where the Bible accounts for it.”

That was my initial question on the matter.

Paul: “I told him to read the book he said he read two times (and underlined it!) because that was my posiiton.” [sic]

I wasn’t asking for your “posiiton” on the matter, I was asking if the bible provides an account for concepts. It’s clear that you have to seek outside the bible for such an account.

Paul: “He said that he had read it but ddin;t see what I was talking about.”

I think you’re referring specifically to Bahnsen’s overly longwinded and laboriously repetitive Van Til’s Analysis: Readings & Analysis. I found only one place where Bahnsen uses the phrase “concept-formation,” and it is the following on pg. 220:

“So by holding that there are some cases of noninferential knowing, Van Til was not at all endorsing a naïve empiricist theory of concept formation or an artificial verificationist criterion of meaningfulness.”

Perhaps there are other instances of this phrase elsewhere in the book, but I’m a pretty careful reader and I think this would have jumped out at me.

Paul: “The problem is that there are many pages dealing with it and it is even headlined, in black large letters, LOGICAL AND CONCEPTUAL REASONING.”

Which book, chapter and verse in the bible has such a heading, Paul? Again, I think Paul has misunderstood the question.

Paul: “ALl Bethrick had to do was to read the section for my theory of concepts.”

Again, you obviously misunderstood my question. I asked “Does the bible provide an account for concepts?” (not "Where does Bahnsen discuss concepts in his great big book?"). So pointing to other sources authored by fallible human beings cannot substitute as an answer to my question. Why not just be honest and say “No, the bible doesn’t present any theory of concepts”? What would be so hard about that?

Paul: “I mean, he read the book two times, and underlined it!”

Yep, and I’m reading in it again later today for some more research I’m doing. Do you think I’ll stumble upon a citation of statements from the bible that will account for concepts?

Paul: “And he missed out on a hundred pages!!!”

Yep, you misunderstood the question. I’ll repeat it again for you:

“Does the bible provide an account for concepts?”

Paul: “Then He asked me where the Bible uses the term and defines it.”

And Paul's response to this?

Paul: “At this point I said that the Bible is not a philosophical lexicon.”

Right, you finally conceded a very important point when you said: “The Bible was not meant to be a philosophic lexicon.”

My response to this was:

“This is just a round-about way of saying we shouldn’t expect to find any authentic guidance in intellectual matters in the bible.”

And my response still stands.

Paul: “I'm not embarrassed by this.”

Paul, you are an embarrassment if there ever was one. Just the fact that you felt it necessary to mention this is enough to tell us you’re embarrassed. Embarrassment is your stock and trade, Paul. It’s all your apologetic sets out to do: embarrass others for not believing in your cartoon universe. But in the process, you only manage to embarrass yourself.

Paul: “The point is, the Bible mentions what we call concepts and it also tells us how they are formed (by thinking God's thoughts after Him).”

Where does the bible say that concepts are formed in such a manner? I’d like to see that, because then I will have all the positive evidence (in their own words even!) I need to show that its authors had no objective understanding of the nature of concepts whatsoever.

 
At 4/10/2005 1:45 PM, Blogger Not Reformed declaimed...

I'm taking off for the next 4 days on a bike trip. That should give Paul and Mark plenty of time to figure out why they're following a belief based on lies. Just didn't want Paul to think I was 'running away,' as he is so fond of saying.

 
At 4/10/2005 4:03 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Again, Dawson, my account is in the book you have read so many times. You need to study up on those you wish to refute. So, I've told you where my position is explicitly laid out, you have the book, it's no bother to turn to the section and read.

Next, too bad Dawson uses a smoke screen. As a materialist he has no account of concepts, indeed, concepts are bundles on neurons on his worldview. He learns them by sense perception. To all the people in the 21st century, this doctrine is outdated. Yes, this is why Rand is laughed at by most atheists. Most atheists think Dawson is a cult member. Try to find entries on Rand in Companions to Philosophy. I have found one out of about 15! And it was 2 sentences! So, Dawson's problem is that he has no account of concepts and he's projecting his problems on me. I've told him where my account is, he has the book, he's just playing games. The real feat is to see if he can account for concepts and universals, as everyone knows Randidts can't. If Dawson wants to play (like he did with "Shawn") then we can certainly do so. He needs to begin by filling this out:

a has the attribute F if and only if Q

Now, I'll sit back and wait.

 
At 4/10/2005 5:21 PM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul: “Again, Dawson, my account is in the book you have read so many times.”

So you concede that it’s not to be found in the bible. That says it all. It's good to see you making progress, Paul.

Paul: “You need to study up on those you wish to refute. So, I've told you where my position is explicitly laid out, you have the book, it's no bother to turn to the section and read.”

Yes, I do have Bahnsen’s book, and it’s clear he doesn’t understand the process of abstraction any more than Van Til did, whose lack of understanding was utterly dismal. But that’s what we would expect from someone who takes the bible seriously (or pretends to). Van Til affirmed that the bible speaks of everything. But it nowhere speaks about the process of abstraction. I’ll be elaborating on this in a future post to my blog.

Paul: “So, Dawson's problem is that he has no account of concepts and he's projecting his problems on me.”

Actually, it's quite the reverse. You’ve nowhere proven that I have no account of concepts, Paul. But you have conceded that the bible does not. So whether or not any non-believer has an account for concepts is irrelevant. What’s relevant is that any worldview that tries to ground itself in the teachings of the bible must seek outside the bible for its account for concepts, just as you have when you point to Bahnsen’s repetitive tome for your account for concepts (its index only lists two pages out of 733 pages of text for the entry 'concepts', and has no entry at all for 'abstraction'). The bible let you down, for it doesn't deliver when you need it most (per your own words: “The Bible was not meant to be a philosophic lexicon.”), so you had to go digging somewhere else for something you know you need, but which your worldview nowhere provides.

 
At 4/10/2005 8:52 PM, Blogger Paul Manata declaimed...

Oh, okay, so now you run away also. I was gonna give you a shot and see if you were the first objectivist who could intelligenlty distinguish between universals and concepts and give a proper account of each, but I guess I'll looke elsewhere.

 
At 4/10/2005 9:26 PM, Blogger Zachary Moore declaimed...

Paul: Great post Zach! Hey... let me know when you get around to refuting my actual arguments instead of side-tracking.

Zach: Sure, I'll get around to it as soon as you let me know when you have anything worthwhile to refute.

Paul: Why don't you represent me acuratley, also?

Zach: "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." Gotta love that Christian hypocrisy.

Paul: My problem is that you're literally ignorant but try and pass yourself off as someone who isn't. My problem is that you made yourself a bafoon by your good friday post.

Zach: You have many more problems than those. For example, you project your own shortcomings onto others. Case in point.

Paul: ...I could spend my time actually dealing with people who have at least read Philosophy For Dummies.

Zach: And yet you continually come back for more. Tell me, is self-refutation the worst kind of refutation?

 
At 4/11/2005 6:59 AM, Blogger Bahnsen Burner declaimed...

Paul wrote: “Oh, okay, so now you run away also.”

(I’m supposing this was directed at me, but I have no idea why. Perhaps Paul thinks he’s such a formidable intellectual force that everyone else parts before him like the waters of the Red Sea before Moses – another indication that the religionist cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy.)

Paul: “I was gonna give you a shot”

Gee, Paul, you’re so magnanimous!

Paul: “and see if you were the first objectivist who could intelligently [sic] distinguish between universals and concepts and give a proper account of each,”

In the space of a blog comments section? For what purpose do you think I would do this, Paul?

Paul: “but I guess I'll looke [sic] elsewhere.”

Like the bible?

 

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