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  • #16
    Well this one has certainly blown out LtL.

    I fear that we are on the verge of going around in circles. If so, then two things here:-

    1) Do you which to push this particular line for a few more exchanges before jumping to something new, (but related)?

    2) Or do you want to have a final word on this point, and then throw something new to me?

    I have asked a few questions of you in my reply. So maybe these will take us sideways and break the potential wheel spinning.


    Originally posted by luvthelord View Post
    Let me see if I can also address this in a flowing manner so as not to have it broken up and blowing out! First, the nature of God. Yes, there is a “constraint” on God. He is who He is, and He cannot be anything other than Himself. He cannot lie. He cannot contradict Himself. He cannot change His nature. Part of His nature is logic. He is not independent of logic; logic is how God thinks, and because He cannot change then logic (His way of thinking) cannot change. So, because God exists and is perfectly logical and made us in His image, we are to think His thoughts after Him.
    There are a couple of things I see wrong here, in how you use God to account for logic:-

    1) When you write things like "... there is a "constraint" on God ... part of his nature is logic ..." then you seem to be asserting that logic exists independently of God, that God depends on logic, as opposed to logic depends on God. That is, God did not make logic (that is, logic depends on God). If it's so that God is constrained and depends on logic - then logic still needs to be accounted for.

    2) You appear to be ascribing properties to God, one of which is the very thing we are trying to account for, namely logic. You write "God is X and God is Y and God is logic". But I could make the same kind of assertion about the universe. I could say "The universe is X, the universe is Y, the universe is logic". By doing so, just as you have gone part of the way to accounting for logic, so have I gone part of the way to accounting for logic.

    And so, just as I feel as if I cannot exactly account for logic, other than by using the method described above, so I cannot see how you have accounted for it.

    Originally posted by LtL
    Yes, the Bible asserts that God's thoughts and ways are perfectly, consistently logical, good, and right. It doesn't defend the position because no defense is needed. The Words are God-breathed, ultimately it's His message and not just messages from humans. The Bible does not seek to defend what it says – it asserts the truth of itself being from God.
    But why does it not need defending? The Bible is words in a book, words that make various claims. Why don't these need defending when a person claims "They don't need defending"?

    Originally posted by LtL
    You believe what other people tell you (or you believe what you deem right). ....
    Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. Besides people telling me things by word of mouth, I also read things which people write, and as it is with people speaking, sometimes I believe what I read, and sometimes I don't ....

    Originally posted by LtL
    We are all fallible humans who make mistakes and change our minds about what is right or wrong, good or bad, etc. ...
    Yes.

    Originally posted by LtL
    God does not do that. He chose to reveal that to us in a book. We can believe what He says, or we can believe what humans say.
    I've two questions here:-

    1) How do you distinguish between what God writes in a book, as opposed to what humans write about God in a book?

    2) How do you distinguish between what God thinks about God (i.e. himself) and what you think about God?

    I ask these two questions, because, even if God exists, it's a human I am conversing with, and as far as I can tell, it was humans who were involved in every aspect of the formation of the Bible. And so, as far as I can tell, if I'm not arguing with you, LtL, then I'm arguing with people who had ideas about the ultimate nature of reality, ideas which they wrote down a few thousand years ago and which you repeat today.

    (In writing these things, I might be wandering off the track a bit when it comes to accounting for logic. But they are claims you make in your accounting for logic and so I need to know your basis for making these claims.)

    Originally posted by LtL
    When we believe God and pattern our thoughts after Him, we can be consistent with our logic and lifestyle. A person who refuses to believe God's Word patterns his thoughts after himself or other people. What person is perfectly logical, that we should pattern our thoughts after him or her?
    No matter what the explanation for logic is, we both use and accept the same logic. We both agree that logic is, well, logical. Hence it’s hardly so that by listening to other people, I’m going to abandon logic more so than you are when you listen to God. And of course, naturally, I’m skeptical that when you claim or insinuate that you are listening to God, that you are actually listening to [the Christian] God, just like I would be by a Hindu making the claim with respect to [the Hindu] Brahma.

    So in the context of persuading me as to “who is right”, I’m going to need some kind of tangible evidence that no matter who each of us listens to, I abandon logic more so than you do, or that your logic is better than my logic. As far as I know, we both rely on the same logic.

    Originally posted by LtL
    You and I agree that logic is universal and will not change. However, let's step into a godless universe and see if that assertion could hold true.
    O.k.

    Originally posted by LtL
    (1) “People have made up logic.” If so, then they can change it. No one person has the authority to define logic for every other person. Plus, as we evolve into higher intelligence we can change logic to make it fit with the intelligence we think we are gaining. Also, there is no reason logic would be universal if we just made it up. Different people groups with different ideas on thought processes could develop their own logic. Talk about a mess when communicating – each person could use his own arbitrary logic!
    Well if logic can change, so be it (as opposed to being universal - see just above). While I don't think that logic can change, let's suppose that it can, that it varies from culture to culture. As long as each culture finds that it works for them, then surely that is fine.

    When cultures meet? Certainly it will be a mess. But we have that problem with languages anyway. How do cultures overcome the mess brought on by language barriers? They manage it, and they do so particularly if they wish to communicate for whatever reason.

    And so I don't see any thing seriously wrong here if logic can change from culture to culture, anymore than I see something seriously wrong with language changing from culture to culture. The latter is a fact of reality.

    Originally posted by LtL
    (2) “We just evolved this way, to think this way, which is universal logic.” OK, that's what we observe, but that doesn't account for (justify/give a good reason) why logic exists in the first place. ...
    Well if it does not account for logic, then no one is going to suggest that it does. I don't see that it's the job of the theory of evolution to account for logic, any more than I think its the job of the atomic theory of matter to account for it. Like the theory of atoms, the theory of evolution is about a process that occurs within a universe in which logic already exists. (I've some caveats here. See later).

    Originally posted by LtL (bolding is mine)
    ... And if we just evolved this way, which would be chemicals reacting, we could only think according to how the chemicals fire and have no independent thought processes. You believe there is no god because that is how your chemicals fire, and I believe God exists because that is how my chemicals fire. Therefore, neither one of us would have a reason to argue our position (except because our chemicals tell us to) and post-modernism is true....which is self-refuting, illogical.
    I'm not sure what you are arguing here LtL. As I explain above, I don't think that it's the job of ToE to account for logic given that evolution is a process that operates within a universe in which logic already exists.

    One comment I will make concerns consistency. Given your description above, if it is just chemicals and you can think that there is God, and I can think that there is no God, then surely we do in fact have independent thought processes?

    Originally posted by LtL
    (3) “The universe exists and logic is part of it. God need not exist for logic to exist.” Arbitrary assertion. ...
    Well this is a point I am trying to make previously. Your claims about God also appear to be arbitrary assertions. For example, return to your comment about the Bible and its claims, that don't need defending.

    Then there is the issue of circularity, namely that God is logic, and this accounts for logic.

    These are things I can ascribe to the universe. The universe has the property of logic. This does not need defending. Thus I have accounted for logic.

    It seems to me that we are both groping when we try to account for, that is, explain the existence of logic.

    Originally posted by LtL
    I gave a good reason as to why the God of the Bible must exist for logic to make sense, therefore being non-arbitrary.
    I disagree, naturally.


    Originally posted by LtL
    And I showed in points 1 and 2 above why the typical atheist reasons for “logic but no God” don't work – they defy the logic the atheist asserts and assumes at the outset!
    You are making the claim that my arguments are circular here. Yes. But then so are yours. Return to your claim that God is logic ... and that accounts for logic.

    I don't think that any of us can escape this circularity. We have to accept that logic exists and we grope around trying to explain its ultimate cause.


    Originally posted by LtL
    (4) “Neither one of us can adequately explain the existence of logic.” That's the Tu Quoque fallacy. ...
    Not necessarily. It depends on what one is looking for when it comes to explanation. From what I can see for now, you have offered an explanation that is logical. But a logical explanation has limitations:-

    1) It might not be correct, and/or

    2) It does not explain in a causative sense.

    In the context of explanation, logic is just one part of the requirement. Causation/mechanistic description is another part. Evidence in support of the explanation is the third part.

    As an illustration of this, I could derive a completely logical "explanation" for why my kitchen is tidy. The explanation could be that aliens from Saturn did it last night when I was asleep. I could phrase this explanation as one that is completely logical. However, if a person demonstrated that all aliens on Saturn were home on Saturn last night, then for all it's logic, my explanation would be wrong.

    So simply positing attributes for God, such as him being logical, and using it to account for logic, does not satisfy me as an explanation or an accounting for.

    Maybe you can offer one, and when done, my words would indeed be incorrect. But I have yet to see that accounting for. Naturally, there is the possibility that I am completely daft and am continually overlooking the obvious. I certainly won't deny that as a possibility.

    Originally posted by LtL
    Even if you don't agree with my reasoning (which I don't expect you to unless you start with God's Word instead of human ideas), I still provided a logical reason for laws of logic to exist; and I showed why the evolutionary ideas don't work, as they end up being illogical when thought out to their logical conclusion.
    See just above.

    In fact this brings a question to my mind which I will ask in your reply to the other sub-thread.

    Originally posted by LtL
    The differences here are: we don't assume food to eat it; we don't assume a predator for it to be there; we don't assume a mate to have one; we HAVE to assume logic in order to use it.
    Hmmmm. I'm not entirely convinced here.

    For example, I could assume a food is not a food in fact, and so not eat it. So I think, conversely, I do make an assumption that an object is food. I suspect that habit simply buries the notion of assumption so deeply, that we assume that we don't assume something is food. For example, when I look at a bowl of strawberries, I could well be wrong about their status as a food. They might be plastic. I have been deceived before.

    Originally posted by LtL
    Also - food, predators, and mates are physical in nature, whereas logic is conceptual. I'd say this is a category mistake, to compare logic to physical things.
    But I'm not comparing them. I'm using one (food, mate etc), to explain how the other (logic), might in part arise. That is, I'm suggesting that a series of "if ... then ... else" rules might arise in a system wherein survival depends on the ability to answer these questions - "food or no food?" or "mate or no mate?".

    Originally posted by LtL
    Care to try again to give a good reason why logic exists if the ToE were true?
    Well. See above. I don't think I'm making a category mistake, because I'm not comparing logic and food. Rather I'm suggesting how the need for food could well have given rise to a kind of logic.

    However, I don't know how far this can be pushed. Like a lot of things e.g. morals, it seems that certain things can be explained by ToE, but not all. And so it might be with logic. I can sort of see how ToE could account for a primitive logic, but that's about all. Ultimately, logic, like mathematics, seems to transcend our universe of mind, matter and energy. It seems to be one of those things we just accept, and as to how it came to be, like existence itself, we really do grope around to explain (in the sense I'm using the term "explain" - namely more than just a logical explanation).

    It's important to understand that ToE is about a process that sits within an existing universe. This is like the germ theory of disease. The germ theory of disease is a process that sits within an existing universe. And so it's wrong to expect it to account for any universal logic, just as it would be wrong to expect the germ theory of disease to account for it.

    Possibly where my argument breaks down is that ToE would ultimately like to account for "brains" and if mind = brain, then ToE would also be accounting for mind. And if logic comes from mind, then ToE certainly has something to do with logic. However, the question here is - does mind = brain and does logic come from mind or is logic independent of mind? I vacillate on that point of mind = brain, and I think that logic is independent of mind.

    Originally posted by LtL
    No mechanistic descriptions - logic is not physical in nature! But if you think it's physical in nature, I'd love an explanation!
    I know that logic is not physical in nature. But when a person says "account" for, then I'm kind of hoping for something that goes beyond a purely logical argument, particularly when it comes to accounting for logic itself.

    As explained above, logical arguments are not necessarily true arguments, as I think that your arguments are just as assertive and as circular as are mine, when it comes to accounting for logic. I don't think either of us can explain its existence beyond circular argument, groping and assertion.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by luvthelord View Post
      Always a pleasure to hear about your life events!
      It's never a pleasure doing fencing on hot days. Mind you, it's never a pleasure doing fencing period. Over the past four years I've had fences on the back and two sides collapse. They were built using untreated timber and so rot has essentially destroyed the wood after some 30 years. An elderly pensioner at the back and an uncooperative neighbour on the other side, have meant that those repairs were the minimum possible. In this case, my neighbour and I are redoing the whole fence.

      Quick question before I reply in full:-

      Originally posted by LtL
      If the ToE and naturalism were true, whose standards would we use to say what logic is?
      I can see why you bring naturalism in, but I can never see why you bring ToE in.

      Naturalism is a philosophical view point. But ToE, like any other theory within natural, empirical science is about a process that operates within the universe. This is just like the atomic theory of matter, the germ theory of disease, the theory of stellar evolution. Hence, ToE is about a process within a physical universe of which logic is already a part. And so, it's not the job of ToE to account for this universal logic.*

      When I think of ToE, I'm thinking of the biological theory of evolution, the theory of common descent with modification.

      My question is - what do you think of?

      Anyway, as explained in my Visitor Message, I'll be away for a few days. When I return, I'll be back to fencing - aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.



      * I have some caveats which I explain in the other post.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by rjw View Post
        It's never a pleasure doing fencing on hot days. Mind you, it's never a pleasure doing fencing period. Over the past four years I've had fences on the back and two sides collapse. They were built using untreated timber and so rot has essentially destroyed the wood after some 30 years. An elderly pensioner at the back and an uncooperative neighbour on the other side, have meant that those repairs were the minimum possible. In this case, my neighbour and I are redoing the whole fence.

        Quick question before I reply in full:-
        I can see why you bring naturalism in, but I can never see why you bring ToE in.
        Naturalism is a philosophical view point. But ToE, like any other theory within natural, empirical science is about a process that operates within the universe. This is just like the atomic theory of matter, the germ theory of disease, the theory of stellar evolution. Hence, ToE is about a process within a physical universe of which logic is already a part. And so, it's not the job of ToE to account for this universal logic.*
        When I think of ToE, I'm thinking of the biological theory of evolution, the theory of common descent with modification.
        My question is - what do you think of?
        Anyway, as explained in my Visitor Message, I'll be away for a few days. When I return, I'll be back to fencing - aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.
        * I have some caveats which I explain in the other post.
        Right now I have a mess of notes and thoughts for replying. I'm going to answer the question you put forth here, and also one you asked about the Bible in your last reply. If you want to reply about those here, OK. If not, that's fine too because I'm just explaining things and I will most likely have something similar when I post my final response on logic.

        The ToE* and Creation are at the center of the origins debate. The ToE relies on abiogenesis being true, and then it takes off. So if millions of years of evolution have brought us to the point we're at today with our physical make-up and thinking, the ToE needs to be able to explain how natural processes evolved logic when logic is needed in the first place to know what is logical, and to correct what is illogical. Natural processes don't have a mind. Logic has to exist in the first place to be used to know what is logical, being a precondition of intelligence and not just a presupp. So if it's not the job of the ToE to account for logic when we've supposedly come about from the processes of nature (one of which would be the ToE), then I can just as well say that I don't need to account for logic since it's here and we use it so God did it. So the ToE, with it's reliance on naturalism, needs a good reason to give for why and how universal logic exists. If there isn't a good reason that doesn't violate logic (self-refuting), such a worldview is illogical, although you still use logic (because it is part of God's divine nature clearly seen by all).

        * Defined as you stated; I'm not talking about evolution meaning change, which is part of empirical science that operates within the universe and we can observe it and test it. I mean the ToE, which tries to explain what happened in the past.

        You asked a question on your last post, which you noted didn't really go along with our topic of logic, but you were looking for an answer, I think to understand where I'm coming from. Again, no need to respond since we aren't really debating the truth of the Bible right now. Still, I wanted to answer so you would better understand a BIblical worldview.


        I've two questions here:-
        1) How do you distinguish between what God writes in a book, as opposed to what humans write about God in a book?

        2) How do you distinguish between what God thinks about God (i.e. himself) and what you think about God?
        (1) The Bible says that it's ultimately authored by God Himself, as He used men to pen His message to us. That's either true or not. I'm saying it is, you say it isn't. There are many, many reasons I could give you for believing God is the ultimate author. For one, when you read other books about a god you will find that people are assumed to be good enough to get a reward in the next life; or you will find that gods take on human characteristics and fight and argue, while the humans are the good guys who either suffer because of the gods or they outsmart the gods. The Bible alone defines man with a sin nature – man is not good, only God is good. The Bible also records evil deeds of people, and how God either judges or extends mercy; in human-written material, people write more about good deeds and receiving mercy because the underlying human assumption is that we're good people and we deserve good things. The Bible says otherwise, because good is defined by God's Holy character, not our sinful nature. I could offer more examples, but because your worldview excludes God's existence and holds strongly to naturalism, you will have a reason my answer and any others I would give would be wrong.

        In order to distinguish between God's Word and man's word, your nature has to be changed. You have to repent, which is turning from what the world says is right and turn to God's truth; and you have to trust that Jesus (the one revealed in the Bible) took your sins in His body on the cross, was buried, and rose from the grave just like the Scriptures (and Jesus Himself) said He would. Right now you don't have ears to hear or eyes to see – which is why I continue to discuss your worldview compared to a Biblical one. I pray that God would open your ears and eyes so that you would come to faith in Christ and understand the Truth of God's Word. Evidential arguments won't persuade you because your worldview already excludes the existence of God, but I know that if God so desires He will change your mind, heart, and soul. I desire that to happen, so I continue with you......

        (2) Good question! I think about God what He has revealed to us in His Word. If I would think about God in any other way, I would be creating a god in my own image, based on my desires and imaginations. We're called to think God's thoughts after Him and fear Him, which is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), not to rely on our own deceptive ways (Jeremiah 17:9). A straightforward reading of God's Word, in context, according to genre, historical context, grammatical context, and letting Scripture interpret Scripture, is how to understand who God is and what He has done.

        I hope that helps you understand where I'm coming from. Now I need to put together my notes for a final repsonse to logic - that might take a couple days! Gives you time to get that fence up !
        Last edited by luvthelord; 01-23-13, 08:51 AM. Reason: paragraph missing???
        Romans 1:19-20 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by luvthelord View Post
          Gives you time to get that fence up !
          Fence up. Finished it yesterday morning. Return to work tomorrow - Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh.

          I will wait for your final reply, but there is a lot of good stuff in your latest reply for us to haggle over. Thanks for what you wrote. I very much appreciate it.

          But to keep the thread ordered and not allow it to grow like a confused tangle of octopi legs, I'll wait for you to finish, then pick something out.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by rjw View Post
            Well this one has certainly blown out LtL.
            I fear that we are on the verge of going around in circles. If so, then two things here:-
            1) Do you which to push this particular line for a few more exchanges before jumping to something new, (but related)?
            2) Or do you want to have a final word on this point, and then throw something new to me?
            I have asked a few questions of you in my reply. So maybe these will take us sideways and break the potential wheel spinning.
            I consolidated an answer, and I think I addressed most of the new points or questions you had. If not, and there is something pressing that you want me to answer, please repeat it for me and I will. Other than that, this is the last I have to say on logic. If you would like to reply and have the last word on it, go for it! Then, we talked about hitting absolute truth (AT). Instead of just wandering down from these posts, perhaps we can reply to an earlier post and start AT from there instead of buried after logic??

            There are a couple of things I see wrong here, in how you use God to account for logic:-
            1) When you write things like "... there is a "constraint" on God ... part of his nature is logic ..." then you seem to be asserting that logic exists independently of God, that God depends on logic, as opposed to logic depends on God. That is, God did not make logic (that is, logic depends on God). If it's so that God is constrained and depends on logic - then logic still needs to be accounted for.
            2) You appear to be ascribing properties to God, one of which is the very thing we are trying to account for, namely logic. You write "God is X and God is Y and God is logic". But I could make the same kind of assertion about the universe. I could say "The universe is X, the universe is Y, the universe is logic". By doing so, just as you have gone part of the way to accounting for logic, so have I gone part of the way to accounting for logic.
            And so, just as I feel as if I cannot exactly account for logic, other than by using the method described above, so I cannot see how you have accounted for it.

            No matter what the explanation for logic is, we both use and accept the same logic. We both agree that logic is, well, logical. Hence it’s hardly so that by listening to other people, I’m going to abandon logic more so than you are when you listen to God. And of course, naturally, I’m skeptical that when you claim or insinuate that you are listening to God, that you are actually listening to [the Christian] God, just like I would be by a Hindu making the claim with respect to [the Hindu] Brahma.

            So in the context of persuading me as to “who is right”, I’m going to need some kind of tangible evidence that no matter who each of us listens to, I abandon logic more so than you do, or that your logic is better than my logic. As far as I know, we both rely on the same logic.

            Well if logic can change, so be it (as opposed to being universal - see just above). While I don't think that logic can change, let's suppose that it can, that it varies from culture to culture. As long as each culture finds that it works for them, then surely that is fine.
            When cultures meet? Certainly it will be a mess. But we have that problem with languages anyway. How do cultures overcome the mess brought on by language barriers? They manage it, and they do so particularly if they wish to communicate for whatever reason.
            And so I don't see any thing seriously wrong here if logic can change from culture to culture, anymore than I see something seriously wrong with language changing from culture to culture. The latter is a fact of reality.

            Well if it does not account for logic, then no one is going to suggest that it does. I don't see that it's the job of the theory of evolution to account for logic, any more than I think its the job of the atomic theory of matter to account for it. Like the theory of atoms, the theory of evolution is about a process that occurs within a universe in which logic already exists. (I've some caveats here. See later).

            I'm not sure what you are arguing here LtL. As I explain above, I don't think that it's the job of ToE to account for logic given that evolution is a process that operates within a universe in which logic already exists.

            One comment I will make concerns consistency. Given your description above, if it is just chemicals and you can think that there is God, and I can think that there is no God, then surely we do in fact have independent thought processes?

            Well this is a point I am trying to make previously. Your claims about God also appear to be arbitrary assertions. For example, return to your comment about the Bible and its claims, that don't need defending.

            Then there is the issue of circularity, namely that God is logic, and this accounts for logic.

            These are things I can ascribe to the universe. The universe has the property of logic. This does not need defending. Thus I have accounted for logic.
            It seems to me that we are both groping when we try to account for, that is, explain the existence of logic.
            I disagree, naturally.

            You are making the claim that my arguments are circular here. Yes. But then so are yours. Return to your claim that God is logic ... and that accounts for logic.
            I don't think that any of us can escape this circularity. We have to accept that logic exists and we grope around trying to explain its ultimate cause.

            Not necessarily. It depends on what one is looking for when it comes to explanation. From what I can see for now, you have offered an explanation that is logical. But a logical explanation has limitations:-
            1) It might not be correct, and/or
            2) It does not explain in a causative sense.
            I'm not saying we have different logic or that mine is better. I'm saying we rely on the same logic – unchanging, universal logic that we have to have in order to even think and have this debate. If it wasn't universal and unchanging, we could start throwing out contradictions within our worldviews and be perfectly justified. That won't happen though, because we use logic to correct what is illogical, so a contradictory worldview is illogical and therefore does not represent truth!

            The problem with needing tangible evidence to figure out who is right about logic, is that logic is NOT tangible – it cannot be touched because it isn't material. Therefore, we have to use our thoughts, which are based on logic. To even say that one needs tangible evidence is self-refuting, since there is no tangible evidence showing that needing tangible evidence is needed to prove something!
            So we're back to what the Bible says verses what you and/or other humans say. The Bible tells us about God who cannot deny Himself (Law of Non-contradiction), and that He is Who He is/YHWH (Law of Identity). His divine nature is shown in us and in all creation, as there will never be any contradictions, and we all live assuming that because we reflect God's divine nature as we're made in His image. There is One Creator who revealed some of His thoughts to us, and we can live with certainty that logic is universal and absolute and will not change, based on the Word and the nature of our Creator Himself.

            In your worldview, you say “Well if logic can change, so be it (as opposed to being universal - see just above). While I don't think that logic can change, let's suppose that it can, that it varies from culture to culture. As long as each culture finds that it works for them, then surely that is fine..And so I don't see any thing seriously wrong here if logic can change from culture to culture, anymore than I see something seriously wrong with language changing from culture to culture. The latter is a fact of reality...” The thing is, you don't live as if it were possible for logic to change. But to be consistent to a profession of a Godless universe, you have to leave the door open for logic to change, even though you doubt it will. And if you ran into a culture with different logic, such as whatever anyone said was right (God doesn't exist at the same time and in the same place that He does exist), even if it seemed to work for them you would surely call their thoughts illogical. (The point about languages – languages are different, but logic is universal; we translate languages, but illogical thoughts aren't translated, they are corrected by logic!)

            Logic exists in our minds, it's not tangible or physical. Therefore, to say logic already existed in a universe without a creative mind to create it, is to attribute logic to physical matter; or to chemical reactions, but if those chemical reactions allow what is illogical to operate then it's not really illogical, it's just how the chemicals operate. We think it's logical or illogical because of the way we've evolved to think, not because absolute logic exists.
            Chemicals operating differently doesn't mean we have independent thought processes, it just means my chemical reactions in my brain are different than yours due to differences in our biological evolution, so we say and do things based on those chemical reactions, and there is really nothing we can do to change our thoughts and behaviors unless the chemical reactions change. However, you and I both realize that we have independent thought processes and can make choices (within our nature). To live as though you have independent thought processes but to profess that we are a here because of physical biological changes over time takes us back to being slaves to our changing chemical reactions, an inconsistency in what you profess and how you live in your worldview.
            I don't grope to account for logic, since it comes from our Creator. I know there is absolute logic, based on His nature, as we see it in the physical and non-physical parts of the universe. We both see it, but in your worldview you don't give God the glory, you give physical processes the glory instead; physical processes that, when used to try and account for logic, end up as fallacious arguments or lead to inconsistencies in how you live verses what you profess to believe. That is why, in Romans 1:20, it says people are without excuse or without a defense, when it comes to knowing that God exists. Logic is just one thing that shows the divine nature of God in creation, and no other reason for absolute logic exists without being illogical or fallacious.

            In the context of explanation, logic is just one part of the requirement. Causation/mechanistic description is another part. Evidence in support of the explanation is the third part.
            As an illustration of this, I could derive a completely logical "explanation" for why my kitchen is tidy. The explanation could be that aliens from Saturn did it last night when I was asleep. I could phrase this explanation as one that is completely logical. However, if a person demonstrated that all aliens on Saturn were home on Saturn last night, then for all it's logic, my explanation would be wrong.
            Of course it doesn't satisfy you; but with all due respect, if one is satisfied with an argument or not it is irrelevant to the truth. You agree that my argument is logical, but do you see that it is also consistent? No one lives in a consistent manner believing that aliens on Saturn can tidy one's kitchen – and if they do we use absolute logic to correct their thinking, since they would be thinking irrationally. But if God with His nature did not exist and create the physical and non-physical universe to operate according to His nature, then someone thinking aliens tidied his kitchen would be justified, since there would be no good reason for logic to be universal and absolute. Whether the claim about the aliens was true or not is beside the point – it could still be logical (maybe, a big maybe), but we can refute such a claim showing the reasons for believing it are arbitrary and inconsistent with how the person lives (he will most likely not wait for the aliens to clean his kitchen the next time it's messy).

            So simply positing attributes for God, such as him being logical, and using it to account for logic, does not satisfy me as an explanation or an accounting for.
            Maybe you can offer one, and when done, my words would indeed be incorrect. But I have yet to see that accounting for. Naturally, there is the possibility that I am completely daft and am continually overlooking the obvious. I certainly won't deny that as a possibility.
            Oh rjw, I say this with love, that you are overlooking the obvious, but you can't see it since you believe ideas in a worldview that denies the existence of the God of the Bible.

            I know I chopped off the end, but it got too long. Plus I think I've hit my limit in being able to explain logic from the Biblical worldview!
            Romans 1:19-20 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by LtL
              Oh rjw, I say this with love, ...
              I understand that. There are two ways in which a Christian can offer these words to a non Christian:-

              1) As a offer of a gift. It’s something they sincerely believe and they wish to share it. And so they do, even though the other person does not share their belief. It’s kind of like saying to another “I really do wish you well” or “As a friend I really hope you can accept this ...”, or something like it. Except that behind the words is a faith and an associated set of important ideas that the giver is wanting to share.

              2) As a meaningless glib assertion at best or as an insult at worst. That might seem a strange thing to say, but it goes like this - “As a Christian, only I have real love and everything I say is, by default love. ...”

              I have met both kinds of folk and I place you firmly in 1). So I can easily accept your words in good faith and thank you for them, even though I disagree in that it is not obvious to me.


              Originally posted by LtL
              If you would like to reply and have the last word on it, go for it! Then, we talked about hitting absolute truth (AT). Instead of just wandering down from these posts, perhaps we can reply to an earlier post and start AT from there instead of buried after logic??
              No. Im happy to leave it here and return to AT. I suspect that some of what I could say in reply to your post above, will arise in our conversation on AT.

              Rather than hunting for that particular discussion, if you are happy, I’ll post a very short anecdote at the same level that the OP is at, and we can exchange our views from that point.

              The anecdote will illustrate why, although I accept there is AT, that no human can actually claim to have it. There is always room for doubt.

              Comment


              • #22
                Absolute Truth (AT). Can we claim to have it in a way that is universally acceptable

                So is there an absolute truth (AT)?

                Yes, I think there is. Can any human know it which utter certainty, and in such a manner that it should convince a skeptic? No, I don’t think so, because there will always be room for doubt.


                The great shock I had, which destroyed my notions of AT, goes back some 40 odd years to when I was 20 years old.

                So first some background.

                As a kid, my family was very active in the church. One of the things I used to hear from time to time, in sermons, and during Sunday School, was that there were groups out there, often called “sects”, which claimed to be Christian, but which were really tools of Satan. Various names would be bandied around. And it was often the case we were told that these were false Christians because while they claimed otherwise, they did not really teach what was in the Bible. At times there was a (prophetic) warning to keep away from these groups because they could easily ensnare a person. More often that not, Bible verses would be used to reinforce the claims.

                I also have vague memories of sitting in Church feeling sorry for non-Christians given that they were “sick”, that they were “lost” while we were “saved”, that they were “in the darkness”, while we were “in the light”, and so on. Language is a great medium for forming impressions that can remain for life. I have some memories for thinking that atheists must be a miserable, pathetic lot.

                So what happened?

                Having completed high school, and now in the city on my first job, one of my acquaintances happened to be a member of one of these groups. Towards the end of my first year, he invited me to a meeting. I happily went along, feeling certain that my background was enough to prevent me from falling to their claims, and if anything, I could easily show them wrong.

                I vividly remember the start of the meeting and quickly becoming mortified as the speaker told his audience how we Methodists, (and Baptists, and everyone else) were on our way to hell because our “Christianity” was false. Worse still, had I been Catholic, then there was no hope for me. I was damned.

                My first reaction to this was that I was going to keep my big mouth shut during the post service supper. And I did. Being a new face there, the speaker and some of his friends had been engaging me in normal daily chit-chat while we ate, until my friend came onto the scene to introduce us by name. He concluded his introduction by telling them that I was a Methodist and that I believed such and such.

                Then it was on.

                They were, I’ll admit, really nice folk.

                In the “argument” that followed the personal introduction, they did not convince me of the errors of my ways. I most certainly failed to convince them of their errors.

                What they did convince me of was the error of our ways.

                What had happened was that we had been demonstrating that it was the other who was unBiblical and on his way to hell, and that it was ourselves who was Biblical and on our way to heaven. The proof of our argument? The Bible. We were using the Bible as the infallible, inerrant word of God to show that it was the other who was the heretic and us who was the true Christian.

                An hour or so later on the way home, the penny dropped. It was not that I was wrong, nor that they were wrong, but that we were probably both wrong. Each thought he had the absolute truth and each thought he was using the absolute truth to argue his case. Yet all we were doing was reaching contradictory conclusions. How could this be if each of us was absolutely correct?

                Let me put it this way. Each of us claimed to have an infallible, inerrant source of truth. Each of us was using it to show two things:-

                1) The other was the heretic, while
                2) “I” was the faithful.


                That encapsulated the problem of absolute truth for me.

                No secular reasoning was involved. No secular science was involved. No secular logic or mathematics was involved. No secular history was involved. No secular philosophy was involved.*

                It was straight out the infallible, inerrant word of God being used to reach contradictory conclusions.


                Does this anecdote explain my problem with AT? This kind of issue is sometimes seen on these forums when two believers claim AT, and using the Bible as their reference point, argue that it's each other who cannot be the true Christian because the Bible says "X".

                Sure, AT is out there. But none of us can claim to know it beyond asserting it. There is always room for doubt. And the moment a person claims with absolute assurance to know at least something of it, there is another equally bright, intelligent, nice, sensible, human being who just as assuredly can claim - “you are wrong”.

                So while I think there is an AT out there, at best, any of us may:-

                1) think we have it, and
                2) may assert that we have it

                - but that can only be meaningful to us and others who might think as we do

                There is no way of establishing that we are correct in any objective sense, an objective sense that allows us to make it convincing to those who don’t see things the way we do.

                At best we can think we have AT. That’s all.





                * I am using the term "secular" in the sense of an impression I get when arguing with many folk on these forums, that there is the "secular" and there is the "sacred". Hence there is secular science, secular history, secular philosophy. I think there is just science, history and philosophy. For example history can take on many different cases, such as the history of religion, the history of the state, the history of atheism, etc.
                Last edited by rjw; 02-05-13, 12:17 AM.

                Comment


                • #23
                  A great quote from Paul Tillich which kind of encapsulates what I'm getting at.

                  Well kind of.

                  I heard it on a podcast a week or so ago. The podcast came from our national broadcaster, the ABC (no, "Australian" not "American" ) and fortunately it's often so that their podcasts are transcribed into text, and so I was able to locate the quote and copy it. I found the podcast enjoyable, and so I've included the link to the transcript at the end.


                  Originally posted by Tillich 1957 bolding is mine
                  Faith in the sacramental type of religion is not the belief that something is holy and other things are not, it is the state of being grasped by the holy through a special medium. The assertion that something has sacred character is meaningful only for the asserting faith. If a Protestant observes a Catholic praying before a picture of the Virgin, he remains observer, unable to state whether the faith of the observed is valid or not. If he is a Catholic, he may join the observed in the same act of faith. There is no criterion by which faith can be judged from outside the correlation of faith.

                  But something else can happen. The faithful can ask himself or be asked by someone else whether the medium through which he experiences ultimate concern expresses real ultimacy. This question is the dynamic force in the history of religion, revolutionising the sacramental type of faith and driving faith beyond in different directions. The presupposition of this question is the inadequacy of the finite, even the most sacred piece of reality, to express what is of ultimate concern. The human mind however forgets this inadequacy and identifies the Sacred object with the ultimate itself. The sacramental object is taken as holy in itself. Its character, as the bearer of the holy, pointing beyond itself, it disappears in the act of faith. The act of faith is no longer directed towards the ultimate itself but towards that which represents the ultimate; the tree, the book, the building, the person. The transparency of faith is lost.

                  Engaging the Sacred

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by rjw View Post
                    So is there an absolute truth (AT)?
                    Yes, I think there is. Can any human know it which utter certainty, and in such a manner that it should convince a skeptic? No, I don’t think so, because there will always be room for doubt.
                    The great shock I had, which destroyed my notions of AT, goes back some 40 odd years to when I was 20 years old.
                    So first some background.
                    As a kid, my family was very active in the church. One of the things I used to hear from time to time, in sermons, and during Sunday School, was that there were groups out there, often called “sects”, which claimed to be Christian, but which were really tools of Satan. Various names would be bandied around. And it was often the case we were told that these were false Christians because while they claimed otherwise, they did not really teach what was in the Bible. At times there was a (prophetic) warning to keep away from these groups because they could easily ensnare a person. More often that not, Bible verses would be used to reinforce the claims.
                    I also have vague memories of sitting in Church feeling sorry for non-Christians given that they were “sick”, that they were “lost” while we were “saved”, that they were “in the darkness”, while we were “in the light”, and so on. Language is a great medium for forming impressions that can remain for life. I have some memories for thinking that atheists must be a miserable, pathetic lot.
                    So what happened?
                    Having completed high school, and now in the city on my first job, one of my acquaintances happened to be a member of one of these groups. Towards the end of my first year, he invited me to a meeting. I happily went along, feeling certain that my background was enough to prevent me from falling to their claims, and if anything, I could easily show them wrong.
                    I vividly remember the start of the meeting and quickly becoming mortified as the speaker told his audience how we Methodists, (and Baptists, and everyone else) were on our way to hell because our “Christianity” was false. Worse still, had I been Catholic, then there was no hope for me. I was damned.
                    My first reaction to this was that I was going to keep my big mouth shut during the post service supper. And I did. Being a new face there, the speaker and some of his friends had been engaging me in normal daily chit-chat while we ate, until my friend came onto the scene to introduce us by name. He concluded his introduction by telling them that I was a Methodist and that I believed such and such.
                    Then it was on.
                    They were, I’ll admit, really nice folk.
                    In the “argument” that followed the personal introduction, they did not convince me of the errors of my ways. I most certainly failed to convince them of their errors.
                    What they did convince me of was the error of our ways.
                    What had happened was that we had been demonstrating that it was the other who was unBiblical and on his way to hell, and that it was ourselves who was Biblical and on our way to heaven. The proof of our argument? The Bible. We were using the Bible as the infallible, inerrant word of God to show that it was the other who was the heretic and us who was the true Christian.
                    An hour or so later on the way home, the penny dropped. It was not that I was wrong, nor that they were wrong, but that we were probably both wrong. Each thought he had the absolute truth and each thought he was using the absolute truth to argue his case. Yet all we were doing was reaching contradictory conclusions. How could this be if each of us was absolutely correct?
                    Let me put it this way. Each of us claimed to have an infallible, inerrant source of truth. Each of us was using it to show two things:-
                    1) The other was the heretic, while
                    2) “I” was the faithful.
                    That encapsulated the problem of absolute truth for me.
                    No secular reasoning was involved. No secular science was involved. No secular logic or mathematics was involved. No secular history was involved. No secular philosophy was involved.*
                    It was straight out the infallible, inerrant word of God being used to reach contradictory conclusions.
                    Does this anecdote explain my problem with AT? This kind of issue is sometimes seen on these forums when two believers claim AT, and using the Bible as their reference point, argue that it's each other who cannot be the true Christian because the Bible says "X".
                    Sure, AT is out there. But none of us can claim to know it beyond asserting it. There is always room for doubt. And the moment a person claims with absolute assurance to know at least something of it, there is another equally bright, intelligent, nice, sensible, human being who just as assuredly can claim - “you are wrong”.
                    So while I think there is an AT out there, at best, any of us may:-
                    1) think we have it, and
                    2) may assert that we have it
                    - but that can only be meaningful to us and others who might think as we do
                    Your conversation sounds all too familiar – the part about discussing disagreements about Scripture, and that you couldn't keep your big mouth shut (you said it!). It's good for professing Christians to discuss disagreements about Scripture in order to come to the truth. It also weeds out false converts when they don't agree with the words of the Bible. However, I don't know the conversation, so I don't know who was right, or if either party was right. Regardless, just because that conversation ended with both sides claiming their interpretations of the Bible were right, does that mean no one knows the correct message from the Bible? And even if no one on the earth knows the correct message, is it the fault of the messenger or the reader? Just because people can't get it right all the time and even try to force their views onto Scripture doesn't mean the Bible isn't true.

                    It sounds like you are saying that your personal experiences led you to know, from your own personal reasoning, that the truth is none of us can really know what is true. Is that absolutely true? If so, then you are claiming to know AT at the same time you deny that anyone can know it. If it's not absolutely true, then perhaps someone really can/does know what is absolute truth.
                    Now, I'm not claiming that I or any human knows everything about all subjects. My claim is that AT exists, and I know that is absolutely true because to say "it might not be true," or "it doesn't exist", would be a contradictory statement.




                    From a Biblical worldview, there is absolute truth. While no human on earth knows everything (only God does), we know that in a universe created by the God of the Bible there is AT. His character is that He cannot lie, and Jesus claims that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). That statement is either true or it's not. A Christian says it's true, and we base what we know is true on His revealed Word to us recorded in the Bible. His Word is our ultimate authority in truth.

                    In your worldview, what is your ultimate authority that you use for truth claims?

                    There is no way of establishing that we are correct in any objective sense, an objective sense that allows us to make it convincing to those who don’t see things the way we do.
                    At best we can think we have AT. That’s all.
                    [SIZE=2]Then you could be wrong about God not existing, or about the ToE, or the BB, because at best you think you know it's true, so why debate anything at all? You're making an absolute truth claim here, saying that at best we can think we have AT. If that's true, you undermine any truth claim you make; if it's not true, then there is a way of establishing that we can know AT (not that a person can know everything, but that a person can know where AT comes from).[/SIZE]
                    Romans 1:19-20 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      You will be very proud of me. I've made this one very, very short, because, in a way, it brings us right back to presuppositions. So I've skirted around a lot of your questions and comments for now. If there is one you were busting for me to address, and I did not, put it back to me in bold.


                      Originally posted by luvthelord View Post
                      If so, then you are claiming to know AT at the same time you deny that anyone can know it. If it's not absolutely true, then perhaps someone really can/does know what is absolute truth.
                      I'm not exactly claiming to know AT as in what it is. I accept that there is an absolute truth, but that we cannot know it. Sure, I am kind of making that to be an absolute truth. However, I'd be hard pressed to prove it, either to myself or to someone else. It's probably a statement of pure logic more than anything else. It's hard to see how there cannot be an absolute truth, even if that truth is that there is no such truth, or that there is but that we cannot know it.*

                      Your comment here brings me back to a question I think we discussed right back in the very beginning. Presuppositions.

                      What do you think that the fundamental presuppositions are, upon which you base this comment:-

                      Originally posted by LtL
                      My claim is that AT exists, and I know that is absolutely true because to say "it might not be true," or "it doesn't exist", would be a contradictory statement. [**]
                      - particularly in the context of your religious version of it, namely that God exists, that the Bible is his word, that your understanding of the Bible is absolute truth? (I hope I have this correct).


                      Originally posted by LtL
                      Then you could be wrong about God not existing, or about the ToE, or the BB, because at best you think you know it's true, so why debate anything at all?
                      Yes. I could be wrong about anything and everything. So why bother to debate? To continually test my ideas as to what I think truth is, as far as I can ascertain that truth. Consider a human body on the ground, its death unseen by anyone. There is an absolute truth as to the cause of death and opinions can be given concerning this. But some opinions will be better made than others. Those opinions will appeal to logic and to evidence. They will be based on what are considered by all parties to be a reasonable set of presuppositions. Those other opinions will be speculations, wild guesses, perhaps even made up stories.

                      The cause of death may never be known with absolute certainty, even though there must be an absolute truth about that cause "out there".

                      That's why we debate and argue - to try and work it out, and failing that, to try and work out the most probable answer out of all possible answers.

                      .
                      .
                      .
                      .

                      And of course, it can be fun upsetting some people.




                      * There is a logic called "fuzzy logic". It attempts to deal with statements that have a degree of probability associated with them. Statements might be true or false. But in the real world they mostly have probabilities associated with them. I think you were debating at one stage, Strangelove re heliocentricism versus geocentricism. Now to me (and to you), it's a fact that the earth orbits the sun. But were you able to convince Strangelove? If not then clearly there is either something wrong with Strangelove, or there is something wrong about what we consider to be "fact". And if you consider heliocentricism to be an absolute fact now, given our use of cameras and satellites, then just how factual could it have been when the idea was first put forward on a reasonably empirical basis several hundred years ago? Then there were plenty of observations to show that the sun orbited the earth (and there still are). And furthermore, mathematically, it's quite hard to prove one theory as against the other. So even there, what you and I might consider hard, solid fact, does in fact have a degree of fuzziness, even to this day.

                      ** I have no problem with the claim AT exists. I do have a problem with any claim along the lines of "X actually is AT", where X is not AT. If X equals AT, then the claim "AT is actually AT", while absolutely true, does not get anyone anywhere. It is, to use your words, "viciously circular".
                      Last edited by rjw; 02-11-13, 01:15 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by rjw View Post
                        You will be very proud of me. I've made this one very, very short, because, in a way, it brings us right back to presuppositions. So I've skirted around a lot of your questions and comments for now. If there is one you were busting for me to address, and I did not, put it back to me in bold.
                        Oh yes, definitely presupps..........and I'm quite proud of you for the length !
                        Here is the question I really wanted you to answer, if you would: In your worldview, what is your ultimate authority that you use for truth claims? For example, do you decide in the end what's really true or not when there is a difference of what you think and what someone else thinks? Who or where is your final stopping point that decides the truth of matters?

                        I'm not exactly claiming to know AT as in what it is. I accept that there is an absolute truth, but that we cannot know it. Sure, I am kind of making that to be an absolute truth. However, I'd be hard pressed to prove it, either to myself or to someone else. It's probably a statement of pure logic more than anything else. It's hard to see how there cannot be an absolute truth, even if that truth is that there is no such truth, or that there is but that we cannot know it.*
                        Your comment here brings me back to a question I think we discussed right back in the very beginning. Presuppositions.
                        Your * was about fuzzy logic. All I have to say about that is, just because we don't know the truth about everything doesn't mean there isn't an absolute truth about it. Fuzzy logic seems like "we aren't sure." With accumulation of information over the years, there are some things we know more about; and it will continue that way as time goes on. We just have to be careful not to mix accumulation of knowledge about the physical world with the truth about things that are not part of the physical world.
                        Now rjw......it can't be absolutely true that there is no absolute truth. You didn't say that was true, but you threw it out as a possibility. If it's absolutely true that there is no absolute truth, that statement is contradictory and defies the logic we need to even have a conversation. I know you don't subscribe to postmodernism, so I'll take it you were just rambling there .
                        I agree that no human knows every single truth that exists, but that doesn't mean the truth isn't there.

                        What do you think that the fundamental presuppositions are, upon which you base this comment:-
                        My claim is that AT exists, and I know that is absolutely true because to say "it might not be true," or "it doesn't exist", would be a contradictory statement. [**]
                        - particularly in the context of your religious version of it, namely that God exists, that the Bible is his word, that your understanding of the Bible is absolute truth? (I hope I have this correct).
                        I presuppose that AT exists because if it didn't and whatever someone said or did was right, there would be no absolute logic (what we have to have to even say things like "there is, or is not, AT"), and therefore no reason to think anything was right or wrong. The contradictions and incosistencies with a worldview that denies AT and/or AL are insurmountable.
                        1. AT as with the existence of God, the God of the Bible - it's AT that He exists or that He doesn't.
                        2. AT as with the BIble being the Word of God - it's AT that it's His Word or it's not His Word.
                        3. AT as with my understanding of the Bible - I don't claim to know every single thing about God or the Bible. No one does. To get into hermeneutics would be another topic here. Perhaps we can address that later? (However, there are things that don't need "interpreted": they are plain and clear words. People just refuse to believe the words give Truth.)

                        Taking #1 and #2, I'm saying that the requirements we must have (i.e., AL and AT) even to have presupps about them, are based on the character and revealed Word of God. You use the same requirements for intelligence that I do and everyone else does (i.e., assuming AL and AT) whether a person knows it or not. We have to have AL to assume logic, and we have to have AT to assume anything is true. These are conditions needed in order to think and communicate. Being required before using them, the only way they can exist is from a mind that already has such things - and that mind is the God of the Bible. Created in His image, He has provided the necessary conditions for us to communicate and function in the physical world. A naturalistic worldview cannot account, or justify/give a good reason, for AL and AT. And to deny AL and/or AT is to admit defeat, since one has to assume both things in order to even assert his or her POV. Unless of course one subscribes to the postmodern worldview, where everyone is right, taking us back to the beginning and showing such a worldview to be inconsistent as one asserts his/her AT as there is no AT.

                        Your **: I also have a problem with people saying "X is AT" when in fact it isn't. It needs to be demonstrated, not just asserted. (My husband told me not to say "viciously circular" because that is a finanical term and doesn't mean what I'm thinking it means.....so I'm thinking maybe I should say " wrongly circular" since there are actually circular arguments that aren't illogical.)

                        Yes. I could be wrong about anything and everything. So why bother to debate? To continually test my ideas as to what I think truth is, as far as I can ascertain that truth. Consider a human body on the ground, its death unseen by anyone. There is an absolute truth as to the cause of death and opinions can be given concerning this. But some opinions will be better made than others. Those opinions will appeal to logic and to evidence. They will be based on what are considered by all parties to be a reasonable set of presuppositions. Those other opinions will be speculations, wild guesses, perhaps even made up stories.
                        The cause of death may never be known with absolute certainty, even though there must be an absolute truth about that cause "out there".
                        I agree to an extent. However, your analogy is something within the physical world. The debate about God's existence, AT, and AL all reside outside the physical world. God is Spirit, and AL and AT aren't physical things. They transcend the physical realm and must be dealt with differently than "I see this, smell this, hear this, touch this, so it must be this."

                        That's why we debate and argue - to try and work it out, and failing that, to try and work out the most probable answer out of all possible answers.
                        Yes, but it's so important to make sure we're starting with truth in order to end up with the right truths.

                        And of course, it can be fun upsetting some people.
                        Shame on you! That's why you keep getting suspended! Behave yourself, will ya?!?!?!?!



                        * There is a logic called "fuzzy logic". It attempts to deal with statements that have a degree of probability associated with them. Statements might be true or false. But in the real world they mostly have probabilities associated with them. I think you were debating at one stage, Strangelove re heliocentricism versus geocentricism. Now to me (and to you), it's a fact that the earth orbits the sun. But were you able to convince Strangelove? If not then clearly there is either something wrong with Strangelove, or there is something wrong about what we consider to be "fact". And if you consider heliocentricism to be an absolute fact now, given our use of cameras and satellites, then just how factual could it have been when the idea was first put forward on a reasonably empirical basis several hundred years ago? Then there were plenty of observations to show that the sun orbited the earth (and there still are). And furthermore, mathematically, it's quite hard to prove one theory as against the other. So even there, what you and I might consider hard, solid fact, does in fact have a degree of fuzziness, even to this day.

                        ** I have no problem with the claim AT exists. I do have a problem with any claim along the lines of "X actually is AT", where X is not AT. If X equals AT, then the claim "AT is actually AT", while absolutely true, does not get anyone anywhere. It is, to use your words, "viciously circular".
                        Romans 1:19-20 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by luvthelord View Post
                          Oh yes, definitely presupps..........and I'm quite proud of you for the length !
                          Here is the question I really wanted you to answer, if you would: In your worldview, what is your ultimate authority that you use for truth claims? For example, do you decide in the end what's really true or not when there is a difference of what you think and what someone else thinks? Who or where is your final stopping point that decides the truth of matters?


                          Your * was about fuzzy logic. All I have to say about that is, just because we don't know the truth about everything doesn't mean there isn't an absolute truth about it. Fuzzy logic seems like "we aren't sure." With accumulation of information over the years, there are some things we know more about; and it will continue that way as time goes on. We just have to be careful not to mix accumulation of knowledge about the physical world with the truth about things that are not part of the physical world.
                          Now rjw......it can't be absolutely true that there is no absolute truth. You didn't say that was true, but you threw it out as a possibility. If it's absolutely true that there is no absolute truth, that statement is contradictory and defies the logic we need to even have a conversation. I know you don't subscribe to postmodernism, so I'll take it you were just rambling there .
                          I agree that no human knows every single truth that exists, but that doesn't mean the truth isn't there.



                          I presuppose that AT exists because if it didn't and whatever someone said or did was right, there would be no absolute logic (what we have to have to even say things like "there is, or is not, AT"), and therefore no reason to think anything was right or wrong. The contradictions and incosistencies with a worldview that denies AT and/or AL are insurmountable.
                          1. AT as with the existence of God, the God of the Bible - it's AT that He exists or that He doesn't.
                          2. AT as with the BIble being the Word of God - it's AT that it's His Word or it's not His Word.
                          3. AT as with my understanding of the Bible - I don't claim to know every single thing about God or the Bible. No one does. To get into hermeneutics would be another topic here. Perhaps we can address that later? (However, there are things that don't need "interpreted": they are plain and clear words. People just refuse to believe the words give Truth.)

                          Taking #1 and #2, I'm saying that the requirements we must have (i.e., AL and AT) even to have presupps about them, are based on the character and revealed Word of God. You use the same requirements for intelligence that I do and everyone else does (i.e., assuming AL and AT) whether a person knows it or not. We have to have AL to assume logic, and we have to have AT to assume anything is true. These are conditions needed in order to think and communicate. Being required before using them, the only way they can exist is from a mind that already has such things - and that mind is the God of the Bible. Created in His image, He has provided the necessary conditions for us to communicate and function in the physical world. A naturalistic worldview cannot account, or justify/give a good reason, for AL and AT. And to deny AL and/or AT is to admit defeat, since one has to assume both things in order to even assert his or her POV. Unless of course one subscribes to the postmodern worldview, where everyone is right, taking us back to the beginning and showing such a worldview to be inconsistent as one asserts his/her AT as there is no AT.

                          Your **: I also have a problem with people saying "X is AT" when in fact it isn't. It needs to be demonstrated, not just asserted. (My husband told me not to say "viciously circular" because that is a finanical term and doesn't mean what I'm thinking it means.....so I'm thinking maybe I should say " wrongly circular" since there are actually circular arguments that aren't illogical.)


                          I agree to an extent. However, your analogy is something within the physical world. The debate about God's existence, AT, and AL all reside outside the physical world. God is Spirit, and AL and AT aren't physical things. They transcend the physical realm and must be dealt with differently than "I see this, smell this, hear this, touch this, so it must be this."


                          Yes, but it's so important to make sure we're starting with truth in order to end up with the right truths.


                          Shame on you! That's why you keep getting suspended! Behave yourself, will ya?!?!?!?!
                          Again, to keep it short, I’ll make only very brief comments about most of your reply, and concentrate more on one or two things. I appreciate your bolding, because it really does let me know what is bugging you, what you think I’ve missed and you want me to address, and so on. I do appreciate it, because important points to another poster can easily be missed.

                          Originally posted by LtL
                          Now rjw......it can't be absolutely true that there is no absolute truth. You didn't say that was true, but you threw it out as a possibility. If it's absolutely true that there is no absolute truth, that statement is contradictory and defies the logic we need to even have a conversation. I know you don't subscribe to postmodernism, so I'll take it you were just rambling there .
                          No. I do think there is an absolute truth out there, it’s just that we cannot know it. That is different to “there is no absolute truth”.


                          Originally posted by LtL
                          If it's absolutely true that there is no absolute truth, that statement is contradictory and defies the logic we need to even have a conversation.
                          I think we are grappling with the same kind of “logic” in the following perfectly reasonable sentence:-

                          “This sentence is a lie.”

                          There is nothing wrong with the sentence, yet how does logic handle it? So I think one has to distinguish between notions of there being an absolute truth or not, and arguing there must be an absolute truth or else the claim “There is no absolute truth” is self contradictory. Like “This sentence is a lie” - logic cannot handle it.


                          Originally posted by LtL
                          Here is the question I really wanted you to answer, if you would: In your worldview, what is your ultimate authority that you use for truth claims? For example, do you decide in the end what's really true or not when there is a difference of what you think and what someone else thinks? Who or where is your final stopping point that decides the truth of matters?
                          Let me address this via your last question:-

                          Who or where is your final stopping point that decides the truth of matters?

                          Myself.

                          I suspect it is the same with you, although I’m unsure as to the consequence of your Reformed theology. Let’s come back to the “I’m am the true Christian, you are not” discussion I told you that I once had with Christians from another denomination.

                          I presume you would claim something along the lines that God or the Bible is the ultimate authority in such an argument?

                          Let me assume this to be the case and pick it up from there.

                          Even in such a situation where each party to the argument thinks this (namely that God and the Bible are the ultimate authority as to why my Christianity is true), it’s hard to separate the human (myself, the others) from what we assert about God and from what we assert about the Bible. Clearly our assertions about these were both in contradiction to each other and not convincing to each other. (In fact, they convinced me that probably neither of us knew what we were talking about).

                          Likewise, take your ideas about God. Beyond asserting them to be absolute truths, how do you prove to yourself that this is in fact so? Even more importantly, how do you prove to me (or to a person of a different Christian persuasion or another faith) that this is so?

                          We can all make claims but demonstrating that those claims have any degree of plausibility to them is a different thing entirely.

                          The reason why I wrote “myself” at the beginning is that I do accept the notion of free will. Hence, while I might have strictures I impose on myself, or that others such as family, work, culture, and society impose on me, at day’s end I am free to choose as to what I think is true and thus worthwhile acting for or acting against. Of course, I know that if I make some decisions I might have to pay a terrible cost (e.g jail, pain to another, pain to myself). However, I remain free at all times to reject all claims - even when I know the claims to be true.**

                          However, by claiming absolute freedom to choose for myself, it’s not total anarchy. The reason for this in part is that my mind agrees with a lot of the things society dictates to me. Thus for example, it makes sense to me not to kill and not to steal. Hence, while I can choose to do both, it makes no sense to do so just because I might feel like it, for reasons like those given above. I can understand why society says “You must not steal”. I can understand why religions say “You must not steal”. And I agree, I must not steal. If I think I should (steal) because I feel like it, then why shouldn’t another do it to me just because they feel like it?

                          So there is no necessity for anarchy in my claim that ultimately I decide. I think we all do ultimately decide. It’s just that we know that the consequences can be terrible if we make some choices as opposed to others. Or it’s that we agree with the law - that there are some things we must not do, even though we have the choice whether to do them or not.


                          Originally posted by LtL
                          Your **: I also have a problem with people saying "X is AT" when in fact it isn't. It needs to be demonstrated, not just asserted. (My husband told me not to say "viciously circular" because that is a finanical term and doesn't mean what I'm thinking it means.....so I'm thinking maybe I should say " wrongly circular" since there are actually circular arguments that aren't illogical.)
                          That’s my point. While you say that “It is not absolute truth” needs to be demonstrated, so does “It is absolute truth”.

                          Any ideas we hold to, we ought to be able to offer some kind of reasoning as to why we accept them, even when they are presuppositions.

                          I don’t think a circular argument can ever be illogical. In fact such an argument is 100% logical. It’s just that it’s a useless argument in the context of trying to demonstrate a point. Hence, it simply cannot be denied that all humans are human because they are human. That is 100% true. It’s not illogical. It’s just that if utterly fails to explain why humans are human.



                          Originally posted by LtL
                          Shame on you! That's why you keep getting suspended! Behave yourself, will ya?!?!?!?! 
                          Yeah. I know.

                          I’ll try. However, I think I’ve failed several times already. (Yep, as I’m writing, I’ve just failed again.)

                          Originally posted by LtL
                          Yes, but it's so important to make sure we're starting with truth in order to end up with the right truths.
                          The problem is, as far as I can tell, that truth or those truths is/are presuppositions and so are human constructions anyway.

                          I simply don’t see how we can avoid the fact that every thing we do, think or say is not, at its basis, underpinned by metaphysical presuppositions and as logical as we might find these to be, they are at the end, human constructions.

                          We do have to start with truth, in order to arrive at other truths, unless we get there by luck. But that initial truth can only be what we think is truth. In life there are lots of times in which an initial starting truth allows us to carry on forward, but then we found out that the initial truth was wrong. Then we are stuck. But as long as we continue to make progress, and as long as nothing happens to disconfirm in us the veracity of our starting truth, then we proceed as if we are indeed on the correct path.

                          But we could always be wrong, and at any moment might find it to be so.


                          How do you demonstrate to yourself (let alone anyone else) that the AT you accept is in fact a real, objective, AT? Let me put it to you this way. Have you ever been in a position whereby you have honestly and earnestly believed something, so much so that you would be willing to place your hand on a hundred Bibles and swear to it? But then, you find out when someone has reminded you of an important little fact that you had forgotten, that indeed what you had accepted as absolutely true was in fact wrong.

                          I think we believe we have absolute truths, but in the end they rely on presuppositions which ultimately we cannot prove and are constructs of our own minds.


                          I accept that I cannot prove this in any absolute way. But then I cannot prove its opposite in any absolute way either. What it is, is if you like, a working hypothesis that makes the most sense to me.

                          To get into the idea of absolute truth brings me back to the “I am the true Christian, you are not” claim, whereby two folk of slightly different faiths each see themselves as the follower of the AT while the other is not. They could both be wrong, in which AT itself is wrong on two counts. One could be correct, in which case, the other AT is wrong.

                          So the concept of AT does not exactly help us sort out what is and what is not truth. It’s just as prone to error as is provisional truth.


                          Well, I will stop here, because, as you see, I’ve not managed to keep it short. On a re-read, I wonder how well I’ve explained some things. I’ll post it though, and your reply should let me know regarding that.





                          * Although that would be a 100% nutty thing to do, because how could a person accept that God (and all his commands) exists (or its hell), but reject that God nevertheless. And there is the other point. One is free to disbelieve in something. But how does one actually do it, if on the other hand, one actually believes it?

                          ** Again, it’s as nutty a thing to do as absolutely believing in the reality of God, but at the same time rejecting God. Think of the consequence. “I believe in God. I believe that God will send me to eternal torture if I don’t believe in God. But I don’t believe in God anyway.” It kind of beggars believe that a person could actually decide to go down that path.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Let me address this via your last question:-
                            Who or where is your final stopping point that decides the truth of matters?
                            Myself.
                            I suspect it is the same with you, although I’m unsure as to the consequence of your Reformed theology. Let’s come back to the “I’m am the true Christian, you are not” discussion I told you that I once had with Christians from another denomination.
                            I presume you would claim something along the lines that God or the Bible is the ultimate authority in such an argument?
                            Yes, I would claim the Bible as God's revealed Word as my ultimate authority. Thank you for answering about yourself being your authority.


                            Let me assume this to be the case and pick it up from there.
                            Even in such a situation where each party to the argument thinks this (namely that God and the Bible are the ultimate authority as to why my Christianity is true), it’s hard to separate the human (myself, the others) from what we assert about God and from what we assert about the Bible. Clearly our assertions about these were both in contradiction to each other and not convincing to each other. (In fact, they convinced me that probably neither of us knew what we were talking about).
                            Likewise, take your ideas about God. Beyond asserting them to be absolute truths, how do you prove to yourself that this is in fact so? Even more importantly, how do you prove to me (or to a person of a different Christian persuasion or another faith) that this is so?
                            We can all make claims but demonstrating that those claims have any degree of plausibility to them is a different thing entirely.
                            So basically I think you're saying there that my authority is really my idea of what the Bible says. That would make Scripture subjective to each reader. If that is so - that Scripture is merely subjective to one's own interpretation - then you can't say that your interpretation (that it's not from God and doesn't contain AT) is accurate while mine, your friend, or a Mormon, or Westboro Baptists, is wrong. If this is the case, AT is out the window; but you agree there is AT. So Scripture being subjective to me and everyone else is not a possibility, because if that were so AT would not exist Why is that so? Because Scripture presupposes and asserts it's own truth. That's either true or false. That means there is a right “interpretation” of the Bible – be it not being truly from God, or if from God then there is a message that we can understand.

                            How do I know that the Reformed view bases the authority on the Bible? We hold to Sola Scriptura. What God has revealed is clear* when one allows the Bible to interpret itself (as any self-authenticating literature will naturally do when there is ultimately one author). Some people denying what is clear, or people being ignorant of what the Bible says in places, doesn't mean those who study the Bible and hold to a Covenantal Theology are also wrong. The main reason I know this is correct is because without the revealed nature of God we wouldn't be able to know anything for sure. Without knowing God's nature/character, we would be left to guessing if truth is true and absolute, if logic is logical, if there is an absolute to right and wrong, etc. I could expand on this of course, but I'm hoping to stick to AT right now, and how we can know for sure there are absolute truths. Through that more of God's nature can be explained. When we're done with AT, maybe we can look at the nature of God from the Bible.

                            *Not everything is clear to us, such as eschatology. But the gospel is clear as a whistle.


                            The reason why I wrote “myself” at the beginning is that I do accept the notion of free will. Hence, while I might have strictures I impose on myself, or that others such as family, work, culture, and society impose on me, at day’s end I am free to choose as to what I think is true and thus worthwhile acting for or acting against. Of course, I know that if I make some decisions I might have to pay a terrible cost (e.g jail, pain to another, pain to myself). However, I remain free at all times to reject all claims - even when I know the claims to be true.**
                            At this point, allow me to hold you to consistency with your claim that you believe there is AT and we can know some truths but not all. I might have made this point with you somewhere else (I know I have with others), but even if so I'll repeat it again. If you hold to a worldview of naturalism or anything without God, you are the product of millions of years of chemicals evolving into what you are today. Not who, but what you are. We only think of ourselves as “who” we are because we've evolved to do that; or we've evolved to believe those who say we are not just a what but a who, each person a special individual.

                            What you impose upon yourself is only due to how your chemicals have evolved. You reject what you reject because your chemicals are arranged in such a way as to not understand or relate to mine in terms of the existence of God. And how would you even know that your assertions about the non-existence of God are true? Perhaps there are those of us who have evolved to a higher level, and we can sense the supernatural while you and others still cannot.

                            I know you don't believe such a thing to be true and that you don't live as if such a thing were true, but if the ToE were true you would have no free will or even choices to make within your nature. The only way we truly know we make choices (within our nature) is because the God of the Bible has created us in His image. He makes choices within His nature, and He has given us the same ability. Our nature is different than His obviously, but we still can think and choose freely within our nature.

                            Do you see the inconsistency with what you profess and how you live? I know a lot people think the ToE is true, but I don't know anyone that lives as if the ToE were true.


                            However, by claiming absolute freedom to choose for myself, it’s not total anarchy. The reason for this in part is that my mind agrees with a lot of the things society dictates to me. Thus for example, it makes sense to me not to kill and not to steal. Hence, while I can choose to do both, it makes no sense to do so just because I might feel like it, for reasons like those given above. I can understand why society says “You must not steal”. I can understand why religions say “You must not steal”. And I agree, I must not steal. If I think I should (steal) because I feel like it, then why shouldn’t another do it to me just because they feel like it?
                            We need to look back at this when we hit morality and its absolutes!


                            So there is no necessity for anarchy in my claim that ultimately I decide. I think we all do ultimately decide. It’s just that we know that the consequences can be terrible if we make some choices as opposed to others. Or it’s that we agree with the law - that there are some things we must not do, even though we have the choice whether to do them or not.
                            Again, if we are the product of the ToE then what you think is based on how you've evolved. I've evolved differently, and so have others. What we think is based on our evolution. So there is no basis for AT in such a worldview, and no basis for what we must and must not do.


                            The problem is, as far as I can tell, that truth or those truths is/are presuppositions and so are human constructions anyway.
                            I simply don’t see how we can avoid the fact that every thing we do, think or say is not, at its basis, underpinned by metaphysical presuppositions and as logical as we might find these to be, they are at the end, human constructions.
                            Then we are back to square one – if truths are human constructions (based on the way we've evolved to think) then there really is no AT that anyone can assert. It's just how we've evolved. But no one lives like that! Even as you say they are human constructions, you still think you are correct. That is a self-refuting position. So given that, are you still willing to hold to what you think is true even though as you say it you refute your truth?


                            We do have to start with truth, in order to arrive at other truths, unless we get there by luck. But that initial truth can only be what we think is truth. In life there are lots of times in which an initial starting truth allows us to carry on forward, but then we found out that the initial truth was wrong. Then we are stuck. But as long as we continue to make progress, and as long as nothing happens to disconfirm in us the veracity of our starting truth, then we proceed as if we are indeed on the correct path.
                            How could we start with truth if our ideas are human constructions? There is no basis for AT in such a world. So we would never know for sure that we were arriving at truth, just that it seems that way based on what we constructed. If that were so, you would be wrong in what you just said. Self-refuting again.


                            How do you demonstrate to yourself (let alone anyone else) that the AT you accept is in fact a real, objective, AT? Let me put it to you this way. Have you ever been in a position whereby you have honestly and earnestly believed something, so much so that you would be willing to place your hand on a hundred Bibles and swear to it? But then, you find out when someone has reminded you of an important little fact that you had forgotten, that indeed what you had accepted as absolutely true was in fact wrong.
                            That people, including me, are wrong about things doesn't mean there isn't AT at that we can't know it. It just shows our ignorance.

                            So the concept of AT does not exactly help us sort out what is and what is not truth. It’s just as prone to error as is provisional truth.
                            I disagree. If we don't establish that there is AT, then there is no reason to debate anything with anyone. We'd all be right, or wrong, but that would still be right.

                            Let me know if you're done with AT and want to move to the next thing!
                            Romans 1:19-20 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by luvthelord View Post
                              Yes, I would claim the Bible as God's revealed Word as my ultimate authority. Thank you for answering about yourself being your authority.
                              Thanks for that LtL.

                              What I'll do is take a chunk of your reply and address it, then do another chunk in another post, and so on. That way, it will give you a chance to address everything, or pick out something of special interest, and respond only to that. Besides, it lets me respond to things piecemeal too, which can make it easier.

                              Hopefully then, by doing this, a humungous post will not result, although I see that on reading my work so far, it is already quite large. Sorry. :-(

                              So, onto your first chunk.




                              Originally posted by LtL
                              So basically I think you're saying there that my authority is really my idea of what the Bible says.
                              Yes, ultimately. I understand that you think otherwise.

                              Originally posted by LtL
                              That would make Scripture subjective to each reader.
                              Yes. Although there are ways in which we can get around this extreme subjectivity, for example, by agreeing to rules of understanding that make sense. Then all who accept those rules have a common understanding. However, I'll wager that no two people agree 100% on 100% of the wording of, say, Scripture.

                              But nevertheless, they accept a common set of rules for interpretation.

                              Then it becomes an issue of discussing and justifying those rules, particularly to outsiders who do not accept them but wish to converse.

                              Originally posted by LtL
                              If that is so - that Scripture is merely subjective to one's own interpretation ...
                              Yes, but with the very important caveat I've provided above.

                              Originally posted by LtL
                              ... then you can't say that your interpretation (that it's not from God and doesn't contain AT) is accurate while mine, your friend, or a Mormon, or Westboro Baptists, is wrong.
                              Correct.

                              I might think it. However, if I'm going to convince you that you are wrong, then I need to do more than just think it.

                              Originally posted by LtL
                              If this is the case, AT is out the window; but you agree there is AT.
                              As far as I can tell, AT was never inside to be thrown out in the first place. When I say that I agree that there is AT, I'm not therefore accepting that I know what it is, or that anyone knows what it is.

                              From my perspective, there is an ultimate reality. It's just that I do not know what it is, and I don't think any of us know what it is. We can grasp some aspects of reality, but even then, when it comes down to understanding that aspect with 100% accuracy then we all fall short.

                              Look at it this way. There is an ultimate reality that some person won the Greek Olympic marathon in 380 AD. However, who that person is, I don't know. You might claim to know, and if I asked you to name the person and present your evidence, you might fall far short of showing me that you actually know. I might have some idea too, and can support my idea with very fragmentary evidence. But that is a long way from knowing with 100% accuracy the ultimate reality of who won the Olympic marathon in 380 AD.

                              You'll note too, that not having the absolute truth of the matter, does not stop us from debating it - providing we agree to some rules of debate.

                              Originally posted by LtL
                              So Scripture being subjective to me and everyone else is not a possibility, because if that were so AT would not exist Why is that so? Because Scripture presupposes and asserts it's own truth. That's either true or false. That means there is a right “interpretation” of the Bible – be it not being truly from God, or if from God then there is a message that we can understand.
                              Well yes, there is a right interpretation, even if the books are not from God. But again, those books were written sooo long ago, so whose interpretation is the correct one? That of the original authors? Or our interpretations of their intent? Those authors are not available to us for questioning, and we have only partial knowledge of their cultures, which, in many ways, are so different to ours. Besides, it's often so that we have many differing copies or fragments of copies of their works and the decision needs to be made as to which copy or fragment is closest to the author's intent, based on our own removed understanding of those authors.

                              So again, there is an ultimate truth as to the author's original intents. But our ability to know these intents will always be fragmentary and subject to debate. Some ideas will be better than other ideas. Some ideas will be excellent, having much support. Other ideas will be crackpot ideas.

                              Originally posted by LtL
                              How do I know that the Reformed view bases the authority on the Bible? We hold to Sola Scriptura.
                              I accept that. But then I'm not aware of any Christian group that does not claim to base it's views on the Bible.

                              Originally posted by LtL
                              What God has revealed is clear* when one allows the Bible to interpret itself (as any self-authenticating literature will naturally do when there is ultimately one author).
                              See my comments above.

                              A couple more points can be made here. While God may have been involved in writing the Bible, humans it seems penned all those books and letters and argued about which should make up sacred cannon and which should be omitted. That is, human hands were involved at every step along the way.

                              This point becomes all the more poignant in the cases where "original" documents are in conflict. As an example, take Mark 16:9-20. Our Bibles have those verses in. The oldest manuscripts don't have those verses in. A human decision had to be made as to which is the closest to the original intent of the author. But not only that, in some manuscripts (the oldest) the verses are omitted, while in other manuscripts (the later ones) they are included. Again, clearly the human hand is involved. So, in the context of the author of Mark, exactly what was his (her?) original intention here? Were those verses really in, or out?


                              Originally posted by LtL
                              Some people denying what is clear, or people being ignorant of what the Bible says in places, doesn't mean those who study the Bible and hold to a Covenantal Theology are also wrong.
                              I agree. But that is a sword that cuts both ways. It does not mean that those who hold to an alternative theology are also wrong, or that the CT's are necessarily correct.

                              Originally posted by LtL
                              The main reason I know this is correct is because without the revealed nature of God we wouldn't be able to know anything for sure.
                              I don't think we do know anything with 100% certainty. The best we can do is state our ideas, and present the evidence we have in support of them.

                              But we could always be wrong. There have been many times in life wherein I've been prepared to place my hands on 100 Bibles and swear to the truth of some matter, only to be reminded of something several days later, something which revealed my self confidence to be utterly false.

                              To my mind, evidence and logical argument are the crucial things for deciding what we should accept as the closest we can get to understanding reality, knowing full well that there is some unimaginable reality (the AT) behind it all that we simply cannot fathom.


                              Originally posted by LtL
                              Without knowing God's nature/character, we would be left to guessing if truth is true and absolute, ...
                              To my mind, no. We can be fairly certain about what we know, until another person comes along to show us otherwise. However, they do have to present evidence in support of their claims. There is no point in accepting what a person says, simply because they say so.

                              However, as for that big, unknowable reality behind everything? Well it's there, but we simply cannot really know it.

                              What I think we know, is that the universe of mind, matter, energy, logic, cause and effect, nature and natural laws, exists. Within that framework we can know things.


                              Originally posted by LtL
                              ... if logic is logical, if there is an absolute to right and wrong, etc. I could expand on this of course, but I'm hoping to stick to AT right now, and how we can know for sure there are absolute truths. Through that more of God's nature can be explained. When we're done with AT, maybe we can look at the nature of God from the Bible.
                              Return to my "who won the 380 AD Olympic marathon". It's an absolute truth that someone did. Do you lose any sleep over the fact that you have absolutely no idea? If you had some idea but the evidence was contentious, would you still lose sleep over the fact that you had no absolute knowledge about this?

                              I don't. It's an absolute truth that some person won it. But it's not fatal to my well being or my ability to know about the Olympics, to have to actually know that AT.

                              I think all our knowledge is like this.

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                              • #30
                                The next big paragraph:-

                                Originally posted by LtL
                                At this point, allow me to hold you to consistency with your claim that you believe there is AT and we can know some truths but not all. I might have made this point with you somewhere else (I know I have with others), but even if so I'll repeat it again. If you hold to a worldview of naturalism or anything without God, you are the product of millions of years of chemicals evolving into what you are today. Not who, but what you are. We only think of ourselves as “who” we are because we've evolved to do that; or we've evolved to believe those who say we are not just a what but a who, each person a special individual.

                                I am a bit unsure of your exact argument here (even though I’ve read the following paragraphs) because you appear to argue that because I accept naturalism (and am an atheist) then I think that I am the material product of evolution, a “what”. Then you go on to say that I became a “who” and a “special individual” because of evolution.

                                What I am about to write, does not exactly explain how I became a special individual with a mind, a “who”. But it does have a basis in the reality we observe around us.

                                I think our minds are what is called an “emergent phenomenon” (EM). EMs occur around us all the time. Studying them, and trying to understand exactly what they are is at the cutting edge of science and philosophy. But they are a daily phenomenon. Consider common table salt, sodium chloride, or NaCl. Sodium is a grey metal which is highly reactive. If you drop a bit of it in water, it will explode. If you ate that lump, it would eat through your innards. Chlorine is a poisonous gas which if inhaled in enough of a quantity, brings about a nasty death. Yet when both sodium and chlorine react together, a chemical compound occurs which scientists label “sodium chloride” and which we call “table salt”.

                                Our bodies need salt. Salt is vital to us. Yet it’s made up of two extremely nasty poisonous substances.

                                Who’d have thunk???

                                The properties of table salt are what we call an “emergent phenomenon”. They cannot be predicted from the properties of the constituent elements (sodium and chlorine) of salt. They seem to arise at the time that sodium and chlorine react to make salt.

                                Does that make sense?

                                I think our minds are like this. The trillions of neurones in our brains, which are made of matter and powered by energy, have an organisation such that mind emerges as one of these EMs.




                                Originally posted by LtL
                                What you impose upon yourself is only due to how your chemicals have evolved. You reject what you reject because your chemicals are arranged in such a way as to not understand or relate to mine in terms of the existence of God.
                                That’s one possibility.

                                But look, let’s suppose that I am correct. Then let’s suppose that I am incorrect.

                                Suppose that is all I am saying, that we are just the product of atoms, (forget the EM stuff above, for now), and suppose that I am correct about the nature of reality, then the same argument applies to you.

                                However, I don’t think that we are just the product of atoms, for the reason I gave above. I think it’s more complex than that.

                                Now suppose you are correct, and it’s God that makes us what we are. Then clearly I’m not rejecting you because of atoms. We both agree (for now), on that point. You and I are both much more than the product of mere atoms. I must be rejecting your claims for reasons beyond mere atoms. This is so because that’s the underlying nature of reality which we both agree to, even if I’m doing so provisionally.

                                Hence this brings me to your next point:-




                                Originally posted by LtL
                                And how would you even know that your assertions about the non-existence of God are true?
                                Well I don’t other than by looking at your arguments, and the arguments of others, and seeing whether or not they make sense to me, no matter how reality works in practice.

                                Originally posted by LtL
                                Perhaps there are those of us who have evolved to a higher level, and we can sense the supernatural while you and others still cannot.
                                Yes. That cannot be denied. But again, evidence is only what I can go by. Your argument here cuts both ways.

                                It’s why I think the only things we do have are the natural world, matter, mind, energy, cause and effect, logic, (and now that you mention it), language and ideas.

                                We know we have these. We accept we have these. They are all that we have to use, notwithstanding exactly what the ultimate nature of reality is.



                                Originally posted by LtL
                                I know you don't believe such a thing to be true and that you don't live as if such a thing were true, but if the ToE were true you would have no free will or even choices to make within your nature.
                                See my discussion above on EM.



                                Originally posted by LtL
                                The only way we truly know we make choices (within our nature) is because the God of the Bible has created us in His image. He makes choices within His nature, and He has given us the same ability. Our nature is different than His obviously, but we still can think and choose freely within our nature.
                                My problem here is this - how do you know that your assertions actually accord with absolute reality?

                                As far as I can tell, you are talking about things we know exist in the natural world, the Bible, its words, your language, your ideas.

                                How do you actually evaluate the absolute truth of your claims here, above and beyond anything I claim?

                                Originally posted by LtL
                                Do you see the inconsistency with what you profess and how you live? I know a lot people think the ToE is true, but I don't know anyone that lives as if the ToE were true.
                                See my comments above about EM.

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