Tracking back

I guess this is why some people hate track backs – it’s like a conversation of interlinked blog articles! Ah well.

Carl posted a reply to my entry “It was good” from a few days back. Matthew then posted a reply to both our entries…

I’ll start off with my thoughts from Carl’s entry.

I like most of his entry, and maybe there’s some truth in what he says about my “apology” at the start of it. However I read it like a warning rather than an apology, I at no point said “sorry” or the like for writing it, I merely wanted to inform people what the article was about before I launched into it.

Then, the main thing I want to comment on is this sentence:
“The problem arises when these people don’t appreciate that others don’t *have* to agree with them.”
Isn’t this a bit nonsensical? I mean, what he’s saying is that everyone should agree that we don’t have to agree. This, I see, is the biggest flaw in the post-modern view of the world — that it is, in fact, self–contradictory.

Another common one is saying “We must tolerate all people” but then when you did further into it, there is a hidden addition of “except those who are intolerant”. It’s a self-defeating argument and not even circular logic (of which Christians are somewhat understandably criticised, but that’s another issue, which I might go into if I’m in the mood in a bit). If everyone were tolerant, then there would be just be true anyway.

So I guess I’m the one “pointing out how [your] views are, in some way, ‘wrong'”. For being so predictable, I do apologise. :o) But of course, we don’t all have to agree on the fact that it’s OK to disagree, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Now, onto Matthews entry…
The core of this article — that we are all broken — is very much at the centre of Christianity and our need for God. Interesting to see that Paganism also recognises this, but I guess any religion/faith that looks at the world around them must notice that it’s pretty broken.

Matthew’s comments on the feelings we have during an encounter with “God or Gods”, slightly worry me. I guess for me I’ve always seen it as a wholly spiritual thing that has physical symptoms, not a purely physical thing down to someone tickling the right part of my brain. One of the worries that comes from this (that applies to myself as much as to Matthew and to everyone) is how do we know that our buttons are being pressed by something good? I don’t know the pagan position on evil spirits and stuff, but if they have the ability to stimulate our lobes as well, then we could be walking on dangerous ground. I’m sure I had other stuff to say but then this happened…

Interestingly I’ve just had a couple of Jehovah’s witnesses come round, they agree on the brokenness thing too.

So now I’ve lost my track… ah well, that’ll do for now.

Author: Alex

I am X3JA

65 thoughts on “Tracking back”

  1. No, Nick I don’t think you’re repeating yourself.

    Indeed you don’t seem to have said anything yet much at all.

    Evolution is a bit different in that there is quite a large fossil record dating from various different spread out periods.

    What is this evidence you speak of? I’m quite happy that to accept evidence from 2000 years ago but I’m not sure how valid it’ll be for other reasons. Anyway, I’m intrigued…

  2. You’re not really selling this, Nick.

    I want eternal afterlife with beautiful people, lots of nice food, nice wine, good sex.

    Where’s the religion for me eh?

  3. > I want eternal afterlife with beautiful people,
    > lots of nice food, nice wine, good sex.

    > Where’s the religion for me eh?

    Isalm promises 72 virgins in paridise for martys. Is that what you were hoping for?!?!?

    Of course that is assuming you trust what a city ruler trying to unite Arab tribes to fight under him says god told him so only he could hear….

  4. No, that’s fine Rob, I didn’t mean to say that if you can’t prove it doesn’t exist. It’s still not proven though and Nick thinks he *can* prove it (though he didn’t reply to my last message – probably too narrow for him to read ;))

    You could prove that chunk of ice exists though by scientific means. Probably by several different tests which all supported the theory that there was ice in there. And if you were bothered enough you could mount a hugely expensive mission to go and drill into it or do further tests.

    None of this applies when you’re trying to prove the existence of god though. You can’t go round in your spaceship and have a look.

    I’m not violently reacting to anything Rob either.

    Would you like a slap? :-p

  5. I dunno, surely if they’re virgins they won’t exactly have a great deal of experience…

    I guess they have eternity in which to acquire some.

  6. Why not post to existing groups about the topics you want to discuss?

    To be fair blogs are probably a better medium for blogging than usenet, but for discussions like this usenet or a mailing list would be better.

  7. WOW! When I saw there were 54 comments related to Alex’s last entry I thought there must be some mistake, but 45 mins later I realise it is true and I believe! šŸ˜‰

    I am just about to start reading a book entitled “Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament” which I thought was quite a coincidence since I have just read the ongoing discussion about proving the existence of God. Mind you, the book won’t help much in the discussion because presumably (here I am making assumptions again!) it will prove (if one is willing to take historical writings as proof) the existence of Jesus as a man and confirm some of the things that happened to him but to use it all as proof of the existence of God you have to believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that’ll start a whole new discussion!

  8. Sorry I haven’t replied, actually had to do some work today so couldn’t spend all day posting to Alex blog. I think also from the comment count there are 4 messages somewhere which I haven’t read but can’t spot them.

    Anyway two quick comments before I go to bed, hopefully will have time for a fuller response on Friday.

    1) Re: scietific investigation. This is my whole point in my prelude about how we can know things, I was trying to point out the scientific method of repeatable, falsifiable, objective experiments is not the limit of everything we can know and prove. It is just a very good method of obtain knowledge about certain things.

    2) Anyway, probably time to start getting onto presenting evidence for Jesus being God. Here a rough outline of what my arguement is going to be, if you could indicate any points (I’m hoping at least a & b) you are happy to agree with that will me help me by not having to argue them. Actually I’d quite like you to disagree with point c. (PS. Other people feel free to argue these points for me while I don’t have time)

    a) there is a book called the bible
    b) what we read in the 4 of the gospels contained within in English is an accurate translation of what we written 2000ish years ago
    c) the gospels describe Jesus to be God
    d) the people who wrote them believed what they wrote was true
    e) these people who wrote them were correct in their belief that what they wrote was true

    Does that sound like a fair summary of what I need to prove?

  9. But I think I can admit that all of the above is true.

    They did indeed believe it. I’m not sure that makes it any the truer.

    So, ok, there was this very persuasive bloke named Jesus who got a bunch of people to write about fascinating things and someone made some stuff up about a big boat. They shoved it all in a book and hey presto.

    I’m don’t quite get how that proves that god actually exists.

    The people that wrote it believed it to be correct but I’m not sure that makes it true.

  10. Hmmm comment 60! Scary.

    The bit that would prove that God exists in the “the gospels describe Jesus as God” leading through the “the people who wrote them thought it was true” and into the “they were correct in that belief”.

    I imagine what you’re talking about there is point e) from the list or perhaps point d). If it’s e) then you think the people who wrote the Bible were delusional and Jesus somehow convinced them of some things that weren’t really true. If it’s d) then you think they deliberately made up the stuff in the Bible.

    Those are both valid arguments, but I just want to check I’m hearing you right, so I’ll ask a couple of questions to see if it’ll clarify things.

    1. Do you think the people who wrote what is in the Bible believed it to be true?
    2. Do you think the people who wrote what is in the Bible were inaccurate in their recordings?

  11. You can be wrong without being delusional, and you can write fiction or embellish stuff without being what you could call a liar.

    There is more middle ground there somewhere.

  12. 1) Well maybe but how can Nick prove that? It was 2000 years ago?

    2) Again maybe they were, maybe they weren’t.

    I just have a hard time believing stories about miracles as well anything other than stories.

    Lots have people have gone away and found what they consider plausible explanations to various bits of the bible but at the end of it all it doesn’t tell us whether or not god exists.

    It’s all faith.

  13. Well OK, maybe not delisional, but at least misguided?

    The big difference between being a liar and being a fiction writer is that if you’re a fiction writer you’re not pretending to tell the truth. If you are claiming to be writing a historical document (a true one) and falsify it deliberately, then you are a liar.

    I can see what you’re saying, but I think Nick has covered those bases in d) and e) (although he hasn’t evidenced them yet)

  14. If it hasn’t stopped, then may I suggest we move to I’ve just set up the forums and you can start a new thread on this… probably need to register first, but it might work better… although I guess it doesn’t work for multiple threads under one topic, but it’ll do… at least you can quote stuff properly in it!

  15. Ok, sorry I hven’t replied earlier have been quite busy (have foolishly become vice-present of the largest dance club in europe which is proving to be quite time consuming!). Just reading through my previous comments to try to regain my train of thought.

    > Lots have people have gone away and found what
    > they consider plausible explanations to various
    > bits of the bible but at the end of it all it
    > doesn’t tell us whether or not god exists.

    This is the main point I am querying. I do not think there are plausible explanations to various bits of the bible other than it being the work of god. Or at least I haven’t heard any. Unless you start from the presupposition that there is no god I think it is beyond reasonable doubt that the bible is the work of god.

    > I just have a hard time believing stories about
    > miracles as well anything other than stories.

    I guess this is the key issue here. Did these miracles happen? What my list of points before is intending to get to, what are the possibilities if they didn’t happen, and how reasonable are those objections. The main explanations I am aware of are:

    1) It is all deliberatly made up
    The authors of the gospels knew what they wrote was wrong, but were involved in a deliberate conspiracy to deceive everyone. Or other similar explanations.
    The problem with this is I find it very hard to believe people would willing die for something they knew to be wrong. Yes people often will die for something which is wrong, but which they believe to be true (cf. suicide bombers), but for something they know they made up? And to continue to hold to this belief without the support of others, when they are improsoned, all alone, without others to spur them on. I cannot believe people can put themselves through such things if they know they are making stuff up.

    2) Some sort of mass hallucination
    I see no evidence to suggest such things happen today, so I think more justification is need on what the mechanism of this mass hallucination is

    3) Over-exagerration
    People will argue that miracles are just over-exagerrations of what happened. eg. people arguing that Jesus when crucified wasn’t really dead, but instead recovered in the grave, rolled away the stone, and started walking around again. I can’t see how people can honsetly suggest that having large nails stuck through your hands and feet and left stuck to a cross for the day will leave you in a state were you can recover in a couple of days without food and water to be able to move door sized stones.

    Ok, must do some work, expect more plausibile alternatives to follow. If you could give some indication of which plausibible alternative you believe I can give my post more focus rather than random pot-shots…..

    > It’s all faith.
    I would describe faith supported by evidence as knowledge. (Sideline. I would describe the Christian faith as external experience verified by internal experience, which I think solves many idealist/realist, objective/subjective problems…)

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