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December 09, 2013

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Ridicule is intended to affect the way someone feels.

It also exposes something about how the ridiculer feels.

My experience with having my views ridiculed has been that it bothers me when I have doubts.

When ridicule comes from someone who's view is wrong, that ridicule backfires - it exposes unjustified confidence in them.

The example given here is such a case.

The Big Bang does not require a Big Banger. (Does he realize how that sounds?)

Such a claim makes an assumption that has no justification - namely that the Big Bang was creation out of nothing. We have no evidence that the Big Bang was anything other than another natural process. We don't even have a theory that says that.

RonH

Maybe the universe has always been. Why did the universe have to come from anything? I mean, the theist uses the argument that god has always existed so I don't see why it's any more unreasonable to conjecture that the universe always has existed. At least we can detect the universe. God? Not so much.

Some cosmologies posit that our universe "bounced" into existence from the contraction of a prior universe instead of "banged"into existence from a singularity. The origin of the universe is a work in progress.

It's perfectly reasonable to say we don't know when we do not, in fact, know. Much better than consulting an ancient text for answers that are not rooted in any kind of evidence.

Christianity is full of ideas that any rational person would consider ridiculous. Adam and Eve, a worldwide flood, the origin of languages from the Tower of Babel, a guy who gets his strength from hi long hair, a guy who survived in the belly of a fish for three days. The list goes on and on, but the literalist christian accepts these stories at face value. So to claim that skeptics are clinging to ideas worthy of ridicule is pretty brazen.

AJG, is it your understanding that Samson got his strength from his long hair?

Amy, please continue. I read the story. I guess you will say that God gave him his strength. Something like that?

I knew someone was going to ask that. It's entirely beside the point which is that the story is clearly a fable. A man with incredible strength becomes a weakling when his hair is cut off. It sounds like something straight out of mythology, which it obviously is.

> Maybe the universe has always been.

If so, then by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, the Universe would have attained thermodynamic equilibrium, and would have done so an infinitely long time ago. That obviously didn't happen since we're here to muse about it.


Perhaps. Perhaps not. You're assuming the universe is a closed system or that the Second Law holds in a singularity, if indeed the universe of coupled a singularity at school me point. Regardless, we know the universe exists. We can't say the same for any god.

Sorry. I meant occupied not 'of coupled'.

Ron, of course. Samson was under a Nazirite vow (see here), which signified a special dedication to God. Part of that vow included not cutting his hair. God gave him special strength for a purpose--to protect the Israelites from the Philistines. Unfortunately, Samson was much more interested in his own goals than God's (even after God restored his strength at the very end of the story). But in his mercy, God used Samson despite his failings. Anyway, by telling Delilah about his hair and allowing it to be cut, he was breaking the vow signifying his special dedication to God. This was very serious--similar to when Esau "despised his birthright," selling it to Jacob for a bowl of stew. I also suspect Samson had come to believe he had power within himself and the breaking of the vow wouldn't make any difference. Again, this is incredible hubris on the part of Samson. Treating God with disdain is a serious crime. Because Samson broke his special covenant with God, God removed the gift He had given Samson--given not for the sake of Samson's personal pleasures, but for the sake of all of Israel. All that to say, his strength didn't come from his hair, and to portray it that way is to misrepresent the story, which is why I asked if AJG's misrepresentation was purposeful or just reflected a lack of understanding.

AJG, it's not at all beside the point. Either you really think that your description is accurate because you don't know the story, or you do know the story and you're illegitimately using rhetoric to evoke a sense of the ridiculous. My response to you depends on which direction you're coming from.

AJG said: "[...] if indeed the universe of coupled a singularity at school me point."

SoA says: "[...] what??"

Offering a multiverse as an explanation of a universe betrays a lack of insight into the question at hand.

Hawking leaves Time and Material.

And I believe him.

The Timeless Immaterial is inevitable.

Science is catching up. Slowly.

Love's motions inside of the OT narrative, inside of the Outside, inside of Hell on Earth, on definition, are of Unity amid E Pluribus Unum, that triune Self-Other-Us, in juxtaposition to Man, to Fragmentation. Inside of our current Now, this NT, there is a primary change in all of that, as juxtaposition gives way to amalgamation.

Those who fail to read scripture on its own terms cannot help but misapply ridicule.

Mike Westfall,

If so, then by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, the Universe would have attained thermodynamic equilibrium, and would have done so an infinitely long time ago.
This presumes some things you have no justification to presume. Furthermore, how do you get from this that the Big Bang was creation from nothing?

RonH,

You are presuming the immeasurable, untestable, unfalsifiable.

Mike isn't.

AJG, it's not at all beside the point. Either you really think that your description is accurate because you don't know the story, or you do know the story and you're illegitimately using rhetoric to evoke a sense of the ridiculous. My response to you depends on which direction you're coming from.

Yes Amy. I know that Samson's hair was an outward symbol of his commitment to living as a Nazirite and that betraying that vow resulted in god supposedly deserting Samson. It's irrelevant to the larger point that the story of Samson (just like Jonah, David and Goliath, Daniel in the lions' den and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, et. al.) is a myth that contradicts common sense and for which there is no evidence other than ancient scraps of papyrus; however, christians take these stories as history despite the fact that they contradict all reason and experience. To say that believing the Big Bang occurred without a "Big Banger" or that evolution by natural selection is in any way more ridiculous than these OT stories is simply myopic.

AJG said: "[...] if indeed the universe of coupled a singularity at school me point." SoA says: "[...] what??"

Cell phone. Late night. Garbled post. :)

Those who fail to read scripture on its own terms cannot help but misapply ridicule.

I know I'm going to regret this...

Misapply? Do you think the story of Samson is a literal historical event or not, scblhrm? How am I mispplying scripture by saying that these OT stories are ridiculous when taken at face value?

A thought to follow-up on AJG's point:

Is it impossible for the "preposterous" to become historical events?

Of course, I would need to better define what makes a situation "preposterous" to a degree where it could never be historically true. Perhaps some insight from the next posts shall help.

AJG,

Amy already described such. As you reject Love's Ontology, and then proceed to love, as you reject discipline and agency, and then employ such to live by, as you reject Justice & Mercy, yet continue to hope for each, you tell in your own skin the very story Immutable Love reveals within Mankind in Scripture's A to Z.

God can empower. Life can do that. That's observable, falsifiable.

Nonlife cannot spontaneously grant life. It's never observed or falsified.

You presuppose no-god and think that God, Life, empowering is thus incoherent, and then proceed to tell us that nonlife magically making life, or worse, intention, is coherent.

It appears that "ancient" is an evidence against A or B or C, per AJG's appeal to the emotion that word, at least in his mind, raises.


Well, that could prove problematic.

AJG

What part of Samson's story is problematic for you?

The God part?

The components of agency, discipline, evil, good, deception, pride, covenant, mercy, justice, or, well, what?

E Pluribus Unum is the Whole by which all lesser fragments are defined, AJG.

At least in Love's triune Ontology of Unity's Self-Other-Us.

God empowering a man, many men, or no men is as coherent as any other actuality.

AJG, this isn't a rhetorical question: If you didn't think Samson got his strength from his hair, then why did you characterize the story as saying he did?

Of course you can see that these stories are only ridiculous if God doesn't exist, and they're not at all ridiculous if He does, so that is the real question. And of course the stories contradict "common sense" in a naturalistic world because obviously these things didn't happen naturally. Claiming they did would be ridiculous. But that's not what we're claiming. God has the power to make these things happen. On the other hand, "Nothing" does not have the power to make things happen.

Therefore, a Big Bang without a Big Banger is ridiculous in a naturalistic world, while miracles in a theistic world are not at all ridiculous. Our claim hinges on the existence of God, your claim contradicts your own worldview. That is the difference.

(And we don't just have papyrus. We have the Jewish people who went through these things, we have archeological artifacts like the Cyrus Cylinder and more. These aren't claims about a land "long ago and far away." This is a real people that was attacked by Philistines, sent into exile, and returned under Cyrus. There is a very long period of history, which can be followed, that this is all directly tied to. This is different from, say, a myth about Hercules. It's intended to describe history, not create heroes or even illustrate moral principles.)

AJG,

I'll give you (and RonH) the last word here (with me etc).

Replying to both Amy and scblhrm as this will be my last post on the matter. First to scblhrm:

God can empower. Life can do that. That's observable, falsifiable.

How does one observe and/or falsify god or his empowerment? There's a Nobel waiting for you if you can defend this position.

Nonlife cannot spontaneously grant life. It's never observed or falsified.

And yet here we are. How did we get here? Where is the god that caused this to occur? Who gave god his life? If no one did, then why couldn't the same be said for your life or mine?

It appears that "ancient" is an evidence against A or B or C, per AJG's appeal to the emotion that word, at least in his mind, raises.

If the ancient text claims things that contradict everything we know about the natural world and have no other empirical evidence, then yes, I think we can ignore its supposed evidentiary value. Or do you think Achilles really could not be harmed by man-made weaponry except for the heel by which Thetis dipped him in the Styx? That story is no more or less unbelievable than a Herculean figure losing his strength when his locks were sheared.

Now Amy:

AJG, this isn't a rhetorical question: If you didn't think Samson got his strength from his hair, then why did you characterize the story as saying he did?

Because I was typing quickly and really didn't think the distinction made a difference. Given that the story is mythical, the details on the origin of Samson's strength is a pointless argument akin to the number of angels dancing on a pin.

Of course you can see that these stories are only ridiculous if God doesn't exist, and they're not at all ridiculous if He does, so that is the real question.

Given the lack of evidence for god's existence, the most rational position is to assume that he is either hiding or non-existent. From the human perspective, both positions are identical.

Therefore, a Big Bang without a Big Banger is ridiculous in a naturalistic world, while miracles in a theistic world are not at all ridiculous.

And dragons, elves and orcs are not ridiculous in Tolkien's world, but they are still fictional.

Our claim hinges on the existence of God, your claim contradicts your own worldview. That is the difference.

I don't recall making a claim about the origin of the universe. Rather I said it is a work in progress. We may never know the answer, but attributing it to an invisible god is a dead end. It also leads to the next logical question of who made the god that made the universe. Of course, the theist wishes to rewrite the rules for god but the skeptic sees through this. We both have the same problem, but I only consider possible solutions that are grounded within the framework of what we can detect (i.e. the natural world) while you consider solutions that are undetectable and, thus, unverifiable. One of us is wrong but given that every religion in the world has its own creation narrative and all are equally with evidence, I'm comfortable with my position.

AJG said: "[...] It also leads to the next logical question of who made the god that made the universe[?]"

Now we're getting somewhere!

Your question is logically problematic. If everything needs a creator, than no matter what exists, it must have been created. Furthermore, to be created means that someone or something had to create it. But then, who created the creator and so on? Logically, this would mean there would be an infinite regression of creators (prior causes), and we would never be able to find the first uncaused cause. This would mean that the sequence of creations is eternal. But, if it exists that there is an eternal regression of creators, then who created the infinite regression of creators, and how did this universe arrive at a finite state from the infinite regress?

Remember, your question presupposes that all things need a creator -- even the eternal sequence of creators -- which becomes logically absurd. Furthermore, if there is an eternal regression of creators that are eternal, then your question is not answered. In fact, it cannot be answered, since its weakness is that "all things need a creator." Of course, this only begs the question in that how did the process begin? Therefore, the question only raises the same problem it asks, and it is a question that, by its own design, cannot be answered. Therefore, it is invalid.

The question is better phrased as a statement: "Everything that has come into existence was brought into existence by something else."

So:
1) We claim that God is the uncaused cause.
2) AJG, friend, my sense is that you know in your heart you have sufficient evidence and reasons to believe in Jesus as the cause of this universe, the creator of your life, and that the Bible is an accurate reflection of His character.
3) Why not commit your life to God?

Your question is logically problematic. If everything needs a creator, than no matter what exists, it must have been created. Furthermore, to be created means that someone or something had to create it. But then, who created the creator and so on?

Nowhere did I claim that everything needs a creator. Rather, I stated that if you posit that the universe required a creator, then the next question is who created the creator. You're strawmanning my argument.


The question is better phrased as a statement: "Everything that has come into existence was brought into existence by something else."


How do you know this? Furthermore, how do you know that the universe came into existence? You don't know either of these things. If you begin with faulty premises you arrive at faulty conclusions.


1) We claim that God is the uncaused cause.


You can't even demonstrate that god exists much less that the god that you worship is the same god that supposedly is the uncaused cause.


2) AJG, friend, my sense is that you know in your heart you have sufficient evidence and reasons to believe in Jesus as the cause of this universe, the creator of your life, and that the Bible is an accurate reflection of His character.


Your sense is off. Furthermore, you presume that I haven't already given christianity a fair shake. 80% of my life was spent as an evangelical. It took a massive effort to throw off those superstitions and reorient my life in the direction of reason and truth. I have no desire to go back to a world of cognitive dissonance where I give lip service to things that I knew in my heart were nonsense and are at complete odds with the reality that science and reason have revealed in the past 500 years. This is who I am and I am proud and happy to proclaim it.


3) Why not commit your life to God?


Which one? How would I ever know if I had picked the correct god to follow? Better to hedge use reason and evidence to conclude that god almost certainly doesn't exist than to make the real god angry by following the wrong one (sort of a reverse Pascal's wager).

Some cosmologies posit that our universe "bounced" into existence from the contraction of a prior universe instead of "banged"into existence from a singularity. The origin of the universe is a work in progress. It's perfectly reasonable to say we don't know when we do not, in fact, know.

In addition to “banged” and “bounced” – we also shouldn’t rule out:

1) Poofed (this could have occurred from a poofing particle that had poof power)
2) Deflected (think of the bounce, but off something else. A double-bounce)
3) Popped (Like popping popcorn except a lot louder and there's only one kernel)
4) Clapped (note to itchy fingers, claps don’t need clappers)

Cause we just don’t know. The only thing we can confidently rule out is God. Because that would be silly.

I’ll follow this comment up with my position on ridicule : )

AJG said: "Nowhere did I claim that everything needs a creator"

No you didn't, but your question, 'who made the god that made the universe?' leads to only two options: 1) infinite regress or 2) uncaused cause.

Which do you choose?

Amy,

Thanks. What do you make of this?

But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

BTW, a Naserite vow can, as I understand it, be broken accidentally. That's a bit unusual for a vow and something to be aware of.

RonH

Son of Adam,

...but your question, 'who made the god that made the universe?' leads to only two options: 1) infinite regress or 2) uncaused cause.

What assumptions does your assertion here depend on?

RonH

@RonH:

Can you clarify your question?

Short of proposing possible answers, which I don't want to do because I don't want to influence your answer or how you think about it, I really don't see how I can be more clear.

ALG has two options and you list them. That's what I mean by your 'assertion'.

I think you know what 'assumption' means. Etc

I used the plural: 'What assumptions'. I should allow you to answer 'none' or 'one'.

So: What assumption or assumptions, if any, does your assertion here depend on?

@RonH:

I fear you are distracting from the previous question, "which do you choose 1) infinite regress or 2) uncaused cause". That notwithstanding, here are some of the dozens -- perhaps thousands -- of assumptions I make:

a) Three fundamental laws of logic are true: 1) the law of identity, 2) the law of non-contradiction, and 3) the law of the excluded middle.
b) mathematical truths exists
c) metaphysical truths are rational - e.g., there are minds other than my own, the external world is real, and the past was not created 5 minutes ago with an appearance of age
d) ethical beliefs about statements of value exist
e) Aesthetic judgments, like knowing the beautiful, exist.
f) an objective reality is shared by rational observers
g) this objective reality is governed by natural laws
h) these natural laws can be discovered by means of systematic observation and experimentation.

Now that I've answered your question, could you kindly answer mine:

"Which do you choose 1) infinite regress or 2) uncaused cause?"

Ron, a person could become unclean accidentally, as well. There were visible representations of covenants with God that had to be in place to signify the person's consecration to God. That was part of the covenant. When those things were in place, the person's part of the covenant was upheld. When they weren't in place, the person would be in violation of the covenant. For this reason, when Samson was restored to a place of keeping the covenant (i.e., not cutting his hair), his Nazirite covenant would once again be in place.

This is why I love reading the holiness laws in the OT. They were meant to give a sense of our precarious situation before God because of our sin, our uncleanness, our unholiness. I love feeling the weight of that because only then can I understand what an unbelievably wonderful thing it is that Jesus is holy for us, so when we're joined to Him, we no longer have lists of rituals necessary to be in a right relationship with God (see Hebrews).

Also, I have a hard time believing Samson's hair was cut accidentally. He had to have known Delilah was going to cut it. I think he either took God's favor for granted and didn't care about being faithful to Him, or he had started to believe his strength came from himself and he didn't need God. Either way, bad news.

I was typing quickly and really didn't think the distinction made a difference. Given that the story is mythical, the details on the origin of Samson's strength is a pointless argument akin to the number of angels dancing on a pin.

AJG, of course there's a huge difference between saying that hair gave a person power and saying that an omnipotent Person gave someone power. A magical worldview is quite different from a theistic worldview. To confuse the two is to show that you're not really familiar with the subject (as I explained to another atheist who introduced the same confusion here).

And it's not a pointless argument at all. The Bible does not say hair gave Samson power, so to say that the Bible does say hair gave Samson power is to say something objectively false. That can be verified by looking at the Bible, so it's not at all like arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It's a verifiable question. Whether or not it really happened is a different question entirely. But if we're going to discuss the stories in the Bible, they need to be accurately represented before we can determine anything else.

Son of Adam,

Now that I've answered your question

No you haven't. The things you list don't appear intended to answer my question - though, I'm sure you do assume them.

RonH

@RonH,

    The things you list don't appear intended to answer my question

What 'things' would 'appear intended to answer your question'?

In Genesis we find that Love’s Ontology clearly defines inequality between Male and Female as part of the Cold Outside, part of Love’s fragmentation, which is, on definition, but one small part of Hell on Earth. In Christ we find once again Eden’s language, as the Husband is to die for the Wife, and, for Love just does pour-out, and even worse, should he fail in this arena of loss-of-self, he need not suppose his prayers are heard by God. Such a thought would be a shock to a first century Jewish male, but so it goes. Telling a first century man that his slave is on ontological par with Christ’s Body is just as shocking, but, so goes Love’s Ontology, from Eden to Gethsemane to today and to forever for He just is immutable.

Now, in this and in all sorts of other loveless fragmentations as this, we find the love’s criticizer wholly unwilling to take on scripture on scripture’s own terms.

And this is just one of countless examples…… there is no sexism in scripture, for, sexism is defined as but some small part of Hell on Earth, by scripture’s own sort of definitions, which is but Love’s definitions.


Criticizers of love hate that fact about scripture.


They never do concede it.


They just keep talking around it, as if it’s not there in black and white.


That’s the sort of “thinking” the Christian must deal with when in dialogue with love’s criticizers.


And so on, in countless other vectors as Eden and Gethsemane find Love Himself following Man into Man’s own Hell on Earth void of Love’s Unity. The [bracketed] Whole that is E Pluribus Unum’s Whole within the Immutable and Uncreated Ontology of Love’s innately triune Self-Other-Us in Unity’s Singularity is the A and the Z by which all lesser fragmentations are defined by and in scripture, and, but for Love’s Whole, the word “definition” itself is without definition.


It is at such a point where the unsophisticated and sophomoric “thinking” (that word is used with great generosity) of love’s criticizer comes along and “ridicules scripture for supporting sexism”, and so on, in various vectors such as these.


And so forth in countless other examples.
The proper response to such poor thinking, weak analysis, and feeble philosophy is to take such a one by the hand and, at least a few times, remind them of a few of their general and specific false accusations, errors in logic, and intellectual missteps and then, at some point, simply acknowledge that they do not want to discuss the truth of the matter, but merely wish to hate love and criticize love.


Well, there is at such a juncture nothing to do with that sort of baseless ridicule, really, other than ignore it and present the truth of Love’s Ontology, of E Pluribus Unum’s singularity of Love’s triune landscape amid Self-Other-Us, and to present such for its own sake.


There are countless examples along these lines inside of what Love defines as but the Cold Outside, as Hell on Earth, as Law’s Descriptive, that Ministry of Death, never can bring Man into Moral Excellence in mere juxtaposition, as Hell on Earth is but Power’s Restraint, the Ceiling and Floor of which is yet fragmentation, and, we find that the [A to Z], Love’s Prescriptive, ultimately ends all ad infinitums as Man, by amalgamation, is brought into Moral Excellence, that of E Pluribus Unum, which is innately and inevitably triune in topography, as all regresses to Self amid Other within Unity’s Us.


I suppose it is that such sightlines require a reasonable comprehension of the entirety of scripture and that such requires a bit of time-investment, and actual intellectual effort, which love’s criticizer is unwilling, or unable, to invest, that gives some reason as to his confused and illogical statements. Only, we seem to find love’s criticizer wielding a hate which is persisting despite various discussions. One cannot help but think that, on the face of such evidence, that the “core something” in all of us which hates Love, and loves Self, just is our god, and so to hell with Love.


Well, that is of course the truth of the matter, for Love follows Man, us, into Man’s own hell despite such motions on Man’s part, as scripture clearly delineates. But, that too will be, perhaps, perhaps not, missed by the sort of emoting we find in some of these threads by love’s criticizers.

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