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October 05, 2015

Comments

Greg,

If your reading of Romans 1 is correct then every time a Christian has any doubt of God's existence or nature, they too are culpably suppressing God's revelation like that person trying to hold the beach ball under water. In short, you've just turned everything short of maximally certain belief into a sin.

A better approach to Romans 1 and atheists is found in my book "Is the Atheist My Neighbor? Rethinking Christian Attitudes Toward Atheism."

Randal,

First, I've always enjoyed your books. Though I often have serious theological disagreements with you, I've always thought they were insightful and worth engaging. I haven't read this book yet, but I've read the section you refer to at your suggestion here.

Now to your point here. The argument against Greg's reading in your book boils down the fact that if that's what Romans 1:18-21 means then this implies that agnostics and Christian doubts are sinful too. And you find that "simply intolerable" (circa p. 45--Kindle version).

But that doesn't seem like a very good argument to me. I think Christians continue to sin every day, even in their epistemic duties. It doesn't strike me as odd or "intolerable" that one of the many ways sin continues to manifest itself in the lives of Christians is unbelief.

If a Christian doesn't think persistent sin in the unbeliever in general is intolerable why should they think *that* sort of sin in the unbeliever is intolerable? What makes the persistence of that sin so special that it's intolerable?

Also in your book you seem to want to say that the atheist and the agnostic and the Christian are all equally sinning in this regard: you say that the doubts of Mother Teresa are "every bit as rebellious and wicked as those of infamous atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair" (circa p. 44). But I don't see how that follows. Let's go back to your story of walking through the forest with your friend. If the atheist is the person who denies that there was a roar, a flash, and a rumble then the agnostic is the person who says they aren't sure that they heard a roar, a flash, and a rumble and the Christian is the person who says they think they heard a roar, a flash, and a rumble--and they are willing to venture something on there having been those things--but sometimes they aren't sure.

It seems to me that these persons clearly *aren't* situated the same epistemically and so why would they be equally epistemically culpable? If my friend said to me "I think I did here/see/feel something, but I'm not sure. Let us go and check it out and take appropriate caution!" Then I would not be as incredulous as if my friend stared blankly at me as if I were crazy (as many atheists are wont to do).

Finally, you say that there is a better approach to Romans 1 in your book. But I don't see where you suggest an alternative reading of Romans 1:18-21 that doesn't lead us to the Rebellion Thesis. You mentioned that Paul likely has in mind pagans (rather than atheists) and that his motivation is to establish universal depravity. As you point out, this is consistent with the Rebellion Thesis (circa p. 40 or 41). But I fail to see how it provides an *alternative* to the Rebellion Thesis.

Remington, thanks for your reply.

Here are two questions for you.

First, if Greg's reading of Romans 1 is correct, then why doesn't he address the widespread sinful rebellion WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY against the overwhelming, clear revelation of God? Note that he targets atheists and those of other religion and no religion in his 3 minute talk. But he never addresses the deep and ongoing sin within the Christian community of those who doubt. Why not? Isn't that deeply hypocritical?

Second, here's a real scenario for you. Emil discovers that his family was massacred in a violent home invasion. Over the next several weeks he struggles with deep doubts about the goodness and even existence of God. According to Koukl's reading of Romans 1, Emil is in rebellion against God because God's existence and nature is always perfectly clear to Emil regardless of what occurs in his life. I take that sweeping indictment of all putative instances of doubt as a reductio for Koukl's reading of Romans 1. If you disagree, then fair enough. But then you should encourage Koukl to start preaching against the sin of doubt in people like Emil.

Remington,

I've written a reply to Greg's post here:

https://randalrauser.com/2015/10/are-atheists-rebelling-against-god-greg-koukl-says-no-duh/

To save you the time, I'll give you the conclusion. Koukl is free to morally indict all doubt. However, if he does, he should begin with a moral indictment of Christian doubt. As I put it, "before you start condemning the sin of doubt outside the Christian church, you should begin by condemning the sin of doubt within the Christian church."

Remington you ask:

"If a Christian doesn't think persistent sin in the unbeliever in general is intolerable why should they think *that* sort of sin in the unbeliever is intolerable? What makes the persistence of that sin so special that it's intolerable?"

Please note that you could apply that same retort to defend a Word of Faith theology that rendered all physical illness morally culpable.

Randal,

First, if Greg's reading of Romans 1 is correct, then why doesn't he address the widespread sinful rebellion WITHIN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY against the overwhelming, clear revelation of God?

First let me clarify that not all Christian doubt involves doubt of God's existence. Christians may doubt that they are saved or that God loves them or that God will heal them (physically or emotionally) and none of this, so far as I can see, would bring them under the Rebellion Thesis as born out of Romans 1. So in your Emil example Emil doubts whether God is really there and whether God really cares. The former may fall under the Rebellion Thesis (unless he means something like "are you really there for me") and the latter may not.

Second, why might Greg have not addressed doubt within the Christian community? Well I don't know and I can't speak for Greg. Maybe because it didn't occur to him or maybe because he believes Romans 1 is addressing ongoing sin and not momentary lapses and he believes Christian doubt falls into the other category?

Or maybe Greg thinks that there is something to be said (and expanded upon) for Craig's "cognitively normal persons." For instance, Emil (below) may not qualify as functioning in a cognitively normal way in the midst of his great grief and physiological stress. Likewise, in the same way that we think John in his epistles doesn't have in mind instances of sin per se but *practices* or lifestyles of sin perhaps Paul has in mind not instances of doubt per se but those who are characterized by their denial--they venture something on it, like the atheist.

Second, here's a real scenario for you. ... If you disagree, then fair enough. But then you should encourage Koukl to start preaching against the sin of doubt in people like Emil. ... Koukl is free to morally indict all doubt. However, if he does, he should begin with a moral indictment of Christian doubt. As I put it, "before you start condemning the sin of doubt outside the Christian church, you should begin by condemning the sin of doubt within the Christian church."

While it may be that Emil's doubt of God's existence is a product of sin it may not be prudent to bring this to bear on Emil in the midst of his grief. I think it should also be kept in mind that not all doubts are not equally culpable, per the forest analogy above.

Please note that you could apply that same retort to defend a Word of Faith theology that rendered all physical illness morally culpable.

I didn't read your earlier remarks on WoF theology, so I'm not sure what the force of this is supposed to be. I think we have exegetical reasons for rejecting WoF theology. I see no exegetical reason to reject the Rebellion Thesis.

I would be interested in seeing what Greg Koukl does with the following juxtaposition:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Rom 1:18)
For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Rom 2:24)

One way to interpret the transition from the first to the second chapter is that Paul is attempting to get his readers enraged, only to expose their hypocrisy. A spiritual mentor calls this something like the "Romans 1–2 punch". We could compare & contrast this with the primary source of Jesus' criticism in the Gospels; did he mostly target those who made no claims to be representatives of God and mediators of his commands (see Deut 5), or did he target precisely those who were supposed to manifest his glory to the world—who told themselves they were doing precisely this?

Now, the equivalent of the 'church' then was unhealthy. Is ours, today, healthy or unhealthy? Note that the pattern throughout the Bible is for the vast majority of people claiming to speak for God, to assert and perhaps believe, that they were indeed his messengers. The difference is whether the power of God is actually at work; one place to see this difference painted starkly is 2 Tim 3:1–5.

The line of posts remind me of Micah's sarcastic prophecy in 2:11:

Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you,
“I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!”
That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!

Ironically, this scathing view of false prophecy is on the heels of one of Micah's most austere promises:

“Someday, O Israel, I will gather you;
I will gather the remnant who are left.
I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen,
like a flock in its pasture.
Yes, your land will again
be filled with noisy crowds!
13  Your leader will break out
and lead you out of exile,
out through the gates of the enemy cities,
back to your own land.
Your king will lead you;
the Lord himself will guide you.” (Micah 2:12,13)

I note these verses make up an exegetical problem in these verses. Is verses 12 and 13 a sample of the preaching of these "wino prophets," or a true understanding of the purposes of the Lord as Micah worked the nation away from the apostate heritage of Ahaz to accept the recent reformations of Hezekiah?

I appreciate the points made by Randall and Remington in understanding a suppression of truth that may even filter through the churches of the Christian faith. Micah had to deal with those who would alter the faith to accept a "more comfortable" God. Times, in certain matters, don't change all that much.

Remington,

If Koukl wants to maintain that reading of Romans 1, he must accept not only that creation attests to God's existence, but also to his "invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature". Consequently, it is not only doubts about God's existence that face a moral indictment. So do doubts about God's nature.

So on Koukl's view, Emil is in moral rebellion against God both for doubting God's existence and his nature. I find such a view of all doubt as morally repugnant (and implausible) as Word of Faith's equation of physical illness with sin.

Randal,

I think you're right that it's wrong to doubt God's nature as much as God's existence based on Romans 1. (I was being sloppy to change your "doubts about the goodness" to something more vague.)

But I don't think that in itself is sufficient to demonstrate that Emil is, as you describe him, the subject of Romans 1 since it ignores some other qualifications I brought up: (1) he may not be functioning in a normal cognitive way in that circumstance and (2) Paul may not be speaking about just any instance of doubt but a practice or a life ventured on the doubt.

If we were to say that after some number of years pass by and upon reflection on the events Emil still takes it as reason to doubt the goodness and existence of God then I have no problem saying that this is unrighteous suppression.

I find such a view of all doubt as morally repugnant (and implausible)

I don't. And based on what the Bible says about my sin and its effects, I have reason to not blindly stake my position to whatever seems morally repugnant or laudable.

as Word of Faith's equation of physical illness with sin.

As I mentioned I don't reject WoF theology just because I find it "morally repugnant" but because I find it exegetically lacking. And the Bible indicates that *some* instances of physical illness are a result of sin (e.g., 2 Chron. 26:20) and I don't think that is morally repugnant. Do you? If not, why would you think that if it turned out that all cases of physical illness being a result of sin this would be morally repugnant? Presumably just because you don't think all persons who are physically ill deserve the level of suffering they are experiencing through their illnesses. At this point maybe I'm just willing to let Scripture define the terms.

Are Atheists Just Suppressing the Truth in Unrighteousness?
Of course!, since
...what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
This is why Jesus said
...no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.

Remington,

You offer two defenses of Emil's doubt.

"(1) he may not be functioning in a normal cognitive way in that circumstance and (2) Paul may not be speaking about just any instance of doubt but a practice or a life ventured on the doubt."

So why not apply these to the atheist? On (1), consider, for example, the link between autism and atheism. (Just google the two terms and you'll find a lot of data linking unbelief with autism.) With that in mind, it could be that at least some of Koukl's rebellious atheists are in fact atheists at least in part due to cognitive malfunction.

Indeed, as Alvin Plantinga pointed out, on his view of proper function epistemology, everyone malfunctions to some degree when it comes to belief in God (the noetic effects of original sin). Koukl allows no such qualification for instances of atheism.

Regarding (2), if it isn't nonbelief per se that is the problem, then Koukl can no longer say every instance of atheism is an instance of sinful rebellion. Only those instances of atheism that lead to "a life ventured on the doubt" are morally culpable.

In both cases, Koukl's magisterial thesis is being critically eroded.

Randal,

On the link between autism and atheism, it's not clear that there is anything abnormal that is causing the correlation to atheism. So I don't think we can appeal to that as evidence that "autheism" is a product of cognitive malfunction (that was a typo but I kind of like it). As for Plantinga, I think that's a different sense of proper cognitive function than what Craig has in mind with cognitively normal persons. Clearly Craig is thinking of a sort of cognitive normality that is had by some people and not had by others as opposed to Plantinga's sense in which "everyone malfunctions to some degree..."

But all that aside, your question still remains: why not say the atheist is functioning in a non-normal way that obviates their culpability? Well because Romans 1:18ff clearly indicates that those who fail to honor and worship God have culpability.

You take it that Greg Koukl's position (and the Rebellion Thesis generally?) makes it so that "everything short of maximally certain belief" is sin. But why? Consider your paraphrasing of Plantinga that we all malfunction "to some degree." Craig (and Koukl) may agree that we all cognitively malfunction to *some* degree, but some degrees of cognitive malfunctioning are culpable and some are not. We can know and venture on it with less than maximal certainty. Which is just to say that we can doubt what we know and venture upon. So maybe we can look at it this way: there is a doubt threshold where doubt becomes suppression of the truth in unrighteousness. But not just any doubt meets the threshold. Which doubts meet the threshold? Those that manifest themselves as a failure to honor and worship God.

Regarding (2), if it isn't nonbelief per se that is the problem, then Koukl can no longer say every instance of atheism is an instance of sinful rebellion. Only those instances of atheism that lead to "a life ventured on the doubt" are morally culpable.

Let's stick to Romans 1 and say that any form of atheism that fails to honor and worship God (for all cognitively normal persons). Does every instance of atheism result in a failure to honor and worship God? I think so (unless we define atheism very broadly, such that my dog, Anscombe, is an atheist).

In both cases, Koukl's magisterial thesis is being critically eroded.

I don't think Greg was trying to present a rigorous application of Romans 1 in 3 minutes. For instance, I don't recall him mentioning any qualifications about cognitively normal persons... but I also don't think he would consider it an "erosion" of his thesis to tack on that qualification or some others.

"On the link between autism and atheism, it's not clear that there is anything abnormal that is causing the correlation to atheism."

I strongly disagree. Regardless, it's your burden of proof to show that there is no cognitive malfunction in the autistic brain which contributes to a non-culpable disbelief along the lines you've described.

"your question still remains: why not say the atheist is functioning in a non-normal way that obviates their culpability? Well because Romans 1:18ff clearly indicates that those who fail to honor and worship God have culpability."

You do realize this is circular? If you exempt certain individuals who have cognitive malfunction from culpability, and particular atheists have that cognitive malfunction, then particular atheists are exempted from culpability. If you attempt to qualify that only Christian theists who suffer cognitive malfunction can have non-culpable non-belief (i.e. doubt) then you have adopted a completely ad hoc qualification without textual warrant.

"I don't think Greg was trying to present a rigorous application of Romans 1 in 3 minutes."

That's clear. But I would suggest that if you are going to condemn an entire community in three minutes, you better invest the time to back up your claims.

cognitively normal persons
What about those to whom it is not granted that they believe?

Randal,

I strongly disagree. Regardless, it's your burden of proof to show that there is no cognitive malfunction in the autistic brain which contributes to a non-culpable disbelief along the lines you've described.

Correlation doesn't prove causation. So there is no presumption that the link between atheism and autism is due to some cognitive malfunction.

You do realize this is circular? If you exempt certain individuals who have cognitive malfunction from culpability, and particular atheists have that cognitive malfunction, then particular atheists are exempted from culpability. If you attempt to qualify that only Christian theists who suffer cognitive malfunction can have non-culpable non-belief (i.e. doubt) then you have adopted a completely ad hoc qualification without textual warrant.

I'm sorry, but I don't see the circularity you have in mind. The cognitive malfunction that would exempt certain individuals from culpability would generally not apply to atheists since atheists generally have sufficient cognitive function to be morally culpable (even if they have some cognitive defect related to autism).

Furthermore, let's keep in mind that I haven't said that all Christians who experience doubt have non-culpable non-belief. I also haven't said that *only* Christians have non-culpable non-belief. My qualification would be that all cognitively normal persons who fail to worship and honor God are morally culpable. That's not an ad hoc qualification since I'm taking it from Romans 1. This would surely mean that some Christians and some atheists are have culpable non-belief.

That's clear. But I would suggest that if you are going to condemn an entire community in three minutes, you better invest the time to back up your claims.

Greg did back up his claims by going to Romans 1. Clearly that wasn't to your satisfaction, but I guess he didn't have you in mind when he made the video.

Remington you write: "Correlation doesn't prove causation. So there is no presumption that the link between atheism and autism is due to some cognitive malfunction."

I guess I'll have to repeat myself: "it's your burden of proof to show that there is no cognitive malfunction in the autistic brain which contributes to a non-culpable disbelief along the lines you've described."

Next, you write: "My qualification would be that all cognitively normal persons who fail to worship and honor God are morally culpable."

Unfortunately, that's not what Romans 1 *says.* It seems like you have a lot of interpretive charity when it comes to applying Romans 1 to doubt within the Christian community. I would suggest you try exploring some greater charity when it comes to doubt outside the Christian community.

Anyway, thanks for the exchange!

R

Guess he took care of you! Eh Remington?

Maybe I'm making the wrong connections, but Romans 7:21 says why they are culpable (why they have no excuse for suppressing the truth or why it is an unrighteous suppression, Rom. 7:20). And it says that it is because they do not appropriately respond to what has been revealed (honor God or give thanks). Schreiner's BEC on Romans seems to bear out this structure. I haven't given any charity to the Christian that I wouldn't give to the atheist: whether it is a Christian or an atheist, if the doubt obstructs their honoring and worshipping of God then they are without excuse.

Thank you too!

Paul's ideas and teachings paralleling those found in The Wisdom of Solomon (and other inter-testamental works):

Romans 1:19-23 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

Wisdom of Solomon 13:1-5 [1] For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works; [2] but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world. [3] If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them. [4] And if men were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them. [5] For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.)
__________________

Romans 1:23-24 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,

Wisdom of Solomon 14:22-31 [22] Afterward it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God, but they live in great strife due to ignorance, and they call such great evils peace. [23] For whether they kill children in their initiations, or celebrate secret mysteries, or hold frenzied revels with strange customs, [24] they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure, but they either treacherously kill one another, or grieve one another by adultery, [25] and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury, [26] confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors, pollution of souls, sex perversion, disorder in marriage, adultery, and debauchery. [27] For the worship of idols not to be named is the beginning and cause and end of every evil. [28] For their worshipers either rave in exultation, or prophesy lies, or live unrighteously, or readily commit perjury; [29] for because they trust in lifeless idols they swear wicked oaths and expect to suffer no harm. [30] But just penalties will overtake them on two counts: because they thought wickedly of God in devoting themselves to idols, and because in deceit they swore unrighteously through contempt for holiness. [31] For it is not the power of the things by which men swear, but the just penalty for those who sin, that always pursues the transgression of the unrighteous.)

For additional parallels see https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-apostle-paul-fanaticus-extremus-all_11.html

IS IT TRUE that we can "clearly perceive in the things that have been made" the nature of God?

Clearly?

Paul seems to be arguing mainly against those who want to worship something in nature, like the sun, moon or the earth. He is saying that God is beyond any one thing in nature.

If that was Paul's main point it's like that of philosophers who ask one to imagine the greatest possible being, and not settle for something in nature.

However atheists don't worship anything in nature, they don't even worship the whole of nature, they study it, and are in awe of it. Not worshipful awe for they know nature is yin and yang, creation and destruction, evolution and extinction.

So was Paul speaking about atheism or is Koukl trying to read atheism back into first century concerns of Paul to dispute the worship of things IN nature which was what polytheists were doing, each choosing to focus on some THING in nature to worship?


The entire direction of Paul is singular and unmistakable. It is simply that particular quality of the Self perceiving some particular contour of reality called X. Therein in that perception of X one then comes upon the particular order of sight whereby some X2 - that is - some contour of reality which is by nature greater, higher, more lofty, more noble than X. Such a contour - X2 - is then volitionally set aside such that the particular contour or reality called X, which is by nature lower than, less noble than, the particular contour of reality called X2, may be the location, the foci of reality which is by choice one's declared Higher, though it is by nature Lower, one's declared Lofty, though it is by nature more Base, and so on, such that what the eye knows to be the lesser is on will retained, or elevated, while the contour of reality which the eye knows to be the more lofty is set aside, or lowered, debased.


That dance between perceived contours of reality obtains in a thousand different fashions.


Yesterday's modes are obvious enough. Today's modes are obvious as well. To perceive some contour of reality, say, love, on the one hand, and, also, to perceive the contour of reality one knows as indifference towards the orphan or the child, is to perceive two contours of reality. Today the former (actual) contour one actually perceives, love, though by nature higher than indifference, is volitionally scorned and declared but a fiction, made a Lie, such that another perceived contour of reality, indifference, is volitionally elevated, made the Truth, though it is by nature lower than, more Base than, love. Such the Atheist willingly does in all his eliminative metaphysics.


That particular dance amid perceived contours of reality, we find, obtains yet again as the Atheist perceives the contour of reality which sums as Logic. Such is, like Love, declared the Lie, while that which is by nature lower, lesser, more base, is elevated, declared the Truth, for Delusion survives all the Atheist's eliminative metaphysics and is therein declared more lofty, higher.


Now, again, those modes of trading obtain in a thousand different cultures amid a thousand different norms amid a thousand different centuries.


But the dance itself, the perception itself, the trade itself, the choice itself, is of a singular nature, of a singular typology, of a singular Archetype.

Clarification:


The last two paragraphs should have read as follows:


Now, again, that dance between perceived contours of reality obtains in a thousand different forms for said trading obtains in a thousand different fashions amid a thousand different cultures amid a thousand different norms amid a thousand different centuries.


But the mode itself, the dance itself, the perception itself, the trade itself, the choice itself, is of a singular nature, of a singular typology, of a singular Archetype.

Unfortunately, that's not what Romans 1 *says.*

Not sure why I typed Romans 7:21 and 20 last night, must have been tired. I meant Romans 1:21 and 20. Romans 1:20 ends with "So they are without excuse" (and if they had an excuse it wouldn't be suppression in unrighteousness) and Romans 1:21 seems to be answering why: "For even though they knew God, they didn't honor him or give thanks."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CqLtbw0rlM

Andy makes a good point.


If the choice is between the elimination of Logic and the Self, and thus of God too, or the retention of the metaphysical actuality of Logic and one's own Self, and thus God too, the leading New Atheists are prone to tell us that, "Even if all the stars should align and spell out 'I am God, I exist' that such would still not be evidence for God for it could be hallucinations...." and so on. If it is the undeniable reality and God - well then the choice is clear: Reality must sum to Hallucinations.


And so too with Indifference towards the orphan. Such must be the True, the Good, whereas love therein is the Fiction, the Con. And the path to defend that is to first sacrifice Logic and embrace Hallucination.


Else - on all such fronts - God.


No one wants to sin. Rather, the created Self finds in God something in which one intuits something Higher, something which rightfully demands of one's own Self. Love's categorical paradigm of reciprocity amid Self-Other there becomes too costly. Though God pours out His own Self, and empties such for His Beloved - for another - for all of us - the price of such a motion on our part seems too costly - as we would rather, in our lovelessness, not give away that which is our beloved - namely the Self.


But God, being love, motions otherwise.


scbrownlhrm,
could I have some fries with that word salad?

Andy,

Yes, we disagree with the New Atheist on the bit about all the stars aligning.

scbrownlhrm,
ah, so you are hearing voices in your head and one of them tells you something about "stars aligning" but you and one of the other voices in your head totally disagree with that. Lay off the weed, dude.

"Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and Peter Boghossian have said they would not consider it conclusive evidence for God if the stars all realigned themselves to say in everyone's own language, "I am God, believe in me." Boghossian says, "It could be a delusion." Dawkins and Boghossian have also said the same thing about the return of Christ, if it happened: not enough evidence." (Gilson)

scbrownlhrm,
that is so fascinating - how about you and the voices in your head start telling more stories about random people for no reason?

Andy,

We all have cognitive bias.

That you seem to disagree is revealing.

The examples of the quotes on evidence and extraordinary events via the New Atheists (etc.) and on the eliminative metaphysics which the Atheist favors on grounds of his commitments to a presupposition – despite the cost of affirming an irrational belief (reason sums to illusion vis-à-vis said eliminative paths) are common and well worn. Affirming such self-negating conclusions reveals a bit of cognitive bias at work.

That you seem to disagree is revealing.

Perhaps you'd like to address the OP rather than the straw man in your video or smoking weed.

Or not.


scbrownlhrm,
alright, let me summarize what you are saying:
If someone disagrees with you (and / or the voices in your head), then that means that this someone must be a new atheist.
Which in turn means that he must agree with everything that Dawkins, Krauss and Boghossian ever said - even when they contradict themselves.
Which in turn means that they must subscribe to eliminative materialism.
Which in turn means that they must believe that there no such things as cognitive biases.

Holy non sequitur Batman! Logic certainly isn´t your suit, eh? ;-)
But no worries, I´ll help you out - a "straw man" is actually a kind of logical fallacy where you try to refute an argument that your opponent did *not* advance. The moar you know!

Andy,

We agree, then, that your video is a good example of a staw man.


Meanwhile:


Cognitive bias causes all of us to push the more rational off as a trade for something less obvious, at times even self-contradictory. Suppression "cause I want to sin" is not found in the quote from Romans. Rather, what is being addressed is the very common and very human element of those cognitive biasis.

That you seem intent on taking the conversation elsewhere is odd.

But supression / cognitive bias is nothing new. It's a bit bizarre that you think Scripture gets it wrong on that element of our humanity, Theist or Non-Theist.

That you don't like the examples of the New Atheist's quotes and their obvious tie-in to eliminative metaphysics does not change the fact that such is ever more often defended and asserted by the Non-Theist.

It's not grown to such popularity because of Christians foisting it, after all.


We're just stuck having to deal with it.


BTW, you are free to demonstrate for us how it is your ontology (etc.) retains the "Metaphysical Actuality" that is Person, that is Love, that is Logic, that is the Self. All those fronts (topics) are old news, really. The Theist fairly often is found defending the (metaphysical) "actuality" of such while others often seem to equivocate the further one follows their philosophical means downstream.


The impact of our own cognitive bias and presuppositions on all of that ties into the element of something akin to "suppression".

It's all pretty common stuff.

scbrownlhrm,
I see that you still refer to yourself as "we" - the voices in your head just don´t shut up, do they?

But anyway, before you embarrass yourself even further, please look up the meaning of:
- "cognitive bias"
- "suppression"
- "vis-à-vis"
- "foist"
These words and phrases do not mean what you evidently think they mean.

Andy,

If you assume that eliminative metaphysics is not being foisted, I'll have to disagree. It's not exactly "argued for". And as it's not, well then it's not exactly a welcomed contribution in an intellectual arena.

You obviously agree, as you seem to want to distance yourself from it.

If you don't like Scripture’s assertion that our own biasis mislead us, that we in fact both emote and rationalize in modes of supression, then you'll have to debunk several hundred years of empirical evidence to the contrary.

A poor friend of science and knowledge is the person who denies his own tendencies for such things. Such denial is, of course, a product of the same.

You seem to think Scripture has gotten it wrong regarding that slice of our nature.

Well, I am, Christians are, "we" are, happy to inform you that Scripture got it right.

scbrownlhrm

it´s cute that you of all people talk of what is "welcome in an intellectual arena". But anyway, you only seem to have read Romans 1 in your Pink Princess Bible, so I´ll help you out a little:

"18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
- Romans 1:18-20

Protip: At the very least, try to read the title of the post before commenting - it is "Are Atheists Just Suppressing the Truth in Unrighteousness?" btw - which could have clued you in just a little.

Andy,


Personhood.
Logic.
Mind.
Love.
Self.
Other.
The Singular Us.
Truth.
Reciprocity.


The Divine Attributes.


Pro-Tip 1:

Anthropology 101

You seem to think the Divine Attributes are foreign to mankind. But you're wrong.

You seem to think bias and suppression are foreign to mankind's interfaces with the Divine Attributes. But you're wrong.

Pro-Tip 2:

You cannot demonstrate for us how it is your ontology (etc.) coherently retains (fails to eliminate) the "Metaphysical Actuality" of the Divine Attributes.


Andy,


The answer to the OP is:


Today's Atheists dive into said elimination of, denial of, the Divine Attributes for irrational and self-preserving reasons.


You are free to prove that conclusion wrong by entertaining Pro-Tip # 2.

scbrownlhrm,

cute list of "divine attributes" (lol) you got there! But you missed a few important items:
- Luminosity
- Pineapple
- The Singular They
- Boredom
- Fecundity
- The Possessive Me

Romans 1 actually talks about all of them (not directly of course, but if you use your imagination and make stuff up out of thin air - you know, like you do when you pretend that Romans 1 has anything to do with cognitive biases - you´ll see it!).

Btw, have you ever considered the "Metaphysical Actuality" of capitalization rules?

Andy,


If you mean to say that such attributes are not (on Christianity's premises etc.) factually, literally, grounded in God then there's really no more that can be discussed as you're simply uninformed about Christianity. Romans 1 speaks of God's eternal nature, of things made (which includes Man BTW), and so on. Hence the list. And, of course, it speaks of man willingly running his hand against the (immutable) grain of said attributes. Hence the very human element of rationalizing splinters.


The answer to the OP is:


Today's Atheists dive into the denial of the Divine Attributes for irrational and self-preserving reasons.


You are free to prove that conclusion wrong by entertaining Pro-Tip # 2.


That was a helpful analogy Greg gave on how the evidence is so obvious but people just keep pushing it down like trying to keep a beach ball under water.

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims His handiwork." - Psalm 19:1

Friends, keep an open mind to the things of God. See how He is at work in your life and in the world.

Logic, morality, creation...and most clearly, the Cross of Christ, point to the glory of God.

Man's tendency is to elevate something that is made, and to debase that which cannot be rationally claimed to be a made thing. Man, being a made, created, entity, is of course found necessarily present in that list of "made things". Further, we are directed to God's eternal qualities, and Scripture affirms that Man houses many of those Images. Worshipping a Tree, or an Animal, or the Materialist's bizarre version of blind reverberating cascades which he tries to pass off as "what reason 'actually' is" are all manifestations of the same mode, the same Archetype.


Each demonstrates trading away the more lovely, the more lofty, the more obvious, the more lucid claiming such to be The Lie, in order to gain the less lovely, the less lofty, the less obvious, the less lucid claiming such to be The Truth. Anthropology 101 and metaphysical seams affirm that such occurrences saturate the entire human experience.


There are such realities as rational belief/disbelief and of irrational belief/disbelief, and such seem present in both the Theist and the Non-Theist. Scripture is saturated with references to the nuance of Culpability as intimately merged with Knowing Much vs. Little, with haven been given Much Light vs. Little Light.


But that certain something which all seem culpable for is the trading away of something one intuits to be somehow more lofty for the gain of something one intuits to be somehow lesser.


The OP:


Today's Atheist trades away Love and calls it The Con, the Lesser, while he embraces Indifference and calls it The Good, the True, the Higher.


Love is a kind of Noble Lie.


And as we push him on the stuff of Logic we find him making all the same trades.


Volitionally casting off the more obvious, the more lucid, for that which he himself terms a Fiction, a Con, a Lie.

scbrownlhrm,

"If you mean to say that such attributes are not (on Christianity's premises etc.) factually, literally, grounded in God..."
- No, I don´t meant that at all! Of course you are absolutely right here. I just checked an authoritative source - "Christian Philosophy for (and by) Dummies" by eminent Christian philosopher Carloes Lueless (PhD, Universidad de Morón) - and it confirms what you say in the very first chapter. The "Divine Attributes" are obviously exempt from standard english capitalization rules, and they obviously include as you say things like "The Singular Us", "Self", "Logic" and "Reciprocity". I just wanted to remind you that you left out some important "Divine Attributes", such as "viscosity", "seventeen" and "banana".

And the answer you provide to the question posed by the OP is also just marvellous, you say:

"Though God pours out His own Self, and empties such for His Beloved - for another - for all of us - the price of such a motion on our part seems too costly - as we would rather, in our lovelessness, not give away that which is our beloved - namely the Self."
and:
"Today's Atheists dive into said elimination of, denial of, the Divine Attributes [which include "self" and "love"] for irrational and self-preserving reasons."

- so, according to you, an Atheist "eliminates" and "denies" both "love" and "self". And, he uses this non-existent "love", to "love" his non-existent "self" *so* much that he desperately wants to "preserve" the "self" that he doesn´t have because he "eliminated" it. And that is of course what Romans 1:18-19 means by "suppress the truth by their wickedness".
A splendid answer scbrownlhrm! How long did you have to hone your reasoning skills before you could contradict yourself so often and so obviously in such a short space?

Oh, one last thing - you do seem to be a little confused about what a "conclusion" is, a "conclusion" does not mean "mere assertions full of transparently incoherent BS", a "conclusion" is rather a decision reached by a *reasoning* process, something that is being argued for.

Andy,

Your straw men and insults aside, you're still lacking a demonstration of any ability to tackle Pro-Tip #2.

As expected.

Since you seem to think qualities of Trinity are not part of the Christian’s God, and yet think pineapple qualities are part of the Christian's God, your avoidance of that is of course understandable.


Andy,

Yes, the Atheist's eliminative metaphysics is rather incoherent when it comes to the "metaphysical actuality" of the Self.

It's good that you picked up on that.

Though, that bit of insight doesn't help you in the end, as your failure to tackle Pro-Tip #2 overshadowes it.


scbrownlhrm,

you are of course right! Things like "Logic", "love", "The Singular Us", "Reciprocity", "Self" and "other" are obviously "qualities of Trinity" - that´s Christian metaphysics 101. God being "father, son and holy spirit" obviously means that God is himself, not himself and all of us (singularly of course) all at once while reciprocating logically with love. That really could not be any more lucid and self-evident.

However, your "Pro-Tip #2" is not actually a "tip", because a "tip" is a piece of advice or a helpful hint (you can look up words that you do not know in a thing called "dictionary" - that was a "tip").
Your "Pro-Tip #2" is rather an incredibly clumsy challenge which boils down to:
"I am the supreme overlord of all atheists and thus get to decide for you what you believe. You will thus believe in eliminative materialism (or the the very least my braindead "understanding" (lol) of what "eliminative materialism" is) because I command it. Now, I challenge you to show how my braindead "understanding" of eliminative materialism grounds "Reciprocity" and "The Singular Us"!"

But two can play that game - you now believe in Scientology doctrines, because I say so. So, I demand that you explain how your scientology doctrines ground "divine attributes" like "the possessive me" and "viscosity".

This is the best discussion I have read on here in a long time.

Andy,

I'm not claiming you belive X.

You're simply failing to demonstrate an ability to tackle Pro-Tip #2.

Show us how your own ontological regression (whichever one you'd like to claim) retains (fails to eliminate) love. And Mind. And Logic. And Personhood. And......

You can't and so you don't, which is fine. Only, your inability is not me claiming you believe something. That you conflate the two is odd.

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