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« Hate Crime Legislation | Main | A Pro-life Opportunity »

July 22, 2009

Comments

As a border line atheist, I think this is one of those questions that keeps me at the border line, rather than going to full fledged atheism. I'm not satisfied with atheistic answers here. It's an excellent question.

Though my thinking might be along these lines. I'm not sure the first and second laws of thermodynamics actually apply at all points in "time" for our universe. Laws of physics break down when you back up enough. Laws of physics are merely descriptions of the world we observe. They're not really laws in the sense that they must be followed or something. This just happens to be what we see now.

Prior to the Planck time things are kind of inaccessible to the scientist. It's a hole in our knowledge. We don't have an answer.

For the theist, any hole in knowledge is an opportunity to insert God. Thunder, meteorites, lightning, etc. When these things weren't understood they were explained by God. So the track record for the theist is poor. What do we do with this newly recognized hole in our knowledge? Should we go with God? It hasn't worked out well in the past.

Can the atheist simply say he doesn't know, but is unwilling to insert God in the gap? He's content to live with the fact that he can't explain everything, just like the ancient Hindu might not know what holds the world up. He may not have known, but this doesn't mean he should believe it is turtles, right? I kind of lean in that direction.

Jon,

...So the track record for the theist is poor...

How do you come to this conclusion? If you don't understand it it doesn't make it a weak track record. You need to visit Lee Strobel's website or William Lane Craig's and get a better understanding of your so called "God of the gaps" interpretation!

There is a reason you're a "border line Athiest". The information provided in the Athiestic views is based on to much of a guessing game and waiting around for Scientist to come up with more discoveries. Athiesm seems to be more of a "Gaps" argument then the God argument is...

Prince,

>> proves nothing

they prove dualism
pretty important

>> You posted that same exact "10 Questions" thing before. Come up with some new ones

hahahahhaha

do you know how old greg's question is?

welcome to philosophy

Tom

see doug's answer on Mark 9:1

Doug

see Tom's answer on Mark 9:1

Fight Christians Fight!

Denis,

>> Therefore, based on your own words, it is highly improbable that if NDEs were proven that you would accept the claims of Christianity.

how does that follow

>> And, quite frankly, if you did it would be a highly irrational decision since NDEs have no bearing on its claims to start with.

NDEs indicate

dualism is true
the afterlife exists

two claims of christianity

I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.

Tony,

So if the NDE expiriments had a different outcome would that alone change you views on Christianity???

Welcome to Reality!

"For the theist, any hole in knowledge is an opportunity to insert God. Thunder, meteorites, lightning, etc. When these things weren't understood they were explained by God. So the track record for the theist is poor."

I think your stretching that point a bit further than it allows. Its one thing to attribute thunder to the hand of God (and in one sense, that isint even an inaccurate statement) and then later find out the natural process in which this thunder comes about. The fundamental question is how did that purely nautral process spring up to begin with? And im not talking about molecules charging and other wether phenomena here, im talking about the core 'programming' for these phenomena per say. This isint a 'I dont know so God must have done it' issue. Hypothetically, what if we found out that the big bang sprang up from nothing?...

Let me try to make sense of my thoughts, what I am saying is, is the fact that we are seeing these natural processes as God may have established them, sufficient reason to remove God from the equation? If we found a car and discovered how it worked, could we then say no one made it? (A sort of watchmaker argument) and there is a fundamental difference in our presuppositions that makes communication on this issue somewhat tricky. Just because we posit God does not mean we do so out of sheer lack of knoweldge. The only difference between us and medieval humans who may have thought God was throwing lightning bolts from heaven is now, with our telescopes, great computers and swolen intellect (thats not a slam on you, i promise!), can say, "This is how this happens, and God had nothing to do with it." When the very experiment can say nothing as to how it came into existence. But you are right to ask wether the material universe can sufficiently explain wether or not the universe is all that there is is indeed an important question. As far as we know, I dont think it can. And I may even suggest that by simply saying 'science doesnt have the answer yet' hints at a deeper conviction. I could be wrong on that one, and I am certainly not presuming anything over you. From my perspective, it is because of science that I believe science is an insufficient explanation for reality -- not the lack of it (that is, our knoweldge of it).

Thats not to say there arent some scientific discoveries that could call christianity into question.

Jon, you said:

    I'm not sure the first and second laws of thermodynamics actually apply at all points in "time" for our universe.
Interesting point -- what evidence do you have that it's not the case?

You also said:
    The laws of physics break down when you back up enough.
Are you saying that laws actually change, parameters of laws change, or that physical conditions in which laws operate have changed? There's questionable evidence for variance in laws, though there is ample evidence for laws applying to specific conditions (e.g., magma is not magnetic until it cools, thus magnetism is a function of energy states, etc.) It's a subtle point, but I'm curious to clarify your claim related to "laws breaking down".

You also said:
    Prior to the Planck time things are kind of inaccessible to the scientist.
Are you saying that Planck time, which refers to the smallest divisible unit of time, constrains how far back in time we can view the universe? (e.g., many believe we can *only* go back to when the universe was 10e-44 seconds old) Even if we are limited to coming within 10e-44 seconds of the Big Bang, I would argue that still leaves us with great opportunity to learn about the universe. Do you agree?

"I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong."

Even if not knowing, is the wrong answer?

"Fight Christians Fight!"

What are you really saying tony?
Thats an awfuly strange thing to say.

ToNY,

I don't think Doug and I will fight or lose any sleep over Mark 9:1. There was a reason why I provided 5 different interpretations (including Doug's position). One of them is likely correct.

You do know that just because two people disagree over an issue within a given worldview, it doesn't necessarily mean that their worldview is bunk, right?

ToNy, it would be foolish of me to cite evolutionary disagreements amongst evolutionists as evidence that evolution is false. And somehow I dont think you are ignorant to that fact.

Portal,

well this verse is a deal breaker.

Cuz if Jesus said he was comming back while those people were alive, and those people are now dead, then that's the end of Christianity.

Tom,

>> I don't think Doug and I will fight or lose any sleep over Mark 9:1.

No i don't

but if i were christian, i would lose sleep over it.

i would only fight doug if he was smaller though

Prince,

>> So if the NDE expiriments had a different outcome would that alone change you views on Christianity???

well, it would change my view of dualism.

and then i would infer (as a matter of utility) that one of the religions are true.

And then, moreover, at that point, like i said, pascals wager wins and i'd put my chips on one of the exclusive religions.

And then moreover, since i don't like islam because they get blowed up a lot, i would probably put my chips on christianity.

I still think the evidence that god walked on earth is ridiculously horrible, but oh well, pascal was right.

"And then moreover, since i don't like islam because they get blowed up a lot, i would probably put my chips on christianity."


***

"Portal,

well this verse is a deal breaker."


ToNy.... I believe you have just admitted otherwise. If NDE's led you to 'believe' christianity, apparently you wouldent really be betting on anything given the above quoted statements.

And I would say that your belief would ultimately be an illusory act. But perhaps, in this hypothetical universe, it may lead you into an actual belief. Which would be wonderful :). So lets hope for some good evidence for NDE's! Lol. :)

ToNY,
but if i were christian, i would lose sleep over it.

Why would I lose sleep if there are at least 5 fairly good explanations (which you haven't interacted with)? Not to mention mounds of other arguments proving Christianity to be more reasonable than any other worldview?

Prove to me why I shouldn't accept one of those 5 options using the original languages, a consistent interpretative/exegetical principle, and sound reason.

i would only fight doug if he was smaller though

This is actually great advice. Duly noted!

PORTAL

You're right. You did ask the same question. I guess now I know what I missed...your post. :)
Sorry about treading on your toes.

Tony: If you took the time to honestly study the view I mentioned on Christs coming you would see that his coming was a "Judgement Coming". Jesus borrowed Old testament language that his people then would understand. When God in the old testament pronounced judgement on Old Testement Israel it sounded like he himself was coming,but the other nations were used to punish Israel. The Romans in AD70 were used to punish Israel. Check out the website I suggested.

Portal,

>> "your belief would ultimately be an illusory act."

well, i like to refer to it as a wise bet


>> "But perhaps, in this hypothetical universe, it may lead you into an actual belief. Which would be wonderful :). So lets hope for some good evidence for NDE's!"

exactly

Doug,

i did check it out.

I thought the guy made some great points about language usage.

Tom, you should check it out.

Tom

>> Prove to me why I shouldn't accept one of those 5

well it was offered as a reason as to why i'm skeptical of Christianity.

i'm skeptical because jesus said he was comming back soon, and he didnt show up.

which means

1 - we miss understood what was meant
2 - jesus was not god

One could always take shelter in option one for any given bible verse.

Louis,

LOL
thats okay. Double emphasis is okay too :)

although i do think its funny that our posts ended almost identically

ToNY,

Tom, you should check it out.

I've checked out multiple views (including this link) and have already stated that they are all reasonable. One of them is likely right.

Again ToNY, prove to me why I shouldn't accept one of those 5 views (including Doug's) using the original languages, a consistent interpretative/exegetical principle, and sound reason.

As you well stated, either:
1 - we miss understood what was meant
2 - jesus was not god

Doug and I have made a case for #1. We could have friendly discussions about this and not renounce Christianity.

You seem to be advocating #2. What are your reasons?

One could always take shelter in option one for any given bible verse.

And one could always take shelter in their skepticism, right?

Tom

>> prove to me why I shouldn't accept one

well since i don't think it's possible to prove or disprove any bible verse, I think you can accept either one you want.

As for me, if god really said that, I conclude that either jesus meant it at face value, and didnt come back - hence he wasnt god. Or, jesus meant something else - in which case it's hard to imagine that the God who made the law of physics would render a sentence that is so pivotal, yet so cloudy.

That's why i'm skeptical of it.

But has the universe as we know it alwyas existed? It seems that even if you answer No to this question, something (God) has always existed, and not in violation with your previous statement that nothing (noun) has never existed. God is not locked inside the universe nor is he the universe. I think you would have difficulty reconsiling how a being trapped within the laws of this universe could create it. Maybe I misunderstand you? -- PORTAL

What we know in the universe has not always existed. But since nothing never existed, therefore existence has always existed. And the meaning of the word universe is that it is everything in existence.

In order for a God to have always existed, that means existence has to have always existed. In which case what need has existence of a God? None.

[As a Christian I believe the Son of God as God created everything created in the universe. And as God is not subject to the universe nor the things in the universe which He created. (Genesis 1:1. John 1:3. Colossians 1:16,17.)]


PaulS

"The universe is by definition everything in existence."

How do you know this to be true?
How do you reconcile the cause-effect of a creator of the universe prior to the existence of the universe with this statement? Am I missing something here? -- Louis Kuhelj

Well, one of my dictionaries has this: "universe (noun) plural univeres; : the complete system of all things that exist."

It is the meaning of that word. And since there has always been some kind of existence there has always by that definition been the universe. The universe is not any kind of God. The universe is made up of all the things having cause and/or effect which exist in it.


Paul S, you said:

(1) [...] nothing never existed.

By implication you are claiming that:

(2) something has always existed.

When you claim that something has always existed, you are by implication claiming the infinite persistence of something. The presence of an actual infinite quantity leads to real-world logical inconsistencies. -- S500 G652

I'm claiming the infinite persistence of existence. Not of things having a cause and/or an effect to be in existence. What inconsistencies are you refering to?


Portal,

well this verse is a deal breaker.

Cuz if Jesus said he was comming back while those people were alive, and those people are now dead, then that's the end of Christianity. -- ToNy

Jesus was speaking of His transfiguration in Mark 9:1. See the context that followed, Mark 9:2-8. Which was the direct fulfillment of what Jesus had said as recorded in Mark 9:1.

ToNy,

it's hard to imagine that the God who made the law of physics would render a sentence that is so pivotal, yet so cloudy.

Honest question: if the entire Bible had nothing difficult to interpret would you then conclude that God couldn't have written it because its too simple?

It's like the skeptics who demand that God show up at their weekly meetings. If he did, would they then conclude that this God can be tamed and do things on their command? Probably.

Tom,

>> if the entire Bible had nothing difficult to interpret would you then conclude that God couldn't have written it because its too simple?

no
true statements can also be simple

>> if he did, would they then conclude that this God can be tamed

if you showed up at my philosophy meetings now and then, would i conclude that Tom can be tamed?

nope

A basic to remember is that every philosophy must also apply to the philosopher. Aspousal is one thing living the thing aspoused is another thing entirely.

Damian

>> every philosophy must also apply to the philosopher

nah

hypocrites can craft wonderful truths and do great philosophy.

"But since nothing never existed, therefore existence has always existed."

What you are basicly saying then is God has always existed. According to this discussion, our physical universe has not always existed (a view I hold). So IF you say, 'the universe has always existed', then if by universe you mean the only reality we have ever existed in, which would be the reality that includes a Trinitarian God, then yes, this universe has always existed. This type of reality has always existed, though we have not always been around for it.

My fear is that everytime you say that, your going to have to do some serious qualifying on the term 'universe'.

p.s tony i was looking for this earlier to share with you, i thought you might appreciate it. I just now found it

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenheim_Poltergeist

i just thought it was an interesting story. honestly i havent looked at much of it outside of that wiki entry though.

I would ask them how they knew what was moral? (You 'stole' my first question. *heh*) They would have to explain on what basis was Thou Stall Not Murder was immoral, and they would have to explain what the difference is between murder and Just cause. How do they know it is Just? Justice comes from God to those who believe, it comes from man to those who do not.

My second question would be, "Where did the 'big bang' come from?" *heh*

PS. I left a question for you on the article above this one. Please read it. I need your guidance. Thanks, and God bless your family and you.

Tony,

You have "Christianity Blinders" on! You'll never come to realization if you're looking to find something wrong with everything bit of evidence brought to your plate. Instead of taking to heart what God said you're on a mission to put it on hold till you find a way to throw a "pointless monkey wrench" into it... You seem to be VERY close minded. Everything brought to my attention about Science, Evolution and things of that nature I haven't heard of I want to study it and see what it is all about first. Don't lash out at everything just because it doesn't make sense to you...

Or maybe I just love the truth.

Sexualitron,

that's kinda cool

i haven't heard of that one

amazing about the incidents resulting from the young employees presence

that's the kind of experiments i'm talking about.

Apparentley not...

Prince,

We all have our own truths.

Suum cuique pulchrum est.

Suum cuique pulchrum est.?????

Some things just sound better in Latin.

Ok...


yo quiero taco bell

some things sound better in spanish

Indeed.

Requiescat in pace, little Gidget.

Iway issmay atthay ogday.

I'm curious as to what these so-called "NDE experiments" are. Where can I read about them?
How were these "experiments" conducted? ("We are going to kill you and then bring you back to life. When we kill you, make sure you read the hidden message we've hung above the table." ???)

_+_

"But since nothing never existed, therefore existence has always existed."

What you are basicly saying then is God has always existed. According to this discussion, our physical universe has not always existed (a view I hold). So IF you say, 'the universe has always existed', then if by universe you mean the only reality we have ever existed in, which would be the reality that includes a Trinitarian God, then yes, this universe has always existed. This type of reality has always existed, though we have not always been around for it.

My fear is that everytime you say that, your going to have to do some serious qualifying on the term 'universe'. -- PORTAL

That is my personal belief that God has always existed, because He is the Existence (the LORD.) The universe being every thing IN Existence being God's creation. Anything dependant upon Existence to be is not God. Only Existence is in fact self existing. God's Name means the "Self Existing One" and is typically translated as "the LORD." The Son of God has always had two natures, one being in Existence being "with God" and the ohter nature being the Existence that is being "God" "was God." (John 1:1.)

Lee strobles two questions: Why is something here rather than nothing here? The atheistic answer and happens to be the correct answer is "nothing never existed." And his second question: Clearly, the physical universe is not eternal (Second law of thermodynamics, Big Bang cosmology). Either everything came from something outside the material universe, or everything came from nothing (Law of Excluded Middle). Which of those two is the most reasonable alternative? As an atheist, you seem to have opted for the latter. Why?

First, nothing came from nothing.

Everything comes from something. Since nothing never existed, there has always been something which has existed. And existence has always been. Not as we would know it. Athiests think the universe has always existed in some way. Supposing that there has always been the universe in some form. No first and not last beginnings ever. But certianly not something out of nothing.

So the real question regarding the "existence of God" is really Existence verses God. In order to have a God without a beginning you have to have an existence without a beginning. So unless Existence is the God, there is none. The unvierse is everything IN existence.

Using the analogy of a box and the things in the box. The box reprents existence. And what is in the box is the universe. Now the box has an inside which would also make it in the unvierse too. Even though the box is out side this universe which is in that box.

"well since i don't think it's possible to prove or disprove any bible verse, I think you can accept either one you want."

Prove what it means, or prove its veracity?
Before we consider whether a Bible verse is true, we have to consider what it means. Can we prove what any text actually means? With fair certainty, we can narrow down to any number of likely conclusions and exclude a host of unlikely ones based on good old fashioned context - just like with ANY text.

"It's hard to imagine that the God who made the law of physics would render a sentence that is so pivotal, yet so cloudy."

Really? It's hard to imagine an infinite Mind being a little hard for us humans to grasp? It would be foolish to take seriously any god who did not challenge my ability to understand his meaning.

Life is a challenge to our understanding...God appears to be doing His job very well.

Paul S.,

You seem to be hanging too much on the word "universe" by equating it with "existence." Existence refers to anything that is. The universe refers generally to all material objects that exist (that really are). When we posit spiritual realities (mind, spirit, soul, and their attendant properties), we regard another dimension, if you will, alongside the physical universe. This dualistic worldview that ToNy keeps attacking describes a universe with both physical and non-physical entities.

Reality would be the sum total of all that exists. If God created the universe, then He is not a part of His creation. That's logical - He can't create Himself, so He cannot be part of the universe. He can govern, indwell, and impact His creation, but He can never be part of His creation. This is God's other-ness, His transcendence. God, if He exists, is part of reality.

Hope this helps!

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