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October 18, 2012

Comments

Alan, I like the idea of making a parallel poster. After having followed the discussion on Tuesday, though, I was hoping your response would also address the message behind the poster--that which John Moore regarded as the main point:

The point of the quote is that hell is awful. How can a loving God condemn so many people to eternal suffering?

Many of you guys are just responding to the narrow literal meaning of the quote, which suggests that our thinking somehow creates truth, but you're totally missing the point. Come on, Christians! You can be smarter than that.

Here's a fragment of Paul's argument, to complement Robert Janca's response:


What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For He says to Moses,

"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy. (Romans 9:14-18)

Jesse,

I didn't get to read the comment about the "message behind the poster" because it was left late in the day and I had to record my response before it was posted. But "How can a loving God condemn..." is a fair challenge as well which we can always take up in a future video.

Although the poster maker's words do imply that he thinks beliefs affect reality, it is very unlikely that he actually thinks this is true.

No, the poster maker expresses, rather clumsily, an intuition that, whether true or false, is shared by many theists AND non-theists...

Most people don't deserve to go to Hell.

Alan was disinclined to apply the principle of charity. Or perhaps he was unable to apply it.

Either Alan didn't try to give the poster maker's words their most favorable interpretation or, if he did try, he couldn't think of a more favorable interpretation.

Alan should have started here: The idea that beliefs affect reality doesn't follow from atheism and isn't held by many atheists. So what does this poster maker really mean to say?

Of course the answer...

Most people don't deserve to go to Hell.
...is uncomfortable from an apologetic point of view. So Alan would have had no blog post or video.

Funny thing: The notion that beliefs affect reality is central to Christianity.

See, for example, Acts 16:30-31.

RonH

Create reality or affect reality, RonH? No one is saying beliefs don't affect reality. Of course they do.

Ron-

You are right, most people do not deserve to go to Hell. What everyone deserves is to be in their Sin and endure the eternal regard of a perfectly Holy God, and cry like Isaiah "Woe is me, I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips and I come from a people of unclean lips!"

Instead, God, in His mercy, allows those who choose their Sin over Christ to live apart from His Holiness and in their Sin. From that, they make Hell for themselves.

The rest He covers with Christ.

WL,

I didn't say it.
I said the poster maker meant to express that intuition with his poster and conclude from it that Christianity and Islam were false.

SteveK,

Create or affect or effect.
Take your pick provided the belief acts on it's own.

RonH

OK Ron, you didn't actually utter words to affirm what you took the poster maker to mean.

But you do agree with him don't you?

And my earlier remarks are on point with that.

“The idea that beliefs affect reality doesn't follow from atheism”.

This is false.

Morality is part of reality (for the atheist: contextual semantics “exist”) and, in Atheism, this is totally, every last bit of it, affected, defined, shaped, and injected into the world “out there” from within the whim of the world “in here”.


Belief, in Atheism, acts on its own.


“Most people don't deserve to go to Hell”


I deserve none of the love, none of the patience, none of the forbearing, and none of the ceaseless forgiveness which I have received. The very fact that my wife chose me, that I am even alive, all these things and so many others that comprise the good fortunes of my life “out there” far outweigh the ugly and selfish heap of that thing that is my life “in here”. The reality of Mercy “out there” trumps the reality that exists “in here”. Like Chesterton, when asked what is wrong with the world, I reply, “I am”.


I cannot speak for others. And I won’t. That call is delegated to a Freak named Love who shouts, with a mouth full of His own blood, “Forgive, for they know not”. It is One so tender as He, and no other, Who weighs every life.


Acts 16:30-31:


Once again the word ‘believe’ is interpreted inversely. Less My, more Thy, is needed here. Satan “believes”. And it doesn’t matter. His reality is unchanged. What is needed here to change reality is love’s motion and in particular that motion of the Self unto, into, the Other, the technical term of which is Trust. More accurate translations here assent. It is a giving-over of the thing called My-Belief into that thing which a Certain Other tells me is yet more real, yet more solid, yet more genuine and with this motion Reality comes from “out there” and is injected “in here”. This is the exact opposite of Atheism. Not My Mind, but Thy Mind, and within these motions, within these embraces the very fabric of our reality changes. This taste of Realities Interchanged comes inside of Love’s I-You within the embrace of the Singular-We, as we do what Love Himself does: spread our arms wide, and give our Self away, not in mere gesture, but utterly, as He does, and this for the Beloved Other, Who for us is He Whose name is Love and who for Him is You and I and Us.


WL,

Right, I didn't utter those words. I mentioned them.

I included "true or false" in my mention of them to briefly convey that their truth or falsity is not what my comment is about.

My mention of the words is my take on the OP; it is on topic.

The truth of the words, not so much.

RonH

This may or may not have anything to do with the ongoing conversation but I don't have time to read them all. Regarding the original poster's intent however, I leave this for consideration:

http://www.redeemer.com/news_and_events/articles/the_importance_of_hell.html

"Jesse: I didn't get to read the comment about the "message behind the poster" because it was left late in the day and I had to record my response before it was posted. But "How can a loving God condemn..." is a fair challenge as well which we can always take up in a future video." (Alan)


I suppose the *Awfulness* thing will be looked at elsewhere.


But just a little here; as some seem to want to discuss this now:


Though the accusation against Alan for not exercising charity seems unfounded given Alan’s comment above, that accusation seems to be a bridge into the Awfulness thing:


Charity and Mercy are odd things. In Atheism the really real is ultimately Indifferent. In the atheist’s really real Charity is a fantasy “in here” which is, though simply make-believe, injected into the world “out there”. It is meaningless, ultimately. Charity. Phallus. Fist. Whatever. Whichever has the sharpest Claw, the most piercing Tooth, shapes the world “out there”, driven all the while by something “in here” which knows not, cares not, sees not, and is simply a Pitiless, Indifferent Puppet Master pulling the strings, and we dance to its music. Will’s Volition is an illusion, and thus Personhood also suffers this fatality, as all things whatsoever are Slaves to the cruelest of masters.


Blind Indifference is a violence so sadistic, so vicious, and more brutal, ultimately, than any harshness which Will’s Volition has ever consented to for in Will’s Volition we find Personhood, and the Worth of it, left fully intact and even esteemed to the point of Self Abdication on Love’s part.


It seems Love is the really real, and, it seems for some it will be “Forgive, for they know not”, for some it will be “Love known, love tasted, love embraced” and for some it will be “Love known, love tasted, love refused”. Love’s Self Abdication seems to be a sort of brink. Love Sacrifices Self unto, into, Other. Love cries “You and not I”. That is just what Love does. It places Other above Self. God is love, and in Him we find that Eternally-Sacrificed-Self manifest from before forever and unto forever. It’s bloody, messy, and, in our Ransom, unsightly. This unsightliness in Love’s Ransom of His Beloved, who is You and I and Us, is, when juxtaposed alongside of atheism’s pitiless indifference which is fatally void of love, fatally void of personhood, fatally void of will’s volition, found to be by comparison awfully more tender, awfully more worthwhile, awfully more lovely and rings so awfully, awfully true to all we taste and know to be Really-Real that we actually affirm the Truth of it as we shake our fist at heaven and earth and cry out against all that seems to violate personhood. As if our personhood ought not be violated. And there it is. There we see the truth, the goodness, of Him Whose name is Love.


Why does Love create?


He spreads His arms wide, and He gives Himself Away, and that Eternally-Sacrificed-Self pours Himself out, and this for His Beloved Other, who is We, who is I and You and all of Us, and Uncreated Love there does what Love forever does within Himself as He pours Himself out, and this now into the Created-Other, and the two there become One within the Embrace of the Singular-We that just is the New Creation, and Love therein begets yet more Love, and so on forever. This is just what Love does. Here we find the solution to the problem of why-create.

scbrownlhrm,

The principle of charity is not what you think. (It is cool. So check it out elsewhere too!)

Certainly Alan can take up "How can a loving God condemn..." in a future video.

But, doing so will not improve the standing of his response to our poster maker with respect to the principle of charity.

RonH

So Ron, I'm confused. Do you believe that most people deserve to go to Hell or do you disbelieve that.

If you disbelieve it, do you disbelieve it because you think most people positively deserve to suffer a worse fate. Or do you disbelieve it because you believe most people deserve something better?

RonH thank you for your link.


There is still this dilemma:


“The idea that beliefs affect reality doesn't follow from atheism”.


If this is false, then the principle of Charity is satisfied.

It is absolutely false.

This is why:


Atheism offers this statement: “The Christian belief is just a belief; it is not reality. The belief the Christian has “in here” exists only “in here” and thus ought not, in fact cannot, affect what is really real in the world “out there”. And by the way, the wrongness of slavery is, as I shake my fist in anger against such things, really wrong. Really as in for-real. Its wrongness is more than just my preference, more than just whim, and *that is why* I reject the mathematical proofs which support a utilitarian consent to slavery as a means to and end of a happier world with the least amount of suffering and the greatest good for the largest number of people.”


In Atheism: contextual semantics “exist out there”, and therefore Morality is totally, every last bit of it, affected, defined, shaped, and injected into the world “out there” from within the whim of the world “in here” and the atheist really does believe that slavery really is, for-real, wrong. He even gets angry at such evils “out there”. He even fights to the death to stop such evils “out there”. He really does, for real, think, believe, that somehow, he knows not how, that evil is “out there” in a very real way. *That is how real* and *that is how for-real* he holds that wrongness to *be*.


This is a Proof that belief, in Atheism, acts on its own. This is a Proof that belief, in Atheism, IS reality.


GIVEN THAT: It is reasonable, and quite charitable, in fact very charitable, to take the words of this poster quite literally for Atheism really does hold that preferences “in here” do affect, even define, even ARE, reality “out there”. Slavery is really, as in for-real, wrong, despite the mathematical proofs of generic slavery within the arena of utility and of DNA perpetuation within the arena of sex-slavery (which is on the rise).


And here is the entertaining part of all of this: when the Christian tries to do the very same thing (according to the Atheist’s accusation of “it’s just his belief”) the Christian is soundly chastised by the Atheist for thinking his belief “in here” has anything *at all* to do with the real world “out there”. The Atheist then proceeds to do the very same thing with his own beliefs and he conveniently drops that bit about the *at all* which he just finished flinging at Christians and proceeds to believe, really believe, that slavery really is wrong; really as in for-real. Rape really is wrong; really as in for-real.

“Really”?

“For-real”?


Charity would be merited if, instead of “for real” they would instead say, “Well, not ‘really’. Not ‘for real’. I mean, but, well, ya-know.”


Not Atheism, but, Atheists, really do believe that Love is the Ultimate Ethic. They simply lack the wherewithal to traverse the ad infinitum and arrive, really arrive, at that reality.


There is Good News for the Atheist (not for atheism), and it is this: Ultimate Reality, and thus the Ultimate Ethic, really is, for-real, Love, as in, Love Himself.

It seems even Atheists themselves do not believe in Atheism for they live, and even fight to the death, as if Love is the Ultimate Ethic all the while insisting that Ultimate Reality is not Love but is instead blind, pitiless indifference. For them, the “real” is that Love is the ultimate reality, even though they know, or say they know, that really, for-real, the ultimate real is blind, pitiless indifference. This is why they ignore mathematical proofs of the utility of general slavery and DNA perpetuation proofs of sexual slavery all the while appealing to promoting pleasure, decreasing pain, and benefiting the species in their rhetoric.

In other words, “If I am an Atheist, what I *believe* to be really-real really does trump what I *know* to be really-real.”

The words of this poster MUST be taken at face value: “If I *believe* X, the reality of X trumps the reality of what I *know* to be real, which is Y.” To take the words of this poster any other way would be an insult to Atheists. The most charitable thing we can do is take the Atheist at his own word.


WL, scbrownlhrm,

Changing the subject is not the answer.

Ron. I'm not changing the subject.

You think Alan should have understood, via the principle of charity, that the poster writer meant to be pointing out that Most people do not deserve to go to Hell.

I responded by agreeing with the poster writer in saying that most people do not deserve to go to Hell, but I disagreed with the author on whether most people deserve a worse fate.

Your response to that is that you never positively affirmed what the poster writer said.

OK, so now I'm asking. Do you agree with the poster writer's thesis or not.

WL,

The OP is a critique of

If I Believe in Atheism, Nobody Has to Go to Hell.

When there is a post about...

Who deserves Hell?
...I will consider commenting on it. OK?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Even if it's true (which I ain't discussing), the doctrine of Hell and who goes there is a problem for Christianity.

Even if it's false, the poster maker's objection is a toughy; lots of people sympathize.

This is the kind of objection that leads Christians to admit that Hell is 'unpalatable', a 'stumbling block', 'offensive', etc.

This is the kind of objection that leads Christians to to write books like LOVE WINS.

But the poster maker's wording invites an interpretation that makes it incoherent.

Such an interpretation has obvious temptations to for the apologist; Alan adopted this interpretation.

The method of charity recommends that we recognize and resist such temptations.

RonH

RonH wrote: "Although the poster maker's words do imply that he thinks beliefs affect reality, it is very unlikely that he actually thinks this is true."

Because you know the mind of the poster maker better then he does?

"No, the poster maker expresses, rather clumsily, an intuition that, whether true or false, is shared by many theists AND non-theists...

Most people don't deserve to go to Hell."

So what?

"Alan was disinclined to apply the principle of charity. Or perhaps he was unable to apply it."

Or the obvious third option....Alan applied the principle of RESPECT! And engaged the big idea actually put forth by the author.

"Alan should have started here: The idea that beliefs affect reality doesn't follow from atheism and isn't held by many atheists. So what does this poster maker really mean to say?

Of course the answer...

Most people don't deserve to go to Hell.

...is uncomfortable from an apologetic point of view. So Alan would have had no blog post or video."

Ron, as you are someone who is very familiar with this blog, are you for real? Are you being serious? You really think Alan has no answer for this objection to Christianity, so he's side stepping it?

I think you are guilty of projection here Ron. You are the king of the sidestep. (see above comment to WL) Don't get me wrong, I enjoy counterpoint and discussion, so it's not like I think you should stop your commentary at the blog. But I have never once seen you defended your view of the world when engaged and asked to provide the same level of coherence and consistency you expect of Christianity and Christians.

It is frustrating when you do this, but I assume it's because you have no answer, not because you're trying to be frustrating.

There are two approaches to this poster challenge from Oct 18th and the one from the Oct 16th challenge. One is the literal meaning of the words (Belief affects reality) which was addressed here by ‘someone’ with another commentator in this poster challenge blog as well as by other commentators. The other is the proper sense of Awfulness (which is an accurate, valid logical and emotional response) of what being imprisoned within the Isolated-I must be like, as it is void of Community, and thus void of Other, and thus void of We, and thus void of Love, and thus void of God, and this Alone of the Pure Self is just that: Hellishly Awful as Man was designed to know Love, not Isolation. This too was addressed by ‘someone’ with a certain commentator here, and, this ‘someone’ also addressed it in the previous “poster post” challenge from October 16th. Someone even (briefly) touched on the toughest of all: Why does Love Create? In addition to all of that, a certain commentator here specifically addressed one of these with, “The idea that beliefs affect reality doesn't follow from atheism” and that was responded to here, twice (and in the Oct 16th challenge). In addition to that, the Awfulness nuance was raised here, and answered here, twice, and also in the Oct 16th poster-challenge, with initial touches. In other words *both* in dialogue with a certain commentator here as well as with just general posts these two ideas have been addressed with proper initiation maneuvers with all channels clearly open. Like Love, Dialogue takes Two, the I-You, to happen, to transpire within the Singular-We. But if one party will not dive in………....

I think we can response like this:

If I believe in Jehova Witness nobody has to go to hell and a few will go to heaven, If I believe in atheism no body has to go to hell but all will perish.

Is not more appealing the Jehova Witness view that Atheism?

Blind, Pitiless Indifference is a violence so sadistic, so vicious, and more brutal, ultimately, than any harshness which Will’s Volition has ever consented to for in Will’s Volition we find Personhood, and the Worth of it, not only validly real, but left fully intact and even esteemed to the point of Self Abdication on Love’s part.

Hi John,

No, I don't think I know the poster maker's mind better than he does. But do I know that people don't always intend to say what their words literally mean. The poster maker is very very probably one such case.

Do you really think it is likely the poster maker thinks his beliefs can affect reality (on their own)? Do you think it is likely he sees this as his 'big idea'?

Yes, since I'm "very familiar with this blog", I think Alan "has an answer to this objection to Christianity". I have seen some answers - I may even have commented on some. And, as I said, I'll consider commenting (again?) when it comes up in a post. But not now.

I will, however, to be more precise, revise this...

Alan would have had no blog post or video
...to say...
Alan would not have a clear self-contradiction to attack

RonH

For this post, I'm done responding to anything that's off topic, ad hom, meta, unnecessarily long, or full of inappropriately capitalized nouns. You may assume I have 'no answer' if you wish.

meta?

RonH,

Awfulness was addressed. And atheism posits that whim "in here" somehow translates to positive evil "out there".

The link on [meta] is certainly helpful. As always I continue to learn from RonH. Economy of words is something I have given up on. Regarding this discussion about a discussion, it all comes back to the same thing: It seems quite apparent that Alan has every justifications in the world to assert that this poster is about exactly what it states: Believe and it is so. This is not unreasonable. In fact, if we take atheists at their own word, we can do nothing else. The reason this is unavoidable is that there is an unexplained assertion on the reality of evil going on with atheists. In Theism the Really-Real “out there” trumps, shapes, and grows our own interior, and more finite, less well informed set of Beliefs “in here”. It is from Other into Self. Whereas, because atheists continue to assert that our own whim “in here” somehow, magically, translates to positive evil “out there” it really is that belief translates to reality, somehow. It is from Self into the Outer. Self is King. It is I, I, and only I. Whereas, in Christ, it is Other and not Self, You and not Me. Thy Word and not My Belief. And so on. We see here, in atheism, an inexplicable and magical metamorphosis of interior whim into exterior positive evil in the world. This is so true of atheists that they actually get angry at actual evils they see, and, this is so true of atheists that they actually lay down their lives for what is really, they SAY, are but a set of fairy tales at the end of the day.

If the Christian’s “in here” is no more than fairy tales when transposed to “out there” then, for the same reasons, the Atheist’s “in here” is no more than fairy tales when transposed to “out there”.

But, Atheist’s do not think the evils they fight against, the evils they shake their fists against are simply fairy tales: they think they are real, or positive, evils.

GIVEN ALL THIS: This Poster cannot be taken in ANY other way except at face value on the literal meaning of its words.

The principle of charity demands that we assume this poster means exactly what it says: “Just believe and it is so.” It is “I” focused (My belief is king). Whereas, in Christ, it is Thy focused: Thy Word, not My Belief. And so on, and so on. These are radically different interpretations of reality. And Alan has rightly interpreted atheism’s interpretation of reality. What I mean by that is that he has taken them at their own word.

I think this is a good discussion of a good discussion.

Does anyone know why the Atheist's fairy tales "in here" about evil magically transpose into reality "out there" worth dying for while the Christian's fairy tales about evil "in here" must remain fairy tales not worth dying for?

To qualify: "dying for" means dying to Self in the Christian fairy tale. Not taking life; we are commanded to love our enemy. This is in contrast to the atheist's fairy tale, in which the Self is preeminent.

RonH wrote: "Do you really think it is likely the poster maker thinks his beliefs can affect reality (on their own)? Do you think it is likely he sees this as his 'big idea'?"

Yes. The poster maker wrote what he wrote. The principle of respect demands we engage what he wrote, because we don't have access to the man's thoughts - only his words. If he has provided some commentary after the production of the poster that further explains his intent, then that would be helpful. But we don't have that info.

And I have come across many people over the years who believe their thoughts literally have power over reality. This is not fringe stuff Ron. Have you ever heard of Oprah?...Google the book "The Secret".

I don't know Ron, maybe you're on to something here....maybe this principle of Charity should really be pushed as far as you're saying it should. If so, how do you square this position with your critique of Alan's post?

Also, can you point out for me where anyone (myself included) has used an ad hom attack on you in this thread?

Thanks,
John

The cry of the Atheist of, "Can you BELIEVE that guy actually did THAT?" is really felt, wholly believed, and really held tight "in here" about that evil act "out there" and betrays the fact that the atheist really does think it was all *real* evil that his physical eyes just saw "out there" in front of him. What the Atheist insists is nothing more than Whim, nothing more than I-Feel, nothing more than a Fairy Tale, which is located “in here” in the purely Subjective is now found, he knows not how, as an Objective reality “out there”. In other words, he believes his fairy tale became real, and so he is now fighting in the real world to stop real evils in that real world. At bottom the atheist is living for, and dying for, fairy tales. And the chilling part is that he seems to believe his fairy tale. That is not just inexplicable, it is bizarre. We find that Atheists hold that evil "out there" is real. That in itself tells us something. It tells us that they really do believe that they are not fighting against fairy tales, but against real evils in the real world. This is a mammoth piece of information with enormous implications on Atheism. What this means is that Atheism posits that our own various (and there are a lot of them) I-Feel's and Fairy Tales "in here" magically create real, or positive, entities "out there".


Why does the Atheist's subjective fairy tales "in here" about evil magically transpose into positive reality "out there" worth dying for while the Christian's subjective fairy tales "in here" that are about evil must remain fairy tales "in here" not worth dying for and which can never be real things "out there"? Is not whim but whim? Is not urge but urge? Is not I-Feel but I-Feel? Are not subjective fairy tales but subjective fairy tales? What does Whim and Urge and I-Feel and Fairy Tales and Subjective “in here” have to do with Objective Reality “out there”, ultimately? Does "I-Feel" create real things? But how? And why is it that only the Atheist's I-Feel's and Fairy Tales can successfully pull off this magic leap of faith? Are we really to believe the Atheist when he insists that his, the atheist's, I-Feel's "in here" and subjective fairy tales "in here" about evil magically become positive evils "out there" but only he, the atheist has the magic wand and so only his fairy tales are magic?


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