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Author Topic: Wouldn't it be Great if there really was a God?
John Brown
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Thanks, Kent.

As for the hailing, I'd rather keep that off of public boards. [Smile]

[ September 21, 2006, 06:54 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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MattP
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quote:
In religion, you have, if you pray with x,y,z conditions, then you can receive insight or peace. If you love your neighbor in a,b,c way, you'll be happier, even if they're your enemy. If you pray with x,y.z, you can find quicker healing.
The religious tend to interpret any positive outcome to be an answer from God and any negative result to be a result of their own lack of faith, personal failings, unworthiness, a further test of their faith, or simply "His will." The act of praying implies at least a minimal belief in the power of doing so.

If one believes that praying for peace will work and they do so, then there's nothing surprising or mystical about them feeling peace as a result.

Good things sometimes just happen and bad things sometimes just happen. Correlation is not causation.

Why do so many cancer survivors claim to have been healed by God, while not a single (ex)amputee has the same story?

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Tom Curtis
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Dagonee:

quote:
It's all there in what you quoted, Tom. Just read it:


quote:
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so mild indeed that one may not say that for them non-existence would be preferable to existence in such a state (De peccat. meritis I,
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I read it, Dagonee, and I also recognised it as just being a form of words. While I and many others would choose life with even quite substantial suffering, we do so because the suffering is accompanied also by quite substantial joy in the birth and growth of our children, and because the life serves some purpose even if the suffering does not.

But an eternal life which serves no purpose other than to be the vehicle of a slight and continuos suffering - that would be hell.

quote:
Something CoF acknowledged:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
the souls of those dying in actual mortal sin or in original sin alone go down at once (mox) into Hell, to be punished, however, with widely different penalties."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And, in the same link:


quote:
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Finally, in regard to the teaching of the Council of Florence, it is incredible that the Fathers there assembled had any intention of defining a question so remote from the issue on which reunion with the Greeks depended, and one which was recognized at the time as being open to free discussion and continued to be so regarded by theologians for several centuries afterwards. What the council evidently intended to deny in the passage alleged was the postponement of final awards until the day of judgement. Those dying in original sin are said to descend into Hell, but this does not necessarily mean anything more than that they are excluded eternally from the vision of God. In this sense they are damned; they have failed to reach their supernatural destiny, and this viewed objectively is a true penalty. Thus the Council of Florence, however literally interpreted, does not deny the possibility of perfect subjective happiness for those dying in original sin
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
the souls of those dying in actual mortal sin or in original sin alone go down at once (mox) into Hell, to be punished, however, with widely different penalties."
Dagonee, I can read. I know what that passage literally says. Just because the authors of the Catholic Encyclopedia article did not like the literal meaning of the statement does not mean they can redefine what "literal" means.

And just to be quite clear on this, the Council of Florence is recognised as the 17th Ecumenical Council by the Catholic Church, and therefore its decrees are considered binding on all Christians by the Catholic church (or at least that was the case pre-Vatican II).
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06111a.htm

quote:
Ecumenical Councils are those to which the bishops, and others entitled to vote, are convoked from the whole world (oikoumene) under the presidency of the pope or his legates, and the decrees of which, having received papal confirmation, bind all Christians.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04423f.htm

(I think this means the teaching of the Catholic Church on this subject is inconsistent, but who, afterall, would be surprised by that?)

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John Brown
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>>Good things sometimes just happen and bad things sometimes just happen. Correlation is not causation

You're absolutely right. And many things attributed to Divine intervention may have nothing to do with God. However, to say ALL such healings, answers, etc. are simply random events is to claim something you have no evidence for. You would have to prove each and every one.

Your caution is warranted, but your conclusion has no basis.

>>If one believes that praying for peace will work and they do so, then there's nothing surprising or mystical about them feeling peace as a result.

The placebo effect is real, but, guess what--it's not 100%. So you have to be able to control for that factor in a test to see how big an effect it has.

Furthermore, the existence of the placebo effect does not warrant the conclusion that, for example, drugs have no efficacy above sugar pills. There is a placebo effect AND drugs have efficacy above sugar pills. They are not mutually exclusive. Neither are a placebo effect and people asking getting Divine assistance mutually exclusive.

Did you read the summary of the tests on prayer? Many of these were prayers for people who did not know they were being prayed for. The wiki article spends more space listing studies that did not find a positive result, but the article points out that "many" studies found positive results. The case is far from closed.

Take two people. Both work as cops who interrogate people suspected of sexual crimes. Both are hardworking and smart. One decides to ask for help for Divine assistance, realizing that prayer not a push-button vending machine. Another does not. Both get to work.

Is it possible that the one asking for Divine assistance gets it in some situations? What if these two people are the same guy and so we have a before and after picture?

If the one guy DOES get Divine guidance, how do you measure that and verify it's not placebo?

It's very difficult. In some situations, impossible. But it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. You're confusing something being difficult to test empirically with positive evidence that it cannot happen. But no evidence has been offered that warrants the conclusion that it cannot happen.

What we can say is that empirical testing can only be applied in a limited fashion to this and so we have to rely on the other methods with their appropriate cautions (all the methods, including empiricism, have their weak points, and we need to recognize them).

I have a friend who is over the sex crimes unit for a large portion of a major California city. He sincerely prays for help before interrogation and other activities. Sometimes he fasts. He does not always get help. But there are times, he reports, when he does. He's a smart fellow. He's reliable. Could he be attributing things incorrectly, all the time? Absolutely. But he may be spot on each time or in many instances.

There's no reason to dismiss his reports out of hand because of the placebo effect or because it's impossible to test empirically. Do I simply disregard his reasoning and testimony of what he's experienced because some people might attribute causation wrongly?

There's no reason to do so. There is strong, STRONG, reason to be cautious, and after having made a decision, be willing to revise it later. But there is no compelling evidence to dismiss Divine assistance out of hand.

[ September 21, 2006, 09:33 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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John Brown
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>>Why do so many cancer survivors claim to have been healed by God, while not a single (ex)amputee has the same story?

Ooh, this is a delicious question. I've never encountered it before. I do not have an answer to that. Regeneration of a limb would truly be miraculous.

But having said that, I can say this: one unknown does not mean a theory is wrong. It only means the theory is incomplete or insufficient to explain all the data. Science teaches us this isn't a reason for concern. Many theories are useable yet fail to explain key data. So it doesn't make me uncomfortable to say, wow, what a great question that needs to be answered. I have a number of those as well as a number of things that seem to be, indeed, explained.

I can speculate on some rules to healings. But I know of no religious statement explaining this. I love that question.

I can think of only two reports off-hand that are in this area. The healing of a man's ear in the New Testament. And an account by a pioneer woman whose son's hip was blow out by a musket in a mob attack. She was not a doctor, had no idea what to do. Prayed. Got clear instructions in sentences about using slippery elm, cleaning the wound with ash, and some other things. Very clear steps she did not know. It was not an existing treatment. The boy regenerated this gristle stuff, lived to an old age, and walked. But it's not a salamander-like regeneration.

It's a great question.

[ September 21, 2006, 09:31 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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Dagonee
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quote:
But an eternal life which serves no purpose other than to be the vehicle of a slight and continuos suffering - that would be hell.
You've still presented nothing that says any suffering is present. You've had three pages to do so. Care to try again?
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winkey151
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quote:
Why do so many cancer survivors claim to have been healed by God, while not a single (ex)amputee has the same story?
In actually had a friend named Doug Merriman who was working on a table saw out in Waverly Virginia and accidentally cut off his finger.(It actually was hanging by the skin) He was all alone and losing a lot of blood. All he could think of doing was to hold the finger back in place and pray. He said that he felt a very strange sensation and then the pain stopped. When he looked back at his finger it was completely healed back. You could actually see a faint line and discoloration in the area. He said it would sometimes ache when it was cold but other than that it worked perfectly fine the rest of his life.
An interesting side note... He was riding a motorcycle about 8 years later and was in an accident. He lost his right leg. That leg stayed off... and then one day he was driving a van and ran it into a pole and died.

He actually stopped living his life for the Lord and got into drugs and alcohol. I could never understand how someone could turn their back on God after having Him do something so miraculous. But his earthly father was a tyrant and he never felt that he was good enough. I guess he felt that he could never please God either. It is a sad the things some people do to their children.

quote:

MAN DIES IN WRECK
Published: July 30, 1995 in LOCAL section, page B7
Virginia Pilot Newspaper

Story excerpt: A 46-year-old man was killed in a single-vehicle accident early Saturday.

State police said Douglas Merriman of the Battery Park community was traveling south on Va. Route 665 just north of Route 607 about 1:25 a.m., when the 1987 Chevrolet van he was driving ran off the right side of the road. The van overturned and Merriman, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected.

State police said alcohol appeared to have been a factor in the accident.


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TomDavidson
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winkey, I think it's actually much more likely that your friend lied to you.
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Tom Curtis
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Dagonee:

quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
But an eternal life which serves no purpose other than to be the vehicle of a slight and continuos suffering - that would be hell.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You've still presented nothing that says any suffering is present. You've had three pages to do so. Care to try again?

As you quote me discussing Augustines views, rather than that of Catholics generally, we need only go back to the original source and requote those sections you excised:

quote:
This means that St. Augustine and the African Fathers believed that unbaptized infants share in the common positive misery of the damned, and the very most that St. Augustine concedes is that their punishment is the mildest of all, so mild indeed that one may not say that for them non-existence would be preferable to existence in such a state (De peccat. meritis I, xxi; Contra Jul. V, 44; etc.).
Dagonee, I made a mistake in my original comments because I was not aware of the complexity of Catholic belief regarding Hell, eg, that you could be in hell and not suffer. I do not believe my mistake detracted from the point I was trying to make, and I notice you are not arguing that.

Regardless of my mistake, it is clear that for a sustained period of 8 centuries, the Catholic view was that unbaptised infants that died suffered (however mildly) in hell for eternity. It is even an explicitly stated doctrine that those who die in original sin alone go straight to hell for punishment.

Consistent with that, that punishment might be just the deprivation of the presence of God, and people suffering just that punishment might otherwise be happy, so I did misstate Catholic teaching. BUT, because that has not always been the view of the church, the claim for a different view today is not based on an Apostolic tradition. In other words, if the Catholic Church teaches differently from Augustine today, it is just because they did not like the implications of what he taught, and not because they have superior access to the mind of God. I think that rather sustains my point, then refuting it.

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winkey151
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
winkey, I think it's actually much more likely that your friend lied to you.

He was married to my best friend at the time. I saw the scar with my own eyes. There was plenty of blood on the scene. Where did it come from?

quote:
"If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

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TomDavidson
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quote:
He was married to my best friend at the time. I saw the scar with my own eyes.
I, too, have been married to someone's best friend. And I have a scar where I cut the top third of my thumb off with a cleaver, and the majority of it grew back.

God's hand at work?

Seriously, consider for a moment how incredibly unlikely your friend's described experience would be. In all of modern history, how many people have spontaneously and instantly recovered severed body parts? And why would your friend be an exception?

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Tom Curtis
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Mormegil:

quote:
First, realize that God sends people to hell for sinning ("the wages of sin are death"). Second, a baby is incapable of committing a sin (by the definition of sin). Therefore God does not send babies to hell.
I believe Paul, and certainly Augustine and Calvin disagree with you:

quote:
12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=52&chapter=5&version=31


quote:
In addition, I think I already mentioned King David and his son. A quick google yields this so I don't have to actually compose it myself:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Does the Bible teach that babies go to hell when they die? In order to answer this question, we must find a biblical example in which an infant died, and in which his or her eternal destination is recorded. To do such is not difficult. In 2 Samuel 12, King David’s newborn son fell terminally ill. After seven days, the child died. In verses 22 and 23, the Bible records that David said: “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” It is clear that David’s dead infant son would never return to this Earth, but David also said that one day, he would go to be with his son. Through inspiration, David documented that his own eternal destination was going to be “in the house of the Lord” (Psalm 23:6). Therefore, we can conclude that “the house of the Lord” would be the eternal destination of his infant son to whom David would one day go. King David was looking forward to the day when he would be able to meet his son in heaven. Absolutely nothing in this context gives any hint that the dead infant son’s soul would go to hell. " target="_blank">http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2255

I'm disappointed. After the nice little speach about "gay" and the "Flintstones", you really on somebody doing what you condemn.

"House of the Lord" meant in David's day the Tabernacle, and after that the Temple.
http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/h/1158892123-1664.html#below

The word translated "forever" in Psalm 23 is the Hebrew word transliterated as " 'orek" at the Blue Letter Bible. Out of 95 uses, it is only translated as "forever" twice in the KJV, both times in Psalms in similar context (the other is Psalm 93: 5. It is normally translated as length, either of time or of space.
http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/7/1158892306-6747.html

So, allowing for the practise of repitition as a device in Hebrew poetry, the proper translation of Psalm 23: 6 should be,

"Goodness and mercy shall follow me all my days;
and for the length [of my days] I will dwell in the House of Yahweh."

Had David intended to say "forever", he would most naturally have used the word transliterated as " 'owlam" (Usage: AV - ever 272, everlasting 63, old 22, perpetual 22, evermore 15, never 13, time 6, ancient 5, world 4, always 3, alway 2, long 2, more 2, never + 0408 2, misc 6; 439)
http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/5/1158893463-7662.html

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winkey151
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quote:
Seriously, consider for a moment how incredibly unlikely your friend's described experience would be. In all of modern history, how many people have spontaneously and instantly recovered severed body parts? And why would your friend be an exception?
I always thought that it was because God knew what this guy had to overcome in his life. His dad beat the crap out of him, his mother and his brothers and sisters most every day. They lived out on a dairy farm and there was no one living close enough to help them.

The scar didn't go around the tip of his finger it went around the middle. Even though he said it was hanging on by a thread... it looked to me like the scar went all the way around.

I guess it is hard for some people to believe things like this. I always hung around with the fringe of society. Most of my friends made the average church goer uncomfortable. A lot of my friends had God touch their lives in miraculous ways. Some people think that God doing a miracle in your life is a sign that the person is Holy or someone special. Because of what I know about the people around me... I kind of feel like it is God's way of yelling at those of us who are so far out there that He needs to do something that will catch our attention.

I have learned in my old age it is a blessing when God can just whisper to us and we hear and obey Him. I don't want to be involved in anything that keeps me at a distance from Him anymore.

Anyway... my only hope in life is that someone who knows me well can learn from the mistakes I have made, so that they might avoid making the same mistakes. I know the regrets I will have when I stand before God and my only consolation is to have helped others, so my life was not in vain.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I always thought that it was because God knew what this guy had to overcome in his life. His dad beat the crap out of him, his mother and his brothers and sisters most every day.
See, that's part of the problem I've got with your conclusion. I know people who had it harder, and got less. God doesn't appear to do that kind of karmic calculus.
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winkey151
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quote:
See, that's part of the problem I've got with your conclusion.
What do you consider my conclusion?
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Richard Dey
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Hobsen:

In what text did Th Aquinas manage to synthesize "Greco-Roman and Hebraic" thought?

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Richard Dey
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Morm:

Crybabies go to hell! I know that for a fact!

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TomDavidson
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quote:
What do you consider my conclusion?
That God dispenses miracles to those in need.
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winkey151
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
What do you consider my conclusion?
That God dispenses miracles to those in need.
I don't remember saying that specifically... but I will go with it.

So, if someone is not in need... what miracle would they ask for or what miracle could God do if nothing was amiss?

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TomDavidson
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No, see, that's part of my point. When you argue "God reattached his thumb because he had a bad childhood," you're asserting some sort of causal relationship between these two things. But LOTS of people have bad childhoods, and few of those have had miraculous healings.

A better question is, "Why, when he had an abusive father, did God just heal his THUMB?"

[ September 22, 2006, 12:00 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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I say: never look a gift scar in the wound. If Wink's friend says his thumb was miraculously healed, fine by me

If Gid says He healed said thumb, that's fine by me too.

But God ain't sayin'. You know how He is: tight-lipped.

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winkey151
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quote:
No, see, that's part of my point. When you argue "God reattached his thumb because he had a bad childhood," you're asserting some sort of causal relationship between these two things. But LOTS of people have bad childhoods, and few of those have had miraculous healings.[/QB]
I think in his case that was part of the reason why. I know that he wasn't the only person who had it bad, (And I just skimmed the surface of what his life was actually like)but there came a time in his life where he called out to God and God answered him. I also believe that Doug tried really hard to let go of his past, but he was such a perfectionist. No one could live up to his expectations and he was even harder on himself.

Why does God do certain things for certain people and not for others? I don't know. I guess we can ask him when we meet him someday. I can only speculate according to what I have experienced in my own life. I personally believe that God will do the same for all of us. I just think that he goes about things differently for each one of us. He knows exactly what each one of us needs and knows how to and when to, reach out to us. If there was some kind of special plan that always worked... we would probably start worshiping the plan instead of God and eventually not even need God at all.

God gave us enough things that we can do without him. I mean if you listen to any motivational speaker, they are mostly just telling people what the Bible says. What works works... There are certain laws that are here on this Earth that work for sinners as well as the righteous. There has to be a few things that we can't have control over. If not... we wouldn't even seek Him.

It kind of reminds me of the Children of Israel, Lost in the Desert, murmuring and complaining until God says to Moses... Go ahead and let them go into the promise land. I just wont go with them. But Moses was smart enough not to even tell the people what God said. He knew that they would go... even without God.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
A better question is, "Why, when he had an abusive father, did God just heal his THUMB?"

Well... I think God tried to heal more than his thumb. But it is our decision if we want to let go of the past. Sometimes it feels good to feel sorry for yourself. Sometimes it is convenient to have an excuse for our actions. Sometimes it is a luxury... but it is a luxury that comes at a high price.

I don't know what condition Doug's heart was in when he died, only God knows that... but I do know that he never seemed to have victory over his past. Is it God's fault because He allows us to live in a corrupt world. Is it Dougs fault, because he never let his past go? Is it the Fathers fault for abusing his children? I don't know... But I do know that God tried to reach out to him that day, out in the barn in Waverly Virginia. Doug himself told me so.

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Richard Dey
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JB:

I am not side-stepping any creeds; I'm side-stepping toys that "you" have left on the stairs. "Your" chain of conclusions is broken with presumptions that I have made any claims of determinism whatsoever. Are you talking d'Holbach, Honderich, James, Laplace, Hume, Hobbes, Kant, Thiry, d'Holbach, or whom? Just what do you mean by 'determinism'?

"You" don't have to preach probability theory to me; just talk it. But do not presume that I subsume probability as any act of faith. I'm notorious around here for believing absolutely nothing [Smile] .

You ask "How long did we make astronomical conclusions without the concepts of "dark matter" and "dark energy" which are simply fudge factors to make our equations work?" Maybe you came to such astronomical "conclusions", but "we", science, did not. Science works with unknowns just the way algebra works with X. These are X factors. Surely "religions" comprehend X-factors. Some of them are composed of nothing but X factors and bank accounts.

Or should I conclude that "you" really means "one"? In which case, I shall require allies!

In your Example 2 you state that nobody knows what causes "depression". Just what is this "depression" you speak of? Are you a Red Sox fan?

In your Example 3, you presume that I accept the term "Human behavior science". I do not. Why would we be discussing oxymorons in matters of science ... or, for that matter, faith? These "human behaviorial sciences" fall into Edward Bernay's conceptualizations of "publicity", money-making schemes. They are not ipso facto "science" and more akin to "religion", being more in the realm of public gullibility than in the age of science.

Yes, I am very definitely claiming that "knowledge" is different from "belief", and I am saying that knowledge does not flow from belief. What I have stated is that knowledge = sciencia -- and that knowledge is differentiated from belief by the scientific method. Yes, I have said that, and still say that. The two terms are contradictory, opposite, and constitute a strict division of church and state. Indeed, our wise separation of church and state is directly derived from this differentiation in the Englightenment (albeit known to Baconians well before that).

I don't rank "nutrition" a science. "Nutritionists" are mere students of science -- and, from their past record, not very good students, apparently, or how else was chlorophyl going to cure the common cold? Perhaps you are confusing advertising gimmicks and promotional schemes and popular science magazines with "science"?

And whilst mistaking "you" for "me", do not lump me in, please, with those of "faith". I have none, I refuse all. I pride myself in buying nothing by advertising -- and that includes that promoted on street corners by missionaries; if it is advertised, I seek the original -- not the reproduction. I am like Hadrian VII; I do not join churches that will not recognize me as pope or caliph.

"You" are insisting that "you" concludes with "you" that emperical observation has limitations. I come to no such conclusions -- certainly not as an act of "your" faith that one can set limitations on it. There is no empirical data which suggests that emperical observation is not infinite -- or what else is the mind of god?
With what empirical data do you substantiate your conclusion that empirical evidence has any "limits" at all? To my way of thinking, that seems a very mundane way to approach science.

You ask: Do you know how many times scientists steer their studies away from one area into another because they (a) cannot take measurements or (b) control the environment (isolate factors)? All the time! You simply cannot "know" everything by empiricism. That, if you analyze it, is asking if I've stopt beating my wife. The answer is no [Big Grin] , and I don't care what limitations scientists put upon themselves. I put no limits on mine.

"Theory" is not to be conflated with "science"; theory is theory or why do we have differentiating terms?

The list of 'reliable witnesses' you give may serve a court room (referring to the boggy science of the law), but they do not serve the laboratory. That's what you call "soft science" and I call "pseudoscience".

Double-blind tests (Harvard-Mt Auburn, MIT-Faulkner) have demonstrated that prayer has no effect, and produces only affects, on wellness. If all my enemies could have been dispensed with by prayer, I should have converted to satanism long ago.

You suggest that knowledge begins, perhaps even derives from faith. May I suggest that you just close your eyes, click your red slippers, and believe? Perhaps Tinkerbell shall appear in Kansas with bells on.

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canadian
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
I say: never look a gift scar in the wound. If Wink's friend says his thumb was miraculously healed, fine by me

If Gid says He healed said thumb, that's fine by me too.

But God ain't sayin'. You know how He is: tight-lipped.

Makes me think He's a She.
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winkey151
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
I say: never look a gift scar in the wound. If Wink's friend says his thumb was miraculously healed, fine by me

If Gid says He healed said thumb, that's fine by me too.

But God ain't sayin'. You know how He is: tight-lipped.

Actually... Tom was the one who started the thumb thing. I just went along with it since it was in the quote I took from him. It was actually a finger.

And who is this Gid person we are speaking of.

By the way... and this might be something for another thread, but didn't God say that he made Adam from His image and then He took woman from Adam, (which left Adam with pretty much male traits and Women with pretty much female traits) so wouldn't God have the traits of both Man and Woman?

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Tom Curtis
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Winkey:

quote:
By the way... and this might be something for another thread, but didn't God say that he made Adam from His image and then He took woman from Adam, (which left Adam with pretty much male traits and Women with pretty much female traits) so wouldn't God have the traits of both Man and Woman?
quote:
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

"Man" seems pretty generic here, so I would have to plump with both male and female being created in the image of God. If not, which characteristics do men have and women do not such that men are in God's image, and women are not?
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winkey151
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quote:
"Man" seems pretty generic here, so I would have to plump with both male and female being created in the image of God. If not, which characteristics do men have and women do not such that men are in God's image, and women are not?
Tom.... I know that the traits of men and women cross back and forth across the lines, that is why I said "pretty much".

But, the traits I am talking about are on the masculine side I would say being strong, rough, powerful, being a leader or ruler, bring a provider and also being more aggressive.

On the feminine side I would say being soft, graceful, merciful, caring, tender and affectionate.

Now I know that there are men with a softer side and women with a rougher side... but those traits are generally thought of as being feminine or masculine in nature.

I see all of those traits lumped in one when I think about the nature of God but I see them generally divided up when I think about men and women.

[ September 22, 2006, 10:19 AM: Message edited by: winkey151 ]

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TomDavidson
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Sensitive men are more godly! Yay! [Smile]
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winkey151
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Sensitive men are more godly! Yay! [Smile]

Support that with facts backed up by science.... [Big Grin]
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MattP
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quote:
However, to say ALL such healings, answers, etc. are simply random events is to claim something you have no evidence for.
I have made no such claim. I do think that anyone claiming any one of these random events to be an act of God has a fairly high burder of proof that is unlikely to be satisfied.
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rightleft22
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Dreams sometimes come true… nightmares are dreams too!


When it comes to mystical and esoteric subjects is that certain things are simply ineffable and personal. Experiences are difficult to fully communicate through the power of words.
“When ideas fail, words come in very handy.” – Goethe - but are seldom sufficient.

Spiritual experiences seem to break the bounds of words. The experiences themselves are often the ground from which words/symbol spring. As such they have an inestimable creative power because you can apply a hundred, a thousand different symbols to describe experience.

quote:

A symbol, in its true sense, is not a conventional sign; it is the finite expression of the infinite, the only means to evoke and convey realities, which cannot be expressed directly. These realities are conceived as concepts first. However, a concept cannot be formulated without appropriate symbolism. A concept cannot be authenticated without corresponding symbol. Secondly, nearer a symbol to the concept, in quality and quantity, higher is its acceptance as the ideal. This leads to a peculiar situation: the highest symbol now may be confused with the concept (principle) itself! Thus, Christ does not remain a symbol of God; He becomes the God.

The symbol is often incomplete representative of a concept; the corollary that a concept can be represented by more than one symbol thus holds true. Thus, a higher concept like Absolute Consciousness can be represented by many symbols. Jesus Christ, Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha, or Ramakrishna (and many others) become God with forms as well as Truth representing Formless Reality.

Language and words are approximate symbols for thoughts, imagination, and all other functions of mind. No language can fully capture the thought in its totality.

Let us take an example of telegram. The words may be, "Daughter born. Mother and the baby fine." Or, "Mr. so and so died in accident. Come soon." Both the telegrams are symbols of state of minds of the persons, but cannot depict the total feelings. The state of mind and emotions and its effects on a person cannot be fully told in any one language. For, the reaction of the telegram would be different for a friend, close relative, or a stranger.

Therefore, development and richness of language leads to the variable symbolism for the same concept. The same applies to different media conveying the concept. Thus image worship and crude form of rituals are seen depending upon the growth (or lack of it) in various groups of people. It is, therefore, prudent not to look down upon their mode of symbolic representation of a concept that may differ from symbolism of highly evolved race or a culture, but is in fact related with the same concept.

While a concept evolves as a result of abstraction and generalization based on the experiences of humanity in different time and place, the symbol tries to represent the concept in its one particular aspect. Symbol is crude or gross, and is unable to, or does not find it necessary to, express totality of the abstracted concept that it represents. This is the cause of lag between the concept and a symbol.

In case of human beings, without the symbol of language and words the concept can never be transmitted and translated in appropriate behaviour and reactions. Symbol is necessary for the approximate comprehension and propagation of a concept for the benefit and growth of human intellect or wisdom. It enhances the power of abstraction based on higher and higher cognition. Gestures, written and spoken speech, and words are familiar symbols. So also whole of the Nature: plants, animals, human beings, sky, mountains, oceans, etc.

At times, even the concept cannot be formulated about the highest abstraction or generalization of a truth or reality. This is true with regards to the highest abstraction of Transcendental Reality. Not only the words fail but also the mind fails to grasp and express the abstraction. With it language, imagination, thought, and ideas also fail. Then such a concept is "downsized" to lower symbols of God, with or without form or attributes. The symbol of God itself now becomes the concept of highest abstraction and generalization! Various sections of humanity, race, clan, associations, nations, and people try to use symbol of their choice to actualize the concept of God; Jesus for some, Buddha for others, Om for a few, and so on. And in the same stream, if aboriginal in India, Australia, and Africa continue to see God in trees and mountains, the dead and the ghosts, we should have no hesitation in accepting such symbolism!

History of art and literature, science and religion is the history of bridging this gap between the concept and symbols to its closest possible approximation. Thus great individuals, books, literature, music, work of art, etc. are recognized as or become the best possible symbols of the concept. In science they take the form of successive enrichment in scientific laws and theorems, while in religion they progress from lower knowledge to higher knowledge - apara vidya to para vidya. The journey continues from lower form of worship to higher form, from grosser to subtle, from forms with attributes to formless without attributes!
– Dr. CS Shah


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John Brown
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Richard Dey,

>>I don't care what limitations scientists put upon themselves. I put no limits on mine.

You are still misunderstanding and ignoring the very practice of science. The limits of empiricism are these--you can only use this method for things you can accurately measure and in situations where you can control the variables. Sorry, this is not a choice.

And while you may choose to dismiss whole areas of research as non-scientific, areas where people practice sound emprical methods, because they don't fit within the tidy confines of how you think things should be, it only shows you do not understand the method or are using it disingenuously.

>>that knowledge is differentiated from belief by the scientific method.

Perhaps in your lexicon. But any serious study of epistemology recognizes that "knowledge" is not empiricism. Empiricism is simply one method to arrive at knowledge. And each of those epistemological methods requires faith in one thing or the other.

You DO exercise faith in the authorities of hard science--every time you take a prescription or OTC medication. Faith is not exclusive to the religious domain. It is a banal part of life. What differentiates religious faith from faith in the doctor or Harvard prayer studies or quantum mechanics are the names of the authorities and the details of the proposition you're trusting. I already mentioned what you must have faith in when you practice empiricism. It is different from what you must have faith in to be a disciple of one prophet or another. But both require faith.

BTW, you cannot cite ONE study. Talk about irresponsible science. You have to consider them all, questioning those with poor methods, considering the findings of those with good ones.

[ September 22, 2006, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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John Brown
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>>I do think that anyone claiming any one of these random events to be an act of God has a fairly high burder of proof that is unlikely to be satisfied

I agree, although I'm sure that what that burden of proof is will differ for you and me.

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MattP
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quote:
You DO exercise faith in the authorities of hard science--every time you take a prescription or OTC medication.
Here's what I had to say on that matter in a previous discussion in which someone proposed a similar idea - that, for example, I probably exercised faith in the honesty of a good friend though I had no way to prove their honesty.

quote:
Faith is a tough word for me to use because it carries with it religious "baggage" that I don't want to convey. Just as I wouldn't be likely to call a new office building a "grand erection" because, well, you know, I would rather say "I trust him" than "I have faith in him."

That trust is based on many things; from my previous observations of the person, to internal calculations about the cost of this person betraying my trust. But that trust is still in a person and in unambiguous observable behaviors. Trust is a gamble that is necessary to function in our society. I can't drive to work if I don't trust the other people on the road and, by extension, the licensing requirements for driving. I also realize that I'm putting trust in "the odds" and realize that there is a statistical possibility that I will not complete the journey safely. No trust of this kind is absolute.

Religion requires a different kind of trust though. Trust in something you cannot see or measure, that responds unpredictably to stimulus and which there is great disagreement about the nature of. Something with a will to be known and a reluctance to make itself known. Something that cannot be known unless you desire to know it.


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Mormegil
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quote:
I believe Paul, and certainly Augustine and Calvin disagree with you:
I don't really care what Augustine and Calvin had to say.

As for what Paul says, it doesn't contradict what I said in the slightest. Death came as a consequence of the sin of Adam. We all inherit the consequences of his sin, but not the sin itself. That's impossible since sin means to transgress God's law and you have to *do* or *not do* something in order to do that. For another, God specifically said sin wasn't transferable in Ezekiel 18:20: "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father..."

If your father wins the gold medal at the Olympics, you might inherit the medal but you cannot inherit the winning of the medal.

So Paul saying that death came to all men says nothing to support that babies are capable of committing sin.

quote:
I'm disappointed. After the nice little speach about "gay" and the "Flintstones", you really on somebody doing what you condemn.
Nice try, but I'm not projecting a modern meaning onto the word. "House of the Lord" meant "place where God dwells" and does not always refer to the Tabernacle. When David wrote that, he was not referring to the Tabernacle.

Unless you think David packed up moved into the tabernacle until the day he died.

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John Brown
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>>Religion requires a different kind of trust though. Trust in something you cannot see or measure, that responds unpredictably to stimulus and which there is great disagreement about the nature of.

That was an insightful post. "Faith" does indeed have all sorts of connotations, but that's exactly why it was used. [Wink]

And I agree--metaphysics is not as tidy as some areas that we can quickly assess. But that doesn't mean it's impossible.

We're also trusting in different things with each method. You looking at your friend is part of observation. We trust that our senses are working okay. This is not a small thing for someone with autism or who is blind or partially deaf or stoned or even taking OTC medication. We trust we're drawing the right conclusions and our premises are sound (reason).

But the trust I'm talking about, and I think the one you're questioning, is the trust in expert authority.

But that's not exclusively religious. We commonly trust experts on all sorts of non-religious things that we never see. For example, in medicine. CAT scans, MRIs, etc. We can look at it and it means absolutely nothing to us. But we trust the radiologist--yes, I do need an operation. Or physics. How many people have measured quarks? Seen black energy? Not me. I can't do those equations. And we don't usually go read studies on the accuracy of radiologist readings, either. We go into one guy and trust he knows what he's doing.

Becoming an expert in some of these areas is not trivial. This is why we place our trust in the experts. Of course, if there's anything that's screwy about the expert, we'll reject him.

But we trust eye-wittnesses in court all the time. Expert wittnesses as well. And we cross-examine them for things that might undermine their credibility.

With religion, we've got these folks saying, I was there, I saw this, this happened to me. God has given me a message. It's simply another eye-wittness testimony. It's simply another person claiming to be an expert. I know people who offer eye-wittnesses accounts of prayers being answered, revelation, seeing angels--all sorts of things.

Yes, you're right. Some things can't be measured or controlled. It's more complex, more difficult to test than some things in this arena. But there are many natural sciences where things are complex (meterorolgy comes immediately to mind). You MUST consider the wittness's credibilty. But that's the same with ANY authority.

So the nature of trust in religious authority, well, I can't see how it's significantly different.

[ September 22, 2006, 06:37 PM: Message edited by: John Brown ]

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hobsen
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You have made some splendid posts, John Brown. And you are quite right that MattP's post on trust is very important.

Richard Dey, I suspect from past experience you have prepared some subtle trap in response to my assertion that Aquinas synthesized Greek and Hebrew thought. I was of course referring to the Summa Theologica. As Wikipedia puts it,
quote:
It became so reputed that at the Council of Trent (1545-1563), it was consulted after the Bible itself on religious questions.
Concerning Hebrew influences, I have always considered the Old Testament part of Christianity, and it was written in Hebrew, but maybe I should have said Jewish thought? Anyway Aquinas is commonly considered the greatest of the Scholastic theologians, and to quote Wikipedia again,
quote:
The Philosopher: Aristotle. He was considered the most astute philosopher, the one who had expressed the most truth up to that time. The main aim of the Scholastic theologians were to use his precise technical terms and logical system to investigate theology.
So from considerations of that kind I concluded Aquinas synthesized Greek and Jewish thought, using Greek categories to explain Jewish religious ideas.

[ September 22, 2006, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: hobsen ]

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Tom Curtis
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Mormegil:
quote:
As for what Paul says, it doesn't contradict what I said in the slightest. Death came as a consequence of the sin of Adam. We all inherit the consequences of his sin, but not the sin itself. That's impossible since sin means to transgress God's law and you have to *do* or *not do* something in order to do that. For another, God specifically said sin wasn't transferable in Ezekiel 18:20: "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father..."
quote:
14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
Clearly the death mentioned here is not physical death, for if it is, the life from Christ is just physical life, and Christianity is refuted.

Beyond that, it doesn't trouble me much if you decline to interpret your scriptures in their most natural sense.


quote:
Nice try, but I'm not projecting a modern meaning onto the word. "House of the Lord" meant "place where God dwells" and does not always refer to the Tabernacle. When David wrote that, he was not referring to the Tabernacle.
Out of 212 references to "the house of the Lord" in the Old Testament, excluding Psalm 23, all but two refer to a physical temple or tabernacle. The two "exceptions" are Hosea 8:1, which uses "the house of the lord" as a euphenism for the nation of Israel, and Psalm 92: 13.

quote:
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;

13 planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.

14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,

15 proclaiming, "The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."

The reference here is difficult to interpret. It may mean a physical temple, it may mean the nation of Israel, or it may be a euphenism for God's favour. It might even be, uniquely, a reference to heaven. Regardless, it is not identified as a psalm of David, so was written after his time and not primarilly relevant to David's usage.

In contrast, the other 210 references either explicitly, or most naturally refer to a physical temple or tabernacle. So, by the only relevant evidence, "house of the lord" refers in the OT to either the temple or tabernacle, and should be so interpreted in Psalm 23. Doing otherwise is to clearly impose a modern, and theologically loaded use on to David's Psalm rather than to read it out of it.

quote:
Unless you think David packed up moved into the tabernacle until the day he died.
Curiously, David wrote in Psalm 27 the following:

quote:
4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life
,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

The fact that he refers to "all the days of my life" shows he is refering to his physical existance, and not to some potential after life. The fact that he refers to "his tabernacle" makes it clear that the "house of the lord" is indeed the physical tabernacle. So does the the reference to sacrifice.

David here is using poetical hyperbole to indicate that he will be devoted in worship, as he also does in Psalm 23. He also clearly thinks that worshiping is a good thing for him.

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Richard Dey
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Mssrs Brown & Hobsen:

Yes, in my lexicon, empirical, testable knowledge is knowledge. All else is faith that we can fly or faith that we cannot fly. Perhaps you are confusing, as medieval epistemologists did once and epistemological medievalists still do, the means with the results. The scientific method rightly asserts its authority to determine what science is and what it is not; nor does it comprise epistemologists's right to define themselves and their art.

There is one scientific method; there are innumerable epistomologies. Perhaps you are confusing a scientific definition of science with your applications of it?

What in thunder is a serious study of epistemology? Epistemology has concerned itself almost exclusively with the theoretical since philosophers lost contact with the practical -- earning one's living in the real world outside the cloister. The majority of epistemological tracts that I have read have been unprofitable attempts to conflate physics and metaphysick, alchemy with chemistry, and the determinable with the untestable. Those familiar to me are destable in their waste of time.

If you have a theory of the theoretical or some epistemological explication of it I'm not aware of, I'd entertain it -- but you can't go generalizing about science and scientists from an epistemological point around here without being challenged by pragmatists. If a theory is inapplicable, it is tabled.

And don't even approach constructionism around here without provoking the big guns [Wink] . It died right here a horrible death.

The Council of Trent, if my memory holds, founded the Counterreformation -- and we know to what hellish depths of bigotry, depravity, and sadism that led Christianity! Speak of the dangers of religion! Even ex-Protestants will protest that pretentious authority!

As regards Summa Theologiae, which to me are simply dirty books, we have Aquinas attempting to harmonize Augustine (an 'ex-gay') and Aristotle (a 'gay') without the benefit of Aristotle's stated responses -- worse yet, by intentionally leaving out in Summa a critical proposition in Eth. Follow me ... cf.: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/aquinas-homo.html which demonstrates Aquinas's inherent dishonesty. That critical passage, upon which hundreds of thousands of homosexuals were burnt at the stake, also demonstrates the intellectual dishonesty of the Roman Catholic Church ever since the 13th century -- if not from the 4th (as I would contend)! How so?

Aquinas adapted 1148b of Eth, and we know that because he reiterated it in Sentenia Libri Ethicorum (VII,5) ... but suppressed it in Summa. "By this act of intellectual dishonesty, Aquinas made true, innate homosexuality an 'insoluble problem' for theologians who are obliged to maintain that erotic attraction to one's own sex is acquired and therefore abnormal and pathological." [Johnansson, EoH I: I:71, 1990)].

Very few intellectually dishonest moments in history have played such havoc with so many lives and brought so many Christians to eternal damnation. In that one cheating moment, Aquinas erased the Church's ability to be honest forever. Too much is at stake to unlearn that mistake. It even carried over into Protestantism because Luther did more farting than thinking, Calvin did more burning than reading, Knox was too cheap to buy the books, Henry VIII was avaricious and bad in bed, and Joseph Smith was better at hieroglyphics than Greek and Latin.

One does not justify the word of god, any god, by cheating. Was it an error? Oh no. Was it a 'correction' of Sentenia? Oh no. It was a deliberate omission to justify church actions from Nicaea to Trent -- actions which were and which are unjustifiable.

Aquinas was one of those cheats of history one ought to take heed of, but he was the raison d'etre of the problem he intentionally avoided. He dug a pit for Catholics from which they'll never be able to extricate themselves -- not even on judgment day. But what the Church did to homosexuals did not require the word of god or the pseudologic of Aquinas; they did it because they wanted to do it. It's like their Nazi friends in Europe; they did what they did not because they were stupid and ordered to do so; they did what they did because they wanted to do it, at least before they went ahead and did it.

But if they think that Aquinas will back up their actions, they better reread him -- because he doesn't. He embarrasses them, and for many good reasons.

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hobsen
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Yes, Aquinas brings back memories. I first heard of him in a series of lectures on Scholastic philosophy offered by a Paulist priest, which I attended because I thought a university curriculum in philosophy which avoided controversy by skipping everything from Marcus Aurelius in 170 CE to Descartes in 1640 CE had an unfortunate gap; philosophers suggested all sorts of things in those 1500 years, like the controversial Occam's razor. I met my friend Marjorie at those lectures, and she knew a lot more about Aquinas than I did; she also hated him with a passion and thought he had set the entire Roman Catholic Church on a wrong course. But we both thought Aquinas important and influential, not someone to skip. You seem to agree.

My former roommate Walt, who was scheduled to visit me this week until his wife was hospitalized for pneumonia in Pittsburgh, used to feel the same way about the Nazi's use of Nietzsche. He claimed that Nietzsche's most pointed remark about antisemitism had been that all antisemites should be shot, which would have taken care of Hitler. I never bothered to verify that quote, but it seemed a good argument to me. But dismissing everything else about either Scholastic theologians or the Nazis except their attitudes toward homosexuals, towards which I think you have some tendency, seems a distortion. That subject may be important to you, but it mattered little to them.

Anyway your reference to pragmatism in discussing epistemology seems unfortunate for your case. Pragmatism was founded by William James, who spent a lot of time studying psychic phenomena and pioneered the study of the psychology of religion. He stressed that almost all of what is commonly called knowledge falls outside the realm of scientific method, which seems to be one thing John Brown is asserting. Teaching what is clearly contrary to science, as do creationists, is foolish because what science does know it knows with certainty. But in deciding currently important matters, like choosing between educational systems or choosing what to do about the alleged global warming, experimental science gives almost no help. And in our lively threads concerning same sex marriage, I should venture that what science really knows about homosexuality could be written on the head of a pin.

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