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Right-wing fundamentalist's dilemma

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Guest Paul

"What would Jesus do?" is a question that calls upon our values. The lesson in the question is that we cannot address ethics, morality and the good without reference to values.

Yet when the same mirror is held up to some people, including some Christians, they refuse to look in it. Bryan's complete refusal, for example, to address the values implicit in Pascal's wager or the concept of eternal torment in hell are cases in point, and many of his self-described fellow Christians follow suit. To them, it seems, morality is to be applied strictly to everyone else, but not at all to them. Even at the level of these discussions, others must be completely responsible for everything they say and write (right down to spelling errors and whatever misinterpretations our right-wing friends choose to place on their writing), but the right wingers who post on these pages are responsible to explain nothing, not even (perhaps especially not) their supposedly most fundamental values.

Several of us have asked the question before, and always the right-wing fundamentalists have dodged, ducked, avoided and flat-out refused to address it: If we are to take Jesus (God's divine son according to them) as our moral, ethical and spiritual example, by what values can we believe in a god whose concept of justice includes eternal torment? They may protest that it is not for us to judge God, but in fact they judge what is and is not God all the time. To me, it's like checking your work after doing a math problem. If you multiply three single-digit numbers together, and arrive at a seven-digit answer, you've done something wrong. Similarly, if your concept of justice is a loving and omnipotent god with a hell awaiting those who fall short (in whatever way the particular "believer" thinks is important), then the problem is with your conception of God.

I predict this question will not be answered by the right-wingers who have posted on this site calling themselves Christians. They may respond with some evasion or attack, but they will not provide any explanation of values that addresses this question for the obvious reason that they can't. Let any or all of them prove me wrong.

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Guest Loki
"What would Jesus do?" is a question that calls upon our values. The lesson in the question is that we cannot address ethics, morality and the good without reference to values.

Yet when the same mirror is held up to some people, including some Christians, they refuse to look in it. Bryan's complete refusal, for example, to address the values implicit in Pascal's wager or the concept of eternal torment in hell are cases in point, and many of his self-described fellow Christians follow suit. To them, it seems, morality is to be applied strictly to everyone else, but not at all to them. Even at the level of these discussions, others must be completely responsible for everything they say and write (right down to spelling errors and whatever misinterpretations our right-wing friends choose to place on their writing), but the right wingers who post on these pages are responsible to explain nothing, not even (perhaps especially not) their supposedly most fundamental values.

Several of us have asked the question before, and always the right-wing fundamentalists have dodged, ducked, avoided and flat-out refused to address it: If we are to take Jesus (God's divine son according to them) as our moral, ethical and spiritual example, by what values can we believe in a god whose concept of justice includes eternal torment? They may protest that it is not for us to judge God, but in fact they judge what is and is not God all the time. To me, it's like checking your work after doing a math problem. If you multiply three single-digit numbers together, and arrive at a seven-digit answer, you've done something wrong. Similarly, if your concept of justice is a loving and omnipotent god with a hell awaiting those who fall short (in whatever way the particular "believer" thinks is important), then the problem is with your conception of God.

I predict this question will not be answered by the right-wingers who have posted on this site calling themselves Christians. They may respond with some evasion or attack, but they will not provide any explanation of values that addresses this question for the obvious reason that they can't. Let any or all of them prove me wrong.

My beliefs are exactly that; my beliefs. My upbringing, faith, and life experiences allow ME to believe these things.

I do not ask you to SHARE them, but you do not have the right to judge them. Perhaps I am wrong about an omnipotent being (entirely possible). My question to you is, how is anyone else hurt by this?

Meanwhile, you pass judgement on those who don't agree with you. You have chosen to believe only what logic allows you to prove, good for you. It is not for you to PREACH what anyone else can believe. You disagree with a teacher preaching, but then come here to preach to each and everyone of us. This, makes you a hypocrite. I will no longer answer any more of your rants; I just choose to disagree, and I have that right.

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"What would Jesus do?" is a question that calls upon our values. The lesson in the question is that we cannot address ethics, morality and the good without reference to values.

Jesus wouldn't buy a $25 baseball cap with WWJD on it--I can tell you that much.

Yet when the same mirror is held up to some people, including some Christians, they refuse to look in it. Bryan's complete refusal, for example, to address the values implicit in Pascal's wager

Surprise, surprise--Paul has no example. And he'd never find one, either, since he's very probably among those who doesn't really have a clue what Pascal's Wager is all about.

Note Paul's "complete refusal" to address the nuts and bolts of Pascal's Wager in the thread I started for that purpose (and yes of course I'm mocking you, Paul).

or the concept of eternal torment in hell are cases in point,

I've been perfectly willing to discuss that issue. I began attacking your argument (including an elegant reductio ad absurdum, if I do say so myself), and you ran away. Too busy, or your arguments are too vapid for me to address or some such.

Again, we find Paul reduced to making stuff up.

and many of his self-described fellow Christians follow suit. To them, it seems, morality is to be applied strictly to everyone else, but not at all to them. Even at the level of these discussions, others must be completely responsible for everything they say and write (right down to spelling errors and whatever misinterpretations our right-wing friends choose to place on their writing), but the right wingers who post on these pages are responsible to explain nothing, not even (perhaps especially not) their supposedly most fundamental values.

Egad, the irony.

You can't hold a candle to me for backing up an argument, Paul.

Take, for example, your great idea for lowering gas prices. A one-and-done paraphrase of a widely-e-mailed scheme. I skewer it with a citation from Snopes.com (which leads to a basic description of the oil economy along the lines of what I had argued elsewhere). Where's Paul? Out busy starting other threads--for instance this one about how the wicked Christians don't back up what they say.

Several of us have asked the question before, and always the right-wing fundamentalists have dodged, ducked, avoided and flat-out refused to address it: If we are to take Jesus (God's divine son according to them) as our moral, ethical and spiritual example, by what values can we believe in a god whose concept of justice includes eternal torment?

Are you willing to argue the issue, now (as you were not earlier)?

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php...=60entry55123

You're a real piece of work, LaClair.

They may protest that it is not for us to judge God, but in fact they judge what is and is not God all the time.

... though in contrast to that, I provided framework for understanding hell as an execution of perfect justice--and Paul dismissed the concept without argument (insisting on his own unjustified conception of justice). I point out flaws in his conception, and he fails to reply, and fails to remain engaged in the discussion.

To me, it's like checking your work after doing a math problem. If you multiply three single-digit numbers together, and arrive at a seven-digit answer, you've done something wrong.

What if you're mixing base nine with base ten figures? Nothing wrong with that in principle, is there? :)

Similarly, if your concept of justice is a loving and omnipotent god with a hell awaiting those who fall short (in whatever way the particular "believer" thinks is important), then the problem is with your conception of God.

Just as Paul's analogy assumes the same base numbering system, so his moral argument assumes its conclusion.

But don't expect him to acknowledge it.

I predict this question will not be answered by the right-wingers who have posted on this site calling themselves Christians. They may respond with some evasion or attack, but they will not provide any explanation of values that addresses this question for the obvious reason that they can't. Let any or all of them prove me wrong.

I started a thread expressly for the purpose of exploring the issue, and I generously gave myself burden of proof in order to get the ball rolling (despite the fact that Mr. LaClair has made sufficient statements regarding the injustice of hell for us to rightly expect him to bear a burden of proof for supporting his claims).

I remained engaged in that thread, defending the view I presented, and countering the objections offered to my statement of position.

It is Paul's side (counting Paul LaClair himself) that has avoided the discussion.

Yet here we have Paul starting a new thread and painting a picture the reverse of the truth.

What's up with that?

What would Nietzsche do?

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My beliefs are exactly that; my beliefs.  My upbringing, faith, and life experiences allow ME to believe these things.

I do not ask you to SHARE them, but you do not have the right to judge them.

Oh? Why not? What gives religious beliefs that distinction that makes them magically immune to criticism, going so far that you would tell others they don't have the right to judge the decision you've made?

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Guest Paul
My beliefs are exactly that; my beliefs.  My upbringing, faith, and life experiences allow ME to believe these things.

I do not ask you to SHARE them, but you do not have the right to judge them.  Perhaps I am wrong about an omnipotent being (entirely possible).  My question to you is, how is anyone else hurt by this?

Meanwhile, you pass judgement on those who don't agree with you. You have chosen to believe only what logic allows you to prove, good for you.  It is not for you to PREACH what anyone else can believe.  You disagree with a teacher preaching, but then come here to preach to each and everyone of us.  This, makes you a hypocrite.  I will no longer answer any more of your rants; I just choose to disagree, and I have that right.

Loki, I have every right to judge your beliefs, just as you might judge the beliefs of those who think homosexuality or sex with minors or slavery is acceptable. And just as you might judge the beliefs of someone who was brought up to believe that he has the right to have sex at any time with any of several dozen women in his harem (whether they freely consent or not), I have the right to judge what you have been brought up to believe. I do so because I truly believe that this idea of eternal torment has done our civilization great harm, and so I will speak out against it. You remain free to believe it, but obviously I have struck a nerve, and so I hope you will re-examine your beliefs and change them. You also have that right, and that opportunity if you so choose.

For a very long time, our culture has quietly enforced a taboo against criticizing certain religions, foremost among them biblical Christianity. The free ride is over. This is not a public school classroom, but a free forum, so I am guilty of no hypocrisy whatsoever. I see a wrong and I will speak of it in appropriate forums, of which this is one. I suggest you get used to it, because this taboo is being torn down, and I intend to be a part of that.

I have explained how we are hurt by this monstrous idea. This idea of eternal torment as justice cheapens and corrupts the concept of justice, which I believe is a sacred idea that is necessary to hold any decent society together. It undermines our moral sensibilities by debasing the sanctity of great principles like Love and the search for happiness, both of which it completely dismisses for no good purpose whatsover. Those are two values that express what is wrong with the idea of eternal torment in the universe of a supposedly omnipotent god, i.e., a god who is so powerful that he can construct reality itself any way he likes with no limits whatsoever. They are two of our greatest and most important values.

My challenge was for you to identify some values that this revolting, disgusting and indefensible idea serves. I predicted you would not do that (1) because your belief is so deeply rooted in experiences that probably go back to childhood that you don't want it challanged and (2) because there aren't any such values.

Instead of responding to Bryan in a separate post, I will simply observe that neither he nor Loki does what I asked them to do, which was to defend this perverted concept of eternal torment by reference to any set of values that it serves. I say again, that is because there aren't any. So far you and Bryan have both proved me right on all counts.

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"What would Jesus do?" is a question that calls upon our values. The lesson in the question is that we cannot address ethics, morality and the good without reference to values.

Yet when the same mirror is held up to some people, including some Christians, they refuse to look in it. Bryan's complete refusal, for example, to address the values implicit in Pascal's wager or the concept of eternal torment in hell are cases in point, and many of his self-described fellow Christians follow suit. To them, it seems, morality is to be applied strictly to everyone else, but not at all to them. Even at the level of these discussions, others must be completely responsible for everything they say and write (right down to spelling errors and whatever misinterpretations our right-wing friends choose to place on their writing), but the right wingers who post on these pages are responsible to explain nothing, not even (perhaps especially not) their supposedly most fundamental values.

Several of us have asked the question before, and always the right-wing fundamentalists have dodged, ducked, avoided and flat-out refused to address it: If we are to take Jesus (God's divine son according to them) as our moral, ethical and spiritual example, by what values can we believe in a god whose concept of justice includes eternal torment? They may protest that it is not for us to judge God, but in fact they judge what is and is not God all the time. To me, it's like checking your work after doing a math problem. If you multiply three single-digit numbers together, and arrive at a seven-digit answer, you've done something wrong. Similarly, if your concept of justice is a loving and omnipotent god with a hell awaiting those who fall short (in whatever way the particular "believer" thinks is important), then the problem is with your conception of God.

I predict this question will not be answered by the right-wingers who have posted on this site calling themselves Christians. They may respond with some evasion or attack, but they will not provide any explanation of values that addresses this question for the obvious reason that they can't. Let any or all of them prove me wrong.

Right or left your both full of shit. If you don't believe why do you try so hard to prove Bry wrong. And from all the posts it's clear he's in your head on a regular basis and he's not paying any rent for the space. Give it a rest Paul.

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"What would Jesus do?" is a question that calls upon our values. The lesson in the question is that we cannot address ethics, morality and the good without reference to values.

Yet when the same mirror is held up to some people, including some Christians, they refuse to look in it. Bryan's complete refusal, for example, to address the values implicit in Pascal's wager or the concept of eternal torment in hell are cases in point, and many of his self-described fellow Christians follow suit. To them, it seems, morality is to be applied strictly to everyone else, but not at all to them. Even at the level of these discussions, others must be completely responsible for everything they say and write (right down to spelling errors and whatever misinterpretations our right-wing friends choose to place on their writing), but the right wingers who post on these pages are responsible to explain nothing, not even (perhaps especially not) their supposedly most fundamental values.

Several of us have asked the question before, and always the right-wing fundamentalists have dodged, ducked, avoided and flat-out refused to address it: If we are to take Jesus (God's divine son according to them) as our moral, ethical and spiritual example, by what values can we believe in a god whose concept of justice includes eternal torment? They may protest that it is not for us to judge God, but in fact they judge what is and is not God all the time. To me, it's like checking your work after doing a math problem. If you multiply three single-digit numbers together, and arrive at a seven-digit answer, you've done something wrong. Similarly, if your concept of justice is a loving and omnipotent god with a hell awaiting those who fall short (in whatever way the particular "believer" thinks is important), then the problem is with your conception of God.

I predict this question will not be answered by the right-wingers who have posted on this site calling themselves Christians. They may respond with some evasion or attack, but they will not provide any explanation of values that addresses this question for the obvious reason that they can't. Let any or all of them prove me wrong.

Is it just me, or were your dalliances with religion much more tempered at the outset of your family's dispute with the school board. As a point of curiosity - what changed? Did you always harbor these beliefs but thought best to minimize alienation at the beginning of a publicly aired grievance? Or did the process that you went through make you more aggressive toward fundies (which is completely understandable considering how "Christ-like" they were towards your family throughout the dispute)?

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For a very long time, our culture has quietly enforced a taboo against criticizing certain religions, foremost among them biblical Christianity.

On the contrary, Christianity is the religion to attack in the US, especially if you count Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. Particularly during the past century.

But perhaps Paul has evidence to back up his assertion this time ...?

The free ride is over. This is not a public school classroom, but a free forum, so I am guilty of no hypocrisy whatsoever. I see a wrong and I will speak of it in appropriate forums, of which this is one. I suggest you get used to it, because this taboo is being torn down, and I intend to be a part of that.

You'll need more than that pair of tweezers to tear something down.

I have explained how we are hurt by this monstrous idea. This idea of eternal torment as justice cheapens and corrupts the concept of justice, which I believe is a sacred idea that is necessary to hold any decent society together.

Yet he cannot be troubled to give a coherent account of his view, let along a coherent criticism of the view he despises!

Astonishing, isn't it?

It undermines our moral sensibilities by debasing the sanctity of great principles like Love and the search for happiness, both of which it completely dismisses for no good purpose whatsover.

And he can back up what he says!

Just you wait!

He really can!

Those are two values that express what is wrong with the idea of eternal torment in the universe of a supposedly omnipotent god, i.e., a god who is so powerful that he can construct reality itself any way he likes with no limits whatsoever. They are two of our greatest and most important values.

Could God have create[d] beings who were completely orange and completely not orange at the same time and in the same sense?

If no, then there are limits to the manner in which God could have created.

If yes, then there is apparently no bar to hell being perfectly just (since God could make it so according to Paul's own premise).

Dance on the horns of that dilemma, Paul.

My challenge was for you to identify some values that this revolting, disgusting and indefensible idea serves. I predicted you would not do that (1) because your belief is so deeply rooted in experiences that probably go back to childhood that you don't want it challanged and (2) because there aren't any such values.

We need a foundation for values as a logical prerequisite for this challenge, otherwise it is perfectly empty. If values stem from the nature of God, then hell has its justification.

But maybe Paul will shake off his cowardice long enough to demonstrate his alleged universal and objective value system?

Instead of responding to Bryan in a separate post, I will simply observe that neither he nor Loki does what I asked them to do, which was to defend this perverted concept of eternal torment by reference to any set of values that it serves.

I'm here to defend it. From what am I defending it? Your absolute and objective moral system that you refuse to defend?

Paul's challenge here is bogus, and it's easy to explain why. The challenge is not rooted in logic at all, but in people's sense of outrage. His argument is an implicit fallacious appeal to the people. He can hardly help himself, he's so accustomed to trying to sway juries, I suppose.

Unfortunately for Paul, he can't count on any vote of the people to make him correct in any of his arguments. If he commits a fallacy in his argumentation, rather than possibly helping to convince an unwary jury it simply calls his ability to reason into question.

Bummer.

I say again, that is because there aren't any. So far you and Bryan have both proved me right on all counts.

Fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam. Some lawyer Paul is. You buy that fallacy, jurors?

I've been perfectly willing to argue these issues from day one of my visit to KOTW. Paul has been the one ducking the arguments, and I'll be happy to provide examples for anyone who hasn't seen enough of Paul's posts to know that I'm telling it like it is.

Edited by Bryan

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Guest Paul
Is it just me, or were your dalliances with religion much more tempered at the outset of your family's dispute with the school board.  As a point of curiosity - what changed?  Did you always harbor these beliefs but thought best to minimize alienation at the beginning of a publicly aired grievance?  Or did the process that you went through make you more aggressive toward fundies (which is completely understandable considering how "Christ-like" they were towards your family throughout the dispute)?

Your observations are mainly accurate, but that is because the discussions at that time were on the broader subject of religion, about which I have always had a great many positive things to say. In fact, I consider myself a born-again Humanist and regularly attended a Unity church in New York City as recently as 2000. You will not find any comment by me condoning the idea of eternal torment in hell, which I find repugnant and without any redeeming quality at all. I'm no more or less aggressive toward "fundies" than before (though I am more readily identified), except perhaps to the extent that Sam Harris' book seems to have created an opening for finally speaking more honestly and openly about some of the worst aspects in some religions.

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Guest Paul
On the contrary, Christianity is the religion to attack in the US, especially if you count Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.  Particularly during the past century.

But perhaps Paul has evidence to back up his assertion this time ...?

You'll need more than that pair of tweezers to tear something down.

Yet he cannot be troubled to give a coherent account of his view, let along a coherent criticism of the view he despises!

Astonishing, isn't it?

And he can back up what he says!

Just you wait!

He really can!

Could God have create beings who were completely orange and completely not orange at the same time and in the same sense?

If no, then there are limits to the manner in which God could have created.

If yes, then there is apparently no bar to hell being perfectly just (since God could make it so according to Paul's own premise).

Dance on the horns of that dilemma, Paul.

We need a foundation for values as a logical prerequisite for this challenge, otherwise it is perfectly empty.  If values stem from the nature of God, then hell has its justification. 

But maybe Paul will shake off his cowardice long enough to demonstrate his alleged universal and objective value system?

I'm here to defend it.  From what am I defending it?  Your absolute and objective moral system that you refuse to defend?

Paul's challenge here is bogus, and it's easy to explain why.  The challenge is not rooted in logic at all, but in people's sense of outrage.  His argument is an implicit fallacious appeal to the people.  He can hardly help himself, he's so accustomed to trying to sway juries, I suppose.

Unfortunately for Paul, he can't count on any vote of the people to make him correct in any of his arguments.  If he commits a fallacy in his argumentation, rather than possibly helping to convince an unwary jury, it simply calls his ability to reason into question.

Bummer.

Fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam.  Some lawyer Paul is.  You buy that fallacy, jurors?

I've been perfectly willing to argue these issues from day one of my visit to KOTW.  Paul has been the one ducking the arguments, and I'll be happy to provide examples for anyone who hasn't seen enough of Paul's posts to know that I'm telling it like it is.

Typical Bryan. Not a word about what values justify this horrid concept.

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Right or left your both full of shit. If you don't believe why do you try so hard to prove Bry wrong. And from all the posts it's clear he's in your head on a regular basis and he's not paying any rent for the space. Give it a rest Paul.

It's not a question of proving Bryan wrong. It's about speaking out against an abhorrent idea that has damaged our civilization. People's values affect everyone. That's why it's important.

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"What would Jesus do?" is a question that calls upon our values. The lesson in the question is that we cannot address ethics, morality and the good without reference to values.

Yet when the same mirror is held up to some people, including some Christians, they refuse to look in it. Bryan's complete refusal, for example, to address the values implicit in Pascal's wager or the concept of eternal torment in hell are cases in point, and many of his self-described fellow Christians follow suit. To them, it seems, morality is to be applied strictly to everyone else, but not at all to them. Even at the level of these discussions, others must be completely responsible for everything they say and write (right down to spelling errors and whatever misinterpretations our right-wing friends choose to place on their writing), but the right wingers who post on these pages are responsible to explain nothing, not even (perhaps especially not) their supposedly most fundamental values.

Several of us have asked the question before, and always the right-wing fundamentalists have dodged, ducked, avoided and flat-out refused to address it: If we are to take Jesus (God's divine son according to them) as our moral, ethical and spiritual example, by what values can we believe in a god whose concept of justice includes eternal torment? They may protest that it is not for us to judge God, but in fact they judge what is and is not God all the time. To me, it's like checking your work after doing a math problem. If you multiply three single-digit numbers together, and arrive at a seven-digit answer, you've done something wrong. Similarly, if your concept of justice is a loving and omnipotent god with a hell awaiting those who fall short (in whatever way the particular "believer" thinks is important), then the problem is with your conception of God.

I predict this question will not be answered by the right-wingers who have posted on this site calling themselves Christians. They may respond with some evasion or attack, but they will not provide any explanation of values that addresses this question for the obvious reason that they can't. Let any or all of them prove me wrong.

Jesus wouldn't secretly tape his teacher.

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[quote=Paul,Jun 13 2007, 05:33 AM]

"What would Jesus do?" is a question that calls upon our values.

Actually Paul, the only thing that the question, (What would Jesus do?) implies is that Jesus is the absolute authority on morality and ethical choices to those who ask the question. When a question of morality comes up, they use it as a guiding principle for making the right moral choice (the choice Jesus would make).

The lesson in the question is that we cannot address ethics, morality and the good without reference to values.

:huh: Sounds like psychobabel to me.

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, Similarly, if your concept of justice is a loving and omnipotent god with a hell awaiting those who fall short (in whatever way the particular "believer" thinks is important), then the problem is with your conception of God.

About "falling short," the Bible says:

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" Romans 3:23-24

See Paul, God is both just and loving. The two are not incompatible. Although man has fallen short, he was redeemed (or bought back) by Christ himself.

"But God demonstrates his own love toward us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Paul, God Loved you and I so much, that he paid the price for our sin. It would be as if I were guilty of a capital crime here on earth, and the judge's son said, "Dad, please allow me to do his time for him. He has repented, I'm offering myself in his place." That's what Jesus did for us. Its obvious that you are bitter towards God at this time, but rest assured, If the day comes that you want to experience God's love and acceptance, he will embrace you.

"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

In short, God loves you Paul and its my prayer that you would give his love a chance. As a side note, a lot of Christians love you too. I personally know four local Pastors who meet on a weekly basis to pray, and your salvation is one of their requests.

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Typical Bryan. Not a word about what values justify this horrid concept.

Watching people avoid this subject is quite amusing, and enlightening. If someone asked me to explain something in my religion, I would welcome that as an opportunity to explain why my religion was a good thing. Instead, Loki gets defensive and Bryan pulls his usual "I'm right about everything" routine. Neither of them goes anywhere near the issue.

This topic poses a legitimate question. What is good about eternal torment? Even if you want to say that we are dastardly creatures, everything God does (if there is a God) would still be toward not only the good, but toward the best. God's actions would be the best possible actions under the circumstances.

So how does eternal torment promote the good? How can you say this is the best thing God could do? If you can't address that issue or even bear to look at it, isn't it time to rethink your beliefs?

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We need a foundation for values as a logical prerequisite for this challenge, otherwise it is perfectly empty.  If values stem from the nature of God, then hell has its justification. 

So what is (or what could be) the nature of God that justifies hell? If you don't want an empty system, then explain how this one is or could be be filled. Instead of saying you won all the other arguments until now, how about addressing the issue.

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Could God have create[d] beings who were completely orange and completely not orange at the same time and in the same sense?

If no, then there are limits to the manner in which God could have created.

If yes, then there is apparently no bar to hell being perfectly just (since God could make it so according to Paul's own premise).

Dance on the horns of that dilemma, Paul.

So Bryan:

You seem to be saying that God is subject to the laws of reality, which are above him, that God didn't create reality, but is subject to it. Two questions arise:

1. How do you know?

2. If that is true, then exactly what does God's omnipotence mean?

To flesh this out a bit, scientists used to think that light was either waves or particles but couldn't be both. The double slit experiment proved them wrong, and quantum physics has shown us that our linear concepts of reality seem to be wrong. For all we know, we could be wrong about something as fundamental as whether something is or is not orange. Bryan, how do you know what "orange" ultimately is, or what relationship it plays to reality? How do you know there aren't ten additional dimensions of reality that we know nothing about, which make something being orange and not-orange at the same time not only possible but an inescapable fact of reality?

The question is not what conclusions your limited, linear-thinking human mind leads you to suppose. The question is how you know any of this. And the answer is, you don't.

Here's another dilemma: If eternal torment is good, then what is left of goodness? Doesn't this render your religion empty, and isn't emptiness exactly what you said you didn't want in your religion? ("We need a foundation for values as a logical prerequisite for this challenge, otherwise it is perfectly empty.") I realize you're speaking in another sense, but isn't that a distinction without a difference? If not, what is the meaning in the distinction?

It's your system, Bryan. It's not up to other people to explain it for you. And no, you haven't.

Here's another question. What if God has a special place reserved in hell for people who think they can define limits on what he can do? How's that for a dilemma, Bryan? Care to answer it?

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It's not a question of proving Bryan wrong. It's about speaking out against an abhorrent idea that has damaged our civilization. People's values affect everyone. That's why it's important.

Ok, so how many of you support a constitutional ammendment to ban gay marriage and why?

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Typical Bryan. Not a word about what values justify this horrid concept.

Typical Paul. Not a word to address what I wrote, which in turn addressed his challenged that somebody attempt to justify a concept with values.

I'll explain again in brief: Until we establish a firm set of values, any attempt to explain a concept of justice is an exercise in futility--and Paul has never succeeded in backing up his claims to an "objective" and "universal" morality.

He hopes the jury will overlook that aspect of things, apparently.

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So Bryan:

You seem to be saying that God is subject to the laws of reality, which are above him, that God didn't create reality, but is subject to it.

You seem to be hoping that's what I'm saying, but I really saying that god is the anchor of reality, not the reverse. God, in effect, is stuck being god. If god is god and not-god at the same time and in the same sense, then you might well be forced to admit that a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurine is god.

You might complain that the figurine evidences no power to create things at will, but I would simply reply that he doesn't do stuff like that any longer. And then you might complain that the figuring was manufactured in 2005, but I'd simply point out that there's no reason why god can't just stop being spirit/good/all-powerful/etc to become a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurine at any time He wishes.

Two questions arise:

1. How do you know?

It's an assumption that I make for the sake of being able to discuss things on a reasonable basis (see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle illustration above). If you want to make god above logic, you have forever put any reasonable argument against god's existence out of your reach.

I'll play along if you want to do that, just to enjoy laughing at you. Try an argument on that basis any time you wish.

2. If that is true, then exactly what does God's omnipotence mean?

In Bible terms, it means that God has more power than anybody else and that other entities derive their powers from god.

Theologians have further argued that god has sufficient power to perform any self-consistent act that is also consistent with his nature.

Under that type of framework, a god who by nature was loving could not create an existence entirely made up of a hell populated with suffering souls. That reality would be inconsistent with god's existence.

To flesh this out a bit, scientists used to think that light was either waves or particles but couldn't be both. The double slit experiment proved them wrong, and quantum physics has shown us that our linear concepts of reality seem to be wrong. For all we know, we could be wrong about something as fundamental as whether something is or is not orange.

Incorrect. The problem with your analogy lies in the (scientist's) assumption that particle=not-wave and wave=not-particle.

You gave an example of an apparent paradox, not a contradiction.

Bryan, how do you know what "orange" ultimately is, or what relationship it plays to reality?

I don't need to know what "orange" ultimately is or what relationship it plays to reality. The law of non-contradiction is fundamental to our ability to discuss things using reason. A must needs be A, and likewise not-A must not be A.

How do you know there aren't ten additional dimensions of reality that we know nothing about, which make something being orange and not-orange at the same time not only possible but an inescapable fact of reality?

I don't, and if you'll accept the idea you've suggested then you should be extremely open to the possibility of god's existence and prepared to reject any argument against the existence of god.

The question is not what conclusions your limited, linear-thinking human mind leads you to suppose. The question is how you know any of this. And the answer is, you don't.

Ah-ah-ah--not so fast. How do you know I don't know, by the terms of your own argument?

Here's another dilemma:

(there's not really any such thing as a dilemma, if you offered your argument above sincerely--you can't know of a dilemma in which to place me because of the possibility of all those dimensions--remember?).

If eternal torment is good, then what is left of goodness?

I dunno--but surely there's a possibility of something in the 19th dimension--don't you agree?

Doesn't this render your religion empty, and isn't emptiness exactly what you said you didn't want in your religion? ("We need a foundation for values as a logical prerequisite for this challenge, otherwise it is perfectly empty.")

No, it doesn't render my religion empty, but if you'll abandon your suggestion that additional dimensions and whatnot make anything possible then I'll be prepared to entertain your argument to that effect.

Lacking that, you're just wasting your own time and mine.

I realize you're speaking in another sense, but isn't that a distinction without a difference? If not, what is the meaning in the distinction?

If you overcome your willingness to consider that absolutely anything is possible (such as the distinction making a difference despite your apparently unfounded suspicion otherwise), feel free to specify what distinction you're talking about.

It's your system, Bryan. It's not up to other people to explain it for you. And no, you haven't.

What do I need to do that I haven't done, IYO?

Here's another question. What if God has a special place reserved in hell for people who think they can define limits on what he can do? How's that for a dilemma, Bryan? Care to answer it?

I'll be there in company with those who define god as being limited to not being limited. If I get there first, I'll keep your spot warm. :huh:

People, "Guest" just gave us an illustration of a toddler fingerpainting with logic.

What a mess.

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So what is (or what could be) the nature of God that justifies hell?

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php?showtopic=5863

If you don't want an empty system, then explain how this one is or could be be

filled.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php?showtopic=5863

Instead of saying you won all the other arguments until now, how about addressing the issue.

How about you address the issue of pointing out where I said I won other arguments?

I've simply pointed out that I've shown every willingness to debate the issue, contradicting the picture that Paul LaClair painted in this thread.

Beyond that, I have a clear idea of how the arguments will develop, and I don't expect to be on the short end of things. The only problem is finding somebody from the other side to follow the logic where it leads (to stay involved in the discussion without playing the type of game that Paul enjoys playing, in other words).

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About "falling short," the Bible says:

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus"  Romans 3:23-24

See Paul, God is both just and loving.

Of course! It's written in a millenia-old compilation of superstitions; it's GOT to be true! :huh:

The two are not incompatible.  Although man has fallen short, he was redeemed (or bought back) by Christ himself.

"But God demonstrates his own love toward us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8

Paul, God Loved you and I so much, that he paid the price for our sin.

So condescending...all of this is premature. You can't go around asserting to rational people what "God" DID without ever having proven to anyone that he even exists! At least, not without being rightly ridiculed.

It would be as if I were guilty of a capital crime here on earth, and the judge's son said, "Dad, please allow me to do his time for him.  He has repented, I'm offering myself in his place."  That's what Jesus did for us.  Its obvious that you are bitter towards God at this time, but rest assured, If the day comes that you want to experience God's love and acceptance, he will embrace you.

Pay very close attention, you arrogant fool:

He isn't mad or bitter with your god; he doesn't believe in him at all. He hates God as much as you hate Wotan. Can you get that through your head?

"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."  Romans 10:9

In short, God loves you Paul and its my prayer that you would give his love a chance.  As a side note, a lot of Christians love you too.  I personally know four local Pastors who meet on a weekly basis to pray, and your salvation is one of their requests.

"One of the most condescending things a theist can do to an atheist is to make a point of announcing that they'll be praying for us. Atheists don't believe in the power of prayer, but even theists can't think that prayer will be more effective for having announced. So what's the purpose? Some say that it's to express well-wishes, but people say that they'll pray for someone when the person is sick or having trouble. One way or another, the theist appears to be expressing superiority over atheists in a passive-aggressive manner. That suggests they weren't interested in serious conversation to begin with." --http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismatheiststheism/tp/DebateKillers.htm

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Watching people avoid this subject is quite amusing, and enlightening.

You're referring to Paul's dodging when called upon to justify his "objective" and "universal" values, yes?

If someone asked me to explain something in my religion, I would welcome that as an opportunity to explain why my religion was a good thing.

Maybe you'd have started up your own thread, like I did here:

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php?showtopic=5863

Instead, Loki gets defensive and Bryan pulls his usual "I'm right about everything" routine. Neither of them goes anywhere near the issue.

Your paragraph above is filled with historical inaccuracies.

Can you back up your claim regarding my claiming I was right?

How do you justify the claim that I don't go anywhere near the issue when I started a thread to address the issue?

"Guest" by all appearances thy name is Hypocrite.

This topic poses a legitimate question. What is good about eternal torment? Even if you want to say that we are dastardly creatures, everything God does (if there is a God) would still be toward not only the good, but toward the best. God's actions would be the best possible actions under the circumstances.

So how does eternal torment promote the good? How can you say this is the best thing God could do? If you can't address that issue or even bear to look at it, isn't it time to rethink your beliefs?

Feel free to copy and paste this latter portion into the thread that I started for the discussion of this issue.

http://forums.kearnyontheweb.com/index.php?showtopic=5863

Unless you have no intention of discussing it, that is.

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Guest Paul
Jesus wouldn't secretly tape his teacher.

If he were in the same situation I think he would. All recording does is preserve the truth against attempts to cover it up. Why wouldn't he? In other words, what values support your conclusion and precisely how do they relate to it?

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Guest Paul
[quote=Paul,Jun 13 2007, 05:33 AM]

"What would Jesus do?" is a question that calls upon our values.

Actually Paul, the only thing that the question, (What would Jesus do?) implies is that Jesus is the absolute authority on morality and ethical choices to those who ask the question.  When a question of morality comes up, they use it as a guiding principle for making the right moral choice (the choice Jesus would make). 

The lesson in the question is that we cannot address ethics, morality and the good without reference to values.

:huh: Sounds like psychobabel to me.

Sounds obvious to me. Aren't ethics, morality and the good all about values? If not, what are they about?

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