Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Response to Christian James

A Christian leaving comments on my blog Dave's McPresuppositions, Part V, has left two additional comments that I reply to below.

In my exchange of comments with Christian James, I had asked him if there was anything that he would not sacrifice for Jesus. He winced at this question and resisted answering it. He would not come out and give a firm yes or no to the question, but instead chose to remain in his closet on the matter.
 
After some back and forth which is available for readers to review at the above link, Christian submitted two more comments today, and instead of replying in the comments, I am replying directly to him in the form of a new blog entry.

Christian James wrote: “I didn't mind your question.”
 
Then why not answer it? Why not make it clear whether or not there is anything you would not sacrifice for Jesus. You said Jesus is “worth” it. But when asked if there’s anything you would not sacrifice for Jesus, you clam up.
 
You wrote: “Notice I did not bulk”
 
Maybe you did not “bulk,” but you did balk - i.e., stopped short and refused to proceed with answering my question.
 
You wrote: “rather asked you to explain why you are asking the question in the first place”
 
And I answered this. Check the record. I explained that I want to know who’s a real Christian. How can one tell? Self-professing Christians are always saying in one way or another that other self-professing Christians aren’t real Christians. I see this all the time. So how does one tell? You may have suggestions, but if you cannot demonstrate that you’re a real Christian in the first place, why should I take our suggestion? You can’t even say whether there’s anything you would hold back from sacrificing for Jesus!
 
You wrote: “since it didn't relate to the discussion at hand.”
 
Many topics come up for discussion in blog coments. Notice that you yourself tried to redirect the discussion to the conversion process (whatever that process may be), and you also asked “what are you worshipping right now?” None of these related to the topic at hand. On the contrary, you were simply trying to slink out of answering a direct question about your faith.
 
You wrote: “I perceived that you were trying to trap me as it is clear that you continued hide from me your real intention which was to discredit my worldview.”
 
Completely wrong. I was not trying to trap you. My view is that you are already trapped, Christian James, and my question simply brought this out. Your worldview gives you no reliable way to answer this question, and likely stirs up tremendous psychological conflict – which was already there – in your attempts to evade my question. In the same breath, you stated: “Usually I'm asking that question of others…” So you admit to asking others this question, but you yourself are unprepared to answer it. And you call me a hypocrite?
 
You asked: “Now what would have been the result if you were completely honest about your motives and intentions?”
 
How was I not completely honest about my motives and intentions? I asked you a straightforward question and explained why I was asking it when you asked for that explanation. I’ve been completely forthcoming here.
 
You wrote: “I wouldn't have answered your question.”
 
I was completely forthcoming about my purposes in asking my question, and you still haven’t answered it!
 
You wrote: “So no you didn't answer my question the way I wanted. So why should I answer you question the way you want?”
 
You blow in here posing as a spokesman for an omniscient, infallible magical being which supposedly created the universe and demands sacrifice. The question is most appropriate, then, directed at you. Even Jesus talks about separating the wheat from the chaff. As for how you wanted me to answer your question, I don’t know what you wanted. I take your questions as you present them. If I did not give the kind of answer that you had originally sought, perhaps you did not ask the question correctly.
 
You wrote: “It's amusing that I am being judged on the basis of someone's manipulation. hypocrisy!”
 
You are being judged on the basis of your own choices and actions, Christian James. You come here to my blog hoping to preach your imaginary Jesus, and when asked a simple, direct question, you crumble into whining and sniveling. How would Sye Ten Bruggencate answer my question? I doubt he would. He likes only to ask questions, not answer them, even though he postures himself as having a direct pipeline to a supernatural all-knowing source. And I’m being hypocritical when I ask you a simple question about the integrity of your faith??? Good grief!
 
You wrote: “Despite my suspicions, I demonstrated my credentials by first defining for you what Christianity is.”
 
No, you didn’t. You hesitated when asked whether there is anything you would hold back from sacrificing for Jesus. You still haven’t answered this. You have no credentials here. You won’t put your money where your mouth is. I never met a Christian who would. I’ve known some who come close, but you’re not one of them. Not even close.
 
You wrote: “Unless we have the truth we can not declare something to be false.”
 
If one cannot reliably distinguish between what is real and what is merely imaginary, he has no objective basis for saying anything is either true or false. This is the wreckage that Christianity leaves behind in the minds of those who get suckered into its snares and booby traps.
 
You wrote: “From what I can see by your blog and your responses you have a skewed and bias view of Christianity as evidenced by your awful depiction of Luke 14:25-35 which is pulled out of context and by your implication that you believe that the Bible is akin to Harry Potter or Tolkein. Sorry my friend the bible does not fit into the contemporary fiction genre. In fact it is an assortment of many genres.”
 
The bible may not be in a “contemporary” genre of any sort; who would suppose it is? But it is fiction nonetheless. Again, as I had asked: How much of a Harry Potter novel do I need to read to know that it’s fiction? This was asked in response to your own statement that one commenter supposedly hadn’t “read enough of the Bible.” So clearly you have a measuring stick in mind here, but you don’t indicate what it is or how one uses it.
 
I had written:
My view, after hundreds of hours of discussions with believers of various “denominations,” is that most people calling themselves “Christians” in the west are posers and charlatans. So far, I see no good reason to exclude you.

 
You asked: “On what authority do you make this claim?”
 
On the authority of reason.
 
You asked: “How then do I test your authority?”
 
By correspondence to objective reality.
 
You wrote: “Maybe I will test it by the way you wanted to manipulate me to discredit my position by not revealing every motive of your heart.”
 
I had no intentions of “manipulating” you or anyone. I simply asked if there was anything you would not sacrifice for Jesus. How is that question manipulative in nature? We are continually told about how the disciples sacrificed their lives for Jesus, and that such legends somehow vouch for the alleged truth of what we read in the bible. Christians are called to sacrifice everything. Abraham is held up in the NT as a model of faith given his unflinching willingness to sacrifice his own son. What believers are like this today? I find none. Instead, we find people who are easily offended and spend great amounts of energy trying to save face when asked straightforward questions that get to the heart of their faith. No manipulation there. If you want to see manipulation on display, check out your own Sye Ten Bruggencate. His entire apologetic is about manipulating people.
 
You wrote: “Also would you accept my testimony regarding the countless hours I spent with God as sufficient evidence for the existence of God?”
 
No, because anyone can claim to have spent “countless hours” with something they may merely be imagining. Such claims do not constitute evidence of the existence of said imaginary being. Do you think it should?
 
You asked: “Why then should I believe that your personal time spent gives you a sufficient credibility regarding the truth of Christianity?”
 
You don’t have to take my word for it. I’ve got over nine years of blogging activity documenting many exchanges with Christians over the years.
 
You wrote: “Considering your miss-use of the text based on all of your hours with us this is sad.”
 
Christian James has not demonstrated that I have misused any text. The text in question – i.e., the bible – is very clear on the relevant issue under discussion. For example, it models Abraham’s ready and unflinching willingness to sacrifice his own son upon mere command to do so; it models the Christian god standing by as its own son is tortured and readied for crucifixion; the gospels make it clear that Jesus puts a stiff price on discipleship: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26) (and at the same time, the believer is supposed to “love” his enemies, according to Matthew 5:44); etc. I did not write any of this. Christians tell me that the bible is the key to their worldview and I’ve examined it. This is what I find. There’s no basis for the charge of “miss-use of the text” here.
 
You wrote: “The fact that I'm a westerner doesn't mean anything.”
 
This is myopic and demonstrates a lack of broader awareness of philosophy in general and its diverse expressions around the world. Historically, compared with many other parts of the world – e.g., the Middle East, eastern bloc cultures, the Far East, etc., people in the west are far more selfish and self-interested than those from other cultures. This is because of the influence of Aristotelianism. It is not without contradictory influences, of course, since Christianity has also had tremendous influence in the west, which is why so many people feel guilty for being selfish. They’ve bought into the lie that selfishness is immoral somehow. But most believers in the west, fortunately, are still too selfish to go all the way in their devotion to god-belief. By contrast, in the Middle East, for example, look how ready many people are to sacrifice themselves on behalf of “Allah.”
 
You wrote: “I applaud though you for your respect for those believers who are literally laying down their lives for Jesus in other countries.”
 
I have nowhere stated that I have respect for such persons. I don’t. How did you infer this from what I did say? I just think they’re more consistent in their mystical delusions than believers in the west. I don’t respect that. I think it’s downright catastrophic.
 
You wrote: “I respect them too.”
 
See, we’re not at all alike!
 
You wrote: “But not everyone has died or will die as a martyr. This adds nothing to the discussion.”
 
You miss the point of my statement in the context that I mentioned it.
 
You wrote: “How devoted I am or am not doesn't change the truth regarding Christianity or the worldview I'm presenting.”
 
This cuts both ways: no matter how devoted you are to Christianity, it does not change the fact that it is an irrational worldview. You may like it, you may really want to believe it’s true. But reality does not conform to beliefs and wishes. That’s the primacy of existence, a principle which Christianity denies.
 
You wrote: “It doesn't deny your accountability to the truth.”
 
And nowhere have I claimed it does. Again, if one’s worldview does not teach him the fundamental principles by which he can reliably distinguish between what is real and what is merely imaginary, then he has no objective basis for discovering what is true and what is not true.
 
You wrote: “If you die apart from Christ you will die in your sins.”
 
Similarly, the Blarkist tells me that if I die apart from Blarko, I will die in my blins. So what? To be sure, threats will not persuade me that something is untrue is really true.
 
You wrote: “Dawson I pray this is not the case.”
 
As it has been said, nothing fails like prayer. But while we’re at it, why not pray for my ailing eyesight. For details, see here. If you think prayer is effective and gets positive results, try it. What have you got to lose? Don’t tell me, there’s going to be some reason why you won’t pray for my vision to improve…
 
You wrote: “I pray that you DONT get what you deserve.”
 
But I will accept only that which I do in fact deserve. My worldview does not teach me to lust after the evasion of justice. I realize that Christianity encourages its adherents to desire the unearned. But I want only what I deserve. I’ve worked very hard for it. I want everything I earn. See, it’s a difference of character.
 
You wrote: “To be honest I don't know what I would or wouldn't sacrifice.”
 
Then you should have simply answered with this at the beginning. But of course, if I were a Christian and what you say here were my testimony, I’d think that I’d have some soul-stirring questions to ponder. But you seem to have never considered it before. If Jesus were really merely imaginary, and deep down you secretly recognized this but tried your best to compartmentalize this fact, your inability to say one way or another whether or not you would have anything that you would not sacrifice for Jesus, makes sense. But if you really believed all this hokum that is Christianity, your predicament is most perplexing. It can only suggest that you haven’t given your faith much serious thought.
 
You wrote: “All I know is that I love Jesus and I want to lay down all that I am for his sake”
 
So, like Abraham, would you be willing to sacrifice your own child for Jesus’ sake? How about your mother and your father? Any siblings? A wife perhaps? Next-door neighbors? Imagine (since we have no alternative) that you die, find yourself in heaven, and learn that your mother died in her sins and has been condemned to hell for eternity: would you be willing to volunteer to take her place in hell if it meant she could spend eternity in heaven? Would you do anything? Or, would you do nothing and be satisfied with her roasting forever? This is your worldview, Christian James.
 
You wrote: “because I can see that he is worth it.”
 
What exactly does it mean to say that Jesus “is worth it”? Jesus is supposed to be immortal (yet he died?), indestructible, in need of nothing, omnipotent, etc. But you and your loved ones are mortal: you can die, and eventually will. Even with all your lip service to your god, you will still die one day, Christian James. All this talk of death being “defeated” somehow is just nonsensical. Death still happens like it always has. But what does the statement that Jesus “is worth it” mean? This suggests that you get something in return for your devotion. But that’s not sacrifice then – it’s a trade. Actual sacrifice involves real loss of values. When a lamb was sacrificed on the altar back in Abraham’s time, it didn’t get its life back. Was there something “worth it” for the lamb? When it came to Jesus, the symbology of the lamb was invoked, but it doesn’t fit the situation that plays out in the gospels, for Jesus is supposed to have “risen” – i.e., he got to live again, unlike all the lambs sacrificed back in the good ol’ days of Abraham and Moses.
 
You wrote: “I can't see the future but I trust that God will walk me through it all because I have learned that he is faithful. I find great comfort in that.”
 
So it’s a feel-good religious attitude that Christianity enables you to perpetuate.
 
You wrote: “However, I trust you want greasy details,”
 
I’ve never asked for “greasy details.” I did specify some examples of things you might consider, whether you are willing to sacrifice them for Jesus or not, such as: your mind, your character, your family members, your friends, strangers, etc. I don’t see how any of these qualify as “greasy,” do you?
 
You wrote: “but I know a wolf when I see one.”
 
I assure you, I am wholly human.
 
You wrote: “Your hubris and your hypocrisy is evident.”
 
And yet you’re the one who seeks the unearned.
 
You wrote: “I'm thankful that Christ took on himself the punishment and the condemnation I deserved and in exchange gave me eternal life.”
 
But you don’t know whether or not there is something that you would not sacrifice for Jesus’ sake. Consider that.
 
You wrote: “Hope to see you one day standing with us equally excited about Our Hope, as your worldview will ultimately end in death.”
 
In other words, you hope that I sacrifice my mind and my character, and everything else along with these, just as you have. It’s not going to happen.
 
You wrote: “I would like you all to please notice the discourse that has taken place between Dawson and me.”
 
Yes, I encourage each reader to review the record for himself. It can be found in the comments section here.
 
You wrote: “Dawson asked me a question regarding my devotion?”
 
Christian James is a self-professing Christian who chose to come to my blog, a blog that is explicitly pro-reason (and therefore anti-mysticism) and began posting a series of comments. Since Christians themselves tell us that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian, and since according to Matthew (cf. chap. 7) Jesus warned that even many of those who have “prophesied,” “cast out devils,” and “done many wonderful works” in Jesus’ name are not genuine doers of the Christian god’s will, I asked him the following question:
Given this, is there anything that you would *not* give up for Christ? Is there anything that you would resist sacrificing as part of your duty to serve Christ?
Since the bible itself warns that there will be “false teachers” (e.g., 2 Peter 2:1), it’s important to know which self-professing Christians are the real McCoy as opposed to those who are simply pretending. I would think that a genuine Christian would appreciate such concern for authenticity of faith. But you, Christian James, seem to take steep issue with it.
 
You wrote: “When I inquired of his motives, the full truth wasn't given.”
 
Here’s what I stated in response to you when you asked me for my reason for posing this question to you:
Many people come here professing to be Christians, and Christianity calls for self-sacrifice. At Christianity.net.au, a Christian writing under the name Armen states that following Jesus is “about what we must be prepared to do to follow Jesus. It’s about giving up everything, even our very lives for Him,” and asks: “as His followers, are we willing to place Him in first position and place the most important people in our lives in second place?” 
I would like to know who is authentic in his devotion to his god and to what degree. According to Genesis, Abraham was so devoted that he did not wince one iota when commanded to prepare his own son as a sacrifice. I don’t know if you have any children, but supposing you did, would you be willing to sacrifice your own child, or your wife perhaps, or mother or father, if commanded by your god? I’m not asking if your god would ever require this. My question has to do with your character as a Christian, your devotion, your willingness to sacrifice. 
If you feel uncomfortable answering this question, you don’t need to answer it. But then I admit, I’d be curious why you’d be uncomfortable answering it…
Notice that I explained my motives. Everything I wrote here is true. You say that it’s not “the full truth.” But what is this supposed to mean? You asked me, I answered.
 
You wrote: “By his own words he admits to trying to trap me.”
 
Where do I admit this? There was no intention of trying to “trap” you.
 
You quoted me: "Unfortunately, you’ve taken the bait and fallen for the whole thing."
 
You quote only a portion of what I wrote, thus concealing the context of what I had stated at this point.
 
Here’s what I wrote:
It is not I who condemns you, Christian James. Christianity did that already before you were even born. Unfortunately, you’ve taken the bait and fallen for the whole thing. You had no rational worldview with which to defend yourself against Christianity’s mind-game devices. And here you are, stumped speechless by a simple question.
The part about “taking the bait and falling for the whole thing” clearly refers to Christianity’s fore-condemnation of you, condemning you before you were even born, and you’ve accepted this premise and have fallen for everything that comes along with it. This was not a “confession” that I was trying to entrap you. Not at all. As I pointed out, your worldview has already entrapped you, and consequently you’re stuck. That’s not my doing.
 
You wrote: “Now I ask you, as you all seem to care about honor? Is this an honorable way to treat another human?”
 
Under no duress whatsoever, you Christian James voluntary came to my blog and chose to submit comments here. What did you expect at this blog? Did you think the regulars here are going to encourage your religious delusions? Of course, somebody here is going to ask hard questions, questions that you probably don’t get in the comfort zone of “fellowshipping” at church. At church, everybody’s trying to encourage everyone else to “stay strong in the faith.” You act as though someone tied you to a stake and beat you with a whip. Instead, you’ve been allowed to post your comments, I’ve approved them, I’ve interacted with you, others have as well, and now you’re sore because you’ve been asked a question you’re not prepared to answer. And yet, you still try to push your worldview. You cannot demonstrate that your character is fully in line with what your own worldview demands of people, and you insinuate that I’m not treating you honorably? If you don’t think you’re being treated honorably here, why do you keep coming back?
 
You wrote: “When I answered I was told that I didn't answer correctly.”
 
This is completely specious. You didn’t answer my question – either correctly or incorrectly. I even had to put little yes-no boxes so that you could see clearly and explicitly that my question is a yes-no question. Is there anything that you would *not* give up for Christ? In your most recent comments now you’ve stated that you don’t know. If this is your answer to this question, I don’t know why you didn’t come forward with this when I first asked you. Perhaps you didn’t want to reveal this at the time for some reason? Did you give “the full truth”?
 
You wrote: “I take he wanted all the gruesome details more specifically ‘if there was any(thing) I would or wouldn't give up for Christ’."
 
Before it was “greasy details,” now this has morphed into “gruesome details.” I’ve never asked for either “greasy” or “gruesome details.” This is your own hyperbole at work here. Indeed, I was quite clear: I asked for a yes or no answer. And if the answer was yes, I suggested you state what it might be that you would not be willing to sacrifice for Jesus. Check the record. I don’t even know what “greasy” or “gruesome details” might include here. Again, it’s not my worldview on trial here.
 
You wrote: “He wanted to exploit some weakness in me so he could discredit my position. Fair.”
 
Not at all. I wanted to see how much integrity you have in your faith. I stated this clearly early on when you asked me.
 
You wrote: “But why wasn't I told this in the beginning, when I asked?”
 
Because that’s not what I was looking for. There’s no need for me to discredit the believer’s position when he does such an effective job of it by himself.
 
You wrote: “Nonetheless, I referred him to Jesus as I felt best. He is the author of my faith.”
 
I know of no alternative but to imagine Jesus doing anything. I cannot see Jesus, I cannot sit down and share a coffee with him, I cannot call him on the phone, etc. My imagination is the only resource I have in this context. And yes, I can imagine that Jesus is the author of something. But the point is that I have no alternative to this. And you, Christian James, nowhere identify any alternative to my imagination as the means of interfacing with Jesus. I have to imagine and pretend what I’m imagining is real. I know – I was a Christian once myself!
 
You wrote: “I will, however, stand by this statement I don't know what I would or wouldn't give up, I just know that I love Jesus and he is with me.”
 
So, you don’t know whether or not you would sacrifice your mind, your character, your family members, some stranger down the street, etc. Okay. There you go. That’s your worldview talking, Christian James.
 
You wrote: “I know that he is worth me giving up my life and I am ashamed by the sin that often prohibits that. But God is working.”
 
So, Christian James, Jesus – something you can only imagine - is something “worth… giving up [your] life” for? You would give up your life for something that is merely imaginary?
 
You wrote: “Moreover, Why am I required to reveal all my deepest motives and or sin but the questioner is not?”
 
As I stated very clearly back on June 13, “If you feel uncomfortable answering this question, you don’t need to answer it.” You are not “required to reveal all [your] deepest motives and or sin.” I did not ask for this. I wasn’t even asking about “sin” in the first place (though since you include this in the discussion, this pretty much goes against your claim that sacrifice is not part of the conversion process, since conversion requires repentance).
 
And what details have you asked me to supply? Perhaps I’ve missed something? Like you, I retain the right to my privacy, and I honor your right to yours as well. You come here voluntarily; you choose to participate in these discussions. You are not expected to do anything you don’t want to do.
 
You wrote: “This is a clear cut definition of hypocrisy.”
 
Again, you apparently missed the part where I plainly and explicitly stated: “If you feel uncomfortable answering this question, you don’t need to answer it.” And even if I did not state this, your charge of hypocrisy would still not be warranted since I’m not “requiring” you to do anything in the first place. I’m in no position to require you to do anything!
 
You wrote: “How would our conversation have evolved if the Dawson had answered my question as I asked?”
 
You had asked for my motives, and I explained them. If you did not read or understand my answer to your question, I don’t think that’s my fault.
 
You wrote: “But I did not press him as he did me.”
 
One, this is my blog, not yours. Second, you come here preaching a religious point of view, which opens you up to all kinds of scrutiny here. If you don't want that kind of scrutiny, you're free not to come back here. Third, you are free not to participate in discussions here if you think you’re being treated unfairly or improperly. But since you keep coming back, I can only suppose that there’s something you want to accomplish here or that you enjoy the discussion in spite of your insinuation that you’re being treated unfairly. There’s no double standard involved here. If anything, you have an enormous advantage here since I’ve got over nine years of my own divulgences sitting right here available on the internet all for free. So my character is on display here. So far as I know, I cannot do the same with you.
 
You wrote: “Instead he gave me pieces of the truth with the intent to demoralize me in the end.”
 
With the exception of giving any truth, you’re now coming close to describing Sye Ten Bruggencate.
 
You wrote: “It wasn't my Christian worldview playing mind games on me, no It was a a man with the intent to use my own worldview against me.”
 
Attempting to use one’s worldview against him is the presuppositionalist’s apologetic stock in trade. This is precisely what Sye Ten Bruggencate expressly sets out to do every time he engages a non-Christian. And now you, presumably a presuppositionalist yourself, are somehow saying this is wrong? And you think I’m guilty of hypocrisy?
 
You wrote: “None of us have the belief that worldview can say anything.”
 
But wait, Christian apologists are always telling me that a worldview needs to “provide” the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. Of course, this would mean that whichever worldview supposedly does this would have to be in place prior to the preconditions of intelligibility can be provided. Thus whatever such a worldview supposedly says would have been founded and developed in the absence of the necessary preconditions of intelligibility. Hey, this is not my problem!
 
You wrote: “I would like to say that I am just like you.”
 
You are not like me, Christian James. For one, you accept the view that sacrifice is moral; I do not. Sacrifice is never moral. Second, you think something that you can only imagine is worth sacrificing your life for; I do not. Third, you want to evade justice, for you don’t want what you deserve – you want something you don’t deserve, something that you will never earn. Your worldview teaches this; my does not. Fourth, your worldview is guided by faith in imaginary forces, alleged revelations from invisible magic beings, and alleged historical events; mine is not – by contrast, my worldview is premised on unchanging and unchangeable truths (identified by the axioms), aligned explicitly and consistently with the primacy of existence (e.g., wishing doesn’t make it so), and informed by reason.
 
You wrote: “I must admit you all are very intelligent and I'm thankful for your objections sorry I wan't able to get to everyone. I can see how devoted you are to your position. I am also devoted to mine. The only difference is I believe in God and I believe that he sent his Son to die for our sins so we wouldn't have to go to hell.”
 
This statement suggests that there is much “neutral” common ground between Christians and non-Christians, and that “the only difference” is that the believer believes in his god, and the non-Christian may believe in some other god or no god at all, that all the non-Christian has to do is adopt a belief in the same god as the Christian and everything else will be hunky-dory. But presuppositionalists are typically emphatic that this is not the case, that the non-Christian’s worldview is entirely wrong from its very foundations, and that one needs to install a whole new worldview in its place.
 
Also, if the Christian god “sent his Son to die for our sins so we wouldn’t have to go to hell,” then what’s the big concern? Jesus took care of everything, so everything’s okay now, problem solved, right? No, of course not: everyone who wants to go to heaven needs to do his own share of sacrificing as well. He needs to sacrifice his reason, his mind, his choice of happiness, his character, etc., etc., etc. It is an insatiable demand for sacrifice. There will never be enough sacrificing so long as one tries to be a good Christian. I’m glad that’s not my problem!
 
You wrote: “The bible says that God doesn't want anyone to perish”
 
But if it’s true that “God controls whatsoever comes to pass” (Van Til, The Defense of the Faith, p. 160), then how can anything that happens anywhere be something that the Christian god doesn’t want to have happen? If the Christian god wants everyone to go to heaven when they die, what’s the problem? How can something in the universe the Christian god allegedly created not be entirely how the Christian god wants it to be?
 
You wrote: “but that they would turn and trust him with their lives and be saved and Christ would raise them up on the last day.”
 
According to the Book of Acts, Jesus made a personal appearance right before Saul of Tarsus. Saul was supposedly an aggressive persecutor of Christians, and this dramatic visit from the supernatural changed his whole life. So if Jesus really wants to reach people like me, he should know what would work. Why doesn’t Jesus just come to me himself, instead of sending people who don’t know whether or not they would be willing to sacrifice everything for him, and let me see him face to face myself?
 
You wrote: “We can't do this on our own. You won't believe on your own we need Jesus (John 6).”
 
Then all the more. It appears that this Jesus is holding back. Way back. As it is now, I have no alternative but to imagine Jesus, just as I have no alternative but to imagine Harry Potter flying around on a broomstick. But I already know that the imaginary is not real, so there goes that option. On the other hand, Saul got a personal visit (even though this god supposedly doesn’t play favorites). It would seem that believers today, who have not had a personal appearance of the Damascus Road sort, have greater faith than Paul the Apostle. But if it’s all in the Christian god’s hands, then it’s out of my hands. If it wants to reach me, it needs to start trying something different from sending these easily defeated Christian apologists. They only help convince me more that their worldview is utterly false.
 
You wrote: “There is a sin problem.”
 
But if the Christian god is calling all the shots, if everything that happens is according to the Christian god’s “plan,” if it “controls whatsoever comes to pass,” how could there be any problems at all? Is this god a perpetual bungler? This god is said to be a perfect being. It is also said to have created the universe. But if there’s any imperfection in the universe, this could only mean that its creator was less than perfect, for it would be wrong to call a creator that creates imperfections “perfect.”
 
Again, I’m glad these aren’t my problems!
 
You wrote: “Until that sin problem is dealt with none of you will believe regardless of how logical the argument.”
 
But wait, earlier you said that Jesus took care of this when he “died for our sins.” Now the sin thing is still an ongoing problem that still needs to be “dealt with”?
 
You wrote: “We can't accept God on our own terms we must accept him on his terms.”
 
And its terms, according to what we find in the bible, is that we sacrifice ourselves and hate our fathers, our mothers, our siblings, our children, our spouses, even ourselves. Christian James, let me very clear: I do not hate my father. I do not hate my mother. I have three siblings – I don’t hate them either. I don’t hate my wife. I don’t hate my daughter. I don’t hate myself. So long as I am loving myself and my loved ones, I’ll never be able to meet the Christian god’s terms.
 
You wrote: “The bible is my objective evidence here.”
 
The “bible” is a collection of books containing stories, legends, fables, poetry, family trees, primitive legal writings, letters, etc. A claim is not evidence of its own truth. Similarly, the bible is not evidence that its contents are true. Wake up, Christian James. Snap out of it. It’s time to grow up.
 
You wrote: “Think for a moment if the God I'm proclaiming is real (which he is), than why would he be subject to ‘your’ particular methods of experimenting?”
 
Really, what I have to do here is imagine for a moment that the Christian god is real. I have no alternative to this. But I already know that the imaginary is not real, Christian James. Now what? Also, if something exists, why would it not be discoverable by means of my methodology, which is reason? If the Christian god exists, it would be one more existent among the existents that exist. So it would be just one more thing. It would have a definite (and therefore finite) nature, and it would be accessible by means of reason so far as actually objective evidence for it were available. The evidence we would need would have to be as unmistakable as evidence for other things that exist, and not merely imaginary in nature. Since if it really existed it would exist independently of our conscious activity, we should be able to find evidence for its existence by looking outward at reality rather than looking inward into our imagination and building our knowledge on the basis of an emotion (cf. Prov. 1:7: “The fear of God is the beginning of knowledge”). But none of this is the case. Instead, we have human beings insisting that all this is true, yet they are unable to answer basic questions about their own faith and all they have is their claim that it exists while the rest of us, meanwhile, have no alternative but to imagine the god in question.
 
You wrote: “Ontologically if God is the greatest being, it therefor necessitates that his authority be supreme over all other authorities namely ours and or our methodology.”
 
My methodology is called reason. If your god is real, why would it not be discoverable by means of reason? Why would I still need to engage my imagination to contemplate it?
 
You wrote: “If God subjects himself to our methodology, who is God in that equation? We are.”
 
Why? I would simply be applying a methodology consistently. That is not the hallmark of a god.
 
You wrote: “God is still God and his intent is to let his creatures know that fact, i.e. why he will not disclose himself through your methods.”
 
See, there’s always a some excuse for the Christian god to be out of the reach of reason. In other words, to accept this belief, we need to sacrifice reason. That’s what I’ve been saying all along. Here, Christian James, you simply confirm this.
 
You wrote: “To add, you are using the wrong tool.”
 
Indeed – I’m using reason, but I need to be using “faith” – i.e., pretending that what I imagine is real. That is the only “tool” that will work in god-belief.
 
You wrote: “You wouldn't use a thermometer to measure distance. Nor can you use the scientific method to measure God's existence.”
 
Science is essentially the systematic application of reason to some specific area of study. If the Christian god really did exist, it would be something within reality as opposed to "outside" it (i.e., imaginary). Thus it’s unclear to me why reason would be the wrong tool here. But if it’s just a figment of the believer’s imagination, then of course I would expect believers to encourage us to put down our reason and take up “faith.” If you think there is a “tool” or methodology by which we can discover and verify your god’s existence, can you specify what that tool or methodology is, and explain how it works? Please be careful to distinguish it from imagination or some other subjective means. Also, make sure you distinguish it from simply accepting someone else’s say so on their mere insistence that what they are claiming is true – for that only methodologically disarms us. If we’re interested in what’s true, then our methodology needs to be wholly rational.
 
You wrote: “You can't even use the method to quantify logic or morality, will you throw these things out as well?”
 
Both logic and morality (i.e., The Moral Code of Life) are accessible to reason. We can apply reason to our study of logic just as we can apply reason to our study of morality. So why can’t reason work in the case of the Christian god? You wrote: “You are calling Christians to give you information utilizing the wrong tool.” How so? Christians themselves have adopted a worldview which explicitly demands self-sacrifice. I simply called you on this. How is this “the wrong tool”?
 
You wrote: “But he has left you with tools. The bible and prayer.”
 
Hmmm… let’s see. When I read the bible, I find that I have to use my imagination to imagine the characters it portrays, such as when they act or speak. Thus it seems that the bible systematically requires me to employ my imagination as my “methodology” for “knowing” it’s contents are supposedly “true.”
 
Similarly with prayer: I have no alternative but to imagine that someone is hearing my prayers. I can imagine that my favorite childhood uncle who died in the late 1970’s, can hear my prayers. Similarly, I can imagine that Jesus hears my prayers. Methodologically, what’s different in each case? Essentially nothing: my imagination is what’s involved in both cases. But I already know that the imaginary is not real. So now what?
 
You wrote: “He is only a prayer away. All of those who believe on Christ will be raised up on the last day.”
 
So, there will be a “last day”? Another Christian recently scolded me for repeating this doctrine of end-times, saying that it’s not authentic Christian teaching, that the world will never pass away (unlike what we read in the Sermon on the Mount)…. See, ask two Christians a question, get 62 different answers…
 
by Dawson Bethrick

Labels: ,

21 Comments:

Blogger freddies_dead said...

I see Christian James' persecution complex has gone into full overdrive - probably fueled by the cognitive dissonance he experiences whenever you point out that his god can only be accessed through the imagination.

June 18, 2014 2:28 AM  
Blogger photosynthesis said...

I'm still amazed that a Christian would come here. Present nonsense, be shown that he presented nonsense and then he demands an authority before accepting himself that he presented nonsense, as if we were the ones who came here to convince him, rather than him the one who came here to present his absurdities and an invitation, founded in such absurdities to follow "Jesus."

With such embarrassing introduction and attitude, who would be convinced about anything else but that Christianity is irrational?

June 18, 2014 6:10 PM  
Blogger Christian James said...

I apologize for my lengthy response I understand if it’s not all read.
Grace and peace to you all. Thank you Dawson for the attention. I've never felt more appreciated. Its only been a few times that I've had a blog dedicated to my so called incoherence. Sometimes I have to take a break from all if this foolishness to catch my breath.

As I stated on the previous post, hypocrisy took place. I stand by that. I was required to be vulnerable and obey the rules and reveal all for the sake of public scorn. But the full intent of motives weren't revealed either, yet I was in the wrong so that you guys could go, "there is another stupid Christian." I hope and pray that I and any other Christian would never treat any of you that way as it would be a contradiction of what we believe about God and what he says about you. You have immense value in his sight so much so that it was necessary for Jesus to die because of that value which you violated and continue to violate at this moment. Every time you sin, it is a vandalism of God's image. So God gave the Christ over to be violated so that you could see empirical proof of a spiritual reality so that we could see what that vandalism looks like. A bloodied and beaten Christ dying on a cross.

Regarding my hypocrisy claim….
I would like to submit to you and event that took place some time ago. Dawson was adamant to correct Dustin Segers, a Christian Apologist, for his misrepresentation of the Objectivism (mind you I feel Christianity has been misrepresented) and wanted an apology and demanded that Dustin do it exactly as he wanted.
link here: http://katholon.com/Doofusman.htm
Here we can see as evidenced by Dawson's writings that he has a desire for truth as do we. In Dustin's defense his actions were honorable. Dawson showed ample proof that he made a mistake, the blog was removed. Was this a win for the Atheist? Actually a win for Jesus, by openly humbling himself and removing the blog Dustin exemplified for you the humility of Christ. Something that he may have been unable to do prior to knowing Jesus. For the sake of truth Dustin was willing to put aside his pride and submit himself to public humiliation and scorn of his accusers, much like his Lord. He bore that cross, he bit that bullet.

The same humility I come to you all with not as one who is an intellectual beast and not as one who is better than you, but as a man who is weak and feeble. I've experienced God's forgiveness. In light of what I believe it is only right for me to call all of you to repent. (no hatred here) I'm doing what makes me "Happy" I'm telling people about Jesus! If this is wrong by what authority will you make me account by what authority will you stop me?


End of Part 1

June 19, 2014 10:22 AM  
Blogger Christian James said...

Part 2

Back to the question, what wouldn't you or would you sacrifice for Jesus? I guess you got me Dawson, I didn't sacrifice my own pride in that regard for Christ in answering your question completely. But does that make me any less of a Christian? I was afraid to be ridiculed by people who don't even understand what it means to be a Christian. I was judged not on the full council of the bible rather my Christianity was judged because I didn't answer a question how an "atheist" wanted me too. That was simply not fair.

Thus my bulk, you all continue to misrepresent what we believe. Nor do you even allow for the Christian to define who God is so we can show you that our logic operates under the same absolute principles that clearly exist. It is illogical for me to one sense embrace God and then in the same breath deny him. Dawson touched on this when he said….. (paraphrase) If Christians believe Jesus is real why the insecurities? We are all guilty of this. It's called sin. And sin is illogical. I stand by that.

Before the question could be properly answered a proper understanding of Christianity needed to be addressed from "the Christian worldview" utilizing our authority, "the bible." It was clear in the last blog that Christianity was being misrepresented. Examples, scripture was pulled out of context. Atheistic bias was applied to one of the responses to a Justin Hall, in the response Paul was accused of "entrapping people." This accusation came of course came from an atheist (Dawson) who is predisposed to believe that there is no God. The possibility of God's existence was not even given in that response. For if there was such possibility, Paul would be a hero in light of the fact that he really believed that God's wrath was imminent and he must do anything in his power to get men saved, i.e. "I must become all things to all men so that I might save some." (I can also explain the saving part too since that issue was also brought up as a so called contradiction)

Finally,
Im not an expert on objectivism but Dawson's links were helpful. What I can see is this, that as provocative and intriguing objectivism is... the end of it is death. Vanity, vanity, all vanity…. It is just as futile as the leaves that Adam and Eve used to cover up their nakedness. And friends you are still naked and your shame is still evident to God. Let him atone for you and cover up your nakedness with the righteousness of His Son. Apart from Christ your tenants of objectivism, Reality, Reason, Self-Interest, and Capitalism will not be and are not sufficient justification for your sin, you will perish under the fruit of your own belief. Because the end result is just that, "nothing." The atheist will know what it truly is to be without God and that my friends is the nature of Hell. But peep this, the free gift of God is eternal life and that found in his Son. If my worldview is true then that necessitates that the most loving thing I can do is tell you where safety is, because you are not safe right now. You are in danger.

Thanks again. Blessings. Dawson I love you man. Again I Bless God for your thoroughness and you desire for the truth.

Graciously yours,

Christian James.

June 19, 2014 10:23 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Christian James,

You wrote: “As I stated on the previous post, hypocrisy took place. I stand by that. I was required to be vulnerable and obey the rules and reveal all for the sake of public scorn.”

It’s already been pointed out why what you say here is completely untrue. You’ve not been made a victim here. You participate entirely voluntarily, and by coming here and posting your Christian preachings you open yourself up to scrutiny which you now find unwelcoming. What precisely did you expect? Do you expect people simply to nod their heads and assent to whatever you say? You speak of “public scorn”? You’ve amplified this beyond all recognition. You were asked a simple question about your faith; you didn’t have to answer it if you didn’t want to, and you were explicitly reminded of precisely this. You chose to pursue it anyway without giving an answer (until later you confessed you hadn’t been asked this before and didn’t know what your answer is…). There’s no hypocrisy here. Nothing is being required of you. It’s your worldview which makes you vulnerable, and this has simply been exposed.

You wrote: “But the full intent of motives weren't revealed either,”

Again, this is simply not true: I asked my question in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, something your own worldview emphasizes, and I made this clear when you asked. My purpose was to find out if we were dealing with an authentic Christian, and that’s what I had stated. What better way to find this out than to inquire if there’s anything he would not be willing to sacrifice for Jesus? The question may be uncomfortable, but that’s not because of some insidious plot lurking within it or in my motives for posing, but because Christianity’s requirement of self-sacrifice is expressly inhumane, to put it mildly.

[continued…]

June 20, 2014 12:33 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “yet I was in the wrong so that you guys could go, ‘there is another stupid Christian’."

This has nothing to do with whether anyone is “stupid” or not. I challenge you to show that this is what anyone was after here. We hold that Christianity is irrational. I recognize that the irrational can catch people who are philosophically vulnerable off-guard and suck them into its devices and traps, even if they are otherwise very intelligent people. I’ve spent over nine years on my blog exposing how Christianity does this. The record is there for you to examine. But what is required, if you want to gain fully from what I have produced, is your commitment to be honest to yourself. By taking all this personally and playing the victim, you’re simply “hardening your heart,” as Moses might put it, and “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” as Paul would put it. You’re depriving yourself of the larger lessons to be learned here, which, again, is another expression of self-sacrifice.

You wrote: “I hope and pray that I and any other Christian would never treat any of you that way as it would be a contradiction of what we believe about God and what he says about you.”

Then you need to take a good hard look at how Sye Ten Bruggencate behaves in his “debates.” He’s not the only one. Many Christians seem to think he’s some sort of “champion” to be emulated. But you describe him to a T here.

You wrote: “You have immense value in his sight so much so that it was necessary for Jesus to die because of that value which you violated and continue to violate at this moment.”

We can all imagine that this is the case, Christian James. The problem, which you are ignoring, is that imagination is all we have to go on here. We have no alternative to imagining Jesus, either in a temple praying, calming a storm, walking on water, turning water into wine, dying on a cross, rising back to life in a sealed tomb, appearing to his followers afterwards, wafting up to heaven in a mighty wind, appearing to Paul on the road to Damascus, etc. Notice that the use of imagination is common to all these story elements, story elements which inform the core of Christian doctrine.

[continued…]

June 20, 2014 12:34 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “So God gave the Christ over to be violated so that you could see empirical proof of a spiritual reality so that we could see what that vandalism looks like. A bloodied and beaten Christ dying on a cross.”

I did not see Jesus dying on a cross. Neither did you. We have no alternative but to imagine this and imagine the significance Christianity claims it has. There’s no “empirical proof” of this “spiritual reality” that you speak of. The “spiritual reality” you speak of is something we must imagine. Consider heaven. Again, we have no alternative but to imagine that a heaven exists (and various Christians tend to imagine it differently). Similarly with hell: we have no alternative but to imagine hell. We have no empirical proof whatsoever that our consciousness will survive the death of our bodies. But, we can imagine this. The problem is that we have no alternative but to imagine this. It is imaginary.

You wrote: “Regarding my hypocrisy claim…. I would like to submit to you and event that took place some time ago. Dawson was adamant to correct Dustin Segers, a Christian Apologist, for his misrepresentation of the Objectivism (mind you I feel Christianity has been misrepresented) and wanted an apology and demanded that Dustin do it exactly as he wanted.
link here: http://katholon.com/Doofusman.htm”

Actually, this is quite misleading. What happened is that Segers posted a blog allegedly refuting the primacy of existence (an ambition which can only result in stolen concepts). I pointed out that he was in error and that I would be posting a blog entry of my own which would leave no question that he was in error. Segers initially tried to defend his blog entry, not by showing that anything he had written was accurate, but by saying he got his information from a website. It turned out that even the website he was referencing (namely the entry on ‘existence’ at the Ayn Rand Lexicon) did not support what he had posted in his blog entry. Segers was trying to pass the blame for his error onto people who were not even party to the discussion. I informed Segers that I would be posting my own corrections of his objections on my blog. I nowhere demanded anything from him. In fact, I asked - asked - if he would let me post a link to my blog once I had it posted. In fact, I asked this twice! I nowhere demanded anything from Segers, nor did I say he should apologize. Sadly, Segers did not even post my second comment and in fact acknowledged that it was inaccurate and removed his entire blog entry.

[continued…]

June 20, 2014 12:34 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Now, shortly after this had happened, Segers appeared on the Fundamentally Flawed show, and this topic had come up. There Segers made the statement – after he had taken down his blog entry - that he had refuted the primacy of existence. The folks at FF were aware of what had happened on Segers’ blog and challenged him on it, at which point Segers confessed that he had been corrected. On the podcast, Segers said he thanked me for pointing out the error, but in fact he never did do this. He never discussed the matter with me after that.

You wrote: “In Dustin's defense his actions were honorable.”

Which actions in particular? Posting a blog which was completely misrepresentative in the first place? How is that honorable? He took it down when it was pointed out that he was wrong, but instead of leaving the post up and inviting further discussion so that he might learn something and grow from the correction, he took it down completely and later said he thanked me for pointing out the error, when in fact he nowhere did this. Is that honorable?

You wrote: “Dawson showed ample proof that he made a mistake, the blog was removed.”

As should be clear now, there was a little more to it than that.

You wrote: “Was this a win for the Atheist? Actually a win for Jesus, by openly humbling himself and removing the blog Dustin exemplified for you the humility of Christ.”

If that’s what you believe. Rather, it appeared to me at the time (and still does) that Segers went into hiding. At least on his blog. He later repeated his claim to have refuted the primacy of existence on the FF podcast after he had removed his blog entry. If that’s “honorable” action, if that’s “the humility of Christ” on display, it’s quite despicable I’d say. In my webpage documenting this incident, I offered what would have indeed been honorable.

You wrote: “Something that he may have been unable to do prior to knowing Jesus.”

So, before becoming a Christian, Segers could not have pretended that he had refuted something when in fact he had been corrected and sought to hide his error, but after becoming a Christian he could do this? You’re essentially saying, Christian James, that prior to becoming a Christian Dustin Segers could have been capable of such dishonorable conduct.

[continued…]

June 20, 2014 12:34 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “For the sake of truth Dustin was willing to put aside his pride and submit himself to public humiliation and scorn of his accusers, much like his Lord.”

Actually, what happened was quite the opposite of what you characterize here. Segers was clearly not banking on the crew at FF having known about the flap on blog. Rather, it seems he removed his blog so that when he would make further podcast appearances, the record of his error would have been wiped out of existence and no one would be the wiser. Luckily I had the presence of mind to copy his blog and its comments trail before he removed it. Clearly he wasn’t counting on that.

You wrote: “He bore that cross, he bit that bullet.”

If that’s what you call it… Hey, it’s your religion you’re “crediting” here.

You wrote: “I've experienced God's forgiveness.”

I have no doubt that you’ve experienced things, Christian James. But the causes you cite to “account for” those experiences are, at least in the present case, imaginary. We already know that here. You won’t be able to convince us otherwise. Attempts to do so simply provide us with entertainment.

You wrote: “In light of what I believe it is only right for me to call all of you to repent. (no hatred here)”

Why? Is repentance required for the “free gift”? If so, then clearly it’s not free. It’s just more dishonest advertising.

You wrote: “I'm doing what makes me ‘Happy’ I'm telling people about Jesus!”

Then clearly you’re not sacrificing. You’re holding your happiness back – you don’t want to give it up. But Jesus demands full sacrifice.

You wrote: “If this is wrong by what authority will you make me account by what authority will you stop me?”

I don’t presume to be able to “make” you or anyone else do anything. Your mind is yours to nurture or discard. It’s your choice. It is Jesus who demands that you sacrifice it, not me.

You wrote: “Back to the question, what wouldn't you or would you sacrifice for Jesus? I guess you got me Dawson, I didn't sacrifice my own pride in that regard for Christ in answering your question completely.”

So you haven’t “died to sin” after all! See, that’s what I’m talking about. You talk the talk, but you don’t walk the walk. It’s just more phony baloney. Something so trivial as your “pride” – you can’t even sacrifice that for Jesus? You said that Jesus is “worth it.” Again, talk is cheap.

You wrote: “But does that make me any less of a Christian?”

If you really weren’t a Christian in the first place, then you couldn’t be less of a Christian than a non-Christian pretending to be one. That’s what I wanted to find out: are you the real McCoy, or not? We have our answer.

[continued…]

June 20, 2014 12:35 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “I was afraid to be ridiculed by people who don't even understand what it means to be a Christian.”

Christian James, “what it means to be a Christian” is no arcane secret, either to any of the regulars here at IP or to the world at large. Many of us have had Christianity preached down our throat all our lives in one form or another. It’s not like you’ve stumbled on some secret no one else knows about. The old “you don’t understand” line is an old, outworn cop-out. In fact, it’s not uncommon for non-believers to know more about Christianity than believers themselves. Studies have been done on this, and results have been quite surprising.

You wrote: “I was judged not on the full council of the bible rather my Christianity was judged because I didn't answer a question how an ‘atheist’ wanted me too. That was simply not fair.”

I wanted you to answer honestly. So if you didn’t answer the way I wanted you, then you answered my question dishonestly. If that’s your viewpoint…

You wrote: “Thus my bulk, you all continue to misrepresent what we believe.”

This is most tiresome. I have been both a Christian and an Objectivist. I have made it my life work to point out the differences.

You wrote: “Nor do you even allow for the Christian to define who God is so we can show you that our logic operates under the same absolute principles that clearly exist.”

Then explain once and for all the “logic” of the trinity. Even seasoned theologians confess that it’s a mystery that defies logic. Ever read John Frame on the matter?

Also, as I’ve pointed out before, logic alone is not sufficient for rational knowledge. You need facts - something logic does not provide. Logic provides structure for relationships amongst our knowledge to grow into an integrated whole. But it does not provide its content; for that, we need facts, which means we need factual input. There’s no factual input to support your god-belief. Imagination is not a source of facts.

[continued…]

June 20, 2014 12:35 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “It is illogical for me to one sense embrace God and then in the same breath deny him.”

But performatively, you do this all the time – most likely without realizing it. For example, every time you say “God exists,” you’re performatively contradicting yourself. See my paper Gods and Square Circles.

You wrote: “Dawson touched on this when he said….. (paraphrase) If Christians believe Jesus is real why the insecurities? We are all guilty of this. It's called sin. And sin is illogical. I stand by that.”

But I thought you had intimated that you had already “died to sin.” You had stated: “Your are absolutely right! The nails have gone in the coffin, the day I died to sin.” Also, I thought Jesus’ “work on the cross” gave believers “victory over sin.” Apparently not quite. Again, you talk the talk, but you don’t seem to be walking the walk. It’s such a disappointment!

You wrote: “What I can see is this, that as provocative and intriguing objectivism is... the end of it is death. Vanity, vanity, all vanity…. “

So a worldview which holds that man’s life is the standard of value… can only mean death? I don’t see any arguments for this thesis here.

Of course, Christians are going to label every rival position as one leading to death, as though Christianity were some kind of path to life. Christians hold this view because death is their standard, not life. (If life were one’s standard of value, he would at the very least be sympathetic to Objectivism’s emphasis on man’s life as both the standard and the goal of morality.) Nothingness is the ultimate focal point in all evaluation for the Christian. This is owing not only to the irrational fantasy that we survive death, but also the visceral hatred that Christianity has for human life. I can lead a rich rewarding life, achieve the happiness of my choice, but since I chose happiness instead of a life of selfless service to an imaginary being that could have no use for anything I could ever offer it, my life is meaningless according to the believer. He sees no value in living life according to the virtue of rationality. That's because life according to the believer must be meaningless. It's a forgone conclusion.

[continued…]

June 20, 2014 12:35 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “It is just as futile as the leaves that Adam and Eve used to cover up their nakedness. And friends you are still naked and your shame is still evident to God.”

Unlike Christianity, Objectivism does not consider nakedness an expression of shame. On Christianity's premises, man's very existence is a source of guilt: man is essentially guilty because he exists. Functionally this is what Christian teaching about man amounts to; he has been judges guilty before he's even been born - that's how effective the Christian god is as a creator.

Objectivism holds that life is not only good, but the very standard of goodness. To live is good.

But Christianity holds that the good is possible only after man has been put to death. Christianity is in essence death-worship. On Christianity's terms, morality's fundamental purpose is to teach man to suffer and die. By contrast, the purpose of Objectivist ethics is to teach man to live and enjoy his own life, no matter who disapproves.

So we each have a choice: people who put their hope in suffering choose for their worldview a form of mysticism like Christianity. People who want to live and enjoy happy, personally fulfilling lives should choose Objectivism.

You wrote: “Let him atone for you and cover up your nakedness with the righteousness of His Son.”

How would one be able to do this without using his imagination?

[continued…]

June 20, 2014 12:36 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You wrote: “Apart from Christ your tenants of objectivism, Reality, Reason, Self-Interest, and Capitalism will not be and are not sufficient justification for your sin, you will perish under the fruit of your own belief.”

So, abandon reality, reason, self-interest and capitalism if you don’t want to perish. But wait a minute, if I abandon selfishness, then I will be indifferent to whatever happens to me. If I choose something because I don’t want to perish, how am I not choosing something on behalf of my selfish interests? Christianity requires that men sacrifice themselves. But that is one thing that certainly leads to perishing. This is precisely what the gospel portrait of Jesus illustrates. This is what the legends of the disciples all depict. “To die is gain,” wrote Paul the Apostle. Those who seek their life, shall lose it, wrote the evangelists (who stuck these words into Jesus’ mouth). If I avoid something because I don’t want to perish, then I’m seeking my life. It’s an Orwellian nightmare, this Christianity. Nothing is what it claims to be, but quite the opposite.

You wrote: “Because the end result is just that, ‘nothing’."

Again, if death is your standard, then you’ve already rigged all outcomes precisely for this. That is what you get, because that’s the only thing you’ll accept. Meanwhile, I go on leading a happy and fulfilling life, and will enjoy it so long as I live, even if Christians disapprove. You just have to accept this fact, Christian James. There’s nothing you can do about it.

You wrote: “The atheist will know what it truly is to be without God and that my friends is the nature of Hell.”

I already have a life without “God.” If this is what existence is like without the Christian god, “Hell” couldn’t be a better!

You wrote: “But peep this, the free gift of God is eternal life and that found in his Son.”

If I’m expected to sacrifice anything, then it’s certainly not a “free gift.” Especially if I’m expected to sacrifice my mind, my character, my loved ones, my family, my friends, my very life. How is that “free”? Again, it’s just more utterly dishonest packaging. And those out peddling this bullshit don’t even practice what they preach! It’s always “Yes, it’s called sin. I’m weak. But God is working!” Again, Christian James, wake up before you’ve wasted any more of your life with this stuff.

You wrote: “If my worldview is true then that necessitates that the most loving thing I can do is tell you where safety is, because you are not safe right now. You are in danger.”

Well, as Christians always say, their god has to do the saving. It’s all in your god’s hands. Your god is calling all the shots according to your worldview. You act as though I’m doing something on purpose. But according to what Christianity teaches, the Christian god controls everything that happens. On Christianity’s premises, if I’m in danger, then I’m in danger precisely because the Christian god wants me in danger. It does no good to “warn” me, because I can’t do anything about it – I have no control. How can I control anything when “God controls whatsoever comes to pass”?

Regards,
Dawson

June 20, 2014 12:36 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello friends. I've little time and much reading to catch up.

Christian James wrote: “Considering your miss-use of the text based on all of your hours with us this is sad.”

This seems to imply his belief that one requires a magic hermeneutic to understand the Bible. This is false and a repudiation of the Protestant Reformation. CJ is making himself his own Pope. In fact Luke 14:26 and 33 are in the context of a direct overt command to hate one's family and surrender all of one's possessions. There are no qualifications listed in the text. CJ is a liar if he maintains that Luke 14:26 and 14:33 do not impose what it obviously says upon believers as a condition of discipleship.

My question to Christian James is why does he not obey Luke 14:26 and 33?

Very Good Blogs Dawson. Many Thanks.

June 26, 2014 12:54 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Robert

I suspect Christian James is yet another example of drive by apologetics that we have become all to familiar with around here. I doubt he will return.

June 28, 2014 5:21 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Justin and friends. Thanks for all the great comments and observations.

Christian James is gone. There are many like him, so no worries. A good time will be had by all soon enough.

Best Wishes for a Happy Forth of July.

Cheers.

July 02, 2014 10:49 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Dawson

this might interest you, recently in a discussion with a friend of my who is a Calvinist and a presupper he massaged me with this.

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I replied at length which I will put in a second comment

July 03, 2014 6:53 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

I really don't think POE (primary argument from evil) is a good argument for atheists to use, frankly I think it is weak and so don't really use it. All the evil we see in the world which varies depending on the meaning we attach to evil could simply be reflecting the fact that the universe was created by an evil god. What if god is evil? what then mister smarty pants atheist? Yeah so you wont be hearing me make this argument that Lewis is trying to counter.

Now the far more interesting thing is the second part of what you said. This implication that fairness has a yard stick we can compare the the concept fairness against. I don't consider such things as natural disasters, disease and the such to be a matter of fairness. The universe is not personally out to get you nor are we entitled to a perfectly comfortable life. What the universe is on the other hand is uncompromisingly indifferent to our wishes, hopes, fears and such. The man that has just be told he has cancer and rails against reality exclaiming that it is not fair is taking personal that which is not. He is projecting human consciousness and human interactions onto reality where they really don't apply. There is no consciousness in back of everything, we don't live in a metaphysically subjective reality. The universe is not evil or good, it simply is, it is amoral, not immoral.

fairness actually is an ethical principle that only comes into relevance within the realm of politics, human on human interaction and it is not so clear cut and simple as it might first appear. Take for example the time during which women did not have the vote. To some this is considered unfair. However if the man and only the man has a legal requirement to register for the draft is it then unfair? If the man and only the man in a marriage bares sole financial responsibility for both himself and his wife but she bares no such return responsibility as was the case earlier last century then is it still unfair to restrict the vote to men?

The point I am making is that fairness is at heart a political concept and is about equitable outcomes when all other things are equal. If two people are doing the same amount of work and all other considerations are equal paying one more then the other is unfair. It is an arbitrary reward to one particular individual for no reason. We don't need to be told this or have some most high authority spell this out for us. We can assess the objective facts of the matter. It is an objective fact that two people are doing the same amount of work and it is an objective fact that one is being payed more then other other. I mean really do we need this spelled out for us, it does not take that much cognitive power to figure it out.

Experiments have been done with both chimpanzees and dogs where two of each was tasked with a certain task but only one was rewarded for successfully completing it. The result which should come as no surprise is the unrewarded chimp or dog got mad, threw a fit. Are you saying that chimps and dogs are smarter then man, that we need an imaginary consciousness to spell this out for us by lower order animals with their limited cogitative ability can?

I get my standard of fairness from the objective facts of existence and this is why I claim to have an objective moral system. I do not accept the arbitrary commandments of a consciousness real or imagined as the final arbiter of what is fair or not. That would be subjective and hence a subjective moral system like what Christianity has.

July 03, 2014 6:54 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

oops, need to correct a sentence to read "Are you saying that chimps and dogs are smarter then man, that we need an imaginary consciousness to spell this out for us while lower order animals with their limited cogitative ability can?"

July 03, 2014 7:12 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

for everyone that reads this blog, the following video is both funny and informative.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODetOE6cbbc

good atheist philosophy conveyed with humor

July 03, 2014 9:01 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Dawson. I hope you're well and getting on lovely. You've not posted for several weeks. Will you post a new blog soon? Your readers look forward to your next installment.

Best and Good

Robert Bumbalough

July 15, 2014 10:09 AM  

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