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The Argument from Contingency

It just occurred to me that earlier, after Sarah did not adequately respond to Brett’s objection to my Cosmological Argument, that I got too caught up in correcting Sarah to answer Brett.  Effectively, neither of us stood up to his objection, and I will admit, I misunderstood it.

Until now!

Brett wrote:

“If the universe never had a cause for its existence, if it never began to exist, but it exists now, then it is infinite. Given infinite time, every possibility is allowed to be actualized, including the possibility for everything to cease to exist. ”

Please explain how that same argument doesn’t apply to the “eternal cause” of the universe.”

Now, Sarah replied to this objection in a non-sensical way, and I got too caught up in all the non-sense to actually read Brett’s words for myself. The answer to his objection lies in God’s being the necessary being. This is a feature of both Plantinga’s Modal Ontological Argument, and more relevantly the Argument from Contingency.  Dr. Peter Kreeft, of Boston College, sums up the Contingency Argument here:

Why must there be a first cause? Because if there isn’t, then the whole universe is unexplained, and we have violated our Principle of Sufficient Reason for everything. If there is no first cause, each particular thing in the universe is explained in the short run, or proximately, by some other thing, but nothing is explained in the long run, or ultimately, and the universe as a whole is not explained. Everyone and everything says in turn, “Don’t look to me for the final explanation. I’m just an instrument. Something else caused me.” If that’s all there is, then we have an endless passing of the buck. God is the one who says, “The buck stops here.”If there is no first cause, then the universe is like a great chain with many links; each link is held up by the link above it, but the whole chain is held up by nothing. If there is no first cause, then the universe is like a railroad train moving without an engine. Each car’s motion is explained proximately by the motion of the car in front of it: the caboose moves because the boxcar pulls it, the boxcar moves because the cattle car pulls it, et cetera. But there is no engine to pull the first car and the whole train. That would be impossible, of course. But that is what the universe is like if there is no first cause: impossible.Here is one more analogy. Suppose I tell you there is a book that explains everything you want explained. You want that book very much. You ask me whether I have it. I say no, I have to get it from my wife. Does she have it? No, she has to get it from a neighbor. Does he have it? No, he has to get it from his teacher, who has to get it. . . et cetera, etcetera, ad infinitum. No one actually has the book. In that case, you will never get it. However long or short the chain of book borrowers may be, you will get the book only if someone actually has it and does not have to borrow it. Well, existence is like that book. Existence is handed down the chain of causes, from cause to effect. If there is no first cause, no being who is eternal and self-sufficient, no being who has existence by his own nature and does not have to borrow it from someone else, then the gift of existence can never be passed down the chain to others, and no one will ever get it. But we did get it. We exist. We got the gift of existence from our causes, down the chain, and so did every actual being in the universe, from atoms to archangels. Therefore there must be a first cause of existence, a God.

 

If there is no independent being, then the whole chain of dependent beings is dependent on nothing and could not exist. 

 

In more abstract philosophical language, the proof goes this way. Every being that exists either exists by itself, by its own essence or nature, or it does not exist by itself. If it exists by its own essence, then it exists necessarily and eternally, and explains itself. It cannot not exist, as a triangle cannot not have three sides. If, on the other hand, a being exists but not by its own essence, then it needs a cause, a reason outside itself for its existence. Because it does not explain itself, something else must explain it. Beings whose essence does not contain the reason for their existence, beings that need causes, are called contingent, or dependent, beings. A being whose essence is to exist is called a necessary being. The universe contains only contingent beings. God would be the only necessary being—if God existed. Does he? Does a necessary being exist? Here is the proof that it does. Dependent beings cannot cause themselves. They are dependent on their causes. If there is no independent being, then the whole chain of dependent beings is dependent on nothing and could not exist. But they do exist. Therefore there is an independent being. His line of argument leads one to see that, if anything exists at all, there must exist some thing for which non-existence is impossible.  This is called a necessary being, and in both the Contingency Argument and the Modal Ontological Argument, this being is called God.

So the possibility of not existing that I applied to the universe in my original post on the Cosmological Argument does not necessarily apply here for the reason that it only applies to contingent things.  More importantly, and more certainly, my quote that Brett used only applies to material things.  A computer has the possibility of not existing precisely because it can be smashed or burned or taken apart or recycled into soda cans.  All of these things destroy the computer not in the sense that its atoms go out of existence, but in the sense that its computer-ness is taken away, producing something which is not a computer.  The same thing goes for all material things, like trees, Democrats, and razorblades, etc…

Brett, I hope that answers your objection

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Privatio Boni: What is the Substance of Evil?

Below is a Facebook Chat conversation that I had today with Andrew.  It’s really very interesting, and should be worthwhile to read. 

7:16pmAndrewAndrew 

but are there other more successful arguments out there that reveal more about God’s intentions? I mean, all the arguments I know only give me good reason to believe in God, not to believe that he is all loving or merciful. How do I know he isn’t pure evil?

7:16pmAndrew

nevermind, for some reason I always get into a discussion about philsophy or politics when I talk to you lol

It is really strange

7:17pmPayton

haha, yeah

I don’t know about omnibenevolence

that’s a very tricky one to think about

as a matter of fact, I should stop using the owrd

word

you’re familiar with the Moral Arguments?

7:18pmAndrew

the axiological argument? yes

7:19pmPayton

exactly, I think they may be construed to support God being “all good” (questionable term…)

but only if we combine them with the concept of <i>privatio boni<i/>

italics FAIL

put it into wikipedia

privatio boni

It’s a short article that would take too long to explain

it’s one of the solutions to the problem of evil

7:20pmAndrew

cool, thx

7:21pmPayton

tell me when you’re done reading it, it’s really interesting

7:21pmAndrew

k

7:23pmAndrew

its an interesting way of looking at things

7:23pmPayton

yes it is

I would believe it

that evil is insubstantial

and is, like a shadow, dependent on the good

remember when you asked me about God conserving creation?

and whether this meant He was conserving evil?

7:24pmAndrew

yes

7:25pmPayton

Let’s look at it this way:

even if God had created the universe with evil in it, he would not have created evil

if I pour an amount of water into a glass, am I creating both water, and also emptiness?

7:25pmAndrew

of course not

7:26pmPayton

If I fill the glass halfway, I have obviosly not added half water, and half emptiness to acheive this

and if I conserve it thus, I am not conserving the emptiness, only the water

so God is not conserving evil

7:28pmPayton

indeed, when speaking of creation, the evil is precisely NOT created! lol

that would be its definition

7:31pmAndrew

what do mean by not creating evil?

do you mean evil does not exist?

7:32pmPayton

well, emptiness is the absence of the water. similarly, evil is the absence of good

“privatio boni”

7:34pmAndrew

then we can never truly call a person evil, only their individual actions. For I don’t think a person can be absent of good

7:35pmPayton

I was about to say, “yes, evil would be always extrinsic”. But is that true? Can there be no intrinsic evil?

like intrinsic value? (aka, good)

7:36pmAndrew

Well, if there is intrinisc good, it seems that there would have to be intrinsic evil. For how can we know what intrinsic good is if we have nothing to compare it to?

7:36pmPayton

for example, money has extrinsic value. it’s value lies outside of itself, becuase it is only paper

7:36pmAndrew

what is pure good without pure evil

7:37pmPayton

what does “pure” mean?

Fill the cup halfway with water. is the water only half pure?

surely not

is the emptiness only half pure?

7:38pmAndrew

so what coclusion can we make about intrinsic evil?

7:38pmPayton

well, I’m still thinking about it

I think the evil is not a thing in itself, certainly. But does this prevent it from having intrinsic value?

7:39pmAndrew

I mean, how can we know what is intrinsically good if we have no knowledge of its opposite: that which is intriniscally evil?

7:39pmPayton

the use of the word intrinsic is the key here

I would say “good in its own right”

rather than “good FOR …”

7:40pmAndrew

right, its goodness is not dependent upon anything but itself

7:40pmPayton

well I’m sure that’s saying a bit too much, but yeah, basically

7:41pmAndrew

but how can we make such a conclusion? Wouldn’t knowing what is good in itself presuppose that we have knowledge of what isn’t good in itself?

7:42pmPayton

yes, I think so

it would not presuppose it, mind you. it would IMPLY it

7:43pmAndrew

I am working on the terminology, give me a break lol

7:43pmPayton

haha, yeah

7:43pmAndrew

anyway, I think we can conclude there is intrinic evil if there is intrinsic good

7:43pmPayton

I think “things” would be analogous to the cups with water we discussed earlier

those things which are intrinsically good are cups with any amount of water, and those extrinsically good have the capability of containing water

an intrinsically evil thing would be the absence of a cup entirely

so an intrinsically evil thing is a non-thing

so I don’t think there is intrinsic evil

much less extrinsic evil

but then again, am empty cup cannot be extrinsically good

it is only extrinsically valuable, since it could go both ways. It has the capability of containing water, and also the capability of not existing, or breaking

7:48pmPayton

so let’s amend our analogy. Intrinsic evil is a broken cup, and there is no extrinsic good or evil, since extrinsicness can bring about either

so we say extrinsic “value”, being neutral

or an empty cup

which can break or be filled

but a full cup can also break!

so we might say that even that which is intrinsically good, has the capability of being emptied, or broken as is

7:49pmAndrew

so if God is intrinsically good, can be emptied?

7:50pmPayton
 

I wouldn’t say He is intrinsically good

I would say that He is the mark of what is good

that things are good insofar as they resemble Him

He is not a cup with water, He IS the water

7:51pmAndrew

but if the cup shatters, what happens to God?

7:51pmPayton

He is still there, I suppose

the cup is breakable, but for the purposes of our analogy, I don’t think we should think the same of the water

for when the cup breaks, the water does not also break. It is merely spilled, and cannot really be lost

7:53pmAndrew

unless it lands in a black hole…

7:54pmPayton

LOL

7:54pmAndrew

lmao

7:55pmPayton

yeah, but this was a cool discussion

you know, I think I’ll post it on High-School Apologetics, if you don’t mind, lol

7:56pmAndrew

no problem

If you ever update it lol

 

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Sarah’s Confusing Post

Sarah recently responded to a question posted by a man named Brett on the Cosmological Argument.

“God, or the “eternal cause”, is eternal in time, and infinite in space. Thus He (or it) is infinitely larger than the universe, but is unchanged by the passing of time.” : Sarah

confused-full1I really don’t understand what it is she is trying to say here, and I just wanted to post this in order to distance myself from the inevitable fallout from Sarah’s post. I think it’s extremely confusing and deceptive, and takes up far too much space making unnecessary points, and even more making incorrect ones.

The beginning is good, though. I more or less agree that therein lies the answer to Brett’s question. I would normally take the time to personally dismantle any objections or answer questions, since I’m easily more philosophically capable than Sarah, (though she has me beat in some areas.)

To reconnect with the beginning of my post, I just want to point out what I thought was the most retarded thing Sarah said, which is quoted at the top of this page. Barring consideration of the corporeal Christ, God has no size. He does not occupy space, so I have no idea what Sarah means. Moreover, Sarah does not seem to understand that actual infinites such as she has described cannot exist. You cannot have one physical object which is infinitely larger than another physical object. That simply cannot be. (I will post on this topic later)

The distinction to be made is between actual infinites, potential infinites, and eternity. An actual infinite is a thing which is physically infinite as a measure, not as a property. An abyss would be a good example. Another good example would be a beginningless universe, or a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. A potential infinite can be characterized as something indefinite or potentially infinite. An example would be an endless universe. A universe which goes on forever does not happen all at once as one big infinitely long timeline with two ends. It would have one end (the beginning) and at no given point in it’s history could someone look back and say, “The universe is infinitely old”. No matter how far you go along the line, there is always a finite traversed-distance behind you.

I will post more later.

-Payton

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Kalam Cosmology and Agent-Causation

By far, one of the commonest sort of objections to the Cosmological Argument I see, is that the cause of the universe need not be God.  This is a big intellectual problem for some people.  As for me, I have a handful of arguments that tend to suggest that the famous “first-cause” simply has to be God.

You see, this sort of problem only comes about when we refuse to expand the Kalam Cosmological Argument and leave it hanging peculiarly at “Therefore, the universe has a cause for its existence”.   That’s a really vague sort of conclusion for an amazing argument which claims to demonstrate the existence of God, don’t you think?  Actually, that is the precise reason why I and many others abhor the thought of presenting the Kalam Cosmological Argument alone without any extrapolation or expansion.  William Lane Craig does exactly what I do with it, and expands it.  Unlike me, however, Dr Craig does not include his expansion in with the argument proper.  I add on a massive string of minor premises and subconclusions in order to arrive at a familiar sort of conclusion which more or less reads “Therefore, something exists which is so suspiciously similar to the Christian God as to make non-theism implausible.”

Here is the Expanded Cosmological Argument:

“1 Everything which begins to exist must have a cause for its existence.

1.2 The universe began to exist

1.3 Therefore the universe had a cause for its existence

2 The universe is primarily the expansion of time, space and matter

2.1 Therefore time, space and matter were caused.

3  An effect may be no greater than its proper cause

3.1  A thing may not cause itself to exist

3.2 Therefore the cause of the universe is eternal and immaterial.

4  If the cause of the universe was non-temporal, and the effect was temporal, then the cause of the universe was a free-agent.

4.1 The cause of the universe was non-temporal, and the effect was temporal.

4.2 Therefore the cause of the universe was a free-agent.

5 The difference between nonbeing “in reality” and being “in reality”, is an infinite difference

5.1 The difference between nonbeing “in the mind” and being “in the mind” is an infinite difference

5.2 The free-agent in question created something from nothing, and it follows that it conceived something from nothing

5.3 To create something from nothing is an infinite power, and to conceive something from nothing is an infinite act of conception or knowledge.

5.4 Therefore the cause of the universe is an eternal, transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent mind, which can properly be called God.”

Now, I’m no fool.  I knew that premises 4, 4.1, and 4.2 are absolutely crucial to the argument as they make the leap from a rather unknown cause to an agent-cause.  Indeed, they require a good bit of explanation on my part.  It is, however, my policy to not include any explanations or answers to objections to posts within the posts themselves.  I instead wait for people to object, and then answer their objections.  It saves me a lot of work.  It has recently come to my attention, through communications with a certain member of William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith Team, that the aforementioned permises may not be valid.  Very well then, I shall have to explain them.

First, imagine a glass of frozen water.  The cause of the water’s freezing can be said to be subzero temperatures, an entirely non-personal cause.  Important: Causally prior to the universe, there was no time.   If the subzero temperatures were in existence from eternity, or “atemporally”, then the frozen state of the water would have always been there.  Without time, the effect would have to coexist with the cause.  Where the temperature is below zero, the water is frozen.  When there is no freedom or choice involved, and also no time, but only objects and laws or sufficient conditions which act upon them or not, the cause exists in the same atemporal state as the effect. 

But that’s not how it is, is it?  We know for a fact that causally prior to the universe, there was an atemporal cause for the universe, and yet the universe does not exist in the same state of timeless-ness!  Here we have an instance of an atemporal cause giving rise to a temporal effect.  There are two types of causes for things: causes which are people, and causes which aren’t people.  An atemporal impersonal cause would have to coexist with its effect atemporally, yet we know that the atemporal cause of the universe does not coexist with its effect (the universe) atemporally.  Therefore, the atemporal cause in question could not be of the sort which aren’t people.  Therefore, the cause of the universe was a person.

 However there is a second way to formulate (4):  there are only two sorts of things which can exist immaterially and non-spatially:  abstract objects and minds.  An abstract object (as opposed to a concrete object) are things like numbers, natural laws, and facts.  They aren’t made of anything, and they can only reside in a mind, otherwise they don’t exist.  They are not like concrete objects, which are like stones, chemicals, and physical things.  Unlike concrete objects, which are capable of existing in causal relations, abstract objects are causally effete.  They cannot cause anything.

Minds, like abstract objects, exist immaterially and non-spatially.  They aren’t made of “stuff”, and they don’t really have a specific location.  Before I get blasted for making assumptions, I’m going to admit that I am indeed aware of the fact that I am operating under the assumption of dualism, the notion that one part of a person is their body, and the other part their mind or soul or what have you.  I will defend that position later, but not here.  For now, I will not defend, but rather accept for the sake of argument the notion that the mind is immaterial.  Now, even though the mind is immaterial, it is capable of existing in causal relations. 

Since the thing which was the cause of the universe was immaterial, it must have been either a mind or an abstract object, but since (being a cause) it was obviously capable of existing in causal relations (and by obviously, I mean most obviously…) it had to be a mind and not an abstract object.

The rest of my Expanded Kalam Cosmological Argument follows very convincingly and logically once the key premise that creation was an instance of agent-causation is accepted.  The above two arguments acheive the goal of demonstrating the validity of said premise, thus leading directly and clearly to the inevitable conclusion that the cause of the universe was an immaterial, eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent mind, which can be properly called God.

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Letter to ‘Answering Christianity’

Hello everybody!  Sarah here.  When I was gathering references for my article on the Trinity, I came across this little gem of a site: Answering Christianity.  Although I initially thought that it was a Christian site, it didn’t take long to find that no, it was run by a Palestinian Muslim named Osama Abdallah.  I was reading his arguments, and found his use of scripture so confusing, I had to write a Very Long Letter.  I apologize to you for the schizophrenic organization, and will be inserting notes, explanations, and links through out in italics.  If a response is received, I will post it here as well.

Dear Osama Abdallah,

My name is Sarah.  I’m a Christian, and I stumbled upon your site while looking for some information on the Trinity.  When I realized that your site was not an endorsement of Christian beliefs, I continued to surf around it, interested in what you had to say.  While I respect the effort you clearly put into this site, many of the Scriptural verses you site in support of your ideas shocked me in the mind-bogglinginaccuracy with which you used them.  I am going to simply go through a few sections of your website, and comment on any inaccuracies I see.  I hope you will respond to my claims- I’d like to know what you have to say.

 

On your page “The New Testament confirms that only Peter witnessed the crucifixion”

(http://www.answering-christianity.com/nt_confirms_apocalypse_of_peter.htm) you site verses from Matthew 26 in support of your statement.  The problem is, Jesus wasn’t crucified in Matthew 26.  He hadn’t even been tried yet!  In Matt 27:32-55, the crucifixion and death is outlined.  Nowhere is Peter mentioned.  The 3 women who later discovered the empty tomb are listed as being there, a man called Simon of Cyrene is there, but Peter wasn’t.  In fact, the verses you site are confusing, and don’t make sense in trying to prove your point.  After Jesus was captured, Peter was hiding for fear of being caught too, and denied knowing him.  This happened the night before Jesus’ trial.  I’m not sure how you thought that this was the crucifixion, but it isn’t.

 

Also on that page, you say that since the Gospel’s are narrated in the 3rd person, they are not very reliable.  Now, while it is true that modern scholarship places doubts on Matthew’s authorship of his Gospel, just because they were written in the 3rd person does not make them any less reliable!  The Gospel’s are basically a biography of Jesus.  They are not so much testimonies of what the disciples saw, as they are a record of what they said they saw.

 

Also (and I cannot stress this enough), John is a common name.  There are 2 important Johns in the NT- John the Baptist and John the Apostle.  They are not the same people.  John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin, and was beheaded by King Herod, and was the John whom you cite as an example of 3rd person narration.  This is not the case.  The man

who wrote the Gospel of John was John the Apostle, a disciple of Jesus.  We know that John wrote the Gospel which bore his name, because he is never mentioned by name in it (he is referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”), despite being prominent in the early church.  This would be hard to explain if he didn’t write it, but it makes sense if he did.  It also linguistically matches the other letters we have attributed to him.

He addresses this explanation later on on his website, but never adequetly explains this- he just shows some verses relating to John the Baptist and says that the Bible was written by Constatine in 300 AD.

 

I have an NIV study bible, with study notes, and your claim that it admits “that the Bible is corrupt and the original manuscripts had been lost” is not true.  Also, assuming your assertation is correct, and the NT was written by Constantine around 300 AD, what’s the point in quoting Jeremiah, a book written 900 years before then, to prove that it is corrupt?  Wouldn’t they both be corrupt and meaningless?  Jeremiah 8:8 is one of many references to the hypocrisy of those practising Jewish law, twisting the words of God around to suit their own purposes.  That’s why believe that redemption through Christ was necessary. 

 

The ‘fiction’ which carm.org references is the Apocrypha, the 14 books of what is essentially Jewish myth found in the Catholic Bible.  These books were rejected in the Reformation for not having enough historical fact in them to be included.
Referring to this page 

 

While we admit that, due to the fact that part of our book has been kicking around since 1446 BC, there has been a little percolation in the wording.  Even in the NT, whose earliest writings date from around 40-60 AD, have a few differences in the various copies.  This is partly do to the fact many of the copies had to be made from memory.  Christians were persecuted for about 300 years, and many early copies of the holy books were burned or otherwise destroyed during this time period.  However, in comparing the various copies to the other copies, what’s really amazing are how few ‘errors’ there are in the texts.  Almost without exception, the ‘errors’ people admit to are the addition or altering of a few words which do not change the overall meaning of a specific verse, and could be expected with a book being transmitted orally and translated back and forth from Aramaic to Greek for several hundred years.  The exception to which I speak are the last 11 verses of Mark and John 7:53-8:11, which do not appear in some of the earliest manuscripts.  That’s it.

Scroll down to section 8 to see the section this is talking about.

 

You also say that there are no hard claims in the Bible that Jesus is the creator.  I beg to differ.  In the very 1st chapter of John, verse 1:3, it says “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”  It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

This is not the exact page I was referencing here, but I couldn’t find it again.  It’s hard to navigate.  In my search for the right page, I found he discussed John 1 here and here.  Peruse them at your pleasure.

 

Also, as for the scandals concerning Christian ministers, we as Christians are deeply

ashamed of them and recognize our own Bible verse warning us of being taken in by false prophets, and those telling us that the devil’s followers will come disguised as righteous men as in 2 Cor 11:14-15.  But then we look at the other religions track records, and see they are just as shameful as we sometimes are.  Do we really want to get into whose

religious leaders are ‘more evil’?  Really?

Here is the page this refrences. It also fails statistics FOREVER, but I didn’t want to quibble the numbers…I probably should have.  I just couldn’t be bothered because by this point I was getting a bit burned out.

 

Now, when we say that the Gospel wasn’t recorded until 150-300 years after Jesus, what we mean is, the earliest copy of the whole book we are talking about cannot be found until 150-300 after Jesus’ life.  Remember the part where our religion was being persecuted within that timeline and many original documents were destroyed? 

 

Now, the reason why we don’t believe the ‘gnostic’ Gospels that you put so much faith in is because they 1) Don’t agree with each other, nor with the traditional Gospels 2) Frequently weren’t gospels, and were instead collections of sayings, and 3) Contained mythical elements not found in the other gospels.

Many of the articles on their website cite gnostic or uncanonical texts, or the banning of said documents, as evidence that the Bible (and therefore Christianity) is corrupt, incorrect, and just plain wrong.

 

In Hebrews 5:7, Jesus’ prayer to be delivered from death was granted in the form of the Resurrection.  How could he have been ‘made perfect’ if he did not first have to be re-made?

Here.  A nice read, if you have the time to stare at it in utter bewilderment.

 

In http://www.answering-christianity.com/authors_gospels.htm, under the heading The Book of Acts, you contradict yourself.  Either Peter witnessed the crucifixion or none of the disciples did- which is it?  Actually, you’re wrong on both counts- the apostle John saw the events, as detailed in John 19:26 (remember, since the apostle John wrote the Gospel of John, he is referred to as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’.  Why John chose this manner of referring to himself we can’t be sure of, but we can be sure that the saying refers to John.)

 

Jesus did not only bow down to God when he was desperate- he is seen many times in the Gospels going off by himself or with his disciples to pray, and giving thanks to God.

Here, about half way down.  Interestingly, does not address the fact that Jesus did teach his disciples to pray and humble themselves before God, often with physical symbols such as lowering their head, or beating their chest, nor does it establish what’s so important about formally bowing down.

 

Without getting into Isaiah 53 right now, since you have clearly heard that before, I’ll mention some other verses regarding the resurrection.  In Psalm 16:10, it is prophesied, “because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”  It was an ancient Jewish belief that a person’s soul only hung around there body for 3 days

after death; after that, they were really dead.  This is why Lazarus’ resurrection was so shocking to those who saw it- he had been dead for 4 days, and had begun to decay.

I’m not certain this was the page I originally read, but it seems close enough.

 

Reading your section on the Gospel of John, I realize that there is nothing more I can really add to this except for the fact that the John in the verses you quote IS NOT John the Apostle, the apostle of Jesus, but John the Baptist.  That is a really important fact.  Your entire argument falls apart because of it.  Even a child with only the most rudimentary of Christian theology could tell you your argument is completely flawed.
As of this writing, the link to this section is broken.

 

The word gospel does not simply mean a book in the Bible- it means ‘good news’ and refers to a specific style of book in the Bible.  The “Gospel of 1 John” is NOT a Gospel, but a letter, written by the apostle John to the early church.  We assume that John wrote the letter because the style matches that of the Gospel of John, both in language and in

theology.  We also have to trust tradition a bit more then you do because our religion is 1)600 years older then yours and 2)Many of our early documents were destroyed, so the memories of the early church members supply some of the details such as authorship.

 

The Apocalypse of Peter could not have been written by the actual apostle Peter, because in Chapter 3 it references the “4 Esdras”, which was written at about 100 AD.

 

In 1 Corinthians 7:10-15, what Paul means is that since divorce is expressly forbidden by Jesus, if one partner in a marriage converts, and the other doesn’t, they still must remain married.  Since they are still married, even if the wife doesn’t believe herself, she will still participate, to a certain extent, in her husband’s sanctification, and thus become, to a certain extent, sanctified herself.  The same logic applies to their children.  And, as verse 16 outlines, since you can’t know when some one will be saved, you can do the best good in trying to save your spouse by remaining married and being a light to them, showing them the value of salvation, after which, if they convert, they will be fully sanctified as well.

This page.

 

Paul’s letters WERE NOT direct revelations from God Almight in their entirety- that is NOT what inspired means.  They were communications with the early church, and written sermons extrapolating some of the finer details of Christian life which Jesus had not hammered out during his 3 year ministry.  It is not surprising he would tell the leaders and members of the church certain favors he might need of them, or to tell them who he was

sending to see them.  He was evangelizing from Arabia, through Asia Minor and what is now Turkey, all the way to Italy.  He was one of THE driving forces behind the early church’s spread, and it is partly because he was able to get people (such as Mark) to come help evangelize with him.  He had a remarkable network of contacts, and new how to get the job done.  So, while the theological portions of Paul’s letters are especially inspired by God, there are parts which, while also valuable and inspired by God, are also Paul “doing his job”, and calling in favors of church members. 

He has alot of pages on Paul being an uninspired conman, but this is the one that I reference here.

 

Now, you will point to this being a contradiction of 2 Tim 3:16- it isn’t.  The Scripture referred to in this passage is primarily the OT, since portions of the NT had yet to be written.  What the point of that passage is, is that you can’t just pick and chose parts of the OT as inspired, and leave behind the minor prophets as crack pots, for example.  And

although there may be nothing theologically significant in Paul asking for someone to find his cloak for him, it was still the will of God that this happen, and he was still doing and writing things in the spirit of God.  You could consider Paul’s asides useful in teaching about obedience, or even just about the history of the early church.  Therefore, 2 Tim 3:16 is not contradicted by Paul’s little non-theogical requests.

Mr. Abdullah talks about 2 Tim 3:16 here, which is why I specifically brought it up.

 

Jesus himself preached to the sinners and gentiles, and called them more righteous then the hypocritical Pharisees and Jews, who kept the letter of God’s laws but did not keep the spirit.  It is established throughout the Gospels that Jesus came “first to the Jew”, and then to the gentile, so that everyone could worship the same God who ruled over them.

I apologize profusely, but I can’t quite remember nor find the page which I am referencing here.  It was basically saying that Paul was a hypocrite for preaching to sinners by taking a Jesus quote out of context.  Again, I’m sorry I can’t find the exact reference.

 

I know I have only covered a fraction of the writings on your website, but I don’t want to take up too much space.  I apologize for the slightly schizophrenic topic jumps through out this letter- I was writing rebuttals as I read and navigated through the materials on your site.  I’ll write a longer letter regarding the Trinity later- this was just about your use of Scripture.  If you don’t know the difference between John the Baptist and John the Apostle (I’m sorry, but that was what bothered me so much it prompted me to write this letter) no Christian will ever listen to a word you have to say.

 

Sincerly yours,
Sarah

 

I’ll keep you updated on any responses to this letter.  Until then!

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Original Sin

What is original sin?  While to many Christians this may seem an obvious statement, it is a concept not held in most other religions.  It is not found in Judaism, our ‘mother’ religion, or Islam, our younger cousin, nor in any other main stream religion.  It is based off teachings from Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corintians 15:22.  It is the tenet that, since Adam sinned, and we are his offspring, we inherited this same propensity to sin.  The first place to look, in examaning this issue, is the original sin itself.  Some have ridiculed it- “What?  Why would ‘god’ condemn people to death for eating a piece of fruit?”  What the Bible actually says, in Genesis 2:17, is “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”  Is this a condemnation, or a warning?  It is quite popular among atheists nowadays (and indeed, thenadays as well) to construe this as God attacking humans quest for knowledge.  To them, the original sin is an intellectual sin.  This isn’t so.  This tree’s name is rather misleading, for until Adam and Eve ate of it, evil existed in only two sources; God’s mind and Satan’s rebellion.  Everything God created on Earth was good, including Adam and Eve.  There was no evil to know, until they committed it.  The immediate consequence of their sin was shame- the lasting consequence was death.  The reason for this is, that if one is in perfect accordance with God’s will, one is perfect and cannot, therefore, die.  But since children learn from their parents, and traits are passed down to them, they were raised up in sin, and taught their own children to sin, and so on, and so on.  In this way is the Original Sin of Adam still felt to this day.

-Sarah

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Not-So-Average Joe

Just in time for the holiday season! Now, this isn’t a strictly apologetic type post like we make a habit of doing. This is just a short post about the earthly father of Christ, good ol’ St. Joe.

I think that, for all that Mary deserves the attention, it’s really rather unfair that Joseph get’s third wheel in the Holy Family. For all the tribulations her pregnancy brought her, they also fell on Joseph. It would have been perfectly acceptable, in fact, expected of him to have divorced her, as he was planning to. It was actually within his rights to have her stoned, or made an example of, but Joseph was a good, but reasonably very embarrased man who decided to just deal with the matter quietly. When he heeded the angel’s commandment not to divorce Mary, it was no small thing he did. When he accepted Jesus as his own son, he also took the perceived sin of his conception upon him. After all, children normally don’t just pop up out of wedlock! It is exceedingly admirable that he went to such lengths to protect his young bride and her child.

That’s what Christmas is celebrating. Not pagan frivolities, nor that stupid “spirit of giving” stuff spooned to us as a justification to buy gifts for each other. Not that I, or anyone else on this blog, are against these things, but we shouldn’t let them eclipse the real reason we are celebrating. It is about two people, a teenaged girl and her older fiancee, who had to make difficult decisions for God. Mary could’ve said “No. Don’t do this to me.” Joseph could’ve divorced her. But they, in a foreshadowing of Jesus’ redemptive death on the cross, took a sin they did not commit upon themselves, so that God’s Grace could be delivered to the world.

Merry Christmas
Sarah

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