Wednesday, January 16, 2019

 



Please go to METACHRISTIANITY.COM which is our primary site for 450++ Christian resources under the “Topics” menu tab.


Twitter:  https://twitter.com/M_Christianity   
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/MetaChristianity 
Blogger:  https://metachristianity.blogspot.com
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/metachristianity 
Reddit:  https://www.reddit.com/user/MetaChristianity
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC4M50QQjf1tRMoSukXgo6Q


 (...comments from multiple blogs and threads...) 








Tuesday, January 15, 2019

PSR & Reason & Mind Trading On Non-Being In Exchange For Being


PSR & Reason & Mind Trading On Non-Being In Exchange For Being  That is located at https://metachristianity.com/psr-reason-mind-trading-on-non-being-in-exchange-for-being/

PSR And The Necessary Conservation of The Ontic-Epistemic Singularity



In conjunction with the post "PSR & Reason & Mind Trading On Non-Being In Exchange For Being" at https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2019/01/psr-reason-mind-trading-on-non-being-in.html we observe that it is often quite valuable to chase after Reason and Love rather than God "per-se" and find whatever may come our way. And it is reasonable, in these sorts of formats, to press our own and other's premises at their ends or margins. The race to first principles can be mistaken for a race to epistemology. That is why we can say something quite bold here:

The epistemology or the how-we-know with respect to the First Person Experience of i-am is a non-question.

It cannot be answered unless and until one presses one's own i-am to whatever end or terminus one wishes. It is often said that the Christian moves from Scripture and Presupposition outward into the world of Trees and Rocks and Cosmos. That statement obviously ignores Natural Theology but it also ignores Logic & Love, or we can say Reason & Reciprocity as such contours, like Cosmos, lead one to only two possible termini (....as per http://disq.us/p/208ss3a ....).

Some allude to the perfection of being v. belief and behavior and more. In the end such is Unity, or Singularity, as the perfection of love necessarily entails the perfection of reason, which itself necessarily entails the perfection of consciousness, which is the perfection of being. That is the elephant in the room which all epistemology avoids and another way to say it is this:
Metaphysical Naturalism houses the Necessary Conservation of [No-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature].
All epistemology ends in a race outward in a mass-exit out of one's mind.

Literally.

Hence epistemology with respect to i-am is fine in theory, and even fun, but it has no full-on reply or answer until one presses outward to one's terminus.

At some point the Non-Theist's claim that his own paradigm's Conservation of [No-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature] is both Necessary and Rational must be faced on Non-Theism's own terms. If our Non-Theist friends are at bottom reading the Map correctly, well then Reductio v. "i-am-non-being" in all vectors. The attempt to trade on non-being in exchange for being vis-à-vis Intentionality vis-à-vis Mind is an attempt which collapses to absurdity.

There are times when it is valuable with respect to light to take S. Harris and Rosenberg and S. Carroll and so on at Non-Theism's proverbial word and GRANT them their "....illusory mind...." vis-à-vis GRANTING them that pesky but Necessary Conservation of [No-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature].

Lens Zoomed In vs. Lens Zoomed Out

The analytic of various lenses is far more nuanced and begins at "A" and then methodically makes its way to "Z", whereas, the lens here is by design different and picks up the Map somewhere around "XWYZ" vis-à-vis the Explanatory End or the Explanatory Terminus of the only two possibilities found in the traversal of all possible worlds:

Non-Theism: The Necessary Conservation of [No-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature].

Theism: The Necessary Conservation of [The-Great-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature].

For example, JSS had quoted another:
“….There is nothing simpler to think I am, I exist, this blade of grass exists; this gesture of the hand, this captivating smile that the next instant will hurry away, exists…the world exists…”
While that is true, it is far more than our “XWYZ” and as such fits nicely in that Lens Zoomed Out or that more robust “A Through Z” treatment of the Epistemic/Ontic singularity. Whereas, should we shift our lens to that of the Explanatory End or the Explanatory Terminus of the only two possibilities found in the traversal of all possible worlds we would say something like this:
“Well hold on now. This blade of grass exists? That may or may not be true. And we cannot know if it is Ontic or True unless or until we break open what came before it, namely that bit about “…nothing simpler to think that I am…”……”
At that point then we pick up the thread with items like PSR & Reason & Mind Trading On Non-Being In Exchange For Being at https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2019/01/psr-reason-mind-trading-on-non-being-in.html

Another example of what all of that “looks like” in this proverbial race to the End of All Possible Worlds comes in two parts. The first part is a quote of E. Feser:
“The universe, however physics and scientific cosmology end up describing it –  even if it turned out to be a universe without a temporal beginning, even if it is a four-dimensional block universe, even if Hawking’s closed universe model turned out to be correct, even if we should really think in terms of a multiverse rather than a single universe – will, the Aristotelian argues, necessarily exhibit just these features (potentialities needing actualization, composition, contingency, etc.). And thus it will, as a matter of metaphysical necessity, require a cause outside it. And only that which is pure actuality devoid of potentiality, only what is utterly simple or non-composite, only something whose essence or nature just is existence itself, only what is therefore in no way contingent but utterly necessary – only that, the classical theist maintains, could in principle be the ultimate terminus of explanation, whatever the specific scientific details turn out to be.” (E. Feser) (…from http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/07/carroll-on-laws-and-causation.html ...)
The second part is the observation that regarding the topic at hand vis-à-vis the landscape of all things i-am in and around and beyond all things Adamic and/or Edenic and so on in all vectors, our ultimate terminus of explanation, whatever the specific scientific details turn out to be, finds only two options in a universe such as ours and in fact in all possible universes/realities:
Option A: It is a Universe void of inherent intentionality, it is a Universe void of inherent design, it is a Universe void of final causes, it is a Universe soaked through in all vectors with the Necessary Conservation of [No-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature] up and down all ontic-lines (and therefore all final epistemic lines).
Option B: It is a Universe constituted of, soaked through with, Cosmic Intentionality even as it is a Universe soaked through with Final Causes, even as it is a Universe soaked through with the Necessary Conservation of [The-Great-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature] up and down all ontic-lines (and therefore all final epistemic lines).
Option A just is Non-Theism and in all Possible Worlds reveals a Totality of deflationary truth value vis-à-vis all Syntax for therein our sightline does not reach a Horizon of the Unknown “past the end of the Known” (so to speak) but rather therein it is the case that there is No Horizon for there is No Sightline for there is No Sight for there is no i-am for there is [No-I-AM] even as there is in all vectors the Necessary Conservation of [No-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature].

Option B just is Theism and in all Possible Worlds reveals a Totality of In-Principle truth value vis-à-vis all Syntax for therein our sightline does not shatter in an Abyss of Non-Theism’s Reductio but instead it arrives at the syntax of Negative-Theology vis-à-vis a Horizon of the Unknown “past the end of the Known” (so to speak) as it lands in what is in all vectors an actual/ontic Sightline even as there is in all vectors Sight even as there is in all vectors the i-am even as there is in all vectors the Necessary Conservation of [The-Great-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature].

Added Context


Freedom, Illusion, Emergence, & Necessity – at http://disq.us/p/1w4ue31

Sean Carroll, Downward Causation, Churchland, Rosenberg, E. Feser, Mad-Dogs, Kripke, Ross, Freedom, & the Mind/Self – at http://disq.us/p/1zyhrnw

THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF NATURAL NECESSITY — by David Oderberg — a chapter in "Ontology, Modality, and Mind" (Edited by Carruth, Gibb, and Heil) at https://www.amazon.com/Ontology-Modality-Mind-Themes-Metaphysics-ebook/dp/B07J128YN4/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1 and also at https://global.oup.com/academic/product/ontology-modality-and-mind-9780198796299?cc=us&lang=en&

Closure Displacing Circularity – at http://disq.us/p/1zfedy9

Reason Itself: The Parasite Upon Irrational Physical Events & The Colony of Memes In the Ecology of Cerebral Cortices – at http://disq.us/p/1z5cvf9

The Fallacy of Presupposition – The Necessary & Sufficient void of Presupposition – part a. at http://disq.us/p/205svk9 and part b. at http://disq.us/p/205a6i1 and part c. at http://disq.us/p/205c53m and part d. at http://disq.us/p/205slys

What Does It Mean To Say Proofs Of God? – at http://disq.us/p/1w3dmo7

PSR & Reason & Mind Trading On Non-Being In Exchange For Being (this comment) – at http://disq.us/p/208ss3a

The Quad of....
Reason Itself as Being Itself
Wellspring as Terminus
Closure Displacing Circularity
Reductio ad Absurdum
....via the content in the following links:

a. http://disq.us/p/20dfp9t
b. http://disq.us/p/20ax8h7
c. http://disq.us/p/20b83c4
d. http://disq.us/p/20bjkwl
e. http://disq.us/p/20bqdih
f. http://disq.us/p/20cjajj
g. http://disq.us/p/20cxuzh

PSR & Reason & Mind Trading On Non-Being In Exchange For Being – at http://disq.us/p/208ss3a and also at https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2019/01/psr-reason-mind-trading-on-non-being-in.html

PSR And The Necessary Conservation of The Ontic-Epistemic Singularity – at http://disq.us/p/20a9ft7 and also at https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2019/01/psr-and-necessary-conservation-of-ontic.html

END

Faith, Evidence, Hebrews 11, Trusting Knowns, Navigating Unknowns, and Faith “vs” Works




Faith & Evidence
Faith & Hebrews 11
Faith & Trusting Knowns While Navigating Unknowns
Faith & The Doxastic Experience

Faith “vs” Works
Faith “and” Works

Faith & God Of The Gaps
Faith vs. Probability
Faith vs. Fine Tuning
Faith & The Christian Metaphysic

This is a series of comments (with minor edits) from the threads and/or locations listed below. The comments are not always in the order in which they appear in the threads, which is intentional in order to juxtapose somewhat overlapping comments which are (at times) from different discussions. Most of the comments are from discussions and so the semantics of “we” and “you” and so on are apropos given the copy/paste. The assigned # of the comments here applies only to this list and does not match the number of the comment in its original thread or location.  The items here are “for the most part” related to the titles above, though, of course there will be segues into and out of other topics.  The items are from approximately 50 comments and/or threads. The following two threads have obvious relevance, and, the remaining 50 or so links are listed at the end of this post.


Atheists and Evidence, by T. Gilson at https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2018/04/atheists-and-evidence

Why Hebrews 11:1 Doesn’t Mean Faith Is Without Evidence, by T. Gilson at https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2018/04/hebrews-11-1-faith-evidence


1st of 4 Primers:

“…if I believed about God what the atheist believes about God, I wouldn’t believe in God either. So to be induced to somehow change my mind about belief in God…. I would have to accept the atheist’s misunderstanding of what God is…” (Jenna Black)

2nd of 4 Primers:

Too often these discussions end up with our Non-Theist friends doing the “equivalent” of, say, denying the reality of gravity on the grounds that disagreement about G exists. But we all share in, live in, move in, and find our very being morphed by, Gravity — segue — the universal and necessary transcendentals one must expunge in order to remain within Non-Theism and opine about “disagreement” are in the end far too costly.

3rd of 4 Primers:

Our Non-Theist (A-Theist) friends claim that the Christians does not 1. Define God nor 2. Give evidence for God. A quick reply via one of the comments as the third primer:
“….defining God, giving evidence for God, you’ve never really done either…”
You’ve been given both definitions and evidences. Here’s both: Reason

To be more accurate, we can say “Reason Itself” in the sense of mirroring the “classical theism” phrase of, “Being Itself”.
"Classical theism is the conception of God that has prevailed historically within Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Western philosophical theism generally. Its religious roots are biblical, and its philosophical roots are to be found in the Neoplatonic and Aristotelian traditions. Among philosophers it is represented by the likes of Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Maimonides, and Avicenna….. " (E. Feser)
It’s widely accessible. For centuries. And with it the argument from reason. It too is widely accessible. For centuries.

I’ll leave you to address THAT, the long standing “argument from reason” or the related theme along similar lines with “The Rationalist Proof” (…see Five Proofs of The Existence of God at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/08/five-proofs-is-out.html ..). Widely accessible. Centuries old. Why leave you with THAT? Because that way you don’t have the excuse of claiming it’s an unintelligible X invented just for this thread.

Whereas, what follows is not for you at all, but instead is my own brief segue into THAT. So you can stop reading “here” and simply choose to 1. evade or 2. ignore or 3. redefine or 4. address just THAT, just that ONE specific definition / proof.

Segue:

Often I find that many of our Non-Theist (A-Theist) friends are, when it comes to being, quick to trade away permanence in their paradigm when it comes to the moral  whereas very few are so bold when facing the argument from reason. And for good reason (no pun intended). The inevitable shipwreck suffered by trading away permanence in the paradigm of metaphysical naturalism when it comes to reason is just too costly. 

Why? 

Because at that juncture it becomes evident that while they have been forced to leave “Being Itself” on the table, they have, by their own hand, stripped reason away from it (away from “Being Itself”) such that reason finds that it “is” what it always has been in metaphysical naturalism, which is no-thing, as in non-beingUltimately reality is going to be, and is, defined by that which exists irreducibly, by the “Always"  & "Already”. Not by logical impossibilities which sum to ontological cul-de-sacs. Not by frail and mutable contingencies such as me or you. Therein with respect to reality's concrete furniture Non-Theism is intrinsically anti-reason with respect to “being”. That is to say that Non-Theism just is Non-Reason.

Five Proofs has several chapters, all of which our Non-Theist friends are, in this thread about “Evidence”, invited to dive into and unpack, and so on, but in focus here is the following chapter:

“5 – The Rationalist Proof
Informal statement of the argument: Stage 1
Common sense and science alike suppose that there are explanations for the existence of the things we encounter, the attributes things exhibit, and the events that occur……”

4th of 4 Primers:

Fallacy: Evidence ought to FORCE me to choose God.  Demanding To Be Forced To Believe (Forced To Choose/Embrace).

See [Comment 36] for where that (initially) emerges and (finally) goes off the rails.

[Comment #1]

“Faith is…..”

Another factor is the simple fact that one must not invent definitions of another's terms. In the thread at https://www.str.org/node/42380#.WwKbpkgvxPa Amy Hall takes the time – eight different times – to define the Christian's analysis of the doxastic experience (..our noetic frame and the nature of belief..). Here’s just one of those eight:
“Trusting in the promises of someone that haven't yet come to pass, or trusting in something we can't yet see is not the same as being confident something is true even though you have no reason to think it is. In the illustrations given in that chapter of Hebrews, God made Himself known to people, and then they trusted what He said, even though the fulfillment of His promises were sometimes after their deaths (i.e., they couldn't see the fulfillment). But they wouldn't have trusted Him if He had not first made Himself known to them. This is why the Old Testament says a great many times that God did such-and-such so that the nations would know He is God. In other words, we trust (have faith in God—His promises for our future and His character) because of the reasons we have to trust Him. In the same way, you have faith in your wife to uphold her promises of marriage to you. You have confidence in what you hope for (i.e., that she will fulfill her promises) because you know her—you have reason to trust her and her promises. You can't yet see the future of what she will do, yet you have faith (trust) in her. The fact that you have faith in her does not prove you have no previous evidence to trust her. In fact, it says the opposite.  It's because you have reasons to trust her that you have faith in her and her promises.”
Now, as stated, eight different times this is hashed out, several examples of which are in these:
–  and, each time – all 8 times – our Non-Theist friends do not take the time to hear but just plow ahead and insist that because what popular culture means by it is different than the Christian's meaning then *when* the Christian *says* anything about the doxastic experience the Christian must simply drop Christianity and Christianity's metaphysical landscape.

So (..according to that plowing-ahead…) "therefore" the popular culture’s meaning *IS* *what* the Christian *means*. But of course the Christian doesn't mean that but instead means what the Christian said and, so, that Non-Theistic "tactic" or method there only guarantees that no forward progress in mutual understanding can transpire.

Worldviews take a bit of teasing-out of not only *what* the claim is but also *why* the claim is in fact held.

This pattern repeats itself when it comes to “Faith & Evidence” once again. For example, is it “A” or is it “B” via the following:

[A] Iron miraculously floats on water all by itself.

[B] Causal Agents (God, Man) intentionally rearrange and manipulate nature's fundamental building blocks and invent novel – never before seen – elements... and other arrangements all the time, and, also, Causal Agents manipulate physical systems and suspend physical things on water. That's how iron "floats" on water. We do it all the time. God is the Causal Agent where miracles are concerned.

Christians reject [A] and affirm [B] with respect to the definition of the term "miracle".

That's not complicated. 
“.....Dr. William Lane Craig defines miracles as extraordinary acts of providence which should not be conceived, properly speaking, as violations of the laws of nature, but as the production of events which are beyond the causal powers of the natural entities existing at the relevant time and place….” (...from http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2017/07/05/miracles-are-useless-if-2/ ..)
Yet, as with Amy, so too with others as our Non-Theist friends do not take the time to hear but just plow ahead and insist that, per the Christian metaphysic, iron floats on water all by itself, just "miraculously" because "that" is what "miracle" in fact "means". But of course the Christian doesn't mean that but instead means what the Christian said and, so, that Non-Theist "tactic" or method there only guarantees that no forward progress in mutual understanding can transpire.

The patient and step by step unpacking of that bizarre and even disingenuous Non-Theistic "Tactic" is what eventually ruins the N-Theist's attempt to foist The Universal Stalemate Straw Man (..as per http://disq.us/p/1k2ydc6 ..).

In the particular thread referenced earlier, after our Non-Theist friends plowed over Amy's carefully explained definitions, our Non-T. friends then moved the goal post once again and plowed over my description of the Christian account of the doxastic experience and simply demanded that I too must mean something very different. Then they avoided interfacing with our actual definitions once again and went on about a new topic and demanding *evidence* of the X's on the list which they gave. 

[..btw that mode of inquiry in which every reasoned reply the Christian offers is met by a rapid-fire style of yet more new topics while never actually addressing replies is akin to “Just Say No to Fragenblitzen" at https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2015/01/saying-no-to-fragenblitzen/..]

No one has any evidence that iron floats on water “all by itself” which is why the Christian does not believe “that”. However, the referent of “God” and “Being Itself” and “Causal Agent” and the syntax of …causal agents intentionally manipulating and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks… (..the Periodic Table of the Elements has all sorts of demonstrations..) are all cohesive.  In the same way, our Non-Theist friends have no evidence, none, with respect to their Flat World (..as per https://www.metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/ ..) and their voyage atop that Flat Earth as they set sail, tirelessly vigilant in their attempt to avoid, evade, the unavoidable Edge of Reason Itself.
Relying on Knowns to work through Unknowns isn't magic. We do so in physics and mathematics all the time. It's the nature of knowledge. Your mistake is that you assume that "some" folks use [1] Experience / Intuition X's and/or [2] Eyewitness X's in some sort of vacuum in isolation from a far wider T.O.E. which incorporates reasoning through reality's wide array of variables. But that's a fallacy and that you camp out on those two assumptions rather than interacting with a worldview's entire set of truth-claims is either an uninformed and honest error or else it is intentional and therefore dishonest. (… https://www.str.org/blog/show-them-god-better-promises-anything-else#comment-3174147862 …)
[Comment #2]

Faith and an observation with respect to knowns and unknowns

[A] Science has faith in the lame man walking and spends billions.
[B] Shouts of Hume's Black Magic, Zeus, Celestial Teapots, and Other Tactics

That particular [B] is at http://disq.us/p/1lwb0de and it is curious because the “person” that is “science” clearly “believes” and has faith in the lame man walking one day and, based on the Knowns, spends billions as it navigates the Unknowns. Is it “easy”? Well no. Is it sometimes frustrating? Well yes. And yet science marches on.

It’s called Evidence + Faith + Faithfulness + Knowns + Unknowns. Folks have died while only partially through this or that unknown, never having reached their desired end, only to have that end actualize further downstream in more distal generations. That is emotively disappointing in the moment, just as it is, also, intellectually rational in the same moment. It’s called Evidence + Faith + Faithfulness + Knowns + Unknowns.

Why don't our Non-Theist friends share in that doxastic experience along with the Christian and the whole of reality? Why do our Non-Theist friends in fact go out of their way to hedge and equivocate only so that they can re-define all of that, only so that they can deny that entire swath of the human experience? 

[Comment #3]

“....Faith is believing in something without sufficient evidence, or in the face of contrary evidence....”

You are confused about mathematics, about what Christian faith in general is, and more specifically about what mankind's reasoning is. Take a look at the com-box at https://www.str.org/blog/unbelievable-unbelief-1#.WwKfe0gvxPZ for insight into your uninformed definitions (...it's G. Koukl's "Unbelievable Unbelief" from Febuary-ish 2017...).

Evidence based faith is the only rational, and Christian, kind. Corrie ten Boom, no stranger to the hard problem of evil, commented,
"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." 
[A] We know and have good reasons to trust someone. 
[B] Then, there is all that happens outside and around ourselves and that person.

"B" cannot "un-do" "A" unless and until "B" somehow demonstrate otherwise in "A". Right there with Corrie ten Boom is a new challenge in, say, how to get X (..a satellite or etc..) into orbit around the earth, which cannot "un-do" the mathematics we will trust, lean on, to work through the problem. At first the mathematics keeps hitting some brick walls. But we’ve reasons to trust those Knowns nonetheless.  Is it confusing at first? Well yeah. Is it hard? Well yeah. But that's got nothing to do with leaning on, trusting, that which we've rational reasons to trust, namely mathematics, as we journey through, work through, the frustrations, the delays, the problem, the unknowns.

We trust the known, the rational, and proceed through life's various array of X's with the known and the rational in hand. That's faith in the middle of trouble. We trust the known and the rational. We lean on it when problems arise. Like mathematics. We use the math to press forward and work through the unknown, through the problem. Because we trust it. The assertion (....*your* fallacious definition of faith...) that the unknown / problem somehow "un-does" mathematics is just silly and uninformed.

By *your* definition, when we face a challenge in the bizarre physics of getting a satellite into orbit we'd just toss out mathematics and panic. Your premise seems to be that when "A" is mathematics it is not faith and when "A" is a person it is not faith, that in fact faith must be free of "A". And yet Faith is populated up and down with Knowns as it navigates the Unknowns.

Your (fallacious) premise seems to be that the reality of the unknown/problem of the odd equations needed to get X into orbit is itself evidence that we have no evidence on how to proceed, that we are now, moving forward in the midst of this unknown, this problem, trusting our mathematics without any rational reason to do so.

That's just uninformed.

Like Corrie ten Boom and Mathematics, we trust the known, that which we have good reason to trust, as we journey through various unknowns/problems. There's no new data that is going to convince us that round-squares exist. Reason rejects absurdity. Should the "appearance" of a round-square show up, then, again, we trust the known, that which we've good reason to trust, and press forward, looking for the ins and outs and the why's as to that appearance, knowing all along that, at some ontological seam somewhere, the reason(s) for the appearance will be found-out, unmasked…revealed.

Convergence:

When it comes to causal agents intentionally rearranging and manipulating nature's fundamental building blocks in real time, we have good reasons to trust in the reality of those events. We "know" those events "happen". We even hear of stories in which causal agents intentionally "un-do" subatomic X's and rearrange them and invent elements / arrangements which as far as we know the universe has never, not once, seen before. The syntax of Science and the syntax of Scripture converge there, and demonstrably so. And the Christian always knew that would happen as he pressed through the hard problems and confusing unknowns. He got it right. 

Why? 

Because of the constantly repeated demonstrability of the rational and reliable content within the ontological history of becoming which has come to us through the ancient Hebrew with respect to Man and Cosmos – and because of the constantly repeated demonstrability of the rational and reliable content within the ontological history of becoming which has come to us through Christ with respect to Man and God.

[Comment #4]

Faith Is Not Confession Despite Non-Belief

...and/or...

The Five Smooth Stones Of Faith
“But you have to confess that you believe in God or else face punishment. Christianity’s “Faith” there is confession without being convinced, without EVIDENCE. God punishes people for not believing, but if you confess the faith even when you don’t really believe then God lets you into heaven.”
False on several counts. First, on Faith Defined with respect to Knowns/Unknowns:

Faith is trusting in the Knowns as we navigate the Unkowns. What I Know of my wife leads me to trust her with respect to various Unknowns as we journey forward. We trust in mathematical Knowns (...they've been tested and proven etc...) as we navigate forward into various Cosmic Unknowns with respect to, say, QM. And so on. 

Whereas, other (...strawman...) definitions define faith as trusting in the Unknowns as we navigate the Unknowns.

Secondly, your bit about “Confession Despite Unbelief” is peculiar.

It is obviously a lie to say you believe in, know, trust in, X when you don't, and yet your strawman version of that asserts that faith just is the telling/saying of that very lie (…just confess even if you don’t really believe and then “POOF”, you’re loved by God…). There you are then defining God as refusing you because you were not willing to tell/say that lie. All of which is nonsense which expunges huge swaths of Scripture in order to foist that one-verse soundbite. 

But there's a bit more there with respect to Lies vs. Light, as in:

Very briefly: 1. Forgive for they know not. 2. To whom much is given much will be required. 3. To whom little is given little will be required. Neither of those three allow us to expunge the individual's awareness of this or that contour of Truth, by whatever degree such may be, and, just the same, neither of those 3 allow the fallacy that it's "better" to be "ignorant" given that it is metaphysically impossible for "the Adamic" to traverse reality void of Truth, by whatever degree such may be. Further, neither of those three allow us to expunge that it is, in fact, "better" to Give Light rather than to Conceal & Hide Light. We can only do our "part", whereas the "whole" is left to Life Himself, to Wholeness Himself. 

Also, speaking of Truth and degree, God does not ultimately refuse us, you and I, His beloved, but, rather, we ultimately refuse Him, as in: While we are free to knowingly trade away the necessary transcendentals of logical lucidity and love's timeless reciprocity in order to gain a bobble named Reductio ad Absurdum, we are also free to do otherwise (…as per https://www.metachristianity.com/truth-metrics-the-afterlife/ and also as per https://www.metachristianity.com/heaven-hell-cosmic-fairness-ethic-love/ …).

Lastly, We All Emote, Perceive, Intuit, And Reason Within The Same Pool and that has implications, but not what you seem to suppose. See http://disq.us/p/1sozwi7 The fact that the Atheist and Muslim and Hindu and Christian and so on are found experiencing the same body of emotions and feelings and intuitions, and so on, speaks to convergence, and if one means to apply convergence as a “Metric” well then, again, that has implications, but not what you seem to suppose. [See [Comment 14] for a bit more on said Pool]

Your complaint is misguided as it finds God requiring us to lie (“confess!”).  

Rather, your complaint would be better focused on the topic of,

1. The un-evangelized and 
2. the under-evangelized 

(..see http://disq.us/p/1shee1p ..) as I think that is the “X” that is at the root of your concern.  

With respect to that, see R.R.’s item at https://randalrauser.com/2018/05/if-god-wants-to-save-us-why-isnt-salvation-simple/

The comment http://disq.us/p/1slxh6k opens with:
The Simplicity of I Thee Wed
[1] Why The Cross? 
All of those source to the same misunderstanding about the nature of what it is that God Decrees when He Decrees “His Own Image”, as in the Imago Dei. As in “Adam”. As in “Mankind”. Many of the questions surrounding the Cross and why does God employ the Cross and questions surrounding Salvation and “Minimum Requirements” for Salvation, and the necessity of Eden and its two outward facing “Trees” or “Doors”, and so on, all seem to find life by moving away from the definitions of Scripture. That is probably why the Cross seems to…….
The rest of the thread / comment section is worth a look perhaps. 

Faith is not confession despite disbelief or unbelief  a bit more:

At https://randalrauser.com/2018/05/what-do-you-think-of-extreme-grace/ R.R. asks the following question:
"A while ago I heard a story of grace and forgiveness on CBC radio in which a young woman came to forgive - and then befriend - her father's murderer. The man was overcome with the grace he'd received despite his evil actions. How would you describe that story?"
 In reply to that the following reply from L.Q. was offered:
"I wonder how many of the people who found such a story inspiring also believe in eternal damnation? Can they imagine Hitler and Anne Frank embracing at some point in the distant future?"
Is it "Faith despite non-belief in hell..." or some other version of that sort of landing zone? 

Well no. Not at all. 

The Five Smooth Stones of Faith:

What Faith "IS" is an affirmation of 1. the Beautiful and 2. the Good and 3. the True and 4. an affirmation of Logic and Lucidity and 5. an affirmation of Non-Absurdity.  With those five in mind, the following reply was given to L.Q., 
"Believe-in" ? God does not will nor delight in (...your term "believe-in"...) eternal damnation. Rather, God wills and delights in (...your term "believe-in"...) love's landscape, a part of which (necessarily) entails (...to employ the syntax of Scripture...) the Groom's Proposal amalgamated with the Bride's Reply.
It's a metaphysical impossibility to Create the "Already Freely Married" and therein the necessity of the Edenic emerges. The content and yield of "that" (...the Edenic...) is necessarily different from the content and yield of that which the term "Wedding" carries into the arena, which is another discussion (...sin or no sin in Heaven...).
As for restoring that which is damaged, as for making all things new, well that's impossible. We can't. We probably won't for the most part, though all journeys differ. But we're not the End of Reality, we are not the End of Ontic Possibility. God is and therein we say this: Such things cannot be restored by anyone. Unless One happens to be Life Itself, and Wholeness Itself. Well then the phrase, "Make All Things New" is necessarily seamless and lucid.
The embrace you speak of is therein both 1. necessarily possible on all fronts and 2. not necessarily actualized on all fronts (...given that slice of the creature's free and informed will which God Wills and delights in (...or "believes-in"...) and which makes it impossible to just "force" / "program" / "compel" said actualization... because of round-squares and all that....).
Cosmic Fairness:
That IS a metric of ontic-truth, and, therefore, the following two:
https://www.metachristianity.com/heaven-hell-cosmic-fairness-ethic-love/https://www.metachristianity.com/truth-metrics-the-afterlife/
(...this comment http://disq.us/p/1swp74f ...)
When Faith finds itself claiming "A" because to do otherwise forces an affirmation of something akin to "round-squares", well then Faith is not so much an affirmation of Privation or any contour thereof, but, instead, it is an affirmation of The Good with respect to the concreteness of, the reality of, The Whole / Wholeness
[Comment #5]

Yes, faith is in part, “Eyewitness accounts and….”

No, faith is NOT, “Eyewitness accounts Full Stop.”
Relying on Knowns to work through Unknowns isn't magic. We do so in physics and mathematics all the time. It's the nature of knowledge. Your mistake is that you assume that "some" folks use [1] Experience / Intuition X's and/or [2] Eyewitness X's in some sort of vacuum in isolation from a far wider T.O.E. which incorporates reasoning through reality's wide array of variables. But that's a fallacy and that you camp out on those two assumptions rather than interacting with a worldview's entire set of truth-claims is either an uninformed and honest error or else it is intentional and therefore dishonest. (… https://www.str.org/blog/show-them-god-better-promises-anything-else#comment-3174147862 …)
Your argument reveals a poor caliber of thinking and it also reveals that you must think folks are stupid. To argue along the lines that there are eyewitness accounts of X and "therefore" you have met the Christian burden of rational belief so WHY don't Christian's believe in X – is intellectual silliness. It is also implicitly insulting and reveals an unfortunate group bias or stereotype based in some sort of odd version of group-think.

And the Christian claim is not that eyewitnesses are enough for rational belief and therefore the Christian claim as to the Non-Theistic embrace of the No-God paradigm cannot be that the Non-Theist is just too set in his ways with respect to eyewitness accounts which happen to contradict his Non-Theism.

Within the doxastic experience which we all journey through, and with respect to rational belief, you'll have to do more than foist [eyewitnesses]. I've not read your links so if they satisfy the two problems which we all face in coming to rational belief, the two halves, as discussed below, please clarify. […that comment ‘below’ is (was) the following on the Uninformed Copycat Premise…]

[Comment #6]

Faith & Evidence & Celestial Teapots & FSM’s

The Uninformed Copycat Premise of Another FSM / Flying Spaghetti Monster:

“...What is more believable……(A) That people actually witnessed Jesus bringing a human being, dead for 3 or 4 days (depending on the story source) and decided that the best course of action was to re-kill the man to hide this world changing event? or (B) Some people did not witness the miracle but heard stories of it and rightly disbelieved it was true? [C] ......Does any Christian believe that Sathya Sai Baba resurrected people in the 1940's? Why not? There were thousands of supposed "eye witnesses" to his miracles…..”

What a mess:  

Sathya Sai Baba, FSM's, Mermaids, Pasta Bowls, Flying Over The Moon, Irrational Paradigm Swaps, and Science:

Whether it’s Sathya Sai Baba or the FSM or Celestial Teapots or Mermaids, and so on, it’s all the same uninformed premise.

Let’s call Sathya Sai Baba “SSS” and the Flying Spaghetti Monster “FSM” and all the Copycats “CC”, for a net term of a new blog post over at the Unthinking-Skeptic Magazine, namely, “SSSFSMCC”.

It’s common for Non-Theists to say that the SSSFSMCC is God and then have the SSSFSMCC do some act X. Like appear in a bowl of pasta instead of a burning bush or raise the dead.

There are two problems with that (fallacious) approach.

The First Problem:

The first is that the SSSFSMCC proposed by the Non-Theist doesn't have the properties of "Being Itself", of *GOD*. How do we know that? Well it’s easy, because if that were the case then there'd be evidence of this bowl-bearing, dead-raising, world-making ontological SSSFSMCC and of his 5000 year history-soaked metanarrative. But there isn't evidence of the bowl-bearing, dead-raising, world-making ontological SSSFSMCC and of his 5000 year history-soaked metanarrative.

If one wants to [1st] steal and borrow the full import of “Being Itself” as his (the Non-Theist’s) metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility and then [2nd] state that in fact *that* *god* in fact goes about appearing in past-bowls, an in raising the dead X's, and in world-making ontological X's, well then he is going to have show us his evidence that such is the case.

One of the fundamental errors in reasoning over at the Unthinking-Skeptic Magazine is that the Non-Theist forgets that there are two halves to the equation, [1] that of logic and reason and logical possibility (etc.) and, then, [2] that of reality as she actually is in real history, in the real human narrative. While there are arguments and evidence for Scripture’s metanarrative vis-à-vis the ontological history of becoming which constitutes the (real) human narrative in (real) human history, the Non-Theist has not presented any evidence for his bowl-bearing, dead-raising, world-making ontological SSSFSMCC and of his 5000 year history-soaked metanarrative as being a (real) part of that (real) human history.

This is why part of what is missing (one of the “halves”), is this: When it comes to the FSM or to Mermaids or to any other copycat / SSSFSMCC, they never show us their foisted reality of actual historical bodies of historicity which have been demonstrated as accurate for the last 5000-ish years which include that heavy-handed SSSFSMCC factor.

The Second Problem:

An analogy will help:

The Non-Theist’s SSSFSMCC is like a friend coming to you and telling you that *GOD* kept his ice cream cone frozen all day on his kitchen table. So what do we do with that claim? Well we do what we always do with all claims. There’s nothing spooky about keeping cream and milk frozen – we do it all the time. We can even freeze a lake and get a whole stadium sub-freezing for ice skating in the middle of summer.

Manipulating layers of nature’s fundamental building blocks and creating elements which never existed and/or cellular tissues and so on is what we as casual agents do all the time. It’s called science (…though over at the Unthinking-Skeptic Magazine the posts and essays often refer to that science as Black Magic and Fairytales….not sure why…). Subatomic particle manipulations and/or atomic rearrangements (and so on) are not the concern per seas we do that sort of frozen-cream thing all the time.

The causal ecosystem changes as agent capacity changes. There's just no rational need to presuppose no-causal-agent when it comes to such particle rearrangements. That’s all, well, easy, rational, and clean.

So what about the ice cream? Well, so, is there something in Scripture’s narrative that would lead me to believe that *GOD* visited my friend, saved his ice cream cone, froze it, and then kept it from melting all day. Well no. Not at all. In fact the opposite emerges.

It's common for Non-Theists to change definitions and paradigms and then pretend they didn't and the Non-Theist gets a star for effort, even though his SSSFSMCC premise fails in the end. The SSSFSMCC just can’t fly because there’s just no reason to believe in said bowl nor in said bowl-bearing-god or in said dead-raising SSSFSMCC. Again the error there is that the Non-Theist forgets that there are two halves to the equation, that of logic and reason and logical possibility (etc.) and, then, that of reality as she actually is in real history, in the real human narrative.

While there are arguments and evidence for Scripture’s metanarrative vis-à-vis the ontological history of becoming which constitutes the (real) human narrative in (real) human history, the Non-Theist has not presented any evidence for his SSSFSMCC as being a (real) part of that (real) human history.

As for the “acts” of SSSFSMCC such as, say, burning bushes, well we did that in science class in the sixth grade. It was pretty fun stuff. "Magic!" we thought. As for building various cellular structures and neuronal tissues and DBS (…Deep Brain Stimulation…) and getting ever closer to helping stroke patients recover functions, well, science marches on and we’re getting ever closer. Non-Theists still (demonstrably) think about that science of a lame man standing up as Black Magic of course, but then over at the Unthinking-Skeptic Magazine it’s a bit of free-for-all. Oh dear – what will our Non-Theist friends do if mankind ever rearranges and manipulates a few fundamental particles and invents a new element? "Black Magic!" they’ll shout. Oh..... wait.... didn't I just read something? God forbid neuroscience ever does it with spinal cord tracts and so on. Oh...wait.... didn't I just read something?

It’s a good thing Hume and Mackie aren't alive to see this – the darkest of ages! "But he was lame! And now he can stand! Black Magic! Black Magic!" Between that and DBS (deep brain stimulation) we’ll stop as I don't want to frighten our Non-Theist friends with all of that Faith-Based scientific-y neuroscience-y stuff. You know, like our burning bush in the sixth grade. As for the SSSFSMCC, well, it’s a premise in want of a fact.

Fortunately, given the fact that the only solutions which the Non-Theist finds personally satisfying will be counted as worthy of his consideration, it should be easy enough for him to protect his own doxastic experience from the intolerable light of pure physicality atop the angelic wings of science.

Faith Rejects "-Cause-Da-Bible-Says-So"

The Non-Theist too often argues as if the Christian starts blind and stays here:

"Cause-Da-Bible-Says-So!!"

But that's false.

Reason as truth-finder makes her relentless demands for lucidity through and through. As folks allow their T.O.E. to be informed by all data points they simply need to gather the facts and follow the evidence, which spans the spectrum from the lens zoomed in near -- say -- the fact that causal agents can and do rearrange nature's fundamental building blocks, or such as -- say -- such things as historicity, genre, context, reason, and logic, to yet farther and wider sight-lines with the lens zoomed out into -- say -- whatever successes or failures this or that body of claims has within its own respective T.O.E. Why? Because everything about every T.O.E. just is a matter of:

[1] truth as correspondence and 
[2] cumulative cases constructed atop cumulative layers of coherence and 
[3] convergence of truth claims and 
[4] avoiding those ever-painful reductions to absurdity

That’s just a demonstration of the obvious: facts don’t exist in vacuums. Why? Because reality doesn’t work that way.

And reality matters.

Over at the Unthinking-Skeptic Mag. the contributors seem to foist their own rather unfortunate mental habit of "-Cause da-Bible!” onto all comments and assume (therefore) that that is the only evidence for Christianity.

But that's false.

It always comes back to whichever T.O.E. is under review as each comes as a body of statements which do not exist in a vacuum but are in fact immersed in the whole of reality.

Lastly, I hate say this to the contributors over at the Unthinking-Skeptic, but someone should:

Your presupposition is showing. Sorry. But it had to be done. Which presupposition you ask? The anti-science, No-God, Yes-SSSFSMCC, evidence-free presupposition.

Postscript:

We have to be careful and precise in these discussions. Tossing about wide brushstrokes isn't enlightening or helpful for understanding one another, not for the Christian you-ward nor for you us-ward.

It is not the Christian claim that [Eyewitnesses] is the bar for rational belief with respect to how rational belief worked in the first century and how rational belief works now as we explore the intricacies of the doxastic experience. With respect to the Non-Theist’s conclusion, the Christian claim is not that eyewitnesses are enough for rational belief and therefore the Christian claim as to the Non-Theistic embrace of the No-God paradigm cannot be that the Non-Theist is just too set in his ways with respect to eyewitness accounts which happen to contradict his Non-Theism.


Faith Rejects [Eyewitness Testimony Full-Stop] 

....&....

Faith Rejects [Intuition Full Stop]

First of all, briefly with respect to Intuition: 

Why are you arguing against the Christian Metaphysic "As-If" it based on Intuition given both Feser's "On Intuitions" at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/07/on-intuitions.html and given Feser's "Unintuitive Metaphysics" at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/08/unintuitive-metaphysics.html ?

Then, with respect to Eyewitness Testimony:

Your premise is rejected by nearly 100% of history scholars. Your premise is the following:

[First or Second Hand] ↔ [Else] ↔ [False]

The rest is easy enough to unpack, whether discussing "Non-Religious Historicity" or "Religious Historicity", and whether there are two sets of rules for those "Two-Kinds-Of-History" ↔ Huh? ↔ or not ↔ Etc. However, given that your starting premise is not only unhelpful but in fact misleading, there's just no fruit that can come of the whole "...the rest is easy enough to unpack..." thing-y given the counterfeit foundation at the very start.

See the following with respect to:

"Original Premise" [First or Second Hand] ↔ [Else] ↔ [False]

....and....

"Inverse Premise" [First or Second Hand] ↔ [Therefore] ↔ [True]

Let's take the above premise of [First or Second Hand] ↔ [Else] ↔ [False] and give it a name, say, the "original premise" and then, this:

It is interesting that the "inverse premise" is just as fallacious. That is helpful in adding light to just how misleading the "original premise" is.

Here's the "inverse premise"....

[First or Second Hand] ↔ [Therefore] ↔ [True]

Both premises are silly and rejected by nearly everyone. I don't know any Christians who argue according the logic of the following:

[Inverse Premise] ↔ [Full Stop]

(...the straw-man of "...but... but... eyewitnesses of this other miracle in this other religion....so why not believe that TOO....!!" lives and dies on these silly premises.... as if "Eyewitness-Account-Full-Stop" is the "Metric" or "Meter Bar" of History/Historicity. Tedious....)

So we have our Non-Theist friends who DO seem to be, far too often, arguing by the logic of something akin to this:

[Original Premise] ↔ [Full Stop]

Whereas we DO NOT seem to find Christians or Historians in general arguing by the logic of the following:

[Inverse Premise] ↔ [Full Stop]

And the reason is obvious: that's just not what the whole "historicity" thing-y is. More to the point, it's just not what the whole "doxastic experience" thing-y is composed of with respect to A. Knowledge and B. Rational Belief (....see "Comment #5" and "Comment #6" and "Comment #7" here....).

It is not the Christian claim that [Eyewitnesses] is the bar for rational belief with respect to how rational belief worked in the first century and how rational belief works now as we explore the intricacies of the doxastic experience. With respect to the Non-Theist’s conclusion of No-God, the Christian claim is not that eyewitnesses are enough for rational belief and therefore the Christian claim as to the Non-Theistic embrace of the No-God paradigm cannot be that the Non-Theist is just too set in his ways with respect to eyewitness accounts which happen to contradict his Non-Theism.

Relying on Knowns to work through Unknowns isn't magic. We do so in physics and mathematics all the time. It's the nature of knowledge. The mistake of our Non-Theist friends here is that they too often assume that "some" folks use [1] Experience / Intuition X's and/or [2] Eyewitness X's in some sort of vacuum in isolation from a far wider T.O.E. which incorporates reasoning through reality's wide array of variables. But that's a fallacy and that such friends too often camp out on those two assumptions rather than interact with a worldview's entire set of truth-claims is either an uninformed and genuine and honest error or else it is intentional and therefore something less than honest. (… http://disq.us/p/1ght05y ...)

(…from http://disq.us/p/1tf3x7c and from http://disq.us/p/1tf4452 ...)

[Comment #7]

Evidence vs. Faith: The Universal Stalemate Straw Man

[1] Pantheism? [2] Spinoza's? [3] The Hindu's? [4] The irreducible distinctions and divergence amid Islam and Judaism? [5] The impressive divergence through large swaths of ontological real estate between those in [4] juxtaposed to one another? [6] The impressive divergence through large swaths of ontological real estate between those in [4] juxtaposed to the Christian metaphysic? [7] The imaginary stopping points and logical contradictions forced by philosophical naturalism and its twin named Buddhism?

The general theme here can be applied to *any* landscape, however, the primary focus here has to do with a bit of misguided reasoning which often arrives on scene in one of the following forms:

[A] “But Christians disagree! What the heck is THAT all about?” and/or
[B] “But knowledge is fragmented! Therefore No-God!” and/or

[C] “Rapid discovery of knowledge of God by revelation is false because No-God!” and/or

[D] "Slow discovery of knowledge of God through temporal becoming? What the heck is THAT all about?” and/or

[E] “But Christians Sin! What the heck is THAT all about?” and/or
[F] "But knowledge is fragmented! But Christian's sin! But love!"

[….With respect to [E] and [F] see The “Contingency Defines Necessity” Straw Man Progression ...or else... The "Proverbial Key" Progression at http://disq.us/p/1k4178q and see Segue: War and Religion: at http://disq.us/p/1k41dkh ....]

General reply:

You have [1] left out premises and you have [2] simply observed that different folks believe different things. In essence you've declared a Universal Stalemate. Unfortunately your own premises are included in said universal stalemate. One has to go a little further, or risk saying what amounts to nothing.


Worse: You may actually be equating all claims of all paradigms. What I mean is that you've declared your Universal Stalemate as if that is where all thinking stops, as if divergence or disagreement is either a fiction or a problem yet you've not shown that divergence or disagreement is a fiction or a problem. Two comments with respect to that overly broad brushstroke:

Firstly:

Equating all truth claims upon the fundamental nature of reality in your Universal Stalemate is an unfortunate move on your part in that you've revealed a high degree of unawareness with respect to the several topics you just introduced. Or is it that you intend to insist that everyone should embrace contradictions of logic in their explanatory termini?

With respect to those truth claims upon the fundamental nature of reality have you followed through on,

[1] Pantheism?
[2] Spinoza's?
[3] The Hindu's?

[4] The irreducible distinctions and divergence amid Islam and Judaism?
[5] The impressive divergence through large swaths of ontological real estate between those in [4] juxtaposed to one another?

[6] The impressive divergence through large swaths of ontological real estate between those in [4] juxtaposed to the Christian metaphysic?
[7] The imaginary stopping points and logical contradictions forced by philosophical naturalism and its twin named Buddhism?

Is there a reason you've left out, well, everything?

Discussions Within Christendom:

You have conflated [A] Christendom's internal discussions and/or disagreements about The Aqueducts [Faith, Works, that which God (…All-Sufficiency Himself…) creates, infuses, decrees, in the contingent being, and Etc.] for [B] actual disagreements within Christendom about The Living Water (All-Sufficiency Himself). 

Or you have equated one to the other. The conclusions you've extrapolated with respect to veracity are therefore misguided. Worse than that, there is even a layer of "disagreement equals false on all points" embedded in your analysis, which, in addition to the aforementioned conflations and/or false identity claims, disqualifies your conclusions with respect to veracity. 

Secondly:

William Lane Craig comments:

[1] “...my natural theology aspires to be as system-free as possible….”

[2] “What is your metaphysical system?” This question made me smile. I guess I don’t have one!”

It is worth noting that the Christian metaphysic is not reliant on any “one” metaphysical system. It has the luxury of allowing reason to lead the way. When you realize what it “means” that an explanatory terminus is “Reason Itself” (…vis-à-vis the Divine Mind…) that becomes more clear.

Just as in chemistry or physics, for there also the rational mind continues to embrace, say, “Fact ABC” from “History’s Timeline 777” and as new chemical and physics-based equations come into focus the chemist / physicist is, with reason as his guide, fully rational for holding onto what remains coherent and pulling in from other arenas as well. It’s not “all or nothing” in any genuine sense and that just is the nature of knowledge – and in fact Scripture actually predicts just that kind of interface when it comes to God, Man, Perception, and Insight.

That is described by W.L. Craig in the following comment……

[Comment 8]

Faith & Metaphysical Systems

The question of “Are My Theistic Arguments Dependent upon a Metaphysical System?” is looked at (.. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/are-my-theistic-arguments-dependent-upon-a-metaphysical-system ..) and the short answer is, “Of course not!

For clarification, a few brief excerpts, followed by Dr. Bonnette on one of the ways in which “being coherent within this or that system” is not enough to get by on.  Here’s Craig first:

Question: “I would presume… that you are aware of the different metaphysical systems underpinning your different arguments. How do you reconcile these differences, if at all? What is your metaphysical system? Do you think that it is wise to defend arguments with such different and seemingly incompatible metaphysical assumptions? Doesn't this just make your case for the existence of God more incoherent? I ask this last question, because it seems to me that many atheists frequently misrepresent theistic arguments, and the biggest problem (I suspect) is ignorance of the metaphysical underpinnings of these arguments.”

Reply: So in answer to your question: I deny that there are “different metaphysical systems underpinning your different arguments.” The arguments, while drawing upon metaphysical concepts and insights which appear in various systems (concepts and insights many of which have become generally or at least widely accepted), are independent of those systems in which these concepts may have been initially enunciated. So there’s no need to “reconcile these differences.” Do I “think that it is wise to defend arguments with such different and seemingly incompatible metaphysical assumptions?” No, but the arguments I defend are characterized, quite deliberately, so as to be as free as possible from extraordinary metaphysical assumptions, not to speak of seemingly incompatible assumptions, so as to broaden their appeal as much as possible. The premises of the various arguments are perfectly coherent, and no one I’m aware of has argued otherwise.

Here's Dr. Bonnette from http://disq.us/p/1st101a

“You stated, “So as long as my belief system is consistent according to how its terms are defined within that system, I'm good to go?”
I am sure you don't expect me to answer that in the affirmative. Unlike the Rationalist philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, St. Thomas does not simply try to define God into existence. Spinoza defines substance as that which exists in itself and through itself. From this, he infers that substance, which is God, necessarily exists -- without any appeal to an empirical starting point.
On the contrary, St. Thomas begins his Third Way with “things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated.” From these, he then argues to the existence of “something the existence of which is necessary,” meaning that it must exist. This makes clear that when he finally concludes to “the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity,” he is using the term, “necessary” strictly as meaning something that has existence of itself (which he calls God).
This is why I say in my above article: “The term, “necessary,” with reference to the divine nature cannot be capriciously defined to suit some contrived anti-theistic argument. Its meaning originates in the context of St. Thomas’ Third Way, which refers solely to a being whose necessity for existence comes from itself and not from another.”
I follow St. Thomas’ definition of “necessary,” not because he arbitrarily defines it, but because, unlike Spinoza, he grounds the definition in reality derived from empirical observation. A proper definition in metaphysics is not merely consistent with its own system, but must be an accurate description of some demonstrable reality.
I trust that you understand that classical metaphysicians do not reduce all rational demonstration to Positivism's mere empirical verification.”

[Comment 9]

Faith, Works, & Stealing Glory From God:

[1] ....Faith vs. Works... 
[3] …stealing Glory from God
[4] Necessity & Contingency & All-Sufficiency:

[1] and [2] and [3] clearly fail to capture the Christian narrative. Make that metanarrative. Faith is necessary. But not sufficient. As in:

We cannot name even one, just one, contingent vector which can in fact sum to necessary and sufficient in its own being, to sum to its own explanatory terminus, and thereby Steal Glory from God.

All Glory begins and ends in the Necessary. It is a metaphysical absurdity to claim that ANY contingent vector or line or “X” can “Steal Glory” from God, or we can say that it is a logical impossibility for the Derived to Steal-Glory from the Underived. All-Sufficiency's Self-Outpouring (God in Christ) is of course unique to the Christian metaphysic and in fact any Theism which attempts it must make such a move dependent upon creating for it is in the Trinitarian Life alone wherein such Processions in fact sum to Being.

Stealing Glory From God:

How is it even possible that God even *can* create an X which factually steals God's Own Glory? CAN the Derived and/or Contingent vector in fact sum to necessary and sufficient in its own beingin fact sum to its own explanatory terminus, and thereby Steal Glory from God?

Of course not.  Think it through:

It’s a logical impossibility.  What doesn't, or what can't, or any other semantic twist one wants, in the end carry all Glory back to *God*? Reality is what it is. That is to say: "Glory to God" just isIt seems that we sometimes believe and think that it is God who is growing in awareness rather than us, a posture of “as-if” with respect to the concept of “Glory To God” being “debatable”, and that “as-if” is where (in part) we find that Hyper-Calvinism is at times fearful of Man’s impossible theft of glory rather than fearful of the fact that, Eden or Privation, Heaven or Hell, there is not ANY Contingent vector or line or being which/who can sum to its own terminus and thereby shout “I AM”

Stealing Glory from God – a bit more: 

Part of the concern of some within Christendom (...not shared by most...) stems from believing in a logical impossibility: The nuance or premise that it is possible for any contingent being to be its own explanatory terminus — and thereby steal glory from the Necessary Being— or thereby not *need* the Necessary Being — sums to a logical impossibility.

From the highest to the lowest that is unavoidable. The good and full exercise of any power or faculty created and endowed by God for the proper ends of said power or faculty by the created being does not, because it cannot, "steal" "glory" from God and in fact it actually glorifies God. “IF” that were not true “THEN” there COULD NOT BE powers / faculties created and endowed by God and we would, by force of logic, arrive within Occasionalism and/or Pantheism of some flavor.  

See both 
[1] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/12/causality-pantheism-and-deism.html
[2] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/01/metaphysical-middle-man.html and be sure to include “the principle of proportionate causality” in the mix vis-à-vis
[3] http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-without-second.html

Faculties & Powers: Given that principle of proportionate causality, we find that “to be at all” with respect to “to will” and “to intend” as in intentionality and “to choose” and “to reason”, and so on, and… so… on… all find not only pure actuality in God but also, by that Root (and no other), pure possibility in the creative act.  The reality of DEGREE does not equate to All-OR-NONE in that we are not “those” “actualities” to the degree that God is, and we never will be, yet that does not collapse into Occasionalism and in fact cannot unless one first expunges huge chunks of that entire landscape (see above links).

A lack of understanding lands in thisThe good and full exercise of any power or faculty created and endowed by God for the proper ends of said power or faculty by the created being does not, because it cannot, "steal" "glory" from God.  

With respect to the Necessary and the Contingent it is that misunderstanding that leads (some Theists) and (most) Non-Theists to get morality all wrong, as in:

Intentionally and freely choosing self-sacrifice in order to help another — when done by anyone — an Atheist, or a Christian, or anyone — is, with respect to that slice, good, but, where the Non-Theist falls down in his moral epistemology is that such willing good and such doing good isn’t the end of any interpretative line.

Should he remove his head from the sand and follow through to his own paradigm's explanatory termini, he finds that his road ends with a metaphysical armistice in which all will-ing and all do-ing collide as ontological equals. Hume stands affirmed. Reason finds no ontological (irreducible) distinction between the will to scratch one’s finger and the will to destroy this or that life, and so on. Whereas, the Christian’s epistemic lands in a seamless amalgamation with the Christian’s ontic, namely the Trinitarian Life.

"Stealing Glory from God" sums to metaphysical absurdity and one's premises must house the nature of The Necessary with respect to the contingent, else one risks missing that key fact.  The nuance or premise that it is possible for any contingent being to be its own explanatory terminus — and thereby steal glory from the Necessary Being— or thereby not *need* the Necessary Being — sums to a logical impossibility.

Stealing Glory From Goda bit more context:

A brief excerpt from some of those for context:
All Sufficiency is found in One, and only One, ontological stopping point. That is to say, more is needed than this or that contingent being. It is a metaphysical impossibility for contingency to pull itself up and into God. That is to say, Man cannot glory. A Door must Open. Living Water Himself must Pour Out. Love Himself must Empty. Only then can the contingent – the beloved – be filled. 
That was true in Eden.  That was true outside of Eden prior to Christ.  That is true now prior to Christ’s return.  That will always be true.
Man is, necessarily, that which sums to the “Ontic-Status” of “Necessary Insufficiency” within his own being as he cannot sum to his own explanatory terminus given that he is a contingent, or derived, created, entity.  That is to say that, in all possible worlds, sin or not, Man sums to “Total (Ontic) Insufficiency”.  Now, let’s be careful, because “that” syntax is distinct from, different from, the syntax of “Total Depravity” which some unfortunately seem to land on in their exegetical conclusions.  The latter (total depravity) finds Man “Stealing Glory” from God in ALL WORLDS BUT FOR SINFUL WORLDS, but of course “Stealing Glory” is a metaphysical absurdity in ANY world, whereas, the former (necessary / total insufficiency) carries all worlds in seamless lucidity.


There is no metaphysic quite like the Christian's. It alone solves the problem of Perfect Justice conjoined to Perfect Mercy in an ontic-singularity (…Deuteronomy 28:63…)in reality's Epicenter there in Christ.
It alone annihilates all possible layers of what cannot be more than In-Sufficiency (….*any* contingent being or vector divorced from the immutable …) and it does so in and by those Trinitarian processions found in the timeless diffusiveness of self-giving as such relates to the Ontic-Self in totum, which on necessity cannot be anything less than All-Sufficiency.
It alone thereby provides the only metaphysic whereby what is impossible for all other paradigms (....for either an absurdity or else an annihilation of the contingent being ensues....) is in fact possible: Should such Living Water pour – quench – fill – incarnate – then a mutable and contingent being termed “Man” finds (….having drank, freely, void of some sort of Ontic-Noble-Lie told by the Necessary Being acting “As-If” Man can do otherwise… having drank thusly from such a Cup…) that wherever he shall look, that is to say, wherever he shall motion, whether beneath his feet, or above his head, or into his own chest, he will find that beautiful Freedom called Permanence.

Eden vs. Privation vs. Eternal Life (Permanence viz-a-viz The-Good) and Ontic-Distinctions:

The necessary metaphysical landscape — and therefore content & yield — of the Proposal cannot be the same metaphysical landscape — and therefore content & yield — as the Wedding, and the necessary metaphysical landscape — and therefore content & yield — of the Wedding cannot be the same metaphysical landscape — and therefore content & yield— of Birth downstream vis-à-vis the New Creation (Heaven, God’s Eternal Ideal for the “Adamic”, that beautiful freedom called Permanence).

Romans 9 & Pharaoh, Esau:
“God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.” – A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God


Exploring the anchor of God vis-à-vis God using [All Things] for Good and, also, “Granting Gratuitous Evil” to make that point of looping back to [All Things] which “cannot not be touched” by God/Being as [All-Things] are used both for [The Good] and by [The Good], as per:

Faith & Suffering: 

See [Comment 20] in this list. 

[Comment 10]

Evidence and Defining Evidence

Our Non-Theist friends re-define both Evidence/Miracle and then fuss that they’ve been given none of each. On “Miracle” they demand evidence of a “violation” of physics, which contradicts both the Christian’s claims and the Christian metaphysic, and which guarantees that the Non-Theist will find neither Miracle nor Evidence. Then they re-define again and affirm the now scientifically outdated Humean/Mackiean shouts of Black-Magic (…as per the definition of miracle affirmed by the Christian briefly described at http://disq.us/p/1nppieu …).

According to Scripture’s narrative, or to be precise, Metanarrative, Reason amid the natural order (Natural Theology) leads one out of Non-Theism and into Theism, and we see why as Reason’s demands for lucidity eventually hit a hard “Y” in the road leading one either into the proverbial Reductio Ad Absurdum or else the proverbial Reductio Ad Deum. A few inroads there are at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/09/qed.html One can also search this post for “Sean Carroll” for a few comments which approach that proverbial “Y” in the road.

As for Knowledge, and Privation, and the fragmentation of Knowledge, and the Church, and both sin/error within all things “Adamic” (which includes the Church), and the predictions of Scripture’s “Metanarrative”, we’ll leave the silliness of But disagreement exists within Christendom! Therefore No-God!” to the side for now.

An excerpt from another thread for context:

Begin excerpt:

You ignore reality and your own Humean/Mackiean rejection of miracles from the get-go with this self-contradiction:

“…There is an infinite array of evidence which would satisfy me. Here are a few examples: Miracle… Miracle… Miracle…”

You deny miracles and call them a violation of physics and then proceed to offer mere hand-waving when it’s pointed out to you that your definition of miracle is a Non-Christian straw-man. That you persist in that is evidence that you have an irrational disbelief and that you’re a cousin of the following, from https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2017/02/john-loftus-hypothetical-god/

Quote:

“…no amount of evidence that God could provide would ever be sufficient to non-coercively overcome a disbeliever’s doubt if the disbeliever did not wish to be convinced. Indeed, given the ability for hyper-skepticism to create doubt no matter what the evidence is, it must be pointed out that no matter what God did, a skeptic could always — if he wanted — attribute the event to aliens, or a hallucination, or that he was in a computer simulation, etc. And skeptic Michael Shermer even has a “law” which states that any sufficiently advanced alien intelligence would be, to us, indistinguishable from God; as such, atheism and naturalism are thus unfalsifiable if they wish to be given that any seemingly miraculous event could always be attributed to aliens rather than God. In fact, I know a prominent atheist who admitted that even if the stars spelled out the Apostles Creed and the whole world saw it, he would likely go mad or believe everyone had gone mad rather than believe that God had made a miracle occur. So, the point here is that even God could not freely convince certain unbelievers to believe in Him no matter how much evidence He might provide…” (by R. Initiative)

End quote.

Quote: “…On another note, one of the essays in that volume linked above drives home the very clear point that no matter what type of “evidence” God might choose to give us, the clever skeptic can always seek to rationalize it away. Let’s say that God were to inscribe into the moon in shimmering gold letters a passage from scripture every night, or some such thing. I think that if someone really wanted, they could conclude that the existence of aliens who might try to commandeer us by doing such a thing is a “more likely” explanation than the existence of God as the ontological grounding of reality itself, and so by “occam’s razor” would still dismiss the existence of God.

The argument:

1: Golden passages of scripture appear on the moon every night.

Seems to fall apart on premise 2, where the skeptic could easily suggest the possibility of observing and manipulative aliens. Since the belief in such aliens doesn’t involve a paradigm shift in understanding the nature of reality as contingent upon a divine mind — they would probably not find it very difficult to go with “aliens”. In fact, I think skeptics would tout that reasoning as evidence against Christianity. “See, you used to think that there was a God, but this recent business with the moon shows that it was probably aliens all along.” They’d probably suggest that Jesus was an alien all along.

Likewise with a “voice” appearing in everyone’s head. Likewise with some sort of “alien artifact” which would probably be the easiest to dismiss for anyone who is familiar with video editing and special effects.

Consider instead what I think is evidence that we actually have available to us, the existence of our own consciousness which seems inexplicable on a philosophical naturalist paradigm. The existence of us as volitional beings seems to directly imply something about the nature of reality. To say (as we can with those others above) “ah well maybe there are other contingent, conscious aliens out there who made us” doesn’t actually seem to get us anywhere with consciousness but kicking the can down the street a little way.

You say, “Schellenberg’s nonresistant nonbelievers need not successfully rationally undergird their nonbelief. All they need to do is be nonbelievers, and be both epistemically and personally open to changing their minds.”

If one cannot rationally undergird their position (irrationality?), then how would one be epistemically and personally open?

It seems relatively intuitive to me based on my personal observations that nonbelievers often have an innate resistance to having their mind changed that has very little to do with reason. For many there quite obviously seems to be an emotional stumbling block which prevents them from making an accurate assessment of the data….” (by T. Wakeman) End quote.

End excerpt.

But Which Miracles? Which T.O.E.’S Claims?

Weather it is Billy-Bob-Joe’s claim of Alien Abduction, or of QM, or of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pantheism, and so on, the process is always the same: collect data, unpack premises, align all the dots, and… and… and so on.

Now, sure, the Non-Theist is too often surprised by that because he assumes that Reason, Logic, and God’s Decreed Revelation of Himself via the Natural Order (…Natural Theology / http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/09/qed.html …) is not contained in Scripture’s wider Metanarrative.

As explained to one of our Non-Theist friends:

You need to allow reason to take the lead and keep science in the front of your thinking and stop worrying about causal agents per se. Remarkably, if you continue doing so you will rapidly rule out any claim of “miracle” by all but one or two T.O.E.’s., well, three if you count Philosophical Naturalism’s regress to its own “god”. Well, on that term “god” we can quote E. Feser:
“….the reader might even find it useful to put the word “God” out of his mind for the moment — given all the irrelevant associations the word might lead him to read into the present discussion — and just think instead of “the ultimate source of things”……”
So let’s start over:  You will rapidly rule out any claim of “miracle” by all but one or two T.O.E.’s., well, three if you count if you count PN’s regress constituted of the duo that is [A] the nature of an ultimate self-explanatory principle (on the one hand) amalgamated with [B] final intelligibility (on the other hand), both of which force Non-Theistic definitions into the inexplicable, into brute facts which are anything but self-explanatory or intelligible. If you don’t know why that is true regarding those two or three T.O.E.’s then you’ve allowed being uninformed to drive your analysis – which reasoning people don’t do. Why? Well because:

To assume the following posture vis-à-vis Brute Facts just won’t do: “Well, for all we know, there just may be some possible world somewhere, for all we know, in which round squares may exist, and/or, for all we know, that for which no explanation is even in principle possible happens/exists, for all we know.” That posture is *not* simply that of the agnostic *nor* that of the claim that we are simply limited by our tools. 

Why our Non-Theist friends are quick to trade-away, to follow what must be that downward arrow into the illusory vis-à-vis the absurd rather than being quick to trade-into, to follow what must be that upward arrow into the beauty of lucidity is not merely unclear, is not merely the innocence of the agnostic, but it is (initially) inexplicable and (finally) irrational, as per https://www.metachristianity.com/reason-being-non-being-ontological-cul-de-sacs/

Following reason and logic, one will not only rapidly rule out any claim of “miracle” by all but one or two T.O.E.s, but, also, within those select T.O.E.’s one will have a fairly good contextual framework by which to investigate any such claim.

The last few paragraphs were taken from a few links/comments:

Part 1 http://disq.us/p/1cz6gff (1 of 3 on the term "miracle")


[Comment 11]

Faith & Miracles


Eventually, or hopefully, those will be consolidated into an actual post (… https://www.metachristianity.com/meta-blog/ Etc…).


[Comment 12]

Faith & Evenhanded Historicity & Miracles & Zeus & Celestial Teapots

….or perhaps….

Faith & The fallacy of “Historicity’s Rules & Metaphysical Naturalism

You’re conflating categories. First, as per the oh-so-humdrum rules of historicity:

Category 1:

Did Pilate exist?
How do you know?

Category 2:

As for the definition of Miracle, WHERE do those oh-so-humdrum rules of historicity comment on Metaphysical Naturalism (M.N.)?

CAN they comment on M.N.? DO they comment on M.N.?

Why ignore science? As in the science of historicity. Not the science of, say, growing sweet potatoes. When it comes to, say, Pilate, the various complaints about 1. Data and spans of miles between cities and 2. Data and spans of centuries and 3. Data and spans of networks of all available textual possibilities and 4. Data with respect to criticisms of those first three, we come to what IS the focus, which is not “Pilate -Cause The Bible”. In fact Ehrman and most others realize the reality of all four and STILL (…the science of “historicity” and so on…) affirm the fact that Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus.  That our Non-Theist friends too often don’t recognize the metrics of “science” in that arena is concerning.

Another brief example is with respect to “…darkness around the Cross….” Basic context is at the following:
A brief excerpt from a discussion on that topic as the “Worldwide Darkness” vs. “Regional Darkness” was looked at.

Begin excerpt:

Buy questioning Julius Africanus you’re demonstrating one of two things based on what you’ve given so far. So are you really planting your flag on Julius Africanus’ hill? Full Stop? Instead of the possibility mentioned earlier of disagreeing with him if he asserts a regional event (..cause it never happened…), there’s the other possibility, that of you disagreeing with him if he asserts a worldwide event (…cause it never happened…).  The point here is not Worldwide or Regional but the mode of inquiry.  I wonder if you realize what this little exercise is all about and that either way it’s irrelevant, and why it is not relevant, well not YET. Why not YET?  Well a few reasons:

First, let’s link to another item which can only hurt J.A. and myself as I affirm a “Regional Darkness” (…don’t worry…it’s not the last link… unlike your mode of inquiry the reality of historicity does not begin and end in a verse and a blip…), with the following:
“…The language of most translations appears to strongly suggest that the darkness was a local or regional phenomenon, which is a possible rendition….” (… from https://creation.com/darkness-at-the-crucifixion-metaphor-or-real-history ...)
Recall that none of this is new information.

Earlier we demonstrated the need to get the word translated “the ground” which “Worldwide” vs. “Regional” and so on sits.  Once we get your list of all the uses of that in the whole Bible, and all the contexts of that one word-y-thing-y (…the land, the ground, soil, etc…) then we’ll be left with all sorts of options, in fact too many to allow anything close to a full stop (…with respect to Worldwide vs. Regional…).  Of course then we’ll be forced to…. to… to do what your mode hasn’t done, namely pull in all the relevant data and all relevant contexts because the one word-y-thing-y in one verse-y-thing-y is just a sophomoric sound-bite-y bundle of straw.  When you’re done with THAT list, then there’s yet ANOTHER list over at http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog/darkness-at-noon/ with the following sixteen items, which you can infuse into the overall set of information:
Pliny the Elder, Lutarch, Tibullus, Suetoniu. Thallus, Phlegon, Tertullian, Julius Africanus, Syncellus, Origen, Eusebius, Apollinaris, Philopon, Malalas, Agapius, Celsus (…about 16-ish…)
Now, don’t worry about the “Trail Of Data” there in those 16 as the focus is really on only one thing, and it’s NOT the Darkness, but, rather, it is 1. Data and spans of miles between cities and 2. Data and spans of centuries and 3. Data and spans of networks of all available textual possibilities and 4. Data with respect to criticisms of those first three. If one’s method is anemic then one’s conclusion will be too.
“….So at this point skeptics need to choose their tactic: one cannot consistently argue both (a) that various pagan parallels to the Darkness show that this is the sort of unreliable story the ancients made up all the time, and (b) that the Darkness would have been so amazing to the ancients, that it would have been mentioned by all of them as one of the most notable events to have ever occurred….”
Are you starting to see the point of this exercise? Namely, how it is that real, actual science (…the science of historicity…) differs from your own rather anemic “Start / Stop” points?  How it is in part done?  It’s unfortunate for you given that even this PART was missing from your mode of inquiry.  The Gospels report something which the majority of translations and historical data affirm, and which was far more likely to be regional than global (…and that fits all warm and cozy with Scripture’s wording and the context surrounding that…), and which sums to a rather unusual darkness at the Crucifixion. 

The data supporting the claim that Pilate ordered the Crucifixion of Christ spans centuries, spans miles, spans networks of textual trails, and so on, and obviously you’ve labeled those sorts of spans as a kind of Hard-Block to any intellectual reach, but, just as obvious, Ehrman and most others disagree with your label of said spans, and for good reason. As in evidence.

End excerpt.

Notice what “Historicity” in fact CAN and CANNOT “measure” when it comes to “Miracle”.  

Our Non-Theist friends too often argue “As-If” the basic modes of historical inquiry either CAN or else DO comment on Metaphysical Naturalism.  But the fact that Pilate did such-and-such and the fact that an unusual darkness did materialize in and around the Cross is just that and not more.

So now what?

The fact that the Christian metaphysic houses descriptions, predictions, and prescriptions within the syntax of, say, “X Brought Y Back To Life” which all happen to converge with what the physical sciences are telling us is a “supplement” to the Gospels, and it is that sort of luxury of multiple attestations from multiple disciplines which is the rational reply to “So now what?” Perhaps an example:

It is likely that by “miracle” many of our Non-Theist friends mean some sort of Non-Christian premise, like, say, a Causal Agent intentionally manipulating and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks and thereby inventing and then adding novel / never before seen arrangements to the world stage (…cells, neurons, elements, limbs..). Perhaps even something like the following would fit that same Non-Christian definition of miracle:  Taking a large jug full of H2O and intentionally rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks and thereby inventing ethanol from that large jug full of H2O.  But the Christian doesn’t view such events as a miracle.

I’m genuinely concerned with the fate of the Non-Theist with respect to his own self-image as science continues to march onward and outward mastering and subduing physicality.

I mean, how long do they plan to try to pull off their shout of “Black Magic!” as neuroscience and so on marches on, healing the lame in ever widening degrees? How long before they stop shouting Black Magic at the concept of Causal Agents intentionally rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks and inventing never before seen elements… cells… tissue layers… and so on? Forever? Will such additions to the Periodic Table of Elements forever disturb the Non-Theist’s emotional commitment to his evidence-free joys of yesteryear’s Hume/Mackie shouts of Black Magic? How long before they stop knowingly and intentionally changing the Christian’s definitions in the arena of Miracles?
Forever?

Sure, the syntax of Causal Agents intentionally rearranging and manipulating nature’s fundamental building blocks converges with the predictions and prescriptions of the Christian Metaphysic, long before we even understood such syntax, but then that is where reason, logic, and evidence allow all of us to lean upon the Knowns as we navigate the Unknowns. It’s called Faith. Speaking of Faith, the proverbial “person” that is “science” has faith based on evidence that the lame can one day walk (…causal agents… intentionally manipulating and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks… we do it all.. the… time…) and spends billions within the arena of neuronal regeneration / generation (and so on).  It’s not clear why our Non-Theist friends are so resistant to such basic, everyday, oh-so-humdrum contours of the real world as it actually is.

A very basic example as per the trio of [A] http://disq.us/p/1nx4mkc and [B] http://disq.us/p/1nphbgm and [3] http://disq.us/p/1nppieu

This isn’t complicated. You merely need to stop re-defining the Christian’s actual metaphysic and instead interact with that metaphysic’s actual premises.

[Comment 13]

Faith Is Not Believing In Non-Christian Premises:
“…if I believed about God what the atheist believes about God, I wouldn’t believe in God either. So to be induced to somehow change my mind about belief in God…. I would have to accept the atheist’s misunderstanding of what God is…” (Jenna Black)
It is your re-defining of terms which gets you into trouble – pretending that you can avoid Sean Carroll’s slow but inevitable slide into the illusory knot of absurdity v. “useful but not true” — pretending that the Christian metaphysic does not outreach that knotty ball of equivocations.

Per our discussion of Category 1 (…plain and boring and evenhanded rules of historicity…) and Category 2 (…your seeming move to infer that those rules CAN and DO comment on Metaphysical Naturalism…) we found the following:


You’re still failing to make even rudimentary distinctions, and that is despite the fact that the various T.O.E.’s force them upon us.

[Comment 14]

Faith Affirms Intelligibility
 “We have no method of determining which is true…."
"...the Christian and the Muslim and the Atheist and the Hindu and the Jew ALL experience "inner strength" in times of hardship and that ought to cause the Christian to slow down and re-think...”
On the second of those, see "We All Emote, Perceive, Intuit, And Reason Within The Same Pool" a few paragraphs down, and with respect to the first of those two:

Any T.O.E. which forces absurdities in order to retain this or that X is ipso facto rationally rejected. That removes all / any Non-Theistic hopes as the baggage of Metaphysical Naturalism just won’t do — https://www.metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/

Whether it is QM or Atheism or Christianity or X or Y or Z, the issue is not uncertainty vs. certainty unless one wants to assume the unfortunate posture of defending what can only be a radical, opaque skepticism. Of course, the Christian is quite satisfied in these discussions when Non-Theists assume that unfortunate posture.

The Christian there only needs to simply coach the Non-Theist further and further down the Non-Theist’s own wish-list of premises in that path and, when the Non-Theist finally embraces the manifestly absurd, it is a sort of intellectually satisfying “QED” for the Christian.

If uncertainty/certainty do not necessarily compel reason (…in her role as truth-finder…) then what will rationally (…and necessarily…) in fact compel her? That’s obvious: the proverbial “Y” in the road is when and if one is forced to embrace this or that reductio ad absurdum — this or that reduction to absurdity.

The goal of reason as truth-finder is [1] avoiding reductions to absurdity and [2] satisfying reason’s demands for lucidity. On occasion our Non-Theist friends are confronted with that and they argue-by-emoting with something akin to, “Sophistry! Pure sophistry!” but of course that’s not surprising given the Non-Theist’s (…somewhat common…) decision at that proverbial “Y” in the road.

All that remains is something fairly straightforward but which seems to trip you up in that HERE NOW AGAIN you cannot draw distinctions and actually equate reality’s metanarrative and explanatory terminus in/of 1. Pantheism to 2. Allah to 3. Celestial Teapots to 4. the Trinitarian Life v. Underived Mind wrt Being Itself (…BTW that is evidence that you ought to stop telling Christians what they “really” believe…).

The explanatory power of each differs with respect to the means/ends of reason, of good, of mind, of the self, of the physical order of contingent X’s, of the beautiful, of person, and so on and in fact it’s not even close.

Given Christianity — God has given reason as an eye and also the peculiar decree that reality will in fact retain intelligibility — contra Sean Carroll’s illusory knot of equivocations in his slow and gentle slide into “useful but not true“. Now, a few of those other Theisms peripheral to Christianity are indistinguishable from that mess once we travel far enough downstream / upstream, and so perhaps you’d find them quite intriguing.


Explanatory power amid distinctions isn’t a difficult concept.

A second, separate excerpt from http://disq.us/p/1sozwi7 with the following:

Intuition and Un-Intuition and Metaphysics:


[2] Feser's "Unintuitive Metaphysics" at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/08/unintuitive-metaphysics.html  

Then, unpacking this:

We All Emote, Perceive, Intuit, And Reason Within The Same Pool

Christian: “….the fact that Christians do trust God in the midst of their suffering should be intriguing to atheists….”

Non-Theist: “….in the case of Allah, you are an atheist…When you see people worship him, even in difficult situations, you are not confused, intrigued or obsessed with getting to know Allah better. That is the same reaction “overall” atheists, who have given this topic any thought, have when we witness Christians doing the same thing. It is not a mystery….”

Non-Theist: “….Humans have a remarkable capacity for resilience in the face of very real suffering and threats to well-being; this is true irrespective of faith in a particular deity, or no faith at all….”

Non-Theist: “….anyone reading who thinks that is the only source of hope through suffering [should] know that there is hope even outside of Christianity….”

Breaking it all down takes more than 100 words, so, let’s start:

We have to avoid being confused by the downstream fact that an Atheist and a Muslim and a Christian all in fact emote, perceive, intuit, and reason within the same irreducible transcendentals. The question on the table is one of degree. As in:

Truth is perceived by all and that is not challenged. In fact, given the Christian metaphysic, it is a metaphysical impossibility for ANY possible world to be void of the ontic of God, so to speak, or to put it another way, it is…….” (end excerpt)

[Recall] from [Comment 4] the following:
Lastly, We All Emote, Perceive, Intuit, And Reason Within The Same Pool and that has implications, but not what you seem to suppose. See http://disq.us/p/1sozwi7 The fact that the Atheist and Muslim and Hindu and Christian and so on are found experiencing the same body of emotions and feelings and intuitions, and so on, speaks to convergence, and if one means to apply convergence as a “Metric” well then, again, that has implications, but not what you seem to suppose.
[Comment 15 – Part 1 of 2]

Once again, Faith is not belief in Non-Christian Straw-men:

Per our discussion of Category 1 […see Comment #12 …] (…plain and boring and evenhanded rules of historicity…) and Category 2 […see Comment #12 …]  (…your seeming move to infer that those rules CAN and DO comment on Metaphysical Naturalism…) we found the following:

Per your evidence handling techniques Jesus probably didn’t exist and Pontius Pilate probably didn’t have Jesus executed. That’s your conclusion after looking at “the evidence”. Bart Ehrman and, well most everyone, disagrees with you. Yes Jesus existed. Sorry. Yes Pontius Pilate existed. Sorry. Yes Pilate ordered Christ’s execution Sorry.

Your moves there are a nice demonstration of something so basic and elementary with respect to plain old even-handed rules of historicity that we’ve all the evidence we need to conclude that Category 1 isn’t accessible to you, for many reasons.

As for Category 2, you’ve demonstrated several times over at Twitter that you cannot draw even rudimentary distinctions.

For example, causal agents (physicians) intentionally manipulate physical systems and induce seizures in so-and-so — and/or — causal agents intentionally manipulate physical systems and suspend X’s on top of water — but you claim that the Christian Metaphysic believes otherwise.

That you NOW AGAIN cannot draw distinctions and actually equate reality’s explanatory terminus as per Pantheism to Allah to Celestial Teapots to the Trinitarian Life v. Underived Mind wrt Being Itself is more evidence that you ought to stop telling Christians what they “really” believe (…and that you’re not grasping actual distinctions…).

As I pointed out to you elsewhere, my goal is exposing 1. the uninformed status of your claims about what Christians claim and 2. the areas where you leave out key premises in the Christian’s body of claims.

That you NOW AGAIN cannot draw distinctions (Allah, Pantheism, Celestial Teapots, Etc.) is satisfying those two goals. Three more basic examples for you follow below. Please respond to their content as I wouldn’t mind still more demonstrations on your part of missing fairly basic distinctions:
This isn’t complicated. You merely need to stop re-defining the Christian’s actual metaphysic and instead interact with that metaphysic’s actual premises.

Christians don’t believe people can walk on water just as they don’t believe that animals can talk — recall from our exchange at Twitter that in BBI and DBS (deep brain stimulation) you’re missing rudimentary distinctions even as you (also) miss yet other rudimentary distinctions in equating Pantheism to Allah to Celestial Teapots to the Trinitarian Life v. Being Itself.

Those two “misses” are all one package.

It is noteworthy that long before we understood the concept of causal content v. Being, Mind, and, say, the syntax of “X brought Y back to life” — and so on, the Christian’s predictions and prescriptions nicely affirmed then the science and observations of today v. such causal agents and DBS and intentionality and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks (and Etc.) — so again it is your redefinitions which are antiscientific — so again we’ve looped back to http://disq.us/p/1lwb0de 

[Comment 15 – Part 2 of 2]

An Evidence Based Calculation:

[Jesus executed by Pontius Pilate] is probably false, and none of that existed according to your evidence handling techniques. That’s just basic evenhanded application of historicity.

Per your evidence handling techniques Scripture claims that animals can talk. Despite the fact that it doesn’t. That’s just basic reading comprehension v. context and metanarrative.

Per your evidence handling techniques, Scripture denies science because it denes that Causal Agents (Men, God, Angels fallen or otherwise, and so on) can and do induce seizures in men / people. Yet Scripture affirms that causal agents can and do induce seizures in people. The syntax of causation vis-à-vis ECT / electroconvulsive therapy is undeniable. That’s just basic reading comprehension v. context and metanarrative.

It’s your technique. That is why trusting you with the time and effort of unpacking (discussing, debating, etc.) the term Being Itself, God, Necessity, Contingency, Metaphysical Naturalism’s forced reductions to absurdity as affirmed by Non-Theists themselves, final intelligibility, and so on, isn’t yet justifiable.

Had you started of with questions instead of false claims it’d be justifiable to trust that various amounts of time/effort are merited.

So you see? It is an evidence based decision to mistrust your request for time, energy, and effort.

Interesting how that works….

From another comment in the same thread — a brief addition for the proverbial box we call Historicity as per the evidence based affirmation of Jesus / execution / Pilate / etc. — https://ehrmanblog.org/did-pilate-learn-his-lesson/

I found these interesting, though I haven’t fully explored the website itself yet:


[Comment 16]

Faith vs. Magic


[A] Faith vs. [B] Shouts of Hume's Black Magic, Zeus, Celestial Teapots, and Other Tactics

“Snakes can talk” and “Eating berries”? It is impressive that you have somehow come to believe that per the Christian metaphysic eating berries and swallowing them into the gastrointestinal tract is the means to eternal life. Ancient culture's modes of narrative, linguistic genres, and writing tools seem unfamiliar to you. BTW, snakes don't talk, and, there isn’t anything in Scripture which says otherwise.

That said, Google DBS (deep brain stimulation), BBI (brain brain interface) and "remote control animal". Try all three together. Uncanny. But okay, so you can't tell the difference between the real-world of various extrapolations of DBS / BBI (...on the one hand...) and an animal actually talking or whatever (...on the other hand...). That's fine. We get it. Drawing distinctions isn’t for everyone, especially when motives get in the way.

We get that you're clinging to yesteryear's scientifically debunked Humean/Mackiean emotion-driven shouts of "Black Magic!!". But science marches on and converges with Scripture's syntax of Causal Agents intentionally manipulating and rearranging nature's fundamental building blocks and fashioning never-before-seen collocations. The Periodic Table of the Elements has a few examples. As does DBS and BBI.

And we're just kiddies in the sandbox. Never mind what that which is referenced by the term "Being Itself / GOD" does on a cool morning stroll.

Granted, neither Zeus nor Zeus’ personal Celestial Tea Pot brings anything to the table there. You seem unaware of the nature of [A] what we as causal agents do on the bench top with respect to building novel elements, novel molecules, new cells and tissues, and so on, and [B] just what it is the Causal Agent referenced by the term "Being Itself / GOD" actually brings to the table and [C] how both A and B differ from Zeus and Zeus’ personal Celestial Tea Pot in all of this.

None of this is new information and, we’re not discussing anything related to linguistics and genre. Rather you are merely being presented with science. But carry on. Berries and intestinal mucosa and eternal life. Emotive anti-scientific shouts of "Black Magic!". Bizarre statements about "violations" of strong/weak nuclear forces, electromagnetic forces, and other contours of physical systems. You're on a roll.

Meanwhile Science has faith in the lame man walking one day and spends billions.

Why don't our Non-Theist friends share in that doxastic experience along with the Christian? Or this:

[A] Iron miraculously floats on water all by itself.

[B] Causal Agents (God, Man) intentionally rearrange and manipulate nature's fundamental building blocks and invent novel -- never before seen -- elements... and other arrangements all the time, and, also, Causal Agents manipulate physical systems and suspend physical things on water.
That's how iron "floats" on water. We do it all the time. God is the Causal Agent where miracles are concerned.

Christians reject [A] and affirm [B] with respect to the definition of the term "miracle".

That's not complicated.
Quote: ".....Dr. William Lane Craig defines miracles as extraordinary acts of providence which should not be conceived, properly speaking, as violations of the laws of nature, but as the production of events which are beyond the causal powers of the natural entities existing at the relevant time and place. (.. https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/scholarly-writings/the-existence-of-god/creation-providence-and-miracle/ ..) last accessed on July 13, 2015) ....)" -- Taken from http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2017/07/05/miracles-are-useless-if-2/  End Quote.
Someday you may actually discuss an actual philosophical argument relevant to the question of the reality or non-reality of God. So far though you've not only not done so, and, you've actually done worse. By that I mean that what you *have* offered so far is actually arguing against concepts which are located farther and farther *away* from the Christian metaphysic.

Resurrection? The Periodic Table of the Elements?

What about those? Your premises seem to be as follows:

Premise 1. Improbable events probably never happen.

Premise 2. Scripture is wrong because building tissues and rearranging nature's fundamental building blocks doesn't happen often enough.

Premise 3. If Scripture is right it's not evidence for Scripture's narrative.

It’s not clear what you want to do with that and, perhaps we are to conclude that things on the bench top are most probably fiction. Different causal agents in different circumstances seems like new information to you. That's unfortunate as it is becoming clear that yours is a premise based not on science, physical systems, and causal agents, but, rather, your premise is based solely on your presuppositions about what sort of causal agents exist.

Your claim that even if such rearranging and manipulation happened back then and/or there as it does now/here, that still would not count as evidence for the Scripture's narrative, for the Necessary Being, is interesting. Perhaps you are thinking of Aliens as per the fallacious silliness of http://disq.us/p/1ghv3oq

That may or may not be true and, like all claims, all data points would have to be collected and so forth, but, it’s difficult to put much weight on your own personal interpretation given that you’ve demonstrated several areas where you are not up to speed on science. You didn't understand the basic idea behind DBS and BBI as per http://disq.us/p/1lsvee6 , as a basic example.

You seem unaware of the nature of [A] what we as causal agents do on the bench top with respect to building novel elements, novel molecules, new cells and tissues, and so on, and [B] just what it is the Causal Agent referenced by the term "Being Itself / GOD" actually brings to the table and [C] how both A and B differ from Zeus and Zeus’ personal Celestial Tea Pot in all of this.

Evidence for that is your tendency to invoke various Celestial Teapots in your thinking as per http://disq.us/p/1lwp867 which reveals that you are not informed on the metaphysic under review, namely the Christians, probably the result of too much time at internet atheist pages rich in sound-bites and short on facts.

That is probably why we don't find you unpacking http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/08/five-proofs-is-out.html within Christianity's claims. Worse, you think Scripture claims that snakes can talk, which is simply a problem with some fundamentals in reading comprehension, drawing distinctions, and so on. The fact that you are for some bizarre reason enamored with Hume's Magic is apparent as per http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/09/flew-on-hume-on-miracles.html and as per http://disq.us/p/1lsvee6

One begins to wonder about your reasons for being here. Perhaps these will help:


Given that you seem unfamiliar with some of the basics, perhaps these basic intro's will help:

Perhaps there is some common ground in our mutual enjoyment of Tea Time. If you don't mind, perhaps you'd allow me to borrow a few of your Celestial Tea Pots as, it seems to me, you've quite a collection with several to spare. Some of my favorites are the following and, as I understand it, they come not only in Mint flavor these days but also a sort of Cherry-Picked-Dash of self-medicinal herb:




Since you like magical beings who run about with Hume's Shouts of Black Magic, the flavors of both http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/10/magic-versus-metaphysics.html and also http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/04/one-god-further-objection.html are popular of late. With respect to the doxastic experience and our belief states, your brushstrokes are too wide:


Of course, echoing said Black Magic is also easier than unpacking http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/08/five-proofs-is-out.html within Christianity's claims.

[Comment 17]

Faith & Justified Belief & the Doxastic Experience

…also we can say….

Faith vs the fallacy of “…atheism is “nothing-but” non-belief…”

See https://metachristianity.blogspot.com/2019/01/faith-non-theism-fallacy-of-non-theism.html

Also see [Comment 30] and [Comment 32] and [Comment 33] and [Comment 34] for context.

[Comment 18 – Part 1 of 3]

Faith is not belief in Non-Christian premises.

Faith In The Old Testament Was Not Void Of Reasoning Through The Knowns.

With respect to your premises surrounding the physics of neurons and sodium pumps, neuroscience, faith, and the Christian premises populating the Christian Metaphysic with respect to 1. Underived Mind via 2. the Trinitarian Life with respect to 3. Being Itself, what am I missing, if anything:

[a] Using perception, reason, and observation to interpret the physical order is new. 3000 years ago no one did that.

[b] The final intelligibility of the physical order, which is rejected by Sean Carroll’s Poetic Naturalism (…it’s messy… Presentism and/or Eternalism and so on…), is also rejected by the Christian metaphysic.

[c] Faith is anti-scientific.
[d] Neuroscience, therefore No-God.
[e] Faith affirms “violations” of “physics”.

[f] Knowledge decreases (nadirs, etc.), therefore No-God.
[g] Knowledge increases (peaks, etc.), therefore No-God.
[h] Knowledge changes, therefore No-God.

[i] Should the Christian just GRANT the Non-Theist all knowledge of all physical systems, then there would be no more “GAPS” left in Knowledge with respect to physical systems, and, so, then we arrive once again at: therefore No-God.

Yes/No?


[Comment 18 – Part 2 of 3]

Faith is not belief in Non-Christian premises.

Faith In The Old Testament Was Not Void Of Reasoning Through The Knowns.

One of our Non-Theist friends offered the following argument with respect to Hebrews 11:
“But how did the ancients understand reason and evidence? Did they naively trust their observations or did they assume that the data should be explained by testable hypotheses (or by deferring to some such scientific explanations)? What rules of logic did they allow for? Did they rule out as irrational what we would call fallacies (such as the confirmation bias or appeals to popularity)? What structures of argumentation did they use? Did they even think their beliefs should be justified by arguments (by logically-related statements)? …..This is to say that the biblical view of faith is largely noncognitive. To speak of the rationality of biblical faith is to make a category mistake. Faith for the New Testament doesn’t have much epistemic value, since the truth of Christian doctrines is presupposed or argued for fallaciously (by appealing to hearsay, anecdotes, coincidences, etc)…..”
Think it through. The doxastic experience of being human testifies, on all counts, against your premise.

That is why I raised the issue of Changes In Knowledge. All you have done is appeal to a different degree of Knowledge with respect to The Knowns and then argued as-if that particular degreesomehow extracts what cannot be extracted, which is that the human being trusts the Knowns while navigating Unknowns.

Perception, Authority, Books, Others, Feelings, Experience, and so on all press into the Doxastic Experience and populate the landscape of Knowns and it is, quite inexplicably, your claim here that there can be some sort of generalized “for the most part” leveled over an entire swath of Human existence, as if there was, for the most part, no interface with Perception, Authority, Books, Others, Feelings, Experience, and so on (…the Knowns…) as said Swath traversed life’s many Unknowns.

You’ve expunged an entire swath of Humanity’s doxastic experience and attempted to justify that expunging. But to expunge Knowns from the doxastic landscape is untenable. The simple Child has his Knowns, and if that is only the voice of his Mother is irrelevant, as in it makes no difference to that mind’s Knowns/Unknowns landscape (…in that child’s noetic frame / doxastic experience…).

Degrees of Knowledge just won’t do the work you want it to do.

Faith: Christian definitions related to the doxastic experience: http://disq.us/p/1gbijxo

Corrie ten Boom, no stranger to the hard problem of evil, commented,
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
[A] We know and have good reasons to trust someone. [B] Then, there is all that happens outside and around ourselves and that person.

“B” cannot “un-do” “A” unless and until “B” somehow demonstrate otherwise in “A”.

Right there with Corrie ten Boom is a new challenge in how to get a man into orbit around the earth, which cannot “un-do” the mathematics we will trust, lean on, to work through the problem. Is it confusing at first? Well yeah. Is it hard? Well yeah. But that’s got nothing to do with leaning on, trusting, that which we’ve rational reasons to trust, namely mathematics, as we journey through, work through, the problem, the unknown.

[Comment Part 18 – 3 of 3]

Faith is not belief in Non-Christian premises.

Faith In The Old Testament Was Not Void Of Reasoning Through The Knowns.

As we follow your line of reasoning further it becomes apparent that in order to expunge Knowns from this or that Swath of Humanity’s doxastic experience (…for the most part…and etc…) and then try to cram that into Scripture, you have to go through all sorts of contortions.

You have to, first, stop appealing to the motives of editorial boards “back-then” because what we are left with records all of the many Knowns listed in the previous comment and, secondly, you have to keep expunging from Scripture all the areas in which immediate experience is appealed to and all the areas where reason unpacking nature (Natural Theology) is appealed to, and all the areas where our own human failings are appealed to, and all the …..and all the…. and all the…

It’s a circular sort of dance that must never cease in its expunging of Scripture’s content from Scripture’s content and which must never cease in its expunging of our own undeniable human / doxastic experience from our own undeniable human / doxastic experience until, at last, all knowns have been extracted, so to speak.

Such circles are problematic.

So problematic that in fact we have come full circle and landed again here:

[f] Knowledge decreases (nadirs, etc.), therefore No-God.

[g] Knowledge increases (peaks, etc.), therefore No-God.

[h] Knowledge changes, therefore No-God.

[i] Should the Christian just GRANT the Non-Theist all knowledge of all physical systems, then there would be no more “GAPS” left in Knowledge with respect to physical systems, and, so, then we arrive once again at: therefore No-God.

And so on.

[Comment 19]

Faith, Science, Time, Reference Frame, & Absurdity

Time itself is a “Frame of Reference Dependent Reality” and, therefore, we conclude that Reference Frames matter. In fact, should one’s claims about reality’s fundamental nature be based entirely upon this or that contingent reference frame (such as Time itself is) then in fact one has stopped too soon and one is, ultimately, by intention committing an irrational move in that choice to stop “there”. 

That is why:

The Big Bang? Evolution? Defining one’s T.O.E. by mutable and contingent Reference Frames is, ultimately, irrational. We come upon the widely accessible discussion on Presentism and/or Eternalism and, therein:

The topic of this or that frame of reference.

The 4D Block Universe and Eternalism finds the illusory array of equivocations termed “the embedded conscious observer”. As it turns out […see other comments here related to Presentism / Eternalism…18, 19, 26, 30, 32, 38, 40…] there is no, none, slice of the embedded conscious observer that is “you” which in fact Knows/Sees Tomorrow (…the Future Self…) in the same sense and the same degree that “you” Know/See Today (…the Now Self…) and therein one cannot escape the reality that one is in fact defining one’s T.O.E. by a contingent reference frame.

Now, that is fine to do as the Christian does as well, and so did Einstein in his thought experiments which preceded the formal development of SR / GR.  Where the problem lies is at the arrival of the “Y” in the road whereat one must either 1. eliminate the coherence of the “the embedded conscious observer” or else 2. retain the conscious observer from A to Z.  Now, that “1.” just is Non-Theism’s Presentism and/or Non-Theism’s Eternalism (…whichever… or both…), whereas, that “2.” just is the Christian metaphysic’s Presentism and its Eternalism as BOTH are found coherent in Theism, well, in the Trinitarian’s metaphysic.  

The interface amid the A Theory and B Theory of Time forces absurdity if one holds to either A-Theory Full Stop or else B-Theory Full Stop. One must expunge far too much in either case. […see other comments here related to Presentism / Eternalism…18, 19, 26, 30, 32, 38, 40…]  Whereas, it is only in and by Logos where we expunge NEITHER. It may initially appear that this is advocating expunging both, however, it is just the opposite. 

Infinite Consciousness: The Reference Frame of Totality, or, the Absolute’s Own Reference Frame, finds the only logically possible terminus of explanation. To define one’s T.O.E. by contingent frames of reference is ultimately irrational. Should one push onward one will find that logical necessity forces all termini into the Absolute’s Own Frame of Reference, into Totality and nothing less than Self-Reference vis-à-vis the Divine Mind.  It is rationally justified to reject your Map’s (…which is “physics-full-stop”…) array of reductions to absurdity. Additionally, you are claiming to define all actual and all possible worlds by nothing more than a contingent frame of reference (Full Stop).  The contingent frame isn’t the reduction to absurdity. Rather, your Full-Stop is.
The Non-Theist must make up his mind: Eternalism or Presentism? Either way, left with only [Physics Full Stop], Non-Theism gently slides into an illusory knot of equivocations. Whereas, Non-Theism easily subsumes, and houses, BOTH, though that statement carries us beyond [Physics Full Stop]. That’s not the point of this comment though, as in defending Theism. Rather, the point is to push Non-Theism to ITS terminus and, then, await that inevitable and gentle slide.

Infinite time would metaphysically sum to an infinite contingency. Then, from there, the difference between an infinite contingency (…on the one hand…) and the Necessary — metaphysically void of contingency — (…on the other hand…) is NOT, as our mind sort of by default gently slides into thinking, “just a little bit less” than infinite. The categories are not “almost nearly the same“. The fact that the Necessary knows and/or subsumes the entirety of an infinite contingency and all contingent frames of reference is a fact which speaks not to the near sameness of the two but to the radical and ontic disparity which we find and which at first shocks us.

Then, from there, if we miss that and allow that default slip, we miss something fundamental about what it is we are in fact referencing in the term “GOD” / “Being Itself“.
“….Furthermore, what “allows us to speak the language of causes and effects” has nothing essentially to do with tracing series of events backwards in time. Here again Carroll is just begging the question. On the Aristotelian-Scholastic analysis, questions about causation are raised wherever we have potentialities that need actualization, or a thing’s being metaphysically composite and thus in need of a principle that accounts for the composition of its parts, or there being a distinction in a thing between its essence or nature on the one and its existence on the other, or a thing’s being contingent. The universe, however physics and scientific cosmology end up describing it – even if it turned out to be a universe without a temporal beginning, even if it is a four-dimensional block universe, even if Hawking’s closed universe model turned out to be correct, even if we should really think in terms of a multiverse rather than a single universe – will, the Aristotelian argues, necessarily exhibit just these features (potentialities needing actualization, composition, contingency, etc.). And thus it will, as a matter of metaphysical necessity, require a cause outside it. And only that which is pure actuality devoid of potentiality, only what is utterly simple or non-composite, only something whose essence or nature just is existence itself, only what is therefore in no way contingent but utterly necessary — only that, the classical theist maintains, could in principle be the ultimate terminus of explanation, whatever the specific scientific details turn out to be…..” (E. Feser)
Another way of alluding to this slip into the metaphysical absurdity of “just a little bit less” than infinite is the following quote as we approach the radical category change in moving from non-being and into being:
“This is arguably the besetting mistake of all naturalist thinking, as it happens, in practically every sphere. In this context, the assumption at work is that if one could only reduce one’s picture of the original physical conditions of reality to the barest imaginable elements — say, the “quantum foam” and a handful of laws like the law of gravity, which all looks rather nothing-ish (relatively speaking) — then one will have succeeded in getting as near to nothing as makes no difference. [Yet] in fact, one will be starting no nearer to nonbeing than if one were to begin with an infinitely realized multiverse: the difference from non-being remains infinite in either case. All quantum states are states within an existing quantum system, and all the laws governing that system merely describe its regularities and constraints.
Any quantum fluctuation therein that produces, say, a universe is a new state within that system, but not a sudden emergence of reality from nonbeing. Cosmology simply cannot become ontology. The only intellectually consistent course for the metaphysical naturalist is to say that physical reality “just is” and then to leave off there, accepting that this “just is” remains a truth entirely in excess of all physical properties and causes: the single ineradicable “super-natural” fact within which all natural facts are forever contained, but about which we ought not to let ourselves think too much.” (by D.B. Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss) 
The 4D Block universe as it relates to the A/B theories of Time is interesting. As is Presentism. Short of Theism the defense of each is embedded in physics (obviously). To employ Presentism via Non-Theism is to employ something worse than an infinite regress, which is Time as an infinite contingency (…there’s a subtle difference as it relates to reference frame…), particularly as it depends on a contingent frame of reference — throughout.

The opposite move is eternalism which again employs physics and the contingent frame of reference, but there the move is to eliminate Time, change, and the contingent frame of reference ITSELF. There are reasons why the baggage of metaphysical naturalism piles up in BOTH of those, unable to avoid, not gaps, but absurdities.

Those reasons are not in the scope of a comment etc., and the purpose of pointing out the proverbial baggage (…read Sean Carroll’s The Big Picture … https://strangenotions.com/the-big-problem-with-sean-carrolls-poetic-naturalism/ ..) in a thread about Faith/Evidence is simply to allude to 1. that baggage and to 2. the rational alternative (…void of those pesky reductio’s …) afforded by the Christian’s metaphysic.

If one is following one’s evidence and one finds, upon following one’s Map, not Gaps but absurdities, then either the Map is wrong or else the lens focusing on the Map is wrong.

Once again:

The Reference Frame of Totality, or, the Absolute’s Own Reference Frame, finds the only logically possible terminus of explanation. To define one’s T.O.E. by contingent frames of reference is ultimately irrational. Should one push onward one will find that logical necessity forces all termini into the Absolute’s Own Frame of Reference, into Totality and nothing less than Self-Reference vis-à-vis the Divine Mind.  It is rationally justified to reject your Map’s (…which is “physics-full-stop”…) array of reductions to absurdity. Additionally, you are claiming to define all actual and all possible worlds by nothing more than a contingent frame of reference (Full Stop).  The contingent frame isn’t the reduction to absurdity. Rather, your Full-Stop is.

As it is, the term Atheism is so muddled and diffuse these days that I’ve found the terms Non-Theism and [Physics Full Stop] to be more emphatic about what is actually in play (…lack of belief in X is fine, but irrelevant..). Perhaps helpful would be https://www.metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/

[Comment 20]

Faith & Intentionality & Time & Change
“…Your argument that there must have been an uncaused cause, first mover, etc. is a perfectly valid justification for the idea that the universe began to exist without a cause….”
There’s your childhood beliefs in the Magic & Absurdity of No-Thing & No-Cause with respect to the universe again. Neither Sean Carroll, nor Stephen Hawking, nor the Christian metaphysic share / affirm your beliefs. In fact all three reject them.

Also, you seem to be equating causality and the universe to causality and processions within God with respect to the Trinitarian Life, which is a category error.


Evolution? Tracing the history of Non-Being to Being to Dirt to Neuron?

Irrelevant.

Recall that the Christian is happy to Grant you all knowledge of all physical systems such that there are no Gaps left in describing that particular history.

Why might that be so happily granted? Perhaps you’re leaving something out. But what? With the following [edit] we can add a bit more over in that corner of Evolution, Design, and Absurdity.  When the Non-Theist uses the term “design” in “…laptops are designed…” what emerges is incoherence, and that begins to emerge with the following complaint by many (not all) of our Non-Theist friends:
“The physics or causes within “design” with respect to “laptops are designed”? That is nothing more than the ontological fallacy.” 
First of all, in ANY discussion about the *Non*Theist's* *use* of the term "design" both Evolution and I.D. are irrelevant. What IS relevant about the *Non*Theist's* *use* of the term design in "…laptops are designed…" is the *Non*Theist's* causal map which he points to as he goes on about “design” and thereby muddies the waters.

That evasive charge of the ontological fallacy ends up labeling nature's four fundamental forces (fields) are fallacious. So again we ask: Designed laptops? Too often our Non-Theist friends are found evading the intersections involved when it comes to Intentionality (design), Mental States, John Searle's Carbon Networks, Downward Causation, and Causal Backgrounds.

The causal content of the map of nature’s four fundamental forces (…or whatever the Non-Theist wishes to invoke…) which describes the content of “design” in the phrase, “…laptops are designed…” is under review. YET, our Non-T. friends (not all, but enough) first agree and claim laptops are designed and THEN they ask that we ignore "that" (…and instead focus on Evolution and I.D. …) when in fact "that" is where the key fallacy awaits discovery by some, not all, but some of our Non-Theist friends.

Again: In ANY discussion about the *Non*Theist's* *use* of the term "design" both Evolution and I.D. are irrelevant. What IS relevant about the *Non*Theist's* *use* of the term design in "…laptops are designed…" is the *Non*Theist's* causal map which he points to as he goes on about “design” and thereby muddies the waters.

Mapping Reality: none of this is new information with respect to Intentionality (Design), Mental States, John Searle's Carbon Networks, Downward Causation, and Causal Backgrounds, as per:




A brief excerpt from some of that linked content for context:
The trend demonstrated by "Poetic Naturalism" (S. Carroll, etc.) corresponds to the fundamental nature of reality via Philosophical Naturalism which forces a fundamental conservation of non-design within and upon all "layers" of reality (...given the causal map of physics – full stop …). Carroll and other Non-Theistic physicists/philosophers more and more of late (…determined to remain true to their presupposition of No-God no matter the intellectual cost…) are merely affirming the only option they have left: The syntax of "X designed Y” with respect to space stations and laptops describes the same irreducible (causal) constitutions as does "X bounced off the floor" or “X rolled down the hill”. Literally. As in, for real.  Obviously that forces a radical deflationary truth value upon all semantics, the proverbial reductio ad absurdum. But then that's just what materialism (or PN, or Non-Theism, etc.) sums to, which is why we rationally reject that paradigm's bookkeeping. It's also why the Christian welcomes the anthology of physics in his own bookkeeping, as it's yet one more line of evidence which agrees with the predictions of his own “semantic ecosystem” (a phrase from J.H.) within his own metaphysical landscape.
A brief look at “Design, Causal Ecosystems, “X Designed Y”, Un-Designed Designers, And Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation Of Non-Design” is at https://www.metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-un-designed-designers-and-naturalisms-necessary-conservation-of-non-design/

Faith & Suffering & Reference Frame

Faith Pushes Through To The Absolute’s (God’s) (Totality’s) Reference Frame. Or, to say it another way:

Faith Trusts In The Known of God’s Goodness As It Navigates Life’s Many Unknowns

See [Comment 9] in this list.

To Create or Not To Create:
Exploring the anchor of God vis-à-vis God using [All Things] for Good and, also, “Granting Gratuitous Evil” to make that point of looping back to [All Things] which “cannot not be touched” by God/Being as [All-Things] are used both for [The Good] and by [The Good], as per:


[Comment 21]

Faith Has The Luxury Of Including All Available Data.


[1] “...my natural theology aspires to be as system-free as possible….”

[2] “What is your metaphysical system?” This question made me smile. I guess I don’t have one!”

It is worth noting that the Christian metaphysic is not reliant on any “one” metaphysical system. It has the luxury of allowing reason to lead the way. Just as in chemistry or physics, for there also the rational mind continues to embrace, say, “Fact ABC” from “History’s Timeline 777” and as new chemical and physics-based equations come into focus the chemist / physicist is, with reason as his guide, fully rational for holding onto what remains coherent and pulling in from other arenas as well. It’s not “all or nothing” in any genuine sense and that just is the nature of knowledge – and in fact Scripture actually predicts just that kind of interface when it comes to God, Man, Perception, and Insight.
The question of “Are My Theistic Arguments Dependent upon a Metaphysical System?” is looked at in the link here https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/are-my-theistic-arguments-dependent-upon-a-metaphysical-system and the short answer is, “Of course not!

But, for clarity, a few brief excerpts:
Question: “I would presume… that you are aware of the different metaphysical systems underpinning your different arguments. How do you reconcile these differences, if at all? What is your metaphysical system? Do you think that it is wise to defend arguments with such different and seemingly incompatible metaphysical assumptions? Doesn't this just make your case for the existence of God more incoherent? I ask this last question, because it seems to me that many atheists frequently misrepresent theistic arguments, and the biggest problem (I suspect) is ignorance of the metaphysical underpinnings of these arguments.”
Reply: “What is your metaphysical system?” This question made me smile. I guess I don’t have one! I mean, I’m a theist, a tensed time theorist, a Divine Command theorist, a substance dualist, an anti-realist about abstract objects, and, I suppose, many other things. But I don’t have any sort of system other than the composite of these various commitments. In any case, my natural theology aspires to be as system-free as possible in order to appeal as widely as possible to people of different persuasions.”
[Comment 22]

Faith Draws Distinctions: Iron Does Not Float On Water

[See comment #16 for context]

You’re equivocating. Or worse. Three times I presented you with weather or not Christians believe animals can talk (Scripture claims no such thing) and three times you inferred that I was denying Scripture or else quoted scripture. But if Scripture DOES draw the distinctions you are NOW finally conceding then it was your claim all along, and not the Christian’s, which denied / expunged scripture.

Now that we’ve agreed on the reality of those distinctions in Scripture, we arrive at our current location where you say there IS NO WAY to draw distinctions (…and so you actually equate…) amid reality’s metanarrative and explanatory terminus in/of 1. Pantheism to 2. Allah to 3. Celestial Teapots to 3. the Trinitarian Life v. Underived Mind wrt Being Itself.

Never mind Non-Theism’s affirmation of a Flat Earth as per the Edge, and End, of Reason. Carroll’s gentle slide ensues ~~ https://www.metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/

“No Way To Draw Distinctions” ?

Granted.

I’m satisfied with that stopping point of your analytical reach as it demonstrates a key element in your occasionally fallacious mode, which is one of the general goals. The reason for that goal is simply that this is a fairly common pattern with some of our Non-Theist friends.

One need not bother presenting arguments FOR Christianity when the questioner INSISTS that Christianity claims that iron just floats, all by itself, on top of water. Surely you can see why.

[Comment 23]

Faith and Confronting Fallacies

With respect to your two items, “How Would Jesus Blog?: Answering Online Adversaries Jesus’ Way” and also “argumentum ad fragenblitzen” (… https://www.thinkingchristian.net/posts/2015/01/saying-no-to-fragenblitzen/ ..), a few items:

Setting The Mirror” is certainly helpful, and at some point needed as it takes a purely intellectual exercise and personalizes it. My goal of eliciting demonstrations of where our Non-Theist friends expunge and/or re-define key elements out of the Christian’s body of premises addresses the first half of your goal there but not the second, and I agree that perhaps I should end with or merge into Setting The Mirror at some point in all such exchanges.

As you note in part 8’s “Dealing With Our Own Hearts” ~
“Who among us hasn’t felt the temptation to smack down some atheist for the utter ignorance of claiming  — in full confidence, as if they alone had access to truths we Christians have ignored for centuries! — that Jesus probably never even existed? (Or maybe you haven’t run into that one. That’s okay; you can feel free to substitute in your own most recently encountered “false fact.””
I think we agree that smack-downs are unacceptable, and I would add that “that” ought to instead play out as a goal of drawing out, or to elicit, to connect the dots, step by step… by… step, as it were.

There is value in starting with, say, “Christians believe that iron just floats, all by itself, on water… because the Bible says so….” and working through that progression of connecting the dots to “establish” that that premise is in fact “vacuous”.

Now, that said, I can’t help but agree that all of that is ..perhaps.. ..probably.. NOT a complete goal and/or effort and/or package unless and until one also Sets The Mirror (…via your book’s description…).

Lastly, it’s clear that AT SOME POINT a line is reached where, despite clarification, some of our Non-Theist friends will just dig in their proverbial heels and just insist that iron floats…. etc.

At that juncture it becomes prudent to Set The Mirror and to also leave off by pointing the Arrow God-ward.

[Comment 24]

A few fallacious definitions

“…I was merely asking how to tell which is true….”

“…I was merely asking how it is you can claim that sin can exist in the Church…”

[But you] didn’t ask “How”. Instead, you gave an example of disagreement — full stop — and then CLAIMED that there is no way to …tell which…  no way to first follow various premises “downstream” and “upstream” and thereby draw distinctions and then repeat that process with each distinction.

As per earlier comments, “…Weather it is Billy-Bob-Joe’s claim of Alien Abduction, or of QM, or of The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pantheism, and so on, the process is always the same: collect data, unpack premises, align all the dots, and… and… and so on…”

You’re denying the reality of gravity on the grounds of disagreement. But we all share in, live in, move in, and find our very being morphed by, Gravity — segue — the universal and necessary transcendentals you need to expunge in order to remain within Non-Theism and opine about “disagreement” are in the end far too costly.

On sin within the body of Christians on the planet (the Church) you again seem to stop too soon in that you are expunging Scripture’s metanarrative with respect to Knowledge, Church, Privation, Error, and change over time with respect to Knowledge. Increases / Decreases (Peaks, Nadirs, Fluxes, Etc.) in Knowledge within and across Time comports with reality as we see it. Read the Bible. AFTER the resurrection (…so it’s “the-church” now in Acts…) God interfaces with Peter about Peter’s racism. 

You’re asking, 
“But Peter is a Christian so why would God have to interact with Peter about Peter’s racism? Disagreement!! Lack of Knowledge!!” 
Well, that line of analysis is uninformed with respect to Scripture’s ACTUAL Metanarrative. Scripture simultaneously affirms the reality of that racism in the Church even as it affirms the fact that it is a part of privation’s pains (evil). We must take the WHOLE narrative.
“…okay, so there are differences in the different prophesies and different religions wrt core content and claims….but I was talking about the fact of this or that God in all of those, not about their differences…”
Which is why you’ve flip-flopped. Now you’re claiming there ARE hard distinctions. The next step is to figure out which carries reason into greater explanatory power?

Is it that you/we CANNOT tell? That we’ve NO means to interpret reality? Is reality intelligible?

Now you’re moving down that unfortunate path of having to defend not only [A] [Knowledge Equals Certainty] (…which all by itself is catastrophic to your polemic..) but also [B] [Knowledge Equals Certainty Without Disagreement] (…again catastrophic…).

Why are you claiming that, on Planet Earth — per Scripture’s predictions and prescriptions — that “A” and/or “B” are in-play? You’re re-defining. You’re expunging. You’re inventing Non-Christian straw-men.

Why?

[Comment 25]

Faith Is Not Coyne-esc

You’re so Coyne-esc because you seem to actually believe your own (fallacious) statements of “Christianity and Christians claims X!” despite the repeated demonstrations to the contrary (..never mind your Flip-Flopping…).

Part of my agenda is to demonstrate that your premises of what the Christian actually claims are too often misguided. You have not only demonstrated THAT, but, also, you of late have also demonstrated that your approach to defining Knowledge is misguided.

Defending the rational and evidence based paradigm that is Christianity in part entails drawing attention to the flimsy and misguided nature of premises employed to challenge said paradigm. If one’s premises cannot even make it past that initial gatekeeper WHILE digging in one’s heels and insisting that X is equal to Non-X then it’s reasonable to question one’s motives.

Motives:

As Feser observes, psychoanalysis is dangerous and is often abused. So he’s cautious. And therefore the following will do, as your premises are quite Coyne-esc:


[Comment 26]

Faith & Evidence

The definition of evidence seems to vary with one’s willingness to tolerate reductions to absurdity, or even “degrees” of said reductio(s) (…a case in point are discussions amid the trio of Physics, Eternalism, and Presentism…).

More generally, physics-full-stop, rationally followed, leads one beyond physics-full-stop, which is fine, as both the Theist and the Non-Theist agree that neither Cosmology nor Physics are convertible with Ontology. Well, most of our Non-Theist friends seem to “get” “that”.

But then that too loops us back to those many and varied “points” which our Non-Theist friends seem to never get around to, busy as they are dealing with the intellect’s richer patterns over inside of various stocks, bonds, and pesky bugs within Windows.

That loop also seems to inexplicably employ several slow drive-through-passes via “God-Of-Gaps” as if it were of some utility for their polemic (…hence we simply → GRANT http://disq.us/p/1njdjp5 ← our Non-Theist friends all knowledge of all physical systems…). Sure, traversing said points is often attempted by the Theist but what typically follows from our Non-Theist friends is a. various sorts of category errors related to some flavor of the fallacy of composition which then births some sort of fallacious god-of-the-gaps conflation for those pesky “points” being ignored, and then some flavor of b. the pains of brute fact, and, then, c. at some ontological seam somewhere, the end of reason itself is finally conceded which lands the entire affair not in the convertibility of the necessary transcendentals with respect to its own being but, rather, in the illusory shadows of non-being.

But then that concession is quickly dropped by our Non-Theist friends as some new complaint is raised in place of actually finishing one’s sentence. That is understandable given that “ontological seam” or “interface” and the need to avoid the absurdity of this or that “ontological cul-de-sac“. Obviously to affirm their Edge of Reason with respect to non-being just is to say that reason, rationally followed, leads one beyond one’s own unavoidably contingent reason and into the Necessary & Irreducible vis-à-vis Reason Itself. The Divine Mind presses in.

From there, well, the nature of the entire discussion immediately hits a hard “Y” in the road, wherein on one arm the Non-Theist is eager to abort lucidity’s necessary means and ends, while the Theist refuses such reductions to absurdity. The soft hedges vis-à-vis various Bud-Lite versions of Solipsism just can’t do the necessary work once we put any weight upon them.

Sean Carroll states, 
“….Our metaphysics must follow our physics. That’s what the word ‘metaphysics’ means….”
But of course that is not only backwards, it is incomplete. As Feser notes “….metaphysical premises that any possible natural science must presuppose. For that reason, they are more certain than anything science itself could in principle ever either support or refute….” (…see https://strangenotions.com/cosmology-and-causation/ …)

One’s T.O.E., or one’s Metaphysic, or one’s Explanatory Terminus, and so on, must both precede and outdistance descriptives of physical systems (physics). Else one has made the untenable claim that “Physics” (…or Cosmology…) is convertible with Ontology.

[Comment 27]

Faith & Zeus?

So far you seem to thrive on re-defining X into Non-X and then asking Christians to defend Non-X. So far all of our exchanges on Twitter sum to just that.

Logical necessity and logical absurdity – well what of “that” particular “box”?  It’s an easy enough box to follow through with, carrying its contents poutward to this or that terminus. Said box is only ONE contour of evidence, sure, but that you don’t allow yourself to interact with the Christian’s actual premises in even that one, isolated contour is itself evidence of your own modes within your own doxastic experience. It’s autohypnotic at best, dishonest at worst. As in:

[3] good’ol Zeus http://disq.us/p/1lydvkq

Unfortunately you’ve proven to be the proverbial Glib Internet Meme awash in an unfortunate Noetic Frame of Self-Deception in that you are forever intentionally leaving out the actual Christian metaphysic as you analyze… well… the…. Christian metaphysic (…just take a peek at our Twitter exchanges yesterday with respect to the definition of Faith… rocks just float on water all by themselves? That’s what the Christian metaphysic claims? Really? And so on…..).


It would be better for you to interact with people’s actual premises rather than your own re-definitions. Sure, we get that you believe, at bottom, that The Earth Is Flat as per https://www.metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/ but the Christian just isn’t obligated, intellectually or morally, to dance to such a flat and monotone melody.

[Comment 28]

Faith Equals Agnosticism Equals Theism Equals Atheism Equals Knowledge?

T. stated:
“So. I guess you weren’t joking when you said I was an agnostic theist. I do know the meaning of the word “agnostic.” You need not worry about my vocabulary. I have told you there are things that I cannot define in detail regarding God. That does not fit the meaning of the word “agnostic.” I know certain things to be true of God. I do not know everything. That’s just plain theism.”
What is odd about that is that T. actually had to say it at all. Our Non-Theist friends are found trying to Re-Define and Expunge until all DISTINCTIONS with respect to Knowledge / Agnostic / Theism are eliminated.

It seems an inevitable strawman in these discussions (…via our Non-Theist friends…) to travel down that unfortunate path of having to defend their untenable claim not only of [A] [Knowledge Equals Certainty] (…which all by itself is catastrophic to their polemic..) but also of [B] [Knowledge Equals Certainty Without Disagreement] (…again catastrophic…).

Themselves unable, or unwilling, to draw out even the most rudimentary DISTINCTIONS, they press in, eyes closed, fists clenched, shouting such silliness as “Agnosticism Equals Theism Equals Atheism Equals Knowledge” or some such Slice of some such Pie with respect to the contingent being’s noetic frame / doxastic experience.

Final intelligibility begins and ends in… in what? Well think it through – should reason itself finally be fail to retain being with respect to reality’s irreducible nature then we find reason amid non-being and land the entire Non-Theistic attempt NOT in the convertibility of the necessary transcendentals with respect to its own being but, rather, in the illusory shadows of non-being.

[Comment 29]


Faith Demanding Evidence

If you (our Non-Theist friends) should ever demand both evidence and lucidity of your own premises v. your own Metaphysical Naturalism, you will find both evidence and lucidity necessarily compelling your reason (…though not necessarily your will…) into [God Is].

That work would also force you to correct many of your misguided definitions with respect to the actual ontological referents of Christian premises.

Perception cannot meet the standard which you seem to be setting for “evidence”.  Your frustration is inevitable there. So long as you’re willing to cling to your beliefs in reductions to absurdity, in the illusory, in non-being rather than reason there at the end of Mind – in short – as long as you continue to believe in some sort of ontic Magic and/or Absurdity there is no form of perception capable of delivering what you mean when you say “evidence”.

You have to be willing to examine the unexamined beliefs of your youth and allow the discomfort that comes when Science, Logic, and Reason are placed at the front of the line, regardless of the cost.


[Comment 30]

Faith & The Concept Of An Explanatory Terminus:
“The reason is that for the classical theist, whatever else we mean by “God,” we certainly mean by that label to name the ultimate source, cause, or explanation of things. Properly to understand classical theism, the hostile atheist reader might even find it useful to put the word “God” out of his mind for the moment — given all the irrelevant associations the word might lead him to read into the present discussion — and just think instead of “the ultimate source of things.” (E. Feser)
To define one’s T.O.E. by contingent frames of reference is ultimately irrational. Should one push onward one will find that logical necessity forces all termini into the Absolute’s Own Frame of Reference, into Totality and nothing less than Self-Reference v. the Divine Mind.

I’ve “asked you to define your terms”. I’ve asked you to define the F.O.R. (Frame Of Reference) you perceive through, gaze through, as you arrive at these conclusions about the singularity that is [All-Of-Reality]. Earlier you equated that to presenting an argument. How/Why? Now you present it as being evasive. How/Why?

Your failure to demand lucidity from your own premises as you move from A to B to C won’t do. The metrics of the physical sciences have a Frame Of Reference. What is YOUR particular F.O.R. vis-à-vis science? And vis-à-vis [reality’s fundamental nature] or the 4D Block Universe, or [Reality]?

Apparently, if you mean to assert that scientific observation is not defined by this or that reference frame then in fact you, the embedded conscious observer, have no frame of reference — perceiving Tomorrow exactly as you perceive Today.

If you have no F.O.R. (Frame Of Reference) then you See/Know Tomorrow in the same sense and degree as you See/Know Today, as we (supposedly) find every slice in the 4D Block to be just as real as every other slice. Well, not actually. Not if we mean to refernce "you".  Everyone perceives, observes, that that is not the case. Yet you, here, count that undeniable observation as “gibberish”. I’m satisfied with your evasion there, or I’m satisfied that you define that undeniable perception as “gibberish” as it’s demonstrably absurd in that it eliminates the embedded conscious observer. It’s that inevitable slide of the embedded conscious observer into those knots of equivocations, into the illusory, into non-being. 





A brief excerpt which looks at that supposed landscape, with a bit of levity mixed in: 

Begin Excerpt:
Actually, there isn't any ontic-difference because the Change-In-Perception between the Now Self and the Future Self and the Past Self does not happen. You are actually a "Part" of the Block, which has many "Parts", even as you are, simultaneously, sort of hovering outside of it and looking down / over / across it and seeing different slices through different frames of reference. As the Conscious Observer your perception changes even as your perception never changes because there is no change nor anything to Q or Cause said change in your Perception as the Conscious Observer. "You" as the Conscious Observer are "simultaneously" both a Static / Motionless "Part" of the Block and an Observer hovering outside of the Block looking down / over / across it and seeing different slices through different frames of reference.
Which carries us full Circle as we repeat the cycle given that as the Conscious Observer you are, now, even still, a static / motionless "Part" of the Block such that your perception never changes, ,and, also, you are hovering / moving "such that" your perception changes as you look across / over different slices of the Block, because there is no change nor anything to Q or Cause said change your Perception as the Conscious Observer. Your perception as the Conscious Observer never changes even as your perception as the Conscious Observer changes as you observe things from different frames of reference.
Got it? Don't ask questions. Just believe.
Don't worry about Evidence and Reason with respect to all of that. Just have Faith. Well, not the Christian brand of faith. But, rather, the Non-Theist's straw-man "definition" of "what Christians mean by faith" as per:

Of course, as we move past Physics-Full-Stop, we begin to see why it is that the Christian does not reject the concrete reality of abstract objects, logic, eternalism, presentism, actuality, and so on in the setting of the Divine Mind and all which sums to Logos with respect to the "...metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility...." But, to get "there" we have to arrive "at", say, Intuition and/or Physics, and Etc., and then keep going to what is found beyond such vectors.
The fun but absurd parties hosted by the Three Stooges in the Town of Heavy-Meta, who go by the names of Solipsism, Scientism, & Positivism, just won't do for more than a few hours of, well, that fun but absurd party.

End excerpt. 

When I asked you to clarify your own frame of reference by which and through which you, the conscious observer, perceive reality, you commented,
“…your question makes zero sense. It's like asking what color is jealousy….”
I don’t mind you conflating physics for ontology. Also, I don’t mind you eliminating all ontological distinctions. I’m just curious how many steps here it will take to observe your inevitable slide (...on your own terms...) into [All-Is-Color] (so to speak).

Is it 1. you the embedded conscious observer or 2. your perceiving or 3. the reference frame of both 1. & 2. — which fails to line up with that singularity that is [All-Of-Reality]? 

On your own terms we are forced to ask: The singularity is, say, Color. Which of the 3 isn’t?
“…..Neither, because the singularity that is all of reality (by which you mean god) doesn't exist. Hence all this talk of reference frame is meaningless…..”
The singularity YOU are defining isn’t God. You're being asked about YOUR explanatory terminus. You’re evading. If you 1. cannot or 2. will not unpack your own frame of reference through which you perceive and measure and define the singularity that is [All-Of-Reality] then I can only conclude that you 1. cannot or 2. will not. The fate of the embedded conscious observer will have to wait.
“…. E. Feser is **assuming** presentism in his response, and he's offered no justification for it. Better yet, he's presupposing presentism. Hence his entire response begs the question….”
Irrelevant. The Christian metaphysic outreaches physics. BOTH Presentism & Eternalism are coherently accommodated (not your “Physics-Only” flavors). It’s YOUR reference frame and YOUR claims on change that you’re being asked about — to test your denial of absurdity.

If "you" have no Frame Of Reference then "you" Know Tomorrow in the same sense and degree as "you" Know Today. Everyone perceives, observes, that that is not the case. Yet you count that undeniable observation as “gibberish”. I’m satisfied with your demonstrably absurd definition there as it's evidence of your own "physics-full-stop" brand of T.O.E. and, again, it's a demonstration of that inevitable slide of the embedded conscious observer into knots of equivocations, into the illusory, into non-being.

To define one’s T.O.E. by contingent frames of reference is ultimately irrational. Should one push onward one will find that logical necessity forces all termini into the Absolute’s Own Frame of Reference, into Totality and nothing less than Self-Reference v. the Divine Mind (.. https://www.metachristianity.com/thoroughly-trinitarian-metaphysic/ ..).

So far you’ve sought to evade or else eliminate the contingent frame of reference with respect to the embedded conscious observer.

It is there that one is rationally justified in rejecting your Map’s array of reductions to absurdity.

Additionally, you’re claiming to define all actual and all possible worlds by employing nothing more than a contingent frame of reference (Full Stop). Or, we can say by “Physics Full-Stop”. The contingent frame isn’t the source of the forced absurdity. Your Full-Stop is.

E. Feser comments on “change” and a bit more:


“….what “allows us to speak the language of causes and effects” has nothing essentially to do with tracing series of events backwards in time.  Here again Carroll is just begging the question.  On the Aristotelian-Scholastic analysis, questions about causation are raised wherever we have potentialities that need actualization, or a thing’s being metaphysically composite and thus in need of a principle that accounts for the composition of its parts, or there being a distinction in a thing between its essence or nature on the one and its existence on the other, or a thing’s being contingent. 
The universe, however physics and scientific cosmology end up describing it – even if it turned out to be a universe without a temporal beginning, even if it is a four-dimensional block universe, even if Hawking’s closed universe model turned out to be correct, even if we should really think in terms of a multiverse rather than a single universe – will, the Aristotelian argues, necessarily exhibit just these features (potentialities needing actualization, composition, contingency, etc.).  And thus it will, as a matter of metaphysical necessity, require a cause outside it.  And only that which is pure actuality devoid of potentiality, only what is utterly simple or non-composite, only something whose essence or nature just is existence itself, only what is therefore in no way contingent but utterly necessary – only that, the classical theist maintains, could in principle be the ultimate terminus of explanation, whatever the specific scientific details turn out to be……. Change is the actualization of a potentiality, and unless we affirm this we will be stuck with a static Parmenidean conception of the world.  And that is not an option, because the existence of change cannot coherently be denied.  Even to work through the steps of an argument for the non-existence of change is itself an instance of change.  Sensory experience – and thus the observation and experiment on which empirical science rests – presupposes real change.  (Hence it is incoherent to suggest, as is sometimes done, that relativity shows that change is illusory, since the evidence for relativity presupposes sensory experience and thus change.) ….”
As you now evade E. Feser in addition to others, recall that the Christian metaphysic subsumes BOTH Presentism AND Eternalism. Not your Non-Theistic "Physics-Only" flavors of course. Your confusion there was revealed by your fallacious premise that God is EITHER inside Time OR outside of Time.

[…also see [Comment 33/34] for additional context…]

[Comment 31]

Faith Rationally Rejects Glorious Adventures of Childhood T.O.E.’s

If there is a burden of proof it is on the one demanding that we embrace, not gaps, but the many reductions to absurdity of this or that T.O.E.

Typically this is what we find our Non-Theist friends doing, as you do here, which develops over time with (initially) re-defining Christian premises into various straw man X’s. Then when it becomes unquestionable that they’ve done so, we often find the typical follow-up mode as we’ve found here with you, which is to then employ such a bizarre definition of “evidence” that in fact there can be no form of perception capable of delivering what you mean when you say “evidence”.

The reason for that is apparent, as it allows such folks to continue on in their unexamined beliefs of their youth’s glorious adventures vis-à-vis their childhood T.O.E.’s. The titles of such wonder-year nostalgia are many but include at least the following as required reading:
  • Magical Stories of Ontological Cul-De-Sacs
  • Positivist Folk Tales
  • Legends of the Good Lord Empiricism
  • Glorious Humean/Mackiean Dragons
  • Fables of Illusory Non-Entities.
  • And various other adventures mixed in to fill in the boring Gaps of childhood.
Continuing in such unexamined beliefs is of course far easier than allowing the discomfort which comes when Science, Logic, and Reason are placed at the front of the line.
…beyond reason….”
Don’t you mean “beyond the argument from reason” or "beyond the rationalist argument"?  

To establish that you’ll have to first address and unpack that argument.  “Being Itself” in the classic sense carries forward to “Reason Itself” as we traverse the necessary transcendentals and there again at some point your own paradigm finds Reason fading into non-entity –  into non-being. That, however, is your choice as you claim that you don’t believe in the undeniable fact that is Being Itself as such saturates reality with nothing less than Speech / Communique.  That is not, and can never be, a justification to appeal to Reason Itself.  Wait…. for... it...

OH! those Glorious Adventures of your childhood are so, so hard to let go of.

[Comment 32]

Fallacy: Faith In One Fewer God Than The Christian = Atheism

Fallacy: Atheism =  “Nothing-But” Non-Belief

First, see [Comment 17] and [Comment 30] for more context. Then, we arrive at the nature of the question here, which has significant overlap with the “One Fewer God” or “One Less God” challenge often foisted as a challenge against the Christian, or more precisely as a claim which the Non-Theist makes with respect to his own belief-state. The core of that is obviously fallacious given the fact that the doxastic experience is not – and cannot be – a vacuum void of belief and given the fact that all of our own upstream beliefs give life to all of our downstream claims upon what counts as rational inquiry and what counts as rational metrics.

Therein everyone has his or her explanatory terminus:
“The reason is that for the classical theist, whatever else we mean by “God,” we certainly mean by that label to name the ultimate source, cause, or explanation of things. Properly to understand classical theism, the hostile atheist reader might even find it useful to put the word “God” out of his mind for the moment — given all the irrelevant associations the word might lead him to read into the present discussion — and just think instead of “the ultimate source of things.” (E. Feser)
The following is perhaps also helpful for context:
“…if I believed about God what the atheist believes about God, I wouldn’t believe in God either. So to be induced to somehow change my mind about belief in God…. I would have to accept the atheist’s misunderstanding of what God is…” (J. Black)
And also:
“….Actually it is quite easy to reject atheism because atheism is the rejection of a certain conceptualization or definition of the term God. Monotheism in the Abrahamic tradition conceptualizes God as the one source of all that exists. To claim that all that exists has no source or cause is simply to deny reality, most particularly, to deny science itself. Atheists can’t have it both ways: to deny that there is an explanation through science for all that exists and to deny that what we monotheists give the name God to as the source of all that exists Himself/itself exists. Atheism is inherently illogical and inconsistent…” (by J. Black)
Description isn’t explanation. Cosmology is not, and cannot “become”, ontology just as physics is not, and cannot “become”, ontology:
“This is arguably the besetting mistake of all naturalist thinking, as it happens, in practically every sphere. In this context, the assumption at work is that if one could only reduce one’s picture of the original physical conditions of reality to the barest imaginable elements — say, the “quantum foam” and a handful of laws like the law of gravity, which all looks rather nothing-ish (relatively speaking) — then one will have succeeded in getting as near to nothing as makes no difference. [Yet] in fact, one will be starting no nearer to nonbeing than if one were to begin with an infinitely realized multiverse: the difference from non-being remains infinite in either case. All quantum states are states within an existing quantum system, and all the laws governing that system merely describe its regularities and constraints.
Any quantum fluctuation therein that produces, say, a universe is a new state within that system, but not a sudden emergence of reality from nonbeing. Cosmology simply cannot become ontology. The only intellectually consistent course for the metaphysical naturalist is to say that physical reality “just is” and then to leave off there, accepting that this “just is” remains a truth entirely in excess of all physical properties and causes: the single ineradicable “super-natural” fact within which all natural facts are forever contained, but about which we ought not to let ourselves think too much.” (by D.B. Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss)
Regarding J.B.’s comment about science and one’s source, you have Eternalism and/or Presentism to work with. Non-Theistic Physicists are not hard to find with respect to each and perhaps you can read over in that corner. since, on your view, importing the content of that topic into these discussions amounts to unintelligible nonsense (on your view).  

Keep in mind what it is that E. Feser references in the above quote and why it is that the box that is your "in principle unintelligible" is the box that is the "in principle void of explanation" which sums to your own "god" there in your own terminus of explanation in Brute Fact. 

The Arrow in question unmasks the fact that permitting frail and contingent reference frames to define one’s T.O.E. is (initially) inexplicable and (ultimately) irrational. It sometimes seems that our Non-Theist friends really do not comprehend the sheer Totality of our dependence upon the unavoidable Ontic Arrow of the Absolute’s Own Reference Frame whether we are traveling Downstream or Upstream.

Wittgenstein–esc indeed, only, the Christian refuses to settle for a half-narrative. Any “X” which one discusses must traverse our own contingent frame of reference. And that is fine. That is not the "problem" (...the mere fact of having to perceive in and by and through contingent frames of reference...).  The contingent conscious observer does not house, and cannot house, the Absolute's Own Reference Frame, that of Totality, that of The Necessary Being, and yet that fact on its own does not, cannot, preclude genuine knowledge. There is no forced absurdity YET.  Now yet…. But….a brief excerpt: 
…..Regarding the Flat World, the Non-Theist must not react too quick in his attempt to deny that he in fact does affirm such a world. The edge of the world just is the end of lucidity and such finds the illusory within the useful-but-not-true. That growing tide has displaced the timid Non-Theists of yesteryear who still hold on to their bizarre attempts at ontological cul-de-sacs, while the younger, bolder brand is far more eager to get to the point. Now, of course we don’t know the end of all physical systems and if the Non-Theist claims his agnosticism with respect to such systems, well then all that we can is that his move to agree with Christianity regarding physical systems is fine.
The Non-Theist’s World is not a Flat World “only because” we do not understand all of reality with respect to the physical sciences *nor* is it “only because” we do not understand all of reality with respect to all that lies beyond the metrics of the physical sciences. For in fact the Christian actually claims that there is that which awaits ahead – up over the horizon – which Scripture tells us is beyond all that we can ask or think. Hence the Non-Theist’s attempt to address the question on the table by employing his appeal to his belief-state being agnostic with respect to the ends of the physical sciences and/or all which awaits us beyond physical metrics is evidence that he does not understand the nature of the problem he thinks he is – but is not – addressing.
The “Flat World” is not Flat on Non-Theism because we do not understand all of reality, but, rather, it is the Non-Theist’s conflation of [A] that gap in knowledge for [B] an inexplicable intellectual right to [irrationally] embrace the absurd and reject logic and lucidity.
Non-Theists do the Christian’s work for us here as they follow logic and reason into the various cousins of solipsism. From there logic forces our hand into either a reductio ad absurdum or else into a reductio ad deum. Diving into “Being Itself”, which is the question on the table, is too often avoided by too many Non-Theists as, based on standard replies, such discussions don’t follow upstream premises far enough downstream to address the actual question on the table with respect to the trio of [1] “Being Itself” and [2] Brute Fact and [3] the Self-Explanatory.
The Edge of the Non-Theist’s Flat World just is the end of lucidity and such finds the illusory within the useful-but-not-true steering the ship. Not through this or that “layer”, but in fact through and through. It’s all about layers. Too often our Non-Theist friends talk as if a gap in knowledge is the point. It isn’t. The point is quite simple and it is the Non-Theist’s Edge there at the end of lucidity such that his complaint turns on the subtle but unavoidable premise that he has a reality in mind that is beyond mind, beyond lucidity, and beyond logic.
In their appeal to their belief-state and this or that layer of agnosticism in their attempts to deny that they do in fact affirm that the world is flat, they are already making one category error with respect to the term Reality and the term Edge. Often they do not recognize that and actually think – half way through these sorts of discussions – that the goal posts have changed, but that merely implies that they’ve not begun to understand the Christian’s metaphysic. Much less address its premises. Non-Theism’s logical progressions into the trio of [1] “Being Itself” and [2] Brute Fact and [3] the Self-Explanatory just is the T.O.E. (….Theory Of Everything…) which affirms that The World Is Flat…... [...excerpt from https://www.metachristianity.com/define-atheism/ ..]
[Comment 33]

Faith & Time & Frame of Reference

Note that perhaps [Comment 30] provides helpful context. The Absolute’s Own Reference Frame necessarily sums to Self-Reference as the Infinite cannot be defined in terms of the Finite (… see https://www.metachristianity.com/thoroughly-trinitarian-metaphysic/ …) and, also, we find that the Non-Theist misses the unavoidable fact that the Absolute houses a fundamental relationship with — not SOME — but ALL frames of reference whether Possible or Actual. That which the Christian metaphysic referents with the term “Being Itself” is not “either” inside of Time “or” outside of Time. 

The Divine Mind & Created Time:

God creates Time. Therefor we predict and find, eventually, that “Time” is not the Absolute and therein we conclude that Time is not the Absolute’s Own Reference Frame.

A. Is God vis-à-vis the Divine Mind 1. Inside of Reference Frame X or 2. Outside of Reference Frame X? Well BOTH of course.

B. Is God vis-à-vis the Divine Mind 1. Inside Time or 2. Outside Time? Well BOTH of course.  

C. Is “Being Itself” found inside of Time? If NOT then we’ve some sort of Actual World which is in fact void of Being, which is absurd.

D. Is “Being Itself” found outside of Time? If NOT then one must re-define the Christian term “God” / “Being Itself” and, even worse, we’ve a contingent X (…Time itself is contingent and not absolute…) which is contingent upon Non-Being, which is again absurd. Reason Itself may in fact “be non-being” but there too we run into inevitable absurdities (…on top of that necessary re-defining of Christian premises…).

In E. Feser’s “Five Proofs of the Existence of God” there is the chapter titled, "The Nature of God and of His Relationship to the World". There, as elsewhere, we find a trio:

1. Outside of Time: *God* – or Being Itself Himself so to speak – is found subsuming and outdistancing both possible worlds and actual worlds.

2. The Absolute's Own Reference Frame: *God* – or Being Itself Himself so to speak – necessarily saturates all possible reference frames within all such possible worlds and within all such actual worlds.

3. Totality: A World or an X in some World which itself exists in a God-Vacuum is a logical impossibility.

The following is taken from [1] http://disq.us/p/1p58v6f and [1] http://disq.us/p/1p3pk0i 

Time, God, logical impossibility, and reference frame:

Once again you (our Non-Theist friend(s) etc.) can use whatever frail and contingent reference frame you wish to use. Then:

If you're going to try to point out a "problem" with the Christian's claims upon reality then, first, feel free to break free of any particular contingent conscious observer (...Full Stop...) as you, secondly, reconstruct the term "Create" as in "Invent" with respect to the Christian’s claims vis-à-vis 1. God, 2. Possible Worlds, 3. Actual Worlds, 4. Communique, 5. Pure Act, 6. Final and Efficient Causality, 7. the Divine Mind, and 8. Totality vis-à-vis Reference Frame.

Recall the term “invent” with respect to “create” with respect to “Time” as per:

Of course God is outside of Possible Worlds which He’s invented (such as Time). Of course God is inside of Possible Worlds which He's invented (such as Time).  Your own paradigm affirms that the Reference Frame of the Absolute is not Time as Time is not Absolute, is not its own explanatory terminus, is not "The Always" & "The Already".  

Please address Christian premises as follows:

In your accurate reconstruction of the Christian’s landscape be sure to include the means and ends within the Christian claims that *God* – or Being Itself Himself so to speak – is found subsuming and outdistancing both possible worlds and actual worlds and, just the same, *God* – or Being Itself Himself so to speak – necessarily saturates all possible reference frames within all such worlds.

Another claim you’ll need to accurately unpack (…if you want to show incoherence in Christian premises…) is the Christian claim that it is a fact that in any World or for any X in some World, for any such World/X to exist in a God-Vacuum / Being-Vacuum is a logical impossibility.

That particular fact of that logical impossibility will help you as you 1. first find and employ the ends of your own frail and contingent reference frame (Full Stop) and 2. if you mean to retain (rather than redefine or expunge) the Christian metaphysic then you must 3. use your own cotingent frame of reference “Full Stop” and honestly demonstrate Christianity’s incoherence as you track it to its own explanatory terminus both Downstream and Upstream with respect to Christianity’s Wider Frame of Reference (…which is nothing less than the Reference Frame of Totality, which is, therefore, nothing less than Self-Reference (…as per https://www.metachristianity.com/define-god/ ..).

[Comment 34]

Ontological Cul-De-Sacs & Bobbles & Bubbles


[Comment 35]

Bobbles and Bubbles & Ontological Cul-De-Sacs


[Comment 36]

Faith Leads The Horse To Water (Evidence)

Faith Does Not Demand To Be Forced To Believe (Forced To Choose/Embrace)
"...I cannot deny that the sky is blue. God should be like that. Compulsory belief...."
T.B. makes an interesting point with respect to the nature of belief and your own Metaphysical Naturalism, and with respect to the nature of contradictions and willingness of many to commit to this or that absurdity merely because of their own presuppositions. You don’t seem to have a firm grasp on the nature of the doxastic experience as it relates to the fundamental nature of reality, or Reality’s proverbial Rock-Bottom.

A. If you mean to take the line of the Opaque Skeptic with respect to the intelligibility of reality, you needn’t bother. Why? Because it is enough to find you embracing Absurdity right here within whatever metaphysical cul-de-sac you mean to hide within.

B. If you mean to take the line of the Metaphysical Naturalist, well then you’re dropping the Unknowable bit and will then be asked to exit your little Metaphysical cul-de-sac and justify your explanatory terminus.

That is relevant because you say you seek evidence, and we’re leading the proverbial horse to the water here, and that Water is constituted of your Will & Reason. By that we mean your own Will and Reason as they interface with 1. one another and with 2. your own curious affairs of Ontological Cul-De-Sacs & Bobbles & Bubbles as per https://www.metachristianity.com/reason-being-non-being-ontological-cul-de-sacs/

Now, that “as per” carries forward to the following:

I know you don’t like that bit about Water, Will, and Reason, but that’s the nature of Self, Other, Reciprocity, Love, & (metaphysical) Necessity. Recall that, with 1. God and thereby with 2. the Trinitarian Life and thereby with 3. the Divine Decree of the Imago Dei and thereby with 4. the Christian’s thoroughly trinitarian metaphysic – given all four there – we are in fact traversing a Singularity that is (so to speak) “Love & Necessity” and we can also say "Logic & Reciprocity".  The final irrational ends of Brue Fact await all other "Ontic-Arrows", so to speak. [...see [Comment 32] for context...]

You want to be FORCED TO BELIEVE, that is to say you want to be FORCED to Marry the Beauty of Lucidity – but once you realize what “God” in fact “is” you’ll realize WHY the Groom’s Proposal only Presents You With the Beauty of Lucidity and in fact CANNOT force/program you to choose/embrace it. Love, by definition, finds the very landscape which you dislike about this whole affair, namely, once again, the nature of Self, Other, Reciprocity, Love, & (metaphysical) Necessity.  

Means & Ends: To knowingly embrace Absurdity and refuse Lucidity and, just the same, to knowingly embrace a Core Ethic of fundamental or cosmic Indifference and refuse indestructible love in ceaseless reciprocity v. the Trinitarian Life just is the Bride in reply to the Groom. 

The first of two examples of several edges and contours of that interface:
Does Atheism 1. cause Cosmic Indifference or 2. comport with Cosmic Indifference wrt Atheism’s explanatory terminus? Clearly 1 is fallacious. Clearly 2 is absolute.
It is logically impossible for indestructible love in ceaseless reciprocity v. the Trinitarian Life to 1. cause Cosmic Indifference or to 2. comport with Cosmic Indifference wrt the explanatory terminus of Life’s “A” & “Z”.
Ultimately reality is going to be, and is, defined by that which exists irreducibly, by the “Always & Already”. Not by frail and mutable contingencies such as me or you or some other relative or friend or enemy.
And the second of these two examples:
You stated, "…. But that also makes it more difficult for me to imagine I am risking hell for no longer being able to devote myself…."
You’re not risking hell. You’re simply risking what you love.
A. Having Tasted & Seen – Yet Still Rejecting Logic & Embracing Absurdity, as per http://disq.us/p/1rulker
B. Having Tasted and Seen – Yet Still Rejecting Fairness, as per http://disq.us/p/1k1yf5n and as per http://disq.us/p/1k0wwn6 and as per http://disq.us/p/1idh652
C. Having Tasted & Seen – Yet Still Embracing The Horrific Ethic of 49%/51% Love, as per http://disq.us/p/1jw0ebk and as per http://disq.us/p/1k0xaig
At some “ontological seam” somewhere we find something akin to Time giving way to Timelessness and/or, perhaps more precise, the Mutable/Temporary giving way to the Immutable/Permanence – with our without Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT). That is why ECT is irrelevant as, with it or without it the rational option of Cosmic Fairness leaves one with at best two options, namely Christianity / Pantheism as per https://www.metachristianity.com/heaven-hell-cosmic-fairness-ethic-love/  
That said, the problems of Pantheism force an unfortunate “Y” in the road (…as per http://disq.us/p/1rs9p5f ...).
One does NOT reject or embrace “Da-Jesus-Thing-y”. Those who never knew da-thing-y may in fact find themselves surprised that they in fact perceived and then freely embraced Him, and, those who in fact knew da-thing-y may find that they did in fact perceive and then freely did not embrace Him.
So far, on your own terms, having seen and tasted, yet still you freely and knowingly reject The Good in exchange for The Bobble termed reductio ad absurdum.
If you don't like Sinai then, well, it's fine that you agree with the Christian but be sure you know THAT you agree and also WHY you agree. Scripture’s Metanarrative defines all things Sinai as far, far below Moral Excellence (...the metric of The Good is Goodness Himself...and so on...) *and* also that definition carries forward as a landscape wholly lacking in the necessary means to achieve the Ends we speak of here. Non-Theists typically agree, though they’ve a paradigm unable to justify said agreement (...as per https://www.metachristianity.com/reason-reality-golden-thread-reciprocity/ ..).  
  • Proposal, Reply, Wedding....
  • Force me to believe, to embrace...otherwise you're not God....
The syntax of Wedding and of Proposal and of Marriage does not contain or house your fallacious syntax of FORCE.  

The fact that you think love can be other than it is is not the Christian’s problem, but, rather, it merely demonstrates that you are (in fact) unwilling to (in fact) interface with what the Christian metaphysic (in fact) Presents To You vis-à-vis the proverbial Groom

Even worse, you seem to want to EQUATE the (metaphysical) yield & content of the term “Proposal” to the (metaphysical) yield and content of the term “Wedding”.  But of course words have meanings and (in fact) reference “this” but not “that”, so to speak.

You must be willing to open up your own premises to actual scrutiny for whether we travel upstream or whether we travel downstream, where Reason Itself (…for completeness we can add Love Itself….) is concerned all Non-Theism(s) find that Reason itself (...and again Love Itself...) is by necessity lost, finally, to non-being at some ontological seam somewhere.

Yet both the Non-Theist and Theist here mean to speak, not of Non-Being, but of Being. Nowhere does this press upon us more relentlessly than in the elemental and irreducible processions constituting Love and Logic, or Reciprocity and Reason (…God… or… Strong/Weak Nuclear forces… and so on with respect to one’s T.O.E….).

Therein the “Non-”of Non-Theism becomes manifestly infinite.

There’s no need to lead the horse to anything further than THAT WATER, for at such a “Y” in the road should you cling to any Non-Theism you will have demonstrated your own insincerity when you …ask… demand of others their Brand’s lucidity and coherence.

It unmasks your insincerity (at worst) or else your confusion (at best).

Are you happy with either endpoint in your own noetic frame?

The Beauty of Singularity, or of Seamlessness, or of Unicity, and so on when it comes to..

...Love & Necessity... ...Truth & Reason...

....does not ultimately refuse us but, rather, we ultimately refuse the Beautiful, the Good, as in the logical compulsion into the Reductio Ad Deum. While we are free to knowingly trade away the necessary transcendentals of logical lucidity (…and for completeness let us add love’s timeless reciprocity…) in order to gain a bobble named Reductio ad Absurdum, we are also free to do otherwise.

Are you happy with either endpoint in your own noetic frame? […see [Comment 17] for context…] 

A key element is that there are several positive claims within “I merely lack belief in X” (...see [Comment 17] for context...).

Anyone’s lack of belief in X (…the “negative”…) stands atop premises about several first principles (…the “positive”…). That’s true for all of us in the entire blueprint of the doxastic experience, and therefore it isn’t being directed at Non-Theists, but at the nature of inquiry, of which metrics count, of rational belief, and so on both up and down the proverbial “ontic-line”.

You’ve been given sufficient evidence here. It’s right there. In your own premises with respect to evidence and intelligibility. In your own ontological cul-de-sacs (..as per https://www.metachristianity.com/reason-being-non-being-ontological-cul-de-sacs/ ..).

You’re freely and knowingly choosing to champion the irrational and the absurd at the cost of the lucid and the true.

I didn’t say that was an immoral act (though it is), but, rather, by your own metrics which you've asserted here you are immoral for doing so, which is to say you are incriminating, slandering, yourself. I’m merely describing your behavior. You’re free to point out the description’s error.

Are you happy with either endpoint in your own noetic frame?

[Comment 37]

Faith Refusing Evidence?

Faith In Self-Deception?

Part of the problem you [..again this is taken from a thread in a dialogue with one of our Non-Theist friends, and etc…are facing is that you’re not interacting with what is being given to you. You seem to want to agree with Sean Carroll and others when you’re asked about what reason’s demands for lucidity are telling you when you arrive at that aforementioned “Y” in the road.

That is fine, but what isn’t fine is to ask for evidence, and then ignore the reply which points you to your own reason and will at that very same “Y” and tells you that the very evidence you’re looking for, asking for, is there. […perhaps see [Comment 17 & 36] for additional context…]

You’ve shown a. an unwillingness to examine your own content combined with b. an unwillingness to allow others to tell you what their content in fact (actually) is.

Your demonstrable circles there demonstrate just why it is that “More Facts” are not always the solution – and why is that? Well because the Intellect and data may be rescued by “More Facts” whereas, there is that ontological seam where the Will also has her say and therein “More Facts” may, or may not, be “enough”.

As volitional beings we cannot just “expunge” that “slice” of what is “in-play” here.

A meticulous picture of the process that is the kind of self-deception which your approach (…of evading both your own content and the content of others…) actually sums to is in the following quote, and, to set the frame, it concludes with this:

“So, though I don’t doubt that some of these folks in some sense sincerely believe what they say, that doesn’t absolve them of the charge of intellectual dishonesty. Self-deceived people would not be self-*deceived* if they didn’t in some sense really believe what they say.” (by E. Feser)

The path to get there is not a pure, isolated box called “I-Will-Now-Deceive-My-Self” but is – as all human psychology is – comprised of an array of “boxes”.

Begin Quote:

I agree that one must always be very careful about “psychoanalyzing” an opponent. However, there is a distinction to be made between:

(a) purporting to answer an argument by “psychoanalyzing” the person giving it, and
(b) “psychoanalyzing” a person in order to try to understand some odd behavior he is exhibiting.

Doing (a) amounts to a kind of ad hominem fallacy. But doing (b) is not fallacious. Now, what I was doing in the post above is (b). I was not saying “Coyne and Co. raise such-and-such objections to the cosmological argument. Let me answer those objections by uncovering what I take to be Coyne’s hidden psychological motivation for raising them.”

That would be ad hominem. Nor, of course, did I ignore his actual objections. Instead, I explained how they rested on misunderstandings of the arguments he’s attacking. And of course, neither did I say (nor would I ever say) that atheists in general have the psychological motivations described in my post. (Of course they don’t.)

Instead, what I was saying is: “Coyne and others of a specifically New Atheist bent have a tendency to attack the same straw men over and over and over again, to ignore attempts to explain why they are straw men, to lash out even at fellow atheists who try to point out why these are straw men, etc. This is very odd and unusual, especially since these people are mostly not stupid. It cries out for explanation, and I think the explanation is this…”

But I agree that one needs to make sure that in doing (b) one does not slide into (a). And if Coyne ever actually tried seriously to respond to something I wrote, I would certainly not even get into (b) in replying to him, let alone (a).

Indeed, four years ago I really thought Coyne might do so when he said he was “dead serious” about wanting to find out what the best arguments for theism were, said he would read up on Aquinas, etc. I thought “Great, maybe he’s a decent guy after all and this could lead to a more interesting exchange.”

Hence it was very disappointing to see him almost immediately slide back into New Atheist hack mode and to see his pledge to look into the best arguments, study Aquinas, etc. go right down the memory hole.

I also want to emphasize that I don’t dismiss the work of Coyne, Dawkins, Dennett, or other New Atheists in general. I think that Dennett, for example, has very interesting things to say on issues in philosophy of mind despite the fact that I think his whole project there is misguided and ultimately rests on certain key fallacies. In general, you can really learn from someone who thinks through a position thoroughly and systematically, even when the position is ultimately doomed. In part this is because an erroneous position typically takes one aspect of the truth and exaggerates its importance, and often people who do that will see things that are missed by people who don’t make the same exaggeration. In part it’s because an intelligent and systematic thinker is unlikely in the first place to be wrong about everything, but will make important discoveries which can be disentangled from his errors. And in part it’s because errors themselves can be instructive in that we can learn how and why certain ideas and lines of argument which seem attractive ultimately won’t work. Similarly, I’m happy to learn whatever I can from Coyne and Dawkins when they write on biology and other areas in which they have some real expertise.

The trouble is that these guys simply don’t have anything interesting to say on religion, specifically. Many atheists do — e.g. Mackie, Sobel, Oppy, and many others I’ve mentioned over the years — but not the New Atheists. And it’s such a glaring defect in the thinking of otherwise intelligent people that, again, it cries out for a type (b) treatment.

…..[There] is the question of what we mean, or should mean, or might mean, by “intellectual dishonesty.” Certainly I don’t think Coyne or the more unreasonable people in his combox are consciously and explicitly thinking “I know this isn’t what theists mean, but I’m going to pretend otherwise for rhetorical purposes.” But I don’t think that intellectual dishonesty is usually as blatant or self-conscious as that. I think it is usually a kind of self-deception, and self-deception is, of course, by its nature less than fully conscious. It involves a tendency to avoid letting one’s attention dwell on unpleasant facts or ideas, a tendency to try to focus one’s attention instead on evidence and ideas that will reinforce what one wants to believe, and so forth. It also typically involves a kind of touchiness when some other person raises some uncomfortable piece of evidence that might jeopardize the self-deceiver’s attempt to convince himself that the thing he wants to believe is really true. Think of the alcoholic who doesn’t want to face his problem, lets his mind dwell only on ways of interpreting his behavior which make it seem within the normal range, minimizes behavior that other people would take to be clear evidence of addiction, gets touchy and defensive when the subject arises, etc.

Now, when someone like Coyne keeps attacking the same straw men over and over and over again, over the course of many years and despite the fact that even people who otherwise agree with him gently advise him to stop doing it, when he gets touchy even with atheist readers who call him out on it, when he doubles down on the rhetoric about how obviously stupid his opponents’ arguments are, etc. — well, that sort of behavior is pretty consistent with that of someone who is interested in convincing himself that he was right all along rather than that of someone who really wants to find out if he is in fact right. That is to say, it sounds like classic self-deception. And that’s the kind of intellectual dishonesty I’m talking about.

Second, it is true that analytic philosophers do, at least “officially” if (unfortunately) not always in practice, highly value a willingness and ability to try to reconstruct an opponent’s arguments in as plausible and fair-minded a way as possible. Certainly that was something drilled into me in grad school, and I have always been grateful for it. Again, there are analytic philosophers who do not live up to this ideal, and I can certainly think of some analytic philosophers with a prominent online presence who do not even try to live up to it at all when they think that refraining from doing so might further some political cause they favor. Still, it is an ideal that analytic philosophers all know they should strive to live up to. It is also an ideal that Scholastic philosophers value highly.

Now, as a Scholastic trained in analytic philosophy, it is certainly an ideal I value highly, and I confess that I have very little patience for academics and other intellectuals who don’t value it. I make no apologies for that, because the reason analytic philosophers and Scholastics value it is that philosophy, science, and intellectual pursuits in general are about truth, about finding out how things really are and not merely confirming prejudices, furthering agendas, etc. Trying to give an opponent’s views a fair-minded reading is just part of this project of attaining truth, both because you never know when an opponent might have seen something you’ve missed, and because getting into the practice of reading an opponent’s views fairly is a good way of training oneself not to be blinded by one’s own prejudices.

So, I don’t see a willingness to try accurately to represent an opponent’s views as merely a special interest of professional philosophers. I would argue that it is partially constitutive of serious inquiry of any kind, and thus of intellectual honesty. Hence, if someone is unwilling to make an effort to represent an opponent’s views accurately, I would say that he is ipso facto intellectually dishonest. So, since Coyne and other New Atheists have demonstrated this sort of unwillingness, they have to that extent shown that they merit the charge of intellectual dishonesty.

Furthermore, Coyne and Co. make a very big show out of how much they allegedly value evidence, not letting preconceptions color one’s inquiry, etc. So, they can hardly complain when they are asked to look at the evidence concerning what their opponents actually have said, and when they are expected not to let their own preconceptions about what theists believe color their interpretation of arguments like the cosmological argument. And they certainly get touchy when they think their own arguments have been misrepresented. So, they can hardly complain when someone expects them to show the same courtesy to their opponents.

So, though I don’t doubt that some of these folks in some sense sincerely believe what they say, that doesn’t absolve them of the charge of intellectual dishonesty. Self-deceived people would not be self-deceived if they didn’t in some sense really believe what they say. (…by E. Feser)

End quote.

[Comment 38]

Faith, Evidence, & the “Reductio”

[A] I have consistently told you exactly where the evidence you say you want to see can be found. You consistently avoid interacting with it. (…the “Y” in the road (Sean Carroll, Presentism, Eternalism… from earlier…) with respect to the argument from reason...).

[B] Sure, you’re redefining the Christian’s X into Not-X and then arguing against Not-X “as-if” you’re arguing against a Christian premise.

But content in [B] isn’t relevant to the content in [A] and so your complaint that all I am doing is pointing out examples of [B] “as-if” I have not also been, repeatedly, presenting you with [A] is just one more melody through which you avoid interacting with our respective “means & ends” vis-à-vis “Reason Itself” whereby you avoid interacting with [A].

You keep repeating, “…that’s unintelligible…” whenever someone raises the topic of 1. the widely accessible and age-old / longstanding argument from reason (…along similar lines see E. Feser’s Five Proofs of the Existence of God and the chapter on the argument from rationality… none of this is new…) with respect to “reason itself” vis-à-vis “being itself” (…as per https://www.metachristianity.com/reason-being-non-being-ontological-cul-de-sacs/ …) and 2. Sean Carroll’s nominalism with all but one “layer” of reality and 3. Presentism and 4. Eternalism and 5. the proverbial “Y” in the road 1 through 4 all forces upon us as we approach our own respective explanatory termini of Non-Theism’s Reductio Ad Absurdum (on one arm of said “Y”) and the Christian metaphysic’s  Reductio Ad Deum  (on the other arm of said “Y”).

Now, it’s fine for you to avoid and evade by shouting unintelligible but the fact that all of those are widely accessible and the fact that none of them are new information both serve to demonstrate that you do not get any sort of a free pass on your choice to reject evidence of God. Being unfamiliar with material is one thing, and is not immoral. Recall the Christian topography of “Forgive for they know not” and “To whom much is given, much is required, to whom little… little…”. Okay. So far so good. But what isn’t okay is to Knowingly…. Intentionally… Embrace… Absurdity…

You’re dancing all over the place and avoiding the VERY simple location of the evidence which you claim you want to see, namely:

1. the widely accessible and age-old / longstanding argument from reason (…along similar lines see E. Feser’s Five Proofs of the Existence of God and the chapter on the argument from rationality… none of this is new…) with respect to “reason itself” vis-à-vis “being itself” (…as per https://www.metachristianity.com/reason-being-non-being-ontological-cul-de-sacs/ …) and also 

2. Sean Carroll’s nominalism with all but one “layer” of reality and also 

3. Presentism and also 

4. Eternalism and also 

5. the proverbial “Y” in the road which those initial 1 through 4 items all force upon us as we approach our own respective explanatory termini of Non-Theism’s Reductio Ad Absurdum (on one arm of said “Y”) and the Christian metaphysic’s  Reductio Ad Deum  (on the other arm of said “Y”).

On Non-Theism you are free to choose either Presentism or Eternalism and, either way, you run into what Carroll runs into, and embraces, namely the option to retain both reason itself and also coherence, or, the other option, which Carroll and others describe with referents to “illusory” layers, wherein at some ontological seam somewhere, the end of reason itself is finally conceded as the entire affair lands not in the convertibility of the necessary transcendentals with respect to its own being but, rather, in the illusory shadows of non-being.

Now, again, three or four times now I’ve pointed you to that “Y” in the road. And, again, it’s fine for you to avoid and evade by shouting unintelligible but the fact that all of those are widely accessible and the fact that none of them are new information both serve to demonstrate that you do not get any sort of a free pass on your choice to reject evidence of God.

Notice that along your journey in your demands for evidence, your moves are beginning to sum to your free and informed choice to avoid dialing in on said evidence.

[Comment 39]

Faith?

“…miracles must violate the laws of nature…” ?

“X brought Y back to life” ?

We intentionally created many novel elements on the Periodic Table by intentionally manipulating and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks. By your definition it is in principle impossible to do that just as it is in principle impossible to build a living organism out of dirt (…out of nature’s fundamental building blocks…).

The syntax you initially tried muddying up is the syntax of science. Which means you briefly attempted an anti-scientific move (… “violate” …).

Until you were called on it […the hard fact of causal agents intentionally manipulating and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks and building not only cells but novel elements…]. A brief excerpt: 
Resurrection & Carbon Networks: A good place to start for the question of the resurrection is the thought experiment of John Searle, the "silicon brain" thought experiment.  In that experiment, doctors replace our (your) neurons with silicon chips which then perform the very same actions (causes/effects and etc.) as the brain they replaced. It is important to remember that, on a material based premise, this is in principle a perfectly logical premise as science will – should she figure out the entirety of the brain – get us to such an ability. A perfect copy of the entire carbon-based network that “is” “your brain” is in principle perfectly valid science. 
And *yet* Non-Theists reject all such syntax merely because it exposes two things. First, the validity of the fact that the Christian’s syntax of “X brought Y back to life” is scientifically sound.  Secondly, the fact that it is ONLY a presupposition as to what sorts of Person/Persons and their Ability/Abilities happen to be present which drives the whole show.  In other words, it is not science which has a problem with such syntax, but, rather, some presuppositions are more open to science (the Christian’s) than other presuppositions (the Non-Theist’s) and those less open, or perhaps we can say anti-scientific, presuppositions are a bit fussy when such syntax is revealed as comporting with observational reality. It’s not about science. It’s about Causal Agents – Full Stop.
End excerpt.

[Comment 40]

Defining Faith vs. Pointing out Strawmen vs. Giving Evidence vs. God & Gaps

Pointing out that X is a strawman can be, in isolation, unfruitful.

That is why it’s helpful to point out that X is a strawman but to not stop there, to actually add into the mix a. the concepts surrounding Paul’s / Roman’s appeal to Natural Theology (…reasoning about observations and about the created order with respect to evidence, and so on…), and b. the Gospel of John’s appeal to historical evidence and c. offering light and instruction on Scripture’s actual landscape (…which in part will always entail correcting misinformation …strawmen… etc…), and d. Etc…

Those all are, according to scripture, actually woven into our own doxastic experience with respect to reason and belief. Which of course makes sense. Also, we expect all of that, which is nothing more than Genesis’ command to “Go out and subdue the physical order….”, and we also expect that all of that will not be the “Whole Story” because Scripture’s narrative also adds to the mix “Come in and taste, see, know…” with respect to God Himself.

In short, Scripture describes a trio comprised of a. the self (you and I, the mind, etc.) and b. one channel of perception (God’s “Go out and subdue the physical order….”) and c. a second channel of perception (God’s “Come in and taste, see, know…”).

Physics is helpful, because if taken in isolation (…as in physics-full-stop…), then physics ends up leading one beyond physics, and we begin to see why Presentism & Eternalism both fail on and in Non-Theism, but not on and in Theism. Within Non-Theism neither provides us with a lucid path to ontological closure, whereas, in the Trinitarian landscape both are coherently accommodated (…not their respective Non-Theistic “Physics-Only” flavors of course…).

Three overlapping excerpts:

Excerpt 1:

“….But the catch is that the causality of each intermediate is not fulfilled in its prior cause, since that cause, too, is dependent on yet a prior cause to fulfill its causality. Regression to infinity means that the causality never gets completely fulfilled, and thus, the chain fails for want of an uncaused first caused….” (..by Dr. Bonnett ..) (.. http://disq.us/p/1o5v88h ..)

Either perception is illusion or else the “Physics-Only” Map, when rationally followed, leads one beyond the Map itself.

What typically follows (from out Non-Theist friends too often) is a. various sorts of category errors related to some flavor of the fallacy of composition amid god-of-gaps, b. the pains of brute fact, and, c. at some ontological seam somewhere, the end of reason itself which lands not in the convertibility of the necessary transcendentals with respect to being but, rather, in the illusory shadows of non-being. Which is to say that reason, rationally followed, leads one beyond one’s own unavoidably contingent reason and into the Necessary & Irreducible vis-à-vis Reason Itself. The Divine Mind presses in. From there, well, the nature of the entire discussion immediately hits a hard “Y” in the road, wherein on one arm the Non-Theist is eager to abort lucidity’s necessary means and ends, while the Theist refuses such reductions to absurdity.

Excerpt 2:

The end of the road for Brute Fact is not a charitable version of Opaque Skepticism, which sums to "We know A and B and C but nothing past those....in the syntax of empiricism & positivism & solipsism...".

That's all fine. "Not Knowing The Whole" is not the "pivot-point".

Rather, with respect to that same A and B and C just mentioned there, it ends in the unintelligible A and the unintelligible B and the unintelligible C, and the rest is just the same. In short, it is not a posture of, "Waiting For More To See" but rather it is a motion of, "Denial of What We Now See".

Hence if you push long enough you can force the denial of "I exist" such that the Self sums, at some ontological seam somewhere, to non-being. And so too with “Reason Itself” vis-à-vis “Being Itself”, and so on.

That pesky "at some ontological seam somewhere" is of course the point.

That is the fallacy of the proverbial "God Of The Gaps" complaint. It claims that God is used to fill in gaps, whereas, it isn't. Rather, it is at this or that proverbial "Y" in the road where the force of logic compels us into this or that X which is soaked through with those pesky "even in principle" compulsions forcing one of two options. (.. http://disq.us/p/1ol4spf ..)

Excerpt 3:

Whether it is QM or Atheism or Christianity or X or Y or Z, the issue is not uncertainty/certainty unless one wants to assume the unfortunate posture of defending what can only be a radical, opaque skepticism. Of course, the Christian is quite satisfied in these discussions when Non-Theists assume that unfortunate posture.

The Christian there only needs to simply coach the Non-Theist further and further down the Non-Theist’s own wish-list of premises in that path and, when the Non-Theist finally embraces the manifestly absurd, it is a sort of intellectually satisfying “QED” for the Christian.

If uncertainty/certainty do not necessarily compel reason (…in her role as truth-finder…) then what will rationally (…and necessarily…) in fact compel her? That’s obvious: the proverbial “Y” in the road is when and if one is forced to embrace this or that reductio ad absurdum — this or that reduction to absurdity

[…regarding God & Gaps see [Comment 44] as well…]

[Comment 41]

Special Revelation vs. General Revelation

Quote:
If I could first nitpick your terminology a bit … the traditional classification that I’m aware of is between “special revelation” (conveyed in a “local”, idiosyncratic, personal manner) and “general revelation” (conveyed in a manner that is third person verifiable from more or less any vantage point in space-time). Both of those types revelation are “supernatural” in the sense that they point us toward something that transcends nature (or, in a more traditional phrasing, they reveal something beyond nature).
If you accept that refinement of your statement, then I agree that not everything essential can be known through general revelation. We have to enter into relationships of trust and complementarity in order to get at the nuggets of special revelation, and we are necessarily impoverished to the extent that we withhold ourselves from that.
I don’t agree that special revelation is required to know merely that God exists…. Almost all humans in all times have been aware of the existence of God, mostly apart from any special revelation. The affirmation that “God exists” is akin to the affirmation that “life exists”… if one understands what is being affirmed, then it is more or less self-evidently true (though of course, doubt is always an option, whether we are talking about the existence of God or the existence of a discernible category called “life”).

End quote (…from http://disq.us/p/1s2i49c …)

For context, add in the following layers:

Quote:
Whether existence is a predicate or not is a tricky topic, and it depends on what you mean by “exist”. If we work with the etymology, “to exist” is to be real in a way that “stands out” (ex-sistere). Things only “stand out” if they are finite: I notice my dog’s existence because he is here and not everywhere. Whatever is everywhere cannot “stand out” because there is no contrast to bring it into relief. So it is with being-itself, a.k.a. “God”. Being-itself is everywhere, so it does not “exist” in the etymological sense. But being-itself is nonetheless real (it is more real than things that exist). If being-itself were not real, then my dog could not instantiate being.
End quote (..from http://disq.us/p/1r5lif8 ..)

As for the instantiation of reason, or, to turn it around, that which reason in fact instantiates, well of that is an interesting segue as we approach the evidence which is forced upon us, on pain of circularity, in and by the Argument From Rationality / Reason.

[Comment 42]

Faith: The Evidence Leads To The Syntax And The Syntax Leads To The Map.

You are asking about reason and evidence. As noted, the evidence you seek is found by following your own reason into the illusory shadows of non-being which catches you off your guard at some ontological seam somewhere, and which marks the Edge of your Flat World and so also, then, the End of reason itself as per https://www.metachristianity.com/atheism-world-flat-none-non-non-theist/


Reason itself, on Non-Theism (Metaphysical Naturalism), lands NOT in the convertibility of the necessary transcendentals with respect to being but, rather, in the illusory shadows of non-being. Which is to say that reason, rationally followed, leads one beyond one’s own unavoidably contingent reason and into the Necessary & Irreducible vis-à-vis Reason Itself as nothing less than the Divine Mind presses in.

The evidence leads to the syntax and the syntax leads to the Map.

The evidence is quite clear and unavoidable assuming one counts Reason Itself as a full fledged member of the Jury of Peers.

It all comports with one particular Map with respect to Reason, Sean Carroll, and Non-Theism, or as you call it, Atheism or Metaphysical Naturalism. Another helpful term would be “Physics-Full-Stop” and the reason that is helpful is because of the intellectual honesty of Sean Carroll and many other Non-Theists who are quite up-front about their Map of Reality beginning and ending with Physics and what THAT particular Map either does, or does not, permit and/or force-upon-us (so to speak) with respect to conclusions about reality’s ultimately concrete furniture.

A few basic, and widely accessible, starting points / references:
BTW, since you seem to want to assert that the “Argument From Reason” is spooky or unintelligible or contrived just for this thread, see Edward Feser’s “Five Proofs of God’s Existence” (.. http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/08/five-proofs-is-out.html ..).

Faith & The Argument From Reason

It is the case that Reason Itself is in fact a full fledged member of the Jury of Peers.

Non-Theism as the Examiner and the Christian metaphysic as the Cross Examiner and their respective cases are widely accessible, and, of course our Non-Theist friends are free to, eventually, at some ontological seam somewhere, reject that particular Member of the Jury.

Five Proofs has several chapters, all of which our Non-Theist friends are, in this thread about “Evidence”, invited to dive into and unpack with us, and so on, but in focus here is the following chapter:
5 – The Rationalist Proof
Informal statement of the argument: Stage 1
Common sense and science alike suppose that there are explanations for the existence of the things we encounter, the attributes things exhibit, and the events that occur……”
Etc. ~~

[Comment 43]

Faith Does Not Go About Truncating Knowledge
“What I do see, though, is a lot of attempts by man to reach the deepest truths about himself and God through methodologies taken from natural science. While not denigrating these at all, I would make the case that some of the more profound works dealing with such issues are found in classical philosophical sciences and works and those of theologians as well. We have to be careful not to truncate the pyramid of knowledge at the level of natural science. Even if we prevent positivism from eliminating the reality of God from our knowledge, we also have to realize that a noesis limited to natural scientific methods is limited in its reach. There is an entire classical intellectual tradition found in Western Christian thought to be tapped.”

[Comment 44]

Faith & God & Gaps
“I think that it is important to keep in mind that atheism is an ideology that is based entirely on a denial that God exists. Atheism is the ultimate null hypothesis: God does not exist. . As my statistics professor explained it, the null hypothesis is like saying that there are no snakes in the desert. To reject the null hypothesis, we need only find one snake. In order to maintain a belief in this proposition, it is necessary for the atheist to reject any evidence whatsoever. The problem is that we people of faith will go out into the desert, find a snake and present it to the atheist to show why we reject the null hypothesis. The atheist will inevitably say, “That is not a snake” (definitional problem) or “You didn’t find it in the desert” (boundaries of evidence problem). This is what we have experienced with Mr. ABCD here.” (by J. Black)
pre·var·i·cate
verb

 synonyms: evasive, hedge, dodge (the issue), sidestep (the issue), equivocate…

[Comment 44]

Faith & Gaps & Fine Tuning & Probability & Miracle

You’re confusing categories and you’re also sliding into the fallacy of composition. What is the nature of the problem with the Christian metaphysic and truth correspondence? It would be easier to take you seriously if you actually gave observations, premises, and conclusions. Your sound bites are fallacious and I am sure fine for you, but they're not helpful in interpreting reality. When you are asked to explain premises, observations, and conclusions which contradict your sound bites: Crickets.

The Fallacy of Composition:

Gaps, Ontic-Referents, Territory, & Lucidity:
A bit messy with several internal links, but, FWIW: http://disq.us/p/1nmw2tk

GOD OF THE GAPS: 



Fine Tuning & Probability & Fallacies: 


On the Definition of Miracle: 


The Silliness of Just A Little Bit More Than Non-Being


Shouts of Hume's Black Magic, Celestial Teapots, and Other Tactics
  
[Comment 45]

Probability – The Lone Ranger:

Probability seems to be your only metric of how to interpret reality, and that’s fine. Your modality is a Lone Ranger named Probability. The Christian however, and in fact most thinking people, include Probability in a wide and broad array of means / tools by which to investigate reality. It’s a part. It’s not the whole.

“Probability” is NOT (..by “not” we mean, well, “not”…) brought up by the Christian to affirm design. Rather, it's merely one step out of hundreds, thousands even, in rationally employing various knowns / patterns etc. in the process of reasoning through various unknowns as we reason from A to B to C to D, and so on. In addition, the term "fine tuning" is a neutral term, often used by Non-Theists as well, and should not be conflated for the term design. Links to items which look at that are at the end of this comment.

Think about the term “T.O.E.”.
Think about interpreting reality.

Think about Probability and the rest of reality as it really is. You are misinterpreting reality, but why? You clearly and wrongly assume that science cannot build things such as cells / neurons / muscle, and whatever on the bench-top because it's not been done. But in fact we are well on our way to such ends and we are getting better at. The Periodic Table of Elements finds Causal Agents (Man) intentionally manipulating and rearranging, at will, nature’s fundamental building blocks. 

[…see this list’s [Comment 39] as a brief segue into the syntax of Building Life & Resurrection & Carbon Networks: A good place to start for the question of the resurrection is the thought experiment of John Searle, the "silicon brain" thought experiment…..]

Think about that. The proverbial “Person” that is “Science” can be said to “believe” in such things. In fact, the "person" that is "science" so soundly "believes" that life can be built both with and without the Causal Agent that it, now, with Causal Agents (Man), reproduces many of those "improbable / impossible" X's which obviously do happen there amid "Dirt-To-Man", which, BTW, is not to be confused with "Dirt To Person". Further, neither Dualism nor Monism makes a difference (…see this list’s [Comment 46] with respect to Monism vs. Dualism vs. Evidence…).

Probability-Full-Stop here is a “box” that offends you as a demonstrably false premise, and it should (...in addition to http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/09/flew-on-hume-on-miracles.html ..), whereas, Probability-Plus-That-Wide-Array is a “box” which rewards the scientific community.

That you do not comprehend just what it is that "Being Itself / GOD" brings to the table with respect to the Causal Ecosystem such that you equate such modes to Zeus and his Celestial Teapots as per http://disq.us/p/1lsvee6 isn't the Christian's problem. It’s your problem in that you’re arguing against a god (…against premises…) which Christian’s don’t believe in.

You're demonstrably misinterpreting reality because you've a kind of "tendency" or "tactic" which some of our Non-Theist friends share as per http://disq.us/p/1hfs1xc which is layered with self-deception[…see this list’s [Comment 25] and Faith Is Not Coyne-esc]

Recall that that link on “self-deception” […Coyne-esc modalities…] just now was an explanation as to your ongoing and persistent conflations / confusions between:

[A] the Causal Ecosystem of "Being Itself / GOD" brings to the table (...as per http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/08/five-proofs-is-out.html  and as per http://disq.us/p/1lwnawv ....)

...and…

[B] your Zeus and his Celestial Teapots bring to the table (...an issue specifically brought to your attention in http://disq.us/p/1lwb0de ...).

The probability of causal agents intentionally manipulating and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks into novel, never before seen configurations, rates, pathways, and permutations:

*IF* Physicalism – then rebuilding cells is a wide open – YES
*IF* *GOD* – then rebuilding cells is a wide open – Yes

You don’t seem to grasp the concept of what is needed to provide a robust T.O.E.

Manipulating and rearranging nature's fundamental x's is easy. We do it all the time. Right now. Today. And we're getting better at it but you merely presuppose no-god just so that you can deny cell-building atop the bench-top, which is just bizarre. Why? Because we… do… it…

Sure, by your anti-scientific mode of inquiry, 500 years ago it would have been either Black Magic or else a Miracle, but there’s more to the definition of “Miracle” for all the *same* reasons there is more to the definition of reality (…which was pointed out to you in http://disq.us/p/1lwb0de ...).

You claim of course that you do not presuppose no-god in your modes of approach, however, there's no other plausible answer as to why you deny this or that agent building cells atop the bench-top when you’re demonstrably wrong. If in fact you are *not* presupposing no-god, then you need to explain what it is that bothers you with respect to the resurrection given that the T.O.E. that is the Christian metaphysic finds that the causal ecosystem and the syntax it employs is/are all turning out as predicted and expected in the Christian's (though not in Hume's/Mackie's) syntax with respect to causation and nature's fundamental building blocks.

For example:

As causal agents we intentionally manipulate electrons and particles and other what-nots and, well, there we are found intentionally rearranging fermions and bosons and nature’s four fundamental forces all immersed in an ocean of gravity so that we may, at will, take and X and change it into a Y – and that is all quite cozy with the physical sciences. And we're getting better and better at rearranging nature's fundamental particles. In fact, we even invent elements. And build tissues. And a brand new nucleus (and so on) there in the Periodic Table of the Elements – contra Hume. The necessary content (…bosons, fermions, gravity, four fundamental forces, etc...) – itself immersed in an environment – itself floating in gravity (….the ocean we are all swimming in, even in the first century…) – is all turning out as predicted and expected in the Christian's (though not in Hume's/Mackie's) syntax with respect to causation and nature's fundamental building blocks.

You argue “as-if” this or that miracle is the only reason behind the Christian’s paradigmatic defense. That is, you do not take it from the other direction: simply following reason, logic, and observational reality as far as they will take you and, from there, pulling in that which makes the most sense of all the information and that which avoids the many pains of this or that reductio ad absurdum.

T.O.E.? Think it through. Any claim is fine to make:

Each claim simply has to be unpacked and if, say, Billy-Bob-Joe tells us that philosophical naturalism is, or ever can be, ontology, that physics/cosmology is, or ever can be, explanatory, or if, say, Islam claims God did X, or if, say, Bob-Joe-Bo-Ray tells us that he was abducted by aliens or if, say, Bo-Ray-Joe-Bob tells us that bacteria on Mars is “problematic” for the Christian, and so on, then the process of evaluating those claims is straightforward: gather the facts and follow the evidence. You’ll segue an opine, “But what about Miracle-X in this other Theism-X?!?”

Just repeat the pattern of unpacking all the data as just described. Gather the facts and follow the evidence, which spans the spectrum from the lens zoomed in near historicity, genre, context, reason, and logic, to yet farther and wider sightlines with the lens zoomed out into whatever successes or failures said body of claims has within its own respective T.O.E.

Why? Because everything about every T.O.E. just is a matter of:

[1] truth as correspondence and 

That’s just a demonstration of the obvious: 

[2] facts don’t exist in vacuums.

Why?

Because reality doesn’t work that way. And reality matters. 

We know lots of people claim lots of different things, and we thank the critic for pointing out such an obvious observation. Though we ought perhaps refrain from congratulating the critic for making such a trivial observation and building huge swaths of his worldview upon that observation. Indeed, as unimpressive as that observation is, we can end by simply asking:

Do you have anything else? Or are you done?

More content and context:

1 – "Great observation. To springboard off of that and work towards your point of a more universal landscape…." at http://disq.us/p/1e6ga3u

2 –  "Probability – The Lone Ranger" – http://disq.us/p/1m23l90

3 – See http://disq.us/p/1lsvee6 which looks at Shouts of Hume's Black Magic, Celestial Teapots, and Other Tactics:

4 –  Using Probability: A List: (…see below…)

With respect to "using probability", a few helpful items are listed below and of course the threads or comment-boxes of each are also helpful.

Of note is the fact that probability isn't brought up by the Christian to affirm design. Rather, it's merely one step out of hundreds, thousands even, in rationally employing various knowns / patterns etc. in the process of reasoning through various unknowns as we reason from A to B to C to D, and so on.

In addition, the term "fine tuning" is a neutral term, often used by Non-Theists as well and should not be conflated for the term design.

Note that links to specific comments within comment boxes may, depending on browser variables, take a few seconds to move to the specific comment.


And:


And:

With respect to the term “random” there are:

[C2] https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/evolutionary-theory-and-theism/ (…search or Control/F that essay for the word “random” etc. as it overlaps with C1 here…)

With respect to the term “fine tuning” there are:


With respect to a sort of “mix” of both “C” and “D” there are:


With respect to what the term “design” is actually referencing, causally speaking, there are:


With respect to a few Non-Theistic objections to the amalgamation of intentionality, causality, and design there are:


[H] "Probability – The Lone Ranger" – at http://disq.us/p/1m23l90

[Comment 46]

Faith & Soul – Monism vs. Dualism vs. Evidence

A brief excerpt from http://disq.us/p/1slxh6k
Instead, such questioners should take Scripture’s narrative and allow it to do the work. Let’s move towards the Cross with a few “Pre-Eden” to “Eden” to “Privation” vs. “Eternal Life” definitions or “mechanisms” along the way:
1. Monism / Dualism matters not: Most basic of all is the obvious fact that whether one takes the Christian metaphysic as a Monism or as a Dualism, the story of covalent bonds does not begin nor end the story of Adam (Mankind). Even in Monism the ontological “path” or “history of becoming” (…some phrase that as the ontological history of becoming…) is not “Physical Particles Full Stop” but instead is all of “that” (the particles) soaked through with the Hard Stop of – NOT themselves – but – instead – the Divine Mind – as in “Being Itself” (…in the classical sense etc., which of course segues with “The Divine Mind”…), and, of course, in Dualism it’s the same. 
The path of ….evolution… or rather of dirt-to-body of ANY flavor, whether nanoseconds or millennia, just isn’t the whole narrative and hence the confusion of some muddied waters in which some combine God and the cluster of particles which we call the human brain – and that’s it – and then such folks go on “as-if” they are, from that point forward, discussing the Christian’s metaphysic.
But that is impossible. Why? Well because of the “…and that’s it…” just described, which leaves out or expunges a huge swath of necessary transcendentals which go unaccounted for.
2. The entire narrative of those sorts of “half-Christian half-Naturalism” vantage points and the questions which they raise find Man / Adam in only ONE CONTINUOUS ontological state or status throughout ALL possible worlds (…specifically Pre-Eden, Eden, Privation, Eternal Life…) with respect to both content and yield – however – Scripture does not recognize any such narrative and in fact in the Christian narrative that “Map” is logically impossible.
We have to allow the syntax of…… (end excerpt)
[Comment 47]

Faith, Ancient Books, and Love

An objection:
“...you expect them to live by the rules of an ancient text book that they do not believe is the source of ultimate truth...”
A reply:

Love as Truth Part 1 http://disq.us/p/1m0jll7
Love as Truth Part 2 http://disq.us/p/1m1cqn8

Faith…. Hope…. Love… and  the greatest of these is love…


End.


About 80-ish% of the links to various comments/threads included above are listed here: