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Author Topic: How does one come to know that Christianity is true?  (Read 9844 times) Average Rating: 0
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Riddikulus
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« Reply #90 on: September 25, 2009, 09:33:48 PM »

I just wanted to add, but was distracted in the process, something on this from Light From the East: Theology, Science and the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, by Alexei V. Nesteruk.

It is faith, therefore, that allows one to formulate the first principles in a proper way and to perceive things that are not seen in the course of demonstrable knowledge. Demonstration, then, follows after faith, but not the other way around.(emphasis mine) The Greeks, according to Clement, participated in the truth that comes from the Logos, but they did not see any of the spiritual meaning of this truth because they did not have faith (in the Logos of God) and thus could not have access to the only true demonstration, which is supplied on the basis of the Scriptures. This is why a demonstration based on opinion cannot qualify as divine - only as human, that it, as mere rhetoric - whereas demonstration based on reasoned knowledge produces faith in those who wish to learn of God by examining the Scriptures. Clement calls this fath that is supported by philosophical methods a considered faith (that is, a gnosis), and, according to Clement, it forms the subject matter of theology.

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« Reply #91 on: September 26, 2009, 02:47:53 AM »

Quote
I disagree.  I think the next generation will be that of atheists and pantheists, but I don't see crazy anarchists.

The anarchists who came to Pittsburgh caused some trouble at the G20 yesturday:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1926196,00.html

The hindu marchers were peaceful and civil. So I have alot of respect for them.

Also the greek anarchists seemed to have caused alot of trouble not too long ago.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20088.0.html

However, I will agree with you about pantheism, for naturalism can lead to a form of pantheism.


Quote
I think it may be too many early mornings and late nights, but I don't exactly understand your last sentence.

What I said in the last sentence was based on some of the ideas of naturalism:
http://www.infidels.org/
"Naturalism is the "hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system" in the sense that "nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it." As such, "naturalism implies that there are no supernatural entities," such as gods, angels, demons, ghosts, or other spirits, "or at least none that actually exercises its power to affect the natural world."[1] And without miraculous interventions into nature from a spiritual realm, neither prayer nor magick are more effective than a placebo."

If the Universe is only material, and closed, and if it is the first cause of a long chain of cause and effects, then an atheist must eventually reject the idea of "free will".

For "free will" goes against the worldview/phronema of naturalism. A closed system Universe automatically imply/infer "determinism".

Thus, the Universe must pre-determine our every action, and it did so long long ago. For we would be nothing more than a lego, in a long chain of legos.

An open system Universe implies/infers "free will"......and we can see clues of this with "quantum physics". Thus, the reality of "transcendence", Miracles,.......etc.

I know there are alot of atheists that still believe in free will, but a consistent atheist will have to eventually agree with B.F. Skinner, and behavioral naturalism.

Or they will have to reject the idea that the Universe is a "closed system"........which would mean they would have to reject a key tenet of Naturalism, and If this would happen.......then I will have no clue of where this may lead.



Quote
I don't believe that is true at all.  I know many Agnostics and Atheists who have a moral fibre that outshine most, and they base it on their secular beliefs surrounding fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Where was this moral fibre at in Germany when Hitler took over? There were alot of smart atheists and agnostics in Germany around that time, but what did they do? Maybe they were too bizzy advocating "social darwinism".......that was in vogue back then you know.

Where was this moral fibre at in the French Revolution? And what is morality anyway? Are their moral standards the same as ours? On Myspace, alot of Atheists would tell me that they were moral people, but they would cuss at me in the same post! So what do you mean by moral? Do they use birth control pills? Do they charge high interest on loans? Do they sleep around before getting married? Do they cheat on their spouse? Do they cheat on their taxes? Do they go beyond 5 miles over the speed limit? Do they tell little white lies? Do they dress immodest? Do they get drunk and abuse drugs? Do they take unfair advantage of their neighbors weakness? Do they exploit other people for their personal gain? Will they sacrifice their life for the sake of others?


Quote
Some even advocate expanding the rights human beings enjoy in the western world to large apes and monkeys, our evolutionary cousins they would say.

So beliefs do have consequences....ok, maybe I'm using the wrong word here, but beliefs do have implications

Quote
Sure, they don't view life as 'sanctified', but that doesn't mean the lack of a belief in a deity destroys a moral compass.

It is my personal belief that such a moral compass can only go down hill. For it will keep changing, and keep changing rapidly. For whatever the common secular consensus of proper moral behavior is today will change tomorrow.

It will be a rubiks cube from order:




To disorder:



One twist at a time.








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« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 03:01:18 AM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

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« Reply #92 on: September 26, 2009, 03:10:28 AM »

I think being an atheist is actually quite precarious and difficult. My dad is an atheist, and it does not make his life easier. For him, he simply cannot see how God can be true. He was brought up a Christian, and he will grant that he has met people, who believe, whose belief he found both inspiring and enviable. Obviously, I wish he could be brought to believe, but I can't make it happen. I can only do my best, and hope. And he is a good man, so I can hope that somewhere in him, perhaps where he doesn't even know it, he does recognize God.

It is very easy to be bitter towards atheists, and I know some of them are like Richard Dawkins, and really get up our noses. But there are idiots everywhere, within faith and without. But we should be sad for them (and I don't mean patronizing). Think about it: what have they got? What will make them happy or strengthen them? We shouldn't dismiss them en masse as 'emotional' or 'delusional'. They may be wrong, but you cannot make belief happen, you can only lead someone towards it and hope.

Sorry to be so personal ... I just think it's worth remembering that people's beliefs aren't there just to spite us - and many people struggle against what their own perceptions tell them.

Thanks for trying to hold me accountable, atheists are images of God too, and I have to keep that in mind when talking about this issue. I also have to keep in mind that alot of people have friends and family members that are atheist and agnostic.......I know I do.

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.










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« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 03:12:13 AM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #93 on: September 26, 2009, 11:54:31 AM »


The hindu marchers were peaceful and civil. So I have alot of respect for them.

And yet I recall Hindus and even Buddhists having riots about a year or two ago somewhere in the world, India, or the Phillipines, I can't remember. Look at all the "town meetings" in the U.S. that have gotten out of hand. I'm pretty sure those ruckus meetings and town halls were ruckus Christians, not Atheists.


Quote

If the Universe is only material, and closed, and if it is the first cause of a long chain of cause and effects, then an atheist must eventually reject the idea of "free will".

For "free will" goes against the worldview/phronema of naturalism. A closed system Universe automatically imply/infer "determinism".

This is only your (a religious person's) interpretation of what you assume atheists must conclude about the universe without a belief in God. That's faulty reasoning akin to the exact same things atheists say about religion (Christianity specifically) and how they take something in the Bible out of context and assume it means something it doesn't mean to us. they interprate it their way, rather than the way WE understand it. And then conclude we're wrong based on THEIR interpretation.


how many times have you heard atheists say things like "a God who would tell a man to kill his own son to prove his loyalty must be wicked...therefore you worship a wicked God? Yet that's not really how we understand the story of Abraham...so they refuse to see it how we see it. It seems like that's what you're doing with atheism in general.


Quote
Thus, the Universe must pre-determine our every action, and it did so long long ago. For we would be nothing more than a lego, in a long chain of legos.


The problem is you're using the religious/philosophical concept of "free will" within a system (naturalism) that rejects such religious concepts. Papist earlier rightly pointed out that many atheists become atheists or argue for atheism based on a faulty idea of who or what God is or a faulty understanding of said religion. I agree. And yet, you're doing something similar with atheism.

 Again atheists take the story of Abraham offering Isaac within a MODERN context, or the conquest of Canaan with a modern worldview, say such things are wrong, and thus assume God was wrong, and so if God was wrong He isn't God and so there is no God.

In other words they interprete religion based on their own personal world view, knowledge of history, or even their own knowledge of science....without even attempting to try and understand how religious people understand those passages. And here, you're interpreting what an atheist must conclude about free will, when most atheists don't give two rats behinds about a religious concept like free will.

Quote
An open system Universe implies/infers "free will"......and we can see clues of this with "quantum physics". Thus, the reality of "transcendence", Miracles,.......etc.

I know there are alot of atheists that still believe in free will, but a consistent atheist will have to eventually agree with B.F. Skinner, and behavioral naturalism.

I had to look up who BF Skinner was, and on Wikipedia it says, he was an American Psychologist, author, inventor, advocate for social reform, and poet. A quick review shows he did a lot of study in behavioral sciences. The funny thing is the concepts you're talking about have much more to do with physicists, geneticists, astronomers, string theorists, and other heavy duty sciences that Skinner was simply not a part of. He was Psychologist and a philosopher according to Wikipedia. I'm hardly going to take my understanding of the cosmic order from a Dr. Phil meets atheism of the early 20th century. Smiley Interestingly enough I searched for the term "free will" on his wikipedia page, as well as the page for philosophy he helped make popular known as Radical behaviorism and "free will" simply cannot be found on either page. This leads me to believe that the way you or I might use the term "free will" and the way Skinner would have used it (if he used it at all) would carry very different meanings.


Quote
Where was this moral fibre at in Germany when Hitler took over?

Where were the Christians when Hitler was so popular? Oh yes, they were cheering in the streets of Berlin, women fainting at his presence, and people crying tears of joy. I'm sure a vast majority of those people were at least nominally Christian, (albeit as I said they may not have been very good Christians, or "true" followers of Christ...but the core of the subject here is atheism/deism not who are good followers of either worldview) the point is few were atheists among the common people.


Quote
There were alot of smart atheists and agnostics in Germany around that time, but what did they do? Maybe they were too bizzy advocating "social darwinism".......that was in vogue back then you know.

If you're implying Nazism was an atheistic movement, almost all historians on the subject would disagree with that premise, even if the religious right would agree. The question of what did Hitler and the Nazi leaders believe is a complex issue, they were not strictly speaking "Christian" in the traditional sense, nor were they strictly atheists either. In fact Hitler gave speeches against atheists. The Nazi's in short, kind of created their own religion based largely on Christianity, Messianic expectations, but mixed it with the weirdest sorts of doctrines, philosophies and pseudo sciences pulled from all sorts of different "traditions", this included a weird form of Darwinism, but it's pretty hard to conclude that people so wrapped up in the occult as the Nazi's were, were in fact in any sense "atheists". However just because someone can use a system of belief or scientific theory for evil, doesn't automatically make the source wrong. Otherwise the Bible, which has been used for all sorts of evil would be negated along with Darwinism.


Quote
Are their moral standards the same as ours? On Myspace, alot of Atheists would tell me that they were moral people, but they would cuss at me in the same post! So what do you mean by moral?

I've actually never had an atheist cuss at me, but I've had plenty of "Christians" cuss and do a WHOLE LOT WORSE to me, and others than just cussing at me. Yes, atheists are moral people. Some 17 year old posing as an adult atheist because they just read Dawkins for the first time shouldn't be your basis of judging all atheists. Like even Orthodox websites, some places just draw the type of people who feel like passing judgement because they just read a book that they feel makes them an "expert" in some field. There are what I call "angry atheists" like Papist was refering to, and there are "angry Christians"....neither can be dialogued with IMO. And if this has been your sole experience with atheism I'm sorry....I used to feel very much as you did because the only "atheism" I was exposed to was the "angry" type.....but having seen people who simply will not come to Christ because the only people they've ever experienced were "angry Christians" causes me to see things a bit differently I think. And in the end I feel like there is a false divide between "science and religion" that simply doesn't exist except in the minds of the extremists on both sides.

[pquote]
Do they use birth control pills? Do they charge high interest on loans? Do they sleep around before getting married? Do they cheat on their spouse? Do they cheat on their taxes? Do they go beyond 5 miles over the speed limit? Do they tell little white lies? Do they dress immodest? Do they get drunk and abuse drugs? Do they take unfair advantage of their neighbors weakness? Do they exploit other people for their personal gain? [/quote]

Are we talking about atheists or Christians now? LOL!

Are you suggesting that you don't know any Christians who do these things? What's the name of your parish? I want to come visit...Cheesy Not to delve into American politics, but at least in the U.S., the people who do those things in our public sphere,  tend to be very devout Christians.


Quote
Will they sacrifice their life for the sake of others?


I'm sure somewhere in the world there is an atheist, pagan, muslim, christian, jew, hindu, or whatever else laying down their life for the sake of another.


Quote
It is my personal belief that such a moral compass can only go down hill. For it will keep changing, and keep changing rapidly. For whatever the common secular consensus of proper moral behavior is today will change tomorrow.

I think you're blaming "atheism" for the downward spiral of morality in some parts of the world, particular the U.S. But again, the majority of Americans still claim they are "Christians" and the vast majority still say they "believe in God".....we're one of the most "religious" nations on the planet, and yet we have more people in prison (percentage wise) than China does. Atheism is not the problem, corruption and power is. And no one, whether Christian or Atheist is free from the desire for power. (yes I'm a Tokien geek) Wink

At one time, I thought morality and atheism simply didn't co-exist but I don't see it that way anymore. And I'm hardly someone who thinks "most people are generally good", because I DONT think that in fact...I'm a cynic and think that ALL people suffer from "original sin" that makes us easily bent to the Dark Lord Saur.....oops, that's the Tolkien fan in me again....lol! Anyways, I guess I see people as people. Maybe because I've seen and been around so many Christians who did things that atheists/agnostics would never do...I don't know. So I could just be biased. In the end it's a fascinating subject, but when people start quoting Aristotle I'm afraid it's beyond my ability to comprehend...LOL!

In Peace, NP


« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 11:55:30 AM by NorthernPines » Logged
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« Reply #94 on: September 26, 2009, 12:02:21 PM »

The Hindu's who marched were "Hare Krishnas", and the Town Hall meetings weren't really all that bad. The same is true for the 912 gatherings. And what I said about naturalism, a closed system universe, and determinism is true, and it's not just my view.....it is a view held by consistent atheists who reject the idea of free will. A closed system Universe = determinism....no if's, and's or buts about it. Now some atheists may try real hard to get around this, but to do so is to be inconsistent.

Thus,

It is my personal belief that atheists who want to believe in free will are inconsistent naturalists.

Also, I could be wrong about this for it's been 10 years....so my mind is a little rusty, but I thought B.F. Skinner also wrote a book in where he explained how a society could exist without "free will". ...anyhow....the people that follow his school of thought (behavioralism) are the advocates that free will doesn't exist.....and if you were watching the news this year, then you would know that more and more scientists are pushing this idea........the idea that free will doesn't exist.....and guess what? They come from the school of B.F. Skinner.

Naturalism can not allow "free will" to exist.  Eventually, they will find a way to stamp it out completely.

You said:

Quote
"you're talking about have much more to do with physicists, geneticists, astronomers, string theorists, and other heavy duty sciences that Skinner was simply not a part of. He was Psychologist and a philosopher"


B.F. Skinner was a certain type of "Psychologist"....all schools of thought in Psych are not the same.....I took 3 course in Psych many many many yeara ago. The school of thought of Erik Erikson(free will) is not the same as that of B.F. Skinner(hard determinism), B.F. Skinner was a hardcore naturalist, and the philosophy that all modern scientists must abide by is "philosophical naturalism"

And so, it doesn't matter if you are talking about Psychology, Philosophy, geneticism, Physics, Astronomy, String Theory......etc.

For at the end of the day, if you want to be scientific, then whatever you say must conform to "philosophical naturalism"......this philosophy automatically assumes atheism as it's starting point.......so it doesn't matter.....Naturalism is Naturalism....no matter where you find it.








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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

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« Reply #95 on: September 26, 2009, 12:44:58 PM »

NorthernPines,


All I am doing is using the beliefs of athiests that reject free will against atheists that believe in free will. Why? Because I believe that the atheists that reject free will are more consistant when it comes to the logical conclusions of "philosophical naturalism".

So no, I am not mis-understanding them......atheists are not a monolith you know. They are diverse too!

It is my personal belief that the next generation of atheists will become more consistent....and if you are going to become "more consistent", then a belief in free will must eventually go. Free will doesn't belong in a closed system Universe.....it is the Pink Elephant in the room.



Check out this link so that you will see a little of what I mean:
http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/8127/
"A team of German researchers claims to have hard evidence that there is no free will. In a recent issue of Nature Neuroscience they show that brain scans predicted simple choices as long as 10 seconds -– "an eternity" -– before subjects were conscious of them. "It seems that your brain starts to trigger your decision before you make up your mind," says lead author John-Dylan Haynes, of the Max Planck Institute. "We can’t rule out free will, but I think it’s very implausible." In the experiment, participants were asked to decide whether to press a button with their left or right hand.
This unprecedented prediction of a free decision was made possible by software which recognised brain activity patterns in the frontopolar cortex preceding each of the two choices. The data was not altogether conclusive but the patterns were statistically significant.

Dr Haynes acknowledged that his experiment had not delivered a knock-out punch to traditional notions of free will. "Real-life decisions – am I going to buy this house or that one, take this job or that – aren’t decisions that we can implement very well in our brain scanners," he told Wired magazine. But he doesn’t regret the disappearance of free will. "It’s not like you’re a machine. Your brain activity is the physiological substance in which your personality and wishes and desires operate.""



Read the rest at the link


Naturalism, a closed system universe, and it's link with determinism is not new, and it didn't start with me, this is something that some atheists already know.










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"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #96 on: September 26, 2009, 12:47:42 PM »

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.

This is particularly why I personally skim your posts and not read them.  It's amazing how others are nice enough to read them.

In this case, you make yourself no different from Dawkins or Rush Limbaugh's rants on Obama, filled with that hatred in you, and thus you're not able to understand them and deal with them in a more "pastoral" manner, in a "Christlike" manner.

When I personally have a grudge about someone or hate someone, I should stay off the conversation until I correct my bias.
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« Reply #97 on: September 26, 2009, 12:58:31 PM »

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.

This is particularly why I personally skim your posts and not read them.  It's amazing how others are nice enough to read them.

In this case, you make yourself no different from Dawkins, filled with that hatred in you, and thus you're not able to understand them and deal with them in a more "pastoral" manner, in a "Christlike" manner.

When I personally have a grudge about someone or hate someone, I should stay off the conversation until I correct my bias.

I have alot of respect for Dawkins for he is more consistent than other atheists, What he said about Gold is true....he was compromising for the sake of keeping peace with the religious.

I respect alot of atheists, my own step dad is agnostic and I love him. I respect honest atheists, but I despise others. I love honesty, and so I admit my feelings when I see a prideful atheist........and I am one to tell an atheist that to his/her face.....or message board. Why? Because I respect honesty.

I will let an atheist know upfront how I feel about them, and what they must do in order to get me to respect them. I have clashed with many, and learned to respect some.


You and I are two different people, for I prefer someone to tell me upfront how they feel about me......be honest about it.....I respect that.










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« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 01:07:01 PM by jnorm888 » Logged

"loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, ungodliness, adultery, or theft. Rather, it means loving the theif, the ungodly, and the adulterer." Clement of Alexandria 195 A.D.

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« Reply #98 on: September 26, 2009, 01:26:53 PM »

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.

This is particularly why I personally skim your posts and not read them.  It's amazing how others are nice enough to read them.

In this case, you make yourself no different from Dawkins or Rush Limbaugh's rants on Obama, filled with that hatred in you, and thus you're not able to understand them and deal with them in a more "pastoral" manner, in a "Christlike" manner.

When I personally have a grudge about someone or hate someone, I should stay off the conversation until I correct my bias.

I can understand being angry with atheists. I'm pretty sure that we all meet people who really annoy us and whose beliefs we long to discredit - for some this will be the local atheists, for others the local Evangelicals, the local Anglicans, or the local Muslims. But all of these groups are made up of individuals, not the whole movement or religion.

Convinced atheists are hard to cope with, particularly if they mock our beliefs. But I still feel more sorry for them than anything else (ok - that's true most of the time. Sometimes, mid-discussion, I want to rip heads too  Wink ). Why? Well, even if I discount all the good things that my religion promises me, I still have a better time of it than the atheists. I can go into church on a good day and feel wonderfully thankful. I can feel full of joy when I read John's Gospel or the Psalms. I can feel my faith strengthening me and know that I there is guidance when I am not sure what to do. I have a ready-made moral compass, and all I have to do is listen and think. What has an atheist got?
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« Reply #99 on: September 26, 2009, 01:37:03 PM »

But I have to be honest, I don't want to be nice when it comes to atheism. Every fiber in my being wants to rip their heads off. So please pray for me.

This is particularly why I personally skim your posts and not read them.  It's amazing how others are nice enough to read them.

In this case, you make yourself no different from Dawkins or Rush Limbaugh's rants on Obama, filled with that hatred in you, and thus you're not able to understand them and deal with them in a more "pastoral" manner, in a "Christlike" manner.

When I personally have a grudge about someone or hate someone, I should stay off the conversation until I correct my bias.

I can understand being angry with atheists. I'm pretty sure that we all meet people who really annoy us and whose beliefs we long to discredit - for some this will be the local atheists, for others the local Evangelicals, the local Anglicans, or the local Muslims. But all of these groups are made up of individuals, not the whole movement or religion.

Convinced atheists are hard to cope with, particularly if they mock our beliefs. But I still feel more sorry for them than anything else (ok - that's true most of the time. Sometimes, mid-discussion, I want to rip heads too  Wink ). Why? Well, even if I discount all the good things that my religion promises me, I still have a better time of it than the atheists. I can go into church on a good day and feel wonderfully thankful. I can feel full of joy when I read John's Gospel or the Psalms. I can feel my faith strengthening me and know that I there is guidance when I am not sure what to do. I have a ready-made moral compass, and all I have to do is listen and think. What has an atheist got?

Thanks for being honest










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« Reply #100 on: September 26, 2009, 06:45:54 PM »

I disagree.  Gould was also being honest, when all that mattered to him is that if one accepts scientific knowledge and continues in research (as he realized great scientists included many theists) in pursue of more scientific knowledge, religion to him didn't matter as much as Dawkins did, whose main purpose in his own life right now, is to eradicate religion from people's minds.

Gould's main purpose was preservation of scientific truth.  Dawkin's main purpose was destruction of any belief in God.  Thus, Gould didn't look for a compromise.  He was true to himself.  He was just as "honest" as Dawkins was, and could care less what you believed, acknowledging science didn't have to contradict religion, as I would also believe.
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« Reply #101 on: September 27, 2009, 08:15:55 AM »

Does empirical proof count as a part of reason?
Depends, feeling Aristotelian or Platonic? Tongue
LOL! I would choose Aristotle over Plato any time. Grin

When Thomas Aquinas speaks of supernatural revelation I believe that he is talking about what he calls "sacra doctrina", sacred doctrine or the deposite of faith. In other words, he is referring to the Scriptures, Tradition, the Fathers, and the Ecumenical Councils. While a miracle can foster faith in the sacra doctrina, I don't think it qualifies as the supernatural revelation that he is speaking of. Supernatural revelation is public and can be identified as the "faith once and for all delivered unto the saints." The experience of miracles, on the other hand, is private, personal, and subject to interpretation.
So, the miracles just increase one's faith and therefore make him trust the truthness of the Holy Tradition?

What about empirical proof through a revelation, like the one of Saint Paul? What if suddenly one is filled with the Holy Spirit and God grants Him all truth? Do we count that as empirical?

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I am speaking about anyone who does not possess the theological virtue of Faith. This could be demons, or persons who know that Christianity is true yet refuse to convert. I remember hearing about the popular Thomsitic philosopher Modimer Adler. Previous to his conversion to the Catholic faith, he was often asked why he was not yet Catholic. His response: "God has not granted me the gift of faith." Now, I think that it was kind of a cop out on his part because the gift of faith is not something felt but rather something that is objectively in the soul once one is converted (i.e. baptized) and it is there as long as one wills it to be. That being said, eventually he accepted the gift of faith and converted.
Hmm, maybe it wasn't faith exactly, but maybe Grace. Currently, I know that God exists and Christianity is true, but I'm going through the same stage; I feel dead. I don't think that it's because of lack of faith, but because of lack of Grace. For example, I'm sinning too much, I pray less and I don't attend the Eucharist (I'm just busy on Sunday mornings and I get tired too much every day). That Grace is what makes everyone feel alive. No matter how complete and correct my theological views may be right now (thanks to my Church) and no matter how much assured I am about His existence, I feel dead.
In the same way, there are many people who do not know much about History, reasoning, cannot read or write, speak properly or suffer from a minor mental disease; still, they have Grace and good works. My Church has a lot of Saints who were illiterate, but faithful and righteous at the same time. What's the case here?

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Yes, this is the current practice of the Roman Church but it is a practice that I strongly disapprove of. I would much rather revert to the ancient practice of communing infants.
I fear that this one day may expand to infant Baptism too then. Undecided
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« Reply #102 on: September 27, 2009, 10:59:21 PM »

I disagree.  Gould was also being honest, when all that mattered to him is that if one accepts scientific knowledge and continues in research (as he realized great scientists included many theists) in pursue of more scientific knowledge, religion to him didn't matter as much as Dawkins did, whose main purpose in his own life right now, is to eradicate religion from people's minds.

Gould's main purpose was preservation of scientific truth.  Dawkin's main purpose was destruction of any belief in God.  Thus, Gould didn't look for a compromise.  He was true to himself.  He was just as "honest" as Dawkins was, and could care less what you believed, acknowledging science didn't have to contradict religion, as I would also believe.

Then we will have to agree to disagree.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts about this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuVSIG265b4


Also, what are your thoughts with what Fr. Hopko said here:
http://atlantaorthodoxchurches.org/stjohn/sounds/hopko04.mp3 ("What's going on right now in the western world")









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« Reply #103 on: September 28, 2009, 03:03:40 AM »

I disagree.  Gould was also being honest, when all that mattered to him is that if one accepts scientific knowledge and continues in research (as he realized great scientists included many theists) in pursue of more scientific knowledge, religion to him didn't matter as much as Dawkins did, whose main purpose in his own life right now, is to eradicate religion from people's minds.

Gould's main purpose was preservation of scientific truth.  Dawkin's main purpose was destruction of any belief in God.  Thus, Gould didn't look for a compromise.  He was true to himself.  He was just as "honest" as Dawkins was, and could care less what you believed, acknowledging science didn't have to contradict religion, as I would also believe.

Then we will have to agree to disagree.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts about this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuVSIG265b4

The first part is simple.  Notice the first person grew up in a society where "evolution was illegal" to be taught, a close-minded Bible-worshipping society, the same society who decades ago associated their own religion with racist feelings.  To this, I find this video quite comforting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58UDTq3kaZM

You notice in the video Dr. Francis Collins, a former atheist, who lead the completion of the Human Genome Project, and wrote a book, "The Language of God" about his beliefs about science and his own faith.  Notice how they show you the reality that when you pin down a person from their childhood that evolution=heresy/atheism/evil/hell, and then they grow up studying honestly scientific ideas, you already programmed in their head that it's either evolution or faith, and you can't have both.  I'm not surprised why all these people became atheist.  Because of communities of ignorance and hatred.  They programmed them as young children that evolution is an vain, atheistic idea, and they grew up with that conviction, choosing it over ignorance of so-called Christians.

So, the Expelled Video, just as I'm watching an atheist video, is extremely biased, based on an agenda, not an objective view of facts.  In fact, in most parts of the documentary, it is filled with deceptions, twisting of truths, and downright lies.  Here's an example of an atheist who loves to use this to discredit theists:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwhZqNgfRC0

The second part of the particular part of Expelled you linked to me talks about "Darwinism's" (which seems to me the video is talking about a philosophy, and not the science of evolution proposed by Darwin) links with Nazism.  Before getting into that scene, the philosopher Stein was talking to admitted this is not the main reason, nor should it be a reason that people who read "Darwinism" leads to these atrocities.  In fact, it can be easily argued that it's a misuse of Darwin's evolution theory.  It has no bearing on ethics whatsoever, but simply the natural world.  Nazis decided to use Machiavellian point of view, mixing it with a natural fact, and use it as an ethical standard.  A natural fact:  baboons have abusive alpha males with multiple wives, and they beat or kill other males who pose threats.  Okay....so let's be abusive polygamous husbands and kill other men who even dare to look at our wives (oh wait...there is a religion for that...hmmm...I guess they used Baboonism as a truth to their way of life).

A couple of problems.  Evolution is an observation, not a standard of ethics.  If it was, evolution would be a philosophical topic, not a science topic.  Second of all, let's assume that Nazis used "Darwinism" as an excuse to do whatever they did.  What about the history of religions that use their own religions as an excuse for the atrocities they want to do?  Can we discredit even Christianity's blunders?  Even Byzantine Orthodox emperors had their share of atrocities simply because an emperical council ruled something was heretical.

What about Jewish scriptures?  If we are to take the Jericho and Midianite holocausts literally, we are left with YHWH teaching Moses teaching Israelites to kill all men, most women, and boys (including infants) simply because God commanded it, since they either are on the Promised Land that belongs to the Israelites or did sin with the Israelites.  Did you forget the scene in the same video you gave me with Bill Maher, an atheist comedian, who uses the same argument Stein uses against scientists concerning the cause of atrocities and deaths in the world?  Of course both sides will also say it's a misuse of Christianity/evolution.  And round and round the circle we go.  When it comes to this, IDists and militant atheists are both sides of the same coin.

You have such a biased view of life.  And over and over again as I've seen in your posts, you don't offer anything new or convincing to a discussion of a similar subject like this.  I'm surprised you bring the Expelled issue up when we already had a loooooong thread on it before and you even were in it!!!  You seem to not want to listen to other people.  Instead, you probably want to rip their heads off.

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Also, what are your thoughts with what Fr. Hopko said here:
http://atlantaorthodoxchurches.org/stjohn/sounds/hopko04.mp3 ("What's going on right now in the western world")

When I get to it I'll let you know, although frankly you disappointed me with the first video.

God bless.
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« Reply #104 on: September 28, 2009, 06:12:13 AM »


God cannot be proven.

No religion can be proven or disproven.

It rests with the faithful, based on their own perceptions to find their own way home.






So how do I know that the Christian faith is true rather than the muslim one?

1) Many parts of the scriptures can be affirmed and corroborated with reliable historical sources.
2) Prophecy.
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« Reply #105 on: September 28, 2009, 11:22:37 AM »

The Hindu's who marched were "Hare Krishnas", and the Town Hall meetings weren't really all that bad.

Fist fights and a guy getting his finger bitten off wasn't "all that bad?" Good grief!!!

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  And what I said about naturalism, a closed system universe, and determinism is true, and it's not just my view.....it is a view held by consistent atheists who reject the idea of free will.

But the term "consistent atheist" is something religious people use in talking about atheists, not what atheists use to talk about themselves. According to atheists "consistent Christians" have to believe in all sorts of things that we simply do not believe in.

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A closed system Universe = determinism....no if's, and's or buts about it. Now some atheists may try real hard to get around this, but to do so is to be inconsistent.

They're inconsistent according to WHOM? You? Skinner?


You answered this perfectly well right here:

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Thus,

It is my personal belief that atheists who want to believe in free will are inconsistent naturalists.


According to YOU and YOUR intepretation of THEIR philosophy. That is identical to what to militant atheists do with religions, as I've already given several points of reference. (Abraham and Isaac etc)


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...anyhow....the people that follow his school of thought (behavioralism) are the advocates that free will doesn't exist.....and if you were watching the news this year, then you would know that more and more scientists are pushing this idea........the idea that free will doesn't exist.....and guess what? They come from the school of B.F. Skinner.

Who cares? Again, to use the term "free will" in the sense you or I would use it as Christians is completely different than how a scientist who would be capable of studying such a thing within his scientific field would use it. I'm well aware of the "idea" you're talking about within the scientific community, but it is a debate on many different levels that Skinner had little or no knowledge of. That doesn't make him wrong, it just makes his idea at best "incomplete".


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Naturalism can not allow "free will" to exist.  Eventually, they will find a way to stamp it out completely.

And what if the concept of "free will" was stamped out completely? Would that cause you to lose your faith? The idea of losing one's faith over the philosophy of "free will" and "Divine Providence" in light of scientific knowledge seems a strange one. Why not lose your faith over more concrete scientific facts like the world being ROUND, or the earth revolving around the sun? The truth is as Wikipedia says in the article on "free will", Early scientific thought often portrayed the universe as deterministic,[63] and some thinkers claimed that the simple process of gathering sufficient information would allow them to predict future events with perfect accuracy. Modern science, on the other hand, is a mixture of deterministic and stochastic theories.[64] Quantum mechanics predicts events only in terms of probabilities, casting doubt on whether the universe is deterministic at all. [65][66]Current physical theories cannot resolve the question of whether determinism is true of the world, being very far from a potential Final Theory, and open to many different interpretations.

If you go through all the different scientific perspectives from genetics to neuroscience you'll see that they are coming to different conclusion on the subject and only one is coming to the identical conclusion Skinner did, that being in the field of PSYCHOLOGY. This is why the quote in red is important, there simply is no final theory, or even a single theory that overlaps multiple disciplines as of yet. There are many hypothesis, but no theory. That doesn't make the theory wrong of course, and for all you or I know, Skinner may be absolutely correct scientifically speaking, within the realm of observable, testable science. (though his idea was merely a hypothesis not a theory). But then so what if he is? Does that somehow "disprove" our religious concept of free will? We know scientifically that dead people DO NOT rise from the dead (as did the ancient pagans, who didn't need science to tell them that), and yet we believe it anyway. We know people are not born from virgins, yet we believe it. So why would this be any different? We cannot "test" the universe to prove or disprove God's existence, and yet we still believe.

I just don't see why this is an issue for you, other than, if true you'd lose you're faith. Which I hope isn't true.

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B.F. Skinner was a certain type of "Psychologist"....all schools of thought in Psych are not the same.....I took 3 course in Psych many many many yeara ago. The school of thought of Erik Erikson(free will) is not the same as that of B.F. Skinner(hard determinism), B.F. Skinner was a hardcore naturalist, and the philosophy that all modern scientists must abide by is "philosophical naturalism"

And so, it doesn't matter if you are talking about Psychology, Philosophy, geneticism, Physics, Astronomy, String Theory......etc.

For at the end of the day, if you want to be scientific, then whatever you say must conform to "philosophical naturalism"......this philosophy automatically assumes atheism as it's starting point.......so it doesn't matter.....Naturalism is Naturalism....no matter where you find it.

You're confusing science with philosophy. And granted some scientists have done that in the past and present, Skinner may have been one, but then again, so what? Science adheres to the "philosophy" of naturalism in as much as that is simply what science is. A study of the material, testable, observable universe. You're faulting people for studying what God created (even if they don't believe there is a God).

It's not a philosophy at all, it simply is what it is. Just like an historian studies and speaks about history and not to being an expert in the field of medicine. This is not the "historians philosophy", it is simply what being an historian is and does. I'm not going to take medical advice from a history professor, nor am I going to learn history of the Roman Empire from my dentist. In fact, if you're dentist began to tell you that you needed a kidney transplant, you'd probably stop going to him. And rightly so. Because he's speaking of a field of medicine who knows nothing about. Granted, there are "frauds" who claim to be historians who are not, or doctors who are not...but my point is you're chastising science for being what it is, and that is a field that studies the the physical world. If you're going to chastize scientists for studying science, then we're at the end of our dialogue here.

In the end, science cannot study things like "love" and "sacrifice".....yes, science can tell us what happens physiologically when we love someone, via observation, but it cannot delve into that deeper realm that is beyond the testable and observable. it can't "prove" love. Yet love exists.

So even is from the POV of science there is no "free will" (which I still argue is a religious and philisophical term, not a scientific term) that doesn't mean we don't have free will. Besides, the whole idea that all consistent atheists scientists must come to the same conclusion Skinner did, is simply not how science works. Skinner may very well be correct. That doesn't make him 100% correct. Isaac Neuton was correct. But not 100% correct. Einstein was correct, but many scientists now believe he wasn't 100% correct. Science simply builds upon previous hypothesis and theories do evolve. In the 1800's geologists said the world was "very ancient"...50,000 years old. Then it was a million, then it was a billion...then 4 billion......the first scientists who said it was "very ancient" were correct, but not 100% so. New data and evidence builds upon the old....and evidence that doesn't fit is reconsidered. According to science from 100 years a "virgin birth" was scientifically impossible. Now, it goes by the scientific name of parthenogenesis. Science is self correcting (for the most part) and even if all the evidence we have shows we don't have "free will"...(which it of course doesn't say that), NEW data in the future might reveal that the previous data was correct, yet incomplete, and that in fact we DO have "free will"....new evidence doesn't contradict the old, it just might give a bigger picture. Testable and observable science of the mind is a very new science so I just don't see the problem here. Scientists cannot see our "souls" yet we believe we have one.

anyways, now we're way off topic...lol! Sorry for hijacking the thread.




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« Reply #106 on: September 28, 2009, 11:50:32 AM »


It is my personal belief that the next generation of atheists will become more consistent....and if you are going to become "more consistent", then a belief in free will must eventually go.

So what?

I still don't get why you have so much fear about this and about atheists and seemingly about science in general. The fact that you posted a link to Expelled is a conversation ender for me because, well, expelled is nothing but Creationist propaganda. Very good propaganda, but propaganda none the less.

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Free will doesn't belong in a closed system Universe.....it is the Pink Elephant in the room.

Of course cosmologists aren't even sure the Universe IS a closed system, when they figure that one out, get back with me...Cheesy


Seriously, why so much fear? Because Ben Stein claimed atheism was responsible for WWII? The Holocaust? I've already brought up counter arguments to both those hypothesis to which you've given no rebuttal. "Social Darwinism" is a philosophy about society and civilization....Darwin's theory of evolution was the ground work for the modern scientific theory of evolution that has nothing to do with philosophical ideas. As I said, science is what it is. A friend of mine just completed a thesis in hydrobiology that was quite groundbreaking and in fact challenged the long standing assumptions of the "old guard" in the scientific community of watershed sciences. Yet, the "old guard" accepted that his thesis was "more correct" than theirs because the science is what it is. They didn't like it, and were miffed that this young 28 year old scientist was outdoing them in their field, but in the end, his thesis was accepted, he got his 2 year contract and yes, he is an Orthodox Christian. People like Ben Stein, whom I actually find to be likable and entertaining are none the less NOT qualified to refute things just because they don't like them. It reminds me of a politician I recently saw on TV whom when challenged about the American health care system and how we rank 37th in the world said, "well I know that's what the statistics say, but I think it's best!"....and he just assumed that because he said so, then it must be. Too many people are confusing science with philosophy, granted as I said, some scientists are known for doing that, but usually it's the Ben Stein types who will simply make stuff up put it into a movie and we're all supposed to accept it as fact. People like Elaine Pagals do the same thing with history. She writes a book, says women ruled the Roman Empire and Mary Magdalene was the "beloved disciple" and everyone without any sort of knowledge of history just accepts it because she "says so". Again, I'm not knocking Mr. Stein, as I do find him very likable, but Expelled is a joke. You'd do much better to be linking to Hugh Ross (who at least is a real scientist) than that film.








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« Reply #107 on: September 28, 2009, 04:28:12 PM »

NorthernPines,




Why did you bring up my "faith" in all this when I already said that I believe in an "open system Universe"(quantum physics shows some evidence of this)? If I didn't become an Atheist in highschool and college, then I'm not gonna become one now. My whole point for all of this is that "modern science" is flawed at it's very core for it only allows one to answer "all things".....I repeat, "all things", according to "Philosophical naturalism", and it is because of this, that science will "keep changing" and contradicting itself.....instead of what it was suppose to do....which was build upon facts upon facts....until we reach a complete knowledge of the universe....what we have is flawed for anything that is "sola naturalism" will automatically be flawed.....for you are observing the evidence with a pre-determined bias that may or may not be true. But you have to look at everything as if it was true......and that's pure fluff to me.

But our society doesn't know this, and so they will turn to this flawed system as if it's "infallible", and so they will try and brainwash all of us into conforming to "sola naturalism". They will indoctrinate "sola naturalism" into our children in all the educational fields, in all our jobs, even in all our religions......they will pressure all religions to adopt "sola naturalism"......as seen in alot of seminaries/cemeteries already.

And because I know this, my faith will never be touched, for I know that "sola naturalism" is false, and the people who reject "free will" that interprete the evidence are blind. For they come to the evidence already thinking that free will is false and so they only see what they want to see.

So no, leave "my faith" out of this. I just knew that some atheists rejected the idea of free will, and that they are pushing this idea onto the masses. And that those atheists who embrace "free will" are inconsistent with their "naturalism". Now you said more than once that they may have a different "understanding" of "free will" than us. And to that, I will say, that not all christians believe in "free will" either, and so, no, they don't have a drastically different understanding than us.

They wouldn't of used the term "free will" if they weren't using the common textbook difinition of "the libertarian freedom" of the will (my free will view is "semi-libertarian" since I am a synergist"). Now there is another interpretation of "free will" used by mainstream calvinists called "compatibilism", in my eyes, this isn't really free will, it's "soft determinism", and so a good number of atheists who think they believe in free will, actually believe in what some christians call "soft determinism" or "compatibilism". Other Calvinists believe in what is called "Hard determinism", and it's pretty much the same as the atheists I was talking about who also reject the idea of free will......the only difference is, for the high Calvinist, they point the finger at God, when it comes to "Hard determinism", whereas, for the (what I call) "consistent" atheist, they point the finger at the "closed system" Universe when it comes to "Hard determinism".

So the ideas are extrememly similar, no matter how you cut it. Just as, there are only so many drum kicks you can put on a single Meter, well, there are only so many ideas of "free will" that one can come up with.

So it doesn't matter to me if an atheist claims that free will doesn't exist or that some scientists claim that free will doesn't exist. My paradigm is not "sola naturalism", and therefore, I could care less about what they say. I am a Panentheist, and that is my "philosophical" foundation when it comes to the issue of "how to do" science. It is my own personal view that "Panentheism" should replace "Naturalism" for those who are not atheist, but still wish to do science......now they shouldn't tell anyone what they are doing, but to embrace "sola naturalism" is to eventually kill the soul.










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« Reply #108 on: September 28, 2009, 05:33:44 PM »

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So what?

I still don't get why you have so much fear about this and about atheists and seemingly about science in general.

Inevitable persecution. Our current administration is looking more and more like an anti-christ.


 
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The fact that you posted a link to Expelled is a conversation ender for me because, well, expelled is nothing but Creationist propaganda. Very good propaganda, but propaganda none the less.

I am a creationist......as should you be. It is my personal opinion that if you believe in God, then you automatically must believe in Creation ex nihilo at some point. So it doesn't matter to me if you are a Theistic evolutionist(even if you refuse to call yourself one), an Old Earth Creationist, or a Young Earth Creationist.

You should check out this young earth creationist in whom naturalists try and discredit by saying that he made an error back in 1965.....as if no scientist ever made errors. We can error and change, just like they can error and change. Now I am no longer a Young Earth Creationist, but I still listen to all sides for one can learn from all of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdLrXPnp0zs ((The Great Debate: Evolution or Creation Wilder-Smith))



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Of course cosmologists aren't even sure the Universe IS a closed system, when they figure that one out, get back with me...Cheesy

Then someone should tell "Naturalists" this, and someone should update/change the archaic philosophical underpinnings of how we do science.....for it is plagued with the false idea of "sola naturalism".


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Seriously, why so much fear? Because Ben Stein claimed atheism was responsible for WWII? The Holocaust?

I already knew this, so I didn't need Ben Stein to tell me.


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I've already brought up counter arguments to both those hypothesis to which you've given no rebuttal.

I mostly agreed with your counters, however, this doesn't mean that "naturalism" in all it's different forms didn't play a role in both World Wars. And this doesn't mean that I can't continue to show where naturalism played a role. Why? Because Naturalists sure won't bring this up.......so somebody has to.

So next time, when I bring these things up, I will just say that they played a "role".


 
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"Social Darwinism" is a philosophy about society and civilization....Darwin's theory of evolution was the ground work for the modern scientific theory of evolution that has nothing to do with philosophical ideas.

This isn't what people thought at the time. Naturalists are only saying this now because it doesn't look good on their resume. All one has to do is read what people believed at the time. Also, Social Darwinism is still alive and well. It didn't die out with WWII, some of their ideas are a part of this current administration.



 
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As I said, science is what it is. A friend of mine just completed a thesis in hydrobiology that was quite groundbreaking and in fact challenged the long standing assumptions of the "old guard" in the scientific community of watershed sciences. Yet, the "old guard" accepted that his thesis was "more correct" than theirs because the science is what it is. They didn't like it, and were miffed that this young 28 year old scientist was outdoing them in their field, but in the end, his thesis was accepted, he got his 2 year contract and yes, he is an Orthodox Christian. People like Ben Stein, whom I actually find to be likable and entertaining are none the less NOT qualified to refute things just because they don't like them. It reminds me of a politician I recently saw on TV whom when challenged about the American health care system and how we rank 37th in the world said, "well I know that's what the statistics say, but I think it's best!"....and he just assumed that because he said so, then it must be. Too many people are confusing science with philosophy, granted as I said, some scientists are known for doing that, but usually it's the Ben Stein types who will simply make stuff up put it into a movie and we're all supposed to accept it as fact. People like Elaine Pagals do the same thing with history. She writes a book, says women ruled the Roman Empire and Mary Magdalene was the "beloved disciple" and everyone without any sort of knowledge of history just accepts it because she "says so". Again, I'm not knocking Mr. Stein, as I do find him very likable, but Expelled is a joke. You'd do much better to be linking to Hugh Ross (who at least is a real scientist) than that film.


You can't totally separate science from "philosophy"......after all, western science started out as mostly deductive logic, and then it changed into a more observable Empirical form (Inductive logic) ............so If all of this was simply about sola "Empirical data" then we would all hold hands and sing kum ba yah.








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« Reply #109 on: September 28, 2009, 08:49:17 PM »

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« Reply #110 on: September 29, 2009, 12:17:50 PM »

NorthernPines,




Why did you bring up my "faith" in all this when I already said that I believe in an "open system Universe"(quantum physics shows some evidence of this)? If I didn't become an Atheist in highschool and college, then I'm not gonna become one now.

One doesn't have to be an atheist to accept the scientific method. the reason I mentioned your faith is because as a former young earth, 6 literal day creationist myself, I've "been there done that" as it were. And in the end not accepting scientific evidence is due to fear. And for many (as it was for me) it is because they were taught that to accept science, in particular evolution, is to deny one's Christian faith.  So it often comes down to a fear of losing one's faith.  You seemed to be taking the stance that to accept science would somehow disprove your faith or at least are making arguments that lead me to that conclusion. Yet the theories of gravity and plate techtonics, or the theory that the planets revolve around the sun are almost always accepted, all of which could be considered "anti-religious" and often were or would be considered heretical by many of the Church fathers are today accepted by "most" religious people in the world. And so we don't fear these theories anymore, why fear evolution? It just makes no sense to me outside of the belief that to accept it means one is somehow denying God or the Bible.



for you are observing the evidence with a pre-determined bias that may or may not be true. But you have to look at everything as if it was true......and that's pure fluff to me.[/quote]

 . . . . with that bolded part you've revealed a basic misunderstanding of science in general. Granted, this is sciences fault, because the majority of scientists are POOR communicators to the public...there's a reason over the last 50 years we only know of a handful of scientists within popular culture, because they stick at communicating...lol! (and many are now admitting this) But your assumption that science first assumes everythng as if it were true is completely backwards.

 You're right, the assumption that everything is true is fluff, but that's NOT what what science does regardless of what Expelled or whatever other propaganda films claim.

 In fact, it does just the opposite. I It lays forth a hypothesis, and then it assumes the hypothesis is FALSE....it will then test, study, observe, study, test some more  all in an attempt to DISPROVE said hypothesis. Only when ruling out all other options is a real theory developed to explain said evidence. For example . . . . if you were to take this statement to the scientific community:


Quote
And because I know this, my faith will never be touched, for I know that "sola naturalism" is false, and the people who reject "free will" that interprete the evidence are blind.

They would say, ok, good hypothesis, now, Prove it! Then as a scientist it is your job to present evidence to support your hypothesis. This is simply how science works, and has worked for a very long time. You cannot even get published in a scientific journal until you've proven or disproven something. And in fact, just because science "disproves" one theory, does NOT mean you're opposing theory is correct. For example, lets say it was possible to "disprove" evolution....that's fine and dandy, but just disproving evolution does NOT prove creationism. If evolution is false, then there must be an alternative explanation. It "might" be a 6 literal day creation, but as a scientist, you have to PROVE it.



Quote
For they come to the evidence already thinking that free will is false and so they only see what they want to see.

Again, that is simply NOT how science works. Just because a group of scientists somewhere "disprove" free will, does not indicate absolute determinism is true. You need an entire different set of evidence, tests, and studies to determine that. Disproving one does not prove whatever the "opposite" hypothesis is, because BOTH could be wrong.













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« Reply #111 on: September 29, 2009, 12:41:30 PM »

Quote
So what?

I still don't get why you have so much fear about this and about atheists and seemingly about science in general.

Inevitable persecution. Our current administration is looking more and more like an anti-christ.


 Shocked Shocked Shocked


Quote


I am a creationist......as should you be. It is my personal opinion that if you believe in God, then you automatically must believe in Creation ex nihilo at some point. So it doesn't matter to me if you are a Theistic evolutionist(even if you refuse to call yourself one), an Old Earth Creationist, or a Young Earth Creationist.

i don't refuse to call myself anything. OF COURSE I'm a "Creationist" in the sense that God began the universe out of nothing. (how else could claim to be a Christian?) However in the popular sense of the term "Creationist" we're talking about people who DENY evolution to one degree or another....so in that sense I'm not a "Creationist". I accept that evolution is true because, well it is.  Just like gravity is true. I believe that the entire Cosmos is sustained and exists by the will of God. Yes, Theistic Evolutionist would be the most accurate term, but even that term has different interpretations of the phrase but generally speaking yes, I'm a Theistic Evolutionist.


Quote
You should check out this young earth creationist in whom naturalists try and discredit by saying that he made an error back in 1965.....as if no scientist ever made errors. We can error and change, just like they can error and change. Now I am no longer a Young Earth Creationist, but I still listen to all sides for one can learn from all of them.

I have listened to Young Earth arguments before, as I said I used to be one. I'm not anymore. There simply is no "debate" over the issue anymore than there is a debate with flat earthers, or people who deny the existence of gravity or modern geocentrists (yes, these people DO exist). The only debate exists in the public sphere because scientists are such poor communicators and people think evolution says "man evolved from monkeys"...which is simply not what the theory says. But the American public "thinks" it does.


Quote
Quote
Seriously, why so much fear? Because Ben Stein claimed atheism was responsible for WWII? The Holocaust?

I already knew this, so I didn't need Ben Stein to tell me.

Yeah, and Orthodox Christianity was responsible for just as many evil things. Does that fact "disprove" Orthodox Christianity?


Quote
I mostly agreed with your counters, however, this doesn't mean that "naturalism" in all it's different forms didn't play a role in both World Wars. And this doesn't mean that I can't continue to show where naturalism played a role. Why? Because Naturalists sure won't bring this up.......so somebody has to.

Carl Sagan brought it up all the time. So you're a bit late!


Quote
So next time, when I bring these things up, I will just say that they played a "role".

Oh yes, it did "play a role"...but that didn't seem to be your initial suggestion, nor is it the suggestion of Expelled. Expelled explicitly implies to be an evolutionist is to be a Nazi, Communist, or supporter of some form of evil oppression.


Quote
This isn't what people thought at the time. Naturalists are only saying this now because it doesn't look good on their resume. All one has to do is read what people believed at the time.

Again, just read what people believed about being "Christian" in the Byzantine Empire, or Western Europe or even in America 200 years ago. In the past to be a good Christian meant to be a slave owner, a crusader, an Emperor who felt it his duty to put down the heretics, Jews, Samaritans, and all sorts of evils. This is what Christians believed at the time. And now we distinguish between being a "true Christian" and these "fake Christians"...but to THEM they believed it a good and holy thing to own other human beings, or to kill the Jews because they rejected Christ. As I said, the atheists are just borrowing the arguments we Christians used first. No difference.


Quote
Also, Social Darwinism is still alive and well. It didn't die out with WWII, some of their ideas are a part of this current administration.

'sigh'



With that statement I'll bow out of the conversation because it's going into things completely irrelivant to the OP, and which has nothing to do with science but politics which I don't care to discuss.

I'll agree to disagree.










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« Reply #112 on: September 29, 2009, 12:53:56 PM »

Papist, just being curious; are you having problems with your faith or are you just asking?
No. I am just wanted to see EO epistemology fleshed out.

IT WAS FLESHED OUT CENTURIES AGO.  THOUGH SOME HAVE BEEN WELL REASONED, ALL YOU'RE GETTING ON THIS THREAD IS OPINION.  AGAIN, IT WAS FLESHED OUT CENTURIES AGO.

 P.S. I apologize for sounding belligerent or seeming as if I were yelling; I merely didn't want this message to get drowned out in more opinion.  There are many wonderful sources available to us (though we musn't confuse the "finger for the moon" as it were).  You will see that the Fathers and Mothers were all unanimous; humility and a life of prayer is the path for our journey.
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« Reply #113 on: September 30, 2009, 12:57:02 AM »

Quote
One doesn't have to be an atheist to accept the scientific method.

I know Northern Pines, I had teachers that were both Atheist as well as Christian, so I know that you don't have to be an atheist in order to accept the scientific method....but even that method took time to be what it is today, which tells me, that it can change again.......The thing is, the philosophy of science will only allow one to accept a "Naturalistic" premise. All your answers must be "Naturalistic" or else they won't be accepted. But you think such a thing won't compromise ones faith......and I say, oh yes it will. I had teachers that told me, that you have to have science on this side of the brain, while faith/religion on the other......that was how some of them were able to stay sane. That is something I totaly reject. Science shouldn't be on one side of the fence while religion on the other. Science and Religion/faith should be One. Science should dwell inside religion/faith. It started out inside Roman Catholicism and then later protestantism, before Charles Darwin made it completely secular.

Science needs a guide, thus, it needs religion/faith. Now science dwells completely in Naturalism......the place where Atheism calls home.


Quote
Yet the theories of gravity and plate techtonics, or the theory that the planets revolve around the sun are almost always accepted, all of which could be considered "anti-religious" and often were or would be considered heretical by many of the Church fathers are today accepted by "most" religious people in the world. And so we don't fear these theories anymore, why fear evolution? It just makes no sense to me outside of the belief that to accept it means one is somehow denying God or the Bible.

I doubt if the church fathers were all in agreement on these things. But Darwinism is different from all these other things that you mentioned, for all these other things never caused so many christians to loose faith in the Bible nor in christianity in general as Darwinism has historically done.

Like I said, I would rather believe both Scripture and Science. I will not call huge chunks of scripture "myth", fantasy, fairy tale......etc for the sake of embracing certain soft scientific views that will most likely adjust in 5 to 10 years. It ain't happening.


Quote
the reason I mentioned your faith is because as a former young earth, 6 literal day creationist myself, I've "been there done that" as it were. And in the end not accepting scientific evidence is due to fear.

Where there is smoke, there is fire, western christians had a right to fear in some sense, but I studied the history of science, and so I have answers for why I doubt certain ideas.......I actually thought things through.......unlike alot of young earth creationists. Also if you noticed, I no longer call myself a young earth creationist. I simply call myself a creationist that listen to mutiple schools of thought. I listen to Young Earthers, Old Earthers, and Theistic Evolutionists. I know why scientists say what they say, and I know why I am still critical.

Quote
And for many (as it was for me) it is because they were taught that to accept science, in particular evolution, is to deny one's Christian faith.

Historically, this has been true, most scientists were Old Earth Creationists before Charles Darwin wrote his book. It wasn't until after, that you start to see more and more Old Earthers either become Agnostic, Atheistic, or Theistic Evolutionists. And this has been true for many, and even if you still profess Faith in Christ and christianity in general, you became more liberal in regards to your interpretation of historical figures in scripture. The first 11 chapters of Genesis is a good example of this. Historically, those who embraced those views had to call the first 11 chapters of Genesis myth....fantasy.....etc. So maybe if people didn't call huge chunks of scripture "fairy tale, myth, fantasy.....etc", then maybe christians will stop saying that to embrace such and such is to deny one's Christian faith.

So there is some truth to that fear. I am one who would rather literally believe in both science and scripture. So yes, I will fight anyone tooth and nail who thinks Scripture is a fairy tale. And I will comb scientific views to see where the assumptions are......and thus come up with my own interpretation of what the facts are.......of that which will stand the test of time......for if it's true, then it should always be true....it shouldn't keep changing every 5 to 10 years.

You, on the other hand seemed to have given up. Why throw your hands up and wave the white flag? Why not continue to be skeptical? Why not be a cynic when it comes to the claims of "Naturalism"?

Quote
You seemed to be taking the stance that to accept science would somehow disprove your faith or at least are making arguments that lead me to that conclusion.

Real Science can never disprove anyones faith, but "Sola Naturalism" will automatically compromise everyones faith, for it is atheistic. So if you are calling "science" Naturalism, then I would say yes, naturalism will disprove anyones faith, so yes, I am making arguments against naturalism........that's if you think "Naturalism" & "science" are one and the samething. But if I already know that "Naturalism" is full of crap, then how can it disprove my faith? How can something that is not real ever disprove anything?



 
Quote
. . . . with that bolded part you've revealed a basic misunderstanding of science in general. Granted, this is sciences fault, because the majority of scientists are POOR communicators to the public...there's a reason over the last 50 years we only know of a handful of scientists within popular culture, because they stick at communicating...lol! (and many are now admitting this) But your assumption that science first assumes everythng as if it were true is completely backwards.

 You're right, the assumption that everything is true is fluff, but that's NOT what what science does regardless of what Expelled or whatever other propaganda films claim.

 In fact, it does just the opposite. I It lays forth a hypothesis, and then it assumes the hypothesis is FALSE....it will then test, study, observe, study, test some more  all in an attempt to DISPROVE said hypothesis. Only when ruling out all other options is a real theory developed to explain said evidence. For example . . . . if you were to take this statement to the scientific community:


You misunderstood what I meant, I'm sorry for not being clear. This is what I meant:

"for you are observing the evidence with a pre-determined bias that may or may not be true. But you have to look at everything as if "NATURALISM" was true......and that's pure fluff to me."

This is what I meant to say.


Quote
They would say, ok, good hypothesis, now, Prove it! Then as a scientist it is your job to present evidence to support your hypothesis. This is simply how science works, and has worked for a very long time. You cannot even get published in a scientific journal until you've proven or disproven something. And in fact, just because science "disproves" one theory, does NOT mean you're opposing theory is correct. For example, lets say it was possible to "disprove" evolution....that's fine and dandy, but just disproving evolution does NOT prove creationism. If evolution is false, then there must be an alternative explanation. It "might" be a 6 literal day creation, but as a scientist, you have to PROVE it.

Proof is for mathmatics. The whole point is that the only answers they will ever accept are "naturalistic" ones. That's the point.


Quote
Again, that is simply NOT how science works. Just because a group of scientists somewhere "disprove" free will, does not indicate absolute determinism is true. You need an entire different set of evidence, tests, and studies to determine that. Disproving one does not prove whatever the "opposite" hypothesis is, because BOTH could be wrong.


If the only tools you have to work with is "Naturalism" then the atheistic scientists who reject free will, will automatically have the upper hand, for other scientists will have to work with one hand tied behind their backs. Have you seen a Naturalist explain away "all forms"(even the ones where a person saw physical things and places where they were never present) of near death experiences, and haunted houses where the ghost/spirit/demon actually has a conversation with a person? If the only explainations you can have are of a "naturalistic" nature, then you have one hand tied behind your back........and this is what modern science does. Modern science will say that the demon/spirit/ghost was nothing more than a pre-recording that the brick wall recorded some 50 years ago, and so the girl saw a pre-recording. They ignore obvious signs of "intelligence" in favor of nonsense.

So yes, I am skeptical, and Lord willing, will always be skeptical of such naturalistic nonsense.


Quote
i don't refuse to call myself anything. OF COURSE I'm a "Creationist" in the sense that God began the universe out of nothing. (how else could claim to be a Christian?) However in the popular sense of the term "Creationist" we're talking about people who DENY evolution to one degree or another....so in that sense I'm not a "Creationist". I accept that evolution is true because, well it is.  Just like gravity is true. I believe that the entire Cosmos is sustained and exists by the will of God. Yes, Theistic Evolutionist would be the most accurate term, but even that term has different interpretations of the phrase but generally speaking yes, I'm a Theistic Evolutionist.

I would never call evolving from a group of Apes to a group of humans as true, in the same sence as "gravity being true"......by the way....we still don't know exactly what gravity is.......there are still some assumptions that were made by Einstein, that may or may not be true......thus there is a flaw and some time in the future our understanding of it is bound to change. But I would say that one HIV strain evolving into another HIV strain is more true than gravity. The same for a group of humans evolving into another group of humans, the same for a FLU strain evolving into another FLU strain........etc.

This is what we can observe, everything else is mostly assumptions based on the idea of what could or should happen over a long period of time. So no, I would never call that as being as true as gravity.

I'm happy you admited to being a Theistic Evolutionist. Thanks for being honest, for we have some Theistic Evolutionists on the board who refuse to admit it.

Hi! I'm a Creationist, glad to meet you. Unlike some other creationists, I don't have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists.......I see it as a viable option, the onlything I reject is how some may interprete the first 11 chapters of Genesis.


Quote
I have listened to Young Earth arguments before, as I said I used to be one. I'm not anymore. There simply is no "debate" over the issue anymore than there is a debate with flat earthers, or people who deny the existence of gravity or modern geocentrists (yes, these people DO exist). The only debate exists in the public sphere because scientists are such poor communicators and people think evolution says "man evolved from monkeys"...which is simply not what the theory says. But the American public "thinks" it does.


I know, Robert Sungenis is a modern advocate of Geocentrism. I don't care about that issue for the Roman Catholic interpretation of scripture was heavily influenced by Aristotlian philosophy, and so, I point the finger at using Aristotle......I don't blame scripture for that. Also this debate happened when RC & EO were two different communions.

The Earth going around the Sun didn't seem to bother Capernicus's christianity, and so why should it bother ours?

The whole issue of flat earth is similar, there were christians on both side of the issue....for who was Saint Augustine and them arguing against? Were they not christians too? It didn't seem to bother their christianity, and so why should it bother ours?

The same can't be said for Darwinism, alot of people got jacked up over that. I read or heard somewhere that Stalin rejected christianity in seminary after reading Darwin's book. Now that may or may not be true, but that's what I heard.

And I don't think darwinian scientists are poor communicators.......the belief is truely that a group of Monkey's or Apes eventually evolved into something that looked somewhat human, and in turn they eventually evolved into us.


Quote
Yeah, and Orthodox Christianity was responsible for just as many evil things. Does that fact "disprove" Orthodox Christianity?

No, for the first 300 years we were "mostly" pacifists. So that balance everything out. The same can't be said for modern Atheism of the past 200 years.


Quote
Carl Sagan brought it up all the time. So you're a bit late!


OK, I'm late


Quote
Oh yes, it did "play a role"...but that didn't seem to be your initial suggestion,

True, your counters made me modify what I will say for now on in the future. However, the very foundation of Naturalism makes it natural, normal, and more easy for someone to be a Hitler, Stalin, Hugh Hefner.....etc.


Quote
nor is it the suggestion of Expelled. Expelled explicitly implies to be an evolutionist is to be a Nazi, Communist, or supporter of some form of evil oppression.

I have the movie expelled, and I saw it again on youtube, and they don't really say that. This is what they said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuVSIG265b4

He said not everyone who read Darwin became a Nazi, the case he made was that Darwinism is not a sufficient condition for the phenomenon of  Nazism, but it was a necessary one. And I agree.


Quote
Again, just read what people believed about being "Christian" in the Byzantine Empire, or Western Europe or even in America 200 years ago. In the past to be a good Christian meant to be a slave owner, a crusader, an Emperor who felt it his duty to put down the heretics, Jews, Samaritans, and all sorts of evils. This is what Christians believed at the time. And now we distinguish between being a "true Christian" and these "fake Christians"...but to THEM they believed it a good and holy thing to own other human beings, or to kill the Jews because they rejected Christ. As I said, the atheists are just borrowing the arguments we Christians used first. No difference.

What did christians say and do in it's first 300 years? The first decades of darwinism was what it was, and that will never change.....regardless of the historical revisionism of modern day Naturalists.

Just like modern Muslims who kill are just doing what their founder did, and what early Islam did. And so, modern naturalists in the Obama administration who want to kill babies, grandma, grandpa, make people sterile, and create a progressive/socialist or facist society are just being like the naturalists back then.







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« Reply #114 on: October 01, 2009, 03:30:13 AM »

Quote
Hi! I'm a Creationist, glad to meet you. Unlike some other creationists, I don't have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists.......I see it as a viable option, the onlything I reject is how some may interprete the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

If God woke you up one morning and asked you to go kill your son, or go exterminate a nation of people, would you do it?

If for some reason you didn't circumcise your son before the 8th day, would you cut him off from the nation of Israel and let him die?
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« Reply #115 on: October 04, 2009, 04:22:25 PM »

Quote
Hi! I'm a Creationist, glad to meet you. Unlike some other creationists, I don't have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists.......I see it as a viable option, the onlything I reject is how some may interprete the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

If God woke you up one morning and asked you to go kill your son, or go exterminate a nation of people, would you do it?

If for some reason you didn't circumcise your son before the 8th day, would you cut him off from the nation of Israel and let him die?

Personally, if 'God woke us up one morning' I think many of us would have the conviction to do much more than we might think.
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« Reply #116 on: October 05, 2009, 10:57:22 PM »

Quote
Hi! I'm a Creationist, glad to meet you. Unlike some other creationists, I don't have a problem with Theistic Evolutionists.......I see it as a viable option, the onlything I reject is how some may interprete the first 11 chapters of Genesis.

If God woke you up one morning and asked you to go kill your son, or go exterminate a nation of people, would you do it?

If for some reason you didn't circumcise your son before the 8th day, would you cut him off from the nation of Israel and let him die?

If I was living in the Old Testament sure....absolutely, but since Revelation is progressive I don't have to worry about that for we are able to know how God is through His Son. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware talked about this in passing in one of his lectures last year at Seattle Pacific University. If you go to Itunes and type his name in the search, then you should see a 90 minute video where he talks about theology.

I am a self professed pacifist, and only because of the teachings of christ and what I saw alot of early christians say and live.....and so that would go against what we are called to be like as followers of Christ.

For Jesus said:

Matthew 5:38-39
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

So Revelation is progressive.








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« Reply #117 on: October 09, 2009, 02:38:40 AM »

We are progressive from the past, but the past has things that are considered regressive to a certain extent.  I believe someone with a right mind always existed to believe that if voices in his head tells him to go sacrifice his most beloved son, it seems logical before the dawn of the science of psychology to just go kill himself.  That's not regressive from the point of view of now, that's just plain wrong even with certain non-human animal kingdoms.

If a voice in my head told me to do this, I'd seek a psychiatrist.  St. Paul told us even if you see an angel preaching a different gospel, do not believe it (even if it was Paul, do not believe it).  If I wasn't much of a skeptic on miracles, perhaps I'd think Satan is portraying himself as God through these voices.  I have been taught of a story of a certain monk in history who killed himself jumping off a roof of a monastery trying to jump on a fiery chariot "God" promised him so he can get to heaven, like Elijah.

My father taught me to discern with wisdom many things.  To be humble like a dove, wise like a serpent.  That was my father's favorite verse.  As I advanced in my studies, I find myself at a crossroads and I start questioning myself.  However, something for sure I cannot not believe in:

We have an inner sense of morality built in us, and yet we struggle in that.
We also struggle to stay alive, but for what?
The universe is so complex, and the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology are so intricate, to me a Creator exists.
The fact that there is a Creator doesn't mean make life non-vain yet.
The Creator's beneficence and relationship with mankind is the key to a non-vain life, that seems to explain our purpose both in morality and in LIFE.
This beneficence, in my opinion, is best portrayed in the incarnation and the person of Christ.
If one must maintain true Christian beliefs, one must study the Church fathers.
Even though I have trouble believing in certain things in the Bible, my prayer life in Christ and the saints is strong enough to counter any disbelief I may have.  I thank God many Church fathers also portrayed ways to interpret the Bible that appeals to my intellect.  Without this, I may have continued to struggle along the lines of truth in a religion.
I am still however a skeptic when it comes to most miracles people talk to me about, which is something I apparently inherited from my own father.  This leads also to skepticism on things like ghosts or hauntings.  I also like to challenge and like to be challenged, which goes somewhat hand in hand with my skepticism.  Christianity in an of itself is a challenge, along with my studies.

I believe if it wasn't for my father, I probably would have easily been an atheist.  I explained these things to my father of confession who practically disagrees with the way I interpret the Bible, and he and I find a common ground good enough for me to be able to continue to partake of the Eucharist and serve with him in the altar and outside it as a Reader of the Coptic Church as long as I am continuing in my prayer life, in my fasting, in my readings, in my dedication to my studies, and in my relationship with others, as well as in my faith and dogmatic principles.  We "put on Christ" in baptism.  We become one with Christ in the Eucharist.  What best way to prove the existence of Christ, the existence of God, than to act like God Himself Who is in and on us.  I believe that the best way to prove the truth of Christianity is to be an example of Christianity, especially for those who do not have the heart or the ability to study history as well as those who do not have the Spirit to understand the teachings..

I'm afraid due to my studies, I will be very busy to answer any further questions.  In the meantime, I did listen to Fr. Thomas Hopko, and while I'm still confused with the CS Lewis part, for the most part, I agree with most of Fr. Thomas Hopko, and in fact, these are thoughts that I had in my mind too.  I think the solution is precisely what St. Antonios said to Pambo, which goes back to being a good example to others as well.  I think others around us who have hardened hearts can be softened by the heat our own hearts emit.  Dark places of the soul can be given by the light we have.  Flavorless lives can be given the salt in which we hold daily, the same salt that was used to water a barren area in one of the stories of Elisha.  I have an optimism that although the world may look upside down right now, I have faith in God Who is just and merciful, and will never leave us in complete disarray.

God bless.
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« Reply #118 on: October 09, 2009, 09:55:22 PM »

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Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?

I apologize if I repeat what others have already said in this post. I have only glanced over the thread, as I'm still trying to catch up on a few months worth of posts. Anyway, Justin Popovich published an interesting essay on The Theory of Knowledge of St. Isaac the Syrian. Here are the basic points Isaac (through Justin) made...

Man is sick. He has "A feeble soul, a diseased intellect, a weakened heart and will". The soul must be healed of this sickness. According to Isaac and Justin: "The virtues are the remedies that progressively eliminate sickness from the soul and from the organs of understanding. This is a slow process, demanding much effort and great patience."

- The first virtue necessary for healing is faith. "It is by the ascesis of faith that the treatment and cure of a soul which is sick with the passions is begun... But 'until the soul becomes intoxicated with faith in God, until it comes to feel faith's power,' it can neither be healed of the passions nor overcome the material world. There is both a negative side to the ascesis of faith, freedom from sinful matter, and a positive side, oneness with God."

- The second virtue necessary for healing is prayer. "It is by the ascesis of faith that a man conquers egotism, steps beyond the bounds of self, and enters into a new, transcendent reality which also transcends subjectivity. ...the ascetic of faith is led and guided by prayer; he feels, thinks, and lives by prayer. ...prayer is also a hard struggle, calling the whole person into action. Man crucifies himself in prayer, crucifying the passions and sinful thoughts that cling to his soul. 'Prayer is the slaying of the carnal thoughts of man's fleshly life.'"

- The third virtue necessary for healing is love. "'Love is born of prayer,' just as prayer is born of faith. Love for God is a sign that the new reality into which a man is led by faith and prayer is far greater  than that which has gone before. Love for God and man is the work of prayer and faith; a true love for man is in fact impossible without faith and prayer."

- The fourth virtue necessary for healing is humility. "The pride of the intellect gives way to humility and modesty replaces presumption. The ascetic of faith protects all his thoughts through humility, and thereby also ensures for himself the knowledge of eternal truth."

There are other virtues, of course, but these are the four primary ones that are mentioned. All the virtues are cultivated due to the grace and freedom God has given us. "By working together in God's grace and his own will, a man grows in faith to perfect stature. This happens by degrees, for grace entres into the soul 'little by little,' being given before all else to the humble. The greater the humility, the greater the grace, and wisdom is contained within grace. 'The humble are endowed with wisdom by grace.'"

Through the virtues, in grace and freedom, man is healed and his intellect is purified. "By an unceasing renewal of self through a grace-filled asceticism, a man gradually drives sin and the passions from his whole being and from his organs of understanding, in this way healing them of these death-dealing illnesses... Especial care must be taken with the chief organ of understanding, the intellect, for it has a particularly important role in the realm of human personality."

And this is where St. Isaac and Justin start to more directly answer your question:

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According to St. Isaac the Syrian, there are two sorts of knowledge: that which precedes faith and that which is born of faith. The former is natural knoweldge and involves the discernment of good and evil. The latter is spiritual knowledge and is "the perception of the mysteries," "the perception of what is hidden," "the contemplation of the invisible." There are also two sorts of faith: the first comes through hearing and is confirmed and proven by the second, "the faith of contemplation," "the faith that is based on what has been seen." ... When a man begins to follow the path of faith, he must lay aside once and for all his old methods of knowing, for faith has its own methods...

The chief characteristic of natural knowledge is its approach by examination and experimentation. This is in itself "a sign of uncertainty about the truth." Faith, on the contrary, follows a pure and simple way of thought that is far removed from all guile and methodical examination.  These two paths lead in opposite directions... this natural knowledge, according to St. Isaac, is not at fault. It is not to be rejected. It is just that faith is higher than it is...

At its lowest level, knowledge "follows the desires of the flesh," concerning itself with riches, vainglory, dress, repose of body, and search for rational wisdom. This knowledge invents the arts and sciences and all that adorns the body in this visible world. But in all this, such knowledge is contrary to faith...  From the first and lowest degree of knowledge, man moves on to the second, when he begins both in body and soul to practice the virtues: fasting, prayer, almsgiving, the reading of Holy Scripture, the struggle with the passions, and so forth... The third degree of knowledge is that of perfection...

The first knowledge comes "from continual study and the desire to learn. The second comes from a proper way of life and a clearly held faith. The third comes from faith alone, for in it knowledge is done away, activity ceases, and the senses become superfluous." ...It is very difficult, and often impossible, to express in words the mystery and nature of knowledge. In the realm of human thought, there is no ready definition that can explain it completely... But the most profound, and to my mind the most exhaustive answer that man can give to this question is that given by St. Isaac in the form of a dialogue:

Question: What is knowledge?
Answer: The perception of eternal life.
Question: And what is eternal life?
Answer: To perceive all things in God. For love comes through understanding, and the knowledge of God is ruler over all desires. To the heart that receives this knowledge every delight that exists on earth is superfluous, for there is nothing that can compare with the delight of the knowledge of God.

For human knowledge the most vital problem is that of truth. Knowledge bears within itself an irresistible pull toward the infinite mystery, and this hunger for truth that is instinctive to human knowledge is never satisfied unto eternal and absolute Truth itself becomes the substance of human knowledge--until knowledge, in its own self-perception, acquires the perception of God, and it its own self- knowledge come to the knowledge of God. But this is given to man only by Christ, the God-Man, he who is the only incarnation and personification of eternal truth in the world of human realities...

What is truth? St. Isaac answers thus: "Truth is the eprception of things that is given by God." In other words: the perception of God is truth... In the philosophy of St. Isaac, the problem of the nature of knowledge becomes an ontological and ethical problem which, in the last resort, is seen to be the problem of human personality. The nature and character of knowledge depend ontologically, morally, and gnoseologically on the constitution of the human person, and especially on the constitution and state of its organs of knowledge. In the person of the ascetic of faith, knowledge , of its very nature, turns to contemplation...

So, it would seem that Justin and Isaac would argue that one progressively becomes more assured of the existence of God and the truth of Christianity through cultivating the virtues such as faith, prayer, love, etc.  This is obviously a very subjective answer, and other religions could say that cultivating certain virtues leads to the conclusion that their faith or God is the correct one. But anyway, I don't claim that this is the only Orthodox answer, but there is one Orthodox answer anyway.
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« Reply #119 on: May 25, 2010, 05:32:12 PM »

jnorm888 commented:
I read or heard somewhere that Stalin rejected christianity in seminary after reading Darwin's book. Now that may or may not be true, but that's what I heard.

I read it in a story by one of Stalin's fellow seminarians. Darwin's book itself must not lead to atheism, since many creationists admit that evolution- which Darwin's book describes- is a natural process that started after the world's creation. Instead, it must have been the particular seminary's repressive ban on reading any secular books, or openly discuss them, that made Stalin reject Christianity at a time in his young life that he would naturally begin to explore the world critically. In fact, Stalin said at a psychological interview that the seminary's repressive "Jesuitic" methods was what changed him.



Simkins wrote on ( http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20146.msg302468.html#msg302468 )
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Stalin restored the office of Partiarch, which was abolished by Pyotr I.

Correction: You are right to infer that the tsarist government demoted the church and abolished the Patriarchate.
But the Patriarchate was restored around the time of the 1917 October Revolution, in which Stalin played only a minor role, if any. Stalin only succeeded in manipulating his way into the government's leadership in 1923-1925, and I believe he imprisoned a few Patriarchs in the GULAG, including Sergius.
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« Reply #120 on: October 19, 2010, 06:53:50 AM »

Not sure if this is the correct forum but I am curious as to how (from an EO perspective) a person comes to know that God exists and that Christianity is true?
Praxis, not theoria.

This response makes me think that there might be hope for me within Orthodoxy yet.
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« Reply #121 on: December 13, 2010, 09:38:29 AM »

From Rowan Williams, Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief, 20-21:

"The Bible has no arguments for the existence of God. There are moments of conflict with God, anger with God, doubt about God’s purposes, anguish and lostness when people have no real sense of God’s presence. The Psalms are full of this, as is the Book of Job. Don’t imagine that the Bible is full of comfortable and reassuring things about the life of belief and trust; it isn’t. It is often about the appalling cost of letting God come near you and of trying to trust him when all the evidence seems to have gone. But Abraham, Moses and St Paul don’t sit down to work out whether God exists; they are already caught up in something the imperative reality of which they can’t deny or ignore. At one level, you have to see that the very angst and struggle they bring to their relation with God is itself a kind of argument for God: if they take God that seriously, at least this isn’t some cosy made-up way of making yourself feel better.

And that is actually quite a serious point about where belief in God starts for a lot of folk. It starts from a sense that we ‘believe in’, we trust some kinds of people. We have confidence in the way they live; the way they live is a way I want to live, perhaps can imagine myself living in my better or more mature moments. The world they inhabit is one I’d like to live in. Faith has a lot to do with the simple fact that there are trustworthy lives to be seen, that we can see in some believing people a world we’d like to live in."


To "believe" is to "be-love": "believe" is related to the German "lieben", which means "to love". 

"To love" is a verb, a particular way of living one's life.
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