I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assessed.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#76

Post by jlay » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:46 pm

NSV wrote: “Now faith is the 1aassurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

J, this biblical use sounds exactly like how I used the word. “Accepting something as true without valid justification.” I would define justification as warrant, evidence, or reasoning. I would not say that hope lines up with this. As I understand the last line in that verse, I take that as conviction without evidence. I would need further explanation if I am to change how I understand this biblically.
Assurance and conviction. How do you arrive at 'accepting something as true without valid justification?' You've not demonstrated this.
I would agree with that.(But you do have to understand, my understandings of these words were quite different when I was a believer. I may have thought I had trust in god and in my religious leaders[if you will], but I do not think that I could actually have truth considering it was not demonstrated in the way that it had to be to be defined as trust. In other words, I thought they were catching me when I fell back, but it was an illusion of being caught.) So yes, I would retain the title of ex-Christian given my past understanding.
Sorry, I'm not able to follow this explanation. If you can't be sure you could actually had truth, then how can you be sure now? I'm skeptical of your skepticism.
The issue with trust, as I see it, is that I cannot accurately use that word given that I do not think god could establish trust in the way that I understand the word. If I was to have never seen, used, or known of what a parachute was, and I had to jump out of a plane with one, I would call that faith. If I had an understanding of what a parachute was, it was my parachute with many jumps on it’s record, and I, having packed it 100 times before, then I would call that trust. In any sense, the word faith as I understand it, as most religious people I know understand it, as modern definitions label it, and as I understand Hebrews 11:1, is not synonymous with trust.
It is absolutely synonymous with trust and you've failed to demonstrate otherwise. I'd like to see your formal survey on faith/trust.
Oddly, I've often used a parachute as an example in witnessing. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Just consider the main words. Substance and evidence. Another translation uses the term confidence. Another assurance. If I say I have confidence that you can get the job done, what am I saying. I'm saying I trust your ability based on evidence.

The reason Heb. 11:1 doesn't say faith is trust is simply because the words are the same. There is no distinction in the noun and verb in the Greek. They are the same. It is in the English where confusion comes in.
I am fully open to changing my understandings of these two definitions, but I will need some convincing. Maybe you could explain the difference or lack thereof between faith and trust. Maybe explain how I can have trust in god when I can never be sure it was god that acted to earn the trust in the first place. If I can never truly know god exists in the objective manner that Jac is trying to explain to me, how can I have trust in something that I cannot KNOW exists? I will use this a cheap example, and I hope it does not come off as an attempt to demean god, but I do not understand the use of the word trust if applied to the tooth fairy.
I've already provided sufficient evidence for you to abandon your definition. There is ample evidence in lexicons to show what is meant by the Greek words Pistis and Pisteuo that are translated faith and believe and should convince any reasonable person. Beyond that, there is 2,000 years of scholarship regarding such doctrine.
Jac is working through the other argument and has already provided a lot to chew on.
But I will add this. You make the statement "how can I have trust in something that cannot KNOW exists?"
Well, there are a couple of problems here. 1) I've already shown in the equation example that this isn't sound reasoning. You can state what you don't know, but you can't claim that it can't be known. And that is exactly what you are claiming. You are saying, for all intents and purposes, "how can I know something (or someone) that I cannot know exists?"
2) That it is a self-defeating statement. To make the claim you cannot know is to in fact claim to KNOW something about God (that you cannot know Him/it/that).
Just to make it clear, I would never make the statement, "It would be impossible for me to know Zeus or the Tooth Fairy." I can say that I have good reason to reject that the existence of the tooth fairy and no reasonable arguments to consider otherwise. In turn, Jac is providing good evidence and argument that there is reason to believe in a PC. And, as he will continue to show, good reason to accept that the PC of natural theology and the God of the bible are one and the same.

I am not sure what is being address here. I fully agree with you. My point with the equation is that I was demonstrating that I did not know what the answer was. Not that I had faith that I did not know.
The above answer explains what is being addressed. I'm simply dealing with your postmodern skepticism. :D
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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#77

Post by NSV » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:23 pm

jlay wrote: Assurance and conviction. How do you arrive at 'accepting something as true without valid justification?' You've not demonstrated this.
I can accept anything as truth without justification. Millions of people do it everyday. This is not to say that they are proving it is true, just merely accepting what one is told. A stranger on the street could tell me the sky is falling. I can choose to accept this as true or not without justification.
NSV wrote:I would agree with that.(But you do have to understand, my understandings of these words were quite different when I was a believer. I may have thought I had trust in god and in my religious leaders[if you will], but I do not think that I could actually have TRUST considering it was not demonstrated in the way that it had to be to be defined as trust. In other words, I thought they were catching me when I fell back, but it was an illusion of being caught.) So yes, I would retain the title of ex-Christian given my past understanding.
jlay wrote: Sorry, I'm not able to follow this explanation. If you can't be sure you could actually had truth, then how can you be sure now? I'm skeptical of your skepticism.
I am sorry. I made a typo here. I put truth where I meant to say trust. My mistake.

jlay wrote: The reason Heb. 11:1 doesn't say faith is trust is simply because the words are the same. There is no distinction in the noun and verb in the Greek. They are the same. It is in the English where confusion comes in.
Why is there confusion when it comes to English? If Faith=Trust and Trust=Faith, then when the translations takes place there should be synonymy, but there isn't. Trust and faith are both used in the bible in translations and where you see faith you see comparisons made where sight/evidence is unknown. (e.g. 2 Cor 5:7; Heb 11:1) The issue here is that I think there is a word for which trust cannot be used (e.g. given money to a stranger and expect her to use it for good) Regardless of this issue of translations, metaphors, synonymy, there are millions of people everyday using the word faith solely for the sake of faith. Able was a prime example in an earlier post. I am willingly to proceed with this conversation using your definitions, but an understanding that the status quo holds an understanding/use of faith in the sense of blind faith and not trust should be accepted.

Say what you would like to on the matter, and then after we can agree with your definition so we do not waste time on semantics.


jlay wrote: I've already provided sufficient evidence for you to abandon your definition. There is ample evidence in lexicons to show what is meant by the Greek words Pistis and Pisteuo that are translated faith and believe and should convince any reasonable person. Beyond that, there is 2,000 years of scholarship regarding such doctrine.
Jac is working through the other argument and has already provided a lot to chew on.
But I will add this. You make the statement "how can I have trust in something that cannot KNOW exists?"
Well, there are a couple of problems here. 1) I've already shown in the equation example that this isn't sound reasoning. You can state what you don't know, but you can't claim that it can't be known. And that is exactly what you are claiming. You are saying, for all intents and purposes, "how can I know something (or someone) that I cannot know exists?"
2) That it is a self-defeating statement. To make the claim you cannot know is to in fact claim to KNOW something about God (that you cannot know Him/it/that).
Just to make it clear, I would never make the statement, "It would be impossible for me to know Zeus or the Tooth Fairy." I can say that I have good reason to reject that the existence of the tooth fairy and no reasonable arguments to consider otherwise. In turn, Jac is providing good evidence and argument that there is reason to believe in a PC. And, as he will continue to show, good reason to accept that the PC of natural theology and the God of the bible are one and the same.
I did make the mistake of only saying that I cannot know. I do maintain the position, and have for a very long time, the possibility of knowing or not knowing is always possible. I do not hold the position that is cannot be know, however, I am open to that position if there is reasoning for it. Again, my mistake in choice of words.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#78

Post by Jac3510 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:29 pm

NSV wrote:While I still may have objections later, currently, my brief understanding of this argument appears sound. However, it almost appears to me as a reiteration of your initial 1-5 premises a couple pages back, but with a bit more detail. Also, if this argument is to fail, I think my objections would lie with the intention premises, that are soon to come, or the beginning premises that deny a chain of infinity. Having that said, I am fine with the most recent premises.
It's slightly disconcerting if you feel like the last post was a more detailed rehash of the original argument. In the original argument, we showed warrant for affirming that there is a PC that is unchanging and atemporal. The latter arguments further demonstrated that the PC is also immaterial and identical with existence itself. That is a significant advance over the original argument. And furthermore, the advances are drawn directly out of the conclusion we drew in the original argument, which means that the advances cannot be rehashes of the arguments! A part of me wonders if maybe you didn't run through that a bit too quickly to get to the intentionality piece. Which I would understand because that's the fun part. But I don't know how helpful it is to get ahead of ourselves. But all the same, this has to be me last substantive post for several days, so I'm going to go ahead and advance on to the issue of intentionality. Still, I hope that you reconsider the previous arguments to appreciate how significantly they develop our understanding of the PC. So . . . on with the show.

--------------------

The argument itself is actually deceptively simple with the only controversial premise being the major one. It can be stated something like this:

1. All perfections preexist either virtually or really in their causes;
2. Intentionality is a perfection;
3. Therefore, intentionality preexists either virtually or really in the PC

I find the primary stumbling block people have with this argument is the vocabulary. Frankly, unlike the arguments we've already made, I haven't figured out better language than we have been using for two and a half millennium. So that just means I'm going to have to define the terms. Thankfully, I don't think that they're too hard. The most important word here is "perfection." The idea has to do with being filled up, filled out, or actualized. Let me illustrate this a little bit. What does an eye do? What is its basic function? Clearly, it is to see. In fact, if an eye cannot see, we say that something is wrong with it, and we label that condition blindness. Note two things in that illustration. First, we say something is wrong with the eye. It is in a real sense imperfect. The very act of seeing in some sense "perfects" the eye, insofar as it actualizes or brings about a natural capacity the eye has by its very nature. Second, notice that all this is related to the nature of the eye itself. We don't say that there is anything "wrong" with a rock that can't see. We don't say that rocks are "blind," except, perhaps, in some metaphorical sense. That's because sight is not a natural capacity of rocks. In fact, if a thing can see, we can be pretty sure that it is not a rock at all!

At this point, we can step back and take a little deeper look at the idea of changes (going back to our original argument). In any given change, the thing being changed has some capacity to exist some way that it doesn't currently exist. So if my eye is closed and I am not seeing, because my eye is an eye, it has the capacity to see; it is changed from being an unseeing eye to being a seeing eye as soon as I lift my eyelids and let the light in. When we say that natural capacity or potentiality is actualized, we say that the eye is, in this sense, perfected. And the thing it is perfected by we call a perfection (in this example, sight is the perfection).

BUT we have to be cautious here, because not all changes are perfections. Let's go back to the eye. If I go blind, is that a change a perfection? No. That change is actually what we call a privation. What is happening here is that a perfection is being taken away from the thing--the thing is being deprived of a perfection. The difference is that blindness does not exist in the same sense that sight does. Sight is a real thing. It really exists. Blindness only exists as a lack of sight (again, we don't say that rocks are blind except in some metaphorical sense). So the really important idea you need to get your mind around is that perfections are related to the actualization of a thing's natural capacities. And what determines natural capacities? Essence. Why can eyes see and rocks not? Scientifically we can talk about optic nerves and lenses and cones and other such things. But why do rocks not have those thins? Why do eyes have them? Eventually, we have to talk about what the eye is. And that "thing-it-is" is its essence or its nature. So eyes have a nature. And trees have a nature. And people have a nature. And so on.

So I think that should help explain what a perfection is. It is that which completes or perfects the natural capacities of a thing. You can see from this that perfections are closely related to the concept of existence. Perfections bring about existence. Imperfections, in a real sense, reduce existence (a seeing eye has "more" existence than a blind one, insofar as a seeing eye is perfected whereas a blind eye is imperfect insofar as it lacks the existence of sight).

OKAY . . . so much for perfections. So let's talk about why they must exist either virtually or really in their causes.

The basic idea goes back to the second premise of our original argument. Things to change themselves. They have to be changed by other things. That means that when X causes an effect in Y, that X is actualizing some natural capacity that Y has. Let's simplify the eye/sight example. A light bulb (when my eye is opened) actualizes my eye's capacity to see and therefore brings about a change in my eye in causing it to see when the light is turned on. But that same light is not causing the rock I am looking at to see. And why not? Because rock's don't have the capacity to see, of course. Now, from this example, we see that sight preexists either really or virtually in light (really meaning that light actually sees, or virtually meaning that light is essentially related to the act of seeing). Clearly, in this example, sight is not really in light but is certainly virtually in light. If you think on this, you should be able to see that if sight were neither in light really or virtually, then it could not actualize the eye's ability to see at all. For example, the smell of perfume can't actualize the eye's ability to see because that odor does not contain sight either really or virtually. (By the way, with this in mind, it should be obvious that while perfections preexist in their causes, privations cannot, since privations, strictly speaking, do not exist, but are our way of talking about the non-existence of a perfection. Non-existence can't exist in anything, either virtually or really!)

Other examples: fire contains heat really, so fire can really heat things up. A striking pad (for a match) contains fire virtually, insofar as friction is essentially related to combustion. Air virtually contains hearing. Vegetables really contain nutrition for the human body (but rocks do not, either virtually or really, and so on). I can explain the philosophical concepts underlying these examples if it becomes necessary, but I'm hoping these examples are enough, because the relationship between act and potentiality and their correspondence to efficient and final causality, while very important for a full understanding of all of this, can get somewhat tedious.

So granting all this, it's clear that if any X causes Y, then X contains the perfection being actualized in Y either really or virtually. And it is clear that intentionality is a perfection of any rational creature. In fact, rationality itself is a perfection, along with related concepts like intelligence, knowledge, volition (which is to say, the will), etc. That means that intentionality exists either really or virtually in the PC, since the PC is, by definition, the cause our own intentionality. But here the fact that the PC is pure existence becomes especially important. Because if the PC is pure existence, then it cannot be composed of parts. For if it were composed of parts, it would be divisible by those parts, and in that case, it would be changeable. Moreover, if two things differ they always differ by some property, such that something exists in one thing that does not exist in another. But in pure existence, there is nothing that could exist in one part that does not exist in another, since to have something or to lack something is to lack or to have existence. But pure existence is just that: pure existence. Therefore, pure existence is absolute. And THAT means that the existence of intentionality in the PC (being pure existence) is actually just existence itself.

What all that means is that the PC is not merely the cause of intentionality. In fact, the PC is intentionality absolutely considered and without any limitation. And the same is true with all other perfections. The PC is equally will absolutely considered and without limitation (and so the PC is absolutely free, which is to say, absolutely sovereign). The PC is equally power absolutely considered and without limitation (and so the PC is all powerful). The PC is equally knowledge absolutely considered and without limitation (and so the PC is omniscient). The PC is equally life absolutely considered and without limitation (and so the PC is Eternal Life). The PC is equally love absolutely considered and without limitation (and so the PC is omni-benevolent). I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Now, what would you call an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, all-loving, immutable, sovereign, and absolutely free principle cause of all change that is, in fact, Existence Itself, unlimited and infinite?

I would call that God. You?

edit:

And with that, I'm off to Atlanta! :wave:
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#79

Post by NSV » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:23 am

Jac3510 wrote: It's slightly disconcerting if you feel like the last post was a more detailed rehash of the original argument. In the original argument, we showed warrant for affirming that there is a PC that is unchanging and atemporal. The latter arguments further demonstrated that the PC is also immaterial and identical with existence itself. That is a significant advance over the original argument. And furthermore, the advances are drawn directly out of the conclusion we drew in the original argument, which means that the advances cannot be rehashes of the arguments! A part of me wonders if maybe you didn't run through that a bit too quickly to get to the intentionality piece. Which I would understand because that's the fun part. But I don't know how helpful it is to get ahead of ourselves. But all the same, this has to be me last substantive post for several days, so I'm going to go ahead and advance on to the issue of intentionality. Still, I hope that you reconsider the previous arguments to appreciate how significantly they develop our understanding of the PC. So . . . on with the show.
I am busy at the moment so I will have to response fully to this post later, but I wanted to address what appeared to be a lack of understanding of your arguments for immateriality and existence. Gathering from our initial premises (1-5) I felt like immateriality was a given considering anything material would have the ability to be changed. As for existence, given that nothing created this PC, I feel like we established that it is, or is beyond, existence by definition. Nothing is wrong with what I viewed as a reiteration, but I feel like the original premises insinuate immateriality and existence already. I don't know. Maybe I was getting ahead of ourselves, but I felt like it was already understood on my end.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#80

Post by Jac3510 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:55 am

Ah that's good to see. Fair enough then! (Yay for short posts from the phone ;))
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#81

Post by jlay » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:38 am

NSV wrote: I can accept anything as truth without justification. Millions of people do it everyday. This is not to say that they are proving it is true, just merely accepting what one is told. A stranger on the street could tell me the sky is falling. I can choose to accept this as true or not without justification.
Sure, you CAN, but you don't. You don't 'choose' to accept, you either are convinced or you are not. All you are doing here is creating a semantical rabbit trail. You say without justification, but I've actually spent a good deal of study on this. The issue here isn't justification. If you met someone who said the sky was falling, you might ask, "do you really believe that?" They say, no, I just choose to believe it. In this case, you are dealing with either an idiot or someone who has lost touch with reality.
Think about that. "No, I don't really trust that in reality the sky is falling, but I chose to believe it."
In this case we could apply your claims to your so called "Christianity."
Consider this: "I don't really trust that Jesus lived, performed miracles. Nor do I believe he was the Son of God, died and rose from the dead. But I have faith in it."
Either that person is confused, lying to them self or has been coerced. It is a self-defeating, contradictory statement. I" don't trust it or believe it, but I have faith in it." It's nonsense. People often fail to understand the nuances about how their beliefs correspond to reality. They may often have a hard time communicating their faith, but it doesn't mean that they believe something without justification.

In exploring this matter, what I have found is that often people are very confused about the justification for their beliefs.
I recently listened to a debate on the matter and it's a quite an interesting subject.

But, back on track. The issue is how is faith being used in the biblical context. What can we KNOW about the word and how it is used in the NT and throughout Christendom.
I agree that many, even within Christendom, have a poor understanding of the biblical usage of the word/s Pisteuo and Pistis. Whether that is the status quo or not, who knows. Words can and do change their meaning over time. That doesn't mean the original understanding changes. That's faulty reasoning.

Why is there confusion when it comes to English? If Faith=Trust and Trust=Faith, then when the translations takes place there should be synonymy, but there isn't. Trust and faith are both used in the bible in translations and where you see faith you see comparisons made where sight/evidence is unknown. (e.g. 2 Cor 5:7; Heb 11:1) The issue here is that I think there is a word for which trust cannot be used (e.g. given money to a stranger and expect her to use it for good) Regardless of this issue of translations, metaphors, synonymy, there are millions of people everyday using the word faith solely for the sake of faith. Able was a prime example in an earlier post. I am willingly to proceed with this conversation using your definitions, but an understanding that the status quo holds an understanding/use of faith in the sense of blind faith and not trust should be accepted.
I gave an explanation of why there is confusion and then you ask, 'why is there confusion?' The confusion is that the Greek verb and noun are the same. For example, belief and believe. Simple, same word in noun and verb. This is not the case with faith. We don't say 'faithing,' or i faith this or that.

It doesn't say evidence is unknown. It says what we do not see.
For example, you cannot see the Big Bang. You can't see the beginning of the universe. Yet, you can have faith (justified confidence/trust) that the universe had a beginning. It's an argument based in evidence that is not observation of the event itself. I cannot observe the PC. But that doesn't mean there isn't evidence for a PC. Unless you hold to hard scientism, which you've already admitted you don't.

Faith is really a simple word. You believe/trust/ have confidence that something is a certain way. You can't make yourself have it. You either are convinced something is true or you are not. Otherwise you live in a contradiction.

Further, you are ignoring the contextual discussion Paul is having in 2 Cor. 5:7. You are ignoring the greater scholarship and exegesis to try and find examples to support what you already 'believe' about the word faith. That is begging the question. You've appealed to logic, so I would suggest for your own sake, to abandon faulty reasoning.
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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#82

Post by NSV » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:50 pm

jlay wrote: Sure, you CAN, but you don't. You don't 'choose' to accept, you either are convinced or you are not. All you are doing here is creating a semantical rabbit trail. You say without justification, but I've actually spent a good deal of study on this. The issue here isn't justification. If you met someone who said the sky was falling, you might ask, "do you really believe that?" They say, no, I just choose to believe it. In this case, you are dealing with either an idiot or someone who has lost touch with reality.
Who said anything about choosing? This implies there was decision making. There are many people who simply accept the belief system they have. We can point to a child being brought up in Islam. At what point in this child's life does it have to choose what it believes? The age 7? 12? 18? 30? When must convincing take place? There are people brought up in a belief system that have no reason to question it anymore than they have to question why we have 8 planets instead of 7. This is a matter of accepting without justification. People do not have to have justification when accepting things that are true. This is especially true for those who are taught they cannot question for fear of their life. I hope this is demonstration enough to show that not everyone has to choose to accept anything.
jlay wrote:
Think about that. "No, I don't really trust that in reality the sky is falling, but I chose to believe it."
In this case we could apply your claims to your so called "Christianity."
Consider this: "I don't really trust that Jesus lived, performed miracles. Nor do I believe he was the Son of God, died and rose from the dead. But I have faith in it."
Of course it sounds absurd when you word it in that way. I would never use the word trust, because we have already went over the fact that I have a different use of the word than you. In matters of speaking about Jesus I would said I believe or have faith that he lived/performed miracles. In your example, you also segregate belief from faith. I separate trust from belief/faith. This was not a fair example because you have enough discussion with me to know that you are using the words unfairly to how I have defined them.
jlay wrote:
But, back on track. The issue is how is faith being used in the biblical context. What can we KNOW about the word and how it is used in the NT and throughout Christendom.
I agree that many, even within Christendom, have a poor understanding of the biblical usage of the word/s Pisteuo and Pistis. Whether that is the status quo or not, who knows. Words can and do change their meaning over time. That doesn't mean the original understanding changes. That's faulty reasoning.
Our entire argument about what faith actually means seems to stem from the fact you do not think I should call myself ex-Christian because I did not have justifications for my "trust" in Jesus.
" From your description, you are saying you had no good reason to trust in the life, work and words of Jesus Christ. Now, it's quite possible that you did have good reason to believe and you have grown skeptical of such reasons as being valid. That is a different story. But if not, then I have a suggestion, which is that you stop telling people you were a Christian. "
Would you argue that if I maintained my definition of faith, which is to say I did not have valid justification, in Jesus, and I never gave that up to become agnostic, that I was never truly a Christian? That I never would have went to heaven? That god would reveal to me that my blind faith just didn't make the cut?

This is how this entire discourse was started, and I think we need to answer those question first. Was I a Christian in God's eyes, or was I not because I didn't have a good reason?

jlay wrote:
It doesn't say evidence is unknown. It says what we do not see.
For example, you cannot see the Big Bang. You can't see the beginning of the universe. Yet, you can have faith (justified confidence/trust) that the universe had a beginning. It's an argument based in evidence that is not observation of the event itself. I cannot observe the PC. But that doesn't mean there isn't evidence for a PC. Unless you hold to hard scientism, which you've already admitted you don't.
So these two verses are speaking about sight with the human eyes? Am I understanding you correctly?
jlay wrote:
Further, you are ignoring the contextual discussion Paul is having in 2 Cor. 5:7. You are ignoring the greater scholarship and exegesis to try and find examples to support what you already 'believe' about the word faith. That is begging the question. You've appealed to logic, so I would suggest for your own sake, to abandon faulty reasoning.
Is what Paul is saying not true always or only to whom he is speaking to? I think it is applicable anywhere and true of anyone's situation if they are believers. So I hardly think I am taking anything out of context here. This is not the same as when believers chastise critics for quoting a verse where Jesus is to be said authoring violence, when in context it is guided to a particular group of people who are in need of being punished. Paul's words are applicable anywhere and at anytime.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#83

Post by NSV » Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:25 pm

Jac, do not think I have forgot you. I want to give this argument time to set in, then time to re-read it again a few times before I respond with any critique.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#84

Post by jlay » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:14 am

NSV wrote: I can accept anything as truth without justification. Millions of people do it everyday. This is not to say that they are proving it is true, just merely accepting what one is told. A stranger on the street could tell me the sky is falling. I can choose to accept this as true or not without justification.
Before I address the latest, let me revisit this. I think this post helps clear up a lot of our disagreement. In my mind anyway. You appear to be conflated 'accept' and belief.
And I think this directly revolves around the issue of justification. What determines whether someone is justified in holding a belief?
Example, as odd as it may sound, I believe a child is justified in believing in Santa Claus. They are basing this belief on testimony from someone they know and trust. Now, I agree that doesn't prove the belief is true. No argument there. That is actually a different story. For example, when I became a Christian, I had justifiable reasons for believing and responding to the message of Jesus. Over time I have come to discover a myriad of reasons to support my belief. So, when you say 'accepting' what one is told, I don't entirely disagree, but that doesn't mean that what they are being told is untrue.
I was told a lot of things by my teachers growing up. 2+2=4. I accepted that as true before I had proof or knew that it actually corresponded to reality.

Now to clear up a couple of things. I do believe there are those who accept what we may call Christianity, but aren't saved. They are nominal Christians who have a cultural Christianity but haven't actually trusted Christ as savior. It was just how they were raised.
NSV wrote: Who said anything about choosing? This implies there was decision making. There are many people who simply accept the belief system they have. We can point to a child being brought up in Islam. At what point in this child's life does it have to choose what it believes? The age 7? 12? 18? 30? When must convincing take place? There are people brought up in a belief system that have no reason to question it anymore than they have to question why we have 8 planets instead of 7. This is a matter of accepting without justification. People do not have to have justification when accepting things that are true. This is especially true for those who are taught they cannot question for fear of their life. I hope this is demonstration enough to show that not everyone has to choose to accept anything.
You did. Specifically you said, "I can choose to accept this as true or not without justification." And then you went on to confirm that the belief is justified. (No reason to question it)
You mention fear. Another good example. If I put a gun to your head and said, if you don't accept me as your best friend, then I will kill you. So, you claim to accept me as your best friend. Am i? Do you believe/trust that we are best friends? No.
Of course it sounds absurd when you word it in that way. I would never use the word trust, because we have already went over the fact that I have a different use of the word than you. In matters of speaking about Jesus I would said I believe or have faith that he lived/performed miracles. In your example, you also segregate belief from faith. I separate trust from belief/faith. This was not a fair example because you have enough discussion with me to know that you are using the words unfairly to how I have defined them.
No offense, but that is not my problem. The fact that we have already went over this demonstrates my point.
I already offered the possibility that you did believe and have since had reason to doubt. Specifically I said, " From your description, you are saying you had no good reason to trust in the life, work and words of Jesus Christ. Now, it's quite possible that you did have good reason to believe and you have grown skeptical of such reasons as being valid. That is a different story. But if not, then I have a suggestion, which is that you stop telling people you were a Christian. "

It is quite possible that you are absolutely saved and on your way to heaven, despite your confusion and doubt at this time. I am not arguing whether you were or were not a Christian. I am saying, based on how YOU define faith, you have no grounds to claim you were ever a Christian.
And, I haven't segregated belief from faith. I haven't been unfair. I'm simply challenging a position that is inconsistent and self-defeating.

Our entire argument about what faith actually means seems to stem from the fact you do not think I should call myself ex-Christian because I did not have justifications for my "trust" in Jesus.
I honestly don't want to pick nits. I just noticed that your definition of faith did not correspond to a traditional Christian view of faith. More importantly, today, we are not asking you to believe in a PC, or Jesus Christ, without any good reason.
Would you argue that if I maintained my definition of faith, which is to say I did not have valid justification, in Jesus, and I never gave that up to become agnostic, that I was never truly a Christian? That I never would have went to heaven? That god would reveal to me that my blind faith just didn't make the cut?

This is how this entire discourse was started, and I think we need to answer those question first. Was I a Christian in God's eyes, or was I not because I didn't have a good reason?
Nothing personal but it's an absurd argument. How could you be genuinely saved and truly a Christian in the eyes of a God that doesn't exist and Jesus isn't real? Do you really understand what you are proposing. You are saying you were truly a Christian. How can someone be truly a Christian unless there is truly a Christ?

Is what Paul is saying not true always or only to whom he is speaking to? I think it is applicable anywhere and true of anyone's situation if they are believers. So I hardly think I am taking anything out of context here. This is not the same as when believers chastise critics for quoting a verse where Jesus is to be said authoring violence, when in context it is guided to a particular group of people who are in need of being punished. Paul's words are applicable anywhere and at anytime.
What Paul is saying is always true, but what he is speaking to has a context. Every usage of faith isn't about salvation. We WALK by faith and not by sight. How a Christian lives (walks) should be based on what he knows/trust about God and His word and not about worldly circumstances.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#85

Post by NSV » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:36 pm

Jac3510 wrote: 1. All perfections preexist either virtually or really in their causes;
2. Intentionality is a perfection;
3. Therefore, intentionality preexists either virtually or really in the PC
Alright Jac, I have had plenty of time to think about this. I gave it an honest go, but I think I am going to need a more detail explanation of particular words and their uses. The problem is with perfection. I cannot seem to find it coherent in the way you have explained it.
Jac3510 wrote:The most important word here is "perfection." The idea has to do with being filled up, filled out, or actualized.
To me, perfection, the way you are using it, strikes me as what I would call, function. A blind eye has lost its function, not it’s perfection. It is now less functional. The continuum created would start at “No function” and work its way to “More functional”.

The problem I have with perfection is that I do not think that it can work in reality. I, especially, do not think that it makes sense with a natural example, such as the eye. To say that a working eye is more perfect than a blind is to say that there is an eye more perfect than the said working eye. I feel like that opens a continuum, but what does it mean to have a perfect eye? Now, if I was to say that a working eye is something that is organic and has vision, then I think the work perfect can be used here when talking about concepts and definitions. An eye can be perfect for that definition. This is why I think the word “Function” fits better here, because it can talk about reality and material things(such as the natural eye).
Jac3510 wrote: So I think that should help explain what a perfection is. It is that which completes or perfects the natural capacities of a thing. You can see from this that perfections are closely related to the concept of existence. Perfections bring about existence. Imperfections, in a real sense, reduce existence (a seeing eye has "more" existence than a blind one, insofar as a seeing eye is perfected whereas a blind eye is imperfect insofar as it lacks the existence of sight).
I want to discuss this matter here also. I do not think that a rock exists any less than I do. I am sorry, but this idea does not make sense to me. The rock certainly has less overall function than I do—and this is not to say that a rock could not have more function than me given a particular purpose--, but I do not find perfection equaling existence or reducing it.

I would like to discuss these two matters because they are the bulk of this argument of intentionality. Do you see any thinking on my end that is faulty? Is this a misunderstanding of definitions/vocabulary? Would you be able to adopt function over perfection?

Let me know and thanks for giving me the time to think about this!

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#86

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:41 pm

I am glad you are taking the time to think this through. I am posting from a phone still so I cannot post in detail now. Briefly, "function" though related to perfection is not a suitable synonym. I'll step back and answer your questions/work through the underlying philosophical issue in a couple of days. Fair enough?
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#87

Post by NSV » Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:28 am

Jac, that is entirely fine. Take your time. I am sure Jlay and I can continue discussing another matter while we wait.

And so as there is no confusion, I would do not see function as a synonym. I consider it a more fitting definition of use here, and because of that, I think it causes an issue with premise 1 and 2. Hopefully an explanation for why perfection is better can reach me because, as of now, I cannot make sense of these premises.

Thanks again, Jac.

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#88

Post by BenThinkingLately » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:03 am

Jac,
I have recently discovered this website, and I have been following your conversation with NSV with great interest. I am a believer, and I have enjoyed contemplating your premises and logic. May I ask a question, in hopes that you could discuss one of the points/premises a little further?

You indicated that your arguement isn't based on a horizontal chain of events (A caused B, then B caused C, then C caused D), but rather it is based on a simultaneous (vertical) chain of events (A is currently causing B, B is currently causing C, and C is currently causing D all at the same time). My question is - why do we accept that as the current state of affairs? What would keep me from claiming that we find ourselves in the midst of the first chain of events (the horizonal one) and not the second chain of events (the simultaneous one)?

I'm truly asking for clarification so that I can further understand this line of reasoning.

Thank you for your time,
Ben

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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#89

Post by Byblos » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:50 am

BenThinkingLately wrote:Jac,
I have recently discovered this website, and I have been following your conversation with NSV with great interest. I am a believer, and I have enjoyed contemplating your premises and logic. May I ask a question, in hopes that you could discuss one of the points/premises a little further?

You indicated that your arguement isn't based on a horizontal chain of events (A caused B, then B caused C, then C caused D), but rather it is based on a simultaneous (vertical) chain of events (A is currently causing B, B is currently causing C, and C is currently causing D all at the same time). My question is - why do we accept that as the current state of affairs? What would keep me from claiming that we find ourselves in the midst of the first chain of events (the horizonal one) and not the second chain of events (the simultaneous one)?

I'm truly asking for clarification so that I can further understand this line of reasoning.

Thank you for your time,
Ben
I will take a stab at it and Jac can comment further when he's able to. It's not a matter of one or the other exclusively but one of convenience (in a metaphysical sense). Let me explain, most modern philosophers (such as William Lane Craig) tend to use the cosmological argument as proof of the existence of God. The problem with the CA is that it assumes an accidentally ordered causal chain (the horizontal one) and that kind of chain cannot be proven metaphysically (that's why Aquinas never used it). At best, it can be used to show evidence of an uncaused cause, as opposed to a proof. That is not to say Aquinas believed in an infinite universe, only that philosophical arguments to the contrary cannot be easily made. Aquinas' argument from motion, on the other hand, which uses an essentially ordered causal chain (the vertical kind) as a backbone, is most definitely proven metaphysically and that is what Jac is putting forth in his discussion.

So to answer your question more directly, nothing prevents you from claiming either chain (or even both). It's just that in metaphysical terms, one offers strong evidence (at best) and the other absolute proof.
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Re: I am a non-believer and I would like my reasoning assess

#90

Post by BenThinkingLately » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:51 am

Byblos,

Thank you for your response. For the sake of the point, can we walk through a couple of examples? Let's do an internal human based function like a muscle contraction, and let's do a natural based function like decomposition. Do they both end up pointing to the same source?

Thanks,
Ben

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