Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
User avatar
Byblos
Old School
Posts: 5922
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:21 pm
Christian: Yes
Location: NY
Has liked: 91 times
Been liked: 137 times

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#16

Post by Byblos » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:15 pm

SkepticalSkeeter wrote:Of course it does. The Bible wasn't written in a vacuum and there were many other religions (and plenty of skeptics) in the world long before there were Christians. It's natural that the Bible would contain rationalizations designed to discredit its detractors. Most of the religious texts that I've seen have similar ideas in them. It's a competition, after all. Also, I know that as a Christian you see this as a debate between Christianity and atheism. It's not. I'm an atheist.
No it's not ( a competition). We don't necessarily see it as Christianity vs. atheism, more like theism vs. atheism. The reason it does often come across as Christianity vs atheism is that, by definition, the Judeo-Christian God is the ultimate 'force', if you wish, that can ever be conceived of, i.e. a timeless, immaterial, changeless, omnipotent, omniscient God who's the very definition of existence, i.e. without whom it doesn't even make sense to speak of anything existing.
SkepticalSkeeter wrote:That means that I reject theism on the grounds that it's an extraordinary claim with no supporting evidence. Your god is just one of the many gods that I don't believe in, and since your scripture relies on the existence of your god for its validity I reserve the right to examine it critically and accept or reject any of the ideas contained therein as I see fit.
As stated, there can be one and only one God who is the first cause who is uncaused. If you want to to have an intelligent discourse with us then it is from that viewpoint I would suggest to carry it through, otherwise it's just a waste of time. Not only is a one God a matter of denfition but also a matter of (metaphysical) fact. Put that aside for the moment, though, your claim that our God is one of many gods is, therefore, fallacious. As for you examining our claims critically, before you even begin to do so you need to critically examine the implications of your own position first. On atheism, i,e, the rejection of a necessary being who is the formal and final first cause, you are left with the following options:

1) Eternally existent matter (whether in this universe or some other multi-verse is irrelevant). This position is incoherent because matter (in any form) is contingent (as opposed to a necessary being) and results in an infinite regress

or

2) The creation of matter ex nihilo without a cause which is also incoherent because it purports an effect without a cause.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

SkepticalSkeeter
Recognized Member
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:32 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#17

Post by SkepticalSkeeter » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:26 pm

Byblos wrote:We don't necessarily see it as Christianity vs. atheism, more like theism vs. atheism. The reason it does often come across as Christianity vs atheism is that, by definition, the Judeo-Christian God is the ultimate 'force', if you wish, that can ever be conceived of, i.e. a timeless, immaterial, changeless, omnipotent, omniscient God who's the very definition of existence, i.e. without whom it doesn't even make sense to speak of anything existing.
I suspect that that's troubling news to all of the non-Christian theists in the world. Frankly it puzzles me that (some?) Christians have no trouble accepting the existence of one supernatural being, but reject the notion that there could be others. That seems logically inconsistent. If one such being can exist, then why not two? And if two is impossible what makes you think that one is possible?
Byblos wrote:As stated, there can be one and only one God who is the first cause who is uncaused. If you want to to have an intelligent discourse with us then it is from that viewpoint I would suggest to carry it through, otherwise it's just a waste of time. Not only is a one God a matter of denfition but also a matter of (metaphysical) fact. Put that aside for the moment, though, your claim that our God is one of many gods is, therefore, fallacious. As for you examining our claims critically, before you even begin to do so you need to critically examine the implications of your own position first. On atheism, i,e, the rejection of a necessary being who is the formal and final first cause, you are left with the following options:

1) Eternally existent matter (whether in this universe or some other multi-verse is irrelevant). This position is incoherent because matter (in any form) is contingent (as opposed to a necessary being) and results in an infinite regress

or

2) The creation of matter ex nihilo without a cause which is also incoherent because it purports an effect without a cause.
It fascinates me that in the same breath you can claim that your god "is the first cause who is uncaused" and then reject the creation of matter ex nihilo as incoherent because it purports an effect without a cause. Seems like special pleading. Actually, "seems like" is probably too generous. How is your position coherent? If your all-powerful god can appear out of nothing then surely the Universe can as well, no?

Also is this just your view, or is it a generally accepted position among Christians? The thing is, everybody here seems to be using words like "we" and "us" but I don't think that the implied consensus actually exists. I've already seen some disagreement on how to define the word "Christian" and on evolution versus creationism, and I haven't even looked for discussions on, gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion, or the existence of a literal Hell.

And finally, why do I have to accept either your creation story or either of the natural explanations of creation as the final, ultimate truth? Last I looked science had some promising theories, but nothing was definitive, and religion had lots of conflicting, unsupported assertions. Seems to me that the jury's still out. What's wrong with saying "I believe that scientific inquiry is the only method that's going to unlock the secrets all the Universe, but to my knowledge that's a very much a work in progress and it's likely to be that way for a long time to come."?

User avatar
Byblos
Old School
Posts: 5922
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:21 pm
Christian: Yes
Location: NY
Has liked: 91 times
Been liked: 137 times

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#18

Post by Byblos » Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:00 am

SkepticalSkeeter wrote:
Byblos wrote:We don't necessarily see it as Christianity vs. atheism, more like theism vs. atheism. The reason it does often come across as Christianity vs atheism is that, by definition, the Judeo-Christian God is the ultimate 'force', if you wish, that can ever be conceived of, i.e. a timeless, immaterial, changeless, omnipotent, omniscient God who's the very definition of existence, i.e. without whom it doesn't even make sense to speak of anything existing.
I suspect that that's troubling news to all of the non-Christian theists in the world. Frankly it puzzles me that (some?) Christians have no trouble accepting the existence of one supernatural being, but reject the notion that there could be others. That seems logically inconsistent. If one such being can exist, then why not two? And if two is impossible what makes you think that one is possible?
Are you at all familiar with philosophy, particularly the classical kind? If not, I would suggest you start with Aristotle's first causation and Aquinas' 5 ways, especially the first, the argument from motion.

In summary, by (metaphysical) definition, there can be one and only one first cause and that cause must be uncaused for nothing can be the cause of itself. This first uncaused cause, again by definition (i.e. from reason and reason alone) must be outside of its creation (i.e. outside space-time), must be immaterial (since matter is a created thing), and must lack absolutely nothing (i.e. completely perfect). This last one precludes the existence of any other first cause(s), once again, by definition, since if there were two of them then one must be lacking something the other possesses, for if that weren't the case they'd be identical and therefore one and the same. Since the first cause lacks absolutely nothing there can be one and only one first cause (again, by definition). There are other attributes but I want to emphasize one about intent, having the will to create. On that, if there were more than one uncaused first cause, both with intent (will to create or not), this would lead to nihilism since they both can have contradictory wills (one to create and the other to not create). This again, proves there can be one and only one uncaused first cause.

So as you can see, there's absolutely nothing inconsistent about the notion of one uncaused cause. It is what reason dictates. The inconsistency (the incoherence) is with any other notion.
SkepticalSkeeter wrote:
Byblos wrote:As stated, there can be one and only one God who is the first cause who is uncaused. If you want to to have an intelligent discourse with us then it is from that viewpoint I would suggest to carry it through, otherwise it's just a waste of time. Not only is a one God a matter of denfition but also a matter of (metaphysical) fact. Put that aside for the moment, though, your claim that our God is one of many gods is, therefore, fallacious. As for you examining our claims critically, before you even begin to do so you need to critically examine the implications of your own position first. On atheism, i,e, the rejection of a necessary being who is the formal and final first cause, you are left with the following options:

1) Eternally existent matter (whether in this universe or some other multi-verse is irrelevant). This position is incoherent because matter (in any form) is contingent (as opposed to a necessary being) and results in an infinite regress

or

2) The creation of matter ex nihilo without a cause which is also incoherent because it purports an effect without a cause.
It fascinates me that in the same breath you can claim that your god "is the first cause who is uncaused" and then reject the creation of matter ex nihilo as incoherent because it purports an effect without a cause. Seems like special pleading. Actually, "seems like" is probably too generous. How is your position coherent? If your all-powerful god can appear out of nothing then surely the Universe can as well, no?
Creation ex nihilo without a first cause is incoherent because it is self-defeating from the get-go (pun very much intended). When I say an uncaused cause, I mean an eternal will that always existed (in fact it is exsistence itself as I mentioned before) and has the will to create (or not). When this will decides to create, the effect (creation) has a direct cause (the will to create) so there is no contradiction (i.e. coherence). On the other hand, creation ex nihilo without an eternal first cause is to have an effect (creation) without a cause, (i.e. incoherence). Do you really not see the difference? It's perfectly consistent.
SkepticalSkeeter wrote:Also is this just your view, or is it a generally accepted position among Christians? The thing is, everybody here seems to be using words like "we" and "us" but I don't think that the implied consensus actually exists. I've already seen some disagreement on how to define the word "Christian" and on evolution versus creationism, and I haven't even looked for discussions on, gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion, or the existence of a literal Hell.
No sir/ma'em, it is not just my view. This is the view of classical philosophy since Aristotle, Anselm, Aquinas, Maimonides, all the way until the new-age so-called philosophers decided it was too much to answer the Scholastics so they invented a philosophy after their own heart.
SkepticalSkeeter wrote:And finally, why do I have to accept either your creation story or either of the natural explanations of creation as the final, ultimate truth? Last I looked science had some promising theories, but nothing was definitive, and religion had lots of conflicting, unsupported assertions. Seems to me that the jury's still out. What's wrong with saying "I believe that scientific inquiry is the only method that's going to unlock the secrets all the Universe, but to my knowledge that's a very much a work in progress and it's likely to be that way for a long time to come."?
What does (empirical) science have anything to do with this? I'm talking about the very foundation for empirical science, science of the mind, science of reason and logic, i.e. philosophy in general, and metaphysics in particular. This is the root of all the sciences SS, without philosophy you could't even begin to understand anything. So to answer your question, you do not have to accept anything I tell you (in fact, reason tells you). But you do so at the risk of sounding utterly and hopelessly unintelligible.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

User avatar
jlay
Ultimate Member
Posts: 3616
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:47 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 9 times

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#19

Post by jlay » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:37 am

SkepticalSkeeter wrote:I suspect that that's troubling news to all of the non-Christian theists in the world. Frankly it puzzles me that (some?) Christians have no trouble accepting the existence of one supernatural being, but reject the notion that there could be others. That seems logically inconsistent. If one such being can exist, then why not two? And if two is impossible what makes you think that one is possible?
Really? Because what you present is logical contradiciton. You cannot have two omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, self-existant beings.
As Byb presented, I suggest you investigate the classical view of metaphysics.
-“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

Thadeyus
Established Member
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:45 am
Christian: No
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#20

Post by Thadeyus » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:21 pm

Sorry to seem like possibly jump in.
jlay wrote:Really? Because what you present is logical contradiction.


Um...why is it a contradiction, logical or other wise?
jlay wrote: You cannot have two omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, self-existent beings.
As Byb presented, I suggest you investigate the classical view of metaphysics.
Again, why can you not have two of something?

I must admit, I've heard these comments like these before (Amusingly, from a Muslim who refused to accept that a deity could effectively be in 'three' states at once - Hence why in their belief Jesus couldn't be God I.E. because God couldn't do something like that, be at one time 'The Father' and 'The Son' and 'The Holy Spirit'. Hence, in a way, they were putting a limitation upon their views of what their god was/is. Weird, huh?)

Much cheers to all.

User avatar
FlawedIntellect
Established Member
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon May 21, 2012 10:48 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Has liked: 51 times
Been liked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#21

Post by FlawedIntellect » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:50 pm

Thadeyus wrote:Sorry to seem like possibly jump in.
jlay wrote:Really? Because what you present is logical contradiction.


Um...why is it a contradiction, logical or other wise?
jlay wrote: You cannot have two omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, self-existent beings.
As Byb presented, I suggest you investigate the classical view of metaphysics.
Again, why can you not have two of something?

I must admit, I've heard these comments like these before (Amusingly, from a Muslim who refused to accept that a deity could effectively be in 'three' states at once - Hence why in their belief Jesus couldn't be God I.E. because God couldn't do something like that, be at one time 'The Father' and 'The Son' and 'The Holy Spirit'. Hence, in a way, they were putting a limitation upon their views of what their god was/is. Weird, huh?)

Much cheers to all.
Uuuh, Thadeyus, you may want to reread and re-reread Byblos's post above, since as Jlay pointed out, Byblos's post already answers those questions.

User avatar
Jac3510
Ultimate Member
Posts: 5489
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:53 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Has liked: 137 times
Been liked: 336 times
Contact:

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#22

Post by Jac3510 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:41 pm

FlawedIntellect wrote:Uuuh, Thadeyus, you may want to reread and re-reread Byblos's post above, since as Jlay pointed out, Byblos's post already answers those questions.
In a very concise and eloquent manner, I would add. In fact, rather than just rereading it, I want to see Thad demonstrate that he actually is interested in the honest discussion he claims to be. Rather than just have him ask questions about it, I want to see him restate the argument as best he can to prove he understands the point he is critiquing, and then ask questions in light of that demonstrated understanding.

It's really easy to ask questions, refuse to interact with the answers, and then pretend no answers have been given after all. That's just more of that intellectual laziness and frankly cowardice I've come to expect from most of the atheists who visit here. They ask terribly old and even more boring questions as if they are new, exciting, and challenging. They are then provided with rather standard answers that are very well understood and, rather than actually attempting to comprehend what is being said, they refuse to interact and continue asking unrelated questions that demonstrate a complete inability to grasp the subject matter at hand.

So, please, Thad. Do reread Byb's post. Interact with it. Show that those of us who are taking time to explain these concepts aren't wasting our time, that you really are listening. I have my doubts that you'll do so, but I'm really hoping that by putting the challenge in this stark of terms that you'll oblige us by having some real, honest conversation for a change.

You up for it, or are you more interesting in wishing us cheers and leaving us with questions for which you've no interest in the answers? y:-?
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.

User avatar
PeteSinCA
Valued Member
Posts: 388
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:59 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Location: Silicon Valley
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 1 time

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#23

Post by PeteSinCA » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:04 am

SkepticalSkeeter wrote:Now regarding the "church," I can think of a number of reasons that it might be appealing to a lot of people. First, I've known a lot of Christians for whom church was mostly about socializing and networking. I imagine that nonbelievers would appreciate having a similar opportunity without having to sit through a sermon.

Second, just because we don't believe in gods doesn't mean that we don't value opportunities to get together and discuss things like ethics and morality and to share stories about our lives and experiences.

Third, nonbelievers have to contend with as many challenges as believers do, and it's nice to have a network of caring, supportive people in your corner.

Fourth, for people struggling with substance abuse AA has long been the only game in town. That means that if you're a nonbeliever trying to get clean you're going to have to do it in a religiously charged environment. An event like Sunday Assembly would provide an opportunity for nonbelievers to get together and try to create a self-help program of their own.

And finally, there's the issue of good works. There are plenty of nonbelievers that want to do something to help their fellow man, but would rather not work with a religious charity. They would welcome a chance to do good works with like-minded people.

Alas, there's nothing like that around here, and I'm not interested in trying to found it myself.
My first reaction when I first heard of these groups was, "Why?" I quickly thought that these could be places for social networking and forums for discussing ideas at a deeper and broader level than the neighborhood bar. So your post - whether from personal experience, that of atheist friends, or just insider speculation - was helpful. Since one of AA's 12 steps requires at least some sort of Theism - acknowledging a God Who is more powerful than the AA member and Who can act in their life - some one who is an atheist (rather than an, "I don't know and don't care," agnostic) would have a fundamental problem with AA. Recovery groups at Christian churches would be all the worse.

Now, if one of these groups starts chanting, "Ford ... Ford ... Fo-o-o-o-ord ...," flee!
Soapy Pete's Box

So I'll stand // With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One Who gave it all - The Stand, Hillsong United

"To a world that was lost, He gave all He could give.
To show us the reason to live."
"We Are the Reason" by David Meece

"So why should I worry?
Why should I fret?
'Cause I've got a Mansion Builder
Who ain't through with me yet" - 2nd Chapter of Acts

Proinsias
Advanced Senior Member
Posts: 889
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 3:09 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Location: Scotland
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#24

Post by Proinsias » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:41 pm

Byblos wrote:No it's not ( a competition). We don't necessarily see it as Christianity vs. atheism, more like theism vs. atheism. The reason it does often come across as Christianity vs atheism is that, by definition, the Judeo-Christian God is the ultimate 'force', if you wish, that can ever be conceived of, i.e. a timeless, immaterial, changeless, omnipotent, omniscient God who's the very definition of existence, i.e. without whom it doesn't even make sense to speak of anything existing.
Is deism worth considering here? as distinct from theism. From what I gather even fairly hardcore athiests like Dawkins will submit, if pushed, to Aristotle's prime mover as a reasonable philosphical venture. From what I recall he will concede 'Einstein's God', with which he has no real issue, it's when the ultimate force becomes a good force that issues arise. The traits one taks on to an ultimate force, good for instance, is when the grumbling starts. Personally I don't put much faith in logic and reason when exploring the divine but much of the western atheist/theist debate seems quite taken with it and I think the basic idea put forward thousands of years ago by Aristole sheds little light on the subject.

The claim that the Judeo-Christain God, by definition, is the ultimate 'force' seems like a leap to me. His description does not prevent him from being the ultimate force, but that is rather different from him being that force.

User avatar
Kurieuo
Honored Member
Posts: 9896
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2004 6:25 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Progressive Creationist
Location: Qld, Australia
Has liked: 627 times
Been liked: 644 times

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#25

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:36 pm

Proinsias wrote:
Byblos wrote:No it's not ( a competition). We don't necessarily see it as Christianity vs. atheism, more like theism vs. atheism. The reason it does often come across as Christianity vs atheism is that, by definition, the Judeo-Christian God is the ultimate 'force', if you wish, that can ever be conceived of, i.e. a timeless, immaterial, changeless, omnipotent, omniscient God who's the very definition of existence, i.e. without whom it doesn't even make sense to speak of anything existing.
Is deism worth considering here? as distinct from theism. From what I gather even fairly hardcore athiests like Dawkins will submit, if pushed, to Aristotle's prime mover as a reasonable philosphical venture. From what I recall he will concede 'Einstein's God', with which he has no real issue, it's when the ultimate force becomes a good force that issues arise. The traits one taks on to an ultimate force, good for instance, is when the grumbling starts. Personally I don't put much faith in logic and reason when exploring the divine but much of the western atheist/theist debate seems quite taken with it and I think the basic idea put forward thousands of years ago by Aristole sheds little light on the subject.

The claim that the Judeo-Christain God, by definition, is the ultimate 'force' seems like a leap to me. His description does not prevent him from being the ultimate force, but that is rather different from him being that force.
I think these are good points, though I never knew Dawkins would accept any semblance of God when pushed (have you got a quote?).

Regardless, obviously other arguments are needed to make a case for Christianity or any other religion where God as some sort personal entity is embraced.

But, much of the focus seems to be debating that God even exists. If there are any concessions for some form of Deism, it certainly seems hidden to me. Anthony Flew got flamed for it by Atheists for embracing such a concept.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

User avatar
Byblos
Old School
Posts: 5922
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:21 pm
Christian: Yes
Location: NY
Has liked: 91 times
Been liked: 137 times

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#26

Post by Byblos » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:21 am

Proinsias wrote:
Byblos wrote:No it's not ( a competition). We don't necessarily see it as Christianity vs. atheism, more like theism vs. atheism. The reason it does often come across as Christianity vs atheism is that, by definition, the Judeo-Christian God is the ultimate 'force', if you wish, that can ever be conceived of, i.e. a timeless, immaterial, changeless, omnipotent, omniscient God who's the very definition of existence, i.e. without whom it doesn't even make sense to speak of anything existing.
Is deism worth considering here? as distinct from theism. From what I gather even fairly hardcore athiests like Dawkins will submit, if pushed, to Aristotle's prime mover as a reasonable philosphical venture. From what I recall he will concede 'Einstein's God', with which he has no real issue, it's when the ultimate force becomes a good force that issues arise. The traits one taks on to an ultimate force, good for instance, is when the grumbling starts. Personally I don't put much faith in logic and reason when exploring the divine but much of the western atheist/theist debate seems quite taken with it and I think the basic idea put forward thousands of years ago by Aristole sheds little light on the subject.

The claim that the Judeo-Christain God, by definition, is the ultimate 'force' seems like a leap to me. His description does not prevent him from being the ultimate force, but that is rather different from him being that force.
That's because Richard Dawkins, while may be a brilliant biologist (and there are contentions on that front as well), he is a philosophical idiot. First, when he does concede the possibility of a deistic God, he is simply paying lip service to the philosophical idea because he is cornered but I don't for a moment believe that he would seriously entertain the thought. On what grounds would he reject it you ask? Well, he often cites the 'fact' that a god would have to be much much too complex, infinity more complex than the universe to create something like the universe. Never mind the fact that he quite often also argues for the simplicity of the universe and that he completely ignores the fact that the God of classical theism is absolutely simple, not complex (from the doctrine of divine simplicity).

The reason The Judeo-Christian God IS the ultimate force that can ever be conceived of is because, well, by definition, he is the greatest force that can ever be conceived of. Is that a circular argument? I don't think so. Go back to the necessary and contingent being argument. A necessary being is timeless, changeless, immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient, lacking absolutely nothing, who is existence, and on whom everything else depends. From Aquinas' first argument of motion this necessary being didn't just spark creation and sat back and watched it develop, He absolutely sustains it every second and of every minute of every hour. Does that sound like a deistic God to you? At a minimum one can claim that a deistic god lacks love, which is the exact antithesis of the God of the Bible, the greatest 'force' that can every be.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

User avatar
Jac3510
Ultimate Member
Posts: 5489
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:53 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Location: Fort Smith, AR
Has liked: 137 times
Been liked: 336 times
Contact:

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#27

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:17 am

Byblos wrote:At a minimum one can claim that a deistic god lacks love, which is the exact antithesis of the God of the Bible, the greatest 'force' that can every be.
And if you take both transcendentals and love as a perfection seriously, then you can't even have a god that lacks love. On those two arguments, God necessarily is love.

Again, sounds a lot like the Christian concept of God to me.
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.

User avatar
Byblos
Old School
Posts: 5922
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:21 pm
Christian: Yes
Location: NY
Has liked: 91 times
Been liked: 137 times

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#28

Post by Byblos » Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:51 am

Jac3510 wrote:
Byblos wrote:At a minimum one can claim that a deistic god lacks love, which is the exact antithesis of the God of the Bible, the greatest 'force' that can every be.
And if you take both transcendentals and love as a perfection seriously, then you can't even have a god that lacks love. On those two arguments, God necessarily is love.

Again, sounds a lot like the Christian concept of God to me.
Lol, exactly the point I set out to make but neglected to do so. Thanks Jac. :D
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

User avatar
Kurieuo
Honored Member
Posts: 9896
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2004 6:25 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Progressive Creationist
Location: Qld, Australia
Has liked: 627 times
Been liked: 644 times

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#29

Post by Kurieuo » Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:35 pm

Byblos wrote:
Jac3510 wrote:
Byblos wrote:At a minimum one can claim that a deistic god lacks love, which is the exact antithesis of the God of the Bible, the greatest 'force' that can every be.
And if you take both transcendentals and love as a perfection seriously, then you can't even have a god that lacks love. On those two arguments, God necessarily is love.

Again, sounds a lot like the Christian concept of God to me.
Lol, exactly the point I set out to make but neglected to do so. Thanks Jac. :D
What is sad though, is there is kind of a barrier that I've realised can perhaps only be bridged after coming to Christ.

That is, the OT God and sanctioning Israel's warring with other nations in the face of their own threats, Noah's flood and God's wiping out of humanity, etc. Such acts, in the eyes of a non-Christian, makes our God far from loving. Obviously, we have theological explanations that make sense of a loving God and such acts, but one must be working within the framework of Christianity or Judaism to accept these explanations.

So there is like this barrier. It is perhaps one Antony Flew could not cross to come back to Christianity. And yet, if one accepts God is real and the Christian conception of God, then there are very good explanations. An ultimate explanation being that Christ who is God was to come from Israel via Judah based on His covenant, so that some of us could actually be redeemed from sin rather than all of us being righteously condemned for our sins. Thus, in the total scheme of things, it is God's love for all that He sustained and protected Israel, although such meant the expense of many wicked people and tribes/nations who were in opposition to Israel (and as such, God's ultimate plan for humanities' redemption via Christ).

However, place yourself in the shoes of a non-Christian, particularly a secular person who rejects God's existence. Now, you just have Israel attempting to re-write history and make themselves look good. Their attacking other nations as divinely sanctioned is much akin the Crusades and the like -- but such is just an invention so they just look to be the "good guys" rather than bad. And God's wiping out of humanity, well, that's a direct attack on us. How can God love those he wishes to kill? Babies and children were even wiped out. Surely, even if God created us, the fact that He wages war on us to such an extent as to only let a handful of survivors live, even if we are no match for God He is not our friend.

Until one switches their world view from Atheism (no belief in God) to Theism (belief in God) -- particularly Christian Theism -- then the puzzle pieces are simply not there on the Atheist's table to make any sense of a loving God. So, for the Atheist who is truly seeking, then their needs to be some understanding on their part that if Christianity is true, then there are truly logical and justifiable explanations... even if they can't currently accept them. But, if Christianity is true, then are these theological explanations valid? I believe so, but I'm also Christian and so can see the many puzzle pieces that are needed to make sense of a loving God.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

Thadeyus
Established Member
Posts: 223
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:45 am
Christian: No
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Sunday Assembly: a church for unbelievers

#30

Post by Thadeyus » Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:07 am

So, for FlawedIntellect and Jac3510 and any others.
Byblos wrote:Are you at all familiar with philosophy, particularly the classical kind?


No, pretty much not at all...Or other than the occasional snippets which get strung through an articale of the intellectual magnitude of "New Scientist"
Byblos wrote:If not, I would suggest you start with Aristotle's first causation and Aquinas' 5 ways, especially the first, the argument from motion.
Nods Yup, have gone and had a read/perusal of them. Thank'e for the linking.
Byblos wrote:In summary, by (metaphysical) definition, there can be one and only one first cause and that cause must be un-caused for nothing can be the cause of itself.
Nods Yes, this I do understand.
Byblos wrote:This first un-caused cause, again by definition (i.e. from reason and reason alone) must;

A)Be outside of its creation (i.e. outside space-time),
B)Must be immaterial (since matter is a created thing),
C)...And must lack absolutely nothing (i.e. completely perfect).
Nods Thank you for the expanded explanation.
Byblos wrote:This last one precludes the existence of any other first cause(s), once again, by definition, since if there were two of them then one must be lacking something the other possesses, for if that weren't the case they'd be identical and therefore one and the same. Since the first cause lacks absolutely nothing there can be one and only one first cause (again, by definition).
Okay...I get now that 'First Cause' is meaning 'An action' or 'The process of doing something'
Byblos wrote:There are other attributes but I want to emphasize one about intent, having the will to create. On that, if there were more than one uncaused first cause, both with intent (will to create or not), this would lead to nihilism since they both can have contradictory wills (one to create and the other to not create). This again, proves there can be one and only one uncaused first cause.


Now...as for the 'Intent to create'......Isn't this a "Place for the action to reside"?
Byblos wrote:So as you can see, there's absolutely nothing inconsistent about the notion of one un-caused cause. It is what reason dictates. The inconsistency (the incoherence) is with any other notion.
I see. So...because we have but one obsereved reality, hence the regression to 'One starting event'. ( I type such to show understanding.)

So...the statement might come down to "For there to be a creation act....There must be a will for said creation act to happen...Hence, within the space already defined as (Outside, perfect, etc) These are the properties of said will."

Or am I thinking wrongly again?

Post Reply