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Why people believe in religion.
Posted: 07 July 2009 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Traces Elk - 05 July 2009 10:59 AM
clayforHim648 - 04 July 2009 10:40 PM

The mystery to me is what Clay thinks gives him the power and knowledge to interpret Christianity to others

Should I not defend my own faith?  What would make you say something like that?

 

Reading comprehension problems again, Clay? Jefe has pointed out to you numerous times that you appear to be badly confused by the criticism that your religion receives and project it into the notion that somebody wants to prohibit you from having a religion. The problem, of course, is that you cannot practice your religion without “defending it”, unless you restrict yourself to preaching to the choir, since your principles are so vacuous. What you’re defending is your right to spout nonsense about your imaginary God-man to people who don’t believe in it. This includes delivering your interpretation of Xtianity to other people as if it was the only one possible. In fact, you do not have to “defend” your faith, except that you believe that your imaginary God-man wants you to perform like a trained seal before an audience of unbelievers. Most believers do not do this; only the ones addicted to internet forums do it, and a few nutcases with bullhorns on busy city street corners.

You are an empty-but-noisy barrel, you weren’t invited here, you delight to tell us stuff you cannot prove, and the mystery remains concerning where you think you get your “correct” knowledge of Xtianity. If someone asked you to demonstrate that your knowledge is “correct”, how would you go about it, except by repeating your bona fides?

In truth there are many who would like to prohibit Clay and the rest of us from practicing our religion.  New Testament Christianity is not a moral relativism.  It is not ambiguous on whether or not Christians should spread the gospel.  Do you disagree with this?  I think most of the “angry atheists” would give lip service to “freedom of religion”, suggesting that religion is fine as long as one keeps it to himself and is tolerant (i e embracing) of other traditions.  But Christianity involves absolutes.  There’s no diluting that.  Do you support the rights of those to practice this?  Really?

I cannot speak for Clay - but I don’t come here to get points from skydaddy.  I do it to interact with people who have different beliefs.  It’s an interesting place.

As for a correct knowledge of Christianity.  The New Testament is pretty clear that belief in God is an act of submission.  I think there are some pretty good reasons to believe.  But none constitutes a proof.

Nachtsmusick spoke of rigidity in belief.  I think Clay’s statement is not without reason.  The atheist feels “wonder” when he/she reads a poem or hears music.  Sigh.  So the Christian cannot feel “wonder” when pondering the reason for our existence?  That’s a rigidity that runs both ways.  The point is that for people (all people) there is more to life than just reason and rationality.  Atheists would presumably agree when it comes to the “arts”.  Why not about a creator?

And just when does one get labelled an addict with regard to internet forums?  6000 posts?  Ha!

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Posted: 07 July 2009 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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wahoo - 07 July 2009 07:47 PM

In truth there are many who would like to prohibit Clay and the rest of us from practicing our religion.  New Testament Christianity is not a moral relativism.  It is not ambiguous on whether or not Christians should spread the gospel.  Do you disagree with this?  I think most of the “angry atheists” would give lip service to “freedom of religion”, suggesting that religion is fine as long as one keeps it to himself and is tolerant (i e embracing) of other traditions.  But Christianity involves absolutes.  There’s no diluting that.  Do you support the rights of those to practice this?  Really?

Unbelievable! Your rights end when they infringe on mine. Of course, a delusional Nazi mentality will never understand that.

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Posted: 07 July 2009 05:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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It’s only unbelievable to those who don’t know what “religion” is.  I’m NOT a humanist.  My religion puts forth some absolutes.  Yes certain acts are morally wrong.  Yes Christians are to try to spread the faith.  Did you not realize that?

So do you agree that Christians should be able to practice their religion?  Yes or no.

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Posted: 07 July 2009 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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I think your evading Jefe!

In my opinion the constitution allows me to practice my religion.  The founding fathers were certainly not fundies and did not envision an evangelical Christian nation.  But they certainly were familiar with what Christianity in practice looked like.  And they certainly agreed that this was acceptable.

Your questions are unansweable and irrelevant to the subject.  I’ll give you some better ones.

Should Christians be able to believe in absolutes of morality?  YES.

Should Christian preachers be allowed to preach from the pulpit that homosexual relations, premarital sex, and abortion are wrong - without being accused of “hate speech”?  YES.

Should Christians be allowed to stand on street corners and preach?  YES.

Should Christians be allowed to travel to other countries on mission trips?  YES.

Should Christian parents be allowed to teach their kids biblical ethics?  YES.

Should Christians be allowed to vote for whomever they wish, based on convictions?  YES.

Certainly no one would deny that the constitution was written at a time when Christianity definitely involved these things explicitly. 

I do not think (nor did the founding fathers) that Christians should be allowed to break laws in the name of religion.  I do not think that religious minorities should be forced to practice another religion.  This is where the constitution draws the line.

Now…

What I think may here would like to see is religion reduced to humanism with various cultural accretions.  And then of course everyone will be fine will religion because it will be nothing but watered-down tradition with no offensive potential!

But that’s not what religion is!  That’s just the nature of the belief systems.  To ask a Christian to forsake his/her opposition to abortion in the name of tolerance is to misunderstand what that individual believes.

My question remains whether or not practice of religion should be allowed.

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Posted: 07 July 2009 07:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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No equivocation intended Jefe.

My religion is Christianity.

The questions you gave seem intended to point at some noxious effects of Christianity on society.

My points are simply these:

1.  Freedom of religion means I can practice my religion, as long as it does not break laws.  By corollary law passed attempting to limit this freedom stand in opposition to the clear provisions of the Constitution.

2.  Chrisianity (speaking for my religion) involves absolutes.  Anyone who knows the religion and has read the Bible knows this to be true.

This is in response to Salt’s criticism of Clay regarding whether or not there were those who would seek to limit the Christian’s ability to practice his/her religion.  I think Clay’s point is at least partly right in that many critics of Christianity want it to behave like a humanism in order to be respected.

[ Edited: 07 July 2009 07:26 PM by wahoo]
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Posted: 07 July 2009 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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wahoo, it’s unlikely anyone is interested in stopping you from practicing your religion as this isn’t a witch-hunt, but we are interested in stopping you from practicing it on others, just as we do the KKK.

There is an implication in your desire to practice your religion - you don’t want your religion attacked.  You wouldn’t be on this forum if you felt you couldn’t defend your faith, but the right to practice your faith doesn’t protect the faith from attacks.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Jefe - 07 July 2009 11:41 PM
wahoo - 07 July 2009 11:21 PM

No equivocation intended Jefe.

My religion is Christianity.

The questions you gave seem intended to point at some noxious effects of Christianity on society.

My points are simply these:

1.  Freedom of religion means I can practice my religion, as long as it does not break laws.  By corollary law passed attempting to limit this freedom stand in opposition to the clear provisions of the Constitution.

2.  Chrisianity (speaking for my religion) involves absolutes.  Anyone who knows the religion and has read the Bible knows this to be true.


Then the question becomes:  If the absolutes postulated by your religion prove to be wrong, or harmful, would you then be able to abandon them?
Further: Which absolutes are which?  Because there are christians who do not believe or treat homosexuality as “wrong”.  Yet they have equal claim to the label christian that you do.  Are we to take your word that your particular flavour of christianity is more christian than another flavour? What gives you, or your preferred sect, the authority to make such a claim?  What about those christian churches that have a ‘personal decision’ stance on abortion? They claim to be christian and by declaration and belief have just as much claim on that label as you do.  Again, who’s claim to the ‘label’ should be granted more weight?  Whose beliefs?

You (like clay) want to grasp onto the comforting importance of that Christian label and apply it as a universal when it simply doesn’t function as such.  And your description of christian beliefs is simply non-universal.

Now here is where it gets interesting.  I think you should have the right to practice your religion - but I think there should be clearly definied judiciary limits to that right to practice.  I also think your claim to absolutes is based more on local tradition than anything else.  Thus there is wiggle room. 

Should christian children be endangered by their parents anti-science, anti-medicine beliefs?  I think not.  You may think differently.  My opinion includes protection of those childrens’ rights outside of religious isolation.
Should little girls in christian families be stunted or limited by their parents’ misogynistic beliefs?  I think not.  You may think differently.  My opinion includes protection of those childrens’ rights outside of religious isolation.
You would like to be able to preach homosexual sinnfulness and present it as wrongful - yet you overlook the globally sinful nature of all humanity (as presented by your religion’s absolutes - and thus this practice simply becomes institutionalized prejudice against gay people.  Why should you have the liberty to do this? What if this prejudicial preaching against gays leads to violence and harm (as it has so often in the past?).  Where does a reasonable society draw the line?  Bluntly: How many gays need to be beaten to death, or how many abortion doctors need to be assassinated before it becomes reasonable for society to say “tone it down” and have it stick?
Why do so many christians crusade against the mythologically manufactured sin of homosexuality and yet seem complacent about divorce, second marriages, and other sins’?

What about the laundry list of other sins that get cherry-picked by christians based on personal preference? 

Aren’t you, Wahoo, by definition, as a christian, a sinner?  Why do you not deserve similar societal persecution and prejudice based on your sinful nature that you desire to freely promote about gay folks?  Why do activists not picket your place of business protesting your sinful nature? 

So.  What now?


Edit:  Here’s a fine example of christian misogyny for any who care:

http://www.faithfulwordbaptist.org/gynecologists.html

Condensed: “No male OB/GYNs if you want to be right with god.”

Jefe,

My description of Christianity IS arbitrary.  But it would be considered “mainstream” by almost anyone in the evangelical world - or in conservative catholicism even.  The mantra of a lot of folks here seems to be that religion is fine as long as it’s kept to one’s self.  But that attitude projects its own bias onto others’ religion.  The point is that all of the features I described above would be a Christianity recognized and protected by the writers of the Constitution.

I use the gay issue only as an example since it tends to be controversial!  The point there is that homosexual behavior, despite its political sacred cow status, is described as immoral in the Bible.  Holding that belief is not only permitted by my personal freedom, it is consistent with my religion.  That does NOT jusitfy any mistreatment of gays whatsoever.  Their rights are protected by law just as are mine.  For the record I would not picket anyone’s place of business based on his/her beliefs.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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Skipshot - 08 July 2009 01:47 AM

wahoo, it’s unlikely anyone is interested in stopping you from practicing your religion as this isn’t a witch-hunt, but we are interested in stopping you from practicing it on others, just as we do the KKK.

There is an implication in your desire to practice your religion - you don’t want your religion attacked.  You wouldn’t be on this forum if you felt you couldn’t defend your faith, but the right to practice your faith doesn’t protect the faith from attacks.

Skip,

I’m not so .  think that there are many who would affirm my right to practice my religion only if it conformed to their definition of a religion, namely an inoffensive humanism which would be Christian only in name.

What do you mean by “practicing it on others?”

If you mean inflicting harm or inciting violence then we agree.  But I think you (or others) might mean voicing opinions that are not “politically correct” or evangelization.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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wahoo - 08 July 2009 09:21 AM

I think that there are many who would affirm my right to practice my religion only if it conformed to their definition of a religion, namely an inoffensive humanism which would be Christian only in name.

 

It’s very simple, though I do not expect you will never understand. I wish I could give it to you in words of one syllable, but I can’t.

If your religious beliefs translate into objections toward homosexual “marriage”, it means you don’t have to enter into a homosexual marriage if you do not wish to. If your actions extend to imposing restrictions based only on religious objections (including what you insist your society tolerates or abjures as a whole), then you are overstepping your religious privileges.

If you cannot express your objections to homosexual marriage in terms that are not explicitly religious, it means you do not have a legal leg on which to stand, other than by obfuscating the Freedom of Religion clause in the Bill of Rights. If you will not state your objections, even knowing what they are, then you are merely a dishonest and sniveling internet pest without the balls to admit the depth and depravity of his own unfounded prejudices.

It’s not bigotry to acknowledge that I know just the sort of argument I’m going to get from whining and disingenuous religious people, whose identical argument I have seen in hundreds or thousands of separate (but certainly not unique) cases over the years. To pre-empt your argument is not to say you can’t make it; it’s just that the atheists have all heard it before. The fact that you can think of nothing else to discuss speaks eloquently about your real motivations. Thinking that your argument will be validated only if you repeat it enough times is a monument to religiostupidification, and treats interpersonal relations as pre-defined.

[ Edited: 08 July 2009 07:27 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 08 July 2009 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Traces Elk - 08 July 2009 11:17 AM
wahoo - 08 July 2009 09:21 AM

I think that there are many who would affirm my right to practice my religion only if it conformed to their definition of a religion, namely an inoffensive humanism which would be Christian only in name.

 

It’s very simple, though I do not expect you will never understand. I wish I could give it to you in words of one syllable, but I can’t.

If your religious beliefs translate into objections toward homosexual “marriage”, it means you don’t have to enter into a homosexual marriage if you do not wish to. If your actions extend to imposing restrictions based only on religious objections (including what you insist your society tolerates or abjures as a whole), then you are overstepping your religious privileges.

If you cannot express your objections to homosexual marriage in terms that are not explicitly religious, it means you do not have a legal leg on which to stand, other than by obfuscating the Freedom of Religion clause in the Bill of Rights. If you will not state your objections, even knowing what they are, then you are merely a dishonest and sniveling internet pest without the balls to admit the depth and depravity of his own unfounded prejudices.

It’s not bigotry to acknowledge that I know just the sort of argument I’m going to get from whining and disingenuous religious people, whose identical argument I have seen in hundreds or thousands of separate (but certainly not unique) cases over the years. To pre-empt your argument is not to say you can’t make it; it’s just that the atheists have all heard it before. The fact that you can think of nothing else to discuss speaks eloquently about your real motivations. Thinking that your argument will be validated only if you repeat it enough times is a monument to religiostupidification, and treats interpersonal relations as pre-defined.

Salt Creek,

I think your response validates my issue.  I really have little concern about gay marriage or other such issues.  I use it merely as an example of a “hot button issue”. 

What my rights also include is the ability to speak and the ability to vote for candidates with whom I agree (which is not many).  I set in boldface a sentence which I think shows your very minimalistic take on what religious freedom means.  My rights end when they cause harm to another.  And if you would see the Christianity of my life and that of my friends you would find no harm being done.  Rather you would find a group of nice, albeit opinionated people.  I believe you called this “not being evil” in a prior post. 

Youre recourse would then be to claim that my opinions have ability to cause harm.  But I would answer that yours do too.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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wahoo - 08 July 2009 09:21 AM

What do you mean by “practicing it on others?”

If you mean inflicting harm or inciting violence then we agree.  But I think you (or others) might mean voicing opinions that are not “politically correct” or evangelization.

I hope you meant to put ‘not’ before the word ‘inflicting’.

Playing the victim, wahoo?  Since when is Christianity not “politically correct”?  If you’re co-opting “politically correct” to mean “I don’t care what you think about my opinions” then please spare us the phony victim-hood.  Being Christian in the US is being cowardly politically correct.  (Al Franken was sworn in today as a US Senator on a Bible and the oath concluded with the words “so help me God” - naked political correctness since neither the Bible nor “so help me God” is constitutionally required.)

“Practicing it on others.”  A big part of Christianity requires it be practiced on others, hence the call to follow the religion or burn in hell.  Follow the religion or be socially ostracized.  Follow the religion or be a reprobate.  Follow the religion to be politically correct.  Follow the religion if you know what’s good for you.  That’s what I mean by “practicing it on others.”  When Christianity is attacked because it won’t leave people alone the Christian response is to become defensive and hurt.  Your Nuremberg defense (my Bible tells me to do it) is patently thin since the wildly inconsistent book interpreted in the way you want will give you justification to do and say anything.  That’s what I mean by “practicing it on others.”

[ Edited: 08 July 2009 09:41 AM by Skipshot]
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Posted: 08 July 2009 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Lets be blunt.  An outspoken desire, and active tendency to institutionalize prejudice and misogyny is not “nice”.

Let’s be equally blunt…your outspoken desire and active tendency to silence religious practice is so hypocritically arrogant for someone who seems so devoted to freedom and tolerance - it’s striking that you can’t see the irony. The fact of the matter is, you don’t want religion (or religious people) to exist at all, no matter how benign their “practice” is.  It’s good old fashioned tribalism…might makes right.  What can be more intolerant than that?  Sam Harris doesn’t mince words either, he wants to bring about the end of faith, the end of religion…moderate, extreme, liberal, it doesn’t matter.

If you cannot express your objections to homosexual marriage in terms that are not explicitly religious, it means you do not have a legal leg on which to stand, other than by obfuscating the Freedom of Religion clause in the Bill of Rights.

This is an objection built on the theory that people’s view of law and morality can be based on anything except religion, which I’m not sure any founding father would subscribe to.  The only prohibition in the Constitution is creating a national religion and forcing others to serve it.  No one thinks that means that anyone from any religion can do what they wish with the protection of the law.  There is NO way to express objections to homosexual marriage WITHOUT terms that are explicitly religious…and no that doesn’t disqualify us.  You’re just gonna have to get used to the fact that people disagree with you.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 08 July 2009 02:57 PM

Let’s be equally blunt…your outspoken desire and active tendency to silence religious practice is so hypocritically arrogant for someone who seems so devoted to freedom and tolerance - it’s striking that you can’t see the irony.


As always what you’re perceiving as persecution, Clay, is not getting a free pass on the basic standards of rational discourse and thinking. When others don’t let you win, in other words, and challenge your liberal interpretation of the rules of this game. You seem to get your panties in a wad frequently when others don’t just let you get away with the same babbling that passes for thinking with your homies. It’s not intolerance for religion and it’s not silencing anything, it’s using the same standards for religious claims and rhetoric that we use for all other ideas. You just can’t handle it when you have to man up and you’re not just given a default gold star for showing up and making some noise. It’s pretty pathetic, really. Tiresome to say the least. Any intellectually healthy adult would be embarrassed if anyone caught them saying such things—it would be about like being caught wearing diapers and playing with a rattle while sucking on a pacifier.

Grow up. Or if you refuse to, learn to deal with appropriate responses of amusement or disgust. You don’t really have any other choices.

Byron

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Posted: 08 July 2009 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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SkepticX - 08 July 2009 03:11 PM
clayforHim648 - 08 July 2009 02:57 PM

Let’s be equally blunt…your outspoken desire and active tendency to silence religious practice is so hypocritically arrogant for someone who seems so devoted to freedom and tolerance - it’s striking that you can’t see the irony.


As always what you’re perceiving as persecution, Clay, is not getting a free pass on the basic standards of rational discourse and thinking. When others don’t let you win, in other words, and challenge your liberal interpretation of the rules of this game. You seem to get your panties in a wad frequently when others don’t just let you get away with the same babbling that passes for thinking with your homies. It’s not intolerance for religion and it’s not silencing anything, it’s using the same standards for religious claims and rhetoric that we use for all other ideas. You just can’t handle it when you have to man up and you’re not just given a default gold star for showing up and making some noise. It’s pretty pathetic, really. Tiresome to say the least. Any intellectually healthy adult would be embarrassed if anyone caught them saying such things—it would be about like being caught wearing diapers and playing with a rattle while sucking on a pacifier.

Grow up. Or if you refuse to, learn to deal with appropriate responses of amusement or disgust. You don’t really have any other choices.

Byron

Byron,

I think you’re miscontruing things a bit.  Most theists won’t lose any sleep over amusement or disgust from angry atheists.  I certaibly do not feel persecuted.  But I do share Clay’s sentiments that your position is a bit hypocritical.  We both have opinions - and we disagree on these things.  That’s it.  But you cannot seem to see that your position is driven by opinion and bias just as is mine.

I’m a theist - biased, opinionated, and driven by some overarching presuppostions! 

It seems you are claiming neutrality, rationality, or a moral high ground for your position.  But this is not the case.

You are an antitheist, driven by the same degree of opinion and presupposition that I have.

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Posted: 08 July 2009 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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wahoo - 08 July 2009 04:20 PM

I’m a theist - biased, opinionated, and driven by some overarching presuppostions!


Presuppositions that aren’t justified by evidence.

Presumppositionalism doesn’t get you off the hook of having to accept reality and uphold reasonable standards of epistemology. It may move your starting point far enough back that you’ll spend an entire lifetime catching up to those of us who derive our understanding of reality from reality (as opposed to imposing our presumptions upon it) the first time around, but it doesn’t change the basic game.

wahoo - 08 July 2009 04:20 PM

It seems you are claiming neutrality, rationality, or a moral high ground for your position.  But this is not the case.


More or less I’m claiming Clay is full of shit and intellectually infantile when it comes to matters of religion.

wahoo - 08 July 2009 04:20 PM

You are an antitheist, driven by the same degree of opinion and presupposition that I have.


Reminds me of that TV commercial for DirecTV where the exec supposedly with DishNet (or some such) is bemoaning that DirecTV broadcasts in 1080p. The brainstorming commences and he asks why DishNet doesn’t broadcast at a million p. Someone acts confused and asks “We don’t broadcast at a million p do we?” He says “Neither does DirecTV! ... Somebody just leveled the playing field!”

You can’t just invent some arbitrary notion as if it’s pertinent to reality and it’s true unless it’s disproven. That’s just as epistemically valid as any other random ideation, and that’s what presuppositionalism is all about. It’s epistemically bankrupt.

Byron

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