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CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS on The DEATH of JERRY FALWELL-CNN 360
Posted: 23 May 2007 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]We know the supernatural through the pointers of which I spoke and through revelation. The supernatural has been revealed.


You are going to have to do better than this.

Earlier you said:

I will once again point out the fingerposts, but remember they are only pointers. You can analyze them empirically but they are always going to mean more then your empirical analysis.

How do we know that the fingerposts mean more than any empirical analysis will demonstrate?  How do we know?

The concept of revelation is of no help here since many incompatible beliefs are held to be the products of revelation.  If we are to have an epistemology of the supernatural, then we need some way of figuring out when we’ve reached the truth about the supernatural.  And simply declaring that some truth has been revealed isn’t going to cut it (precisely because some many incompatible truths are claimed as revelations).

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 23 May 2007 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]They are love, beauty, truth, perfection, goodness. I know you write most of these off as products of individual or collective minds but the empirical evidence for such an answer is suspect.

Even if you are correct about the empirical evidence for those, that wouldn’t automatically prove the existence of the supernatural. Just because a natural phenomenon cannot currently be explained empirically does not mean it has to have a supernatural explanation. I see such explanations as nonscientific cop-outs. It’s much more likely that those events have natural causes that have not yet been discovered, like the Sussex Vampire. As Sherlock Holmes said, no ghosts need apply.

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Posted: 23 May 2007 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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I only use revelation as the bridge to the supernatural. Revelation involves faith and I know better than to use such premises here. I say it is not unreasonable to believe in the supernatural. I hold this because of the fingerposts I describe above. I am not arguing from revelation. I just say the pointers to the supernatural allow me to hold to my faith without suspending reason. You can have faith that science will discover empirical evidence to explain everything. Good luck to you, but your way is no more rational than mine and I might venture to say it is irrational. Science is never going to satisfactorily explain the self. Oh it might posit you as a wonderful accident who thinks and feels but it is never going to account for you qua you. It may explain conciousness with neuroscientific certainty but it will never explain why me? I think it an important question.

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Posted: 23 May 2007 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]I am not arguing from revelation. I just say the pointers to the supernatural allow me to hold to my faith without suspending reason. You can have faith that science will discover empirical evidence to explain everything. Good luck to you, but your way is no more rational than mine and I might venture to say it is irrational. Science is never going to satisfactorily explain the self. Oh it might posit you as a wonderful accident who thinks and feels but it is never going to account for you qua you. It may explain conciousness with neuroscientific certainty but it will never explain why me? I think it an important question.

Odd for you to use satisfactory explanation as a criterion for the rationality of a belief. 

What does the existence of God explain?  I think that it explains precisely NOTHING.  Theism provides no satisfactory explanation of anything.

Certainly Theism does NOT explain why me?

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 24 May 2007 01:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”]How do we know that the fingerposts mean more than any empirical analysis will demonstrate?  How do we know?

Have you ever read Gary Larson’s “There’s a Hair in My Dirt”? I know damn well that birds sing to mark territory and to find mates. Their motivation has nothing to do with artistic expression. But we can still appreciate the beauty in their songs.

I find the idea of “revelation” to be highly suspect. Someone could say anything and claim that it came from an unseen supernatural being. There is no reason to accept such claims at face value. I could claim that God told me he wants everyone to wear cowboy hats on Fridays. The burden of proof is on the person who claims to have had a revelation.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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I am not using a satisfactory explanation as the criterion for my belief. I am using the pointers that exist in the universe and which you yourself admit exist (ie objective morality) to demonstrate the rationality of my belief. I am not saying that science cannot answer these questions therefore there must be a God. I say there is a God and the universe points to His existence. I am only pointing out the fingerposts.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]I am only pointing out the fingerposts.

And I am pointing out that the fingerposts may have natural origins. One can find transcendental meaning or spiritual meaning in those phenomena, but that wouldn’t change their origins. The burden of proof is on anyone who claims that those phenomena have supernatural origins.

Your stance might make more sense to me if God was defined as a metaphor, an abstract representation of love and goodness, instead of as a supernatural being with a consciousness.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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I believe in God. I have faith. Weak and imperfect as it may be. I still have it. I do not have it because of the gaps in science. I have it because I have heard the Gospel message and I assent intellectually to believing it to be the truth. The atheist counters by saying I cannot hold as rational the coexistence of the natural and supernatural. I say I can. I point out in the natural world hints of the supernatural. I say these hints are not the cause of my belief but they confirm my belief. I do not think anyone comes to faith through the cosmological argument. I do believe that the cosmological argument allows me to say my faith is consistent with reason.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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I believe in God. I have faith. Weak and imperfect as it may be. I still have it. I do not have it because of the gaps in science. I have it because I have heard the Gospel message and I assent intellectually to believing it to be the truth. The atheist counters by saying I cannot hold as rational the coexistence of the natural and supernatural. I say I can. I point out in the natural world hints of the supernatural. I say these hints are not the cause of my belief but they confirm my belief. I do not think anyone comes to faith through the cosmological argument. I do believe that the cosmological argument allows me to say my faith is consistent with reason.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 03:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]The atheist counters by saying I cannot hold as rational the coexistence of the natural and supernatural.

I consider myself an “atheist sympathizer,” and I see the source of the conflict as the insistence by theists that everyone must obey their gods. But theistic religions differ greatly in their doctrines about what their gods want from humans. If the theists did not make such universal obedience claims, we might not even be having this conversation. If someone tells me God wants me to do something, I suspect that the request really comes from that person and he or she is simply invoking the name of God to convince me to submit. I will not give up control over my life based on someone else’s beliefs.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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If you had good reasons you wouldn’t need faith. I knew you would eventually fall on the crutch of “faith” even though you said you knew better smile

You know there a revelations in all religions. They have a tendency to contradict each other to (to such an extent that people die in great numbers because of them).

Your faith is weak for a good reason. You’re educated. Ignorant people have strong faith.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]I believe in God. I have faith. Weak and imperfect as it may be. I still have it. I do not have it because of the gaps in science. I have it because I have heard the Gospel message and I assent intellectually to believing it to be the truth.

Earlier you said that we can KNOW about the supernatural:

[quote author=“frankr”]We know the supernatural through the pointers of which I spoke and through revelation. The supernatural has been revealed.

Now you fall back on faith.  But if it is a matter of faith, then it most certainly NOT a matter of knowledge.  Faith picks up where knowledge leaves off, isn’t that right?

You apparently have no epistemology of the supernatural or else you wouldn’t have to invoke faith.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 24 May 2007 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Waltercat
You attempt to convict me through equivocation. My knowledge comes through the pointers and revelation. This is how I know about faith. I do not see the inconsistency that you imply. I do fall back on faith but faith is not blind faith faith is my belief in God. I do not fall back on it. It is what I have. I know my faith well because I study it. The word games you are playing are just that. Knowledge and faith are not mutually exclusive terms. The theologian may know the faith better than the layman but the layman may have more faith than the theologian.

Bruno
I am sure there is a point but I cannot glean it. I do not argue from the tenets of the faith on this forum. I do not fall back on a crutch. I am making the distinction between having faith and that affecting my world view or having a world view that causes faith. The existence of an apparent morality in the human species is not the cause of my faith but it does reaffirm the tenets of my faith.

Carstonio
You are basically saying that everybody cannot be right and you should stick to your own beliefs. I say great but why are you trying to force your beliefs on me. Why should I accept your world view? Don’t answer because then you would be telling me what to believe, and I know you’re against that.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]Carstonio
You are basically saying that everybody cannot be right and you should stick to your own beliefs. I say great but why are you trying to force your beliefs on me. Why should I accept your world view? Don’t answer because then you would be telling me what to believe, and I know you’re against that.

I’ve addressed your question in other posts, although not as directly.

The difference is that your religious world view includes me and my religious beliefs do not include you. By that, I mean that your Christian beliefs define me in a negative way. According to your beliefs, I must obey your God or face eternal suffering in hell. Additionally, I bear the guilt of Adam and Eve for an action that I did not commit, and I am doomed to be mired in sin and evil without God. What right do you have to define me that way?

My own attitude about spirituality includes no one but myself. By that, I mean that I have responsibility over my own actions and beliefs, and not yours or anyone else’s. I have no say over your purpose for life or place in the universe, and I wouldn’t want that type of control, either. In fact, other than the Demilitarized Zone of naturalism, I’m not sure I even have a religious world view.

I acknowledge that it sounds like I’m telling you what to believe about me. My point is that I have the right to refuse to be defined by your world view.

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Posted: 24 May 2007 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]Waltercat
You attempt to convict me through equivocation. My knowledge comes through the pointers and revelation. This is how I know about faith. I do not see the inconsistency that you imply. I do fall back on faith but faith is not blind faith faith is my belief in God.

I have been asking you to explain how we can know about the supernatural.  And you haven’t really answered that question.  You have talked about pointers.  But you haven’t explained how we can know that the pointers really DO point to the supernatural.  Nor have you explained how we can know anything about the nature of the supernatural.

Knowledge is, at a minimum, justified true belief.  Faith is different since, when you have faith in something you don’t have to have epistemic justification for the belief.  I agree that you can have faith in something that you can also know to be true.  But you can also have faith in things that you cannot know to be true. 

I am interested in the the KNOWLEDGE part.  I want to know how we can come to KNOW that there really is a supernatural realm.  If you believe that we can have justified true belief about the supernatural, show me the justification.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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