Letter to a Christian Nation: Counter Point by RC Metcalf

 
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
27 April 2007 13:08
 

[quote author=“Joad”]Waltercat,

I probably made the mistake of using overlapping arguments.

The God of the Bible does not exist because the source is a work of fiction, AND the description provided by that source is far too inconsistent and contradictory for that God to exist.

Either point is sufficient.


Burt,

I could properly have said: No such diety as described in the bible can exist DUE to the contradictory descriptions in the Bible. We do not need any additional scientific knowledge.

I agree, that to a certain extent, that errors in descriptions are not a disproof. However, a direct contradiction is a disproof. IE: A Round Square does not exist.

Additionally, the Bible is a special case, since it is the SOLE source of information about Jehovah.
It claims to provide a description of God provided by God. It leaves no room for error.

Canzen,

Thanks for your supporting arguments.

No, I still disagree.  Works of fiction can describe existing entities (I have a science fiction book on the table here that describes Cyrus the Great, who we know existed).  Further, the description can indicate an entity even if it gives it characteristics that are contradictory and unbelievable.  All that you can say, and perhaps I am misunderstanding and this is what you are trying to say, is that because of the way that God is described in the bible, the only rational conclusion is that this being does not exist as described.  Even a direct contradiction in the description is not a disproof of the existence of the entity described.  If I look at a circle and say it is square the circle still exists, I just need to have my head examined (some people might say I need that anyway). 

Further, the bible claims to be divinely inspired, but that too is a part of the description.

 
 
Avatar
 
 
Joad
Total Posts:  775
Joined  04-12-2006
 
 
 
28 April 2007 03:45
 

Burt and Waltercat,

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your criticisms. I feel that it is important that we examine our arguments and make them as irrefutable a possible.

I’m not really trying to say anything complicated. I think you may be reading too much into my comment.

A fictional character is a fictional character, by definition. Any similarity to an actual person is coincidental.

As an aside: Rush Limbaugh spent 8 years describing a US President named Bill Clinton. The person that Limbaugh described was fictitious.

A more basic question is: Why should we consider the Bible to be non-fiction? What makes it any different than ‘The Illiad” or the legend of King Arthur?

 
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
28 April 2007 17:52
 

[quote author=“Joad”]Burt and Waltercat,
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your criticisms. I feel that it is important that we examine our arguments and make them as irrefutable a possible.

Exactly, a fallacious argument just helps the other side. 

[quote author=“Joad”]
A fictional character is a fictional character, by definition. Any similarity to an actual person is coincidental.

As an aside: Rush Limbaugh spent 8 years describing a US President named Bill Clinton. The person that Limbaugh described was fictitious.

A more basic question is: Why should we consider the Bible to be non-fiction? What makes it any different than ‘The Illiad” or the legend of King Arthur?

You’re right that a fictional character is a fictional character, but in cases like the bible (and, one could argue, the Illiad), the author or authors did not believe that they were creating a fiction.  They were trying to describe actions of, and relating to a deity that they believed existed.  You can say that they produced a work of fiction, but that is your present day judgment.  You are, as it were, assuming the consequence.  That means to me that the process of analysis of the bible is far more complex than just passing it off as a work of fiction produced by bronze age priests.  Rather, I think that three things have to be kept in mind, (1) the nature of human cognition and its interpretation of events in the world (the tendency to ascribe events to willful agencies); (2) the culture of the times; and (3) that the authors of the bible were involved in a dual project, first trying to describe aspects of a supersensible deity and had limited linguistic and conceptual resources, and second that they were also trying to produce a document that encapsulated and preserved the cultural order. 
Basically, a culture has to provide three sorts of information for its members—it has to provide answers three basic questions: Who am I (in other words, who am I as an individual self embedded in a non-self world); Who am I With (in other words, what is the nature of the society in which I find myself and what are the proper forms of social relations); and, What’s Going On (Or, What Must I Do, What is My Duty?).  In monotheistic religions the answers to these questions are given by specifying the human relationship to the deity and the moral code imposed by the deity.  In a secular society the culture has to provide this information in other ways (that is one of the issues that MD Beach is concerned with).  None of this, however, demonstrates conclusively that the deity involved does not exist, only that as I’ve said, it is misdescribed, or described within a limited cultural context.

 
 
Avatar
 
 
Mia
Total Posts:  2168
Joined  15-11-2005
 
 
 
28 April 2007 20:40
 
[quote author=“burt”]None of this, however, demonstrates conclusively that the deity involved does not exist, only that as I’ve said, it is misdescribed, or described within a limited cultural context.

To your list, we can certainly add “incredibly disinterested”, since no deity has bothered itself with easing mass pain, suffering and confusiuon over the question of Its existence.


So, I take it the author of this thread bailed? Just another drive-by? By my count, he lasted all of two days, and that was a week ago. But I suppose being a bigtime self-publisher must be incredibly demanding wink.

 
 
 
Avatar
 
 
waltercat
Total Posts:  1568
Joined  02-03-2006
 
 
 
28 April 2007 20:49
 
[quote author=“Mia”]So, I take it the author of this thread bailed? Just another drive-by? By my count, he lasted all of two days, and that was a week ago. But I suppose being a bigtime self-publisher must be incredibly demanding wink.

I had almost forgotten what this thread was about.  And that Mr. Metcalf has abandoned his defense of the Bible’s endorsement of slavery, just as MPL has done.  Very telling, don’t you think?

This just confirms my belief that the best arguments against Christianity are moral rather than scientific.

 
 
 
Avatar
 
 
Mia
Total Posts:  2168
Joined  15-11-2005
 
 
 
28 April 2007 21:15
 

waltercat. . . but at least with Michael there was some sport. You could toss a morsel of intellectual honesty into the ring, and then watch him frantically tapdance away from it for five minutes or so, before he puttered out and left the stage in a pompous huff (again), glaring back over his shoulder at the shiny, unalterable, everlasting little Fact, which he cannot wish away: His God endorses slavery, and thus so does he.

 
 
 
Avatar
 
 
MDBeach
Total Posts:  734
Joined  10-03-2007
 
 
 
29 April 2007 02:05
 

I agree with Mia.  MPL at least tried to play, even though he couldn’t let down his guard long enough to really debate the issues. 

Watching MPL respond was kind of like watching a seagull eat an Alka Seltzer.

 
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
29 April 2007 04:38
 

[quote author=“MDBeach”]
Watching MPL respond was kind of like watching a seagull eat an Alka Seltzer.

 

:?:  Would you describe this event :?:

 
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
29 April 2007 04:42
 

[quote author=“waltercat”]
This just confirms my belief that the best arguments against Christianity are moral rather than scientific.

I agree, scientific arguments can’t ever really do it (other than against the creationist fringe, and they don’t accept the science anyway).  Moral arguments, on the other hand, against people who try to claim the moral high ground, hit where it hurts.

 
 
Avatar
 
 
MDBeach
Total Posts:  734
Joined  10-03-2007
 
 
 
29 April 2007 05:03
 

[quote author=“burt”][quote author=“MDBeach”]
Watching MPL respond was kind of like watching a seagull eat an Alka Seltzer.

 

:?:  Would you describe this event :?:

When a seagull is fed by ocean visitors, they become very excited.  They will fight for a crumb.  When you feed one an alka seltzer, they think they have found gold.  They eat it down with blind passion, then after it settles in, it actually explodes them from the inside.  Their divine inspiration becomes the their own passage into the abyss.  (Or at least that’s what I have been told. I can’t confirm that it actually makes them pop like a baloon, as the myth says. :wink: )

 
 
Avatar
 
 
burt
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  17-12-2006
 
 
 
29 April 2007 12:01
 

[quote author=“MDBeach”][quote author=“burt”][quote author=“MDBeach”]
Watching MPL respond was kind of like watching a seagull eat an Alka Seltzer.

 

:?:  Would you describe this event :?:

When a seagull is fed by ocean visitors, they become very excited.  They will fight for a crumb.  When you feed one an alka seltzer, they think they have found gold.  They eat it down with blind passion, then after it settles in, it actually explodes them from the inside.  Their divine inspiration becomes the their own passage into the abyss.  (Or at least that’s what I have been told. I can’t confirm that it actually makes them pop like a baloon, as the myth says. :wink: )

Gaaah!

I once had a great deal of fun feeding grapes to ravens.  They would hop after them (very clumsy birds on the ground) and save them in their beak (I guess for later eating).  It was something to see a raven with a string of grapes in its beak trying to fit just one more in.