What the New Atheists Don’t See by Theodore Dalrymple

 
 
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mahahaha
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13 November 2007 06:07
 
frankr - 13 November 2007 01:16 AM

I missed you Pete, but don’t you think it ironic that the wonder of mahahaha ir mirrored in the words of the psalmist. I am not turning to the ancient hebrew for their knowledge of the stars. I am pointing out that the truth of man’s unique place in the world has been contemplated for as long as men have been around.

Oh, indeed, indeed.  My point to you is simply this:  if your philosophy, religion, and/or theology cannot keep pace with what man discovers about the universe using his “God given” brain and the power of reason, then the philosophy, religion, and/or theology has become obsolete.

As you know or should know from my previous posts ad nauseam, I do NOT believe that reason is the arbiter of “Truth.”  I believe that Truth is existential - something that is experienced in the present moment - , or, as some would say in criticism of that assertion, “subjective.”  Or, as your Jesus said: “the kingdom of God is within you.”  Luke 17:21

But I, you, and anyone else would be in error to deny or gainsay the “truths” discovered by man using reason in the form of science.  If you can’t reconcile your “faith” with science, then your faith is in error.

One of my points in debunking this obsession you Christians have with the significance of the historical personage of the man called Jesus, is that in a certain space/time distance from this planet, the information of his birth, death, and supposed resurrection has not yet arrived.  Indeed, there are places which exist in time and space where it will never arrive.  I’ll defer to anyone with a better grasp of the special theory of relativity to explain this more clearly. 

Which means that parts of the existing universe will never be saved, according to your insular little Christian doctrine.  Which, of course, challenges the omnipotence of your God, rendering Him less powerful than his own creation.  Which is a contradiction of your premise.

Which means that it is erroneous.

 
 
 
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frankr
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13 November 2007 06:21
 

Christ did not save the universe. He created it. He saved man. He didn’t save the angels or the animals or the plants or the minerals.  They did not need salvation. He brought salvation to men. The fact that the news of the incarnation has not travelled at the speed of light to some distant part of the universe is inconsequential unless there is evidence of a rational species on some distant planet that lives in a fallen state. Reason may not be the arbiter of truth but I think you believe that it is a means to the truth. At leaast I hope you believe because if you do not then dialogue and discussion with anybody is pointless.

Your existential conception of the truth is very Ettienne Gilson neo thomistic. God’s essence is to exist. The old ens esse distinction. I recommend Being and Some Philosophers by Gilson. Once you read it you’ll never go back.

[ Edited: 13 November 2007 06:25 by frankr]
 
 
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nv
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13 November 2007 06:37
 
mahahaha - 13 November 2007 11:07 AM

. . .
. . . if your philosophy, religion, and/or theology cannot keep pace with what man discovers about the universe . . . .

M, I would hope that you wouldn’t have allowed yourself to fall into habitual male-dominated word choice. The above usage could have easily been neutralized by going plural or at least using “humanity.” I’d say the same to Frank, but I doubt if he’d take the advice to heart.

 
 
 
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SkepticX
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13 November 2007 06:45
 
frankr - 13 November 2007 11:21 AM

Christ did not save the universe. He created it. He saved man. He didn’t save the angels or the animals or the plants or the minerals.  They did not need salvation. He brought salvation to men.


And amazingly many otherwise perfectly mentally competent believers can’t work out how obviously absurd—vapid—that idea is (that an omnipotent creator had to then “save” his creation as if it didn’t work out right initially, besides the fact that this creation had to be “saved” from the very parameters this incompetent alleged creator created*). This is a frequent “tell” regarding the mental compromise that is faith (“compromise” in the sense of function, or structural integrity). In fact, here’s a post I just wrote a few minutes ago about another (even more obvious) manifestation this phenomenon.

Byron


*[quote author=“Albert Einstein (The World As I See It)”]I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.

 
 
 
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mahahaha
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13 November 2007 06:49
 
frankr - 13 November 2007 11:21 AM

Reason may not be the arbiter of truth but I think you believe that it is a means to the truth.

False.  Reason is NOT the means to Truth.  But this does not mean that humans can or should eschew their birthright, which is reason, in interpreting and explaining the human condition. 

Fantasy, superstition, dogma, magic, legend, etc. are easily rejected as being false conceptions.  Science and reason, on the other hand, are the arbiters of the truths (small “t”) explaining how the universe works.

But science and reason do not and cannot explain what IS or where it came from.  Which is the limit of reason.

Reason has limits, but it does NOT follow that therefore unreasonable fantastic b.s. becomes true.

 
 
 
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frankr
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13 November 2007 12:04
 

SkepticX
Youre arguing with straw men. Christian theology does not hold that religious men are the only ones capable of good, instead it argues that all man are born with the potential to reason and that the natural law or moral law is accessible to reasonable men. Moral truth is not religion dependant. This is why the Christian in the public square can argue for pro life pro marriage causes without worrying (hypothetically) about the establishment clause. Abortion and marriage are not religious issues but moral ones.

 
 
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SaulDeOhio
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13 November 2007 12:38
 
frankr - 13 November 2007 05:04 PM

SkepticX
Youre arguing with straw men. Christian theology does not hold that religious men are the only ones capable of good, instead it argues that all man are born with the potential to reason and that the natural law or moral law is accessible to reasonable men. Moral truth is not religion dependant. This is why the Christian in the public square can argue for pro life pro marriage causes without worrying (hypothetically) about the establishment clause. Abortion and marriage are not religious issues but moral ones.

Then why do we keep hearing that an atheist is necessarily amoral, even evil. I have heard repeatedly that without God, anything is permitted, meaning there is no morality without God.

 
 
 
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frankr
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13 November 2007 15:01
 

I do not think Dostoevsky was trying to say that without God there would be no moral people.

 
 
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waltercat
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13 November 2007 15:56
 
frankr - 13 November 2007 08:01 PM

I do not think Dostoevsky was trying to say that without God there would be no moral people.

Who knows what Dostoevsky really thought.  And who knows what Ivan really thought, for that matter.  But Ivan certainly said that without belief in God, there is no reason for a person to be moral.  That does not necessarily mean that without God there would be no moral people.

I think that Ivan’s claim can be taken as about moral motivation rather than the existence, or lack thereof, of morality in the absence of God.  Ivan is claiming, in my interpretation, that people need the fear of God (and hope for reward) to motivate them to act morally.  Without that fear (and hope), most people would not be motivated to do what is right but would simply choose to do what is expedient.

But regardless of whether Ivan Karamazov is right about this (and I think that he is wrong, fairly obviously so), this claim has no bearing on the other issue, namely whether morality can exist in the absence of God.

 
 
 
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frankr
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13 November 2007 17:36
 

I agree. I think. My position which i have repeated ad nauseam is that the atheist has a difficulty in explaining the reasoning for his morals. He lacks metaphysical structure, but in no way does it mean that he is not nice or good.

 
 
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SaulDeOhio
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13 November 2007 18:28
 
frankr - 13 November 2007 10:36 PM

I agree. I think. My position which i have repeated ad nauseam is that the atheist has a difficulty in explaining the reasoning for his morals. He lacks metaphysical structure, but in no way does it mean that he is not nice or good.

I have no such difficulty. Morality is a code of behavior for the purpose of living on Earth. Its ultimate purpose is life. Thats the short answer. If you want the full answer, I would have to go on for pages and hours.

 
 
 
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frankr
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13 November 2007 18:59
 

Where did it come from? Why must i follow it when it leads to my death?

 
 
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waltercat
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13 November 2007 19:35
 
frankr - 13 November 2007 11:59 PM

Where did it come from? Why must i follow it when it leads to my death?

What do you mean it leads to your death?

 
 
 
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SaulDeOhio
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13 November 2007 19:37
 
frankr - 13 November 2007 11:59 PM

Where did it come from? Why must i follow it when it leads to my death?

Where did what come from? Morality?

Morality is a consequence of the fact that our actions have consequences, and of our decision to live. If being moral results in your death, something has gone tragically wrong.

 
 
 
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frankr
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13 November 2007 19:49
 

Things go tragically wrong every day. People die carrying out moral actions. Faced with the choice to live because of an immoral choice or die and do the right thing, why should I be moral. We celebrate those who do as being heroes. Why? Why is the fireman who runs into the fire, celebrated even in death?

saul I think your definition is lacking.