Re: ugabooga god of the universe(was: Re: Chapp article)

mortongr@flash.net
Sun, 14 Nov 1999 16:11:07 +0000

Hi Karl,

At 02:19 PM 11/13/1999 EST, Cmekve@aol.com wrote:
>Hi Glenn.
>
>In a message dated 11/11/99 9:40:56 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
>mortongr@flash.net writes:
>
><<
> When one rejects the defending of facts, one must decide what the
> alternative is--the defending of non-facts? It is easy to reject something
> like historicity but it is very difficult to replace it with anything
> meaningful.>>
>
>But not all facts are of equal value (to say nothing of how one determines
>what constitutes a fact in all that "bloomin', buzzin' confusion" out
there).
> We may (and do) agree that there are facts, but obviously weigh them in
>different ways.
>

Agreed, but if one rejects empiricism as that Clapp article suggested, then
one must decide what he is implicitly accepting! One can't reject any one
of a series of options without raising the possibility that one of the
other options is the correct one. Assume our options for supporting the
Scripture are 1. empirical data, 2. seances, 3. warm fuzzy internal
feelings, 4. goosebumps when I read it. If I reject the empirical data
option, I have implicitely accepted that one of the other options--the
wierd ones-- are the way to support the Scripture.

What I see too often is a rejection of empirical data as a basis for
supporting the Bible and that raises the question of what it is we are
using to support it.

>
> <<And never have I asserted that the Bible is only history.>> [snip]
>
>Excellent. Now that you have conceded to my point of view, all we have left
>are a few squabbles over how we identify the types of literature in the
>Bible! :-)

Obviously we have a big squabble on that. That is what George and I have
gone round and round about for several years. :-) But IMO if one takes what
appears to be a historically sounding passage and then turns it into
metaphor, one must ask why we can't do that for the resurrection. Make the
resurrection non-historical but metaphorically true.

And this gets to the heart of my complaint with the way christians, both
liberal and conservative handle empirical data. Today we get our belief in
the resurrection NOT from empirical data (as the first Christians were able
to do) but from the reliable reports of the apostles. Now, if 1st century
christians were like the YECs and incapable of knowing good scientific
observation, the first century people could have made up the resurrection
like the YECs today make up the data for the global flood. If the 1st
century christians were like those in the liberal camp, then we can believe
the resurrection, no matter how historically wrong it is because it is a
great tale of God's redemption--nevermind that it is as false as grandpa's
teeth. In neither case could I trust the reports out of the first century.
I am absolutely dependent upon the belief that the 1st century people were
better at discerning historically true events than modern christians seem
to be.

>
> >
> >Science itself is dependent on analogy, metaphor, and myth in its growth
>and
> >operation. David Livingstone (along with many others) makes this point
> >succinctly in a paper from the 1980's published (I think) in the Annals of
> >the Association of American Geographers. >>

I would say that science is MORE dependent upon the truth of a logical
syllogism rather than metaphor.

><< I would not and never do disagree with scientific observation and
theory.>>

>And theory? So you would have stuck with the aether in 1905 rather than
>follow Einstein?? Or Ptolemy rather than Copernicus?

I will amend my statment. I never disagree with theories for which the data
supports.

>
> <<But do you tell the editors of your journals what a wonderful myth you
have
> in your scientific paper? Of course not--it would be a ridiculous thing to
> do.>>
>
>George answered this better than I can. But I would point out that in the
>1930's Bailey Willis (in a respected journal) called continental drift "ein
>Marchen" [umlaut over the a] i.e. a German fairy tale or myth. Guess he was
>right! ;-)

The one thing that was absolutely true during the period of time that Drift
was ridiculed by geoscientists--the observational data in its favor never
went away and could not be incorporated into the views of that day. It
wasn't that a great metaphor finally allowed the data to be incorporated
into the geosynclinal/landbridge views of that day.

>
>
>You have stated in other posts that you don't think that the lack of any
>consensus among concordists counts against the position. [My apologies if
>I'm misrepresenting you, but I think you were pretty clear on this]. That
is
>because you are the first one to be right.

I never said that I was the first one to be right. One thing about an
empirical approach is that, like science, the knowledge base is allowed to
grow and thus people who live in a later time are more capable of seeing
clearly than those in the past. We allow this in science but not religion?
To follow your tack we would have to all be YECs because clearly that is
the message which was understood in the past. Are you dusting off your
YEC beliefs?

And I don't see a lot of consensus among non-concordists either--Dick
Fischer's views are not widely accepted, Paul Seeley has a different view
from Dick's etc. There are those who think the flood was merely mythical
others think the flood was in the Black Sea. So what is the point of
counting positions? There is little consensus anywhere unless there is
empirical data and the committment to use it as the arbitor. That is what
makes science work--a committment for empirical data to be the arbitor. And
in religion, we christians run from empirical data like chickens run from
foxes. Liberals and conservatives run in different directions and in
different ways. If we christians act as if our individual internal
interpretations of Scripture are the real arbitors of Biblical
interpretation by which all others are to be judged, then each individual
becomes the standard and there is no way to know whose standard is true. If
this is the case, all is hopelessly lost.

Keep in mind what this means --
>over the last several thousand years since the Bible was
>written/compiled/redacted, several billion readers have been unable to
>properly interpret Scripture. You've criticized as inept (or some such
>word), a God who could not make his "facts" clear to readers and had to
>resort to "fables". But if you are correct, then your God is just as inept
>as mine. He couldn't get the message across properly in BG (Before Glenn)
>days even with "facts". As I see it, the only thing more devastating to
your
>view of God than having your theory of Scripture be wrong is if you're right!

THat may be a valid criticism. If so, then why would anyone want to worship
an inept god? And why would anyone want to believe in a Bible that can be
interpreted in so many fashions as to make its meaning entirely unclear?

>
>But I'm sure you'll disagree!!

Not on everything.
glenn

Foundation, Fall and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology
http://www.flash.net/~mortongr/dmd.htm

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