RE: Seely's Views 2

From: Glenn Morton <>
Date: Sun Sep 05 2004 - 08:28:38 EDT

Hi Don,

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Don Winterstein []
> Sent: Sunday, September 05, 2004 3:19 AM

> I have to side with George on your S/N arguments, partly
> because I don't see the noise in the system. You're giving
> me the impression that you think God in his dealings with man
> is primarily some kind of information generator, and his goal
> is to transmit information.

Well, surely God's goal isn't to transmit MIS-information, is it? I am
actually gobsmacked by this claim. If God isn't trying to communicate
information, both in the colloquial sense of the word as well as in the
Shannon sense of the word, what in the heck do we believe? According to
most traditional understandings of the Christian faith, God became man
to both pay for our sin and to communicate the path of salvation. His
dealings with the ancient Jews was exactly the same.

So, yes, I do think that God is interested in transmitting information
to us. If he is not, what is the Bible about?

 In contrast, I think God is a
> lover, and his primary goal is to successfully initiate and
> complete intimate relations with his creation, most
> especially humans.

Sorry, but to do that, he must communicate. Try loving your wife
without that all important communication thing!

  For a lover, transmitting information is
> certainly important, but it's way secondary to several other
> procedures.

But this is logically inconsistent with the above. You said with some
disbelief that I might think God was interested in transmitting
information. Now you acknowledge that it is a necessity. If God
transmitts information, then God is a source function and the laws of
communication theory apply.

>> The fact that
>> so many ancients, as well as moderns, think it was meant to
>> be taken as truth shows that the communication channel is
>> extremely noisy.
> Of course lots of people think it was meant to be taken as
> truth; it was truth, for the people of the time: They
> attached themselves to God, which is what God wanted. But
> there's no noise involved that I can see.

This concept that I see here that truth is truth for a while then
becomes untruth for a later generation, is not a very good definition of
truth. It is a post-modern view of truth. And it is exactly why I get
nervous (see my comment in the next quote. Maybe Judaism was Truth for
the BC era; Christianity the Truth for the early A. D. era; Islam the
Truth for 600 A.D. to 1500 A.D. I am not sure what replaces it, but I
am sure there is a new Truth out there.

>> When we start talking about God giving revelatory information
>> which isn't "intended to provide information valid for all
>> time" I get kind of nervous.
> Do you think Ezekiel's prophecies of chapters 28 & 29 were
> "intended to provide information valid for all time" ? The
> OT is full of messages such as this that were intended for
> specific individuals or groups at specific times. We get
> enlightened by such messages only if we get familiar with the
> history and the circumstances, so they're "valid" for us only
> if we put in the necessary effort. Possibly Gen. 1-11 is
> valid also only in that sense, in its context.

In the context of what I was responding to, I stand by my statement.

>> Now, why would we expect that this game should suddenly stop
>> at Jesus and that Jesus is the revelation for all time?
>> Perchance we should have gone with Mohammed during Islam's
>> ascendancy?
> I for one am confident that revelation did not stop with
> Jesus. Jesus was God in the flesh, but he came at a
> particular point in history and his revelation was limited by
> being confined as it was to that narrow slice of time. The
> world has changed drastically since then, so there is further
> need for revelation to teach how God fits us in our new
> world. If you think Mohammed is the one, then check him out.

I didn't say revelation stopped. But the sudden claim that there is no
further need for revelation to teach us how God fits into our world, is
frankly ad hoc. Just something picked out of the air to stop the game
where you want to stop it.

> I did, and I discarded him--although I still think that he
> may have been a sop God threw to the Arabs, in view of the
> fact that Arabs were unlikely
> ever to bring themselves to worship a Jew.

So, Islam is one of these Divine accomodations? Oh boy! If that is
what you want to believe, fine. I wouldn't. Do I get to blame terrorism
or that Russian School situation ultimately on God's sop to the Arabs?

And frankly, I find this claim of yours that the Arabs would not bring
themselves to worship a Jew a wee bit on the racist side. There are
about 5 million coptic christians in Egypt, who have long suffered under
Islam (thanks to God's accomodation to other Arabs, of course), My wife
is Arabic (Lebanese). She and her family worship that Jew. There are
lots of Christians in Lebanon, if you haven't heard. So, God didn't
need to throw that sop and cause all these problems.

>> God is still fixing all the accommodationalist problems he
>> created when he started this accommodationalist game he plays
>> with humanity. The problem I have with this longstanding game
>> is that I can't figure out
>> what is and isn't accommodation.
> Yes, a lover accommodates himself to his beloved. The
> beloved doesn't need to figure out just how her lover has
> accommodated himself to her as long as she continues to have
> him as her lover. And if she loses him, the question is
> moot. Keep things in perspective: It's not the information
> that's important but the relationship. The info is important
> only to the degree that it serves the relationship.

I have heard in my life of lots of cads who will say anything whatsoever
to the gal to get in bed with her. Sounds like God is one of those
sorts of fellows.

>> 1. Why does accommodation only apply to JudeoChristianity?
> Who says?

Others seem to indicate that One doesn't have to consider that the other
religions might be true and Christianity false

>> 2. Why do we know that accommodational revelations have stopped?
> They haven't.

Thanks for your honesty, but if God is accommodating and thus starting
things like Islamic terrorism, I have a problem with that.

>> 3. How do I tell what is and isn't accommodation other than
>> my personal feelings of what is and isn't?
> Keep things in perspective: It's not the information that's
> important but the relationship. If what God has given
> someone else is not of value to you, let it go; concentrate
> instead on what God has given that is of value to you.

Keep things in perspective on your side. If the gal is loving a
bigamist, there is a problem. That information is very important. Once
again, I see you existentializing Christianity. It becomes a warm fuzzy
feeling, in which information about the path of salvation (which might
be different for that other group who was also accommodated) is not
important at all. A warm fuzzy feeling might be that proverbial piece
of undigested cheese which bothered Scrooge.

I do thank you for the honesty in what I view as saying that personal
feelings are all that is important.

>> 4. Where in the Scripture (indeed any scripture from any
>> religion) does it say God accommodates? (Paul's examples in
>> his book are not satisfactory for me--the case of divorce)
> Well, Paul obviously doesn't mean exactly the same thing with
> the word as I do; but to me it's obvious that God
> accommodates himself to people, as a lover accommodates
> himself to his beloved. The fact that revelation has changed
> dramatically down through the centuries should be evidence
> enough. (Or do you think God sorely misses those "sweet
> savours" from the animal sacrifices? : - ) )

Good, then maybe if I go become Islamic and accept that accommodated
path to salvation, the terrorists won't blow me up. (they might
mistreat me a bit and make me give up television). Remember, those guys
are doing what they are doing BECAUSE of their religious beliefs which
you say was an accommodation. I really can't believe you are saying
this but ok.

> 5. What is truth and is it possible to attain it under this
> shifting sand epistemology?
> Truth is a salutary relationship with God, and yes, it is
> possible to have it. Truth is not a pile of facts. Were
> talking religion here, not science.

So it isn't a fact that Jesus rose from the dead? That is not an
important fact? So, to you, is religion merely a belief in what ever
you feel like believing in?

>> My problem with the approach above is that you want to read
>> it [Ezekiel 28, 29] some way to ensure that it is true. You
>> don't seem to give consideration to the fact that it might be
>> false--totally false, unfullfilled.
> Now here you're putting words in my mouth. I've often
> questioned whether Ezekiel belonged in the canon; but some of
> his images are priceless, so I'll keep him for his images.
> Same goes for Revelation. But some of the actual prophecies
> are...flaky?

I am not trying to put words in your mouth. Concepts have deductions.
If you say that Ezekiel is an unfullfilled prophecy then one must
consider what Deuteronomy said about false prophets. There are logical
consequences to what you claim, even when we discuss theology and not

>> What I find so odd on your side of this equation is that you
>> assume that Christianity is a self-contained system which
>> doesn't have to interact with the possibliity that another
>> religion might be true.
> Now here you're putting words in my mouth (again). However,
> in my limited explorations I've yet to find another system
> that comes close to bringing me to God. We're allowed to
> test; I've tested, and they've failed. Is that because of my
> preconceptions? Possibly. Hard to tell. In any case, for me
> they've failed.

This is totally inconsistent with what you said above. You said that
Islam is a sop god threw to the Arabs. That, to me, is an accommodation
by God to the fact that (according to you) arabs would never worship a
jew--which is very false). And no you are saying that I am putting words
in your mouth when I sugest that you might believe that God has now
created another accommodational religoin which is true. You are very
confusing here.

If God accommodated TRUTH to Christianity but he accommodates falsehood
(the failed religions in your words) to other religions, how does a warm
fuzzy feeling tell you that christianity is the true accommodation and
everything else is the false accommodation??????

It just appears illogical to me.

>> And why exactly should I then automatically assume that God's
>> intention was as you describe it? Just because I might be
>> wrong doesn't automaticaly make you correct. The whole thing
>> might be farce. This is another question I would like to see
>> addressed and actually answered.
> I described one possibility--the one I actually favor, of
> course. And I never expect anyone to automatically assume
> anything. However, my (very solid, spiritually speaking)
> experience tells me the whole thing is not farce. Experience
> is the best answer you can get. Of course, one must always
> question whether one's sensory apparatus was in proper
> working order, and if so, how about one's interpretative
> apparatus? Well, I've gone out of my way to question myself
> on this over and over and in every which way and always
> concluded everything was working.

This once again is inconsistent with the idea that Islam is a sop thrown
to the Arabs by God. One can't have God going around planting false
religions and then suddenly say: "The majority religion in the culture
in which I was raised is the only true religion! I feel like it is! "
That simply appears ill thought out.
Received on Sun Sep 5 08:42:31 2004

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