Re: Believe it even if it isn't true theology

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Date: Sat Feb 18 2006 - 22:51:49 EST

Since we only have 4 posts per day, this is for, Michael, Mervin Bitikofer, Rich Faussette, Bill Hamilton

For Michael:
I am a dog when it comes to logic.  After all I had formal graduate training in logic.  So please answer the question illustrated by the following examples. On that other list you were the dog who tucked his tail between his legs and ran away from these questions:

"A primitive tribesman who was taught that the innerds of a great green slug formed the earth. He goes to school and learns the scientific view. In order to maintain his belief in the great green slug, he decides that the story must be esconced in a different literary genre. Thus he concludes that his religion is TRUE. Please explain in detail why it is OK for you to say Genesis is a different literary genre and therefore your religion is true (regardless of the scientific mistakes you think it makes) and not ok for the primitive tribesman and great green slug believer to hold that his view is also equally a different genre and his religion is true (regardless of the fact that there was really no Great Green Slug). Both are doing the very same thing. Why is your doing it so much better than when the Great Green Slug believer does it? "

I would add, to this, why is it ok for us to say our True religion was accommodated to the beliefs of the ancient Hebrew tribesmen but it isn't ok for God to accommodate his message to that of the Great Green slug believer.

You told that the question is nonsense and the  refused to answer the question. I don't think the question is nonsense, so I changed the question to  a real life example:

"A mormon goes to school and learns the scientific truths about New World Archaeology. He finds conflict between his beliefs and the science. He decides that the story outlined in the Book of Mormon is an allegory/accommodation and that is how he resolves his conflict. Why is it ok for you to do that and not ok for the mormon?"

you didn't answer.

Or put in terms of the Dalai Lama There was this recent news account of a speech given by the Dalai Lama:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

As a child in Tibet, I was keenly curious about how things worked. When I got a toy I would play with it a bit, then take it apart to see how it was put together. As I became older, I applied the same scrutiny to a movie projector and an antique automobile.

At one point I became particularly intrigued by an old telescope, with which I would study the heavens. One night while looking at the moon I realized that there were shadows on its surface. I corralled my two main tutors to show them, because this was contrary to the ancient version of cosmology I had been taught, which held that the moon was a heavenly body that emitted its own light.

But through my telescope the moon was clearly just a barren rock, pocked with craters. If the author of that fourth-century treatise were writing today, I'm sure he would write the chapter on cosmology differently.

If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change. In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality. By learning from science about aspects of reality where its understanding may be more advanced, I believe that Buddhism enriches its own worldview.

Say "om," somebody!"
accessed 1-21-06

To which I then said and still say:

"Now, this isn't a great green slug, nor it is Mormonism, but the Dalai Lama realized that his books, which said the moon generated its own light was wrong. Now, he didn't rewrite the text, he believes buddhism is true even though what it taught about nature is wrong. I believe that you too follow such a path. I believe that you believe God accommodated the message to the Hebrews and thus it still teaches truth in theology.

What is the difference between your position and that of the Dalai Lama?

This time I will stick around to see if you have the intellectual honesty to actually answer the question rather than go silent like a YEC does when faced with a difficult question or proclaim again that the above questions are nonsense, which they clearly aren't. They are perfectly good questions which my atheist friends ask all the time.

And please realize that one can not uphold scripture by making it unreal any more than the YECs can uphold scripture by making all science wrong.


For Mervin Bitikofer who wrote :

>You seem to be implying that YEC really know deep down that
>they are wrong.  Perhaps some (or even many) do doubt
>themselves, and they would be  dishonest.  But I think you
>underestimate the power of conviction to draw us (with utmost
>sincerity) even to false conclusions.  It is only the outsider to
>those convictions that can regard them as false or absurd. 

From this I suspect strongly that you have no idea of my background. And for the record, when I was a publishing YEC I knew in my heart of hearts that we had big problems but would never admit them. That is why I won't gloss over problems anymore. One can seriously hurt himself if he does that.


For Rich who wrote:

>As an avid anthropologist, you should know better. You left out
>the deeds I listed that identify Jesus as the Son of God primary
>among them dying rather than betray the law which was written
>on his heart, like a sheep with no hesitation, no wrestling with
>God, just obedience. Did Jesus say he was concerned about
>whether or not genesis was literal or allegorical? No, he had faith. >He did his father's will. Do you demand more than he deserved?  
I am more concerned with the logical epistemology of Christianity. If we can't believe that God can lift ax heads, allow talking snakes, what right to we have to believe that walking on water and other miracles (which miracles, as an avid amateur anthropologist, I know have been said of other great religious leaders) including the resurrection? If one denigrates one of the acts of God, one really undermines them all from an epistemological point of view. It simply can't be helped.  The questions to Michael above, which he has refused to answer, proclaiming them as nonsense (when they are anything but nonsense) illlustrate the point. If we can take Uncle Hub's approach and believe that which is false, of what worth is the religion. We christians think most animists beleive that which is false. That is why we send missionaries to them. But if what we believe is equally false, why bother to send missionaries? Let's let everyone be comfortable in their personal falsehoods, INCLUDING THE YECS.  So far no one has answered the question, why must we make YECs get rid of their falsehood when we are unwilling to get rid of our falsehood? Care to take a stab at that question?
What I don't understand, Rich is why people can't simply say, yeah, it is illogical but I am going to do it anyway or Yeah, we shouldn't put any faith in a mythological bunch of hokum as Genesis and then dump the entire OT.
[quote]Let me also correct you. The Darwinian understanding of the bible IS the conservative understanding, not the liberal apologetic. If you could get past genesis and exodus you would see the necessary conservatism of Leviticus, but you can't get past the allegorical nature of genesis.[/quote]
If religion is merely evolved to do as a recent New Scientist article said--to make our endorphin levels go up and make us healthier, then we should accept religion as just that--nothing more than a means to good health and friendship. (Robin Dunbar, We Believe," New Scientist, Jan 28, 2006, p. 30-31)  I frankly really DO fear the Darwinian view of religion because it removes it of any and all importance and reality.  Are you saying that all religion is is an evolved cultural phenomenon?
[quote]Let me say this loudly. Every Jewish scholar of significance, says genesis is allegorical and was never meant to be taken literally. [/quote]
Let me equally loudly state that that was not the historical Jewish view.
[quote]You are also presenting a hypothetical when you say IF Jesus was proven to be a man. That will never happen. There is no proof of disproof of that. Miracles are suspensions of the natural law and you cannot reproduce them at will in the lab. If you could, they would no longer be miracles.[/quote]
Actually I wasn't the one who presented the hypothetical. That was you in the post I was quoting.  It was your hypothetical which started this thread so let's not change history even if we don't want to have any of it. :-)
[quote]The whole message of Jesus is rejected by your demands for proof. Yes, I know it is a paradox. That's why Jesus spoke in parables and that's the hurdle you must jump.[/quote]
Which message? And why exactly is his message to be more valuable than that of Gautama or Zoroaster?
In a reply to David you said: "In True Religion, Adam falls. His fall is the development of self consciousness"
How do you know that is the True Religion? Because you say so?  That simply isn't good enough for me. What IS your evidence that this is the True Religion with capital letters? 
Don't you see, that is what this discussion is really about?
For Bill

>Without the testimony of the Holy Spirit, all the _facts_ in the
>world are useless. Archaeologists have found the Bible to be an
>excellent guide to the ancient Middle East.

Agree with the first sentence, but there are Jewish archaeologists who would deny your last sentence here.

Received on Sat Feb 18 22:53:07 2006

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