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

From: jack syme <>
Date: Sun Feb 19 2006 - 19:08:07 EST

I did not ask this Glenn, you did. I was quoting you:

Jack Syme wrote:

>Why is your belief special? Adherents to other religions also believe they have a special form of belief. Please explain why
>your belief is special and theirs isn't. Please explain this and not something I didn't ask.
  ----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2006 5:10 PM
  Subject: Re: Believe it even if it isn't true theology

  THis is for Jack Syme and David Opderbeck, Rich, George Murphy.

  Jack Syme wrote:

>Why is your belief special? Adherents to other religions also believe they have a special form of belief. Please explain why
>your belief is special and theirs isn't. Please explain this and not something I didn't ask.

  The asking of this question shows you don't even understand the issue. My belief is no more special than anyone else's. That is why I look for something objectively tangible to support the religious belief. What is so difficult about the concept that just because we beleive something to be true, doesn't make it true???? That is a 1st grade level piece of knowledge, yet here we have loads of people who basically are saying that belief in the Bible without any tangible/objective basis, makes it true, i.e. that it teaches TRUE THEOLOGY. What is the basis for that statement that it teaches true theology--it seems on this list to boil down to the belief that it does teach true theology and nothing more.

  And because my beleif, and your belief and the muslims' belief, and the sluggists beliefs are NOT special, we need something more than just our belief to shore up the epistemological basis.

>Our belief is special only because of the real historical existence of Christ, his ministry, the miracles he performed, his crucifixion,
>and resurrection. If these things are not true, then we are to be pitied. That is how our scriptures are different than the green slug,
>zoraster, Mormanism, etc.

  As my atheist friends (who dont pity us) say, provide any objective evidence for those miracles and the resurrection, please. We can beleive it, and we can beleive all the miracles (but for some strange reason belief in miracles ceases when it comes to talking snakes), but so what--that is merely basing our religion upon our personal belief. If that is what we are doing we should admit it openly rather than talk nonsense about how we know that an uttlerly false account of the creation teaches true theology.

  DAvid Opderbeck wrote:

>Glenn, I used to be a trial lawyer, and this is the kind of unfair question trial lawyers ask. It's not a "yes or no" question. >Period. You haven't addressed the point I made the first time you brought up the "green slug / Mormonism" hypo: in the >context of the faith tradition in question, is there a historical theology and a historical tradition of interpretation that
>would allow the interpretation that accomodates modern understandings of science? If so, I would say "yes," a Green
>Sluggist or Mormon could hold such views and be consistent with his / her faith tradition.

  Sorry David, I don't agree that it is an unfair question. Either a slugist can use the technique or he can't. The only reason you could possibly say it is more complex is if you decide a priori that one position is the preferred position. I would say the tradition of interpretation is utterly irrelevant because even within Christianity, there was a first case of a person using the 'interpretation that accomodates modern understandings of science'. Prior to that first case there was no tradition. That first person went against tradition and thus, your need for a tradition is irrelevant.

  But, thanks for answering the question (something some have spent months avoiding). If he is allowed to do it, does that mean the theology his religion teaches is true? How do you tell his true theology from our true theology? How does one in your view, distinguish true from false theology without a self-referential or begging the question approach?

>Whether the Green Sluggist or Mormon or Christian or Atheist faith tradition is "true" is a different question. First you
>need to ask whether a particular understanding of the faith tradition is coherent and consistent with the tradition. Only
>then can you begin comparing traditions with each other and with evidence from history, philosophy and science. For
>someone who seems to want to escape fundamentalism, you still think like a fundamentalist: everything is always either >a simple binary "yes" or "no," "on" or "off." Reality doesn't work like that.

  No, I don't think like a fundamentalist, I think more like an atheist on these issues. I am merely asking you all the questions my atheist friends ask me. And I for one can't find anything wrong with the questions logically or scientifically. Why is logic excluded in religion?

  Rich Faussette wrote:

>No, not because I say so. You don't know the psychology and couldn't see the significance of all the information in the
>story. The story describes instinctive behavior precisely the way psychologists do. The story describes learned
>behavior precisely the way psychologists do. The story describes a transition from instinctive to learned behavior,
>a transition only achieved by man. So do evolutionists describe a transition only achieved by man, and each transition,
>the evolutionary one and the Biblical one includes the development of the "self," but most amazingly, in the nag hamadi
>texts, Jesus specifically says, if you can walk around naked without being ashamed, you won't have any fear either, a
>statement that is ontologically, theologically and evolutionarily true for a creature without "self consciousness" and
>requires Jesus to understand Adam and Eve the way I am explaining it because Jesus actually describes not the fall, but
>the redemption, meaning he is explicating my reading of the allegory in reverse an impossible feat to do if he didn't
>uderstand it the way I am explaining it

>Creatures without self consciousness, have little to no ontological anxiety (fear). Since they lack a well developed sense
>of self, they are not ashamed to walk around naked.

  I kind of like your response because it depends upon EVIDENCE, something no one else seems to offer. I want to think about your response.

  George Murphy wrote:

>I was resisting the temptation to get into this topic again with Glenn until I saw this from him. I am one who has given the example of
>the Good Samaritan in discussions with him & he always avoids the issue - although by saying that people "try this one" he makes it >sound like some kind of trick that he's seen through. The point is that the story doesn't need to be historical narrative in order that
>express the truth that Jesus uses it for. Sure, this could be an account of something that really happened but but there's not a shred
>of evidence that it was.

  George, you are not the only one who has used the Samaritan, many have. And maybe that story doesn't NEED to be historical, but, the statement 'in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth' DOES NEED to be historical. If it isn't then it is the claim of a group of neolithic delusionals. How do we know if Jehovah was the one who created the world in light of the fact that thousands of other gods claim the same thing? The only way I know is if the account has something real about it. Once again I don't know what is so difficult about that concept. It isn't like this is high school math or anything.

  Dick Fischer wrote:

>No matter how nicely words are couched in tones of moderation, many believe that Genesis is simply untrue, but rally around the
>New Testament as it apparently is an exception. Okay, that may work for some, for some it doesn't.

  As we say in China, ni shou dui. You speak correctly. And that rallying around the New Testament leaves a gaping epistemological hole.
Received on Sun Feb 19 19:09:06 2006

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