Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hitler: God's Plan?

I attempted to allow Dr. Frazer to walk away from our debate over Romans 13 by agreeing to disagree and it seems he wants to keep discussing this so I might as well put all the cards on the table.

I left my last post stating that it seems that his whole premise for thinking that tyrants should be submitted to and obeyed is that he believes in Pre-Destination and the logical conclusion that everything that happens is God's plan so why resist it? In other words, if a government makes it into "authority" God's plan was for that to happen so who are we to resist that plan?

If this is true then what he is saying is that Hitler was God's plan. At least that seems to be the logical conclusion to his line of reasoning. If this is true then I would submit this statement: No wonder people think Christianity is absurd. What logical sense does this make? Why would God plan for Hitler to kill millions of Jews? Plan implies purpose and intent by definition. So is Frazer saying a God of love before Creation planned for Hitler to kill millions of Jews?

I know some will think this is unfair and others will say what does this have to do with American History and the founding? Well there is a poem I have posted boldly in front of my American History class and it goes more or less like this:

"First they came for the Communists and I was not a Communist so I did not speak up. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics and I did not speak up for the Catholics because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up for me."

I tell my kids all the time that History is full of Hitler's that seek to label, discriminate, enslave, and kill people in order to control the world and one will come around again as History repeats itself. It all starts with trying to take someone's rights away slowly until they have none.

That is what the King of England did to the Colonists. That is what they fought against. They tried to separate themselves from his rule and he pressed the issue, hunted them down and tried to kill them. The Jews were willing to leave the rule of Hitler and he would not let them. Many tried to flee Mao and Stalin and were not allowed. If "they" from the poem are coming then one has no choice but to fight or die. There is no reasoning with "they". "They" are coming to kill anyone who will not bow at their feet.

This was King George. He was a Hitler. According to Frazer both were God's plan. So I guess God wanted Hitler to kill millions of Jews so they should just sit back and let it happen right? I ask Dr. Frazer: Why would God purpose for this to happen in His plan?

I know TVD hates when this historical debate turns theological but there is no getting around it. By definition "Christian Nation" bears the name of Christ. If Christ is associated with God then we have to ask who that God is and if this nation is founded in His image? If God purposed for Hitler to kill a bunch of innocent Jews so he could create the Master Race or intended King George and all the other tyrants that were Kings of England to do similar things, then I want nothing to do with Him nor do I want to be part of a Nation that might be based on His image and bear His name. This is the heart of what I think Brad was trying to get at in his posts about Columbus.

Who is worse the Dictator or King that does this nonsense or the people who sit by letting it happen passively because Romans 13 supposedly says to submit and obey these jerks? I think we all know what the person who wrote the poem about Hitler coming for them would say. I first saw this poem after walking through the Holocaust Museum in D.C. where I saw thousands of pairs of shoes that represented a whole village that was slaughtered by Hitler's minions. Some of the shoes were baby shoes. I was appalled when it hit me that this was one of thousands of villages. Those shoes brought that poem to life as I read it up on the wall as I walked out.

Dr. Frazer, I was willing to let this go but you kept it alive. I must ask you to defend your assumption that all that happens, including Hitler, is God's plan. Why? I feel it is the central root cause behind your literal reading of Romans 13 and your exhortation for Washington and company to just sit and take it more than 200 years ago.

As for those of you who have not chimed in because you feel like you do not know the Bible enough or care about it to join the discussion:

This should simplify things and as the rubber meets to road allow for others to join in this discussion about evil happening because good people say nothing.

I think this is a topic related to the founding that we all can relate to. I want to state again that I respect Dr. Frazer and am not trying to be a jerk to him. I really do appreciate all the time spent on this blog whether I agree with him or not. These tough questions in no means are intended to make him look like a bad guy. He is not.

Joe Winpisinger

136 comments:

bpabbott said...

Ouch ... the "Hitler" card has been played. I doubt that will have a constructive effect on civil discussion.

Pinky said...

I tell my kids all the time that History is full of Hitler's that seek to label, discriminate, enslave, and kill people in order to control the world and one will come around again as History repeats itself. It all starts with trying to take someone's rights away slowly until they have none.

I'm not defending Schicklegruber for anything he did--he was a horrible person.

Even so, it is important to put him in the context of what had been going on in Germany and of what built to a crescendo in the 1930s.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

Whenever we are faced with "evil", we must choose how to respond.

Revolution for the Founders was protecting the "right" of each individual for their right of existence. Power cannot be unbalanced, or coercive without doing injustice to "unalienable rights".

The real problem for the religious is those that believe that they have a right, in fact, a "mandate" to "parent' or coerce society without entering into the discourse of persuasion. These are the radical political activists that make for incivility in our society (but they do have a right to "protest").

So, is reform possible, or is revolution necessary? Some believe that revolution usurps "God's authority", as these believe that God intervenes directly in history. These are the evangelicals, and fundamentalists.

The Founders were not unified in their theological understanding, but they did understand what "should be" in governing diversity and this was what they "formed" in the Constitution. We must uphold the Constitution is we are to remain a free people.

Pinky said...

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Regarding Angie's post about individuals:
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Here's a quotation from page 135 of this book, http://www.amazon.com/Nature-American-Founding-Constitutionalism-Democracy/dp/0813926661 .

Many American authors went even further than had Congress, challenging the antecedents of individualism that would soon come to be associated with the teachings of John Locke and defending the ready transfer of natural individual rights to civil communities, thus assigning "free and independent states" those rights often associated with "Locke's 'free and independent' individuals." This was in keeping with standard treatments of such matters by Varrtel, who had shown that "liberty and independence belong to man by his very nature...(but) citizens of a State, having yielded them in part to the sovereign, do not enjoy them in their full and absolute extent. But the whole body of a Nation, the State, so long as it has not voluntarily submitted to other men or other Nations, remains absolutely free and independent." Accordingly, in eighteenth-century thought it was most frequently states (not individuals), perpetually in a natural condition vis-a-vis other states, that remained free and equal."
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I think herein lies part of the problem we have in understanding our fore bearers. They were extremely organized as members of the group and they would have been hard put to deviate from the controls of the group as individuals do in this day. I don't think it can be over emphasized just exactly how communal they were in their thinking. We have a hard time understanding how anyone could be that way.
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Jonathan Rowe said...

I don't think it's a good idea invoke Godwin's law or the reductio ad Hitlerum.

Though, I think you should have used Stalin or Mao as examples because they killed more people.

I might ask you, KOI, a similar set of questions: Do you think the God you believe in had the power to prevent the holocaust (or Stalin or Mao)? And if so, then what kind of God is it that you worship that would let this occur?

This is an argument I've seen atheists present against Christians?

Another question is why do bad things happen to good people? To which the Calvinist answers: There are no good people. I find that example totally unsatisfactory because whatever sin a particular Jew who was killed by the holocaust (or victim of Stalin or Mao) may have committed they didn't deserve what happen to them.

So a better question is why does God permit bad things to happen to people who don't derserve those things to happen to them?

I'd like to know your answers to them; because when I start to answer with my own understanding of God/theology, I start to get called a heretic.

I answer since many people have bad things happen to them which they DON'T deserve, when they die, they die with a cosmic surplus in their bank account (in other words they are OWED something positive).

Again, when I assert this to my evangelical friends, the responses I get are "your thoughts are not biblical/Christian."

Frazer's thoughts on Romans 13/Calvinism I don't personally find palatable. But I wouldn't assert they are not biblical/Christian. To the contrary they do represent a particular kind of orthodox Christianity with longstanding tradition.

Jonathan Rowe said...

On a related note, Jefferson, J. Adams and Frankln all considered themselves "Christian." Indeed there is more evidence in the primary sources of Jefferson self identifying as a "Christian" than there is for Washington.

As our commenter Daniel once noted, the political theology of the American Founding -- what Gregg terms "theistic rationalism" -- could be viewed as a theologically liberal, heretical, heterodox form of "Christianity." What the orthodox term "not Christianity" but other more theologically liberal folks are willing to accept as "Christian."

Brian Tubbs said...

Regarding the issue of why God allows bad things to happen, I wrote an article on this a while back....

http://protestantism.suite101.com/article.cfm/why_does_god_allow_bad_things_to_happen

I hope you don't mind my posting its url.

It's an interesting and very controversial question. As a pastor, I address it all the time, as it's one of the leading issues that causes people to question God's existence and nature.

Brian Tubbs said...

Here's a shorter url to the article on pain and suffering...

http://tinyurl.com/yf5sw5e

Brian Tubbs said...

Regarding the issue of identity and which Founders were "Christian" or "theologically liberal" or what not...

I think the safest way to define a term is to trace it back to its origins. The term "Christian" comes from the book of Acts. So, what did the term mean when it was first written in that book?

Studying the history, you'll find that the term described those individuals who had chosen to believe in and follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They believed in Jesus' deity, in His resurrection, in His atonement for their sins, etc.

So, when it comes to determining which Founders were "Christian," I think it's best to ask which Founders saw Jesus the way the early "Christians" in the book of Acts saw Jesus.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Pinky,
Even though the Founders may not have understood individuality, like we do, do you not think that paychology has "added" to our understanding of people and their development?

Although people are social "animals", they develop individually and are unique as to their "need" of others.

I think that healthy "self" development brings an independence to a person in their security and their ability to live apart and different from another. Isn't this what we "will" for our children, to grow apart and independent of us?

Those that like to "teach, train, and parent" others in a controlling and conforming way, create an emotional reaction in me. I can't decide if it is because of "feeling like a Project" and the lack of personal care that seems to underline, or is it Tom's assertion in the previous post about another having the audacity to "take conrol" over another human being. I think it is both, personal and principled.

Pinky said...

Angie, you make sense in what you say.

But, there has been a drastic change in the way human beings see themselves over the centuries.

The puritans were extremely concerned about everyone in their local communities. For one thing, they believed all human beings were so flawed that, left to their own devices, they would surely end up in the fires of eternal damnation. So, they made it their business to help each other walk the straight and narrow in a "you help me from sinning and I'll do the same for you." They held each other up and they thought as a group. So, they had their noses in each the personal life of everyone. This allowed them to develop a uniform mind set with everyone sort of a social clone of the next guy or gal. People just didn't step out of line.

I don't think we could take that life style today.

But, if you want to talk how things are and how they should be, a little bit of the Puritan ethic might help us live in a much better society.

Individualism doesn't seem to have any limits.

And that would bring us to think about Ayn Rand and her philosophy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_egoism ,

Check it out.

King of Ireland said...

Jon,

Shit happens! Can God stop things? Yes! Will he violate our free will to do so? I do not think so. How can one have a love relationship if it is based on coercion and no choice?

As far as the Hitler card being played and not being able to have a civil discussion I do not agree. Gregg made some statements and I am taking them to what I think may be some logical conclusions.

I do see that people that never chimed in when we went back and forth about the Bible have when things were simplified.

I also agree that Hitler is some hyperbole designed to make a point. Mao and Stalin did kill more people but Hitler gets more people's attention. I was not trying to disrespect Dr. Frazer. I am trying to make a point.

The shit happens comment above was about why bad things happen to good people. In other words, I have no idea most of the time. I think the story of Job answers some of this. I think God works through the tough things in life to mold us. Other times I think people make bad choices and sin and it has consequences. I think sometimes it is judgement.

The point of Job is that when something bad happens we should not assume that someone sinned. I do believe that God is in control to some degree or I would not have gone to many of the dangerous places I have. But I think he also gives us a choice.

Jon who even knows what heretic means anymore.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

KOI
If 'shit happens", why do you find it important to believe that God intervenes at all? Does believing that "somehow" God "works it out' console you?

I think that whenever people experience things that are beyond their control or understanding, God "fills the gap", so they can sleep at night. "God" is a good projection so that we "feel safe, supported, accepted, loved, and meaningful". But, how do you know this is so and not just a "coping mechanism"?

You can't know and that is the point of faith, if one wants to believe in a transcendental faith. I think it is futile to suggest anything about God, but important to resolve political questions, as these deal in real terms, with real people, and real situations that eventually affect us all.

There are no "easy answers" to the complex issues confronting the world today. And those that want to eliminate the "discussion" by limiting access to information, or protecting priviledge, do injustice to our society, the individuals so discriminated against, and the world at large.

Laws are made to be protective of the things we value, life, liberty. And fortunately in America we have many protected rights. We must cherish these protections, so that we will remain free of tyranny.

God has little to do with the governing of people under law, unless one believes in Shairia. Then, there is no reason to discuss, as the case is closed before the discussion begins. We must not support, in any way shape or form, this type of tyranny, no matter what these believe about God, nor what religious freedom seems to grant in this country.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Pinky,
Thank you for the address on ethical egoism.

Ethical egoism and consideration of another's difference of opinion in ethical questions can co-exist. But, those who are determined to "control,and/or train" another to perform an action that they think is "right" (altruistic) are totaltalarian/authoriatarian in thier "performance". This attitude smacks or smells of moral superiority, which in itself undermines altruistic attitudes towards the "project" to be "formed" or trained.

Although ethical egoism looks out for its own interests, selfishness is "controlled" or maintained by "equality under law". Isn't this what our busniess contracts are about? We cannot "do business" without self-interest, otherwise, we obtain no profit, which benefits the company. Is this morally wrong? No, because if the business owner believes that his service is serving others, then why would his profit for service be unethical, or immoral?

What is immoral or unethical is not allowing for negotiation, where the people involved in the "contract" are informed of the expectations and the promised outcome of reward for complance with the "contract".

People who try to formulate a universal for moral standards, end up being judges of hearts and lives in an unjust way. Individuals will all have different values that drive their interests and universalization undermines this diversity, which limits free choice and destroys free societies.

October 30, 2009 6:50 AM

Gregg Frazer said...

Since I'm a controversial figure in these discussions, I hope Brian Tubbs won't mind me saying that I agree with everything he said above and in his article on suffering. [My endorsement may poison the well against you, Brian.]

Incidentally, regarding Brian's point about when the term "Christian" was first used, it's worth noting that no one was called a "Christian" during Jesus' earthly ministry -- i.e. when He was doing the moral teaching that Jefferson identifies as Christianity.

Gregg Frazer said...

I also think that Jon asked an excellent question of KOI: "is the God you believe in powerful enough to have prevented Hitler from doing what he did? If so, why didn't he? If not, why worship him?

You say that God did not stop Hitler because there was something more important (in your mind) than the lives of the six million Jews -- free will. I would respond that it was God's plan that Hitler do what he did because there was something more important (in His mind) than the lives of the six million Jews. So, how do I come out the bad guy with the unreasonable view of God -- as opposed to you/your view?

I commend you for mentioning Job. I think you should learn some lessons from the example of Job:

First, Job suffered PRECISELY BECAUSE he was "good" (as good as a fallen man can be) -- and God feels no obligation to explain Himself to us (nor should He feel such an obligation).

Second, God was in complete CONTROL of Job's life and what happened to him -- putting specific limitations on Satan which he was not free or able to defy.

Third, Job gives us the proper response to suffering: "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" (2:10)

Gregg Frazer said...

As for WHY it was God's plan that Hitler exist and/or do what he did, I don't know exactly why -- God has not specifically revealed that information and I don't know all that God knows -- only what He's revealed. And, as I've explained before, He stopped revealing anything to us 2000 years ago (before Hitler).

I have some theories, based on what God HAS revealed, that make sense to me. But then, I have that bias for believing that the Bible is God's Word and that what it clearly says is true -- so my theories probably wouldn't make sense to you or to some of the other readers.

And what did make sense, you wouldn't like.

One important element that you left out of your original post is the fact that love is not the only one of God's attributes. He is also a God of justice and He is holy. Here you fall into the same trap as the theistic rationalists (NO, I'M NOT CALLING YOU A THEISTIC RATIONALIST, I'M SAYING YOU'VE SUCCUMB TO THE SAME SNARE). They, too, saw "benevolence" as the predominant, driving, almost exclusive characteristic of God. So, they had severe problems with the same kinds of issues as do you. But the biblical God is not ONLY benevolent.

[That, by the way, is why they rejected the Old Testament -- as they saw it, the Old Testament God was "wrathful" and inconsistent with the god they had made in their own image.

Your poem is moving and emotive, but it's not inspired and doesn't trump God's Word.

Pinky said...

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In regards to the view presented by Greg F. It would be nice if one on such claims.
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But, to express one's true thoughts on such things is to set oneself up for a lot of hot air flack.
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Sad; but, true.
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What about all the others who were put to death just to make a point about Job?
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Give me a break!!
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Only in a patriarchal culture where fathers can kill their new born infants because they don't like the way the kid looks could a people not find the Job story revolting.
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Such opinions must be kept sacred or else it could be seen as having a fit or worse.
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bpabbott said...

Phil,

I've been following this thread and am qutie pleased my expections have not been met.

Regarding your comment above, your 1st sentence appears to be missing a word or two.

Ben

Gregg Frazer said...

We're never going to be able to come to agreement or even satisfaction on this question because we all come from such different presuppositions (biases, if you prefer) that what satisfies one will be seen as unreasonable or irrational by others. [one of the problems with elevating rationality to the ultimate standard -- NO, I'M NOT SAYING REASON IS WICKED OR USELESS OR SHOULDN'T BE USED OR ...]

As I see it, Jon & KOI err by looking at things from MAN'S perspective -- rather than GOD'S.

Jon says that good people have bad things happen to them that they don't deserve. God says: a) there are no "good" people (ultimately, by His standard), b) if we all got what we DESERVED, we'd all go to hell immediately and wouldn't be living a life here in which to suffer, and c) God has purposes for relatively "good" (by man's standards) people suffering that we cannot see or understand (Job) -- but He is so high above us that He has no obligation to explain it to us. [I could give verses, but you guys don't like that]

And Jon makes a blanket statement regarding what those people "deserved" without ANY knowledge whatsoever of what they did in their public/private lives, what they thought in their minds, or what they coveted in their hearts -- who they were, etc. I think it's safe to say that Jon never met any of those people who died in the 1930s/40s. And without any knowledge of what God thinks is "deserving." He feels free to make such generalizations, however, because of his own presuppositions and his OWN view of what is deserving of suffering and what is not.

I'm not trying to insult Jon -- I'm merely pointing out that he is looking at the whole thing from man's point of view irrespective of God's perspective. It's only natural that he would. And yet he's trying to figure out why God would do this -- if He exists -- without considering God's point of view. He finds that "unpalatable," as I expect he would. The Bible says that "the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him."

KOI encourages us to answer back to God and question Him. God expressly disallows that and demonstrates numerous times the absurdity of such an idea.

It SEEMS TO ME that both Jon and KOI want God to be what they most admire in men -- like the key founders did.

These facts will be viewed as irrational by several readers and God will be criticized as tyrannical or as a mass murderer or as dictatorial or as whatever blasphemous label those who don't believe in Him can summon. But none of those labels will change reality.

So, we'll drone on about it, but we won't make any converts or even satisfy anyone but ourselves.

I hope no one finds these comments offensive -- they were not meant to be at all. I'm just seeking clarity. You could all similarly criticize my approach based on your presuppositions (and you probably will).

I believe there are answers to the "why do 'good' people suffer?" question -- but to agree on any answers, you have to share a similar epistemology. We don't.

Gregg Frazer said...

With Pinky's comment above added to the mix, I rest my case.

Pinky said...

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It would be nice if one were able to express their self on such claims.
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Sorry about that, Brad.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Again Gregg no need to apologize as I am not insulted. Though I will note that we get to a point where we just reach different and irreconcilable premises.

I know the Calvinist influenced biblical arguments as to why bad things happen to people (there are no good people; everyone deserves what horror happens to them; God owes them nothing; original sin, etc.). And the verses and chapters of scripture used to prove the point.

I hear it and it just doesn't penetrate my conscience. I simply find it impossible to believe that for the coveting, sinful thoughts, sexual improprieties, or whatever someone deserves the horror that a Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Kim Jong Ill might inflict on them.

And really bad things happen to children as well. Was Anne Frank and all of the Anne Franks killed by Stalin, Mao, Ill, Pot, Mihn a sinner or sinners? Meaning imperfect. Or in some way committed something the Bible categorizes as sin? Yes. But accepting that that merits what happened to them is just a leap of faith I can't make.

What I can believe in is that man relates to Jesus in some way because many of us, like Jesus get what we DON'T deserve. That he or He "feels our pain," in this sense. But, I understand you find this notion heretical and not biblical.

Tom Van Dyke said...


So a better question is why does God permit bad things to happen to people who don't deserve those things to happen to them?


What Jon succinctly states is what's called in theology The Problem of Evil.

And Gregg, I too welcome your comments here. Unlike TV preachers and the like, you state the Calvinist position clearly and intelligently.

Well, I guess we're turning into a theology blog. But if that's what everyone wants, and it appears they do, so be it. And that's OK---the meaning of life is more important than just the Founding.



It's said that an entire generation of Jews [and perhaps the generations since] lost their faith as a result of the Holocaust---if the meaningless slaughter of more than half of us was God's plan or God's will, who needs Him?

The story of Job is of course relevant, and that's Gregg's point I think, and the Holocaust was the story of Job writ large, larger than human imagination.

We certainly can't cover the Problem of Evil here in a combox, but I'll suggest that without evil, good has no meaning. This is not heaven, or the Garden of Eden. Even man---or a believer---is capable of understanding that.

And as to whether we should oppose evil, we of course have the Englishman's view:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?


And on the other hand, Gandhi's most controversial statement ever:

“Hitler,” Gandhi said, “killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs… It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany… As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.”

Very Romans 13, eh, Gregg?

The rest is worth reading:
http://die_meistersinger.tripod.com/gandhi9.html

Pinky said...

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Once a person is discredited and judged to be a heinous monster, whatever they have to say has little meaning other than self condemnation. To give such a monster any voice can get you condemned as his supporter.
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Has anyone read Mein Kampf?
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The German people were pretty well mistreated in national humiliation as a result of their losing WW I.

Hitler offered them some options they liked. He was seen by many as a knight in shining armor. A lot of Americans saw G. W. Bush in that same light after 911.
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No excuses for what Hitler did regarding his racist views of humanity.
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Even so, one must see there was some reason when everything is taken in its context. The question we must solve is whether or not it there was any justification for the German people to put him in the place of leadership over them. We are hard put to give the questions any consideration whatsoever.
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King of Ireland said...

Dr. Frazer,

We all do have pre-suppositions but we are to put them aside when researching History. Your History is based on your Theology.

Example:

Even though the story of the Revolution fits the Biblical pattern for a transfer of power as I noted in my post on Washington you rule out him being a deliverer BECAUSE YOUR THEOLOGY TELLS YOU THAT THERE IS NOT MORE REVELATION.

This is where people get confused. Revelation means different things to different people.

Also, you stated clearly that Washington could be used as a deliverer and not even know it. You did this by saying Othniel could have been used and not know it. If it is possible with one then it is with the other.

This is still not that relevant in that none of them rebelled. They tried to leave just like you said to and the King sent troops to force them to listen to him. They followed the interposition argument as Tom decribes it perfectly.

In short, you are not the bad guy here. You are a good guy. I respect the fact that a famous PHD makes time to answer back. It is not for noteriety as most in the Evangelical world. This is a small audience and your attendance to clarify your points is from the heart. It is refreshing in a day when most seek the biggest audience and the most attention in Evangelical circles.

Tom,

I think your post hits on the frame this debate has and will always take. I agree that evil shows us what good really is. I posted on this on my personal site in context of exploring whether Genesis 1 is an allegory or not. www.theking25.blogspot.com I reposted it first for people to look at it since Jon brought it up here and on PL.

King of Ireland said...

Gregg,

I might ask you where you get the revelation being closed argument from? If nature and conscience help reveal the nature of God according to parts of Romans 1 and 2 how is this possible?

How does the Tibetan Nomad that has never seen a white man let alond a Bible know whether to rebel against the Chinese or not?
God only planned for 10% of the world to have the Bible in their own native language? Or does apathetic man not put our hands to the plow and this is the consequence?

Maybe God saw a German that could have stopped Hitler and was drowning in a pool despair asking God to deliver him and his people from Hitler. Maybe got sent and airplane and the man did not take it. Then maybe God sent a ship and the man did not take it. Then the man gets to heaven and asks God why He let Hitler kill him and his people? Then God tells him that he tried to help with the airplane and boat to get him out of the area and take him to his army in waiting to take Hitler out.

What more can God do? Fatalism kills the spirit. Predestination taken to the extreme you take it is death on a stick and irrational in my view.

Jonathan Rowe said...

"BECAUSE YOUR THEOLOGY TELLS YOU THAT THERE IS NOT MORE REVELATION."

But KOI, this is "orthodox Christianity." Their theology teaches that revelation stopped with St. John's Book of Revelation. This is what separates them from for instance, Islam and Mormonism who take the OT and NT and add additional revealed books.

That's one of the ironies here: "Revolution" and a politically theologically "Christian Nation" where GW is on a divine mission from God is NOT a problem for Mormonism; but it IS a problem for orthodox Christianity that believes the OT and NT the infallible Word of God and the LAST and FINAL place where God revealed His Truth to man.

Jonathan Rowe said...

And again, irony of ironies, I would note, you (KOI) and the Mormons and some other exotic heterodox sects can get a "Christian Nation" as you guys understand the term "Christian" where George Washington had revelation from God, but David Barton and Gary Amos are supposedly working from the SAME THEOLOGICAL PREMISES THAT GREGG HOLDS TO. According to THOSE theological premises Gregg is right and they are wrong. They all believe (or are supposed to believe) that revelation stopped with "the book of revelation" in the biblical canon.

Tom Van Dyke said...

They all believe (or are supposed to believe) that revelation stopped with "the book of revelation" in the biblical canon.

For the record, the Roman church believes the Holy Spirit is constantly working through the church.

So too, I suppose it could be argued by Protestants that through the gifts of Pentecost like discernment, the Holy Spirit reveals the will of God actively and throughout history.

We certainly have enough TV evangelicals saying God told them to do this or that.

King of Ireland said...

Jon,

Tom is right there are many who would disagree with Frazer. Also, he needs to show me where it says that in the Bible. If he is going to be sola scriptura that is.

I think you miss some of the nuances in the Christian world sometimes. But I get your point:

These guys are dogmatic on things that "protect" Christianity from heretics but lenient when the whole Christian Nation theme comes up. At least Gregg is consistent. Though I think wrong.

Gregg Frazer said...

Jon,

I know you find it impossible to believe -- that was my point. We're not going to be able to come to any agreement on the matter of bad things happening to "good" people.

As for the horrors inflicted by Hitler, Mao, etc. -- unfortunately, that's only a shadow of what's to come to many after this life.

By the way, that's another way in which God sees the whole issue much differently than do we -- He sees from an eternal perspective. To Him, this life is just a vapor and miniscule in terms of relative time.

For those searching for some logical sense to the Holocaust, I can offer one suggestion. Biblical prophecy said that Israel would be reconstituted as a nation again. In 1939, there was zero interest in such a notion -- no support whatsoever from any quarter. The Holocaust provided a reason (frankly, largely to assuage the guilt that the great powers felt) and impetus to create the nation-state of Israel. This was God again working in history to accomplish His plan -- sorry, KOI.

Also, God repeatedly warned the Jewish people that there would be very serious consequences if they rejected Him. They had a picture of this with their 400-year captivity in Egypt. They did not learn from this lesson.

In contrast to the idea that a generation lost their faith as a result of the Holocaust, another perspective is that the Holocaust was a result of their loss of faith.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Greg,
I recognize the theological tradition you speak of. But, besides the evils of dictators, there is the belief that God is a "father", making god into a interventional disciplinarian. This view is unteneable in view of evolution's acceptance. And I imagine, just as with Jon, you will continue to disagree with me.

Whenever Christians view life as "training ground" for another life, then there will be those that take advantage of that belief to further their own ends...knowing that these will submit and comply with otherwise, evil and/or misguided goals.

Since you are on the contributors of this blog, I would suspect that you value "the rule of law", "social contract" and "balance of power", when it comes to governing. Theocracies are not understood in this way, as "God" is to underwrite his own plan, purpose and will at the costs of the diversity of unique human life.

Gregg Frazer said...

Angie,

I, of course, do not accept evolution. I find it to be as lacking in evidence and as nonsensical as you do belief in the Bible. Belief in evolution, of course, requires at least as much faith as belief in God. And even its most prominent advocates admit that it tells us nothing about origins.

As for "those that take advantage" of Christian beliefs, I would suggest two things:

1) those who take advantage of atheist beliefs have killed more people in one century than all of those killed in all previous centuries combined (certainly millions more than those taking advantage of Christian beliefs)

2) Like KOI, you seem to be attempting to question the validity of something based on its effects. Christian beliefs are either true or not -- and whether some evil person uses belief in them for nefarious purposes or not does not change whether they are, in fact, true.

A hammer is a very good, useful tool -- but it can be used to bash in a skull.

I do, in fact, value the rule of law and balance of power -- not so much the fiction of the social contract. But I value them only for civil government -- where those who rule are flawed, fallen, and inherently evil. I want no balance of power when God Himself rules and rule of law is not necessary in that instance. If by "theocracies," you mean civil governments in which religious humans rule, then I would prefer rule of law and balance of power.

Jonathan Rowe said...

As for the horrors inflicted by Hitler, Mao, etc. -- unfortunately, that's only a shadow of what's to come to many after this life.

Gregg,

You don't hope/pray for universal reconciliation?

I could see myself becoming a Christian in a universalistic (sense like B. Rush was -- he was a Trinitian); or perhaps like KOI, Jim Babka and other theological moderates.

However, what you've just expressed to me sounds, contrary to "Gospel" (meaning "good news") horrible, horrible news. Worse than atheism. I couldn't imagine really believing in this given the inevitable friends and loved ones who die unsaved (and the masses of billions).

Were I convert to such Christianity, I'd wake up every morning with a tear in my eye.

And btw doesn't this narrow path Christianity make Satan the ultimate victor (that is God wins the final battle, but Satan the war because he takes with him the vast majority of man, God's favorite creation?).

Gregg Frazer said...

King,

Come on! My history no more depends on my theology than yours does yours. You're the one talking about a "biblical pattern for transfer of power." You're the one suggesting that Washington may have been a deliverer assigned by God -- even though you haven't explained how that's possible in your world, since you don't believe God is in control of human events!

At the start, I simply asked you -- the one making the claim -- for ANY EVIDENCE that Washington received revelation or that God raised him up as a deliverer. The default position -- the position an historian must take absent any evidence -- is that he was not in any special relationship with God.

I did NOT "state clearly" that Washington could be used as a deliverer and not know it by saying that that might be true of Othniel. There is a HUGE, VAST difference between the two cases: WE HAVE REVELATION FROM GOD THAT HE RAISED UP OTHNIEL AND NO SUCH REVELATION RE WASHINGTON!!!!! They are not interchangeable, no matter how many times you suggest that they are.

By the way, to try to put Othniel to bed (finally): let me point out that one raised up by God for a task can still be a sinner doing his own will. I gave a number of verses to indicate that before, but here's one final evidence: Romans 9:17. There, God says that he "raised up" Pharaoh to fulfill His purposes. I don't think even you would suggest that Pharaoh was godly and sought to do God's will.

God uses godly men and sinners alike to accomplish His plan.

You say they did not rebel. Did they take up arms to throw off the authority of the British government -- or not? You can't just continually re-define words in a convenient fashion. At some point, words have actual meanings. If they didn't rebel, then the word "rebel" should just be scratched from the English language -- it has no meaning.

Thanks for the kind words at the end of the post, but I need to correct one thing -- I'm hardly "famous."

Gregg Frazer said...

King,

Regarding the closing of revelation, I stipulated that "special" or "direct" revelation from God is closed -- not all forms of revelation. You're talking here about "general" revelation, which, of course, exists as long as creation exists.

By its very nature, general revelation can tell us nothing about Washington IN PARTICULAR or any ONE else. It does not tell us about specific people. It tells us that God exists and ought to be worshiped and it tells us about basics of right and wrong -- but it does not tell us who has been raised up as a deliverer.

As for one who hasn't read the Bible, Romans 13:5 says that one of the reasons we are to be subject is "for conscience' sake." Our conscience is part of general revelation and, if it's functioning properly and hasn't been seared, it will tell us to be subject to authority. When we aren't subject to authority, we harm our conscience. So, the Tibetan's conscience will tell him unless he's damaged his conscience too severely through repeated sin.

The powerless, unknowing, rather pathetic god that you've described in your boat & plane illustration is, to me, "death on a stick and irrational." What's the point of believing in such a helpless God? How can you have ANY confidence in the future? How could such a God ensure salvation for ANYONE -- much less EVERYONE?

God says: "I tried to help but you, King, are ultimately sovereign and you decided not to take out Hitler, so millions died -- oops! Sorry, if I had the power, he'd have been toast! If I'd have seen your response coming, I'd have tried someone else!" That's the god you believe in or want to believe in? Talk about irrational.

You make yourself the god here. You're the one with ultimate power to direct the future. As I said before, you've created god in your own image. You've found in god what you most admire in men -- as did the key founders.

What if people don't want salvation or to be with God? That is, of course, precisely the situation that we have -- no one wants salvation and no one seeks for God (Romans 3). If it were up to us, no one would be saved.

You are quite correct that "fatalism kills the spirit." Fortunately, I don't believe in fatalism (that "destiny" is controlled by "fate" -- some capricious spirit or "chance"). I believe in a sovereign, all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing God Who has a perfect plan and directs everything toward its perfect end. Do you think you know better than God? My spirit is comforted and thrilled with the knowledge that things are under the control of the perfect, all-powerful God Who cannot be thwarted. Not even by me and my foolish, incredibly small mind and will.

Pinky said...

.
Angie wrote, Whenever Christians view life as "training ground" for another life, then there will be those that take advantage of that belief to further their own ends...knowing that these will submit and comply with otherwise, evil and/or misguided goals.
.
Excellent point!
.

Gregg Frazer said...

Jon,

I do not hope/pray for universal reconciliation. The purpose of prayer is to align ourselves with God's will -- and He has revealed that universal reconciliation is not His will. The way is narrow and not many pass.

That said, I don't know WHO is to be reconciled and who isn't -- so I pray for individuals that I know and trust that it is God's will that they be saved.

I pray for YOU.

By the way: why pray to God if it's up to us?

The Gospel is "good news" for those who receive it for what it really is: the means to wash away the stain of sin and to eternal bliss with God. It is decidedly bad news for those who do not accept it.

Think about it: that's what good news almost always is -- good for those advantaged and bad for those disadvantaged. My Packers lost yesterday. That was good news for Vikings fans, but very bad news for me.

It is potentially good news for all, but effectually good news only for those who believe. What the angels said at Christ's birth is one of the most misquoted statements of all time because it's repeatedly misquoted every Christmas. They did NOT say what the carols say: "on earth, peace, goodwill toward men." They said: "on earth peace among men WITH WHOM HE IS PLEASED."

As for Satan ultimately winning by taking more people with him, this is based on one of Satan's ploys -- to get people to believe that there is a competition between God and himself. This is part of one of Satan's most clever schemes: the idea that good and evil are some kind of yin and yang -- that you can't have one without the other or that they don't have meaning without the other. This is designed to give him equality with God and to elevate evil to the level of good -- it's just a preference. He gives himself the position in the mind of man that he desired when he rebelled (yes, rebelled) against God -- he wanted to be equal with God -- to BE God. Just like we, as silly little humans, do. That was what Eve was promised with the pomegranate: "you will be like God."

There is no competition for souls. God has saved some and there's nothing that Satan can do about it. No one goes to hell with Satan against God's will. God doesn't lose anyone.

In the end, Satan is "thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone ... and ... tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev. 20:10) I don't think even Satan could propagandize that into any kind of victory!

bpabbott said...

Gregg, feel free to pass over my questions, but regarding ...

"I find it to be as lacking in evidence and as nonsensical as you do belief in the Bible. Belief in evolution, of course, requires at least as much faith as belief in God."

I'm curious, why are you so confident that the theory of evolution does not represent a technically accurate understanding of how God did is work?

.. and, do you think faith is needed to understand the theory of evolution, or to accept it in the absence of understanding? ... or something else?

I won't follow up as this is way off topic, but I'm inclided to ask as it is rare that I encounter someone of your perspective whom I feel I can address on this point without initiating a culture war.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Greg,
Idealistic goals are not realistic, as has been proven over and over historically. So, reconcilliation whether one wants to believe that to be with God or with others, will not happen...on a universal level.

You disagreed with my pragmatic approach in judging outcomes of theocratic idealism in governing. Since humans cannot know about "that realm" except by faith, there is much to be feared with this type of governance.

As to the "other" idealistic view (materialists) that seeks to pragmatize their idealism, these also bring much damage to a realistic view of life.

Freedom is a realistic view of life, as expression itself is how genes operate, even when man has manipulated to form life...the genes really do the "creating"...

Freedom of choice is affirming man's ability to be different from the animal kingdom. Choice involves many factors, although the evolutionist would believe that man is bound within his animal nature, I believe that constucting "order" is a form of freedom. The Founders did socially construct a "new" form of government.

So, whether a religious idealism that pragmatizes a text or tradition, or a scientific idealism that pragmatizes the material, both assume too much and leave too little room for a realistic expression of life in all its forms and diversity. Creativity is the expression of life itself...

King of Ireland said...

Gregg,

Got to go eat after a late practice and I will try and respond. Listen to Jon he speaks for thousands upon thousands I have talked with that find some of this non sensical. This life does matter and Jesus says it does when he prays for heaven to come to earth. Anyway, I will respond in the next few days.

Please read my post about you being a good guy. I meant every word.

Joe

Jonathan Rowe said...

Gregg,

For clarity's sake about Hell (TVD quoted Dennis Prager as noting, often it's better to elevate clarity for clarity's sake than debate for debate's sake) you believe Hell is NOT separation from God, but that God Himself is delivering the punishment (one of the passages in revelation intimates this; I could look it up but I'm sure that you have it memorized).

I've heard some evangelicals note Hell is separation from God. Some further note Satan and his angels are the ones who punish man. But the verse you quoted suggests that Hell is designed to PUNISH Satan and his angels; that is, it doesn't seem like THEY are going to be the one's delivering the punishment to unsaved men.

So is it God who personally and eternally delivers the punishment to unsaved men in Hell?

King of Ireland said...

gregg,

I beg to differ on the Washington thing. I have never said for sure he received revelation. You denied it is possible. I call you on this and asked how you could rule this since you were not God. You then asked me to prove that Washington had a revelation from God. I gave some evidence that he may have.

In short, you rule this out based on your presuppositions about revelation. I do not. I also am merely pointing out that the Revolution could follow the Biblical pattern for deliverance. I am not saying does or does not. You rule it out based on your pressuppositions I do not.

If God revealed himself to Othniel what keeps him from revealing himself to us. Othniel did not have most of what we call the Bible and you think he heard from God. You make no logical sense and I think you need to look beyond your doctrines.

As far as Hitler I agree God used it for good. But Romans says that too. It does not mean he "purposed" it. Why would he violate our free will?

Gregg Frazer said...

Jon,

Hell is both separation from God and a place in which He administers punishment. The separation is not a physical separation (God is a Spirit and is omnipresent) -- it is a relational separation.

When Adam & Eve sinned, they were separated from God, but were still in the garden with Him for a time (they tried to hide themselves from His presence). When Jesus bore our sin on the cross, He cried out to God: "Why have You forsaken Me?" That was because there was a temporary relational separation due to His bearing of sin. God does not allow sin into His presence (relational).

So hell is separation from God AND it is a place of torment.

For now, unsaved dead souls go to Hades as a sort of waiting place. After the Great White Throne judgment, they will go into the lake of fire (like Satan).

Tom Van Dyke said...

I won't follow up as this is way off topic, but I'm inclided to ask as it is rare that I encounter someone of your perspective whom I feel I can address on this point without initiating a culture war.

I like to think it's because of the environment we provide here and work very hard to maintain, Ben.

It's a jungle out there. But here, rock on, y'all.

BTW, I'll park this here instead of on the mainpage [since we are not yet a theological blog], ex-Evangelical cum Catholic Frank Beckwith on "grace," a huge theological issue in the medieval, Reformation, and pre-Founding years. Beckwith attempts to reconcile the Catholic and Calvinist views, along with something called "inscripturation":

http://www.southernappeal.org/index.php/archives/13214

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Greg,
Totaltarian regimes also believe that those who do not do their bidding, are separated by imprisonment or worse. As men are the "god of the earth", then these are the ones who oppress, discriminate and abuse because of their absolute power over another human life.

Totaltarian regimes are driven by ideological commitments, that do not allow dissent, difference, or civilty toward change of course.

Democratic governments were born on the ideals of freedom and justice for all.

Gregg Frazer said...

bp,

I am confident that evolution is not an accurate understanding of the origins of the universe, the earth, man, or animals -- i.e. macro-evolution. Some degree of micro-evolution may occur -- I don't know because that doesn't interest me.

I am confident that evolution does not explain the origin of these things because it directly contradicts the Bible. The Bible is very clear that God created the earth and its inhabitants in six literal 24-hour days.

There are several problems with efforts to try and mix creation and evolution -- to say that God used evolution as a means to create.

1) God draws a parallel between His creation of the earth and the labor of His people when establishing the sabbath in Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17. He says that He created the earth in six days and then rested (ceased) the seventh day; he tells them to work for six days and then rest the seventh (sabbath). If each "day" in the creation account is millions of years, then He would be telling the Jews to work for six million years and then rest for 1 million -- nonsensical.

2) At the end of each day in the creation account, it says: "There was evening and there was morning, a (fill in the blank) day." These are clearly normal days -- not eons.

3) A colleague of mine who has a Ph.D. in Hebrew from the top Hebrew university in America (and a Masters degree in physics) has done a linguistic and statistical analysis of the language in Genesis 1-2 and proved empirically that the language is narrative, not poetry or allegory (as is claimed by so-called theistic evolutionists or day-age theorists).

4) If animals -- even humans -- evolved over millenia, then there was death before man sinned. That would make death a natural thing -- rather than the punishment for sin. If that were the case, then Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross to pay the price for sin was nonsensical and pointless.

These are some of the reasons that I'm confident that macro-evolution is not true and/or not a correct understanding of how God works.

As for the faith aspect, I think belief in evolution requires a great deal of faith in the absence of EVIDENCE or LOGIC/REASON. Also, it begins with certain unproven (and unprovable) assumptions/presuppositions which must be taken on faith.

Evolution is not hard to understand, it's hard to believe. [as evidenced, PERHAPS, by the fact that a significant majority of Americans do not believe in it -- despite being indoctrinated in it throughout their educational careers].

Pinky said...

.
No pun intended; but, can someone explain to me what in blazes this thread has to do with this blog site?

A group blog to promote discussion, debate and insight into the history, particularly religious, of America's founding. Any observations, questions, or comments relating to the blog's theme are welcomed.
.
Shouldn't these conversations be held at some other site?
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Are we wimps?
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, Pinky, since this thread--and many threads---would have died if they hadn't veered toward the theological, I see no harm in letting them continue. I only ask that they not hijack the thread for the first dozen comments or so, or as long as a genuine historical discussion is taking place.

King of Ireland did start this thread out theologically, but as long as that remains the exception rather than the rule, I've been swayed by popular demand to let it through now & then.

As for partisan politics, well, Ben and Pinky, if only that could keep the same civility and not sink into the sewer of culture war. But as we've seen time and again here, that is impossible, so ixnay on that stuff.

Gregg Frazer said...

King,

At the risk of quibbling, I said that you're the one saying that Washington MAY have been a deliverer -- I didn't say that you said "for sure." And you gave NO evidence that Washington may have received revelation from God. You gave evidence that he and Keteltas believed that God was on his side -- but that's an entirely different thing than receiving revelation from God!

While you disagree with my presuppositions, yours are just as much based on theology (yours) as are mine -- that's all I was pointing out. To say that the Revolution may fit a biblical pattern is to ascribe significance to the Bible and to take a particular position concerning interpretation of the Bible which represents a theological perspective. If you denied such significance, that would represent a theological perspective, too. An atheist drawing conclusions would also be doing so based on his theology.

Othniel received revelation from God at a time in which God chose to give special revelation to men -- that's the difference. What keeps God from giving us special revelation is His own purposes/plan. What kept Him from giving special revelation during the 400-year period between the Old and New Testaments? His own plan/purposes.

In Othniel's case, having or not having the Bible is irrelevant because if he received "special" revelation from God, it was not dependent on other revelation.

My views may not make sense based on your presuppositions -- but I think your presuppositions are wrong. I think my view is perfectly logical given my presuppositions.

If I were to look "beyond" my doctrines, I'd be looking at the biblical record from whence they come. So, I'd come to the same conclusions.

You are not open to the many passages in the Bible which state that God purposes what happens -- but that doesn't change the fact that they're there.

No one since Adam has had a truly free will. All of the rest of us have a will bent by a sin nature to oppose God. We are, as the Bible makes clear, "slaves of sin" and none of us is righteous or seeks God. "Free will" would necessitate the ability to start at a neutral point and choose the direction we wish to go -- but we start as SLAVES moving away from God and are not free to choose independently. Your "free will" is violated one way or the other. It is good news that God chooses to violate it and give us hope.

God "violates" our "free will" so that some of us can be saved. The best evidence for the fact that we don't have free will is that some are saved.

God also "violates" our "free will" so that events move in a direction determined by an all-wise, all-knowing God and not haphazardly toward chaos, foolishness, and despair. Happily, there is order and design to the universe and to history -- not merely chance or fate.

Tom Van Dyke said...

I do hope you'll visit my other blog, Gregg, and Beckwith's essay on grace, which touches on much of what you write here.

http://www.southernappeal.org/index.php/archives/13214

As for "we're all biased" when it comes to the subject of this blog, there's bias and then there's bias. I think we do well here, better than most anywhere, and I think the welcome mat you get illustrates that.

Gregg Frazer said...

It's not my place to decide what's appropriate or not for this blog. And my primary argument for this blog is an historical one -- not theological. I tried to make sure of that by basing my study on what 18th-century American Christians said was the nature and substance of Christianity rather than my own view of it.

I did not introduce my own view until asked/invited to do so.

In my actual argument, I didn't even make a claim concerning my own view of Romans 13. I merely pointed out that one view predominated for 1600 years in the kinds of churches existing in 18th century America and that Mayhew provided a means for ministers supporting the Revolution to get over that hurdle -- again, a historical argument, not theological.

I did not start the theological discussion, but I feel compelled to answer when questions are directed at me or when someone presents a theological view that I consider to be false. In fact, the Bible instructs me to do so (I Peter 3:15).

As for "bias" -- anyone who has a position has a bias. One hopes that it is not "prejudice" (bias based on preconceived opinion or irrespective of reason/evidence).

bpabbott said...

Gregg,

I thank you for your response. My hope was to get a better understanding for why you do not accept evolution and you have provided exactly what I asked.

I find the idea, that it is possible to understand the theory of evolution while not accepting it, to be bizarre.

However, I also believe that I understand your posts quite well, but do not accept your theological position. Perhaps that is bizarre to you as well!

In any event, thanks again!

King of Ireland said...

Gregg,

Let's let this dead dog die and move on to the History of this. I think both of our positions are clear and it has helped outline the positions back then at the founding. In short, I think this debate has been fruitful.

But is is time to move on. I hope we can. I personally have no problem with much of what was discussed on this thread but I agree with Tom that it should be the exception not the rule. The fact that it did not delve into a mud slinging contest is proof of the quality of discussion on this blog. It also leaves the door open for future discussions like these.

But the main focus of the blog is History and theology should only come up in that context in my view. It is a fine line though. TVD I am glad you are starting to see that. Good job to all that shared.
I went back and noticed that this debate has drawn more comments than most other posts. I think it is averaging about 45 or so per post.

I hope it continues but in the context of the History of the time period. Any suggestions where to take it from here? I am thinking the whole reason vs. revelation thing needs to be revisited. But in its own way that is theology too. Fine line!

Tom Van Dyke said...

In the Founding era, except for Jefferson and Paine and a few others, the possibility that reason and revelation were of the same fabric was a universally held belief. JAdams even admitted that Christianity was "revelation," and Ben Franklin was open to the possibility. The best thinker of the Founding period, Founder, lawyer and Supreme Court justice James Wilson, plainly said that revelation and natural law derived by reason sprang from "the same adorable source."

Interpreting natural law or "revelation" becomes nettlesome, and men of good conscience can disagree about either or both. But to the Founders, there was such a thing as moral truth, no matter how elusive. That's the starting point of our nation, our philosophy, our culture and our society, and makes reason and revelation not a matter of either/or.

We should proceed from there, that truth exists. We just have to fight over the details instead of starting from scratch.

If I may---

Leaving out history and/or theology for the moment, this blog has formed a little community, or as Kurt Vonnegut put it, a karass, seeming ly unrelated people who for some reason are drawn together by the universe, fate, God, forces beyond our control, what have you.

Geez [and self-identify here, but I and we know who you are], we got several recovering Catholics, some recovering Calvinists, some Catholics, some Calvinists, some seekers on the fence, a Mormon or two, recovering or otherwise, a thoughtful atheist, and a few who lie somewhere inbetween.

What's not to like? This is a safe place for all. To write their beliefs, their doubts, their halfway-inbetweens. I wouldn't have it any other way, and I wouldn't have stuck around here so long if I didn't believe in every one of you, every one of us, that to write something means it'll be given a fair hearing, thought about, and be commented on by people who sincerely care about the questions of life.

Is this a love letter to the denizens of this blog? Damn right it is. In the ugly and lonely place that is the blogosphere, this feels like home.

The Founding and religion is a very important topic in this day and age. Perhaps the most important! But it's OK if we kick the meaning of life beyond politics around a bit, too. There's more to life than politics.

And you should see the historical work Pinky's been doing lately. Exc, and soon you'll see it. No wonder he's chomping at the bit that we get back at it!

But in the meantime, love to all those here gathered. I do hope we're a karass and not a granfalloon...

Pinky said...

.
There is a test for inclusion in the man made religious denominations of what is loosely called Evangelicalism. That test is whether or not a person believes the Holy Bible to be the Revealed Word of God. Once the person accepts that premise, everything from there on in is seen to be truth only in as much as it it firmly based on the Bible.

As a Biblicist, if Frazer wants to see himself as being "saved", he must absolutely put everything he believes in line with biblical teaching.
.
Therefore, the teaching of evolution is a fraud against the Bible.
.
Of course, there is a little wiggle room to allow for the various denominations and that has to do with how one group or another interprets this or that Bible passage to fit their thinking one way or another.

That is what it means to be a Biblicist. They are all in bondage to their acceptance of the Bible as the Revealed Word of God. They love their bondage as it frees them from having any questions about reality.
.
.

Gregg Frazer said...

Pinky,

I have a few remarks in response to your comments.

First:
For one who believes the Bible is the revealed Word of God, not "everything" is "seen to be truth only in as much as it is firmly based on the Bible." Only those things about which the Bible speaks are viewed that way. I believe that 2+2=4 is true despite the fact that it is not firmly based on the Bible. I believe that the law of gravity is true despite ... and so on.

For those matters on which the Bible speaks -- yes, truth is determined by the Bible's message. If it IS the Word of God, that is a completely logical position, I think.

And you're right: I absolutely DO want to see myself as saved. [actually, I'd like to see you saved, too]

Evolution is not a fraud against the Bible; it's a fraud against God and man as revealed by the biblical record.

Second:
I do not agree with your characterization of having access to the very Word of God and ultimate truth as "bondage." On the contrary, it is very liberating -- as opposed to being in bondage to sin.

This is like referring to direct access to J.R.R. Tolkien for your understanding of Middle Earth as "bondage." You are "constrained" in the sense that you cannot argue with the source -- but there's no need to argue with the source and it is folly to do so. What he has created in that context IS reality as far as he reveals it to you. Challenging it is both futile and nonsensical.

Third:
I DO have questions about reality. I do not understand, or claim to understand, every aspect of reality. I don't have questions concerning the aspects of reality which have been revealed to me by the Creator of reality -- but He hasn't revealed everything about reality to us.

Why is it that those who have answers in some areas are celebrated, but those who have answers in other areas are disdained or patronized? Could it be because the answers touch too close to home?

Do you criticize scientists for their "bondage" to naturalism or empiricism? Do you similarly dismiss them with scornful suggestions that they think they are free from questions about reality simply because they claim to have some of the answers about reality?

Do you characterize mathematicians as being in "bondage" to formulas or axioms?

With all due respect, this strikes me as ad hominem. Deal with the arguments or don't, but don't resort to name-calling.

Pinky said...

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Criticize those who are held in bondage to anything? Nope--not me!!
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Instead, I feel for them.
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The very Jesus you seem to think you believe in, was strongly against the bondage in which religion held the "little ones". That's why the religious leaders of the day conspired to have him put to death.
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King of Ireland said...

Does anyone know why I am "muskie" all my posts are under that.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Gregg, I will say that in my view, Pinky wasn't doing an ad hominem. He was speaking in the larger sense about those who share your worldview.

You put it out there, and specifically as a "truth claim." He's entitled in fairness to respond. And Pinky's point has been argued within the bounds of Christianity, and need not be read as some anti-theistic brute spitting on religion in general.

For quite frankly, I agree with Pinky's thrust and criticism of your theology and brand of Christianity. As did GK Chesterton:

"It is not, as the moderns delight to say, a question of theology. The Protestant theology of Martin Luther was a thing that no modern Protestant would be seen dead in a field with; or if the phrase be too flippant, would be specially anxious to touch with a barge-pole. That Protestantism was pessimism; it was nothing but bare insistence on the hopelessness of all human virtue, as an attempt to escape hell. That Lutheranism is now quite unreal; more modern phases of Lutheranism are rather more unreal; but Luther was not unreal. He was one of those great elemental barbarians, to whom it is indeed given to change the world."

You get a fair hearing here, Gregg, and have much to teach. But if you want to bring your truth claims here as truth, there is much Christian thought that stands ready and able to test their mettle.

I hope this doesn't scare you off. You've been up to all challenges so far, and have been praised for it. You have an even and fair playing field here, and you and your beliefs will always be given a proper and courteous forum if I have anything to say about it.

[And I do...]

bpabbott said...

TVD: "[Pinky/Phil] was speaking in the larger sense about those who share your worldview.

I thought I'd comment as my perspective is subtly different, but can lead to a very different picture.

I agree that many who share Gregg's view may be described by Phil's words. However, I do not think that the same description applies to Gregg (nor am I claiming anyone has expressed such a sentiment ... just clarifying).

In describing his theology, I was left with the impression that it is liberating for Gregg. I also had the impression that Gregg hopes that others find the same ... but I did not get the impression that he wishes to bind others to his theology. In fact, I'm confident he does not see that as his task.

Although, Phil's point that many Biblicists appear bonded by thier theology is one that I agree with, it is difficult for me to assertain whether the individuals themselves are bound, or if they are seeking to bind others to their will ... meaning some may be using the Bible as a means to attain enfluence over the lives of their fellow men.

In any event, if there are some who share Gregg's theology, who are destructive to the lives they encounter, I don't associate that harm with Gregg.

If Gregg's theology works for him, he should embrace it, and I take no offense to him promoting it. If it does not work for others, then they may have misunderstood or misapplied Gregg's theology, or personally made a bad decision in chosing their theology.

Pinky said...

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Heyyyyyy, Abbot!
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You make some good points and I think they are worthy of further discussion.
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Can you tie them in with what it may have had to do with being an American during the revolutionary-era of our unique nation?
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bpabbott said...

Phil,

I do think there a parellels that could be examined. However, I've never been much of a student for theological details of the founding period.

While I'm picking up quite a bit here, I'm knowledgable enough to do a post myself.

However, I do think it fair to say that the 1st amenment's religious clauses sought to protect the citizens from being theologically bound by federal authorities.

Gregg Frazer said...

Well, it seems that others do not think that Pinky's charges were ad hominem -- so I guess I'll bow to the majority view.

I presume that means that "you guys" think that he would similarly describe an empiricist as being "in bondage" and that he would argue that the empiricist loves his bondage because it frees him from having any questions about metaphysical reality -- right?

I guess I was thrown off by him referring to me by name as a "biblicist" and then saying that "they are ALL in bondage ...." That made me think he was talking about me -- and not just some amorphous group.
If so, then I apologize to Pinky. I apparently misunderstood his intent in taking it as criticism.

As for Pinky's follow-up post:

I appreciate your concern, but there's no need to "feel for" me (if I'm included in "them") being in a bondage that does not exist.

I'm not sure that you have any idea what Jesus I believe in (the actual Jesus revealed in the Bible), but He did indeed oppose the bondage of false man-made religious systems. Fortunately, I do not promote any religious system and I am constrained only by the Word of God and not by man-made systems (like the one devised by the Pharisees to bind people).

Gregg Frazer said...

For the record, I think it irrational to believe in evolution quite independent of the Bible.

In my opinion, it makes no sense in an empirical, scientific, or logical sense, either.

Sorry for the tangent, but I just wanted to clarify that I have views outside of the Bible, too.

bpabbott said...

Gregg,

"I presume that means that "you guys" think that he would similarly describe an empiricist as being "in bondage" and that he would argue that the empiricist loves his bondage because it frees him from having any questions about metaphysical reality -- right?"

While I've met many who share your world view, and some who do just what you describe above, I am quick to acknowledge that you have not!

Your example has changed my view of the world.

You have no more reason to answer for the transgressions of other Biblical literalists than I have reason to answer for the transgressions of Mao or Stalin.

You're testament gives me comfort. For that I am grateful.

Jonathan Rowe said...

Gregg,

I know you may invoke the Satan/deceiver card to this point...but the main reason why I believe in Darwin's evolution is that the overwhelming majority of experts in the scientific community endorse it as a scientific truth.

And re deception, one major reason why many evangelicals -- whatever they think of Darwin -- DON'T believe in a literal 6-day creation is because the earth and the universe itself evince billions of years of age.

If you counter, as I have seen YECs do, God created the Earth-universe to appear billions of years old, then who is the real deceiver?

Pinky said...

.
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My point about Biblicism is just what you said it was--that Biblicists put them selves in bondage to what ever the Bible has to say about anything--they are stuck and there is no escape.
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But, so what? Most of them feel great about their bondage for it sets them free from the concerns of having to figure things out otherwise.

And, if a scientist gives himself over to the scientific method, well, you could say that he is in bondage to science. And, you could even go further and say that we are in bondage to our experiences.
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But, there is a major difference between being in bondage to religious precept and being in bondage to one's experiences.
.

Gregg Frazer said...

Thanks for the clarification, Pinky. I'm not quite sure why one would WANT to "escape" what the only infallible source says -- but you're right; there is no escape.

Re "there is a major difference between being in bondage to religious precept and being in bondage to one's experiences": I agree. If the "religious precept" is based soundly on the Word of God, it is much more reliable than one's experiences because not infected by that darned fallibility to which human beings are subject.

Gregg Frazer said...

Jon,

First, I am not a scientist; so I don't claim to know as much about scientific matters as about the other subjects we've discussed.

Second, I didn't start this rabbit trail and you're the referee as to whether a discussion should continue.

That said, I'd point out that the scientists to which you refer are "in bondage" to their own presuppositions -- just like we evangelicals and biblicists. 1) They do not admit the possibility of supernatural influence or metaphysical reality. 2) They presume that all has always been as it is -- uniformity; and discount the possible effects of catastrophic influence.

Consequently, they look at evidence (and "reality") through their own bias and not objectively. All of their "observations" and conclusions are based on their own faith "doctrines."

The earth appears to be billions of years old to those who do not admit the influence of catastrophic interference -- such as a worldwide flood. The Bible is not the only ancient text recording a worldwide flood -- virtually every civilization has such a story. If such an event occurred, the effects would include extreme pressure, stratification, and other things such as changed carbon signatures, etc. Those who have studied the effects of the Mt. St. Helen's eruption see that a few hours produced results that appeared to be thousands of years in the making. Also, much of the "science" concerning age is based on carbon-14 and other dating systems which are flawed.

Also, those same scientists admit that evolution tells us NOTHING about origins -- how it all started. You won't find a scientist at an Ivy League school who claims that evolution explains origins -- even Richard Dawkins admits that it doesn't. They only claim that evolution explains what happened AFTER things began -- after matter existed. Dawkins shows his extraordinary FAITH when he says that aliens may have "planted" the human seed on earth -- but he won't even admit the possibility of intelligent design otherwise.

I presume you are familiar with the SETI project. In their search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, they look for pattern or design in sounds from "out there." Because pattern or design indicates intelligence -- to those scientists. But the hard-core evolution "believers" deny that pattern or VERY INTRICATE, COMPLICATED design could even POSSIBLY indicate intelligence. Why? Because of their profound faith that is immune to contrary evidence. Sound like a familiar charge?

I don't think that God made the world look older in order to deceive people -- they're quite capable of self-deception. I think He made the world in such a way as to make it useful and effective for its purposes.

Pinky said...

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I'd point out that the scientists to which you refer are "in bondage" to their own presuppositions -- just like we evangelicals and biblicists.
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Here's a big problem for you in your admission:
PRESUPPOSITION"
▸ noun: the act of presupposing; a supposition made prior to having knowledge (as for the purpose of argument)
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The very definition of the scientific method puts presupposing out as an impossibility.
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You are trapped in your bondage, Mr. Frazer.
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Sorry to say.
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Jonathan Rowe said...

Gregg,

I can agree with everything you write after:

"Also, those same scientists admit...." Unlike some of my friends, I do not advance the Dawkins "evolution confirms atheism" line.

My own personal opinion, as a believer in Darwin's evolution, is that, science and philosophy have not yet (and probably will never) adequately explain 1) how something as opposed to nothing exists; and 2) how life came to exist from a universe of non-life. I am personally sympathetic to the God(s)/intelligence explanation for both of these. But I believe such explanation is properly within the realm of philosophy NOT science. When those Qs come up in science, the proper answer is "?" And the dithering as to the likliest explanation properly belongs in the realm of philosophy, not science.

Re everything that came before that line, like you said, it would be a rabbit hole discussion. So we should just drop it.

Pinky said...

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So, how does this come to be bondage?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

For a fact, it is release from bondage.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I have to jump in here...
All humans have experience as their "context", but the way they understand, frame or evaluate their "reality" or experience, or "context" is dependent on many factors. But, any of these factors are dependent on the observer's observing and what they "see". (Two people seeing the same accident will sometimes focus on different aspects of the same accident...I think many of us "see" things skewed by previous experiences, which is prejuidice or bias)...

That being said, both science "proper" and text, if taken "at face value" without understanding that the observer has some part in the observation, will limit their understanding of bias and become dogmatic in their opinions. This is where interpretation leads one in putting togethter a "frame" or "view of life". If something cannot be falsified, then it is taken as "true".

On the other hand, one cannot interpret "fact" of scientific investigation as these facts are suuported by physical evidence and the lack of falsifiability. But, what I wonder is, if one is looking for some type of hypothesis to be validated, and there is "something else going on" that the scientist is not looking for, then, how many times are those findings not "seen"? Mnay major scientific findings, or paradigm shifts occur because a scientists "happens" to see something that was unknown, unseen, or unevaluated before....

So, as with science, there are many theories in which to view life and one chooses what their basis or bias will be.

Gregg Frazer said...

Are you aware of the odds against even a single amino acid forming by chance?

What are the statistical odds-against the "spontaneous-generation theory?"
What do the scientists say - John Eccles, winner of the Nobel Prize and one of the foremost brain scientists in this century speaks of one chance in 1,010,000 as being "infinitely improbable." .... Carl Sagan and other prominent scientists have estimated the chance of man evolving at roughly 1 chance in 102,000,000,000.34. Harold Morowitz, a Yale University physicist, calculated the odds of a single bacterium emerging from the basic building blocks necessary were 1 chance in 10,100,000,000,000.24. Dr. David J. Rodabough, Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Missouri, estimated the more realistic chance that life would spontaneously generate (even on 1023 planets) as only one chance in 102,999,940.21. ..... Scientists Walter L. Bradley and Charles Thaxton, point out that the probability of assembling amino acid building blocks into a functional protein is approximately one chance in 4.9 X 10191.16. Scientist Harold F. Blum, writing in Time’s Arrow and Evolution, wrote that, "The spontaneous formation of a polypeptide of the size of the smallest known proteins seems beyond all probability." ..... David J. Rodabaugh, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, shows the probability that a simple living organism could be produced by mutations "is so small as to constitute a scientific impossibility" — "the chance that it could have happened anywhere in the universe, is less than 1 [chance] in 102,999,942."

I asked a prominent statistician how he could believe in evolution given some of these improbabilities. His response was: "infinite improbability equals absolute certainty." Hmmmm.

And it goes on. In short, to believe in evolution as the explanation for the origin of the earth or the genesis of life is IN MY OPINION completely irrational and requires greater faith than does belief in God and/or the Bible.

One might ask: which is more probable -- spontaneous generation defying such odds and producing amazing complexity or an intelligent designer doing so? Perhaps it was aliens -- right Dr. Dawkins? But then, what was THEIR origin?

And we haven't even gotten into the lack of a missing link; the continued existence of "lower" forms of life in the chain despite the fact that natural selection should have eliminated them; the logic of a creature sensing a need for some appendage and therefore being able to generate it and/or generate it in its genetic code, and numerous other problems.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Greg,
Even if one believes in the "design of the universe", as far as probabilities, then that does not say anything about God, per se. It only leaves one in doubt as to how the world came into existence. Therefore, we are still basing our life on faith of our bias or self-chosen prejuidice.

Some think that choosing to base their life on what can be proven by evidence, and fasifiability, is more rational, than jumping in the dark in belief about God's intervention and/or character. One bases their view on self-responsible behavior the other on "faith" that God is responsible. One can give reasons why they have chosen a certain path, the other beomces, presumptuous, I think.

Pinky said...

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Talking odds.
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Let's say, Mr. Frazer, that the odds of your question are infinite.
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In that case, the object of your question will occur; but, it surely could take millions and even billions or maybe trillions or googoolians of years.
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In other words, sooner or later.
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Right?
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It completely boggles the mind.
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And, according to the odds, it will all happen again and again and again on and on into infinity for ever and ever and ever.
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Marveleous!!
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Just think, we'll do this all over again and again Ad infinitum.
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Maybe we'll improve on it next time?
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But, what is truly fantastic is that we are here and in the now.
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I'm glad you're here and it's nice to meetcha.
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Howdy!
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Gregg Frazer said...

So, Pinky, scientists do not have presuppositions? They are the only people on the planet who do not begin with certain assumptions?

The definition of the scientific method is based on presuppositions! Why is it centered on observation, empiricism, and measurability? Is it not because of a presupposition that that is the most effective and valid method of acquiring knowledge?

In the link you sent, we see the word "conviction" and we see a history of the scientific method in which the standards have changed -- changed based on what? Changed based on changing presuppositions.

I'm trying to get you to recognize that there is no one method of acquiring knowledge that is universally and solely useful and valid. We have an epistemological difference and we choose our epistemologies largely on the basis of faith.

You prefer the scientific method -- which, by the way, tells us NOTHING about origins. No scientist OBSERVED the origin of the universe or of life and it can't be tested or replicated.

Further, the scientific method regularly produces errors.

I prefer reliance on authority -- when the authority is God. Ours is a difference in epistemology.

The scientific method is bondage (to the same extent as biblicism) because scientists are "bound" by its prescriptions. They MUST assume only the natural and not consider the supernatural. They MUST assume universalism. According to the link you sent, their method of inquiry "MUST be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning." More limits/bonds.

In short, they are not free to pursue whatever methods of inquiry they might consider to be fruitful -- they are bound by their presuppositions (just like a biblicist). I consider myself free because I believe that my epistemology is best -- they consider themselves free for the same reason.

Angie:
My whole point was that what evolutionists believe is NOT PROVEN. And I would not support "jumping in the dark," either. Fortunately, I don't have to jump in the dark because I have light (revelation) from that God -- including His creation. I admit that I'm basing my view of origins on faith -- I'm glad you admit the same. That was the point -- both sides are based on faith, but only one side generally admits it.

I wouldn't say "prejudice" -- at least on my part, because I've looked at evidence. And, again, what COUNTS as evidence? I base my life on faith which is based on evidence -- just not the kind of evidence that you accept.

Pinky said...

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My post about the odds ad infinitum are based on my faith that existence is an eternal thing.
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Yours is based on the claim that a book written in antiquity and edited curing a questionable time of dictatorial governments is the Revealed Word of God.
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So?
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Your position is well known and so is mine.
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I have no problem in leaving the proof up to eternity.
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Time wounds all heals.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

Pinky,
I like that,"Time wounds all heals"...didn't you mean "Time wounds all HEELS":)!

Greg,
Scripture is a dubious way to "base" life on, because it has to be revised, unless one wants to believe in patronage, slavery, theocracies, etc.
But, I do think that the Ten Commandments are a good gauge for society's "better functioning", as it checks or limits man's "self" and recognizes "other". How that works itself out is the debate on legislation, foreign policy, military strategy, and judiarary discretion.

Pinky said...

WHERE VISIBLE VAPORS ARE OBSERVED TO BE COLLECTED WITH CARBONACEOUS MATERIAL THERE MUST SURELY BE CONFLAGRATION ALSO.
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heh heh
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Yup, heels.
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bpabbott said...

Gregg,

Regarding; "Are you aware of the odds against even a single amino acid forming by chance?"

Given the observable size of the universe, the probability for the non-existend of amino acids is significantly more unlikely than their existence. I think arguing probabilities does not make for good theology.

A more proper theological question is "why" they exist at all. Science can offer explanations for how amino acids come to exist (no spontaneous generation is needed), but cannot offer a reason for why the fabric of our universe is compatible with their existence.

Science studies *how*, not *why* things came into existence. To explain *how* a phenomena occured or came into existence, science must have knowledge of the pre-existing phenomena.

Which leads to the "bondage" of science.

Science is certainly bound by its methodology and application.

science is a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method. The scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. Hypotheses which survive testing, come to be called theories.

Given its method, science is bound to the study of what is natural. Because the supernatural is *not* objectively observable, its very existence fails to meet the requirement of testability. Thus, supernatural phenomena lie beyond the boundaries of sceince.

In much the same way you don't understand why anyone would want to excape the bounds of your theology ...

"why one would WANT to "escape" what the only infallible source says"

... I relish the bounds of the scientific method because of its demonstrable advantage to improving human understanding of all phenomena which we encounter in the universe.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

bpabbott,
Give me the "How" questions anyday, or leave the questions as questions, don't try to resolve or solve those questions...there is no answer...

People who try to resolve the why quesitons become dogmatic as they have "found the answer" and that is horrendously offensive...especially in light of the great diversity and evil in the world.

The best answer is good government, with good leadership. That is the only hope in this world...and it has nothing to do with "pie in the sky".

Jonathan Rowe said...

"the chance that it could have happened anywhere in the universe, is less than 1 [chance] in 102,999,942."

That means (if I understand it) if you roll the dice 103,000,000 times you probably will get one of the results.

And if you look at the number of stars in a galaxy and galaxies in the universe and combine that with a potentially infinite amount of time, then the odds are you'll get "a simple living organism...produced by mutations," over and over again.

I've noted this to my atheist friends and asked them do they believe in reincarnation. They typically argue time is eternal at both ends. The chances that, not just a simple organism, but a complicated person, comes into being is infinitesimally small; but it still is a probability and each of us does still exist. So once we die start rolling the dice and roll them infinite times and the probability is that "you" will keep repeating, infinite times. The time distances between each "you" may be trillions of rolls of the dices. But with eternity, we have an infinite roll of the dices. So just as matter has always existed, "you" have always exited and always will.

I'm not sure I believe this; I'm just saying that the atheistic evolution philosophy arguably allows for this possibility.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

bpabott,
When you talk of humans and the "why" question, then I become interested! These are not theological questions, but psychological, biological, and sociological questions...

bpabbott said...

Angie,

I've feen fascinated by biology since I was a child, my father is a retired Prof of Psychology, and grew up in a crowd where parents with PhDs were more common than not. At no point in my life did I engage in Theological interests ... well until now ;-)

And it would appear that have caught on to me. As an innate atheist, It is not possible for me to posit "why" questions in the genuinely personal sense.

Thus, the best I can do is to posit "why" questions that I think are inclusive to both empirical and a theological world views.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

bpabbott,
I suspect that using reason to balance the two "worldviews" is what is important today in several arenas; biology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and philosophy....

In bringins together the theological (philosophy)...incarnational model, which affirms mind, body, and action, reason can suppose to breech the gaps that divide these areanas. But, the problem with doing so, is what model does one use that is universl and even then, where is the individual person in their choice, value, uniqueness, etc. Scientific "power" in subverting or controlling individual lives seems a little "Nazi" like...

This view tends to reduce people to "training grounds" or objectified, where the individual ceases to be accepted, loved and encouraged in their specific goals, and ideals...but be formed and conformed to a certain model of behavior, ethical value, and/or moral model.

I find that your "innate atheism" is an interesting comment. Do you mean that how you were raised is ingrained or internalized, such that you cannot choose differently? Obviously, you have grown to appreciate some value to theology/philosophy.

I think theology is a coping mechanism. That how one understands their faith is not just how one was raised, although that is one type of faith, but how one "fills the gaps" of their "missing parts" in their upbringing. Our needs will be fulfilled one way or another, until we deal with reality and a greater world, where we do not matter in the "grand scheme" of things.

Insignificance is what men seek to overcome in their self-grandizment. Somehow overcoming limitation gives men a sense of power that enthralls their sense of importance and value, giving them a sense of "greater purpose".

Grown men and women should come to terms with life as it is, and if life grants greatness, it is a "gift" that has not been earned, but coinscidence, a mystery.

Americans believe the myth that hard work will result in success (however that is understood) and partly this is due to our capitalistic system. But, success is not necessarily so, in our culture, as well as others. Many other cultural myths exist in all societies, but myth is how we come to understand "order" in the world. And a big myth is God.

That is not suggesing that God does not exist, but that we cannot know for certain.

I hope I have not "rambled on" and bored you, but I think these things are interesting.

bpabbott said...

Angie,

I agree that in the public forum it is important to balance the two worldviews. However, I would stenuously object that is important to do that in the scientific spheres of biology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and philosophy.

As the bounds of theology and science are not inclusive, at least one, if not both, would have to be destroyed to include the other.

Regarding my "innate atheism", I am personally convinced that my disposition transcends my experience. While I readily admit that my conclusion has been formed after those experiences, at no point did my parents take a positive or negative opinion regarding theology. I was literally raised in an absence of it.

Of my siblings, one has a similar perspective to mine, and the other two have embraced theological world views.

My parents have never expressed a disapproval for any of our prespectives. Their praise or disapproval has always been limited to our actions or results.

Regarding myself, even though I have no need for theolgy, but I'd not qualify theololgy as a coping mechanism ... at least no more than science is a "coping mechanism" for me.

If an indivual leverages theology to achieve happiness in life (success), kudos to the individual!

If an individual leverages science to achive happiness in live (success), kudos again!

Regarding the hard work and success, I think it evident that hard work is much preferred over sloth in achieving success ... but (generally speaking) only if the individual's goals and means are rational, and consistent with the individual's opportunities.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

So, your parents were more interested in the way you behaved? And one's beliefs do not enter into how one behaves? I think what one does is consciously or subconsciously chosen in prioritizing one's value system.

Is liberty or order most important? And why?

bpabbott said...

I think most parents are very concerned about how their children behave.

I do agree that belief and behavior are not indepdendent. In fact, I think that the belief that constructive behavior is preferred to destructive behavior has a direct effect on how one behaves.

What it takes to instill that belief in an individual varies. For *me*, no theology was needed ... but I have no reason to expect what worked for me is a generally applicable to all others.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Proper behavior, for sure, but proper behavior is determined by many factors, isn't it? And one who acts on principled conscience are standing FOR something that they believe in and against something that they value, but would be "acting improperly" according to the "authorities". But, this is what social reformers do when authority has acted unbecominly or inappropriately.And in free societies, we value dissent.

Good leadership that hold the values that an individual affirms, don't have to vye for followers. They inspire followers.

As far as children go, yes, there are differences in children and it takes much wisdom to know how to help them become who they were meant to be (not what the parent necessarily "wants" for them to be).

It sounds like you had good parents.

King of Ireland said...

To all,

This is the same conversation that comes up on Dispatches all the time. I might say to the Biblicist, "Do you have absolute proof that the creation was a literal six days from the text?" The answer is no. There is a gap between Genesis 1 and 2. There is also the possibility that it is allegory. I cannot be ruled out.

To the naturalist I would agree with Gregg and question how one can even give an opinion about the existence of divinity when science had nothing to say about because it assumes that all knowledge in obtained in the realm of the natural. I can one give an opinion on something that is not even being tested based on bias?

As far as to whether this is relevant to the mission of this blog:

This reason vs. revelation debate was white hot when Locke and company came up with many of the ideas that the Founding was based on. I think the Enlightenment was similar to the Neo Confucian period in China in that it attacked the fatalism that had killed society by saying that this life does not matter and to escape it to go to the spirit world was all that mattered.

The real culprit in my mind was not Luther. It was Augustine. I have read some credible things that seem to point that some of what he taught came from the gnostics that believed all matter was evil.

So if Genesis is allegory and the whole and there is good in the world then the whole original sin doctrine comes into question. It is the "dogmatism" on both sides that keeps people from having this discussions without heads being cut off. America was the exception and this blog seems to be taking back to a time when these matters could be discussed civility.

I think someone should do a post to bring this discussion back up top and frame it within the bounds of the Founding and the discussions that were relevant back then. Any takers?

King of Ireland said...

To all,

This is the same conversation that comes up on Dispatches all the time. I might say to the Biblicist, "Do you have absolute proof that the creation was a literal six days from the text?" The answer is no. There is a gap between Genesis 1 and 2. There is also the possibility that it is allegory. I cannot be ruled out.

To the naturalist I would agree with Gregg and question how one can even give an opinion about the existence of divinity when science had nothing to say about because it assumes that all knowledge in obtained in the realm of the natural. I can one give an opinion on something that is not even being tested based on bias?

As far as to whether this is relevant to the mission of this blog:

This reason vs. revelation debate was white hot when Locke and company came up with many of the ideas that the Founding was based on. I think the Enlightenment was similar to the Neo Confucian period in China in that it attacked the fatalism that had killed society by saying that this life does not matter and to escape it to go to the spirit world was all that mattered.

The real culprit in my mind was not Luther. It was Augustine. I have read some credible things that seem to point that some of what he taught came from the gnostics that believed all matter was evil.

So if Genesis is allegory and the whole and there is good in the world then the whole original sin doctrine comes into question. It is the "dogmatism" on both sides that keeps people from having this discussions without heads being cut off. America was the exception and this blog seems to be taking back to a time when these matters could be discussed civility.

I think someone should do a post to bring this discussion back up top and frame it within the bounds of the Founding and the discussions that were relevant back then. Any takers?

Pinky said...

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It's on the way.
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King of Ireland said...

Pinky,

I look forward to it.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Pinky,
I do too!
There are others that are tiring of theological discussion, so we must consider what this blog is about....

King of Ireland said...

It is about the Founding and theology was part of the founding not just philosophy. This is the crux of the argument about whether Locke was enlightenment or a part of the chain from Aquinas onward.

It is impossible to keep the theology out of it. Though I think most of the discussion should be in a historical context.

Pinky said...

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How can we discuss much about the Founding without including something about theology?
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Almost impossible.
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As is the case of current American society.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

Theology is based on philosophy. And theology has developed accordingly, as philosophy is the basis of our "knowledge" or the academic disciplines, via reason/science.

Political philosophy is where the real world exists and what our Founders based our nations values. The "rule of law" was what controlled our society, not God. And law was based on limiting government, balancing power and maintaining order, granting individuals freedom of conscience in regards to religion.

Therefore, when one wants to affirm our nations values as ultimate, I agree. But, whether these values were Christian, as the fundamentalists would understand, I doubt. Why? Because fundamentalism doesn't allow for toleration of difference or diversity. And that is of ultimate importance and value in a free society.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The "rule of law" was what controlled our society, not God.

Yes, but the law was "natural law," which the Founders believed came from God.

Tom Van Dyke said...

It was Augustine. I have read some credible things that seem to point that some of what he taught came from the gnostics that believed all matter was evil.

King, I confess I'm not up on my Augustine, but I believe he was a Manichean at first, but pulled a 180.

Augustine himself comes to spend nine years as a hearer among the Manicheans [see Brown 1967, pp. 46-60], and while there are no extant writings from this period of his life, the Manicheans are clearly the target of many of the writings he would compose after his conversion to the more orthodox, if Neoplatonizing, Christianity he encountered under Bishop Ambrose of Milan. The Manicheans proposed a powerful, if somewhat mythical and philosophically awkward explanation of the problem of evil: there is a perpetual struggle between co-eternal principles of Light and Darkness (good and evil, respectively), and our souls are particles of Light which have become trapped in the Darkness of the physical world. By means of sufficient insight and a sufficiently ascetic life, however, one could eventually, over the course of several lives, come to liberate the Light within from the surrounding Darkness, thus rejoining the larger Light of which the soul is but a fragmented and isolated part.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/augustine/

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
I recognize that the philosophical basis of law has to be based on some kind of humanism, in liberal democracies. But, God was not the direct influence of our Founder's positions. There were many influences.

Pinky said...

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...[what controlled our society], was "natural law," which the Founders believed came from God.
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Did you have any particular Founders in mind here?
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

BTW,
Weren't the Founders interested in creating "order" in the Revolution, not usurping government per se. Their intent was to protect liberty, while granting man a context to be "free" under the "rule of law".

It seems to me, that if one was wanting to assert a "biblical' basis for our nation's founding then, one would not support our Revolution at all. Scripture affirm kings, and God in their government.

This is not to say that religion does not play a part, as "order' is also a part of the design side of the universe. This was a Deist view. But, they did not subscribe to Aritotle's philosophy in regard to First Causes, did they?

Tom Van Dyke said...

I had James Wilson and Alexander Hamilton in mind directly, Pinky, Wilson for his "same adorable source" quote, and Hamilton in the Farmer Refuted.

Good and wise men, in all ages, have...supposed that the Deity, from the relations we stand in to Himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever.

This is what is called the law of nature, “which, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is, of course, superior in obligations to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original.”—Blackstone.*

Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind: the Supreme Being gave existence to man, together with the means of preserving and beautifying that existence. He endowed him with rational faculties, by the help of which to discern and pursue such things as were consistent with his duty and interest; and invested him with an inviolable right to personal liberty and personal safety.


I've found little or nothing in the Founding literature not in harmony with these sentiments.

I recognize that the philosophical basis of law has to be based on some kind of humanism, in liberal democracies. But, God was not the direct influence of our Founder's positions. There were many influences.

Natural law is not "humanism." Depending on the definitions, I'd say they're in opposition: in the latter all law originates with man, in the former, it is already part of the fabric of the universe.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom, you said,
Natural law is not "humanism." Depending on the definitions, I'd say they're in opposition: in the latter all law originates with man, in the former, it is already part of the fabric of the universe.

Aren't you setting up nature against man? Man is a part of nature and that is humanism's strength, in affirming value in man, and legislating laws that affirm man's humanity.

On the other hand, you say that law doesn't develop from man, but from the "fabric of the universe". This is the crux in the road, so to speak. Does the fabric of the universe depend on a supernatural Being, or not? The Founders obviously believed in some type of "ordered" universe, or design by a Creator.

In evolutionary thinking, one can assent to "order", as the Founders also affirmed, but natural philosophy has also come to know that there is chaos or "disorder" also in the universe. And this is the interface of the science and religion debate.

And in postmodernity, all societies are "constructed" realities. So, multiculturalism is affirmed as a positive, in light of man's construction and the meaning making human being....

Pinky said...

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Well, it seems (to me?) the use of the words, Divinity, and God, and Himself to indicate the source of Natural Law almost comes across as a placation to keep the ultra-religious from boiling over.
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Natural Law is also seen as that law that exists prior to society when haman beings are in a state of nature.
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And, we must have a good grip on that idea before we can truly understand what America is all about.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Natural Law is also seen as that law that exists prior to society when haman beings are in a state of nature.
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And, we must have a good grip on that idea before we can truly understand what America is all about.


Well, that's my point, and Hamilton's. As for "post-modern" societies, post-modernism hasn't been around long enough for us to know whether they can survive, being the creation of theories and "oughts" rather than the result of an organic process.

For America is "evolutionary": it got here through a long process. "Constructed" societies are by definition artificial.

Pinky said...

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Postmodernism reminds me of the super wealthy person who sits in his study looking over all his accumulated properties with the goal in mind of selecting the one he most likes for the site where he will live out his golden years.
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The problem is, he might die before he gets it all figured out.
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There's the rub.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

Pinky,
Our government was affirming a "civilizing" influencs of leading the "masses" to "culture" via humanism.....? Yes? or No?

Inalienable rights are the basis of human rights, which is irrespective of identification factors (race, religion, education, etc.)

The problem today is how do we give these "inaleinable rights" to the "radicals" without circumventing "rights" for others/all?!

Radicals tend to be reactive due to ideological thinking (religious or scientific) and being in the world. These think that they have a "corner on truth" or don't have to listen to other who differ, These may be radically prejuidiced individuals/groups that cannot be informed or educated out of their mentality or mind-set.

Some believe that this is an ingrained response and reactive stance toward difference, such that it is impossible to breach. And when God is added into the mix, then it is doubly dangerous...

Pinky said...

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I think the thoughts I'm struggling with about rights during the Founding period will play right into your thinking.
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You have been on my mind often as I've worked on them.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
Didn't the Founders also "construct" a "new reality" or "new experiment in government" when they USED natural law as the foundation of their "new form of society"?

Today, men are trying to use other scientific understandings to "form or shape" society...and this is the rub (using Pinky's phrase)...if man is a developmental creature, then he is not a determined entity, that is forced into a preconceived "form" to produce a preconceived "position" to "perform" preconceived "plans" that leaders have presumed upon a life...

"Organic" can be a good or bad term in understanding how that works..good if it means that men are left to pursue their own ends, within their areas of contexts, interacting with those contexts in a "social contract"...affirming a "self" and "other", which produces productivity and blessing in a society...

OR "organic" can be a "Bad" term if used in controlling the factors that determine the growth or trying to force or coerce a person into a "form", instead of respecting that person, as a LIFE, not a project...

bpabbott said...

Angie: "The problem today is how do we give these "inaleinable rights" to the "radicals" without circumventing "rights" for others/all?!

inalienable: incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred.

inalienable rights: rights which are not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of a particular society or polity.

If rights are inalienable, then they are not for us to give ... which is the entire point, I think.

I don't expect abandoning the concept of inalienable rights will become necessary ... at least I hope not.

When there is evidence that individuals intend to do specific harm to others then we apply the rule of law to secure the safety of those targeted. That security may be secured by protecting those targeted and/or by policing those intending to do, or have done, harm.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

bpabbott,

I am no expert, nor am I even well informed in international law and treaties, but don't nations agree about such things.

Our Founders agreed that our citizens were granted "inalienable rights". But, when it comes to globalists 'ideals", then there are conflicts of interest and different values, etc. aren't there? And this is the quandary when it comes to doing business with those that don't hold our values....

Angie Van De Merwe said...

bpabbott,
Out of curiosity and to educate me, since you grew up in a psychologist's home, do you think that there are prejuicdiced personalities? I's read "Prejuidice" a while back but it was written in the 50's I think. It held that there were people with prejuidicial personalities.

The Islamic man who murdered just recently in Fort Hood, had been to a conference on Israeli and Palestianian conflict. He had written that he identified as a Palestinian, even though he was American born. Since Palestinians do have a "scape-goat" or victim mentality, do you think this added to his violent reaction to his deployment?

bpabbott said...

Angie,

I'm also not an expert on international treates regarding human rights. However, I'd be surprised if the language of the treaties described rights as inalienable.

Regarding that, you make a good point. What if our values give an advantage to radicals who oppose us?

Values and principles are seldom convenient, but it would be naive to think no level of inconvenience would cause us to abandom ours.

Personally, I think we are a long way from that.

bpabbott said...

Angie,

Regarding prejudice, I think it is the opposing side of the coin we call preference.

I suspect what you refer to is what I'd call intolerance. Are there personalities which are more intolerant than others? Definitely.

However, my understanding is that intolerance is a manifestation of anxiety. Which may be relieved using a variety of approaches.

Pinky said...

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Ain't this greate?
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We're getting back to basics about America's Creation.
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It will be interesting to read what the lawyers have to say.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Tom,
Didn't the Founders also "construct" a "new reality" or "new experiment in government" when they USED natural law as the foundation of their "new form of society"?


No. Natural law had been under development for at least 500 years in Christian thought, and can be found in the ancient Greeks and particularly the Roman Stoics.

As Pinky says, the USA was set up pretty close to the English model---the Americans just wanted their rights as Englishmen back, which "taxation without representation," etc., took away.

They did however, dispense with having a king, and since the House of Lords [not Commons] was the true power in parliament at that time, they dispensed with hereditary rule in our legislature too.

[Somewhat related to this discussion is that the founders of "international law" were Suarez and Grotius, also major natural law theorists, and the pioneers of translating natural law to politics. It was all of the same fabric.]

Tom Van Dyke said...

This is relevant, and worth a look. Pinky in particular has been arguing along these lines, that the "individualism" Angie keeps circling back to is not exactly what the Founders had in mind.

http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/11/08/is-libertarianism-individualistic/#more-14573

Tom Van Dyke said...

This one's even better.

http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/?p=4115

Angie might even like it.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
I will have to read the article tonight.
But, I want to respond to your comment on my returning to individualism.
I don't think that any person should remain "attached" to group identification factors, that beomce signifiers of their identity where they cannot think critically, deny reality, and resort to means of authoritarianism to control group identity, where individuals cannot individuate. This describes fundamentalistic religion.
I think that individuation is a necessary "work".
The Church is not what I had thought it to be. I don't even want it to be that "ideal" anymore. In fact, I have rejected the Church, because of what I have come to know and understand about the Church, Jesus, and Scripture.
I don't like myth when it is useful to form reality, because "myth" was what my family of origin "fed" me about "Reality". It is called denial, not reality. The Church lives in denial of what is true, scientificcally. If one is looking for myth or story, then I'd rather be connected to people in the 'arts".
Groups do provide community, even for those individualists. It is being accepted as different, or for the person you are, or are becoming.
Trust remains a problem for me. It is a big problem, because of many experiences.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

As to what the Founders founded, there was never a government such as ours. In this sense, it was an experiment.
As far as you comment on our government being a Representative Republic and not a democracy (Lords/commons), then you must agree that the Founders did believe in REPRESENTATIVE government. That means that the common man had a voice, and that he was respected to not be taxed, or co-erced by government without proper respect for his autonomy. We are private citizens, and choose to be public servants.

Pinky said...

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I pretty much agree with and applaud what Angie has to say about her rejection of the church--especially so in light of her argument which makes a great deal of sense to most reasonable people where any church claims to speak with authority over the personal conscience of any individual. By the way, that was just about if not THE single most important unalienable right of all.
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But, the claim that American was Founded as a society to embrace individualism is as much a myth as any thing out there.
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We're not arguing the validity of our personal beliefs here so much as we are seeking to learn the truth about the America's Creation.
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Pinky said...

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American as we know it today:
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It seems America is being created on an evolving basis.
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Perhaps the American Civil War under Abraham Lincoln had a great deal to do with the ongoing process of our nation's creation.
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I'm sure we'll get to that sooner or later.
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King of Ireland said...

Angie,

Where did the idea of the worth of the individual come from? That is the rubber meets the road question in this debate. I might add that most of Christianity has missed this in my mind. Humanism was actually a Christian concept. Then the anti-rationalist movement came with their Augustine ideas that there is nothing good about man and the rest was down hill. I am starting the believe that Luther and Calvin destroyed the real reformation that Aquinas had started to get Christianity back to its roots.


TOM HAS BEEEN TRYING TO TELL EVERYONE THIS FOR A YEAR NOW AND FEW ARE LISTENING.

I think we are missing the forrest by staring at the trees.

bpabbott said...

King,

Regarding Christian Theology, I'm an admitted lackey.

However, your comments strikes my interest. Any chance that Jefferson might have favored the view of Aquinas?

A comparison of the theology of Aquinas with the Jefferson Bible might prove interesting.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Actually, I wasn't exactly making that argument, King, but what you speak of fills a sort of hole in my argument.

http://www.all-about-renaissance-faires.com/renaissance_info/renaissance_and_humanism.htm

Very interesting. I must admit I always found medieval history the most boring, but its intellectual history is fascinating, and it, not "modernism," truly created the world we live in today.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

The concept of the individual was from the Greeks, the Classics and the concept of democracy itself. I would also think that the Renaissance had something to do with admiring individual attributes in artistic form.

In Bartu's book on pg. 68 he states:
"One can say that one of the main condition of a democratic cultural climate was realized by the separation of the cardinal cultural values from religious value. This process was completed by a certain degree of autonomization of each value. As a result of this process, Westerm man has acquired a feeling of plurality of ends in life, and the conviction that he as an individual in a group has a certain degree of freedom in choosing the supreme goal in life." This is cultural heterogeneity.

I am sure you guys are aware of this history, so please, the Middle Ages were the Dark Ages to some, as this was when the Church reigned supreme, where the Church determines what is proper or good, or right. I do not want to go there, as that is "bacwardness" and giving up my "self responsibility" to others.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
Thank you for the websites, as I got to read them.

People get involved with what they think "matters" and in places that they find "connection" and identification. Possibly because of our busy lifestyles and our disconnected extended families, people are not as involved in their local communities. People are busy trying to maintain the connections that are closest to them, which usually means "miles away" from the local community.

I just wonder how many people live in the place they grew up nowadays in America.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Angie, your church---congregation---obviously traumatized you. Fundamentalist control freaks, whatever. You left, good for you. I say this after corresponding with you for quite awhile now, even allowing you to disrupt the comment boxes because you are clearly sincere.

Respect for the human person---the 100th sheep that ran off---is where this comes from, and you're much more important than any theorizing that is the purpose of this blog. Phil has been the 100th sheep, and I got him so mad that he complained to Lindsey, who used to control this blog, about me. [She still stops by now and then to spit on me. Perhaps you saw.]

But the result was that Phil has become my friend, and now it's him who's teaching me. Hehe. Life is funny but it's only funny and only beautiful if you approach it right.

What Phil is saying is that "radical individualism" isn't the same thing as being part of a community, and that man's natural state is not as a hermit, but as a social being.

Your crazy "congregation" was something that you had to get away from for your own mental health and safety, and I'll believe you when you say it was diseased. But that doesn't mean you're alone. We're social animals, by nature. And here you are.

We don't want your money or even your agreement. We'll take you as you are.

We're social animals too, y'know.

;-)

King of Ireland said...

Angie,

I can relate. A cult took me out. But I still can see through the crap toward a god of love. I feel your pain of assholes using God to control you. But I ask you to re-read the Bible and decide for yourself. I did and am in the process of throwing out the crap and holding on to what is good. I appreciate you.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

To all,
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this blog. It has informed me, and benefitted me. Thanks, also, for your kind comments.

But to Tom and King,
Yes, we are "social beings". But, that is not all we are. Politics is a part of sociality. And politics is dirty business. It should not be, but it is, if one is wanting to "win at all costs". This is unbecoming to those who value honesty and loyalty, above "what's in it for me" without regard for others who might be affected. And when the Church becomes involved, which it inevitably is, as it is an institution in theis world....

I really don't think that I am the same person I used to be, ask my husband. Life changes you, no matter what. Sometimes the change can be foundational. This is what I think has happened in my faith.

No longer is my faith "out there" in anything apart from what I choose to be a part of. Authority is only acknowledged where it is chosen. And, of course, the protection of our government, in our citizen rights, is a form of protection. These rights grant autonomy, which translates into value of personhood for me.

As to the Church, I think it will take time to assimulate in the Church again. I see the Church as a social and political structure, that really is an "appendage" to other structures. And, in truth, I can't separate Church from cult, as Church has become cult to me.

Perhaps, this is the point of Church, to provide "culture" instead of the humanities providing the culture of Church. It would be refreshing to have Chruch affirm man's accomplishments in all there diveristy. That would be "enlightening" and helpful. This is why we have emjoyed D.C. and the Churches we have attended there, as the music is fabulous, needless to say the structure itself. And these host many informative programs, concerts, etc.

Scripture will definately not be embraced, because of all of the connataions for me. Whenever it is read, it is a dead book to me, an ancient text that others have used inappropriately or ignored altogether. Memory works against scripture in this regard.

We are in transition, so many transitions, that I don't need another adjustment for now. Therefore, I am staying "close to my base" and laying low. We have to know our limitations. And my husband needs me now.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Oops!
I meant to say that the Church should embrace the humanities as their culture....
Life can be beautiful. And man has definately been a creative spirit in discovery and creating...that is what I love...

Shea Kang said...

Wake up with determination. Have a good day :)
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