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November 28, 2004

Comments

John Wilkins

Very Good. I now give you the "competent theologian" award. You do describe, however, someone who is deep in faith, for some fundamentalists, once one brick falls in their wall of belief, the whole thing comes tumbling down.

Its nice to know that there are lay people who try to wrestle with these issues so deeply, and as well.

Peace to you.

Greg

Since English is an imprecise language, what is your definition of facts and beliefs and how would you differentiate between them ? How does facing the facts put God first? I would think this is quite subjective, depending upon the fact under consideration. How does Christ fit into this picture?

D. C.

Greg, all "facts" are ultimately beliefs. Some are more well-established empirically than others and more reliable as a predictor of the future. If I believe the sun will rise tomorrow morning, it's a pretty good bet. If I believe I can skip my commute this evening by stepping off the 25th-floor roof of my office building and flying home, well ....

I think I explained my position about facing the facts and putting God first in the paragraph having that subheading.

Thanks for visiting.

Greg

Yes...But it appears that you are restricting yourself to facts of the natural world. To use your example, the sun rises in the east but why should one put G-d first in his life because it rises in the east? I can see people being moved by the beauty of a sunrise and giving praise and thanks to G-d.

D. C.

Greg, I don't think I'm restricting myself to the facts of the natural world. I'm simply saying that facing those facts goes hand in hand with trusting in God. One can certainly trust in God for reasons other than those facts.

It's fine for a person to be moved by a sunrise and give praise and thanks to God, as you suggest. But if that person were to insist that the sun is literally rising in the east because that's what he sees with his eyes, he would not be not facing the facts in respect of the other evidence we have about the solar system. He therefore would implicitly denigrate what God has actually done, and would be in danger of worshipping the (incomplete) evidence of his senses instead.

(Can I infer from your rendering of "G-d" that you're an orthodox Jew? If so, I'd be interested in any different perspective you might have about some of the writings I've posted.)

Nazeem Dollie

http://www.speed-light.info/

ISLAM confirms the big bang theory and the speed of light to the last digit

V Knutsen

What are facts? What is truth?

For us humans, we "see thru a cloud darkly" and we might not be sure what we see. Our definitions of truth, of knowing are partly influenced by the current thought fashions of our culture.

Currently, the thought fashions are heavily influenced by a postmodern kind of doubting...at other times, persons thought almost every concept of their culture and "absolute". There are varieties of thought fashions---read old books of certain eras to get ideas of what the main "pop" ideas were or are. Or talk to a new college student to find out what the new secular ten commandments for this year are...

But within the limitations of being a human with limited knowledge, I read my Bible, listen to sound teaching, try to look and listen to the general world (and diverse opinions around me) and I trust and have experienced God reaching to me.

While my perception may be a bit clouded, GOD is not limited by my weak brain & perception. Prayer helps me connect to Him. However imperfect my perceptions, I feel His presence. And reading of the Jewish Carpenter, as he walks, works, heals, teaches in His middleast home, He speaks to me now.

It's not all dependent on us.
?

Carl Schuster

so i once wasn't christian.. but now i am.. things that were once ok to me.. are all the sudden not ok to me..

biblically they are not a 'sin' but to me they are a sin if i partake in them.. how does that work?

Jon the Unbeliever

Exactly what is at risk by not believing in any supreme being? Is it fear of the end of a personal existence? Is it fear of having not having a firm "anchor point" in determining one's moral/ethical beliefs? Is it fear of suffering an unending torment for not believing what has been offered as a "true" belief system? In summary - is it fear of anything? Fear is a prime motivator, but it is based on an emotional response and it is definitely not the result of a rational thought system. The concepts of fairness, goodness and self-sacrifice for the good of others have absolutely nothing to do with belief in any sort of supreme being!!! They stand on their own merits.

D. C. Toedt

@Jon the Unbeliever, that's an insightful question.

I'm not sure there's anything at risk for those who don't 'believe in' a supreme being.

I assume arguendo that you intended the quoted term to refer to concluding, in one's own mind, that such a being exists.

I doubt very much that reaching such a conclusion — or any other — is volitional: Some people do, some don't.

We really have no idea how the human mind works in that regard. Neither do we know why some people think politically along Democratic or Republican lines, nor why some people 'get' advanced math and others don't.

Then consider that, throughout history, individuals have reached countless intellectual conclusions that proved to be incomplete or even wrong. Evolution seems to have wired us that way.

Natural selection has probably biased to reach conclusions as opposed to remaining agnostic. To borrow an illustration I read somewhere, on the prehistoric savannah it was doubtless safer for humans (and other prey) to err on the side of concluding that the nearby rustling in the grass was a tiger, and therefore to flee, than otherwise.

So it's hard to imagine that a Creator would care (or even notice) about one particular set of conclusions we reach, namely those about 'him.'

Those who claim that 'he' does care haven't come close to adducing supporting evidence; they want us to accept that claim purely on their say-so — and then to do as they tell us about how we should live our lives because 'he' supposedly wants it that way.

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