I am sorry that it appears that I am withholding the main thrust of my argument. I am only holding back because if I can't get us on the same page, understanding the concept of these two parallel and opposite worldviews, the rest of my argument is weakened. You have helped me to clean up my arguments and are continuing to do so. I really appreciate your devil's advocate position for that selfish reason. However, that is a side effect to my purpose. My main purpose is to identify truth through a possible theoretical model or possible theoretical models and compare them against empirical evidence. If I can remove the complications that muddy the waters and simplify the truth sufficiently to be diagramed on one page, the truth will be clearly seen by others. My whole thrust is to come from a rational position without presupposition and dogma. These models still make sense to me. However, I understand why they may not make sense to you so far.
First I have not explained my thoughts with sufficient clarity yet. Secondly, I have not explained the whole picture yet. Also, we are coming from diametrically opposed viewpoints. You stated on your website that we can expect opinions to change slowly. Both you and secular humanist documentation admit that you come to the table with very strong presuppositions including no belief in a higher authority, accepting the theory of evolution as a fact, rejecting moral absolutes etc. Based upon your statements, if there is a God, you may also be angry toward him because he let your church let you down by not informing you of Biblical controversies. I can understand that scenario. I think many others have experienced the same thing. I read that Albert Einstein asked a priest once to explain the "pain and suffering" issue in the word. He also didn't get an answer that was even close to being satisfactory.
I am open to consider your presuppositions as fact or fiction, with the preponderance of evidence deciding my belief. I am just asking you to put your presuppositions aside long enough to consider my rational agreements. You are asking some good questions that challenge my position. I would like to concentrate our discussion in that area. I admit I have contributed much to make it difficult for you to understand my points by misuse of words or improper definitions.
However, you also are making it difficult to come to a consensus by filtering all my statements and admissions from secular humanists through your presuppositions. If we both believed your presuppositions, we wouldn't be having this discussion. I am asking you to temporarily put your presuppositions aside and be willing to consider that they are possibly false and evaluate the models I present based upon empirical evidence and the rational arguments I present.
When I present factual, documented quotes from secular humanists, you discredit them. You accuse me of getting my facts from the wrong polarized type sources. You accuse me of painting things as black and white with me as the good guy and with me portraying you in the most unfavorable terms as the bad guy etc., etc. I will minimize spending time on your comments that don't relate to clarifying the issues. In those paragraphs where you spend time on sidetrack issues I will simply state the word "sidetrack" for each sentence in those paragraphs.
When I documented many admission statements from secular humanist evolutionists, the kind of facts that you state can be counted on as truth, you completely reject them, I don't know what kind of truth would be compelling to you. It seems clear to me that the presuppositions identified (admitted) by the secular humanist evolutionists are the same as yours, secular humanists and those defining natural science. That would be a good thing if your presuppositions are true. However, it would be a very, very bad thing with profound implications if your presuppositions are false. My organization and categorization attempt to diagram the reality of the worldview issues that polarize our world in a simple, concise manner that expose the truth. Evidence is presented that address the truth or falsehood of your presuppositions.
I do not object to you questioning my arguments. Even after clarification my arguments may not be perfect, but I am asking you to consider them in comparison to secular humanist arguments or what I call just humanist arguments including evidence supporting your presuppositions.
Regarding postmodernism, your referenced statement just made me question whether you actually viewed relative morality the same way as postmodernists. i.e. all positions equally valid. Or alternatively, some positions more valid than others? This is a trivial point.
The Jewish leaders eliminated or ignored the "suffering servant" Messiah passages found in Isaiah Ch 52:13-15 & Ch 53, Ch 7:14, Ch 9:6-7, Ch 11:1, Micah 5:2, Zechariah 9:9 and others.
Regarding the non-fiction issue, I am just asking for a level playing field and asking you to consider the Bible as a theoretical model rather than pigeon-holing its literal interpretation.
I incorrectly used the term "non-Christian" religions when I meant "non-Biblical based" religions. Let's take Islam as an example for me to justify my statement and defer the other religions for later. I do not want to judge if Islam is 100% humanistic or not. It depends to what extent Muslims believe a literal interpretation of the Bible compared to a literal interpretation of the Koran or their other document (can't remember the name). I tend to think the Bible is a minor part and many things they believe from the Bible have been changed like Ishmael being the son of promise.
You stated that "Islam is non-Christian and they worship Allah, who is basically the same God you worship." I agree with you on everything before my coma. However, we disagree on the rest of the sentence. First I have trouble with your word "basically". Either we worship the same God or we don't. It seems like you continue to try to make black and white, gray and I always try to make gray, black and white. I believe the same god or different god issue can be settled by comparing the documented characteristics of each god and seeing if they seem to be the same or opposite. If you do this from the Koran, I will do it for the Bible. I can give you one comparison off the top of my head. Allah requires followers to give their son(s) for him while God gave his son for us! I believe that Allah is the anti-god, Satan. This is based upon his opposite characteristics and the manifestation of hate in their fundamentalist believers that accept the Koran literally as opposed to love by Christians. The methods taught by the Koran and practiced by the believers also are opposite that of the Bible and true Christians. They definitely believe in the coercive method.
You also stated that "Even those of us that actually call ourselves secular humanists do not see man as God". In my perspective, if we do not believe we are under the authority of a higher god, we are a god unto ourselves by definition. We are the highest authority. Does this make sense?
You used that grayish qualifier, "basically" again when agreeing with " We should love our neighbors", but left off "as ourselves". What does that mean?
Sidetrack, Your use of the word "Polarized" is interesting. I thought polarization involved the wide difference between two positions.
Why is where I get my information relevant to the quality of the arguments.
I didn't say that most of what is bad in the world is the fault of secular humanism. I believe you got this from my statement about "do you think all the trouble in the world is from people Loving God .........etc." The converse of this is not that all the trouble in the world is caused by secular humanism. I certainly don't believe that. So not only the idea didn't original with me, but I don't agree with it. However, I do believe that believing falsehoods always leads to bad effects. I also believe I can make a case for humanism having bad effects.
I used the word "poison" in two ways. The original use was to show how religions are more aligned with humanism then Theism when they add things to the Bible. The other was my statement that "everything that is not pure "Christian Theism" is in some sense poisonous." This assumes that "Christian Theism" is true. I have not made a case for this yet. Don't you agree that anything that is untrue is in some sense poisonous?
You used the word "despise". I want to make sure that you understand that I do not despise "secular humanists", natural scientists or anybody. I only despise false beliefs.
Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack. Let me just say that I get most information that is the foundation for my beliefs from books by very distinguished and highly educated authors. The websites I used to get the additional quotes from I wasn't aware of until finding the quotes. I am away from my library in the winter, so it is more difficult for me to supply you with facts and quotes. You make it sound like a rare admission by a dogmatic philosopher should be averaged with all other party line statements before drawing a conclusion. When a criminal confesses to a crime, we should take all other statements about the person and average them before accepting the confession. I thought it was amassing that many admissions are available. I can also provide admissions from the late Stephen J. Gould.
Regarding documentation supporting religious beliefs, I believe we only differ by one assumption. You believe either that no religions have a foundation of truth or that all are equally true or untrue. I believe the Biblical foundation (Theism) for Christianity and Judaism is true even though most religions based upon Theism do more harm than good because of the amount of humanism added to them. If the Bible is true, by definition other religions are false. As you know well, Jesus said that "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but my me."
I am not saying that other religions do not have documentation. I am saying that the documentation cannot be counted on to be true and consequently, one could not make a case that their documentation explains our world. Do you know of any religious documentation where adherents state this case? I don't even know if other Christians have made the case I am making. If so, I am not aware of it.
You are making a case for true Mormon documentation (which I know that you really don't believe). Mormons base a large portion of their beliefs on the Bible. However, I view it as a religion that has added many other humanistic beliefs through the writings of prophets. Although these beliefs are not commonly known, they are verifiable by Mormons. Some of these are as follows:
1. They are striving to be Gods.
2. That God is living on a planet (can't remember the name) having sex, thus making spirit babies.
3. When people have babies, God places those spirit babies within each baby.
4. The inferior spirit babies are given to the people of the black race.
I certainly relate to your feeling of betrayal when your college professors made your rock solid beliefs look like Swiss cheese. It is no fun to be hung out to dry. Now you probably see me as analogous to your college professors since you currently believe in reason and science and I am trying to put holes in your belief. Hey, I just want you and me to know the truth. I bet you feel the same way.
I know that there are many apparent contradictions in the Bible. Most if not all of these can be explained. The critics are many and very vocal. Although, archeology has proved many of the critics wrong about many things, many of them just find other criticisms rather than changing their mind when found wrong. That is because they are not looking for truth.
I would like to address your question about the apparent contradiction in Genesis and then defer other apparent contradictions until we use the rule (main themes) as a model before being concerned with the minutia.
In Ch 2:19, it states that "out of the ground God forms every beast". My Bible commentary states the following: "A better, and quite legitimate, translation is 'had formed'. Thus there is no contradiction in the order of creation." I agree with this comment. Two more points on this. If that was a true contradiction it should have been so obvious to a single writer, writing on almost the same page would have corrected it. Also, in literary writing and in theater etc. it is common practice to have flash backs and flash forwards. Why does this seem like a contradiction? The book of Revelation does this in many places.
I apologize if I insulted you by asking you if you thought all the worlds problems came from Theism. I am making the point that all of our problems come from something and we should do our best to find an assignable cause. I am very serious about this question and think we should analyze our information and identify a cause.
You stated that "I expect your underlying motivation for calling secular humanism a religion and your criticism of science is that the theory of evolution contradicts Genesis." I can understand you thinking that, but that is not where I am coming from. You are forcing me to reveal more of my diagram early. The position from which I am coming is to compare the foundation of Humanism, biological evolution, to the evidence of empirical facts and likewise compare the foundation of Theism, the literal interpretation of the Bible, to the evidence of empirical facts.
It is not a problem of science promoting religion or secular humanism or anything else that is the problem. It is also not a problem for schools to teach evolution of religion or whatever. The problem is when science teach falsehoods, it is when our schools are teaching falsehoods. The question is, what is the true?
My presupposition is not that Genesis is true. I only want to believe that if I can make a case for its truth as I explained. You are the one with the presupposition that evolution is true without making a rational case for it. Do you really think you can supply evidence that biological evolution (original formation of life from a random processes or macroevolution) is true. Bring it on. I would love to hear your arguments.
You are arguing a point based on what I explained as a false assumption above.
Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack, Sidetrack.
I believe you are saying that Wald was correct in what he said. However, you are making a generalization statement that based upon your website, we need evidence to believe and the onus is on the one promoting the idea. Let's examine your statement. You say "Be aware that the 'spontaneous generation' needed to start the evolutionary process would require the accidental assembly of a single reproducing molecule somewhere in the universe over the entire billions of years." Also, "The fact that fully formed organisms do not appear in a test tube within a period of days hardly constitutes a proof that a that a "starter" molecule could not form ever in the universe."
First, although you may believe it, I don't think you know that. Secondly, why are you putting the onus on me to prove evolution is not true. Shouldn't you be the one proving or at least supplying evidence that it is true? That is what you state in your website. Should I be taking your statement on your authority. Didn't you warn about that.
In the first three sentences you have correctly identified the debate and what you believe.
You state "Genesis was written by primitive tribesman". You don't know that. That is a presupposition based upon your evolutionary belief. You state "based on stories previously passed down verbally". You don't know that. That is based upon the presupposition that they couldn't write. If the Bible were true and God created man with language skills to talk to God and others, why should we assume he couldn't write also?
You mentioned information that Moses didn't write Genesis. Perhaps I am speculating incorrectly here, but I believe you have been convinced that writing did not exist in 1500 BC. That is what was asserted by those in the German school of higher criticism. Their concept was called the Documentary Hypothesis. They believe that writing didn't exist in Moses time. They also believed the Hittites didn't exist and Belshazer didn't exist and that other places didn't exist. When archeology proved them wrong, they simple changed their criticism. They like the religious leaders that accused Jesus are looking for power and the approval of men, not for truth.
The fantastic stories you mentioned seem too unbelievable to be true. Remember, that thought is only true if God does not exist and naturalism explains everything. Alternatively, if God exists, it doesn't seam so strange. I am continuing to ask you to put aside your presuppositions temporarily and leave everything on the table for examination rather than eliminating things from discussion by filtering them through your presuppositions.
I can't show that the Bible is entirely true. I want to make a case that when the main teachings of the Bible and the various concepts including statements on "the way things are" or the way things should be, are considered as a theoretical model, that the empirical evidence in our world appear to support that model. I have no desire to have you back down. If you have the truth, I would rather see the outcome as me changing my mind. I take little pleasure in winning a intellectual debate with you, but rather that both of us would come to an understanding and acceptance of the truth.
I would like you to accept only two things before I proceed.
1. That the scientists admissions are sufficient to keep them on the table (give them some credence even though the jury may still be out) rather than completely remove them from the table.
2. That after further explanation below and additional if needed, you can see some rational to the association between the composite humanism philosophies I present.
Explanation of Humanism Composite Philosophy:
The parallel and opposite concept only strictly applies for secular humanism which is the anchor for this composite with actual beliefs stated and documented.
I consider the term "humanism" as a more general term that contain many other associated beliefs. These include:
1. Beliefs that reject the
Christian Theism God or
2. Compromise Christian Theism by adding or subtracting other beliefs.
Although these other humanism beliefs are not necessarily parallel to Theism, they, to a certain extent are opposite in that they are opposed to Theism. Also they are associated by rejection of "Christian Theism".
I believe this composite only makes sense if Theism is true. If it is true, can you see the association as having some rational even though the jury may still be out?
I hope to show you my diagram on the next communication. I am hoping that I have made the picture clearer.