Thanks for your comments on my last two notes.
If what I quoted was not your moral position, I am somewhat confused over what you believe. Assuming your moral position is completely opposite to mine, my battle still is not with you, but with the moral belief system. I want to completely separate philosophy from the philosopher.
I see your comments as being unnecessarily complicated and confusing the issue. Although you denied that your website statement reflected your moral position, I believe it is the closest thing I have seen in your writing. Also, based upon your statement, "Given that, if a moral system doesn't serve my interests, I have no reason for participating in it.", you are reinforcing your original statement. Can you make a concise statement of the morality system you believe in?
You say "Since it is not religious based (and I don't say a moral system couldn't be religious based)..." I don't understand that. You say you don't believe in a God based moral system, yet you assume that if he had one, it is for the purpose of rewarding and punishing us. I don't think the Bible teaches that at all. I believe the Bible teaches that God's absolute moral law is based upon a complete understanding of what is necessary for a society to live in complete harmony. History has demonstrated that moral systems based upon man's design all end in disaster for many people. The USA is the one demonstration of a country based upon God's law and Theistic principles that yielded the best of what life had to offer. God gave us this highly desirable moral code because he loved us and wanted what was best for us. Yes, It obviously was best for him too, but isn't a win / win situation what we want? The alternative has and will continue to be proven to be a lose / lose situation. God's desire is not to reward some special people while taking pleasure in punishing others. I don't think you object to a situation where as many of us that simply request to win the lottery would be able to win it, right? Your issue would be with those getting punished, right? Anyone can understand that if no behavior results in punishment, behavior will be bad. It is not hard to understand why a perfect God would need punishment for perfect justice.
You stated, '"My interests" are not necessarily selfish ones - since I like other people, part of "my interests" is seeing other people happy.' I have no doubt that your statement is completely accurate. I think the question is, does that make you a Theist? Let me cover that after the next two paragraphs.
You stated, "From the nature of moral systems, as I see it, they have to have group cooperation to function." I would like to discuss your use of the word "group". This implies that a group exists that is excluded. That certainly is not Theistic. The other point is to consider what possible combinations of "goodness levels of moral systems" and "acceptance levels of moral systems" would be good. Perhaps a bad one with good acceptance. What combination would be good?
I don't have the quotes with me, but humanists have admitted that the problem with God's moral code is not that it would lead to a bad society with crime etc., the problem is that humanists and the rest of us have desires that conflict with God's moral law. Naturally this is almost never mentioned in humanists writings. Your last statement says that "Based upon these considerations, the moral system that works best is the one where everyone tries to treat everyone's else's interests equal to their own - 'love your neighbor as yourself' would be one way of putting it." Your statement supports what I stated above.
With both of your statements concerning caring for others, we need to address if that makes you and your beliefs Theistic or at least in the "contains" box rather than the "includes" box. Your first statement was qualified by the words "necessarily" and "part". The second statement appears to be more of an agreement that God's moral code would make for a good society rather than an acceptance and commitment to it.
I don't know of any person or organization that doesn't claim they are for the good of mankind and they care about people. I don't think that makes them Theistic. The Nazis committed genocide in the name of improving humanity. Communist Russia committed genocide in the name of a just cause for humanity. Has any philosophy or organization ever stated that they were against humanity and hated people? I don't think your statements make you Theistic, do you?
I agree with you that secular humanists consistently condemn racism and bigotry that could lead to the holocaust with some exceptions. Although, they condemn it now, that wasn't always so. I believe that humanists / evolutionist beliefs were the main cause of the holocaust and the genocide in Russia and other countries. Although Hitler fooled the Christians by some actions that appeared Christian, he was not a Christian, he was an evolutionist and used evolutionary thinking to justify the genocide. The Jewish race was not believed to be advanced as far as the Arian race. Karl Marx was a staunch evolutionist and wanted to dedicate his book, "Das Kapitol" to Darwin.
Darwin's book, "The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Preservation of Life", and belief in Darwinian evolution was responsible for fanning the flames of racism. The title itself was racist. Stephen J. Gould stated in Ontogeny and Phylogeny, p. 127-128, 1977, that "Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of the evolutionary theory." Darwin stated in "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin", p.234 that "A married man is a poor slave, worse than a Negro."
Also, I don't think humanists have ever or currently condemn bigotry against Christians. That fact reinforces my point that they are opposite.
Biblical Themes and Concepts:
I consider Biblical themes as the concepts that run through the whole Bible. Some might include:
I consider Biblical concepts to include the themes listed above plus concepts that may not have a thread throughout the Bible. Some of these may include:
Do you agree with any of these?
Proselytizing Humanism in Schools:
I am surprised that you think humanists don't agree with the proselytizing humanism in our schools. If the humanists are against it, who are the people for it and why is it happening! That would mean close to 100% of us are against it.
In my thinking, three types of teaching have the potential to be taught in our schools. They are:
#2 has been completely removed from the classroom. That only leaves #1 & # 3. What else is there? Consequently, I am also surprised that you don't think humanism is being taught in our schools. Evolution is 180 degrees in opposition to Theism which just screams that God does not exist! That says that God is not true!
Explaining the World:
The simplification or oversimplification issue should be settled by reviewing the evidence. Do you think the Copernican model of our solar system is too simple, and too black and white? I believe the evidence says otherwise. I am assuming we are excluding relativity.
I don't see anything mysterious in good and evil, misery and polarization either. You did present an explanation. Your explanation assumes no controlling force in the universe and assumes that something natural exists where its nature explains the existence of good and evil, misery and polarization. I presume you mean randomly. Maybe that seems god enough for you, but it is inadequate for me. Your explanation does not explain why polarization primarily exists on humanism vs. Theism issues.
You also stated that "good is what we like and bad is what we don't like." By definition then, good and evil are relative since we may not agree on what is good and evil. It is then just reduced to our choice. On that basis, nothing can be identified as bad or evil on a absolute level. I believe humanists accept that horrendous conclusion because it is better than the unthinkable acceptance of an absolute moral code that would restrict their desires or identify their desires as sinful.
I think good and "bad and evil" can be defined with a statistic that would estimate the goodness or badness effect of moral norms and behaviors. Obviously such a statistic would have to include all affected people, short and long term, life vs. death, health, meeting of basic needs, contentment, oppression vs. freedom, fulfillment etc. We could probably could come up with such a statistic. Why wouldn't this be an absolute measure of the effects of moral norms and behaviors and consequently the goodness of them?
I apologize for not referencing specific dictionary sources. I would have if my sources were available to me now. I wanted to make sure that you were exposed to the concept even though I couldn't be specific. I got the information from a magna cum laud chemical engineer by the name of Bruce Malone.
I reiterate that the definition change is consistent with the presuppositions in natural science and both remove the creation / evolution debate from the table without a hearing. Political correctness does the same by defining the falsehood as correct. When this is viewed as a secular humanist with no behind the scenes forces existing, your opinion is understandable. However, to a Theist behind the scenes forces exist with the evil forces using clever deceptions. With that I rest my case.
Where We Got Our Views:
Thanks for your insight into your background. I appreciate the fact that you are open minded and would change your mind if sufficient information were provided. I feel the same way. I was raised in a Assembly of God church and have attended quite a few different denominational churches. I currently attend a Lutheran church, but don't consider myself a Lutheran. One thing I despise is the "I'm a" syndrome with the exception of either I'm a humanist or I'm a Theist. These two are at least basic worldviews. My father was an atheist and my mother was a Christian. Later in life and with my brothers help, I came to believe that my father's attitudes were probably based more on anger with God than an unbelief. My father would argue with anyone on anything and everything. Perhaps our fathers were similar.
We both believe that the denominational churches do a horrible job of rationally connecting the Bible to our world. They shy away from the rational approach. One Presbyterian minister that is just the opposite is D.James Kennedy. Have you heard him on TV? He has been a big influence on my ideas. I am sure he is on where you live.
I could not agree with you more about people growing up in a religion and never taking a view from outside their world. However, we have opposite conclusions concerning your statement "When it came to actual evidence, it turns out everything is ambiguous." Concerning the Bible and the alternate beliefs in the world, I believe the beliefs are parallel and opposite.
It is true that we don't see God directly intervening in our world currently. However, we have good evidence that he has directly intervened in the past including himself and his Son. We have good evidence that a plan is being followed. We have good evidence that God turned over the implementation of his plan to us by the great commission before leaving earth in bodily form. I could argue that not being directly involved now is part of the plan. We could speculate on the reason for this, that would only be speculation. From a rational standpoint that is good enough for me.
Regarding prayer and the effect of prayer in our world. It is hard to asses the effect or non-effect. I believe in prayer and I believe that it often works, but I can't prove it. However, I have heard some studies have been made that have verified the effectiveness. This is not an area that I try to analyze.
I believe the truth of the Bible, goes much further than accepting some myth on the assurances of some authority. Do you really put it in the same class as wife's tales. Have you really studied the reliability of the documentation of the Bible? Or have you only listened to the college professor authorities and taken what they said as fact? Do you understand that if the Bible was true it would have subtle critics to discredit it? We will get more into the facts that support the truth of the Bible in my next section.
Let me point out that the discussion on JEDP is about a criticism of the Bible. You appear to be accepting this criticism at face value. I think the point is, what do you do with the very profound and very verifiable events of Jesus virgin birth, his perfect life, the hate and rage toward him that did only good, his beating, his crucifixion an resurrection and ascension to heaven. How do you reconcile them?
You said that "I saw nothing in the text that proceeded this that was even slightly persuasive that the accounts were by eyewitnesses or that Moses compiled them." I don't see anything that precedes the sections either, but I do see something that follows each section. The first is found in Genesis 5:1. It states that "This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man". I don't have any special justification indicating Moses compiled Genesis. I thought that was generally agreed by Biblical scholars. I have three different Bibles, and they all give credit to Moses for the book of Genesis.
Parallel and Opposite Worldview Philosophy Section 1 Letter:
Argument of Possible Humanism and Theism Scenarios to Reveal the Truth: You have listed my argument fairly accurately. I would change your word in #1 from contradicts to opposite. Although #4 is well stated, I would like to point out that this is only one argument against the truth of humanism.
You mentioned that my argument was clever. I find that interesting since, as I pointed out earlier, you really hesitate to ascribe deceptive intent to anything at least in the humanistic world. I would have preferred the word "insightful".
You indicated that for my argument to be valid it would have to conform to several conditions. I agree. Lets go through the conditions.
However, realistically, the issues I presented appear to be two and only two sided. Do you ever think of any more than two sides on politically correct issues?
You are trying so hard not to accept my argument that you are using arguments that you adamantly don't think are true.
When you say that "The one underlying difference accounts for many others". I agree completely. There is a simple explainable cause. That is my whole point. It is just that the cause is not unknown or mysterious.
You stated "Often the positions don't actually conflict, or if they do, they are not opposite. I think you already suspect this is a problem from when I pointed out that "Love your neighbor as yourself" is entirely consistent with the humanist position." Yes, you perceive this well as something that needs to be addressed. I also need to address the fact that what I am stating as humanist's positions do not match what most self-described humanists endorse. Also, you pointed out that I have basically defined humanism as opposite Theism. Let me address all these together.
I already pointed out above that I don't think the "Love your neighbor as yourself" profession necessarily makes you or humanists Theists. However, if it did make you or humanists Theists, that would not be a problem. Although I am not stating that I am explicitly defining humanism as the opposite of Theism, it is obvious that there is an active strong force or a philosophy in our world that rejects an absolute moral code and is causing the proliferation of the things listed on the Communist Rules for Revolution, pushing Theism out of our public lives and is opposed to Theism. I am calling this philosophy humanism. I think it is the best term to use. Can you think of a better term? If you or any other humanists are part of this real force in our world that is causing this and is opposed to Theism, you fall under my definition of humanism. If not, your beliefs are a hybrid of Theistic and humanistic beliefs and even though you are opposed to Theism, you may have some Theistic beliefs. Do you see a third philosophy other than humanism or Theism that is causing these undesirable trends?
As a Theist, I believe in a rational world. A world that has order that can be investigated. A world that has a cause for every effect. A view that is completely in line with classical science. When I look at the problems in our world, I look for clear causes. I believe if we all followed God's moral code including loving God with all our heart etc. and loving our neighbor as ourselves the goodness statistic for our world would have a very high value. I think you admitted this. Alternatively, following the Communist Rules of Revolution or the trend we actually see happening in our world or what I am calling humanism, result in a much lower goodness statistic. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. If we say we truly love our neighbor as ourselves we must be for whatever maximizes the goodness statistic, or we are just blowing smoke. If humanism and Theism both claim to be the correct force to maximize the goodness statistic, someone is lying. If you think Theism (not religion) does not maximize the goodness statistic and if in fact humanistic philosophy maximizes it more, please explain.
The Humanist Manifesto ll claims a position for one world government. How can you claim as a humanist that you are for US sovereignty and capitalism? I thought the Humanists Manifestos were the Bible of humanism.
Politically Correct Positions:
You indicated that my list of "Politically Correct Positions" appears to be a list constructed by people who disagree with the position, so the fact that they disagree with your positions strikes me as guaranteed. First this is strictly my observation. It is original with me. I did not invent the political correctness concept. Although, to my knowledge, political correctness does not have a strict definition, I believe we all have a common understanding of what specific social issues would be in the "political correctness" realm and which of the two and only two possible positions is the politically correct side of each issue. I simply tried to list all social issues I could think of that are in the "politically correct" realm. My observation was that all of the "politically correct" positions of the "politically correct" social issues were all in opposition to the Bible. Consequently, my list had nothing to do with my positions on the issues. Can you add any "politically correct" social issues to the list?
Rather than debating which politically correct issues Theists and humanists agree on, I want to discuss, the more basic issue that all of the politically correct positions are not Theistic.
The Bible teaches that we can choose our beliefs and our behavior. Our person and our beliefs or behavior are separate. Also that some beliefs and behavior are better than others and that we should tolerate all people, but not all behavior.
The Bible teaches that man is more important than the environment and should have dominion over the environment.
The Biblical position is that wives should submit to their husbands. The relationship between the husband and wife should be analogous to that between God and the church.
Obviously, the Bible does not make a direct statement on the issue. However, the absence of guns in the populace historically causes two non-Theistic outcomes. The most serious one is the absence of protection when the government goes bad. This was the concern of our founding fathers. This has happened numerous times. The next thing after gun control is genocide. The other concern is that data shows that crime always goes up when the populace is not armed. Guns in the hands of the populace definitely increases the goodness statistic. God is in favor of our well-being.
Consecutive Biblical Passages:
Although I do not have the original list with me now, I did go through again and I identified 22 passages in early Genesis. It is too much to go through all these now. However, you could go through for yourself and do the same thing. I am not trying to provide a special list.
You stated that "Since you said you started at the beginning, I would guess they are statements from the creation stories in Genesis. If so, I agree that humanism disputes these, but there is nothing at all improbable about the fact it disputes all of them, given humanists don't think God is real." You are correct about where most of the passages came from. However, I believe your conclusion needs careful analysis and discussion.
We only have two possibilities. Either God exists or He doesn't. If God exists, it would follow that His Bible would be true. In this case it is no accident that your positions are opposite. We both reject the random chance causing the opposition. You would be making my point that a reason exists for your opposition. That just leaves the other possibility to analyze.
Assuming God does not exist, there is no way that these writers 2000-3500 years ago could put together a complete book of truth or falsehood for that matter. It would have to be a mixed bag. If it is a mixed bag, other than several statements relating directly to the existence of God, how could these unguided men come up with statements about a God that doesn't exist and what he supposedly did that would be exactly opposite to what humanists believe today. Why would the items below automatically follow from someone's concept of a hypothetical god that didn't exist?:
I don't think we can assume that all these things automatically result from a concept of a hypothetical god that doesn't exist. Consequently, your argument that the existence of a hypothetical god in our mind would make all these things a given is not valid.
Humanists Belief In Absolute Truth:
You stated that "There is nothing in the humanist view of truth that says it couldn't be consistently far more accurate than some opposing position." No philosophy would state that it couldn't compete for truth with other philosophies but that doesn't mean it can. The only absolutes humanism defines itself by are the ones like not believing in God, and a belief in evolution which are opposite to Theism. Humanist writings are very deficient in stating any other absolute truths and deny any absolute moral truth. I don't see any humanist writings that use logic, history or anything rational to support their beliefs. Why can't a philosophy based upon intellect and reason establish some absolute beliefs based upon history. Humanism says nothing that can be checked against reality. I don't think you can't give me a list of any other absolutes that humanism is for. On the other hand, the Bible is full of absolute truths it stands behind and can be checked against reality. Other than your website that addresses truth, the words "truth" or "absolute" are basically missing in other humanist writings. I stand behind my statement that humanism is silent on absolute truth, doesn't support it and consequently doesn't claim absolute truth.
Humanists Supporting Biblical Positions:
You stated "To summarize there is no amazing coincidence because humanists do not support many of the positions claimed for them, they do support many positions the Bible supports - mainly those involved in love and kindness rather than conflict with other people..." You are implying that humanists are for love and kindness and Theists are for conflict. This is the crux of the deception. Either Theists or humanists are lying! That is my whole point. They are in direct conflict. We just need to figure which is lying. I would like to know why you think Theists are for conflict. Are you thinking that an absolute moral law causes conflict when we don't want to follow it?
I already covered why I don't believe humanists have the same concept of "love your neighbor as yourself" as Theists. What are these many positions where humanists are in concert with the Bible?
What Humanism Entails:
Again, my definition of humanism is the philosophy in our world that has and is changing our traditional beliefs 180 degrees. Such philosophy is definitely non-Theistic. I call it humanism. Do you know of a more appropriate name? If you don't fit that definition, then you have some Theistic beliefs and have adopted some of both philosophies.
How can you say that humanists are generally neutral on Globalism when Humanist Manifesto ll supposes it? However, such neutrality on such a critical issue is typical of humanism not taking strong positions that define yourself.
Questions About What I Wrote:
Merits of Making Revisions:
This is not worth discussing further.
You stated "I do think it would be interesting to address whether the Bible is absolutely true,....". The case I will present will just show that much evidence points to the truth of the Bible and that basically no evidence supports biological evolution and that only one can be true.
I will begin putting together my case in the next section. It may be a while. We will be traveling and will be home about mid April.