Why I Stopped Caring About What the Bible Says, and Why You Should too (Part 5)

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Enjoy the Podcast:

Anchor Audio Link = https://anchor.fm/skeptics-and-seekers/episodes/Episode-34-Why-I-Stopped-Caring-About-What-the-Bible-Says–and-Why-You-Should-too-Part-5-e37p65

There is no method of confirmation

In part two of this series, I opined that a good reason to stop caring about what the bible says is that no one truly understands it, nor can they. This is a different objection. But it picks up where that left off. Most Christians sincerely believe they do understand the most important parts of the bible. Still, they recognize that there are multiple views.

The problem is less about understanding a certain aspect of the bible, and more about confirming what one thinks they know in light of opposing views. Here is some more explanation for why this is a problem:

Breaking the tie

On a recent show in conversation with Natalie Collins, I laid out my case for why I believed the bible was not egalitarian with regard to women’s roles. Natalie was arguing the egalitarian position. After we both made our case, the one moderating the discussion at the time wanted to know what the method was for breaking the tie. After all, we both presented biblical cases for our position.

Personally, I don’t think it was a tie, or even close to a tie. Natalie ultimately agreed that when just considering the words of the bible, my case was far stronger. She went on to acknowledge that one couldn’t get to her position from scripture alone.

The reason Natalie continues to hold to her position is that she has a tie-breaker to which she has access, and no one else. She has an unfalsifiable, direct and private revelation from Jesus. That trumps the plain reading of the text every time.

To be fair, Natalie recognizes the problem. She knows that there is nothing that she can say or do to convince another person of the validity of her private revelation. She further insists that to see things exactly as she does, one would need a similar direct experience of Jesus. This is not how most people settle their doctrinal differences.

Since the protestant movement is dominated by the doctrine of sola scriptura (scripture alone), Christians tend to argue the soundness of their doctrine based on their understanding of what the bible actually says without making reference to a private revelation.

Of course, there lies the problem. If you can draw dueling doctrines from the bible, how does one go about breaking the tie? One person points out that in one part of the bible, a woman is not allowed to teach or usurp authority over a man. Yet another part calls a woman as being an apostle. Each debater believers they have an argument that effectively renders the other arguments moot. But there is actually no way to confirm one view over another.

When scientists disagree, they can set up experiments and do the math to see which idea actually works out. There is a builtin method of testing the claims and breaking the tie. The resolution to some disputes might have to wait several generations until technology provides for experiments not currently possible. But even if we have to wait for that resolution, it is possible to come by.

No such process exists in religion. The bible says what it says. One can try to invalidate the words of the bible. But that would be self-defeating. There is no committee to which one can appeal that serves as the authority for resolving biblical conflicts. There is no way to pray for a resolution to see which person is right. When two people dispute the meaning of scripture, they should both give up, as neither has a method for resolving it.

Avoiding confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is one of the most pernicious problems because it is literally us fooling ourselves into thinking we have performed an honest search for the truth. All of the sources we read confirm our opinion. That opinion is also confirmed by our community. When we let scripture interpret scripture, it is no surprise that we find other scriptures also supporting our views.

One of the worst things about confirmation bias is that you don’t realize it when you have fallen prey to it. Scientific methodology has a built-in mechanism for identifying and overcoming confirmation bias. In fact, that was one of the driving forces behind why we came up with the scientific method to begin with.

The scientific method supersedes the opinion of monarchs, priests, family, and self. However, a biblical interpretation cannot be superseded by anything. So once you have formed a biblical opinion, there is nothing to check it against.

This is where Christians suggest avenues of confirmation such as the internal witness of the holy spirit, or community confirmation, or confirmation from the church leaders. But these all require a form of magical thinking, and can themselves, hide confirmation bias.

For instance, it is common for the spirit of god to confirm with us that which we already believe. Naturally, a community of charismatics high gleefully confirm your understanding of spiritual gifts. You chose a church community that thinks the way you do. The same is true for the church leaders. But take your doctrine about speaking in tongues to a community that doesn’t buy into those gifts, and you would not get the same confirmation.

The bible has no power to persuade

The inability to confirm one’s understanding of the bible means that it has no power to persuade. You can never win an argument with anyone who sees the bible differently from you. It renders the act of arguing over what the bible says and means, pointless. We quickly hit the place where neither party can advance their argument further. It all devolves into a shouting match over untestable claims.

One strategy I thought about trying was to simply agree with the person I happen to be talking to on whatever biblical view they are espousing. I would simply point out that they view they are proposing is different than the one offered by the last person who explained it to me. And I will maintain that agreement until I talk to the next person who has a different opinion.

It is a cute little passive aggressive ploy that highlights the fact that no two Christians hold exactly the same view of scripture. Perhaps I could fix the problem by settling down in a local church and listening to a single preacher. But I could only hold his opinions as long as he does. Over time, people change their minds about what they think the bible is saying. So I can only be as sure as the surest person I talk to.

I could settle it by always agreeing with the person who has the most impressive academic record. So I guess I just have to agree with whatever WLC says. But that only works until someone with an equal or greater set of credentials comes along and says something different. Back to square one.

I could ignore all outside voices and go with my own opinions about what the bible is saying. But there are many places where it could go in any one of multiple directions. How do I persuade myself of any given position? What most Christians seem to do in such situations is they find a way to live with the tension of holding two opposing views. I tried, but couldn’t maintain it.

If a person does not believe in math, you can show them math in action and convince them of the power of math. If a person does not believe in the bible, you cannot show them the bible in action and convince them of the power of the bible. It simply doesn’t work that way. You have to buy into the bible presuppositionally, or on faith before it holds any power to persuade. But there is nothing you can say to a nonbeliever about the bible that would convince them to consider it an authority on anything.

Conclusion: The first miracle

While I was in the process of writing this post, a commenter on the Unbelievable discussion board made the following statement that I just had to include:

there is plenty of historic evidence as in the ancient writings, reasoning and personal experience. The question is if you can reason what the bible says, e.g. how you interpret its teaching. It amuses me how Christians and non-Christian alike believe the bible to promise magical miracles that underpin their materialistic thinking. If you for example think that Jesus teaches in his first lesson that it is an embarrassment not to have enough wine and that your lack of material resources requires divine intervention to produce a fake reality – or that a fine wine is more valuable than the water of ritual purification you follow Santa who gives you your confirmation bias you want, not Jesus. The miracle here is for people to realize that the water if ritual purification of baptism is the most valuable drink you can ever receive.

Here, the poster makes a bold claim about the meaning of Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine. He is hectoring all who don’t see it his way. To him, the meaning is obvious. I asked him how he got that interpretation from the water to wine miracle. He responded with the following:

applied critical thinking.
Jesus was miffed that his mum felt the lack of wine to be worthy of divine intervention – so he told them all a lesson serving them the finest of waters – that which was was good enough to be put into those sacred vessels – that together with the comments of the master of ceremony about receiving the most valuable drink you could ever receive would have made you sober up in one go and made you feel ashamed of your materialistic thinking to expect more wine. Most people unfortunately have gone beyond that point to realize why they can’t go through the eye of the needle.

The implication is that anyone who didn’t see things his way was not using applied critical thinking. I will end this post with the words I used to end the conversation:

I clearly do not have that level of applied critical thinking. You have weaved together a beautiful interpretation. But nothing about it is plain or obvious on the first, or even second reading. If that is how we have to read the bible, I don’t think I am cut out for it.

And that’s the view from the skeptic.

David Johnson

Why I Stopped Caring About What the Bible Says, and Why You Should too (Part 5)- Christian Response

Let me just start by saying, the answer to the Skeptic’s attack on Christianity and the Bible this week is Molinism- Molinism solves it all, end of discussion!  (Lol, just having a little bit of fun given how much I know all you skeptics appreciate the sheer brilliance my Molinistic Defeater explanation).  Anyways, my see my serious answer immediately below.

In Part 5 of the Skeptic’s series on “Why He Stopped Caring About the Bible”, he seems to double down on his mistaken notion that all Christian interpretations are “created equal” as it were.  This is not the case, even if there are some hard to interpret verses in the Bible whereby one cannot be too dogmatic in their opinion vs. the interpretations of others, the majority of Scripture is in fact understandable to the average reader today by systematically using basic hermeneutical principles.

Note that the main thrust of the Skeptic’s case is not so much to do with the specific examples of varying interpretations provided (such as egalitarianism vs. complementarianism issue), but more to do with coming up with a systematic method that one can use consistently to any such Biblical examples.  As such here is a link with a series that deals with this issue in detail and supports the egalitarian perspective =http://christianthinktank.com/femalex.html (& also here is a quick take on the Water into Wine Miracle =https://www.gotquestions.org/wedding-at-Cana.html or Craig Keener on the Water imagery in John here =https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdcwx18dIWw – I confess I haven’t read the comments in question, so I’m not fully sure I understand what point the Christian is making there, so hopefully these have some relevance).

Avoiding Confirmation Bias

Here the skeptic rightly points out that one’s confirmation biases can often seem to obscure what the Bible is saying to us.  Unfortunately, this is part of the human predicament in any field of study, including in the scientific discipline.

Hence, humans have devised various methods based on fundamental logical reasoning principles to obtain some measure of objectivity in helping them to assess the various interpretations of relevant data.  The study of the Bible is ultimately no different (or at least not much different) than any other human endeavour in this regard; the Bible as a whole is an inspired and direct propositional revelation from God and as such, we have a primary duty to let the Scriptures interpret other texts that might present a difficulty.  This is the first hermeneutical principle that is necessary for all Christians to have a proper understanding, sometimes certain passages are expanded upon or elucidated by the use of other inspired writings.  There is nothing wrong with using this kind of interpretational technique to help us to understand what the biblical texts are saying, we use this all the time in everyday life- if one Saturday afternoon you ask me to “pick up the red thing on the counter” and there are two red things on the counter (red swim shorts and a red top), I may be confused as to which red thing you wanted me to pick up; but if I remember that you also revealed to me earlier that you wanted to go swimming with me today and mentioned that you hate wearing red tops on Saturdays for some reason, then I can easily use these various revelations you’ve given me to put things together and conclude you want me to pick up the red swim shorts.

Additionally, the Bible tells us that the Bible is not for private interpretation, thus it is fully acceptable to employ a “peer-review” process in asking fellow brothers and sisters who may disagree without take on a verse to consider and/or to consult with qualified experts like Pastors/Elders and biblical scholars to gain some valuable knowledge or insights on what the text might be talking about- God expects us to reason from the Scriptures and to use all available avenues of knowledge to help guide us to a proper understanding of Scripture- just remember that not all other avenues are “inspired” in the same way Scripture is and then it becomes easy to prioritize which views can be ruled out biblically vs. which ones are plausible and thus worthy of consideration.  Nothing magical here, the “peer-review” technique is a part of every academic discipline (including science), it helps us to recognize various aspects that we may have missed due to confirmation or selection biases- perhaps both parties could be right and we might realize that a certain biblical doctrine is multifaceted like a diamond as opposed to being one-dimensional.

Finally, the Skeptic also says that the Holy Spirit and praying to God play a pivotal role in helping true Christians to understand the Bible; he calls this “magical thinking”- my response is simply, yeah so what? Christianity presupposes a supernatural Being named God and so if God the Holy Spirit is able to further elucidate certain truths in the Bible, then what on Earth is wrong with that?  I think, the Skeptic merely assumes that this is nonsense because different people claim to have been infallibly guided by Him and yet they still come to different conclusions on a given matter.  Once again, claims are easy but we can’t assume that all claiming Christians are actually being guided by the Holy Spirit vs. their culture or man-made desires/ideas over what the Bible itself actually says; even true Christians who have the Holy Spirit can disagree as some Christians are more mature than others and thus the Holy Spirit is better able to guide some into biblical truth than others based on the individual Christian.  So, this “one-size-fits-all” notion of the Holy Spirit’s role in aiding the interpretation of Scripture is a misnomer and explains why even “true Christians” can sometimes disagree on a particular hard to understand text.

Breaking the Tie

The Skeptic goes on to opine about the Bible’s apparent inability to persuade; assuming that after one has done all the hard work and done everything, they can to adjudicate what the Bible is saying in a particular verse/text or issue- he asks, “how on Earth can one ever break the tie”?

Well, I’m going to answer this in two different ways- in the first place the answer depends on just who exactly the Skeptic thinks needs to be persuaded in the first place.  If he means to ask how an outside non-Christian observer can ever hope to come to knowledge of the truth of all the matters that Christians disagree over- the answer is that they simply can’t- the Bible being used in that way is not for you to use in that regards, divine revelation is largely meant to be adjudicated upon by believing Christians.  Being devoid of the Holy Spirit and left in your unrepentant and corrupt sinful state, you have no hope of understanding the various biblical truths and both the OT and NT make this abundantly clear- for the non-believer the only matter that need concern you, is whether or not the “essential” Gospel message is true or not (though one could obviously use this “confusion factor” as a negative argument against the truth of Christianity as the skeptic attempted to do in Part 2 of this series).

For believing Christians who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit on the other hand, the Bible is much more- we are all meant to want to acquire a full and perfect understanding of God’s revelation.  Thus, my answer here, even if it might be seen as somewhat radical by the skeptics, is to simply deny that there are any such biblical interpretations that result in a tie in the first place.  Assuming ideal conditions, I think that every single text in the Bible has a clear and undeniable true interpretation (whether we personally are aware of that interpretation or not).  So, if on a purely practical level, there are differences of opinion even amoung “true Christians” (which there is- an infallible knowledge of all Scriptural truths doesn’t seem possible in this life), then as I explained  earlier, I think the justification for this is that no Christian (whether Apostle or humble taxi cab driver) is able to reach the point of “full restoration/sanctification” and thus be rid of the noetic/spiritual effects of sin.  Consequently, different Christians are more mature than others and hence more receptive to the guidance and influence of the H.S. and God-given avenues of knowledge than others in their discernment of scriptural truth.

The unfortunate result of this is that sometimes even “true Christians” can misinterpret things in light of their cultural/societal influences or even sinful desires and/or they can lose perspective and become dogmatic on a particular doctrine that appears to have some biblical support at face value at least, but which in reality is not supported by the Bible.  In short, there are no actual “ties” in the Bible to be broken, it is always the fault of the human being when such division of opinion takes place and God simply capitalizes on this man-induced confusion in such a way so as to save as many souls as possible while at the same time providing sufficient means for any Christian to take advantage of to come to the right conclusion if so inclined- the fact that many of us often fail in that regard is not to do with God but us.

And that’s the view of Seeker/Christian.

Dale

 

 

57 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Caring About What the Bible Says, and Why You Should too (Part 5)

  1. Well, there you have it David. The tie breaker on disputes over the meaning of the bible is…. Magic. Now we just need Christians to start talking to the same magic ghost so that they can start getting the same revelations of what the bible is supposed to be saying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The biggest problem I have with Dale’s monergist idea is that the amount of knowledge and accuracy of knowledge one has seems to be based on factors such as maturity, the amount of time studied, and in general, the amount of effort put into it. Well that does not sound like the spirit doing anything. That sounds more like the product of human effort and growth, then just giving the spirit the credit arbitrarily.

      If my getting the right answer depends on the amount of work I put into it, then I see no reason to add the spirit to the mix at all. And it makes perfect sense that we would come up with different answers. But if we both received the answer from the spirit, then quite apart from maturity levels and effort, we should both have the same answers.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. .

        Quick question for you David, in regards to ….God commands Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.
        At one point in your life you said you would carry out such an act if the Christian God commanded you to do so.
        As you grew older and were capable of having a son, you said you would not carry out such an act if God commanded you to do so.

        In both those cases…..where those choices you personally made?

        Love and Light
        Tara

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  2. I got a real laugh hearing Dale’s voice appear at the start. I have missed it (I mean that).

    Dale,

    I was particularly glad to hear you are grappling with the Catholic issue. I was never the same after I seriously hit that one. It marked the beginning of 15 years of struggle leading to my exit.

    I was once an elder in a reformed church and I can confidently say you are definitely no monergist. The monergist takes the “dead in your sins” thing seriously and believes regeneration is a sovereign work of God in the heart of a dead man. No co-operation is possible from a spiritual corpse. It is totally one sided.

    I’m curious whether you number yourself among the honest seekers. How many hours in the past month have you sought Ahura Mazda, the Zoroastrian God? Not just being prepared to respond if he was to blind you, but seeking him according to his terms. What about Barnumbirr, Australian aboriginal spirit. She has her own demands. How many hours have you spent in meditation, trying to overcome the delusion that is blinding you from seeing reality as it really is to reveal Brahman?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not sure how anyone can be an honest seeker, especially a Christian. The god of the bible is jealous by his own self-report. He does not want you sampling other gods:

      Suppose your own full brother, your son, your daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend should seduce you secretly and encourage you to go and serve other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have previously known, the gods of the surrounding people (whether near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other). You must not give in to him or even listen to him; do not feel sympathy for him or spare him or cover up for him. Instead, you must kill him without fail! Your own hand must be the first to strike him, and then the hands of the whole community. You must stone him to death because he tried to entice you away from the Lord your God, who delivered you from the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. Thus all Israel will hear and be afraid; no longer will they continue to do evil like this among you. Deut. 13: 6-11

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    2. Hey Anthony,

      Well I hope I didn’t cause you to run off the road. Anyways glad you enjoyed the episode 🙂 David WordPress got back to me saying they re-activated my account right away so if you want to put me on admin status again that would be great- I suppose I will use this comment to announce that David and I have come to terms that are acceptable to me (both of us as full equal partners on the site) and so I might as well announce that I’m officially back now full time as a co-host, though I’m not sure about the comments thing as I still feel the same way on the dirty deleting issue (so it may be best if I don’t comment at all or at least not often and when I do I need to be very careful as to what I say).

      As to your questions;

      1. The being totally dead in the water thing is a Calvinist notion (I hear it from my Pastor all the time- we are spiritually dead and the metaphor needs to be literal death), yet I don’t think this analogy holds true as even he admits we are not totally dead- even unregenerate sinners can listen to their consciences on occasion and with the aid of the Holy Spirit- some of the noetic/moral/spiritual damage of the fall can be mitigated to a degree. So I don’t think its fair to say that all of our faculties (including spiritual faculties) are totally non-functioning in our pre-saved state but they are damaged or malfunctioning to varying degrees.

      2. On whether I’m open to other religions still- yes I am. Being a real seeker is relative to the abilities and circumstances of the individual to do the best they can within reason. I’m not expected to put my life and hold and constantly research all the time, I don’t even do as much research into other religions as I did during my quest as right now, I need to focus on growing as a Christian (the religion that won out as being true during my search).

      That said, should an opportunity in that respect come up that I can take advantage of, then I will or at least should do so. Additionally, I plan every couple years or so to spend a week or two picking a religion or two and surveying the various evidences to see if anything new has come up that I should devote some time to researching or not. So that is how I plan to remain open to learning whether another religion is correct or not. As to practicing religions such as meditating- no I am closed to that (and always was), I don’t think one can practice a religion unless they believe it is true- that is why I never read the Bible or prayed in Jesus name or to went to Mosques, etc- Buddhists will say one needs experiential knowledge to know its true (try it and see kind of approach), but that seems wrong to me as it comes across as a “fake it til you make it” type deal, so in that sense I’m closed minded to experimenting practicing other religions and rightly so- that is not required to be considered open minded and instead in my case (knowing Christianity to be probably true) it would be downright disingenuous.

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      1. Welcome back.

        You said:

        I don’t think one can practice a religion unless they believe it is true- that is why I never read the Bible or prayed in Jesus name or to went to Mosques, etc- Buddhists will say one needs experiential knowledge to know its true (try it and see kind of approach), but that seems wrong to me as it comes across as a “fake it til you make it” type deal, so in that sense I’m closed minded to experimenting practicing other religions and rightly so- that is not required to be considered open minded and instead in my case (knowing Christianity to be probably true) it would be downright disingenuous.

        That runs totally counter to the innumerable times when Christians have counseled others to pray the sinners prayer, or open their minds to the working of the HS while they meditate on a passage of scripture, or some other such thing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks David, I also just want to say publically thank you for accommodating my terms to allow me to come back in such a way that will be fair to both of us and allow me to have an equal chance to advance the cause of Christ, I really appreciate that 🙂

          Well, I don’t know it does actually as the sinner’s prayer is equivalent to saying, I don’t know if you are true or not but if you are please reveal yourself to me- nothing wrong with that and I could do the equivalent for any other religion. But it just seems wrong to me (for every religion) to say that the only way you can tell if its true or not is to become a practicing adherent of that religion and see if it reveals its truth to you after a few years or even decades is what I was told. That would be like me saying well in order to be a real seeker you have to pretend your a Christian by living a Christian life and only then after many years Jesus will reveal Himself to you- that is being open minded to the point of lunacy; so yeah I think its a good point of clarification that you and Anthony bring up here on what the “open mindedness” condition entails- obviously having to go through the motions of being a religious adherent is impractical and wrong- in fact its impossible to become a devotee of 2 or more religions simultaneously to do a trial and error method anyways.

          So yeah, I agree that being open minded is less stringent than that kind of thing.

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          1. I don’t believe you are representing the sinner’s prayer the way it is presented by Christians. At any rate, I think it is fair to say that a prayer is a religious act, perhaps even an act of worship. So asking a person to pray to your god for anything seems to be crossing the line. Again, would you pray the sinner’s prayer to another god? Of course not.

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            1. You are correct, I meant the prayer that I told you to say not the sinners prayer.

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      2. .

        Well …considering you haven’t retracted or apologized for saying you would kill me upon command of your morally perfect God, I for one do not think it’s appropriate for you to be an equal partner on Skeptics and Seekers. I never have thought that…. and I never will think that.

        A guest host and sparring partner…sure.
        I like the to and fro debates that you and David have.

        But no one that says such ‘hateful’ things as you have about slavery, genocide, misogyny etc ought to be handed a equal partnership role with a man as moral and sometimes as intelligent as David Johnson.

        It would be like Justin Brierley taking on Mark Driscoll as an equal partner on Unbelievable. Letting Driscoll do solo Unbelievable episodes ranting on and on and on about topics that Driscol wants to ‘sell.’

        Why would Justin Brierley do that?
        Why has David Johnson done that?
        Idk…not my show.

        I’m only the one that you said you would kill Dale. 😳

        Love and Light
        Tara

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        1. I have to be careful as to how I respond with you especially as you were the reason I had to take such drastic action by deleting all my comments in the first place (which I appreciated your backing me up on my decision- to some degree at least).

          Let me just say that I respect that this is your position, I’ve tried to explain why I think this strategy is wrong imo, and I’m grateful David doesn’t see it the way you do. That said, I will just say that while there are some half-truths to what you say here in that I do support the Biblical perspective (as I see it at least) on some of these issues, I have never been “hateful” toward you Tara, that would require actual hatred towards you as a motive and that is the exact opposite of why I chose to engage with you and be honest about what I believed on that front. I continue to stand by the opinions I’ve laid out and explained and hope that you will one day understand how loving the Christian God is.

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          1. .

            It IS HATEFUL to say you would kill me upon command from your God.
            That is the problem you have had since day one.
            And imo David is not great at ‘sharing’ power, he tries….he really really tries….but it’s not his personality type.
            That’s not a character flaw, it’s an asset if you recognize it and use it appropriately.

            Which btw, I’m having to deal with myself .
            If I can’t ‘fix’ a problem I see clearly that other can’t see…than I shouldn’t be directly involved.
            It will only end badly for everyone concerned.

            It’s more fun to look in from the outside, and know it will never be my mess to clean up later on.
            This is all just introspective chatter on my part, but that is my main focus in life.
            Trying to understand myself, and trying to understand others.

            You Dale have a fragile ego, but all of us forum friends still care greatly about you.
            I was worried about you, so I’m glad you are back.

            xoxo

            Love and Light
            Tara
            .

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            1. Tara;

              Again, I will be cautious in what I say here and probably just leave this convo after this, but will just say again, in terms of me experiencing a feeling of actual hatred toward you, that has never been the case Tara- even when there were points when I was angry or annoyed with you (which has happened a time or two given the nature of our conversations lol). So, I’m serious when I say I think that “hate speech” by definition entails a feeling of actual hatred towards another person/group and nothing I’ve said to you has ever had that kind of motivation behind it.

              That said, I think you will enjoy the next episode David has in store after the Sean McDowell interview; you will see that I’m not ashamed or afraid to tell the truth and defend the Bible so long as I can do so under my terms- where I have a fair chance to provide a controlled and/or thought out explanation of my beliefs within a proper context rather than just someone quoting bits and pieces of comments I’ve made off the cuff in a convo that literally spans months of comments backs and forth between each other- that is not playing fair towards the other person in my view.

              Finally, as to my ego- I really hope it hasn’t come across like that to everyone, as my main reason for leaving and/or insisting on being an equal partner on S&S was based upon principle rather than just a wounded ego or selfish pride. I admit that sometimes my pride can be a major character flaw with me at times and I’m grateful for when God teaches me lessons in humility, but in this case I remained steadfast because I honestly felt that I needed to have an equal say in order to have a fair say on how the site is run in order to represent Christ effectively- the entire premise of the show is that both sides have an equal chance to give their own take every other week and so an equal partnership is the most conducive to that end imo; otherwise one side will inevitably begin to dominate the discussion in such a way that both sides aren’t being heard fairly as I felt was beginning to happen when I made my decision to leave.

              But that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that there will be times when I need to compromise and/or concede something that I want for the betterment of the show- that’s what a partnership is all about, and I’m sure David would attest that even prior to our new arrangement, despite the fact that I mistakenly thought we were equal partners at the time, there were still multiple times where I conceded and/or compromised to accommodate his/audience concerns rather than insisting on what I wanted to do (in fact in a private convo with David behind the scenes, I was even able to come up with a list of about 8-10 specific examples on that front). So, I really hope this entire incident hasn’t come across as though its all about my ego vs. David’s ego- at the end of the day, both David and I want this show to be about having a good discussion in the pursuit of truth- I’m always thrilled when I see people clicking on those sources as it means people are going above and beyond the limitations of what I can do as an inexperienced apologist and thus seeking out truth from actual scholars that are far better qualified than me to represent Christ- I’m a complete novice at this kind of thing after all.

              To illustrate, using a public example that everyone knows about, I realized that David was correct about my giving up the Shroud lecture series- as an equal partner, I have the right to cram as many Shroud lectures as I want down your throats whether the audience likes it or not; but just because I have the right to do so if I want to, doesn’t mean I will. As a host and partner in S&S, I want to respect what is best and most edifying to the audience (within the context of advancing Christ’s kingdom as my top priority of course) and so that is why I still agree with David to restrict the Shroud series (or as you call it “Jesus Toast” stuff) to doing occasional debates or interviews rather than producing a 20+ podcast series that most people seemed to be growing tired of hearing about but were still listening out of loyalty/respect for me or to the show. Furthermore, I still plan to continue doing what I can to keep my presentations as concise (blogs approx. 1000-2000 words or so max) and understandable as possible, while at the same time preserving my ability to share scholarly knowledge and terminology with people which I see as being really important to share with everyone on here.

              So yeah that is my take there, will let you have the last word if you wish after this.

              Have a good night 🙂

              Like

              1. Defending slavery, genocide, misogyny is YOU personally choosing to be hateful. And I do not think handing a solo mic to you was ever a wise choice… and I still don’t.

                And deleting posts is fine imo. But if you delete them to avoid culpability …which is why you deleted your posts … that is immoral.

                So I do not think it’s wise to create a equal partnership with anyone that behaves the way you have repeatedly chosen to behave.

                Unless the one you are partnering with us equally unethical,which David is not.

                But play it out… see how long it takes to re-ignite Dandbj13 fuse.

                Everyone enjoys a good fireworks show sometimes, I’m stocking up on popcorn and enjoying the display.

                Love and Light
                Tara

                .

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              2. Dale is very nice to hear from you via email…but until you get an email address that doesn’t come up with David Johnson name on it, don’t email me again please. That has already caused great confusion.

                Let’s compare you vs me.

                You Dale say the most illogical vile, repugnant things (slavery, genocide, rape, murder) in a schmarmy Christian voice oozing with syrup tone and consider yourself a ‘nice guy.’ When you are trapped in a corner, you wipe out the evidence. I understand that you may not yet be capable of recognizing that this is what you are doing.

                I Tara strive to say loving moral, hopefully logical things but oft time I say them very forcefully. In writing form they especially appear harsh. I don’t consider myself a ‘nice guy’ or a ‘bad guy’ …. just a human being seeking to do her best with the knowledge I presently have. If I wipe out the evidence it’s usually because I find I haven’t translated well and appear illogical or hardhearted. So I am trying to rectify that after the fact.
                Whenever I’ve said anything I later think is ‘mean or stupid’ , I have no problem apologizing for having said it. I don’t live in the past, I move into the future.

                Love and Light
                Tara

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                1. Fair enough Tara- though I don’t understand why my using the general S&S email is confusing to you when I identify who I am in the opening sentence. But yeah, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my private email with you to be honest, no offense- so I will respect your wishes and not email you again as you request (just understand, I won’t be able to be as open with you on here in public vs. via email where I know you in that forum you respect people’s privacy and treat them more fairly in an honest dialogue).

                  Anyways, thanks for giving me an answer on your take here, I wanted to ask you in particular because I know that you sort of stood in the middle on the dirty deleting issue and so that is why I was interested in getting some clarification on your take on it. So yeah you are correct that I don’t fully recognize what the difference in our positions really is as I think some of what you say your own motives are actually apply to my motivation; but I will reflect on your take as I told you in the email, I really was sincerely interested on hearing what you had to say on this 🙂

                  Like

                  1. Why can’t you be as open to me on here Dale? The only difference between me here, and me via email…is I can use foul language just for fun in an email, I use innuendos for fun, and sometimes I use personal history that I don’t need splashed across the world. And people might share ‘in kind’ with me, and so emails are not for public consumption.

                    But if you ever want to swear, use innuendos, or tell me personal details, use email.
                    Other than that everything is fair game.

                    I agree that beliefs are not under our conscious control but our choices are. And it is our choices that change our beliefs. So you have chosen FREE WILL to revere a God that commanded genocide. And you would choose to kill me if that same God asked you to do so. And you choose repeatedly to continue saying such horrendous things. Until you choose to stop doing so, your beliefs will not change.

                    Therefore everyone (including you) are therefore ultimately in control of what they believe.

                    Love and Light
                    Tara

                    .

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                    1. First of all Tara, even via email, I would never do those things except for perhaps reveal some personal details if I felt it would be edifying for the person I was sharing them with in some way.

                      That said, on here I have to be very careful (with you especially) as I assume every comment I make will be taken out of context and shared by you to everyone behind my back- thus I need to make sure that I’m saying things properly and provides enough context that such a person will understand what I’m saying and be able to judge my beliefs fairly.

                      Anyways, this notion you have about doxastic voluntarism is interesting- both David and I disagree with you on that front- to prove its true, I implore you to snap your fingers and start believing the Christian God is morally perfect, I’d love to see you use your freewill to instantly become Tara the Christian; I think every skeptic on here would instantly believe in miracles if that ever happened!

                      Like

                  2. .
                    Doxastic voluntarism….really…how about English buddy. This is the problem when people focus too intently on one thing. That is philsophical lingo I’ll check up on. But told you, it is our choices that change our beliefs. And it is our choices that we each control.

                    And btw, I’ll swear right here right now…..F …F….F…. F’n hell there is no reply button under your last post to me. err.
                    So I say Bullshiz to Ex’s. Every Ex I’ve ever met gradually made more moral choices, and as they made more moral choice their God became more moral. Until finally their choice led them out of book worship.

                    With you I do not know if you were born mentally incapable of empathy and love, or were taught to lack empathy and love.
                    I strongly suspect the latter, but I’m not sure.
                    Licona and Habermas still have functioning consciences, that is why they won’t talk openly about the moral quandaries of Christianity. However they are your mentors, they taught you to ignore your ‘heart’ and focus on your ‘head.’

                    Bad idea all around.
                    That does not negate your own culpability in the here and now.
                    Let’s try this, let’s try dandbj first crack in his own Christian wall.

                    If one day you have a child, and you know with 100% assurance God was commanding you to sacrifice that child would you do so?
                    I’m asking YOU to answer that question, and so whatever answer you give is a choice YOU are making and YOUR choices is what will change YOUR beliefs.

                    Love and Light
                    Tara

                    Like

                    1. Tara,

                      You see that is my point before we could have a real convo on this stuff- but anyways I’m sorry I’m not free to answer your question straightforwardly here but I promise you that this topic will be brought up after the Sean McDowell episode in the Podcast and I will give a proper answer to this question in a proper way in the full context of a discussion- so I’m not going to avoid answering your question to me on the child sacrifice issue (I promise), but I just can’t answer either way in a format where you can simply copy and paste the kind of quick answer that I could provide here and now and then use it against me behind my back to people I respect.

                      Before, I was able to just answer this kind of thing from you directly and immediately but now, given your stance on using my public comments, I have to be semi-cryptic and so all I will say is read Genesis 22:1-19 and I hereby confirm that I stand by this biblical account of Abraham’s actions as being a good thing- in other words, I don’t think this narrative entails any immorality on the part of Abraham, Isaac and/or God under those specific circumstances.

                      Like

                    2. What’s going to be the topic…
                      Killing your own son……or…doxastic voluntarism?

                      I may have to wait til a Friday or Saturday night to listen, because in either case I’m going to get frustrated.
                      Which I actually enjoy, after a few glasses of vino.

                      It is your choices which you do have control of that create your beliefs.

                      I always look for the bottom turtle. I don’t start half way up the pile.

                      Love and Light
                      Tara

                      Like

                    3. Its the former question not on doxastic voluntarism as David and I pretty much agree on that front anyways.

                      Also, OK when I get some time, I will check out your post on it.

                      Like

      3. Dale,

        (In response to: “Well I hope I didn’t cause you to run off the road.” (In fact I was driving at the time and making a turn which did cause a momentary lapse in concentration.))

        1. It is not a big thing for me anymore, but I do think you are mistaken about monergism. Regardless of what is the correct exegesis and outworking of “dead in your sins”, the prefix “mono” gives the game away in regards to the definition of monergism. Monergists emphasize the work of one. There is no cooperation. The monergist may be wrong biblically, but that is what the term means and what I heard you say on the podcast was the classic contrary synergistic position. Go and check out monergism.com

        2. Despite claiming to be open to other religions, I don’t think you escape the charge of being a false seeker. For example, you stated you are unwilling to meditate (which is simply paying very close attention to experience while trying to minimize the distracting chatter of mind) and so you close yourself off to where I believe significant insights into the nature of reality can be found. So you place limits on your search. Why then do you claim David is not a true seeker even though he spent decades grappling with Christianity but decided enough is enough?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. On the monergist front:

          It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. Ro. 9

          If it does not depend on human desire or effort, I don’t see where the requirement to be a real seeker fits into the picture.

          Like

          1. In reply to David;

            Well to use the bad analogies we did on the show- to which “contract” does this verse refer- the one where the dad buys the car for money or the conditions where the son gets his license to receive the gift of the car. Romans 9 is talking about the former- the “contract” that merits the car (aka salvation).

            Obtaining a driver’s license does not earn or merit having a car otherwise I will walk into the car dealership right now and show them my license- I doubt I will be driving out of there; there is a clear cost (aka the appropriate amount of legal currency) that merits obtaining a car. Similarly, there is a clear and necessary consequence of sin- death (both physical and spiritual) only that merits/earns salvation. My having faith and/or repenting (the conditions to receive the gift of salvation) do not in themselves merit or earn anything, just as my having a drivers license will not get me a car from the dealer.

            Biblically speaking, I think its clear what you say in Romans 9 and/or John 6:44 whereby it says no one can come to God unless an initiating active move to draw them happens first but then the Bible is also clear on the conditional human response- faith and repentance are necessary as well. David simply opts for these verses being contradictory whereas I think they can very clearly be harmonized into a consistent doctrine such as the one I’ve given.

            Just my take.

            Like

            1. Thanks for my new phrase of the day…I posted Doxastic Voluntarism on top of the Unbelievable thread.

              Like

        2. Hey Anthony,

          1. Ok that is fine, I’m not so concerned if technically speaking I’m seen as advocating synergism or monergism as long as I’m being consistent to the Bible and I think the Bible’s and/or Calvisnists’ main concern on this front is that humans aren’t seen as somehow doing something that “merits” their own salvation- my placing my faith in Jesus and repenting doesn’t earn salvation anymore than if I’m drowning and a rescue boat comes along and the guy (Jesus) offers to pull me up into the boat but its on condition that I choose to take his hand- when I get back to shore, no one would be saying wow you are such a hero for choosing to take the lifeguards hand and allow him to pull you up into the boat rather than choosing to continue swimming alone. Anyways, thanks for the source, I will check out the website and if need be I will be happy to call myself a synergist if that is the technically correct use of the term but to me the Bible is pretty clear that is supports salvation as being a “conditional gift” vs. a “total free gift” which is imposed on a bunch of spiritually dead corpses.

          2. Hmmm, you might have a point here, in that I was closed to meditating during my research years- I saw that as sort practicing a religion but I’m not sure if you meant as a one time experiment or something to see what happened. The problem I can see is that even if one did that and nothing happened, then the religious adherent will just say you didn’t do it right and need to continue doing it over and over until it works and then add in other practices consistent with being a practicing devotee of that religion. I need to think about this a bit, but I was open minded to the best of my ability anyways as I had reason not to be open to doing so at the time and same deal now as a Christian as it contradicts what I know to be true on a balance of probabilities.

          To my mind, God must always provide a way for real seekers to come to truth in a way that doesn’t entail them having to be hypocrites or doing impractical things (that is why intellectual study and/or being open to properly basic beliefs without needing to do a hypocritical thing to obtain it as in the case of meditation or doing yoga to achieve enlightenment seem to be the only valid paths of open mindedness to me); but yeah this is an interesting case study on the applicability of my real seeker criteria for sure and thus I will need to think about what a consistent answer might be here.

          Like

    3. .

      I can’t keep up to you Anthony….what have you exited? Christianity? You told me recently you were a Theist.

      Fine, but people say I don’t listen, and often that is true, my mind skips ahead fast. But I distinctly remember you saying you are now leaning into being a Theist. Not Deist, not Pantheist, not Panentheist, not Pandeist…..but a Theist. Words are tricky for sure. So is there anything in the OT, NT, Quran or Book of Mormon that tells us anything relevant about this Theistic God you still believe in? Or are they completely manmade book like Star Wars or Dianetics?

      Wow…. a snippet from the wiki Dianetics page…

      “Dianetics is practiced by followers of Scientology…. the Nation of Islam (as of 2010), and independent Dianeticist groups.”

      The NATION OF ISLAM? What the hey? I’m really more and more surprised upon learning about what I don’t know… that I don’t know.

      lol

      Love and Light
      Tara

      Like

      1. Tara,
        (responding to: “I can’t keep up to you Anthony….”)

        The last thing I said to you on this matter was: “I wouldn’t characterize myself as veering back toward theism – apart from a few months 5 or so years ago, I have always been one.”

        If you’ve been paying attention to “The Experience of God”, you’ll realize classical theism extends well beyond the borders of Christianity. And no, I find very little of value in ancient texts beyond understanding the trajectory of man’s understanding of God throughout the ages.

        Like

        1. “classical theism extends well beyond the borders of Christianity” ….but the last time I asked you about this, you posted Keith Ward. He is definitely a Christian. And when you say ‘classical theism’ didn’t that basically begin with Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam? Aren’t you implying MONO-theism. One God independent and capable of ‘watching over’ his creation.

          This is when I really wish Unbelievable had taken the trajectory it began on, talking about out faith traditions from the past, present and possible future concepts. Although I can see Justin Brierley now merging Consciousness into Christianity now, he isn’t recognizing that as the ‘future’ god story developing. Damn I wish he’d had Francesca Stavrakopoulou on again because on her episode she mentioned briefly the developing god stories forming now. Anyway, I freely concede I don’t know near as much about past views on God as I know about Christianity, purely because of my time and my culture.

          So what the heck do you mean ‘classical theism’ minus the 3 big BOOKS that you are now throwing under the bus. And btw, I’m fine with being the driver of said bus. LOL

          Love and Light
          Tara

          Like

          1. Tara,
            (Responding to: “…but the last time I asked you about this, you posted Keith Ward.”
            Ward may well identify as a Christian but the link I provided had him predominantly talking about Vedantic conceptions of idealism which is very much not a God “watching over” its creation. Did you not pick that up?

            Classical theism derives from metaphysical reasoning and contemplative practice. Sure you’ll find roots in major religions, but that is true of most fields of human endeavor. Classical theism transcends creed and dogma.

            Like

            1. .
              As I said already ….lol….I had likely watched that Ward video before and I did watch it again when you posted it.

              But when you post a Christian talking about Vedantic concepts don’t be shocked when I think you have chosen to return to some form of Christianity yourself .

              So explain what ‘Classical Theism’ means if their is no connection from that term to the OT, NT or Quran ?

              Please

              Love and Light
              Tara

              .

              Like

              1. Tara,

                (In response to: “As I said already ….lol….”)

                The Ward link wasn’t a video, rather an audio clip, so you didn’t *watch* it before nor did you *watch* it again!

                The “Experience of God” gives a detailed definition and background to classical theism. How is your listening going?

                Classical theism describes God within the categories of being, consciousness and bliss.

                It starts with the philosophical and contemplative realization of the startling fortuity of being, the chasm between being and non-being. Philosophical arguments based on contingency (of course there are disputes here) are used to posit a non-contingent source of being.

                I know I’m not going to get any argument from you in regards the primacy of consciousness and the inadequacies of physicalism to account for it. Classical theism maintains an intimate, interdependent relationship between being and consciousness. We may see pure idealism here or one of the other *isms.

                Bliss encompasses aspects of intentionality and teleology. This is where I think there is the most speculation but there is at a minimum, some primordial, intuitive direction to the evolution of conscious grounded reality.

                So it’s quite minimalist and that is one of the critiques against it – you don’t see CT practiced in religions without accretions of myths, stories, creeds, dogmas, holy books, and anthropomorphic objects of worship.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Honestly I did listen. … twice! Once awhile back and then when you posted it. But I rarely watch videos.. I listen so I can do other tasks. So excuse the wording .

                  Just home from work.
                  Maybe talk … oops …type…. later .

                  Ha ha
                  Love and Light
                  Tara

                  Like

                2. Honestly I did listen. … twice! Once awhile back and then when you posted it. But I rarely watch videos.. I listen, so I can do other tasks. So excuse the wording .

                  Just home from work.
                  Maybe talk … oops …type…. later .

                  Ha ha
                  Love and Light
                  Tara

                  Like

                3. ” Classical theism maintains an intimate, interdependent relationship between being and consciousness……you don’t see CT practiced in religions without accretions of myths, stories, creeds, dogmas, holy books, and anthropomorphic objects of worship.”

                  So then CT generally turns into ‘story worship’ which is antithetical to my own worldview.

                  You posting that Keith Ward video…oops audio…. made me assume you were jumping back into the Christian story, perhaps you are not? For me, as I said on my SS episode, Consciousness exists and it creates stories. My goal is not to choose the ‘true story’ because there isn’t one. My goal is to create a loving (moral) story because that is the one I want to experience.

                  Love and Light
                  Tara

                  Like

    4. OMG…I’m already going BSC, banning myself from the Disqus board….lol
      Thanks for your clear spoken answer on Indirect Doxastic Voluntarism, which unbeknownst to me (until Dale brought the jargon up) is my view. It is Free Will that allows us each to change our beliefs. David chose to change his beliefs in regards to the thought experiment of ‘killing his son’ for God. Yes there was dominos choices before and after that choice….but it all comes down to choices dandbj13 made.

      So unbeknownst to him dandbj (imo) is also an Indirect Doxastic Voluntarianist (if that is a word.)

      My goal with Dale since day one is to get him to choose NOT to kill me if he God asked him to. I have been trying to awaken his empathy, love and compassion for me ….so far no luck. However, if I could assist him in tipping that initial domino over, then others may fall, just as they did for dandj13.

      And errrrrr…I’m not an anti-vac person Tom (disqus). The flu vaccine is a money making scam and I will never get one, I will take my chances and allow my body to build up it’s own resistance. And I will be pleased to die at 75 from the flu, as opposed to living another 20 years in diapers, eating mushed food, and drooling. And peanuts were basically banned by pediatricians and now we have hoardes of children allergic to peanuts. Now scientists say yes YES introduce peanuts early in a childs life so they don’t get peanut allergies. Scientism can be dangerous if taken to extremes.

      Like Scientific Materialists are starting to deny consciousness and free will, which is a very dangerous path to wander down.

      Ok…sorry dandbj and Dale….I had to vent somewhere, And I’ve been using the Disqus forum for SS and SU so fair is fair. Now I’m using your forum to answer people like Anthony. But I’ll try to limit it. xoxo

      Love and Light
      Tara

      .

      Like

      1. Tara,

        I just wanted to follow up on this here; regardless of what I think about your use of my comments; I’ve really thought about this issue and I’ve made my decision that I will officially promise that on this comment forum, I will never delete another comment that I make again (an exception to this is if I mess up and swear or give insults to someone out of annoyance or something- obviously that is not edifying in my opinion and I will do the same for anyone else who asks me to do so with their own similar such comments since they can’t do so on their own). Or otherwise, I will reflect on my comments each week and if there is something I don’t like about what I’ve said then I will modify them with an edit note as per Andrew’s advice to me as being consistent with internet etiquette (whether I see this “rule” as being a ridiculous or not).

        Anyways, after considering everything people have said and thinking through my own views vs. what I think Jesus would do in this case- I think I need to practice what I preach about giving up one’s rights for the edification of others (regardless of any potential consequences). To clarify I still think I’m right in the points I raised about people who use one’s comments unfairly in the way you did and/or not taking people’s comments for granted (we shouldn’t feel entitled to them- to my mind mind its kind of like when we expect people to hold open a door for us, I always try to remember that their doing so is technically them going above and beonyd of what they have to and doing something nice for me (I’m not entitled to their doing that for me)- seen in this light, I think people that do hold open the door for me deserve to be sincerely thanked for going above and beyond what they had to do for me. So, just because society has this expectation that people should hold open doors for others doesn’t mean everyone sees things this way, so I try to avoid imposing those expectations onto others. Hence, I try not to think ill of someone who doesn’t feel inclined to do so- its up to them and I don’t hold it against anyone who thinks or does differently necessarily. Instead I think we should try to see it as “wow, thank you for opening the door for me, you didn’t have to do that)- that way I think we don’t start to take these kinds of seemingly small favours for granted and we appreciate them more (that’s just my theory that I try to remember in life anyways).

        Anyways, just wanted to let you know; that I hereby promise to never delete any of my future comments from this comment onwards (at least on this particular WordPress comment board), I wave that privilege for the benefit of everyone on here (as no one else has the right to do so either, so fair is fair on that front as Darren rightly pointed out which was one of my main considerations as well). At the same time, I will continue to be cautious in what I say as a host and equal partner in this site, while trying not to be seen as hiding from the truth (that seems to be what you and some others mistakenly think is my motivation in my what I did- its not my beleifs have always been freely available even if I had no comments on here at all- just read the blogs or listen to the Podcasts, its all there for people).

        But to prove I’m serious on this front, I will answer your Abraham test question to me (remember I’ve already promised never to delete my comments from this one on, so for better or worse the truths I share on this issue will always be here);

        Abraham Test Answer: So, obviously I don’t think the taking of any life is morally ideal, we should do everything possible to avoid having to do so. Furthermore, I agree 100% with other Christians like Gary Habermas or Marvin that I don’t believe God will ever order me to sacrifice my child in this Messianic era, there is no longer a need for that kind of thing in the same way that there was in the OT period or with Abraham in particular. That said, if similar circumstances did hypothetically apply today and the morally perfect Christian God did in fact order me to sacrifice my own son and I was 100% certain I had a warranted true belief in that regard, then my answer is unequivocally “Yes, I would or at least should be willing to obey God in that respect”. Now, of course, saying that is easy to do and so it may be the case that if I were ever really in that scenario I might fail to live up to my own professed beliefs (I may experience akrasia or a weakness of the will)- now I don’t anticipate that would be the case, but even if it were, whether or not I as an individual would turn out to be a hypocrite on this matter is completely irrelevant; I believe I should obey God just like Abraham did who is the prime example of a person placing their faith in God.

        For anyone interested in the full context of some of the considerations that go into my answer provided above and or doing their own research on the matter, see some of the following sources which may articulate them better than I might have done have in my comment here;

        1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gakGgycqh7Y (Paul Copan on Abraham and Isaac- 30 mins).

        2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SCehNfyJaY = (Paul Copan on Abraham- 4 min video).

        3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP0E87LEkRM = (JP Holding of Tekton ministries addresses a skeptical video mocking the biblical account- JP provides some much needed scholarship and sanity.

        4. http://www.mandm.org.nz/2009/07/sunday-study-abraham-and-isaac-%E2%80%93-did-god-command-the-killing-of-an-innocent.html (write up blog on it).

        5.http://www.mandm.org.nz/2011/01/abraham-isaac-virginity-rape-and-child-killing-another-old-testament-ethics-post.html (another write up with referce to Randal Rauser’s take on this in his blog).

        6. http://www.christianthinktank.com/qkilisak.html (good article from Christian think tank on it, one of main go to resources on multiple issues).

        Like

        1. Sounds like you are going to take my own approach to public comments now? I have the right to delete, or edit, or clarity any of my posts….and I am the “Queen Bee” of doing just that. I make many typo’s, make unclear statements, and as tone is not translated well in my posts….my bluntness often come across as nasty. So I rewrite many of my posts. But? I will apologize for any offense if and when I feel ‘ashamed’ of anything I have written. I never have felt ashamed of saying that the OT, NT and Quran are highly atrociously immoral books. If you think you can find and revere the God in those books, you choosing to behave immorally and you are acting like an idiot!

          Likewise I would be an idiot to debate Sean Carroll on physics….but I would not be behaving immorally to do so. Therein lies the difference.

          And as to the rest of you post, it is… BOOK WORSHIP….. that has lead you (and the people you link to) to believe in a God that would ask one to kill their child. So this again goes to Indirect Doxastic Voluntarianism

          Dale has chosen particular cultural God storybooks to value.
          Dale had chosen to revere the immoral beast of a God written about in those books.
          Dale has chosen to say upon command he would kill ME if that God from those horrendous books asked him to do so.

          That is all Indirect Doxastic Voluntarianism because YOU HAVE FREE WILL to make choices. And you Dale are making highly immoral choices and most of the SS audience knows that!

          Having said that, Scientific Materialism and this rapid cultural move toward Scientism has now become not just absurd but dangerous. Denying consciousness and denying freewill is truly a perilous path to wander down, yet scientists are pushing society to wander down it. Furthermore, why is dandbj debating you if he thinks matter in motion is like pingpong balls on a table? Why argue would matter in motion….argue with matter in motion if it’s all predestined cause and effect? It’s very on par with Calvinistic gibberish.

          See I can be blunt to dandbj as well…..and now any typo’s or badly worded sentences will have to stand. I can’t edit here. Whatever. xoxo

          Love and LIght
          Tara

          Like

          1. Yes, I am agreeing to the same terms on this site that everyone else has as that is fair and also I think my agreeing to do so, while somewhat risky, might be worth the risk if I can manage to make sure my comments are open and honest as I have done in the past but also being cognizant of any risks in case it gets lifted out of a sufficiently full context- so yeah I’m conceding to operate on the same terms as everyone else on here. One interesting thing that I considered though was that I think a lot of the people who have an issue with dirty deleting actually would side with me on the issue of people lifting their comments out of context in order to make them look bad or something- one thing that I realized during my deliberation was that actually both sides are concerned about and agree on a fundamental issue- the concern not to lose enough of the context of our comments to the point where it would cause confusion or unfairly impact on us negatively; that’s why commenters want my comments in sequence along with theirs and why I was so concerned that anyone you email my comments to would understand why I said what I did- we both want to be judged fairly and in the best light that truly represents what we think, I felt that underlying concern was an interesting commonality between my stance on having the right to delete vs. some of the more adamant proponents for not deleting comments ever; we both care about the same principle issue (not being taken unfairly out of context).

            But yes, I would also agree with your revised or clarified position that I have free will and have chosen indirectly to become a Christian- my real seeker criteria that keeps getting brought up all the time is predicated on having the free will in order for me or you to be held blameworthy for not setting yourself up to change your mind to the truth.

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            1. .

              And …again there is NO context where telling me you would kill me because your morally perfect God asked you to do so….. even remotely moral.

              And… Habermas KNOWS that, that is why I like the man. I dislike his imaginary God….but at least Habermas has a sense of right and wrong, whereas you do not. : (

              And..I feel not even a sliver of guilt telling him what you said to me. Whereas YOU are the one that ought to be feeling very guilty! Where is your moral compass Dale? Buried in New York with the golden plates Joseph Smith found?

              Love and Light
              Tara

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              1. I will take one stab to show you why I think it is out of context as you have asked this before, you know that if you just tell someone devoid of any context that they said they would kill you can be interpreted in various ways.

                Why not share with them the true context to the person you tell that to such as saying he said “he would only hypothetically kill me in the context of circumstances similar to those used to defend the biblical Conquest narratives or the story of Abraham sacrificing of his son, etc. and then mention that I said I would only do so if some precise conditions apply such as having 100% warrant” or something along those lines.

                You still get to “expose” my beliefs to people to incur whatever shame you are trying to bring into effect but its done in a more fair manner- Gary reached out to me for clarification and I provided it- apparently according to you he said he disagrees with me on this, thus even with a full context of where that comment came from he judged my position to be immoral or wrong, so why are you afraid of telling my side of the story truthfully?

                Just saying “he said he would kill me” is not being truthful to my position even if it is something I’ve said because it lacks much of the nuance of my actual position when I’ve stated it in the best way I can- as a result having to explain to my friend that I’m not actually a terrorist about to go out and start hurting people in the streets isn’t fair to me, especially because as someone who claims to be my friend and to care about me you and probably everyone on here knows that is not realistically ever going to happen unless I lose my mind or something which can happen to any of us.

                Again I’ve accepted the risk now, so its up to you how you wish to use my comments, but if you are a moral person as you claim, then I should think you would no problem sharing some of the nuance of my position or providing the person the means by which they could come to know that nuance themselves and simply saying “Dale said he would kill me if God told him to” just doesn’t do the trick imo.

                I would just ask that you consider if there isn’t maybe some truth to what I’m saying here and if you still disagree, well then that’s the way it is I suppose, so be it.

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                1. That was looooong Dale. Dog walk … plus Friday night fun.

                  You talk to Habermas and sort it out then!!!! Explain why killing me upon command of a morally perfect God is BSC.

                  Habermas and I both know why it is BSC!

                  Xoxo

                  Love and Light
                  Tara

                  .

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                  1. No, that isn’t the point- the issue with Gary is long since over with (I’ve already provided the nuance/context with him), but I was using his case as an illustration of my point for any possible future cases.

                    So let’s say you chose to email some other future guest and you tell them about my comments to you about Abraham or on slavery, etc. (which I think is wrong for you to do), but let’s say you feel you want to do it for some reason- OK fine, I’m just suggesting that if you are a moral person, then you wouldn’t just email them and say “Dale is pro-slavery” or “Dale said he would kill me” and then leave it at that, I think the least you could do is provide a little of the nuance to accurately reflect what I believe or at least provide a link to a show where I explain my viewpoint in a more detailed and purposeful way (basically where I present my view in the best light possible); if after that they still think I’m wrong as Gary apparently does (according to you at least) then that’s fine.

                    I feel I deserve to be judged in a full and proper context, this is the moral and fair thing to do.

                    Like

      2. P.S.- I’m thrilled that my sharing the jargon of direct vs. indirect doxastic voluntarism has been helpful for you to perhaps clarify your own position with people- I think it allows people to get a better understanding of your position and avoids confusion and thus allows for better conversations with the people you are talking to (I always thought you were advocating for direct doxastic voluntarismfor example, so it was good to learn you don’t)- so I feel vindicated in my use of technical jargon on this site- this is why I feel its so important 🙂

        If anyone else is interested in the differences between diret vs. indirect dogmatist voluntarism (i.e. can you choose your beliefs directly or only indirectly), here is a great secular source explaining the terms in some more detail = https://www.iep.utm.edu/doxa-vol/ .

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        1. .

          I think JARGON is useless most of the time….because it leaves out most of humanities ability to discuss important issues.

          Nevertheless Indirect Doxastic Voluntarianism is clearly true, and it is dependent upon free will. Free will allows you to choose to say you would kill me upon command of a God. Your whole belief system (Christianity) is dependent up all the free will dominos that you have chosen to line up. FREE WILL FREE WILL FREE WILL…..is what leads to ones changing or stagnate beliefs.

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  3. Durring the podcast there was some talk about philosophy and how it affects the theist claims. So I thought I would post a survey done on what philosophers actually believe.

    Notice that atheism in philosophy is at 72.8%, compatibilism is at 59.1%, and physicalism for the mind is at 56.5%,

    The abstract: https://philpapers.org/rec/BOUWDP
    The results: https://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl

    This poll always jumps to mind whenever anyone makes the claim that philosophy supports theist claims, since 72.8% of philosophers would disagree with theist claims.

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    1. Interesting results Darren, thanks for sharing those links giving the breakdown in the field of philosophy. Will just add that Theism and/or Christian Theism is growing in academic philosophy circles since the 1970’s, so it is a respectable position to hold amoung professional philosophers- I’ve heard anecdotally that it is roughly in the ball park you give here 1/4 to as high 1/3 of philosophers in the West are Christians/Theists- so good to see some actual numbers to back up those claims 🙂

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      1. Christians have definitely been more prone to study philosophy since the 70’s, They can’t find real evidence to support the claims, so they are reduced to making philosophical arguments But if you look at the trends in philosophy since the middle ages, you will see that the percentage of atheists have been going up. But that is the same for the general population and the sciences as well.

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        1. Well, touché Darren lol.

          Anyways, I will admit that the use of science and number of people associated with atheism has risen since the Middle Ages, that would be undeniable. Thankfully, truth isn’t adjudicated by solely looking at the numbers of people who hold to a position even if it might be used as an indication such having a consensus amoung scientists on naturalistic evolutionary theory- that doesn’t mean intelligent design is false in itself but it is indicative that there are probably good reasons as to why so many knowledgeable experts hold to that opinion and thus one shouldn’t just dismiss their conclusions uncritically.

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          1. “…that doesn’t mean intelligent design is false in itself but it is indicative that there are probably good reasons as to why so many knowledgeable experts hold to that opinion and thus one shouldn’t just dismiss their conclusions uncritically.”

            As far as intelligent design is concerned, the scientific community has looked at it and found NO good reasons to take it seriously. And given the talking points of intelligent design, I don’t blame them. They are usually just wrong about the claims being made, and the few they get right are usually taken out of context and used incorrectly.

            97% of biological scientists accept evolution: http://www.people-press.org/2009/07/09/section-5-evolution-climate-change-and-other-issues/

            Intelligent design is not anything that is taken seriously in any mind except the theists mind.

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            1. Fair enough Darren- if true and there are no good reasons to believe in ID as you say, then of course it should be rejected by scientists as you say, but I think you will agree that one must look at those reasons first in order to deem them unworthy rather than simply dismissing them based on an argument from consensus or an appeal to authority. Personally, I am partial to ID as per Bill Dembski’s criteria of “Specified Complexity”, but again ultimately the demographics of who holds what position doesn’t matter as much as whether the evidence/arguments are persuasive or not.

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              1. “…one must look at those reasons first in order to deem them unworthy rather than simply dismissing them based on an argument from consensus or an appeal to authority.”

                You are correct, I agree completely.

                “Bill Dembski’s criteria of “Specified Complexity””

                The only problem with this criteria is that he gives no reason to think he can actually determine what is “Specified Complexity” and when you actually look at the evidence, there is every indication that it isn’t a real thing. Usually the only people that take Dembski’s ideas seriously are the ones that don’t actually understand the biology or the chemistry that underlies it. The stats (as I’ve already provided) clearly indicate that the people who study biology for a living don’t take his ideas seriously.

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  4. Thanks for a good podcast, guys.

    I have to admit I had a hard time following the conversation as you appeared to bounce in and out of debating which biblical interpretation is correct and whether a particular fact/prediction/person/place/thing in the bible is true/real/existent. I would argue the latter is so much more important than the former and I wouldn’t use a lot of energy to debate a Christian over biblical interpretation. That inside baseball is meaningless unless what emerges is real and or useful.

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    1. You are welcome Bryan. Good points, though I might say that David’s intention (even if it might get somewhat lost in the process) is trying to argue that the lack of some confirmation mechanism to resolve any differences of opinion shows that the Christian God doesn’t exist or is not true.

      Being on the defense here, I simply wanted to advance that actually there such mechanisms that are sufficient for that purpose and/or even if in some cases where one can’t come to a firm answer either way, then we have the ability to remain open as opposed to having to take a firm stance one way or the other.

      Hence, in the context of the truth/falsity of Christianity perhaps you could view it this way- the interpretational “ties” argument does not prove that the truth of the Christian God is improbable because; 1) There are no such provable “ties” or 2) Even if there were some such ties then the significance of a few such “interpretational ties” doesn’t imply that God is immoral or not true because so long as no “undue confusion” results from it, then people can remain agnostic or non-dogmatic about until a they learn how to resolve or favour one interpretation over another.

      Hope that is a helpful lens through which to to view the episode in a way that is useful for your purpose.

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      1. .

        I still hold that is the immorality of Christianity that makes a past Christian an Ex Christian. Dandbj said in one episode when he became the age of being capable of being a father, he knew that he would not kill his child for God.

        That was a moral issue. That was the first crack in his childhood belief system.

        So as much as I laugh, and cringe, and get a great dog walk when I listen to you two tussle…. these debates have relatively little to do with logic.

        Other than it is illogical to overide your conscience to revere an immoral God.

        Love and Light
        Tara

        Like

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