What is Christian Faith?


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Anchor Audio Link = https://anchor.fm/skeptics-and-seekers/episodes/Summer-2019-Special-on-Faith-e4u2qe

What is Christian Faith? (Christian/Seeker View)

In trying to reach consensus on what the biblical definition of what it means for a Christian to have “faith” in God/Jesus, it is important to understand, etymologically, the semantic range and use of this word in its relevant socio-cultural historical context. On that front, we can look at the Christian use of the term by looking at its ancient Hebrew and Greek/Hellenistic usage.
The NT book of Hebrews 11, popularly dubbed the “faith chapter”, gives us several illustrative examples of “faith” being exercised in an OT context, it details that their example is to be informative for Christians and as such it behooves us to understand how the word was used by ancient Hebrews. The Hebrew word for “faith” is emuwnah and its semantic range in the OT include the following; honesty; truth; faithfulness; firmness; official obligation. The first time this word is used in the text is found in Exodus 17:12: “But Moses’ hands became heavy; so, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady (steadfast)/established/firm/certain/confident until the going down of the sun.”

In the context of OT figures having faith in God, it can more or less be translated as “to remain in one place” (i.e. to show faithfulness to God in their obedient actions towards Him).

In the NT’s case, the Greek word for “faith” is “pistis”. In Greek mythology, the god Pistis was the personification of good faith, trust and reliability. In Christianity, this word is mentioned together with other related aspects like elpis (Hope) and sophrosyne (Prudence). The New Testament concepts of “pistis” require that a person be knowledgeable of the subject matter at issue and thus able to fully assent via obedient actions based on a trust, assurance/confidence and/or hope in God/Jesus , whereas, the pagan Greeks by contrast, took the notion of pistis merely as persuasive discourse that was elliptical and concentrated merely on the “affect and effects” rather than on the representation of the truth.

Summarizing Christian Faith;

Christian faith seems to be multi-faceted in entails that we intellectually assent to the essential doctrines of Christianity proper (Jesus death and Resurrection for our sins, His Divine nature, God exists, etc.), place our confidence or trust in God/Jesus’ character and faithfulness in fulfilling His promises to us for our salvation and commit to God via repenting from our sins and living an obedient Christian life as per James/Hebrews 11.

Now, its important to clarify that one is not saved via the obedient actions themselves, the Bible proves one can be saved via faith and repentance without any obedient actions whatsoever (if someone dies before they can act according to their faith such as the criminal on the cross or Cornelius, etc.) and as such it is the intention to obey that is really key to placing one’s “active faith” in God and His example of goodness for our lives not the actions themselves. Christians must be committed and steadfast in their assurance and trust that God will deliver on His promise of redemption and salvation that they hope for.
Thus, faith involves trust/confidence in both a person/s (God/Jesus) and in the attendant intellectual propositions that make up Christianity proper as the basis for trusting God/Jesus. However, now we come to the question of doubts in relation to Christian faith; can one biblically be said to place confidence/trust in God/Jesus and remain steadfast/faithful to Him despite the presence of doubts. The biblical answer is absolutely yes, David himself mentions the story whereby the man says “Lord I believe, now help me with my unbelief/doubts”. We don’t know exactly what this person’s unbelief entailed, he obviously trusted or had confidence that Jesus could heal his child and thus perhaps he had some doubts as to Jesus’ overall mission or something but regardless was able to place his faith in Jesus that he was of God and act accordingly whereby the H.S. would then eventually be able to take over and correct his defunct spirit to overcome such doubts in time. I myself pray this prayer to this day in full assurance and trust that God will help me overcome my doubts as He has given me sufficient reason to trust that He is who He says He is and will fulfill what He promises to do.

Claims, Statements of Belief and/or Presuppositions;

CLAIMS: That the word “faith” in a Christian context can be defined minimally, to include the following aspects; i) a trust/assurance (to a varying yet sufficient degree) in God/Jesus’ overall goodness and character- that He will fulfill my hope for salvation, ii) an intellectual assent (to varying yet sufficient degrees) to the essential doctrines of Christianity proper, and iii) a commitment/intention to actively obey God accordingly in trust that by doing so, I am accomplishing what is good for me and others.

STATEMENT OF BELIEF/OPINION: That any provable aspects or features of what it means to have a biblical Christian faith will be complementary and non-contradictory in nature. Thus, the word “faith” in the Protestant Bible and Christianity proper is multi-faceted but ultimately harmonious.

PRESUPPOSITIONS (OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF DISCUSSION/DEBATE IN THIS SHOW): That the Protestant Bible is in fact divine revelation from God (i.e. the Christian God) and therefore, biblical teachings on what “faith” entails are both informative and authoritative for Christians.

Recommended Sources (for further study):

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/HebrewRoots/Theoriginal_foundation/Faith OR https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g4102 AND https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/pistis.html (NASB ONE) AND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistis . https://arielshanelle.com/word-faith-hebrew-and-greek/. https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-faith.html .

Also, Marvin gave this excellent write up by JP Moreland on what it means to have Christian faith = http://www.jpmoreland.com/books/confident-faith/ .

Finally, see the Unbelievable? Discussion called “Is faith about belief or trust? And why does it matter? Travis Dickinson vs Brian Blais” that served as the inspiration for this show on S&S here = https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-Is-faith-about-belief-or-trust-And-why-does-it-matter-Travis-Dickinson-vs-Brian-Blais-Ben-Jacobs-of-Genexis .


What is faith? (Skeptic View)

What is faith? If you think you know, you are probably wrong. At the very least, you stand at odds with a large group of people who feel they have the right to define the concept. It has become a hot button issue that demands resolution. It is a problem for the Christian whatever the definition because no two Christians can seem to agree on what it is. When everyone has their own definition, then there is no definition and the word becomes meaningless.

However, faith cannot be meaningless. It is the bedrock of the Christian project. Without faith, it is impossible to please god. You know what happens to people who don’t please god. So I believe it is vital for Christians to come to the table and figure it out.

The fact that Christians can’t seem to agree on a definition makes conversations between skeptics and seekers all the more awkward. In fact, such conversations are doomed to fail. Many skeptics are former Christians. So they are just as entitled to define the word as any Christian. Therefore, before we launch into season 2, Dale and I will try to find common ground for a working definition of faith.

Mystic Faith

Mystic faith is the idea of faith as an objective substance to be possessed. When people speak of faith as a gift of god, they are using it in this way. Faith is not as much confidence in something. Rather, it is the something. We are given a measure of faith. And we can pray for more of it if ours gets depleted. But it is not something we generate from within ourselves. It is something that comes from an external source and infused directly into our spirit. It is supernatural in origin, not mundane.

Evidentialist Faith

This is faith as in simple confidence in evidence. It comes from within and is to only be in proportion with the evidence. It is the kind of faith a scientist is said to have in her instruments after they have been checked and verified. It stands at odds with mystical faith. There is nothing mystical about confidence. It is also not gift-worthy. It cannot be gained by prayer unless god is literally manipulating our thoughts. Faith is a simple product of how one feels about a given set of evidences. They are either convinced or they aren’t.

Fideist Faith

Fideism is the kind of faith that stands at odds with reason, and is the kind most Christians seem to support by their usage of the word. Plantinga partially described it this way:

Ø The fideist seeks truth, above all: and affirms that reason cannot achieve certain kinds of truth, which must instead be accepted only by faith.

This is aligned with 1 Cor. 2:14 which says:

Ø The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

Paul seems to be acknowledging that mere reason renders spiritual matters as foolishness. One needs some other component besides reason to achieve appreciation of spiritual things. Jesus told Thomas to stop doubting and believe. Doubt and skepticism are the natural results of reason applied to insufficient or unconvincing evidence. Thomas wouldn’t have doubted had the evidence been convincing. Jesus wanted him to go beyond reason to see the greater truth, a thing which can only be done by faith.

Active Faith

The last type of faith I want to explore is active faith. This is defined by what we do rather than by how we feel. One can have very little confidence in a thing and still act on it. No one trusts that they will win the lottery. But they buy a ticket anyway. They apportion varying levels of risk to potential rewards. Justin champions this brand of faith.

However, active faith stands at odds with other types of faith. Again, the key difference is that active faith is completely divorced from internal confidence. And it cannot be augmented from an external source. It is a measure of what you do and not what you are convinced to be true. Many people act out of fear or desperation rather than confidence in a positive result.

Challenges to Defining Faith

It is not a simple matter of just picking one of these definitions. Christians tend to take a little from column A and a little from column B. Within the same sentence, they could be using more than one definition. This is why I am in favor of avoiding the word and using a different word which better expresses what one means. Instead of faith, use trust when what you mean is trust. I believe there are reasons Christians refuse to do this.

One of the common usages of faith is describing one’s quantity of it at any given time. They will say their faith is strong, or that it is weak. It all depends on their mood. This usage of faith stands at odds with evidential faith because that should not shift based on mood. I do not wake up each morning with different attitudes about gravity. The evidence for it today is just as strong as it was yesterday. So my confidence in it does not shift, even after a fall.

The only time one’s confidence in evidence should shift is if the evidence changes, or they have gained new reasons to trust or distrust it. If your mood can radically shift about a set of evidences, then the evidence was not very good to begin with. It is a sign that your evidence is weak because it is not convincing. You are convinced one moment, and unconvinced when your mood darkens. That does not make sense.

However, it does make sense of mystic and fideist faiths. These are faiths that either depend on an outside source providing quantities of substance that can be at varying levels throughout the day, or an emotional commitment to something that is not based entirely on reason. It makes sense that faith can shift radically under those definitions.

When Jesus says it only takes a little faith to achieve miracles, he doesn’t seem to be talking about an evidentialist faith. Having confidence in evidence does not produce miracles. Peter walked on water because he acted even when he doubted. This seems to support the mystic type of faith. The same goes for the man who said he had faith, but asked Jesus to heal his lack of belief. He was someone trying to fight against reason to produce a mystic or Fideist faith.

Conclusion: Killing Faith

As I said before, I believe faith is a word that has become toxic to Christians. It is meaningless because it has so many meanings. One person can use it in different ways in the same sentence. There are more ways to use it than what I have mentioned. The only solution is to kill the word and use other words that are more descriptive of what we really mean.

I don’t believe Christians will ever do this because the word does have religious and mystical meaning that even evidentialists don’t want to give up. They pretend the word is mundane while smuggling spiritual cocaine inside. As long as that is the case, we can never have fruitful conversations. I call for Christians to open their baggage and declare their faith definitions up front. Stick to one definition, or stop using it altogether. Can we find agreement on the word? I doubt it. But it is worth a try.

And that’s the view from the skeptic.

David Johnson

38 thoughts on “What is Christian Faith?

  1. Originally I planned to steelman what I said on the Deuteronomy and Galatians passages and their apparent contradictory nature against my “real seeker” criteria (which isn’t really related to the topic of faith except that by fulfilling those criteria this is what activates the “mystic/external” aspect or means to get faith (i.e. the Holy Spirit’s function before the point of no return)- I wasn’t satisfied with the way I articulated it on the show at first (esp. on the Deuteronomy passage in particular) but after re-listening I think I did give the core of the contextual fact they already believe in God and had proof he was real within the context of living in an exclusive covenant relationship with the one true God- this is why they were expected to “know better” and reject false prophets.

    That said, we assumed this verse spoke of supernatural prophesy when actually some scholars (in my Christian Apologetics Study Bible say this is only referring to natural predictions that may come true occasionally like your dad predicting its going to rain (that seems a bit of stretch as it mentions this regards to signs and wonders which implies something extraordinary if not supernatural in nature).

    The important thing to note is the Israelite had sufficient knowledge/reason to know that the God of Israel was real and they were in a covenant relationship with him. David also mentioned ancient Jews already believed in the gods as being real entities of one sort or another and thus miracles alone would already not be sufficient for them to switch their allegiances in the same way it might for moderns who have an anti-supernatural bias and dismisses everything spiritual as myths. The key to this verse is that they had sufficient reason to know God existed and they were in an exclusive covenant with Him, hence falling for a false prophet no matter what isolated signs they did was never justified.

    Its a similar answer to the Galatians text.

    I do have one question for you David if you don’t mind though;

    I asked during the show but to be honest I had no idea what exactly you had in mind when you said Phillip the apostle was excluded from a group appearance to the 10 (I get the 10 part b/c Thomas is gone and Judas is dead, though if Phillip isn’t there then that would be 9). I thought maybe you were conflating or confusing him with Phillip the Elder or something or maybe thinking of the appearance to 7 in Galilee in the John’s Gospel (which doesn’t preclude Phillip being there).

    Where did you get that Jesus appeared to 10 apostles excluding Phillip? Was this a mistake on your part or were you trying to be clever or something?

    P.S.- I double checked David’s question and appartnely belief is the same Greek word as “faith”- “pisti” whereas somthing like “orthodox” = straight thoughts/opinions in regards to belief (ortho means straight like orthodontis= straight teeth) and dox relates to beliefs, thoughts/opinions (remember doxastic involuntariness- can’t directly choose what your beliefs/opinions are.


    1. I simply don’t believe there is any way we can meet on this point. Your pleading is too specialized. It reads like head-canon to me. You talk about the Jews being in a covenant relationship and having 100% certainty and already believing in other gods and miracles as ways to mitigate the command to ignore and kill the herald of other gods. But that doesn’t wash with what we know about people today.

      Right now, there are Christians who speak in terms of being in a covenant relationship with god, and who are 100% certain of his being real. They also believe in other god-like beings such as demons with actual miraculous power. Yet you believe they should remain open-minded and continue examining the evidence for other gods. I can’t follow you at all on this one. You are trying too hard to dismiss an embarrassing passage that makes hash of one of your most important theories.

      Some passages in the Bible actually mean what they seem to mean. I believe this is one of them. You can’t save it. You either have to embrace it or declare it a biblical error. But to treat it as you are disrespects the whole process of reading the text. Perhaps we can discuss it more when I have more time. I greatly enjoyed the discussion. Let’s have more of those next season.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks David, well I have to admit on this one (the Deuteronomy thing, not so much the Galatians one which is easier to my mind), I understand where you are coming from and so I can’t just dismiss your critique of me here as bias uncritical dismissal as I can see why you’d think that based on the text.

        I was sensitive to it myself and its why I took some time yesterday to evaluate it again a little more- some of the things I said were indeed head cannon but I still don’t think its head canon that is forced or inconsistent with the text (especially when using other Scriptures to reinforce that God doesn’t support blind faith of “just believe me without proof”. I think that you also are reading into the text something that isn’t there but your reading doesn’t seem to be consistent with the Exodus or other stories in the Bible where God does use evidence to prove who He is to the Israelites and to re-establish His covenant with the people.

        I also don’t know if its entirely proper to compare us living in the Messianic era to the Israelites situation as there may be some relevant differences there compared to us today- heck, it may even be that some of the differences began to develop after the destruction of the First Temple- as the Shekinah (God’s divine presence) was not said to “dwell/inhabit” the Second Temple (hence the Messianic prophecy about Jesus “dwelling” there). Perhaps, amoung other things, the Shekinah being available to them and dwelling amoungst them may be a relevant factor that justifies their “knowing better” against false prophets. The point is you are assuming or reading into the text that people in Israel are like us today, but we are clearly not and there can be important distinctions that justify why God gives this command and why no one in Israel would ever have reason to have any doubts in that regard (100% knowledge), thus the only reason for some to doubt, is through their own sinful choice and hence God will abandon them to their own delusions, leave the Temple and allow Israel’s enemies to punish them as a result. Think of Ahab, he knew full well he should have obeyed the one true God and his prophet Isaiah- but he sinfully didn’t want to listen to what He knew was God’s truth. Other kings who knew better allowed themselves to be deceived by evil lying spirits because they chose to be deceived- they didn’t like the message they got from God, so they allowed themselves to be deceived.

        Another thing I could think of from my research into it is that the passage itself speaks of not being deceived based on a single one-off prediction of a claimed sign/wonder or something- perhaps they give 5 predictions and just by chance one comes to pass, well the Israelites should know right away that he is a false prophet because all 5 should have come about and not just one- this could be another tip off for them to “know better”. The point is the text speaks in terms of rebelling against God and His rule and reminds them they know they ought to be loyal to Him via the sufficient reason he provided them during the Exodus and subsequent covenant they made with Him as a result. To rebel implies that they know better, they know God is the one true God and that they shouldn’t be deceived to follow after other fake gods or enticed by a “salesman”.

        Again, I don’t dismiss your concern or rejection of my answer as sheer bias here, as I do think you are reasonable in trying to stay true to the text itself and being cautious of my head canon when it appears strained, but I think if one is not quick to jump to assume the worst about the Bible and puts various things from Scripture together instead of just considering one isolated text, I think you will see my head canon makes perfect sense and has a greater explanatory scope in being consistent with all of Scripture than your “just believe without due warrant or else” hypothesis.

        Also yes, look forward to Season 2- hopefully there will be good convos this season just as there was last season 🙂


        1. I’m trying hard to see your point. But what I see you doing is applying a Molinist argument like a get out of jail free card. You are just presuming that there must be a reasonable explanation. But in the absence of one in the passage, you invent one. Even so, it doesn’t work for me.

          I am thinking about the Hindu who prays fervently to their gods and have all manner of reasons, external and internal, to be convinced. There is no reason for them to listen to the Christian evangelist because they have cause to know that they are right. Their miracles and their balance of probabilities work in their favor. This just creates a situation where all evangelists are either ignored or killed by all other religious people.

          I find it incomprehensible that you think it is okay for one set of evangelists to go out and spread their message. But the same group should not allow any other evangelists into their camp. Every mitigation you allow for the Jews could have also applied to the worshippers of other gods. Why doesn’t your head-cannon account for that?

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          1. David,

            No it does, obviously from a biblical position- no other religious adherents do have sufficient warrant/reason to believe and if this is in fact the case (as I can confirm via my own search that they don’t), then this allows my defense to work. Also the command didn’t say that one has to kill pagans for having doubts just Jews living in Israel under the covenant, so Hindus are totally beside the point as God didn’t give them this command in Duet 13- Even modern rabbis fully recognize that pagans living back then had different rules and are only under the 7 Noahide laws, so this isn’t just some Christian idea but Jews and Muslims recognize that there were differences in expectations as well.

            There is a reason God treats the Jews differently in this regard compared to the pagans- God expects Jews to know better and the others he allows for their sinful ignorance- why the difference in treatment, certainly it is nothing inherent about the Jews that make the special, its even said the Jews were the worst of all peoples by some and thus its a great lesson about how God loves and cares for even the weakest and most immoral of peoples.

            Quite obviously there is some set of external circumstances which creates a warranted additional responsibility on the Jews in their knowledge and loyalty to the one true God- sure I’m speculating as to what I think that is (PBB’s, religious contest miracles, the Shekinah having a lasting influence (yet which degrades over the generations) and semi-repairing their sensus divinitatus in the same way the Holy Spirit repairs it for us today in the messianic era but only more fully or some other thing that made it sinful choice and not sincere doubt that caused an Israelite to rebel or lack trust in God (i.e. be unfaithful). I don’t have to speculate as to what the difference in responsibility was based on, but given we know God is good and righteous, and saw the need to prove or provide sufficient reason for Jews to trust Him at multiple times in the OT, we can be assured that this command was moral and based on the fact that the Jews were guilty of any unbelief they experienced- this text assumes they should have known better and remained faithful to the overall truth rather than allow themselves to be deluded or led astray by an isolated miracle/sign or wonder whereby they already knew God was the one true God of Israel.

            That’ my take at least and again, I don’t take any skeptics who disagree or reject my interpretations on this as “sheer skeptical bias” and so I do take this objection seriously and sincerely, but I think when you consider the context and all the relevant factors my idea makes better sense of all the data even if it may appear a little strained when just reading one verse in isolation. Maybe, if you ask yourself what Biblically distinguished the Jews from other pagans during the OT period- why did God expect more of them on remaining loyal than he did with pagans who doubted or lacked faith; I think you’ll find that the clear biblical answer is that, in one way or another, they knew better (John 4:22) but the only reason they could be deceived or lack full confidence in trusting the God of Israel is by them sinfully choosing to allow themselves to be deceived in that regard- its the same reading I had when you asked me about God sending those lying spirits to the king, Hebrew scholars have recognized that in the ANE context, the king was only deceived because he wanted to be, he wanted spirits that would tell him the things he wanted to hear, even to the extent of ignoring and dismissing the advice from someone he knew was a prophet of the one true God (the text says he knew this as there was no doubt in his mind that he was a prophet of God, but he didn’t like the message and choose to get carried away with the lies of the spirits guiding his other advisors).


            1. Okay. This sounds suspiciously like what Christians say about nonbelievers today. We have been given enough external and internal evidence so that we should believe. And that the only reason we remain unbelievers is that we are willfully and intentionally suppressing the truth due to our sinful desire to reject god. Not trying to be argumentative. This is just how I read what you are saying compared to what you and others have said in the past.

              However, I always leave room for the idea that the Bible is just being unclear in a particular place. So if that is the case, this is just another area where the Bible is unreadable. It requires specialized knowledge that is not apparent in the text, and defies any consistent hermeneutic of which I am aware.

              I would just add that I can’t follow you on your theories of warrant. Only the Jews and Christians have proper warrant. But worshippers of other gods do not have proper warrant. I should trust your opinion on this because you looked into it and should know. Surely, you understand how that comes across.

              I do not trust you to make a judgement of warrant on everyone in the world who ever believed in another god. We know from the Bible that there was absolutely warrant to believe in other gods because there was plenty of real magic in the biblical world. Today, people who worship other gods claim the same kinds of miracles that Christians find so convincing. I believe Hindus have better resurrection claims than Christians.

              So to dismiss all others as having no true warrant is to simply say that you are right because you are right, and they are wrong because they are wrong. You can’t stand on your PPB while claiming that no one else with a different idea than yours has a warranted PPB. Well, you can. But no one will hear you. Perhaps you can talk a little more about your idea of warrant this season and why you think no other religious people have it.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. David, I respect your position but I find that you always like to ask one question (which assumes certain givens) and then when I give a good answer you take away those givens and challenge me on something else. I don’t expect you to believe me, you are responsible to find out the truth yourself just like I have- but I was giving you my answer on Christian terms- the Bible assumes that other religions are false religions and thus if I’m to give my interpretation of a verse then part of understanding it is knowing what the authors took as givens in their background knowledge and the writer of Deuteronomy 13 assumed other pagan religions (including Hinduism) were false religions and thus this would be an uncontroversial aspect to accept in understanding what he meant in those verses.

                Its like asking me what Jesus meant when he said something about money for example in the NT and I answer it, but then you say yeah but I don’t believe it’s true- who cares what you believe, I’m telling you what I think the Bible says. Imagine I did this to you and I asked you about your interpretation of what Jesus said in a given verse and after you give your argument for that reading, I just turn around and say, yeah but you don’t believe it’s true in the first place so who cares, I don’t have to answer these questions for skeptics because skeptics don’t believe it’s true anyways. I suspect you would take issue with my doing that as being beside the point. The tasks of biblical interpretation and systematic theology do not necessarily require intellectual assent to the religion’s truth, I have done this on other religious writings myself despite the fact I don’t believe they are true.

                As to the other issue you mention, about it being similar to what Christians say- well sort of but there is a key difference in that there is no “point of no return” qualification in the Deuteronomy passage whereas there is with people today not living in God’s presence in the ancient land of Israel (remember with this additional qualification I do allow for “real seekers” to not believe through no fault of their own but b/c God has providentially restrained opening their eyes until the right time). Perhaps you could argue that its not like believing in the essential doctrines of Christianity but like belief in God (as per Romans 1)- I also make the “point of no return” qualification for this belief in a general God as well (part of the Noahide laws for Gentiles by the way), but let’s say I’m wrong for the sake of argument- then yes it would be the exact same thing- Atheists should know better about a God existing even if they aren’t necessarily expected to know about Jesus, etc. In the same way Jews living in the OT period had sufficient warrant to know better about following or being enticed by pagan gods/goddesses.


                1. You said, “the Bible assumes that other religions are false religions.” I agree. But there lies my problem. It is merely presuppositional from my perspective. Of course the Bible assumes it. Other holy books assume their religion is true. So what? The question is less about the underlying assumptions as it is, why should I believe it. I don’t presuppositionally assume that the Hebrew religion was truer than any other, or that Christianity is truer than any other today.

                  Again, the rub comes when you suggest that the Hebrews of that day had some kind of special warrant that others did not. They had a “true” PBB while others would have experienced false beliefs. That is a claim too far that is simply impossible to prove.

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                  1. Well David, its likewise impossible to disprove as well and actually, while the Bible doesn’t use modern philosophical jargon such as PBB’s, it does provide the raw biblical data to justify my interpretation- God interacts directly with His chosen people; God was known to them as a dynamic will interacting with their own wills, a sheer given reality, as inescapably to be reckoned with as a destructive storm or life-giving sunshine . . . They did not think of God as an inferred entity but as an experienced reality. To them God was not . . . simply an idea adopted by the mind, but an experiential reality which gave significance to their lives. This is exactly what modern philosophers call “properly basic beliefs.” They aren’t based on some other beliefs; rather they are part of the foundation of a person’s system of beliefs. So, I think my interpretation makes more sense than your blind faith or fidiest interpretation whereby all the Jews just had no reason to trust/obey God but, like Nike, adopted and enacted some kind of “just do it” policy- that is contradictory to the Bible as the prophets contradict that directly as indeed do all the OT writings.

                    As to the issue of you not believing in the truth of the religion- well I guess I fail to see the issue, your disbelief in Christianity didn’t prevent you from interpreting Jesus and writing an entire book about him- the original question was never why should you believe it but about interpreting what this verse was saying and how it might relate to my “real seeker” criteria. Thus, I was merely in defensive mode and bore no burden of proof whatsoever on this front (if anything you did, but you didn’t explicitly mention any claims on your end and so I guess on this front we were simply giving statements of our beliefs to each other).

                    Just to clarify for people though- we both agreed that I established my burden of proof on my minimalist claim, I succeeded in proving that my tripartite definition is “minimally” correct definition of faith (or at least correctly describes aspects associated with it) and I wasn’t presented with any proof to discredit my statement of belief that any and all other aspects associated with faith were contradictory or non-harmonious to my understanding of “faith”.


                    1. Sorry my responses are so short. Time constraints.

                      Just sticking with this discussion without reference to any other, I can grant that the Jews had warrant to believe in Jehovah. But I am saying that the Egyptians had similar reasons to believe in their gods, and everyone else.

                      One of the ways gods were tested was by war. God’s armies didn’t always win. So other people surely had stories of how the creator god’s navigated them to the point of being a successful and victorious nation. I love the one where the Hebrews lost because the other army has chariots of iron. I wonder what god stories they told from that one.

                      Where we disagree is that the Jews had better evidence for their beliefs than everyone else who worshipped other gods. Along the way, the Jews became familiar with the other gods. Apparently, the Jews found the other gods even more convincing, hence their constant worship of other gods. You just seem to insist on blaming them for not being convinced. I don’t think you can make that case that they were somehow at fault, or that the other nations had less evidence to be convinced in their gods.

                      I’m a materialist. I don’t jump around to every new philosophy or religion that comes along because I am convinced in what I believe. I can be convinced of something different. But nothing has done the job of convincing me. However, the Jews jumped from ship to ship because they were never truly and properly convinced that their god was the only one that mattered. Your insisting that they should have been convinced sounds a bit desperate to me. How did you determine how convinced they should have been in relation to other plausible claims?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Thanks for your take David,

                      I’m going to bow out at this point as I think I’ve provided satisfactory answers to the original question you asked me about and these issues are now starting to go off on tangential trails. That said, if I do get some time, I can answer these issues relatively easily, but only on condition that you assure me that these are sincere and not pointed questions; as you know I don’t like being used to make a point by skeptics whereby they ask a question simply for the purpose of ridiculing or desperately trying to find flaws in whatever answer I give (I don’t intend this to be offensive to you, I’m just asking b/c as a former preacher, I feel like you should already be aware of how Christians answer the question of lost wars, etc.). Did you not learn an answer to this kind of question in seminary? If you did, are you asking b/c you simply found that explanation unconvincing to your mind? My answer to this would be the same as what you would have learned in seminary and so there may be no point to my answering if you we know in advance you will reject the answer no matter what- saves us the time and effort 🙂


                    3. For some reason, your last response seems random and hostile. I didn’t do anything to provoke such a response. Accusing an interlocutor of insincerity out of the blue like that is not conducive for better conversations. Even in polemic mode, my conversations are always in good faith. And I wasn’t in polemic mode.

                      Because I know you better, I don’t think the following is the case. But an outsider looking in would think you were just losing the point and turned ad hominem out of frustration. We have engaged in enough discussion so that I am frankly shocked that you would question my motives in this way.

                      Your response veer into the nonsensical when you suggest that I should anticipate your answer. Have you no idea how many Christian answers there are to this, and all different and contradictory at that? I don’t recall you speaking of this specifically. Even so, you could have changed your answer since then.

                      But yes, I can just guess at your answers and never bother with the conversation. You could just guess at my answer and skip the hard job of an honest discussion. But that makes no sense on a discussion board. There are also people who read this board and want to follow the logic of both sides all the way through to the end. You can’t just get frustrated and say that I know what you would say and therefore there is no point of saying it. However, I guess we will have to leave it there.


                    4. That’s correct David, there was no hostility at all and even recognizing that it might have been taken that way I explicitly said I didn’t mean it offensively and made sure to give the happy face at the end to further indicate my mood in what I said.

                      My response is a control mechanism to prevent the discussion from going off-topic in a never-ending back and forth- that’s all. I find I provide a specific answer to a specific question only to be posed with more questions or attacks against my position. As to you being shocked, well I’m sorry for it, as I said my tone was explicitly not meant to be harmful or come across hostile, that said, I do believe there have been occasions when you are in polemic mode whereby you ask questions not so much to care what answer I provide but just to make a point. I’m not saying you always do this, obviously I was engaging with you before, but the thing about the Hebrews losing wars b/c of iron chariots seemed to come out of no where based on our previous convos.

                      So yeah, there was no frustration or trying to avoid on my end, just wanting to control the convo and not get carried off down rabbit trails without due reason. Again, I have had many encounters where I believe this is what skeptics do to me and I honestly believe you, in polemic mode, have done this on occasion as well at times and this specific aspect did seem to indicate that this might be one of those times and I was just probing a little to find out if that was the case or not so I could nip it in the bud if that was indeed the case.

                      Again, I’m not trying to cause any issues between us, I’m not upset or frustrated (indeed I said what I said to prevent anything like that from coming to pass) and yes there have been many occasions where I feel we have had sincere good faith discussions, but there have been some times in your polemic mode where I have felt that the convo was designed simply make a skeptical point on your end and not so much to care about my answer to it in honest consideration- the war question seemed like it could be one of those things to me and so I asked about it. Could I be wrong about you ever having this motive, sure but just telling you that this is not how I have perceived every convo we’ve ever had even if I can happily point to many times where I think we have been having a good faith convo.

                      Maybe this is a drawback of the polemical method that you ought to consider on your end as regardless of some of the benefits of using it that you mention, it can also cause honest confusion on your motives at times, obviously we’re good right now and so I’m telling you my honest perception in good faith here with no intention of offending you or ad hominem at all.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    5. David,

                      As a show of good faith, given you mention that you gave your last reply in sincerity, I wanted to provide some quick answers to them. This will need to be my last word though as I’m working on something at the moment.

                      1. Hebrews losing wars;

                      So the Bible is crystal clear that the Jews lose because they disobey God and His covenant, when they do so to a sufficient degree, God will abandon His people.

                      With Judges 1:19, it is the same principle here, God allowed them to take over some parts of the land but not fully because of their sinful disobedience and this is why reading the full context is important, Judges 2:1-3, 18-22 immediately following the specific narrative you cite, it says this was the case- Israel lost battles or wars not because God was not all-powerful (as though iron chariots could hold up against God’s power) but b/c Israel disobeyed sinfully and hence we’re punished to varying degrees by God not allowing them to be totally victorious.

                      This is also what happened with the Babylonian exile, Israel’s sinful disobedience reached such a point that God totally abandoned Judah entirely, left the Temple and allowed it and the city (entire kingdom) to be destroyed and the people to be carried off into captivity.

                      EDIT: Also just to sort of hammer this point home that the “iron chariots is God’s kryptonite” type interpretation of this text, I don’t think you will be find even one OT scholar (no matter how skeptical) who will read this text and say yeah that was what the author of Judges was trying to say- God will protect you no matter what so long as you don’t disobey God’s commands OR your enemies don’t use iron chariots”- no OT scholar would support that reading of this text and say “yep iron chariots are God’s kryptonite” is what the author was trying to say here. Try and see if you can find even one who says that, I would be shocked if you could.

                      2. Your other point deals with what you call them being “convinced”. In the first place, Jews didn’t gradually become aware of pagan gods, they emerged out of and from pagan worshippers. Some skeptical historians will even try to argue that the Jews were pagans and then gradually became Henotheists and then eventually Monotheists, so I think your historically in error here. But yeah, I guess I would just say you seem to just insist on blaming God and not allowing for any fault in the Jews for being disloyal to God, that’s not what the writer of Deuteronomy would have thought and thus your modern skeptical “blind faith” interpretation can be ruled out as not being the accurate interpretation right away.

                      I argued from the Bible that they should have been and already provided my biblical warrant for that claim whereas you have not and provided an interpretation that to my mind contradicts the Scriptures and God M.O. as described in the Bible throughout salvation history.

                      The fact that they are not convinced at times or led astray is something that the Bible finds fault with the people for and not God. That should not be controversial at all, as God punishes them for it (as per your war example above proves is the case). God does not punish the Gentiles for their ignorance on this front in the same way He does the Jewish “Chosen People”- there is a difference there, as God expects better of them then He does from the other nations. Given God’s M.O. or the precedent of Him providing sufficient warrant/reason to place their “faith” in Him in virtually every narrative in the Bible, then its reasonable to say the reason the Jews were blamed and punished for being led astray or lack of faith in God vs. pagan gods is because God had provided them “sufficient warrant” in one way or another to “know better” and not to be allowed to be “unconvinced”. Your interpretation of “blind allegiance” makes the issue of “convinced” or not totally irrelevant as to you it doesn’t matter what they believed to be true about God or not, they made a covenant and they should just do it whether they were convinced by other gods or not. Quite obviously this was not the case in the Bible.

                      The Jews were seen as being special and singled out in the ancient world based on 2 features of “divine identity”- God’s creation and sovereignty over everything in creation and His specific actions in salvation history showing His essential character and faithfulness to redeem His creation (starting with humans). This is what marked out the Jews as special compared to the pagan nations/gods, this is what drove their unique identity up until the time of Jesus when Gentiles could finally start to be incorporated into the group of being God’s people as well. The Jews were unique because of their “knowledge” of these facts and expected to remain loyal and obedient on the basis of this knowledge. Knowledge is a warranted true belief and thus it is no stretch at all (but instead fits perfectly) to say that God provided the means by which the people of Israel would have sufficient warrant/reason to always remain loyal to God, any doubts about the 2 aspects or desire to follow pagan gods vs. the one true God could only ever result from the Jew’s own sinful dispositions/actions that separated them from the spiritual restorative elements (such as the Shekinah or Temple sacrifices, etc.) that provided a semi-restoration in bridging the gap between God and man (including the knowledge of who God is).

                      Is there some head canon involved here, yes but there is no issue with head canon unless it is provably contradictory to the Bible (my believing in the Big Bang is head canon but there is no issue with a Christian believing it biblically despite the fact that no ancient Jew could have possibly conceived of our modern notions on that front). I submit that, when considered in light of all the evidence, my interpretation is just plain better than yours; it has much better explanatory power, scope and plausibility compared to your conception of a blind, non-evidenced/warranted based faith- there is simply no biblical reason to think that is the case at all and in fact it contradicts what we know about God from other Scriptures. Could it be that you as the skeptic are just desperate to find contradictions in the Bible when none such exist?

                      Take care my friend and as I said before, my previous comments were not meant offensively as I do think there have been some occasions where, in your polemical spirit, you ask questions insincerely or to score a skeptical point without wanting to consider the answer I give (I can give examples of shows where I think you do this if you like), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the many times where you have given me good faith convos and/or genuine questions. Also even if you do sometimes ask insincere polemical questions occasionally, I wasn’t pointing it out due to frustration or in an upset way, I was merely trying to avoid having it get to that point by cutting off the convo before it went there (remember this was advice you yourself gave to me before) 😊 (please note the happy face this time).


      2. David, nice job with the write-up above. Haven’t listened yet but I have a small bone to pick with your concluding paragraph:

        Stick to one definition, or stop using it altogether. Can we find agreement on the word? I doubt it. But it is worth a try.

        There’s nothing wrong with a word having multiple definitions. Faith is not unique in this regard. To rail against using the word is to fight the wrong enemy.

        Equivocation is the enemy. Bait and switch use of faith during an argument is the enemy. Using faith as a black box unable to be questioned and unnecessary to substantiate is the enemy. The word is not the problem, the interlocutors who play games are.


  2. I just wanted to clarify that I meant Thomas every time I said Phillip. Sorry about the confusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool, I was driving myself crazy thinking I had somehow missed something on this, I just went with it during the show as the main point as it related to faith was the same, but I was always wondering what exactly you had in mind lol 🙂


  3. Great discussion! Most enjoyable. Thanks fellas.
    One question Dale. Would you say the ancient Israelites had the Holy S? In theory that is only sent after Jesus ascends. What did they use as an inner witness or the monkey wrench to decipher the meaning of the text?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your welcome Sarah, it feels refreshing to get some general appreciation in the comments from a listener nowadays 🙂

      So in answer to your question, yes actually the Israelites did have the Holy Spirit, though there is a difference in that He only worked temporarily and not on a permanent basis as He does post-Jesus ascension. This is why I was mentioning God’s Shekinah (divine presence) where He dwelt in the Temple, I think in some way the Israelites could have been privy to some kind of partial restorative aspect to their divine senses/spirit (special faculty of the soul designed to relate and “know” God) through that and/or some other factors (which might have included the temporary work of the H.S. on occasion) and it takes time to degrade that restoration over the generations (in general but again people degenerate faster than others based on their sinful proclivities/dispositions, etc.).

      So yeah, I don’t know exactly what it was if we are using the PBB/divine sense angle to say the Jews had sufficient warrant (though I have some ideas as described above), but I do know this for certain biblically speaking, the Jews were given some kind of special knowledge about God that other nations/peoples (Gentiles or “goyim”) weren’t and had God dwelling in their midst in the Temple (in the same way he now dwells in our hearts via the H.S. as true Christians are now the spiritual temple of God) and based on these the Bible expects Jews living in the land of Israel to “know better” than to follow pagan gods. If they have been deceived it is their fault as somehow, someway they have chosen or allowed themselves to fall into delusion when they had opportunity not to in ways that the pagan nations didn’t and thus they weren’t responsible or expected to not be so deluded.

      Again, its not as simple as I make it sound above since I think the pagans were responsible or guilty for following pagan gods and not the one true God ethically/morally but just not to have special knowledge about who this God is or what He had done in salvation history thus far or to follow the law of Moses, etc. But Romans 1-3 makes it clear that the pagan degradation whereby the replaced General Theism with pagan deities, well on that front the Bible and the Noahide laws presume that even the pagans should, minimally, “know better” on that front just as the Jews. The Jews were given the Law and were separated as a chosen covenant people and this is why God in His divine provenance saw fit to provide additional warrant and thereby additional penalties for Jews in particular for disobedience in order to mark the Jews out and thereby achieve His ends in salvation history.


      1. OK thanks. I have to say I have never entertained the H of Holies to be anything other than a sacred place for the Priest to enter. Even as a believer, I never much thought of it that way. You seem to indicate it was a physical presence of God in the Temple that they could maybe see/feel/hear? And wasn’t the temple a tent of some sort while they traipsed about in the desert? In which case, God living in a tent 2000 years ago, is a little bit hard to take seriously, but OK.

        Then you say ” he lived in the temple in the same way he dwells in our hearts. Huh? How would the two be remotely similar? God dwelling in our heart was, as far as I was concerned; promptings to say or do things that you thought God had told you; thoughts that seemed ‘other’ ; an acute senses of your moral consciousness and texts/preaching that ‘ resonated/spoke to you’ – or seemed extra extra true, + a world view that meant that things made sense. Eg Middle East lashes out at Israel- to be expected – end of times predicts it. A girl gets pregnant out of wedlock and has a bit of a crap life – a good example of someone not following god’s will and reaping what they sowed. So how this would be the ‘same’ as in the temple, I have no idea what you mean.

        What else does it mean/how else can it be determined?

        So from what you say, the HS was operational, but on and off, and they didn’t call it that. They probably thought it was just “God”. Frankly, how you’re supposed to distinguish which one of the 3 entities is speaking to you, is something I have never gotten a straight answer for. Feel free to have a stab at that one if you want. 😉

        Aren’t the Jews just remaining open by trying out the Pagan gods? They’re not real seekers if they just dismiss them and keep with Yahweh? Or, do you ever consider that they might have thought that Yahweh wasn’t *all* that and this is why they go off and do other things. I mean Adam and Eve couldn’t wait to muck it up, James barely believes his own brother, the disciples- as David very poignantly pointed out, weren’t exactly hanging around the tomb waiting for the resurrection. They may have legit reasons for rejecting this God. Even if they have proof he exists.

        Ref this idea that the HS sorts out our minds/hearts. Why do Christians claim this as there’s clearly no evidence for it? They’re pretty much the same as the next person. Why do real Christians, who prayed for the HS daily or at least weekly, believed wholeheartedly in it, though they had the properly basic belief and inner revelatory knowledge of God and his truth…. still sometimes deconvert and no longer frame these experiences in this way? They would say they knew because they knew and it was very very real for them. Now they don’t see it this way, so how is a person who thinks they’ve got it in their hear supposed to really know. See the latest Christian worship leader who has fallen away at Hillsong.

        Did you listen to the Dogma debate with the Indian man who thinks he is a witness of God? He really believes this and God has revealed himself extra specially to him. He’s utterly convinced. How would one even know one is being deceived?

        Finally, you said something on the podcast that I wanted to pick up on. It would be one of the occasions where I think Tara is right and you should not be passing this on to young minds. You said something along the lines of ‘if you have bad emotions such as anger’.
        Emotions are a-moral. They just are. They’re just something we experience. Anger is not BAD. It’s just a signal. Normally of a thwarted goal. It is a useful emotion, just like they all are. What you do with anger (whether you feed it, dwell on it, act on it etc ) might be good or bad, but the emotion itself is not something we have necessarily control over. We, humans, are lucky in that we can run it through our frontal cortex that normally decides that stabbing the person who has just jumped the queue is not a good idea. You can learn meditation techniques to be able to observe the anger rising may be sooner than previously and decide intentionally how you are going to react. But emotions themselves are part of the human experience. It’s one of more damaging nonsense that is preached in churches sometimes leading to repressed, frustrated people. Emotions are not a sign of degradation from a fall. They just are.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Good stuff here, Sarah, especially the part on emotions. Taking a naturalistic approach to emotions helps one understand themselves and harness their emotions better.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Hey Sarah,

          You give quite a lot here and my time is limited- I have to record a Podcast tomorrow afternoon that I’m preparing for but I will respond to a couple things you say;

          1. Emotions are all good or a-moral. Nope, wrong while I disagree with Buddhists and many today who think that certain emotions are inherently bad (jealousy or anger can be good else our morally perfect God would not be privy to them) but certain contexts or types of emotions are bad. A righteous anger is good, a selfish out of control anger like what I’ve displayed at times on here is bad. A Godly selfless jealousy is good but a selfish petty jealousy is bad. Even our emotions have have been tainted by sin just like all our other faculties, I would not cultivate immoral emotions and instead try to only experience proper emotions, such bad emotions should not come about in the first place and only do so because of our own selfish sinful natures which will be redeemed fully on the Day of Judgement.

          I get you don’t believe that, but you have no right to impose your beliefs onto me as though you have authority to tell me the truth about reality or about the nature of our emotions and their moral aspects (or lack there of). I think a jealousy motivated only by selfish pride or merely out of concern for one’s self vs. the other person is bad and should not be something that any human ever feels- one should care about others as themselves and not be possessive over people simply to appease themselves. Whereas a husband being jealous of his wife and vice versa in the context of wanting to preserve a loving and faithful marriage that is God-ordained to be beneficial for both parties involved is good because adultery only leads to spiritual harm to all parties involved. This is the biblical position, so you can state your disagreement, that’s OK but I have provable divine revelation allowing me to make my claims about reality, on what authority or basis do you tell me that emotions are a-moral apart from that just being a “thus saith Sarah”?

          2. As to the Shinkah and God’s “dwelling” in the Tabernacle and First Temple- well I discussed this before in the context of Messiani Prophecy Part 4 show (Haggai 2 prophecy)- I guess that one must have went completely over your head in your haste to discredit my arguments based on Messianic prophecy back in the day, if what I say here is totally new to you, maybe this should indicate that you should slow down and consider what I have to say before rejecting it.

          Let’s take a look at Haggai 2:

          This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In a little while . . . I will fill this house with glory,” says the LORD Almighty. “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the LORD Almighty. “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the LORD Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the LORD Almighty (Hag. 2:6-9).

          First of all, this passage compares the Second Temple to the first, and we all know that the glory of the First Temple derived from the supernatural presence of God. In addition, many of the elements that made the First Temple glorious, such as the ark of the covenant, the divine fire, the Shekinah, and the Urim and the Thummim, were missing from the Second Temple. Finally, we must consider the fact that concerning the Second Temple, it was prophesied that there would be peace (Hag. 2:9); yet, Ibn Ezra said that this peace was predicated on the obedience of the people, something which the book of Haggai does not state at all. This is illustrative of the types of problems Rabbinic Judaism faces when it confronts such passages in Scripture claiming that the Second Temple will be connected with the glorious coming of the Messiah; they essentially make the promises conditional and postpone the Messiah’s coming to some future point in time.

          Only the coming of the Messiah explains how the prophecies of Haggai are not false prophecies. The Second Temple was filled with glory since the coming of the King Messiah, the very Shekinah of God, walked in the Temple, physically filling it with the glory of the Lord.

          ***Note that the exact same language of the First Temp and God’s glory or divine presence (Shekinah is also in texts about the Tabernacle and the “fire” that followed them in the wilderness coming down to “dwell” in it as well.

          Similarly after Jesus’ Resurrection/Ascension and the coming of the H.S. the NT tells us that Christians themselves are now His Temple- see 1 Corinthians 6:19 = Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own and further Ephesians 3:14-19 tells uses the exact same language as the texts in the OT describing God’s Shekinah or divine Presence “dwelling” (aka. literally meaning “pitched His tent” and notice the use of God’s “glory” in these verses as well) in both the Tabernacle and First Temple, but didn’t come to the 2nd Temple until Jesus showed up in the flesh. Now, this “dwelling” takes place in individual Christians hearts = “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father [f]of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

          Check out the following sources on this – S&S Messianic Prophecy Part 4 blog = https://skepticsandseekers.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/messianic-prophecies-the-case-for-jesus-part-4/ and/or Dr. Brown explaining it in this20 min video = https://www.youtube.com/watch?timecontinue=680&v=MwNklvcpK4U or read it here on his webstie under Messianic Prohpecy Answers on Haggai 2 = https://realmessiah.com/index.php/en/answers .


          1. Hi Dale,

            Firstly, it’s not ‘what saith Sarah’, but rather everything we know about psychology and neuroscience today. I find these better sources of information than a 2000+ year old scripture. Emotions are in-built/hard wired and served evolutionary/social purposes. We’re supposed to get huffy if someone nicks our crops. Or we’d just sit back and be walked all over.

            We’re not that far off in the view anyways. The rise in the emotion just is. It’s what you then do with it that could be classed as good or bad. Think of it as a temptation if you like. Being tempted to steal a cookie just is. God even says it’s not a sin. Acting on it is when it becomes good/bad. All I’m saying is that we’re subject to emotions and the key thing is to be mindful of them. You say jealous petty anger is wrong and I don’t disagree, I’m just saying the original experience of the emotion is a-moral. For starters you have no control over it, you can only train it indirectly and awareness precedes the experience, so you can only do something retrospectively.

            Yes, I realise you think these emotions are as a result of a fall (for which we have no evidence), but I’m just saying this is a horrible way to view humanity. You have to believe we are degenerates and imperfect with these “proclivities” as you put it. I think it is healthier to think of humans as humans and have understanding and compassion as to why our brains operate the way we do without judgement and condemnation.

            If not, it leads to nonsense such as this “Whereas a husband being jealous of his wife and vice versa in the context of wanting to preserve a loving and faithful marriage that is God-ordained to be beneficial for both parties involved is good because adultery only leads to spiritual harm to all parties involved.” Feeling like you own anyone else or being jealous of them is not healthy, period. There is no scenario when being jealous of your spouse helps. Adultery issues or not. (Again, I’m getting all this info from books I’ve read, being married myself and listening to relationship/sex experts in the field and not out of my backside).

            “I guess that one must have went completely over your head in your haste to discredit my arguments based on Messianic prophecy back in the day, if what I say here is totally new to you, maybe this should indicate that you should slow down and consider what I have to say before rejecting it.” Probably did you cheeky mare. I’ve already told you I can’t remember half the stuff you talk about. I don’t recall you mentioning it. I asked you a question. So shoot me I guess?

            The question was how is God in a tent remotely like the experience of God in your heart. You’re just telling me they are with lots of bible passages. I can understand the analogy that we are the temple (or at least know what you mean) but it’s not the same as God being in his tent is it. (And Jesus walking in the temple brought glory all around – wth?? If it did, no one noticed. What on earth does that even mean? It sounds like cognitive bias (Holy spirit) interpretation. There is no report of “glory” when Jesus walks into the Temple. Have you been drinking, Dale?;-)

            You seem to ignore completely my definition of God dwelling in your heart. Do you agree at all with the definitions of what I thought it meant? And you don’t speak to the issue of those who say they thought they had the HS and this special knowledge and have deconverted. How would they have been able to tell at the time they were just deluding themselves if indeed they were. Hillsong chappy and PUrity Josh Harris being too good recent examples. They probably thought they had the HS, they pray for it earnestly and honestly every day, yet it hasn’t fulfilled its basic role of giving them special knowledge/ PPB and warranted whatsits. They’ve doubted beyond being able to hold. They reframe it. Like we all did.


            Liked by 2 people

            1. OK thanks Sarah, that was actually a pretty thoughtful response that recognized the points I made and advanced the convo imo so thank you for that 🙂

              I mentioned the last reply would be my last but I will just give a quick couple notes on 2 points that you make I think are important;

              a) With emotions, yes you properly recognize we are not that far off actually (despite our disagreement on jealousy and I recognize that you have evidence to support your view on that just as I can point to contradictory studies about fidelity being good as well if I wanted to but find to be a waste of time in terms of trying to convince those who disagree). If you tell me that you feel no jealousy (not even the bad selfish variety) at all if you discovered your husband cheated on you then I think there is something wrong with you but I get that is not what you were trying to say there.

              My main point here is about the Fall, sure we don’t have control of our emotions as they do just arise in response to situations at time- but I think that we are guilty for being predisposed to those negative applications of those emotions (being in a state where those emotions would arise in those contexts is the sin) and further we do have some measure of control over time to change our emotional predispositions. I get annoyed/angry by commenters like Darren or Bryan because I think they are totally biased and not fair toward me or my ideas- you could say well that’s not my moral responsibility at all, I can’t control how their comments make me feel but actually I do think I could work on changing my emotional dispositions by changing the way I think about them- this takes time but I have had some measure of success with Tara for example- her comments don’t really bother me at all and instead I laugh at how foolish she is behaving toward me (hence emotions that used to arise when I read Tara’s comments no longer come up); with some concerted effort on my front (and God’s help) I could do the same with their comments no matter what they say (I’m not there yet, but I’ve proven I can get there via Tara).

              b) You are right that I totally avoided the issue of how people with the H.S. (even 100% knowledge) can doubt and then fall away and the answer comes from sin. Adam and Eve for example as a case in point had 100% knowledge but doubted- how- well they experienced what philosophers call “akrasia” or a “weakness of the will”. In a NT context, there are verses that speak of apostasy and quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit via us sinning repeatedly or entertaining notion that we know we ought not to. Its not instant but overtime these sinful choices on our part can erode the influence of the H.S. on our lives and if left unchecked can even lead to apostasy.

              To illustrate my points in a) and b)- I can point to the example of myself and my recent interaction with Darren and Bryan whereby I wanted to teach them a lesson b/c they showed no recognition of my efforts to be fair and consistent in the comments, I showed them what it would really be like if I was the way they said I was in the comments and just arbitrarily dictating commenting behaviour solely for my own benefit based on my own whims (this was a good edifying object lesson for them) but of course I sinned there- why? Because my anger was uncontrolled and the main reason I took that action to “punish them” in a vindictive way, this in turn grieved the H.S. and also I shouldn’t be privy to angry emotions no matter what they say about me in the comments (this is not a valid cause to be so annoyed or angry with them). Thus, if this kind of pattern is left unchecked then this could strain my relationship and knowledge of God via causing the H.S. influence to lessen and me to distance myself from God.

              This is why even as Christians who know the truth, we need to remain ever vigilant and pray to God for help to maintain our faithfulness to Him b/c things can go downhill very quickly if left totally unchecked- certainly there are many stories of that kind of thing happening in ancient Israel with their constant back and forth’s between loyalty and disloyalty to God.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. (this was a good edifying object lesson for them)

                The object lesson I learned what that Dale is a petulant child that throws a temper tantrum whenever he doesn’t get his way.


                1. You’ll notice Darren, that what I said to Sarah was not meant to impugn you or Bryan but to take responsibility for the wrongs I did in that incident- my motivation not solely being to give an edifying lesson to you guys (though that was part of it), but also out of anger and vindictiveness and I was saying that this sort of thing can lead to my grieving the Holy Spirit.


                  1. Yep, I also noticed that you still feel justified in doing it and you were trying to make it sound as if you were teaching us some grand lesson, that you think actually worked. I’m just disabusing you of that notion. The ‘good edifying object lesson’ you think you were giving turned out to be nothing more than a confirmation of what we were saying in the first place. You were just more blatant about it.


                    1. Fair enough Darren, though I will just say that my point to Sarah was that I didn’t feel overall justified about it, even if there was a component of my doing it that would have been justified had that been my sole reason for doing it. I shouldn’t have done that action out of anger at all (that only tainted what otherwise would have been a just response) and further, as per my convo with Sarah on emotions, I was making the point that regardless of how you treat me in the comments, I shouldn’t allow that kind of thing to cause to be angry in the first place (of course getting angry about injustice is a good thing, but in the context of internet comments dealing with sinful human beings and non-Christians, that sort of thing is unimportant in the grand scheme of things and can actually backfire against the cause of Christ and thus, this type of minor injustice and unfairness shouldn’t cause a true Christian to get upset at all.

                      That was the point to Sarah about sinful emotions and also elaborating on how one with the H.S. could doubt or lose their faith through their own sinful choices.


                    2. ….this type of minor injustice and unfairness shouldn’t cause a true Christian to get upset at all.

                      You should probably work on not causing “minor injustice and unfairness” yourself. You seem to be truly unconcerned about the things you do to other people. Yet completely lose it when the same thing is done to you.


  4. despite our disagreement on jealousy

    Interesting. God is described as jealous in the Bible…


  5. To illustrate my points in a) and b)- I can point to the example of myself and my recent interaction with Darren and Bryan whereby I wanted to teach them a lesson b/c they showed no recognition of my efforts to be fair and consistent in the comments, I showed them what it would really be like if I was the way they said I was in the comments and just arbitrarily dictating commenting behaviour solely for my own benefit based on my own whims (this was a good edifying object lesson for them) but of course I sinned there- why? Because my anger was uncontrolled and the main reason I took that action to “punish them” in a vindictive way, this in turn grieved the H.S. and also I shouldn’t be privy to angry emotions no matter what they say about me in the comments (this is not a valid cause to be so annoyed or angry with them). Thus, if this kind of pattern is left unchecked then this could strain my relationship and knowledge of God via causing the H.S. influence to lessen and me to distance myself from God.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the shining light of a Chrsitian!


    1. Right, that was my whole point Bryan, as I told Darren, I was fessing up to my own shortcomings here and saying this un-Christian like behaviour leads to grieving the Holy Spirit and distancing one’s self from God. My motives were not pure for an edifying purpose despite the fact that was part of the mix.

      If you and Darren are mad about that, its quite strange to my mind. Anyways yes God is described as righteously jealous, this is why I disagree with Sarah- he is jealous to protect His creation and people just like a husband/wife is righteously jealous to uphold their marriage- marriage is even used as an analogy of the Christian’s relationship to God/Jesus.

      Anyways, I tried to make a policy with David but he asked that we wait until before Season 2, so I guess you and Darren are free to say what you guys want until that is up- I won’t be enforcing any policies on here or on my solo shows until that policy is ironed out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s some good news here, happy to hear it. And you’re right, you did try to take some responsibility there, I could have pointed that out. Thanks for that.

        But you called Darren and I out by name, portrayed us as children that needed a lesson, and in my opinion, pretty grossly misrepresented what we had done. But of course, you’ve deleted a lot of that record, against our wishes, so the third party person can’t verify your claims and we cannot rebut them with the data.

        This is terribly unethical behavior for a forum moderator.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OK, I take your and Darren’s point, I wasn’t really thinking about any unintended implications in bringing up that example, I was just trying to illustrate a point using a recent example that would have been fresh in people’s minds on here. Perhaps might have been better if I used another illustration or something.

          Would you or Darren like me to delete that portion of my comment to Sarah?

          P.S.- Thanks for noticing the effort there Bryan as before everything that went on last time, I really meant what I said to Darren about wanting the comments to be better in Season 2. I realize there are some things that both sides could do better to that end. And also for the record, I recognize that on this occasion, had things gone badly because of my mention of you and Darren that it would have been my fault for starting it by mentioning you guys first. So thank you guys for realizing I wasn’t intending it for ill and letting it go 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No problem. It’d be great to start off season 2 on a new and fresh footing. I’m up for it on my end.


            Liked by 1 person

            1. That sounds great to me Bryan, and I would like to do the same with Darren as well. I am a little concerned with Darren though as I have been able to have some good convos with you when I’m trying to keep things civil, but its been hard with Darren (not blaming him for that), but just saying its going to be hard even if I’m trying my best to prevent any misunderstandings- we are both going to have to work hard on that front.

              I will just say that to my mind in Season 2 its a complete fresh start for everyone to my mind and I will try my best to listen to your guys entire list of critiques that you sent me before and use them to improve as best I can. I may not be perfect, but I promise that I really will try my best to improve on my end on that front.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Finally listened to the podcast, really enjoyed the discussion, thank you both.

    As I unfortunately suspected, there was little common ground found. I was most struck by how many esoteric and complex beliefs had to be onboarded to get at the Christian definition of faith: Substance dualism, properly basic beliefs, supernatural communication channels.

    Also, the concept of a “compound definition” was raised. Sure, some definitions are compound, eg what the requirements are to be President of the US. But the compounded parts can’t be mutually exclusive. Faith cannot be at the same time: the evidence for belief and the result of evidenced belief, generated by oneself and necessarily granted from an external source, or probabilistic and determinative. Christians use each of these pairs so a compound definition cannot capture them all.

    Finally, I am glad that to hear that the ancient Hebrews can be real seekers while refusing to even hear a prophet out, even killing them before they can open their mouth. Surely I can be a real seeker while not listening to my 10th, 11th, 12th hour of shroud debate or Jesus mythicism or molinism. Whew!

    Looking forward to Season 2!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your take Bryan, I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t find much progress to be made as I really was trying to collaborate with David to see what ground could be agreed upon.

      One thing might help is to say that actually “faith” doesn’t have a compound definition- it simply means to have an assurance or trust. Then the various compound aspects David and I discussed could be seen merely as qualifiers and or associated aspect of the word faith itself. “blind faith”, “evidence-based faith”, mystical faith, etc.- whatever serves as the basis for that trust/assurance in God or whatever it is.

      As to the real seeker bit, I would agree with you that its not essential to being a real seeker to listen to everyone of my shows on the Shroud- I wasn’t able to finish my full case/argument on it anyways and so it will be unlikely to convince in and of itself. But believe it or not the Shroud shows (and the Jericho show) seem to be very popular garnering interest to this day and people are downloading and clicking on the various sources. So, the only thing one must ask to be a “real seeker” is did they do their best (as outlined by my criteria) to seriously consider both sides (or all sides) of a given issue. I’m not 100% warranted based on the evidence from the Shroud after having looked at both sides of the evidence as fairly as I can and so if you, like the ancient Hebrews, can claim that you have 100% knowledge the Shroud is fake, then yep you would be warranted in just dismissing my Shroud shows for sure.

      Thanks for your loyal support and sharing your thoughts 🙂


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