Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ten Notions for which I Require Extraordinary Evidence

Greetings, all! Although I am not ready to end my blogging hiatus, I have written two pieces since I have been away. I decided to share those pieces presently, rather than wait until I once again blog full time. I hope everybody enjoys them, and has a wonderful holiday season, full of family togetherness and appreciation for what we have.—Ed.


Dr. Carl Sagan, eminent among thinkers and scientists, famously observed that extraordinary assertions require extraordinary substantiation. This profound truth, in my estimation, is a key that frees us from religion’s shackles, because each faith lacks the requisite evidence to substantiate its fantastical claims. Dr. Sagan’s oft-quoted observation is self-evident (a First Principle or worthy maxim, if you will) given humankind’s abundant, demonstrable fallibility. Mindful of this, ten simple requests for the Christian faithful follow....


1. Please present extraordinary evidence in support of Jesus’ bodily resurrection.

2. Please present extraordinary evidence that, after wandering about for awhile, Jesus rose bodily into the cosmos.

3. Please present extraordinary evidence that Jesus was born via mammalian parthenogenesis. It should be noted that parthenogenesis is not possible in the human species, which makes evidential demands even more pressing.

4. Please present extraordinary evidence that the following biblical characters attained the following ages:

(4a) Adam, 930 years.
(4b) Noah, 950 years.
(4c) Abraham, 175 years.
(4d) Sarah, 127 years.


5. Please present extraordinary evidence that immaterial, immortal “souls” haunt our fleshy carcasses.

6. Please present extraordinary evidence that it would be possible to torture and torment such an immaterial, immortal soul. To me, it seems rather like trying to persecute a tank of helium.

7. Please present extraordinary evidence that Yahweh exists, while the myriad competing god characters do not exist.

8. Please present extraordinary evidence that a cataclysmic flood—covering the entirety of our planet and exterminating all living things, save Noah, his family and his zoo—actually occurred in the real world.

9. Please present extraordinary evidence that evolution—the cornerstone of modern biology—is incorrect. As a corollary, please utilize extraordinary evidence to demonstrate that immediate special creation of all species is a better explanation of, for example, the neatly ordered geologic strata.

10. Please present extraordinary evidence that serpents and donkeys have spoken in human language, as portrayed in the Bible. Here, I do not request a generally applicable principle but rather evidence to support singular biblical instances.


Bonus Question

11. Please present extraordinary evidence that Lot's luckless wife was turned into a pillar of salt.


Three Notes of Import


(
a) If a particular belief is not applicable to you, as a Christian, feel free to pass it over. One is not obligated to substantiate that which one rejects.

(b) I am not interested in generalized evidence but rather extraordinary evidence for the particular claims that I have cited. Evidence for a major flood “of some type” is not sufficient to establish Noah’s flood in particular. I am open to the idea of a localized catastrophic flood in historical times, but I dismiss a global cataclysm that destroyed the entirety of life. Use evidence to dissuade me.

(c) Bear in mind Hume’s maxim: No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish. In short, say-so does not amount to extraordinary evidence, nor has it ever, nor shall it.

32 Comments:

Blogger Mojoey said...

something tells me there will be no takers.

12:59 AM EST  
Blogger sunshine365 said...

Anyone as smart as you think you are, ought to know that Christian belief is based on faith. The reason that you do not understand is that faith is childlike and well below your intellectual level.The theory of evolution is just as difficult for me to believe. Prove that a man evolved from an ape. If we did, than why are there still apes? You do not intimidate anyone Indiana Jones.

8:17 AM EST  
Blogger Tommy said...

Well, Sunshine, since you have a common misconception about how evolution works, no wonder you don't accept it.

It is not a matter of men evolving from apes so why are there still apes? Humans and apes both evolved from a common ancestor. That is why there are still gorillas, chimps and orangutans as well as humans.

Just repeat to yourself, "descent with modification over time."

2:19 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

Tommy explained it exactly right. Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives. Next-closest are bonobos, followed by gorillas and then orangutans. Humans did not evolve "from" any of those apes. Rather, humans and modern apes share a common ancestor, which went extinct millions of years ago.

And, by the way, the fossil record has many intermediate species, tracing the path from apehood to humanity. It's not a straight path, but rather one with many detours, dead-ends and false starts.

Ever heard of Homo habilis? Homo erectus? Australopithecus afarensis? Homo neanderthalensis? Intermediate species all.

Study up, and learn to appreciate nature's majesty.

3:20 PM EST  
Blogger billy pilgrim said...

you keep making wilder and wilder assertions that make the previous assertions look plausible.

it's a profit game that makes asset backed commercial paper look like childs play.

6:45 PM EST  
OpenID GodKillzYou said...

I think the "talking snake theory" should be taught in public schools. Intelligent Design. Creationism. Whatever you want to call it.

I think the most important thing our children need to know is that things such as: evidence, facts, support from the scientific community (in the form of peer-reviewed scrutiny), and observational proof are not necessary. Facts and proof are of Satan!!

Faith is, by far, the most important of all. In fact, the less likely something is to be true, that's all the more reason to believe in it. I have faith that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the Universe, and everyone else is wrong because I have faith in it. So there.

9:13 AM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

I posted this piece on a popular internet forum, and got a Christian taker (one with whom I am friendly). He thought I was insufficient in stating ECREE is a maxim and calling it self-evident. Although I think my discussion with him shall continue in the ensuing days, I figured I would share my initial explication:


Perhaps a good initial step would be for me to define my terms. I would define "extraordinary claims" as claims that either run counter to known natural principles or immediately would shock the educated, un-inculcated adult. I think my list of eleven definitely fits the bill, then, for extraordinary claims. Mammalian parthenogenesis, bodily resurrection, talking snakes and donkeys, humans living to be more than 900 - all of these things, if they do not violate natural principles per se, surely would shock an objective anthropologist coming fresh to those beliefs while on fieldwork. Those claims are extraordinary in exactly the same way that, for example, a claim for Invisible Garden Banshees would be extraordinary.

When I say "extraordinary evidence," I am not so much prescribing a particular type of evidence or quantity of evidence. Rather, I am disqualifying weak varieties of evidence: for example, personal testimony and faith. I would accept personal testimony that, for example, my mother witnessed my brother chewing gum. I would accept personal testimony that my father saw my grandmother washing the dishes. I would not accept personal testimony that my grandmother saw my grandfather climb from his grave and begin lumbering about the cemetery. Testimony, even from trusted loved ones like those I referenced, only can be accepted when the claim is sufficiently prosaic--sufficiently in accordance with natural principles. One can afford to take a gamble on human fallibility when the claim in question does not stretch the bounds of reason. When acceptance of testimony would throw science on its ear, however, one must err on the side of caution and presume our mammalian imagination is working in overdrive.

The problem with the Bible, then, is that its claims cannot reach the objective evidential bar. The veracity of the Old Testament is lost to history, and we know the New Testament was written decades after the alleged events it recounts. We also know that the New Testament writers--whose identities also have been lost to history--contradict each other pervasively and, in all likelihood, were not even trying to recount accurate history but rather compose a "Gospel." My point is that, while firsthand testimony can be unreliable in itself, the Bible is not even that. Rather, it is a collection of cobbled-together, mostly discordant documents mostly done well after the events described (many of which probably were confected out of whole cloth). Indeed, the whole text is dependent on oral traditions observed by primitives unfortunate enough to live during our species' fearful, bawling infancy.

11:43 PM EST  
Blogger tufat_dot_com said...

hi,

Great posts! You should read "Natural Atheism" by David Eller:

http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Atheism-David-Eller/dp/1578849209

It may be THE best book I've ever read.

Darren
(tufat.com)

3:22 PM EST  
Blogger Lui said...

"If we did, than why are there still apes?"

This objection to evolution is easily the most bone-headed of all the lame creationist "refutations" of perhaps the most thoroughly well established theory in science. The answer, of course, is trivially easy to explain, and the creationists would know it too if they were actually the least bit interested in science. But they aren't.

Here's how I've dealt with it: "apes and humans (technically, we are apes. Better to say "modern non-human apes", such as chimpanzees and gorillas) share a common ancestor that split some time ago in the past; eventually, one lineage spawned Homo sapiens (among other species), and the other lineage spawned chimpanzees and bonobos. If Homo neanderthalensis were still alive, it would be our closest living relative instead of the chimps and bonobos, because it shares a much more recent common ancestor with us than the latter two. As it happens, H.neanderthalensis went extinct relatively recently, and no other members of the genus Homo remain, or indeed any of the Australopithecines and others that appeared after the human/chimp common ancestor split."

It's perfectly simple.

2:16 AM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

Oh yes, the "why are there still apes" folks....

They might as well ask the following: "If American colonists came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?"

Such ignorance....

4:50 PM EST  
Blogger Soldier4Him said...

I guess I'll try, how do you want me to do this, it will probably be pretty long...

5:33 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

I welcome your responses, and hope that you post them right here in the comments section. Post them one at a time, or all at once. I do not think there is a limit on the allowable size of comments.

Three Ground Rules:

1. The Bible only may be used sparingly as evidence. This ancient text is of dubious veracity, as many scholars have pointed out over the centuries. I mined these extraordinary claims from the Bible; I do not need the same verses recited back at me.

2. Conversely, the fields of study in which I do have interest are archaeology, biology, chemistry, cosmology and other scholarly fields of study--fields in which evidence is of central import. Please make sure your responses are informed by these sciences, broader philosophy and secular writings of antiquity-—not biblical recitation.

3. Please do not direct me to websites or books. If you wish, quote from such source material. Argue in your own words, as I do throughout this site. Reading lists never amount to actual argumentation.

I look forward to reading any responses you might offer.

6:10 PM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

6. Please present extraordinary evidence that it would be possible to torture and torment such an immaterial, immortal soul. To me, it seems rather like trying to persecute a tank of helium.

LOL :-) Have You ever felt sad or sorry, disturbed or grief-stricken?
Or have You never spent a restless night trying to figure out the answer to something that's been eatin' at You? Well: guess not, then ... :-)

5:08 AM EST  
Blogger Lui said...

"LOL :-) Have You ever felt sad or sorry, disturbed or grief-stricken?
Or have You never spent a restless night trying to figure out the answer to something that's been eatin' at You? Well: guess not, then ... :-)"

That might be a valid retort if humans were indeed endowed with an immaterial, immortal soul, which is the presupposition you're adopting.

6:28 PM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

That might be a valid retort if humans were indeed endowed with an immaterial, immortal soul, which is the presupposition you're adopting.

It's not my fault that he chose to pose two questions instead of one regarding the soul, is it? >:)
The question was simply this: HOW will such a soul be tormented: and I've answered it.

-----
But, to further elucidate my answer: THIS is the kind of torture that awaits us in hell, and from which there's no escape. (We can't live after death in the Kingdom in which we didn't live here on earth). The fire of hell is the Love of God. Our God is a consuming fire. The Seraphim (which are the Angelic beings closest to God) are burning with everlasting fire, and yet they're not tormented, but only delight. The devils also burn with the same fire (since there aren't two kinds thereof), but are tormented.

8:48 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

The fire of hell is the Love of God. Our God is a consuming fire. The Seraphim (which are the Angelic beings closest to God) are burning with everlasting fire, and yet they're not tormented, but only delight. The devils also burn with the same fire (since there aren't two kinds thereof), but are tormented.


This is the kind of stuff that annoys me about religion; I find it vapid and meaningless. I could easily replace "God" with "Ethereal Cosmic Catfish" and get a string of sentences with equal meaning and argumentative power. Prove your theology—scrap by scrap—or leave it exposed to reason's sword.

I did not reply to your original posting because my response seemed self-evident. Any pangs of self-torment or displeasure that humans experience can be ultimately reduced to brain activity and neural impulses. Restlessness and grief...horror and disturbance...fear and shame...all of these emanate from the brain. Lacking a brain, there can be no such things. And, when we die, our brains surely rot to the dust from which we crawled.

9:24 PM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

This is the kind of stuff that annoys me about religion

Friend, if THIS is how You TRULY feel ... why don't You just LET IT GO ? :-\ I don't understand You.

And, when we die, our brains surely rot to the dust from which we crawled.

The ressurection? :-\

-----
Your question posed just for the sake of it, followed by the immediate denial of its obvious answer (which You already knew, since You were raised in a Catholic home, ... and not by a pack of wolves in the wilderness) cannot instill in me but a huge question-mark. :-?

You're like this guy over here, who asked about the hypostatic union, and when I gave him the simple and obvious answer, he began to "talk about the weather" (just like Yopu and Your friend over here). This kind of behaviour I find to be completely bewildering. :-\ Don't You?

It's like asking why the grass is green, and when I mention clorophile and photosynthesis You begin to get all worked up, cough rhetorically, mention that You actually don't even believe in grass in the first place, etc. :-?

9:42 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

The resurrection tale has not been proved. Because human resurrection is a scientific impossibility, the evidential bar is extremely high. Hearsay and "eyewitness testimonies" of people who might or might not have even existed does not cut the mustard. The gospel writers, writing decades after the "fact" and probably plagiarizing each other, could have fabricated huge chunks of the commonly accepted resurrection tale. The prevailing standards of evidence in those primitive times also count against biblical credulousness. In any event, none of this silliness has been proved.

I do not accept your answer about how a soul could be tortured because your answer implicitly rejects decades of study into brain science. As I already articulated, the brain is the source of everything you mentioned: restlessness, grief, sadness, disturbance, etc. All of that unpleasantness is reducible to neural activity. Therefore, when the brain dies and rots to dust, those things cease to exist. If you want to transport those sensations to hell, you must also transport the physical brain there...or else prove brain science wrong.

10:03 PM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

1) Read some Cioran, and quit being so jumpin' Jolly. :-|

2) Quit asking questions for no reason. :-|

You've asked me *HOW* and I've told You *HOW*. (I didn't answer or even pretend to answer ALL of Your questions ... just #6). If You don't like it like this, then the next time You ask something don't compartmentalise the questions, ... OK ? :-|

[And the brain does not secrete the soul as the liver secrets gaul]

You're just like the Protestants: they ask You one question, and when You answer them, they quickly change the subject to something completely different. (Focus!).

10:23 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

You did not answer the question because, as I already explained, the "answer" you provided implicitly presupposes the falsity of brain science. Study of the human brain over the last several decades has revealed that it is the source of memory, personality, character and other such things previously attributed to a ghostly soul rattling around in human carcasses. In short, the brain has snapped up every duty with which the soul had been tasked.

I do not think the brain "secretes" the soul, but rather that the soul does not exist; immaterial souls represent a mere imagining of a population of primitives that was not privy to the workings of the human brain.

Your explanation is incoherent given our current understanding of the brain. All the torments of which you speak--restlessness, grief, disturbance, etc.--are functions of neural activity. Without a brain, they do not and cannot exist.

Can you transport the physical brain to hell?

11:36 PM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

Why transport? :-\

Heaven and hell are our perceiving of or relating to God, who is described as a burning fire. The fire is nothing else than His presence, in which the Seraphim delight, while the devils torment.

When You do something bad, Your conscience begins to eat at you ... and it's unbearable, and it never stops. It's very hard to make it stop. People usually tend to resort to things that short-circuit the conscience (like drugs), to make the feeling go away, instead of confronting it directly. That's just like there would be an elephant sitting on your foot, and you would try to think nice thoughts instead of removing the elephant.

We can permit ourselves this luxury in this world: self-imposed ignorance, willed blindness as regards to certain things that are on our conscience. But when God will be all in all, His eternal and unextinguishable light radiating from, in, and through each and any one of us ... we will see ourselves in that untained light as we truly are. And it will be unbearable: all of our eforts to appease our conscience "the easy way" will be turneed to dust.

The only way to truly asppease our conscience is to try to fight (in this world) the cause for its sorrow...not the conscience itself.

The fire and worms that the Bible talks about are the fire of passions, which, if not extinguished in this life, will definitely follow us in the next, and the worm eating at us is our conscience, as described above. Now, regrading the first one: think of what a drug addict has to go through in the (few) days of his renouncing if drugs: the unbearable physical pain, his tormenting psyche, etc. The same will happen on an universal scale to all who did not become dis-passionate during their lives, when God will be all in all, when no passion-fulfilling objects are to be found anywhere, since creation has been transfigured (a new heaven and a new earth). You will find yourself bereft of the means and instruments to apease your untamed passions, and they will devour you alive for all eternity, since you didn't extinguish them during this life, by living out the new life in Christ Jesus, that was given to you through the waters of Baptism.

So, it's really easy: conscience can be (and is) a pain in the nack even during this life, and it won't go away in the life to come either. So, you can "kill two rabbits with one shot": fight off the nagging causes that make your conscience hurt, destroy the reality behind yourt pain, and your pain will go away; and it will stay that way in the next life also. :-)

6:11 AM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on this point, because you are turning to theology rather than science in your responses. Just as you can implore me to accept Jesus as my savior and embrace a Christian piety toward my maker, I can implore you to renounce false prophets such as Jesus and fall to your knees for the Ethereal Cosmic Catfish, whose light radiates from his supernatural abode into our corner of the natural cosmos. You can threaten me with eternal torment for denying Jesus, and I can warn you of the agony you face unless you "make right" with the Ethereal Cosmic Catfish. With all due personal respect, such babble is meaningless and leads us in tiresome circles.

I already have explained that the brain is the explanation for human consciousness in all its forms. The brain is responsible for one's memory, personality, character and, yes, conscience. When an individual dies and his brain rots to dust, the illusory "I" inside also dies--never to reemerge (in neither this cosmos nor an imaginary afterlife). The only way brain-generated sensations, such as a tormented conscience, restlessness and disturbance, could be experienced in hell would be for the physical brain to survive death with all its capacities intact and somehow arrive at that immaterial location. You cannot divorce brain-rooted sensations from the brain. Without a brain, the sensations to which you are alluding do not and cannot exist.

Also, I find it quite presumptuous, and perhaps even slightly offensive, that you assume I have a tortured conscience simply because I do not follow the system of superstition to which you have wedded yourself. Your presentation, in this regard, is reminiscent of a Muslim who assumes all Christians are "lacking" in some way because they have not understood the Prophet Mohammed's revelation. I am happy and, for my age, moderately successful. I am not at all the tortured infidel you might imagine. Rather, I delight in basking in the warm glow of reason, whilst shunning all that is silly, primitive and outmoded.

Thanks for commenting.

7:59 PM EST  
Blogger Tommy said...

Jolly, after reading Lvka's comments, it made me want to do this.

9:01 PM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

you assume I have a tortured conscience

And when exactly did I do that? :-\

You've asked me about *HOW* the immaterial soul will be tortured, and I've answered You ... three times in a row already (!) : one's unextinguished passions and one's uneased conscience are responsible for that, (just like they are in this earthly life, so they will obviously be in the next one also).

I've also told You HOW the soul will avoid such a state (in this life, as well as in the next) : refrain from evil, and do good, and you shall live eternally. (Psalms 37:27). I think to have made myself pretty clear. Don't You?

[You've asked: "How will the soul be tormented?" ... and I've answered You ... repeatedly! ... denying the soul's existence at this point is silly, since the question already presuposes a belief in its existence]. (If You knew You wouldn't like it like this, You should've kept questions #5 and #6 together). As I've already told You in a previous reply on this very thread, I never assumed to answer *ALL* of Your questions. :-| (Are You upset with me for not being able to do that, or what ?). :-\

You can threaten me with eternal torment for denying Jesus

And when exactly did I do that? :-\

-----
Friend, I've read Your post, as well as Your answers to me during our small dialogue here with due attention, and I also don't remember putting words in Your mouth. (Why won't You do the same to me?) I assume to have expressed myself pretty clearly in my former posts. Please read them a bit more carefully the next time, before jumping to such bizarre conclusions. :-| I don't read Your replies "in diagonal line", so why not return my patience as well? :-|

10:34 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

"you assume I have a tortured conscience"

And when exactly did I do that? :-\


You made that assumption in the following quoted passage:

So, you can "kill two rabbits with one shot": fight off the nagging causes that make your conscience hurt, destroy the reality behind your pain, and your pain will go away; and it will stay that way in the next life also.

You are speaking to me, so I assume "you" references me.



You've asked me about *HOW* the immaterial soul will be tortured, and I've answered You ... three times in a row already (!) : one's unextinguished passions and one's uneased conscience are responsible for that, (just like they are in this earthly life, so they will obviously be in the next one also).

And I have explained, ad nauseum, that your answer implicitly denies modern advances in the study of the human brain. Scientists have discovered that the conscience and our passions flow from brain activity. When the brain dies, our conscience is extinguished and our passions cease to exist. You have not given a suitable answer to my question because your ostensible answer denies scientific knowledge and wraps ordinary brain function in the cloak of superstition.



I've also told You HOW the soul will avoid such a state (in this life, as well as in the next) : refrain from evil, and do good, and you shall live eternally. (Psalms 37:27). I think to have made myself pretty clear. Don't You?

You have expressed yourself clearly. However, in so doing, you also have thrown science by the wayside in favor of ancient literature. I am looking for an answer that actually comports with science and its discoveries about the brain. Again, it is not a suitable answer for you to wrap ordinary brain function in the cloak of mysticism. Recognize the work the brain does, and stake a different claim for the soul.



[You've asked: "How will the soul be tormented?" ... and I've answered You ... repeatedly! ... denying the soul's existence at this point is silly, since the question already presuposes a belief in its existence]. (If You knew You wouldn't like it like this, You should've kept questions #5 and #6 together). As I've already told You in a previous reply on this very thread, I never assumed to answer *ALL* of Your questions. :-| (Are You upset with me for not being able to do that, or what ?). :-\

I am not upset with anybody.

My question does not presuppose the soul's existence or a belief therein. It merely presupposes that "soul" means something and can be analyzed according to its meaning. I am taking "soul" to mean an immaterial, wispy essence that survives corporeal death. You have gone a step further, endowing the soul with tasks and capabilities already explicable by the human brain. I cannot follow you on the path of unreason. Any answer you provide must comport with brain science.



"You can threaten me with eternal torment for denying Jesus"

And when exactly did I do that? :-\


Here is when you did it:

You will find yourself bereft of the means and instruments to apease your untamed passions, and they will devour you alive for all eternity, since you didn't extinguish them during this life, by living out the new life in Christ Jesus, that was given to you through the waters of Baptism.

Again, you are talking to me. Therefore, I assume that "you" references me. You essentially said I shall be devoured alive for all eternity. That sounds awfully condescending to me.

You should be mindful of your language. If you are speaking generally and not specifically about me, say "one will" rather than "you will."

11:01 PM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

You should be mindful of your language. If you are speaking generally, and not specifically about me, say "one will" rather than "you will."

Sorry ... I honestly didn't know that (my poor English, I guess). And yes, You are obviously right about me speaking generally (I thought it was self-understood) and not about You specifically. And sorry again for causing You this trouble. :-(

Every day one learns something new.

11:12 PM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

LOL :-) Actually, come to think about it, just yesterday someone has expressed his great admiration towards me for my presumably >excelent English< ... I guess this is God's way of teaching us how to be humble and meek in spirit. :-)

11:29 PM EST  
Blogger The Jolly Nihilist said...

Your mastery of language is good and there's no need to be sorry about anything; as I said, I am not and was not upset.

However, you should refrain from personalizing these discussions, even inadvertently. Just a good thing of which to be aware. :)

12:37 AM EST  
Blogger Lui said...

"You will find yourself bereft of the means and instruments to apease your untamed passions, and they will devour you alive for all eternity, since you didn't extinguish them during this life, by living out the new life in Christ Jesus, that was given to you through the waters of Baptism."

This is what passes for "sensible" in popular discourse.

"You've asked me about *HOW* the immaterial soul will be tortured, and I've answered You ... three times in a row already (!) : one's unextinguished passions and one's uneased conscience are responsible for that, (just like they are in this earthly life, so they will obviously be in the next one also)."

Except that you failed to account for what would be necessary for these so-called answers to even have a chance of working: the dissociation of an immaterial "soul" from the physical brain, the faculties of which you impute into the former.

"I've also told You HOW the soul will avoid such a state (in this life, as well as in the next) : refrain from evil, and do good, and you shall live eternally. (Psalms 37:27). I think to have made myself pretty clear. Don't You?"

So an atheist can make it into heaven? Or shall the definition of "evil" be stretched to incorporate sincere disbelief?

"I guess this is God's way of teaching us how to be humble and meek in spirit."

Sorry, but what we've seen from you isn't humility, because believing that there exists an invisible Sky-Daddy who takes a special interest in you, with whom you can communicate via telepathy, and that reciting ancient scripts written by pre-scientific minds gives you special insights into ultimate truths (and that knowing and believing the messages of these texts warrants the throwing away of science when it suits) is the very antithesis of humility, and not at all its embodiment. Religionists like to TALK about humility and wear it as a component of their cognitive repertoire, but the overriding arrogance and narcissism that is necessary to sustain such a system of belief - to really, truly believe it in the teeth of countervailing evidence - makes any claims to "humility" difficult to interpret at best, and woefully contradictory at worst.

2:37 AM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

Lui,

with all due respect, but the questions about proving the soul's existence and describing HOW he will be tormented were kept separate, and I had no intention of answering them both.

As You can see, what our *atheist* author *abstractly* described as "torturing a helium-baloon", I have described in very concrete, familiar, every-day and down-to-earth terms (pretty strange for a man who believes in a floating Sky-Daddy, Who cannot be described only in the abstract, don't You agree ?). :-)

As for my bringing up the theme of meekness and humility, it's self-understandable: we were talking here about stilling the voice of passions and letting the voice of conscience become ever-more clearer ... but to cultivate one's virtues in an environment utterly devoid of such fundamental principles as meekness and humbleness can lead (and not only that it "can" lead, but it also "does" lead) to completely sad, unforseen and devastating results: case in point, the way that the proverbial Pharisee from the famous parable trans-formed (or, better said, de-formed) what was meant to be a joyous, peaceful thanks-giving prayer (that all Pharisses, including Our Lord, prayed) into that disgusting example that we see described in the pages of the N.T.

And as for me not being a meek and humble man, that's perfectly true, as described above. Pray for me, a sinner. :-(

7:22 AM EST  
Blogger Lvka said...

In other words, to either say or to think "I am virtuous" proves the lack of any virtue from a man's soul; and to say or even to think of oneself "I am meek and humble" proves the lack of these two virtues from the man who says these words.

7:30 AM EST  
Blogger Soldier4Him said...

I love how you completely disavow any evidence before it is able to be presented to to you.

You say prove to me that something happened but don't use any methods that A COURT OF LAW uses to prove something.

For example you say that you want Christians to prove that Jesus really did rise from the dead, but then you say don't use the only methods that are available to us because of course they had no way of recording events except to write them down.

Now as for scientific evidence it is rather hard to prove something that is not of this physical world. I know as I say this any atheist will say "Now he is bringing theology into it or some other such nonsense", however I would argue that anyone who brings forward a view will have many different underlining presuppositions that come along to help make a decision. For example you would probably agree and stop me if I am wrong, that evolution proves that there is no need of any such nonsense as a Creator Being. That seems to be the conclusion scientists come to when talking of orgins. It was a huge explosion in the cosmos and slowly planets formed then water fell and then chemicals mixed and the first organism appeared.
However, I would ask if that is not coming to the table of science with an improvable unscientific question. There are many things that science cannot prove, where I think it is the job of other studies to prove.

Now, I say all this because it is impossible for us to prove scientifically that it is possible for people to rise from the dead since we have very little physical evidence to work on, however it is possible to prove that someone did if you have good evidence. Now this brings into question the Bible. You come to the table of this discussion with the presupposition that the Bible is a piece of garbage that is all lies and moonshine. However, we know that the Bible is considered a marvel among scholars for its accuracy to the original texts compared with other works such as Homer's Odyssey. But this does not prove that what is actually written in it. Scholars agree on the authors of most of the New Testament and while all of the Gospels may have been written ten, twenty or even later, it does not mean that they are inaccurate, because they were written by the same generation that was with Jesus and all the Gospels' basic stories all agree.

Furthermore, it is a fallacy to assume that these early Christians would have been stupid enough to create something that would get them killed. Why hold on to something so steadfastly if it you created it and by admitting so you could live and not be killed in a horrible manner. All of the disciples in particular would have to be insane.

So, I would contend that the Bible can be considered accurate and since eyewitness testimony is considered the best possible evidence a human can present in a court of law that eye witness testimonies can be accurate and since the disciples were not the only ones who saw a resurrected Jesus it would be horrible wrong to say that over 500 people who say him can all be insane liars who are saying these things so they can gain so how.

Now the only other argument I think of now is that Jesus was not dead but simply swooned on the cross and escaped that way, however there is a problem with this. Romans were not in the habit of letting their prisoners swoon and further more we know the spear pierced a lung by the fluids that came out of the wound so when he was put in the tomb he was dead.

So he have a very dead body in the tomb and then we have over 500 people saying he rose from the dead and then many of those people going and dieing many horrible deaths for what? something a few of those people made up?
Right..

One more thing before I end I would like a fuller description of what you mean by evolution, a neo-Darwinian view the view taught in text books or what, thanks.

6:09 PM EST  

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