Statesboro, GA, USA
Me: How could transcendent personal rights not be contingent upon a transcendent personality?
Ron: How can a transcendent personality not be contingent on a prior transcendent personality, Stephen? That is essentially the same question you just asked. And when you answer my question you'll find the answer to yours.
A transcendent personality such as God's is transcendent also of time, making a "prior" personality superfluous.
I think you're making a categorical mistake in equating my question with yours. I asked how transcendent personal rights (which apply to finite personal beings) could not be dependent upon a transcendent personality. If they are dependent upon themselves as mere concepts, it underscores the question of how they could be personal. (a kind of neo-platonism) If they are dependent upon mortals, it underscores the question of how they could be transcendent.
Your rhetorical question of how God's transcendent personality could not be contigent upon a prior personality, obfuscates the whole crux of my question ... namely to ask how finite individuals beings can be thought to have transcendent rights (as most everyone really does).
So if you can answer how you can so easily swap a transcendent God with finite man, and call it essentially the same question, then you too will have the answer.
Me: And the fact that people believe in a human dignity and ethos that is more than opinion (including corporate opinion), IS a proof of God.
Ron: Ah, now that's a real pity, Stephen. Proof of God, after all, makes your faith redundant and meaningless.
Not at all Ron ... unless you're willing to believe in a fideism so extreme that it makes the Bible itself look like a Geometry textbook. Remember that the apostle Paul spoke of "evidence" as well as of faith.
Me: Not proof in the sense of incontrovertible or inarguable (again how many western philosophers argued for their own non-existence??), but proof in the sense of 'darn good evidence'.
Ron: ... You mean like when you look out the window and see all kinds of darn good evidence for a flat Earth? You have a very strange definition of "proof," Stephen.
You're the one implying the insight of the writers of the Declaration of Independence was on the same level of merely glancing out of a window, not me.
As to your hermetically sealed definitions ... even the best "proofs" may be thought as evidence. And the best evidence may be rejected simply because of will. That doesn't change much about the evidence.
If you say that human rights requires the existence of God, that is proof, not evidence, and there is little enough to discuss.
Many particulars were said to require the centrality of Sun in our planetary system ... That didn't end discussion at all but opened up many more avenues of knowledge. The fatalism and closed discussion you mention is a possibility, but not a necessity, of coming to a conclusion.
My rights, your rights, and their rights, are not contingent on a common faith.
Again, you're plainly confusing rights with the recognition of rights (what you charged me with earlier). I never said that rights were contingent upon a common faith. I said they were contingent upon God. Of course, like the framers of the U.S. government, I believe that a recognition of this truth is more conducive to preserving the recognition and protection of those rights.
Me: it goes without saying that the authors of the Declaration of Indepedence disagreed with your statement about God and the justification of rights. You call it antiquated perhaps, I say it was insightful and wise.
Ron: Antiquated? On the contrary, Stephen, I think human rights go back a little bit farther than 1776. I think they go back farther than Jesus, and back farther than Moses. Jefferson didn't invent human rights when he penned the Declaration of Independence, any more than the Greeks invented lightening or the Norse invented thunder.
lol. Now you're getting it. Of course they do. They go all the way back to the beginning of creation iteslf, and to eternity, to the God who gives them.
(and psssttt ... we were discussing the articulation of those rights in the expressions of US government, not because I think the founding Fathers invented human rights, but because it had very closely to do with the subject of this thread)
Personally, I believe human rights is an obvious and very necessary corollary to God's gift of free will; you can't have one without the other.
Funny, that sounds a whole lot like my argument. A very necessary corollary? ... Sounds almost like some kind of proof. Where is your faith?
Belief, however, doesn't make it so . . . and much more importantly, being wrong doesn't negate the very real existence of either lightening or human rights.
You've quite misunderstood me, if you think that I believe that belief makes it so. That correct belief is better is a part of my argument, but human rights are contigent upon God, not human belief.
He's there in the beauty, in the love, in every small miracle surrounding the greater miracle of Life. Everything that exists, everything good or bad, everything tangible or ephemeral, exists to support and confirm the Christian's faith. Nothing, however, exists to obviate the need for that faith, Stephen. We can attribute those streaks of jagged light in the sky to a powerful god or to the inevitable consequence of a Big Bang, and we'll probably never really know, in this life, which supposition is right or, indeed, if both are right or both horribly wrong.
You think Faith and knowledge are mutually exclusive? You speak one moment of certainty, and the next of a leap which makes Kirkegaard look like he had 20/20. Don't get me wrong, Ron, I'm not denying mystery, or even the suspense of faith. But I don't think the Bible, human experience, or reality supports such an extreme fideism as you seem to espouse. I find compelling models of thought in Augustine and Pascal, who both said something amounting to "Believe that you may understand" ... an antidote to the extremes of total fideism on one side, and empiricism / rationalism on the other. Faith corresponds to reality. On the other hand reality does not force faith ... all the while reproving unbelief.
And that's okay, I think, because when we walk out into the storm carrying a big metal pole it isn't going to matter much. The existence of lightning is its own argument.
No argument here. I'm only suggesting the difference between faith in God and its alternative might be like the difference between holding a lightening rod, and installing a grounding rod.
I think everyone -- Christian or not -- still has a whole lot of ground to cover together.
And contrary to the paintbrush I've tried to dislodge from your hand, I agree with this completely.
And as intense as our discussions get, Ron, I always enjoy the exchange,
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-15-2007 11:45 PM).]