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Passions in Poetry

Antony Flew the Theist

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jbouder
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0 posted 12-13-2004 01:39 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Just interested in our resident athiest and agnostic thoughts on Antony Flew's recent change of heart regarding atheism:

http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/flew-interview.pdf

Interestingly, he upholds several points raised by me, Stephen, and Ron in previous threads.  So ... when such a prominent atheist such as Flew determines that atheism is untenable, what does that mean to current atheists?

Jim
Brad
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1 posted 12-13-2004 09:58 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Not much. He doesn't offer anything particularly new.

It's the argument from complexity all over again.

Though I'm struck by how many actually think this shift is significant. He's moved to a Deist position.

I've said it before, I think, but at that level of metaphysics, you can pretty much believe whatever you want. We don't have a clue.
Stephanos
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2 posted 12-16-2004 07:28 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

But many (especially of the intelligensia)  often pass through a sort of "deism" on the way to a more Christian belief (C.S. Lewis did something similar to this).  And it's certainly nothing to disparage.  It's a step closer.


Brad, how do you have universal knowledge of "we", in saying "we don't have a clue"?


If you're saying "there may be a right answer ... but we can't know it."  Why are you so sure?


If you're saying "there is no right answer to know", then aren't you undermining your own metaphysical assertions, though they be in the negative?  And again, why are you so sure?


And also, what's significant may not be Flew's manner or choice of argumentation.  What's significant is the manner of the man, who has taken such a turn.



Stephen.
Stephanos
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3 posted 12-16-2004 07:42 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
HABERMAS: Tony, you recently told me that you have come to believe in the existence of God. Would you comment on that?


FLEW: Well, I don’t believe in the God of any revelatory system, although I am open to that.

Judging from this, Flew's belief doesn't seem to be characteristic of a set and hardened deism, (or agnostic theism), but rather strikes me as the belief of someone who has come to one conclusion only in the matter, and is therefore non-commital, for the time being, about the rest.


But if he's friends with Gary Habermas, he certainly may be considering special revelation (from the standpoint of historical narrative) in the near future.  


Stephen
jbouder
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4 posted 12-17-2004 12:02 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

It's significant, Brad, because of Flew's history and prior works.  If an atheistic thinker of Flew's caliber concludes that atheism is no longer tenable given recent scientific findings, then it follows that this "argument from complexity" you seem to be dismissing ought not be so easily dismissed.

Flew's problem with revelatory theism, interestingly, is not so much with the evidences presented by Christianity (he actually acknowledges the resurrection miracle as a higher class of miracle), but with the problem of evil.

Stephan is right, I think, in that Flew is treading the path C.S. Lewis traveled years ago, and the one the Apostle described at the beginning of Romans.  I believe it is only a matter of time before Flew follows Lewis's lead - Flew is a rational man and Christianity is not antithetical to reason.

Jim
Brad
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5 posted 12-17-2004 06:45 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

And what recent findings would those be?

True, he may have a stronger argument somewhere, but in the interview, it basically comes down to, "We don't know how this happened, therefore God must have done it." But the next step, a perfectly legitimate question in metaphysics, is what is the nature of God, how did He do it, but once you add God, you are told be many that such questions are off limits.

That is, you switch from an interrogative that we don't know the answer to, to an imperative that says you can't ask the question.

This is progress?

Stephan, how is "we don't have a clue" undermining my position when "we don't have a clue" is precisely my position.

Huan Yi
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6 posted 12-18-2004 12:41 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

I don’t see how the idea of a god
is in itself comforting.  Various civilizations
had beliefs in one, except it was one that had
to be appeased with blood.  If one looks at
Nature one could make the case, assuming a
god, that he enjoys the slaughter.
Essorant
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7 posted 12-18-2004 02:07 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Belief by itself already betokens the existence of what is believed in; for there may be no belief, unless there is that existing to be believed in.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-18-2004 02:56 AM).]

Huan Yi
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8 posted 12-18-2004 06:30 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

“Belief by itself already betokens the existence of what is believed in; for there may be no belief, unless there is that existing to be believed in.”

Well the Flat Earth Society will be relieved.
Also Zeus, Venus, Apollo, unicorns, centaurs, etc.
Essorant
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9 posted 12-18-2004 11:10 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

It makes more sense to me to believe in flat earth, Zeus, Venus, Apollo, unicorns, and centaurs than to say any belief is in something that is nonexistant.  
Skyfyre
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10 posted 12-19-2004 01:53 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

It's the darnedest thing, no matter how hard my kids believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, I always get stuck playing the part.  

(Not that I don't enjoy the heck out of it)

Essorant, would that you actually could believe things into existence, but your statement, if not necessarily your meaning, is utterly false.  Believing something does not make it true, nor does something necessarily have to be true to be believed in.
Essorant
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11 posted 12-19-2004 08:42 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

If you are able to believe in something or not believe in it, call it true or false, existant or not existant, I think those are all enough tokens to show that something exists.  How do you call something "nonexistant" unless it exists?

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-19-2004 11:14 PM).]

Essorant
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12 posted 12-19-2004 11:12 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I believe nonexistance exists by being the only thing not existing.
In order to exist nonexistance must not exist.  
And it does, which is tokened by existance itself; therefore everything exists and everything counts, even nonexistance    
Skyfyre
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13 posted 12-20-2004 03:10 AM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

quote:
If you are able to believe in something or not believe in it, call it true or false, existant or not existant, I think those are all enough tokens to show that something exists.  How do you call something "nonexistant" unless it exists?


For example: A pig that sprouts wings and flies is nonexistant.

Certainly you can argue that the image or the idea of a flying pig might be brought into existance by the mere mention of it, but it doesn't make the idea nor the image a reflection of reality.

If, for example, you are arguing that God is an idea, and that idea exists merely by virtue of having been conceived, then I agree with you.  But stating that belief = existance without some qualifier is still false.  
Brad
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14 posted 12-20-2004 08:05 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Here we go again. It's interesting that you, Essorant, used the word token. Tokens are examples of types. Types, however, are abstractions, and don't exist as tokens.

Therefore, types don't exist as tokens. If they did, they wouldn't be types and then types wouldn't exist.

The only reason you get away with this kind of 'everything exists' attitude is that you aren't being clear enough in you language.

It's a bit of a shame, you know, for someone who respects and love language as much as you do (and you have my utmost respect because of that) should fall for such a trick.  
jbouder
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15 posted 12-20-2004 08:58 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

quote:
But the next step, a perfectly legitimate question in metaphysics, is what is the nature of God, how did He do it, but once you add God, you are told be many that such questions are off limits.


Naturally, science cannot answer these questions for us.  Only revelation, by God's initiative and at His discretion, can answers beyond those of Flew's be ascertained.

I'm not sure who is spouting the "off limits" rhetoric, but I think a more accurate response would be that such answers have not been revealed.  Science can ascertain certain Godly attributes (e.g., power and knowledge) but defining his moral attributes requires a careful vetting of revelatory traditions.

"What is the nature of God" (in terms of his substance) and "How did he do it" must ultimately take a back seat to "Why did he do it?"  Answers to the "what" and "how" questions might satisfy our intellectual curiosity, but don't answer the questions that are more important to us, especially the "why" questions, which are potentially of eternal significance.  A God who is there but silent is more problematic to me than a God who is there and has not only made Himself known to man in space and time, but has also revealed the means by which our separation from the personal God can be remedied.

Take, for example, your daughter.  One might ask how a sperm and ovum could result in such a remarkably complex person, how her genes know when to trigger neurological development at certain intervals to enable her to walk, begin to speak, and develop the ability to reason.  Science may be able to answer these questions, but what about why she makes you smile when you come home from work, or the pride you feel for her when she says her first complete sentence?

The love God has for His "children" can be known, but not from data gathered from a space telescope or under a microscope.  While His moral attributes are evident in our own, they are only known to us through His specific revelation.  An important starting point is the factual resurrection of Christ in history.  That the resurrection happened is difficult to dispute - why it happened is revealed, and with the answer to that "why" question lies an important answer to Flew's hesitance over the problem of evil (which, in my mind, isn't the real problem - the real problem is the problem of good ... if good is a perfect standard and we have not met it, why would God want us to have any place in His creation to begin with?).

Jim
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16 posted 12-20-2004 12:23 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Skyfyre

It may help to approach it this way.

"Flying" and "pigs" are like the roots, and "flying pigs" is a branch that grew from those roots.  If those roots weren't there to begin with, those branches wouldn't be there either.  The roots are existant, and the branches are too.

The tree of existance grows in all planes, and all branches are supported by roots that are underneath the tree and the roots are supported by the branches too.  It grows into into the physical earth and into the spiritual sky.  Everything is root or branch or leaf of existance, and may even be all three of those at the same time.  That is the wonder-tree of existance.  We can't know or say everything; but everything is still there.  And even when we refer to it wrongly or mistakenly, we are still refering to it.

Flying (existant) + Pigs (existant) = Flying Pigs (existant)

This doesn't mean that we meet "flying pigs" physically as we may meet "flying" and pigs"  But it is from meeting those things in any way, thro life and thro lore, that we have the "timber" with which unphysically put together those two things; and I think there is a great likelihood that we may imagine from those three things that the universe may actually put them together physically as well, even if the "flying" and the "pigs" are not exactly the same as the flying and pigs that we ever see on our branch of the Tree     .  But again, whether it does or not, I don't think there must be an amount of physicalness as prequisite for the existance of anything.  I believe everything whether more closely or more distantly is still in with "communication" everything else.  Anything more spiritual therefore is always "connected" to anything more physical, and more physical to more spiritual.  Everything seems to come out in the end as physical and spiritual , or if there is one word for it all, perhaps "natural"
Essorant
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17 posted 12-20-2004 12:32 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant



Brad,

Types exist as types.  
Tokens exist as tokens.  If you refer to types as tokens, then you are still referring to existant types.  If you refer to tokens as types, you are still referring to existant tokens.  
Michael
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18 posted 12-20-2004 02:07 PM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

quote:
It may help to approach it this way.

"Flying" and "pigs" are like the roots, and "flying pigs" is a branch that grew from those roots.  If those roots weren't there to begin with, those branches wouldn't be there either.  The roots are existant, and the branches are too.  
The tree of existance grows in all planes, and all branches are supported by roots that are underneath the tree and the roots are supported by the branches too.  It grows into into the physical earth and into the spiritual sky.  Everything is root or branch or leaf of existance, and may even be all three of those at the same time.  That is the wonder-tree of existance.  We can't know or say everything; but everything is still there.  And even when we refer to it wrongly or mistakenly, we are still refering to it.


Essorant,

I am not sure any of your arguments are helping here but they certainly, and constantly amuse me for one...  Note, I am not speaking for Linda here but this reply seemed so out of left field I felt compelled to reply.  Have you ever actually conceived, in this topic, or any other that someone else could be right?    If pigs can fly, after all, wouldn't that be a possibility?

Having never personally approached a flying pig though, I cannot tell you or even fathom where its roots my lead.  How you can be so sure they lead to your “tree of existence” I cannot fathom either for you pose no proof to back your argument.  I for one am more likely to base my beliefs on reality, and give heed to arguments that actually have some backing.  That you, or anyone, can envision something certainly does not make it real, or the term “fantasy’ would never have been created.
Skyfyre
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19 posted 12-20-2004 03:23 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

Essorant:

Notice I never said that flying didn't exist, nor that pigs didn't exist.   Nor even that the saying "when pigs fly" as a synonym for impossibility doesn't exist.

I am saying:  "Pigs that sprout wings and fly do not exist."

Regardless of roots, branches, apples, xylem and phloem, or any other parts you care to name of some metaphorical tree, flying pigs do not exist.  I am not referring to them wrongly or mistakenly; I am not at all mistaken nor wrong in my assertion that there is no such thing as a flying pig.

Your logic is flawed.  Not to mention convoluted, almost entirely unclear, and bearing little relevance to the topic you claim to address.

Poetic license does not apply here.  I challenge you to be concise and still support your argument.
Essorant
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20 posted 12-20-2004 03:37 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Micheal

The only thing I think is wrong about Skyfyre's and others' words above is the suggestion that someone's belief is in something nonexistant.  How would you like it if you lived as long as Christianity and people tried to make out the center of your belief as in something nonexistant, which is basically like trying to say "you believe in nothing" as if you never earned what you believe from life and learning too?  
There is also the wrong of one theistic religion treating another theistic religion as if it's belief is in things nonexistant as well.   When atheism or theism try to make out certain things as nonexistings or nothings that is where they are no longer atheism or theism but they are both become one and the same: nihilism.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-20-2004 05:17 PM).]

serenity blaze
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21 posted 12-20-2004 05:51 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I have seen flying pigs.

You see, that's what is depicted on every check in the book of the account that my husband opened for me after we married.

I wish I were kidding, but I'm not.

Seasons greetings to all, and I can only add that my personal belief system is in constant evolution, and to my limited understanding of a "God", that definition is somewhere beyond "true" and "false".

and yeah, I know it's annoying, but I do like the quote from Lost Horizon:

"Most religions are moderately true."

Yep. Even atheism.



peace
Skyfyre
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22 posted 12-20-2004 06:48 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

quote:
The only thing I think is wrong about Skyfyre's and others' words above is the suggestion that someone's belief is in something nonexistant.  How would you like it if you lived as long as Christianity and people tried to make out the center of your belief as in something nonexistant, which is basically like trying to say "you believe in nothing" as if you never earned what you believe from life and learning too?


How would you like it if you lived as long as Judaism (longer than Christianity, that is) and some upstart guy who was later executed as a criminal by the Roman empire claimed to be the Son of the God you believed in, and subsequently rewrote about 90% of the rules you believed in and lived by?

Religions, and people, disagree.  The basic nature of monotheism is that there is one, true God and that the rest are false.  Is being a false God somehow better than being a nonexistant one?

If someone says they believe that Allah is waiting for them in the afterlife with seventy virgins, I'll happily leave them to that belief.  I can disagree with them without discrediting what they believe in, can I not?  Or am I the center of the universe, so that my beliefs negate the differing beliefs of all others?

The human race is not some hive mind.  It is our individuality that defines and uplifts us, and our beliefs and opinions are a vital and healthy part of our identity as individuals as well as the identity of the race as a whole.

quote:
There is also the wrong of one theistic religion treating another theistic religion as if it's belief is in things nonexistant as well.


So wait ... you are saying that religions are wrong for saying other religions' beliefs are wrong?

By that logic, would you not also be wrong for declaring their beliefs wrong?

In which case, who is right?


EDIT:  Diction is my friend, I know Nan is watching.  
Brad
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23 posted 12-20-2004 10:06 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Jim,

I'll come back to that excellent response in a moment. The only thing I'll ask right now is why is why more important than how?

Essorant,

Tokens exist as tokens.

Types exist as types.

Types as tokens do not exist.

"Type" is a type.

"Token" is a type.

"Types as tokens" exist as words but not in reference to anything.

Your last comment belies the problem. You're need to be politically correct blinds you to the need to understand the distinction. I already know you know the difference. Otherwise you'd be dead crossing bridges that don't exist.

And on your way down, you'd be screaming, "But bridges exist!!"

  
Michael
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24 posted 12-21-2004 01:28 AM       View Profile for Michael   Email Michael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michael

OMG --- I am afraid to see how far down we are headed into the rabbit hole now.
 
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