Statesboro, GA, USA
Whew, I just missed the long version eh? My hand is already sore. Quit it already!
Jesus was a historical person and a great teacher. The divinity part is still up for grabs. You know the arguments: you have to believe, suspending rationality, in something along the lines of the Nicean Creed, the a priori thing, to accept the Virgin Birth for starters, and it doesn't get any easier from there.
Actually if Jesus said anything like the things the gospels report him as saying, he was anything BUT a good teacher. C.S. Lewis (and others) cover this in the Trilemma of Liar, Lunatic or Lord. A good man wouldn't claim to be God. A megalomaniac perhaps.
About the "suspending rationality" part, I must disagree. Believing miracles are possible and that they have happened is not to "suspend rationality". Not a few thinkers (among them Hume) have pointed out that there is no rational or logical necessity to the laws of nature as they stand ... only a recognition of repetition. It could have been a whole lot different. If this is so, then there is no real breach of logic involved in believing in miracles. Now there is the important question of plausibility. (all claims are not equally plausible) For example, if the miracle of the Resurrection hadn't occurred, would it be reasonable to think that those who knew it didn't would die for such a hoax? Second generation martyrs may die for a trifle (being indoctrinated), but not first who are privy. Does the historical knowledge of how the Christian Church spread, fit the historical notion that these men stole a corpse and then went around proclaiming a bodily resurrection? There are many other historical difficulties with the revisions that various skeptics have suggested. It really is easier (though of course not without problems itself) to believe it happened as written. But if we're really not neutral on the question of God, and heart-motives are involved as much as reasoning, it's not surprising that the intellectually difficult path of historical revision is chosen. Freud recognized that our decisions are greatly attributed to the "irrational". In this sense, Christianity agrees with him. Rational snafus are no barrier to unbelief, any more than they are to belief. That doesn't mean I'm an anti-rationalist. It's just that logic, like everything else, has its place and limitation. It's only reasonable to think so.
I do think people do have a purpose beyond killing time before the inevitable. We're here to help each other out. Not everybody "gets" that one. A whole bunch of people seem to think we're here to knock each other off.
I, of course, agree with you. But it does seem you are willing to impose your purpose on others, whether or not they are aware of it. You're getting a bit transcendental aren't you? Is purpose totally subjective or not? I've got a feeling you'd like to say that murderers are being (really) immoral, not just choosing a different "purpose" according to themselves.
Hume was a dour old Scot who got ticked off at his Presbyterian heritage, and couldn't let it go. He was great at ticking off everybody else in return.
I was referring to Hume's critique of science, not his critique of religion. And, by the way, his thinking is sharp enough that his critique on either shouldn't be answered with a shrug and comment about his discontent. That of course may be true, but his ideas are still ideas to be refuted or defended. He's as sharp a thinker as Kant or Shopenhaur, judging from his influence in the world of philosophy.
My point was, that thanks to him, we see that science has presuppositions which were not ascertained scientifically. Hume would ultimately doubt the propriety of this, and become an utter skeptic not even being assured of his own existence apart from sensory data. I would differ and say that presuppositions are unavoidable, though we can choose the wrong ones.
You do yourself a disservice in otherwise excellent arguments by limiting your world view in these discussions. Most of the people on our planet think Christians are malignant crackpots. The Chinese and Ottoman Turks for example, had a straightforward approach. They just killed 'em.
Um, I don't understand what you're getting at here. What do you mean by "limiting your worldview in these discussions"? I thought that the subject of this thread was "Just Who is this God"? A question begging for boundaries. If you are simply saying that you think my view to narrow, I would respond with an Epigram from Chesterton ... that the object of opening the mind, like the mouth, is to close it again on something solid.
It would be good to ask why "most of the world" think Christians to be malignant Crackpots, and whether that is justifiable. And if it is, based on their observations and experience, were the taken exemplars really practicing Christianity?
I think people are hard wired to create mythologies.
Yes, but why? Hard-wired is an engineering term, impying intent. And that was my point. From the Christian view of things, its easy to understand why the human heart is inclined to create things of beauty (even strange beauty) purpose, and meaning. It is the hunger that presupposes food, even if men sometimes eat what is bad for them, or what simply gets them by, until something better is found.
Weíre one of the few species aware of our own mortality, and it doesnít seem particularly fair.
An imposition of justice upon an unguided evolutionary schema? Or an admission of a real standard of justice, whether human or divine?
If this life is all there is, and nobody is keeping score, why is that so scary to so many people of so many different faiths? I donít know, but it seems pretty pervasive.
Its not just "scary" to people of faith. Have you delved much into existentialist literature, written by those who took Enlightenment humanism seriously enough to logically follow the conclusion? They just substituted the traditional telos of "justified" with words like "authentic", but it's very much the same. Whether you call it "angst", or the religious dread of Kirkigaard, There's always been the unsettling (sometimes comforting) idea of a score-keeper. Why should atheists pine over how they've lived, toward the end of their lives? They're anxious about their own scorecard, which they say is temporal. Something within seems to impress on them that its just a ragged copy of another, intractable. Again, what is pervasive is by design, basic to humanity, and not at all limited to the religious.
When you and I allude to philosophers, Christ-centered or otherwise, without quoting chapter and verse, itís shorthand between people who have read beyond the comic book stage.
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. That we don't really know about the philosophers we are quoting or the opposite? A quote, "without chapter and verse" can denote familiarity as well as a disguised unfamiliarity. But I'm still unsure what you meant here by what you said.
I was tempted, as a joke, to send you an 33rpm copy of Billy James Hargis carrying on. He loves Jesus so much he just canít help hating everybody else. But then, heís a dead horse, or at least the dead hind end of a horse.
I don't know who you're talking about, but I can relate. I think it was Ravi who said you don't cut a man's nose off in order to try and get him to smell a rose.
For years, Iíve been pondering Godís self description, ďI Am That I Am.Ē If that ainít a mental backbreaker, I donít know what is.
Yeah, I think this reaches into the mystical and quite beyond the mental. Again I am not an irrationalist, but the intellectual has its limits. We need the mysticism of God. Doctrine without it, is dead. It's the difference between the "Logos" of John, and words as we know them, "clumsy and inflexible bricks" as Malcolm Muggeridge called them. If a master painter of words can recognize their futility apart from experience, how much more a paint spiller like myself?
Enjoying the interchange,