Friday, February 10, 2006

Comic-strip 2

"You're making an anthropomorphic analogy here, God the big father figure or parent.  Of course, this is the usual Christian way of depicting God."

Actually, I'm moving within the philosophical tradition of exemplarism, which goes back to Plato, cycles through Plotinus, Augustine, and Anselm, and has such distinguished modern representatives as Leibniz, Cantor, Frege, Gödel, and Roger Penrose.

There are many very sophisticated arguments for this position, according to which concrete particulars are property-instances of abstract universals.

"This way of thinking in itself is a strong indication that the idea of God is man-made, it serves certain human needs."

The fact that something serves certain human needs is an indication that it doesn't exist? Hmm. So much for wine, women, and song!

Actually, the argument would be that something must exist if its existence is a necessary precondition of human rationality.

"Owner's manual to life? I presume you're referring to the Bible. Well, there are also other good guides to life such as Aristotle's Ethics and Marcus Aurelius' Meditations."

Last time I checked, they didn't create the human race, so they lack the insight of the divine engineer.

"But as for historical, scientific, or mathematical truth claims, these don't involve negative consequences for human beings - whether the real threat of imprisonment or execution."

Sure about that? Marx, for one, had a philosophy of history which yielded precisely these consequences.

"or the alleged threat of eternal damnation."

I don't see how the alleged threat of eternal damnation would involve negative consequences for an unbeliever who regarded that threat as an empty threat.

But as far as that goes, the Christian says:

"Believe, or be damned!"

The unbeliever says:

"First you die, then you rot!"

Seems to me that either position involves negative consequences for human beings if true.

Why is the Christian threat less acceptable than the secular threat?

"And at any rate, these truth-claims are also open to refutation when the evidence suggests the claims are erroneous - religious claims are primarily faith-based and reject the yardstick of evidence."

Within the fideistic tradition, perhaps. But Christianity has always had a strong apologetic tradition.

Christian doctrine either involves direct evidence for the doctrine and/or evidence for the source of doctrine.

"The unbeliever doesn't believe any bad consequences result from not conforming to atheistic, agnostic or other forms of skepticism vis-a-vis religion."

To the contrary, a standard feature of the secular apologetic is the dire consequences of accepting a religious worldview as over against the glories of humanism.

"Yes, I could, but we're having a discussion about religion and what you consider the true religion and hence it's textual basis, the Scriptures."

i) Yes, but your insinuation seems to be that there's something arrogant about claiming that my interpretation is right, and the next guy's is wrong.

But if that's taken to be a principled objection to the Christian faith, then it's a principled objection to the success of all forms of human communication.

ii) In addition, there's actually not that much difference between Catholic and Protestant commentators. If you read their works, which I do, contemporary Catholic commentators often agree with Protestant commentators.

The major lines are drawn, not over the meaning of Scripture, but over the authority of Scripture as the sole source of theology. For a Catholic, Scripture has a different function or role to play.

So it's not so much a difference over interpretation, but theological method.

Catholicism operates with a multiple-source model of dogma (ditto: E. Orthodoxy), whereas Evangelicalism operates with a single-source model.

"It would be very interesting to read some of this...maybe I'll get around to it someday."

Don't wait too long. You never know when a Muslim may give you a radical haircut because he saw you munching on a pork chop with a glass of beer to wash it down, you filthy infidel, you!

"I'm afraid this one has gone over my head - or at least past my head!!"

One can be guilty for failing to worship the true God revealed in nature no less than the true God revealed in Scripture.

"In what form? Eyewitness testimony? If so, how do you know it's true? How do you know the person(s) reporting this were not being creative?"

By the same criteria we use to evaluate any eyewitness testimony.

"I'd prefer not to get too deep into this! Need to have time for other things in my life!!"

As long as you make time for the afterlife! :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment