Some say there’s a default position in the great debate and there is; yours!

1) There can be no evidence for deity, therefore, Atheism isn’t based on evidence.

2) Logic doesn’t entail truth, therefore, Atheism isn’t proved by logic.

3) Logical conclusions are accepted and rejected outside of logic, therefore, reasonableness is the basis of Atheism.

4) Reasonableness entails to experience, intuition, risk, and utility, therefore, Atheism relies on the rational and irrational.

5) Since there is no evidence for God, then there can only be a sense about God, therefore,  Atheists have a different sense about God than others.

Now for the chest-puffing Theist, re-read all of the above and change “Atheism” with “Theism” and “Atheist” with “Theist”.

For both balking currently, simply answer this:

There are two universes identical in every way, except one has a God and the other doesn’t. You find yourself in one of these universes. How do you tell which?

You might say that no universe can exist without God, but you’d realize you have no basis of fact for that even in theory. You might say that no universe requires a God at all in order for things to be just as they are, but you’d realize here too, there’s no basis of fact. Eventually you’d also realize that even if you discovered how universes come to be, it still wouldn’t settle the question. You realize you’re going to have to find another way to solve the problem.

Since both universes are identical, each has life, morality, logic, maths, sunrises, and cute little bunnies, you realize there’s no feature of reality that can help with the problem. You scratch you head, then you say …

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Unless one were to believe the bulk of Christianity mistaken, the fathers inept, even the apostles and disciples, perhaps in cases Jesus himself, completely oblivious to the ideas one now holds as resolute, required, jot and tittle for salvation, then one must humble and tame hubris.

The fundamental idea of Christianity is that God is related to humam well-being, exemplified through the life and sacrifice of Jesus. The myriad variety of Jesus-ideas among denominations speak to attempts at explaining that fundamental idea. Aside from variety, some utterly fail to that end.

Though it ought to be clear that particular God-talk or particular Jesus-talk cannot be part of some “plan of salvation”, it’s still not so clear to some.

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Two Universes Reprise

In the “Two Universe” scenario, where we’re given two identical universes that only vary in that one has a God and the other doesn’t and we’re asked which is the one we’ve been thrust into, the most significant response isn’t in being able to answer the question.

We can discard responses that simply demand that no universe is possible without God, and those that claim that no universe requires God.

The damning response is noting that even if there is a God, He is irrelevant given the fact that we have to ponder this scenario at all; “nothing” and “god” manifest in reality identically too.

Secondarily, that god-talk is meaningful in both universes, this necessarily means that what makes it meaningful isn’t the existence of God; god-talk has nothing to do with God that we can tell.

Just a thought.

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I’ve Got A Feeling …

It’s not just me this occurs to but also to the theorists:

Belief begins as a non cognitive sense about something in the world. That’s like the belief that “things fall when dropped” or “there will be a tomorrow” or “similar things always happen”. That not all beliefs are consciously deliberated leads Philosophers and Psychologists to define belief as an attitudinal disposition toward a state of affairs. This pre cognitive aspect of belief coupled with its seeming foundational role in cognitive conclusions leads these same thinkers to the idea of Doxastic Involuntarism; the idea that we cannot choose what we believe. It seems the role of reason and evidence isn’t as decisive as some would like. Its role seems to be to flesh out what is already believed, or to provide reasons that may cause us to feel differently than we do; the effort being about building confidence, which is again, about feeling, about sentiment.

There are times when we cannot make logical sense of something, however, we still are disposed to thinking a certain way about it. There are times when we have a perfectly logical idea of what could be going on. However, and likely we’ve all experienced this before, until we both think and feel the same way about things, we don’t generally say that we believe what we’re thinking. In both situations, the foundation seems to be sentiment, pre cognitive pursuation. Disposition isn’t consciously determined.

Ideally, truth isn’t correspondence with reality but an accord stuck between the appearance of states of affairs and what we think and feel about them; ultimately hinging on the reasons we ought feel one way versus another, in terms of establishing warrant.

Just a thought.

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God-talk And Its Function

It is mystery, a lack of understanding, of relatability that provides meaning, in addition to simple utility. For instance, I idealize being a grownup when I’m a child, until i have become a grownup, a bullfighter until I become one, a father, my lover even becomes insignificant the more she is understood by me. The very same is true with God.

If god-talk isn’t equivocal or univocal (as even the most fundamental fundamentalist theologians agree it’s neither), then it is at best analogical. But in that case, there are no two objects to compare. That we can tell, there’s only this reality. The problem is then not that we have to worry that we can have exhaustive knowledge of God and thereby lose all interest and meaning in God; indeed, the transcendence of God ensures perpetual mystery! The problem is that transcendence also ensures that all god-talk, as fear as we know, has nothing to do with God.

If then our ideas about God are projections of idealized human nobility into a reified concept that only bears the name “God” — just as we scapegoat our human depravities onto “The Satan” — then our fear must be that eventually God, whether He exists or not — will become an irrelevant idea because we’ve actually, eventually become as a species, that image we have sought all this time.

This however should not put the enterprise of religion or Theology in jeopardy. If there is a God, if the question of God isn’t artificial, and given God has made that question necessary yet doesn’t care about any particular answers we give including Atheism, then we can presume the point of having the question of God is exactly to get humanity to this point of relational equality, of collegial understanding, the contempt of familiarity.

This would all simply indicate that the enterprise of the question of God is on all fronts to obviate all interest in God.

After all, in at least religious terms, that’s exactly what “Theosis” in the pursuit of God entails.

Just a thought.

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Divine Chatter

God isn’t love or anything else; at best, that’s analogical language that lacks a signified.

God, as best as I can think to define such a thing, is being itself and volitional.

As is true of the whole of creation, we are, as we are, sacraments of God; visible signs of God manifest. That we can express self-sacrifice, murder, chance and chaos, order and will is likewise an expression of the divine. In that, I mean that it makes as much sense to say God is love as it does to say God is evil.

To that end, “god” is always what is most compelling about mankind; love, compassion, virtue, beauty. We don’t call God these things because this what God is. We call God these things because these are what we hope God is. We could after all hope for different things. God is not created but the “god” we serve is. The only kind of god we can serve is one we know, and God is not that sort.

Our only theology then must be that serving God entails to seeking “god”, and on natural terms, in terms of what our human nature is most inclined.

Just a thought.

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Oh Hell!

Fundamentalism revolves around the idea of core, essential beliefs. I question these all the time. It strikes me now though that only one belief need be attacked in order for all of these beliefs to lose their current meaning, place, and value. That belief is Hell.

How sad that the Christian faith is supposed to center around the life, death, and new life of Christ, yet it actually is at its core for most, about Hell. Before Christ, there was Hell as mankind’s ultimate destiny. So, obviously, you can remove the entire narrative of Christ and no meaning is lost. However for most, Catholic or Protestant, all meaning of Christ is lost if the idea of Hell is lost. Why else would Jesus save us from our sins if not for Hell after all?

For all of the niceities of the love of God, the sacrifice of son, the abiding of spirit, what Christianity has made central to itself is Hell.

Hell is synonymous with Hellenism and is a fairly easily defeatable idea. The question is why some don’t try, and why most think Hell fits the picture of God’s love. One likely answer is that they can’t imagine what Christianity is about if there’s no Hell to be saved from. But that’s an underscore of the point; Christianity has become above all else about Hell, not God and His love.

Just a thought.

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Reformation Obscenity

If Predestination is true, genuine free will is impossible. Then, those who find themselves in Hell in the end were put there through no fault of their own. But supposing it is false, that God has elected the saints and thereby too, the sinners. If Hell exists, then from the very beginning, eternal torment was at least possible and the price of doing business in creating anything at all, even if no souls actually wind up in Hell at all; everyone throughout time was saved, as it were. This God either is a gambler or a Utilitarian; on the former, we have genuine free will and God cannot know a definite future, only possible futures; on the latter, the bliss of the saved outweighs the eternal torment of the damned, presumably so that they can sing the praises of His goodness, or at least what it seems more to turn out to be, the efficacy of His pragmatism! On neither or any view accounting for reformed theology do we end up with a God that is love, generous with forgiveness, but a tyrant with a stick, string, and carrot interested in His rightness it dangling it; itself roasting over the center of Hell just begging for folks to leap for it; a free gift after all, save for the ability to jump and bridge the distance.

Honestly, the only reason reformed theology stands today is because no one challenged its ignorance, and only the ignorant remain beholding to it for the very same reason; they will not recover from their own.

Just a thought.

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​On The Import Of Theology …

Folks like Kant, like Kierkegaard, like Engels, many others, suggest all ideas start with reality and then tend toward concreteness; formally object, concept, image.

Theology, and Philosophy too, is that bit of final direction between what is experienced — and if belief is attitudinal disposition toward a state of affairs, already believed — and the terms we’ve fashioned that seem to best capture it.

The trope is that the map is not the territory.

Ideas, no matter how much we sanctify, sanction, dogmatize, or require them for group memberships, are always on the backside of anything that has already found its best reasons for mattering.

Just a thought.

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I Am Too!

The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’—and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?

John 10:33-36

Did Jesus just imply that the Logos of God is not a person and that he is not the only person himself to receive the Logos?

Isn’t Jesus denying that he is God here, unambiguously, since after this explanation, the Jews don’t stone him?

There’s nothing important about the idea of the Trinity and in fact nothing clear about it either. Scripture says nothing about it and passages like this abound that run in the opposite direction. Jesus never expresses equality with God or ontology, save for at best, a questionable meaning in John 8:58 and Jesus’ use of “I am”; “ego eimi” in Greek and associated with “ani hu” in Hebrew.

Where God refers to Himself in scripture such as Isaiah using “ani hu”, it “do[es] not provide a basis for interpreting the Johannine use because in all of these instances it is clear that God is the speaker, ‘I am the Lord [Jehovah], and there is no other.’ ” The context of John here doesn’t allow for equating his speaker, Jesus, with Isaiah’s speaker, Jehovah. Isaiah’s “ani hu” is the sender of the Messiah, John’s “ego eimi” which takes meaning on the cross.

(John Painter, The Quest For The Messiah, pg. 227)

“However, the variation in the presentation of ‘I am’ when not accompanied by an image suggests that to designate the words ‘ego eimi’ on their own as a I revelation-formula’ may be too simplistic, since it is clear that the ‘formula’ has several distinct forms […]  it seems that it [ontological claim to being Jehovah] could only be brought into play on the two occasions where there is an explicit reaction to the words of Jesus (8:58 and 18:58), but not in the highly problematic sayings of 8:24, 28 and 13:19. should also be noted here that even the reaction of the Jews to the ‘ego eimi’ in Jn 8:58 cannot simply be explained as a reaction to the Hebrew term ‘ani hu’ as a name for God. Even if such an interpretation is implicit, the emphasis in this verse is on the difference between the verb ‘ginomai’ and the verb ‘eimi’. The tension between the tense of the two verbs would be lost if the reader was only meant to see the utterance of a divine name here. It would therefore be better to look for a background for these sayings which also contains the variations of form which occur in John.” 

(David Mark Ball, ‘I Am’ In John’s Gospel, pg. 169-171)

But, you know, there’s always the easier route, since we just all know, because it says it right there in the Bible, that Jesus says he’s God and doesn’t even imply anything else.

Just a thought.

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