The Great Deception - What if what we know was chosen deliberately to deceive us? ---

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What if what we know was chosen deliberately to deceive us?

By Charley Reese of The Sentinel Staff

Published in The Orlando Sentinel on December 9, 1999.

A fairly recent movie, The Matrix, is an interesting science-fiction thriller. People believe they are living normal lives, but, in fact, it is all an illusion. In reality, their naked bodies are hooked up in vast rows of vats and used by machines, which control the Earth, to generate energy.

I would like to suggest to you that we, too, are living in an illusionary world. Our five senses vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch are our only contact with the world outside our bodies. These senses send data to the brain, which processes it and stores it in a memory bank.

For most of the time man has been on Earth, if he wished to see something, he had to be physically present. Stories told around campfires would create fantasized images. But beyond that, ancient man was fairly firmly rooted to the reality as interpreted by his own senses.

As painting developed, but, most important, as photography developed {spcostr} first still, then moving, then electronic man could be exposed to images of things he had not seen. We are even exposed to images of things that are, in fact, deliberate fakes. The conscious part of our brain knows that when we see a movie, we are seeing in costumes actors on a set being filmed. On the other hand, these images are stored in our brains, without a label that reads false image.

This is important when you realize that, during a lifetime, literally millions of false images will be stored in our brains. The further we get from the moment we first saw the false image, the more difficult it is to sort out what is a true image and what is a false image. For example, if I say Civil War, most of us will pull up images from the movie Gone with the Wind or images from the Public Broadcasting Service special about the war. None of us experienced the actual event. Our only visual images of it are from photographs, artwork and Hollywood sets. None of these captures the reality of the event in its wholeness.

Bear in mind, too, that we know nothing about the past except what we have been told in words, photographs and artwork produced by others. Suppose something that we have been told happened, in fact, did not happen. Suppose all the words we've read and heard and all the images we have seen in photographs were, in fact, deliberately chosen to deceive us. It's stunning, when you think about it, that 100 percent of our knowledge of the past is created in our own minds by words and images produced by other people, virtually all strangers. The same goes for much of our knowledge of the present.

We can be in only one place at one time and directly experience what is within range of our senses. Beyond that, we rely on words and images transmitted to us by strangers. Whether these words and images are indeed accurate reflections of the real things is difficult for us to know.

Let me suggest to you that most( Americans are living in a matrix created by a corporate elite that controls the news media, the entertainment industry, book-publishing, the government and most universities.

Thus Americans are bombarded with the same message: America is the most prosperous, the most free country in the world. This is the longest-running boom in history. All the economic indicators show prosperity. Globalism is good and inevitable.

Now, certainly many Americans know that they are not prosperous, and it must be disconcerting constantly to be told that they are. The probable result is that they feel that their failure must be their own fault.

Wake up, folks. Reality may be rough, but it's a lot better than illusions.

-- snooze button (alarmclock_2000@yahoo.com), January 10, 2000

Answers

Interesting book to read: "Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" by Richard Bach (author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

"The world is your exercise book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages." ~Richard Bach

-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), January 10, 2000.


Interesting analysis. It reminds of the story of the cave in Plato's Republic. You all may know the story already. Many people are chained up in a cave in this story and all they do all day is watch images and shadows that are projected onto a wall. When the wise man tries to break their chains and lead them out into the sunlight and the real world, they kill him. Hard to believe that someone would be more interested in watching flickering images on a wall than living in a real world, but then the average TV watched in the USA is 28 hours a week and climbing...

-- BeerMan (frbeerman@juno.com), January 10, 2000.

Also, "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television" by Jerry Mander. Same concept. Great arguments. Book from the '70s.

-- Normally@ease (Oxsys@aol.com), January 10, 2000.

I've had similar thoughts for years based on Plato's Cave, the writings of the Emerson (Am. Transcendentalist movement), the book, "Illusions", by Richard Bach, lately the Matrix.

As Don Shimoda tells the messiah-in-training, "That is your movie,...this is my movie". Emerson said it was illusions all the way down, and that the key to living was to learn to skate on the illusions rather than sink into them.

Isn't it grand to be awake?

-- Donna (moment@pacbell.net), January 10, 2000.


The "Allegory of the Cave" from Plato's Republic Book VII

The world revealed by our senses is not the real world but only a poor copy of it.

Link

I am impressed at how quickly we connected this post with Plato.

-- tc (trashcan-man@webtv.net), January 10, 2000.



bold off...I didn't know it was on!

Parmenides and the Eleatic philosophers claimed that all change, motion, and time was an illusion.

-- tc (trashcan-man@webtv.net), January 10, 2000.


"The distinction between space and time is but an illusion, if only a stubborn one." - Einstein

"Space and time are modes by which we think, not conditions in which we live." - Einstein

-- (@ .), January 10, 2000.


Related thought-- Ask an American if a human being ever walked on the moon, most will say yes. Ask same Americans if a human being ever walked on the water, most will hesitate. In neither instance do we have any shred of evidence to support our belief, only what we've been taught persuades us.

-- amnesia (few@bar.com), January 10, 2000.

Great post snooze button,

Added to this is the intentional mind
control efforts of those who would
profit from these illusions. Much work
in this field has been done by the CIA
in their MKULTRA program where they used
drugs to enhance their techniques. This
was exposed in the Church committee
hearings in the early 70's. Sorry that's
1970's.

-- spider (spider0@usa.net), January 10, 2000.


The foot prints are evident in both cases.

-- Michael Erskine (Osiris@urbanna.net), January 10, 2000.


I don't think we should go so far to say that we shouldn't trust our senses or even what common sense tells us is true. It is true, however, that most things we know are by faith--faith in what someone else has told us. In most cases that person is trustworthy and can be believed.

However, I have trouble giving credence to the media and Hollywood when over 85% of journalists and news reporters do not believe in God. Movies and TV are a great thing because you can create your own reality and make it look like natural consequences can be avoided.

-- BeerMan (frbeerman@juno.com), January 10, 2000.


snooze button,

Oh no, don't get me started -- I could discuss this stuff all night!!

Anyway, so your message could be illusory as well -- right? Then what do we do? (Mona Lisa smile)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


snooze button,

whoa dude, that was deep!

-- huh? (cooool@dude.com), January 10, 2000.


If you are not a reality, whose myth are you? If you are not a myth, whose reality are you?

Sun Ra

-- Ishkabibble (ishman@home.com), January 10, 2000.


Snooze--can't tell where the article ends and your comments begin.

(We ARE living a lie until we realize there is no time/space and that we are projections of the Eternal Divine.)

-- Mara (MaraWayne@aol.com), January 10, 2000.



Thanks, snooze! And how serendipitous is it that I had just posted a thread of mine on Emerson's "Self-Reliance" to the prep forum yesterday:

http://hv.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=002HRV

I distinguish between consensual deceit and conspiratorial deceit. While conspiracies are real and have been so throughout history, it is very difficult to pull off explicit conspiracies that involve lots of people -- too many whistle-blowers.

Consensual deceit is easier (think of Maoism as an example-in-the- large). This, too, has to be distinguished from sheer error. For instance, while as a Christian I obviously consider myself the enlightened one (!), many certainly consider Christianity consensual deceit and some argued that it was founded on a conscious conspiracy by Paul and others. If Christianity is wrong, several elements might be mixed, but for hundreds of millions of people, it will be a matter or error.

By contrast, I believe the Clintons have enlisted the nation in a complicit (chosen) culture of consensual deceit about their own behavior and agendas (you may disagree, it isn't forbidden).

Flint, of course, argues that we have done the same thing on this forum.

Anyway, I'm not trying to start a flame war, but hoping against hope we might be a the beginning of a reasonably polite, old-time TB2K debate that sheds more light than heat.

These are vital, critical, profound issues. As the battle between truly free speech and controlled speech reaches its peak during this decade, with vast consequences on the other side, we must become incredibly more sophisticated about this than we have been -- worldwide. I'm not very hopeful but giving up would be fatal to authentic freedom for everyone.

The tough thing is that we are fighting our way together through a culture-induced and self-induced hypnotic trance THAT WE LIKE, at root. The matrix is not a perfect analogy but it is provocative, for that reason.

Help me out, guys. I have had thoughts of devoting the best of my energy over the coming years to this issue (and its related tech issues: encryption, certificates, etc -- the deep-down-dirty stuff where small code decisions may have huge cultural impacts).

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 10, 2000.


The Matrix was a great movie. Luckily I am able to let it go after I watched it (twice). ;-)

-- H.H. (dontscrewme_2000@yahoo.com), January 10, 2000.

LOL Eve!

Good point. I was just sitting here realizing that I am nothing but font. It is a humbling thought. =)

-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), January 10, 2000.


BeerMan,

I find your disbelief in the media and Hollywood because 85% don't believe in God interesting. Isn't "God" an illusion? Have you ever seen her?

-- Evelyn (equus@barn.now), January 10, 2000.


This is amazing. Only minutes before I began reading this thread, I was thinking how so many people define reality as what's in the computer.

I share the enthusiasm expressed above for Jerry Mander's writing, a fusion of profound thinking and clear expression. Another fine book of his, which expands on the ideas in the above mentioned title, is In the Absence of the Sacred, the Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations.

-- David L (bumpkin@dnet.net), January 10, 2000.


Big Dog,

Interesting post...

Are you implying that "consensual deceit" (I never heard that term before) is a sort of semi-conscious evasion of the truth, where the evader is reluctant to investigate further, because he is semi-aware, or even subconsciously aware, that the conclusions he/she may reach would be psychologically too difficult to handle?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


Evelyn, I haven't seen you, but I do believe you're real.

-- BeerMan (frbeerman@juno.com), January 10, 2000.

snooze button,

Thank you for starting this thread; we need more like it. And your post was very interesting.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


BeerMan,

I'm glad you understand the unseen reality.

-- Evelyn (equus@barn.now), January 10, 2000.


Following snip from yesterdays thread The truth or lack of it.

A general forum for serious discussion of events in the news. Reasonable leeway for all points of view will be tolerated but malicious or purposely disruptive posts will be deleted without notice. John Swinton of the NY Times, at his 1953 retirement dinner at the NY Press Club, gave the reason for the need of forums such as this in his following speech: "There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before 24 hours my occupation would be gone. The business of a journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell the country for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press. We are the tools and vassals of the rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


Eve -- very good way to put it. It is a phrase of mine but not- copyrighted yet ;-)

Of course, many times a cigar really is just a cigar. Oops. Well, let's try another one ... err ....

A primary reason I insist we need to wait until May with Y2K is that we are still too close to initial impact AND ongoing impacts to reflect seriously on Y2K as a "communication event". I am fully prepared (at least, I think so) to consider where I MIS- judged "official" honesty as well as missed additional official manipulation (so far as either can be determined, which won't be easy).

But I'm saying that Y2K, even a Y2K depression, is small potatoes compared to the battle for trustworthy speech that is underway. And, no, it isn't a new battle (see post above) but with such an ill- understanding of our technical magic (Y2K being case in point whatever happens and, heck, "cpr" believes the same but from the REVERSE standpoint), we are raw meat today not only for the manipulators but for the unintended impacts of unreflective "code".

(For those interested, a must-read on this last point is Lessig's "Code and other laws of cyberspace")

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 10, 2000.


Very interesting. I would also point interested parties to the works of the late great Phil K. Dick, perhaps especially Time Out of Joint.

-- johno (jobriy2k@yahoo.com), January 10, 2000.

snooze button,

Fascinating topic.

Your post above attempts to get us to quesiton our certainty of the reality of both consciousness and existence. You are asserting something that is arbitrary and asking us to disprove it. It is really the same as my stating to you that "there is a Coca-Cola factory on Neptune -- prove that there isn't".

It's really asserting something for which no evidence exists (a "negative") and saying that the burden of proof is on us to prove the "negative" is not true. It just opens the door for anyone to assert anything at all and ask someone else to prove it's not true.

And here's the kicker: Since you're questioning the validity of both consciousness and existence, you have to be doing the asserting from something other than consciousness and from somewhere outside existence -- which I'm sure is not the case.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


Eve:

Are you a religous person? If so I have a question for you: Why did God create things they way he did?

I believe if you study this question long enough, you will realize that there is no reason for why they are the way they are. Any other conclusion results in a contradiction about the nature of God.

Your comments?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


"I think, therefore I am...."

Descartes

-- tc (trashcan-man@webtv.net), January 10, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I believe in God in a very abstract way; that is, as somehow the beginning of everything; although I'm Jewish, my belief is not Biblically based. If you're interested how that can be, I'll be glad to answer; I just didn't want to wander too far from your questions. I really don't wonder why we are -- I just accept that we are. And I am able in only an abstract way to think of God as a creator (and I'm not saying He's not) because it would start me thinking about the greatest "creation" of all -- God himself. Then you just take off into an infinite regress.

But I do wonder about the apparent contradiction between God as the beginning and God the infinite. If anyone out there can answer this one they get a big virtual hug and kiss.

I don't know...I hope I answered your questions ok.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


To all,

By the way, there is some evidence for our (the forum posters) existence, although it is not conclusive. I mean, the messages themselves reflect that there are at least human beings behind them. And we can discern personalities, too. Further, in some cases people here know each other. I could go on, but hopefully you see my point -- that we are not just possible arbitrary constructs or illusions.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


I once posed a question to my daughter
when she was 8. She was prone to astute
questions and answers that always blew
my socks off. I asked Hotspur's query
"Why is there anything at all rather
than nothing?" The next morning she said
"I know the answer to that question that
you asked me yesterday." Amazed, I asked
"What is it?". She replied, "There isn't"
:-'

-- spider (spider0@usa.net), January 10, 2000.

Eve:

Why do you see a contradiction between God the begining and God the infinite?

WRT to your comment:

"... because it would start me thinking about the greatest "creation" of all -- God himself. Then you just take off into an infinite regress. "

Not at all. Are you familiar with the mathematical concept of recursion? It is a concept that allows a value to be determined based on earlier values already determined.

For example there is a mathematical operation known as Factorial (not fractals that make the pretty pictures, although the concepts of recursion are similarly used there).

The factorial of 4 is 4 times the factorial of 3.

The factorial of 3 is 3 times the factorial of 2.

The factorial of 2 is 2 times the factorial of 1.

The factorial of 1 is defined as 1.

This last item is the key. If there was no end to the regression backwards, we could not begin coming forward and work out what the later factorials are.

Everything in the universe exists because of a cause and effect relationship. Any thing you wish to examine exists as an effect something else that existed before it. So you are right, you get the regression going back. *But* as in all recursions, the regression must stop so later "things" can exist.

WRT to the Factorial the "things" are the factorials of 2,3,4....

WRT to the universe, the "things" are the universe itself down to our own existance. We exist (and if we don't something does in which we are a dream) and therefore the recursion backwards had to stop at something that did not depend on a previous cause for its existence so that everything that followed could happen. The fact that we are here is proof that the recursion did stop at such a "something".

The underlying principle here is that the universe exists as it does as a result of a cause and effect relationship. Until someone shows me that is not the case, this should stop your infinte regression and should be proof to you that God is *not* the "ultimate creation" (as that is to reduce his status to the level of the created) but is rather the Creator that he is.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I am not Eve, but I would like to take a stab at your question, if you don't mind.

God created mankind as a free moral agent, giving them the ability and right to make choices. He wanted to create a being that would love and serve Him because they wanted to, not because He made them (which He could most certainly have done).

Things are the way they are because human beingss have excercised their rights as free moral agents, and chosen this way. John 3:19 "...Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

-- Preacherboy (preacher@boy.com), January 10, 2000.


Eve:

Thinking about your problem with understanding God as the begining and the infinte I think I understand your dillema. You are look at both from your own perspective and what your senses tell you is a physical begining and a physical infinite.

From my previous post, you can see that God is the begining. You must then understand the begining of what. He created the concepts and realities of space and time (and hence the universe). Therefore he is not subject to their limitations. He is outside of space and time. For him to be within or constrained by space and time he would mean that he would then be subject to the laws of the universe and in partiulcar space and time and therefore he could not have been their creator. He could not then be all powerfull. Therefore since he is not subject to time, the past, present and future are all the same to him. Similarly since he is not subject to space, he is not subject to the concpt of being localized at any one place, hence he is every where (i.e. infinite).

Does this help?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


Preacherboy:

You state:

"God created mankind ..."

My question stands, why did God create mankind? Your reason is that so we may love and serve him. He has no need of such things. So I ask you again, why did he create man. He has no reason to create man or make anything the way it is.

Infact the very concept of there needing to be a reason for anything is a concept created by God and therefore he could not be subject to that conecpt. If there was a reason, that compelled him to do what he did, then I submit that He would not be God as he had to capitulate and act as he did due to an external force namely the reason which he could not choose to ignore the reason and act independently as God is able to do.

Hence, I re-ask "Why did God create things they way they are?". The answer there is no reason. 2+2=4 because he chose it to be. It could have been equal to 5 had he chosen that, and the world would still be in perfect harmony.

You say:

"Things are the way they are because human beingss have excercised their rights as free moral agents, and chosen this way"

You contradict yourself - You earlier said God created man. Therefore the existence of man (one of the things that "are the way they are") was not due to man.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

You're speaking about the impossiblity of traversing the infinite. Well, I agree -- I can't see how you could ever get to where we are today.

But if you speak of God as the Creator, yet Himself uncreated, are you presupposing that He Himself is infinite or that he somehow willed himself into existence out of nothing at a particular point in time in the past? If the former, then it seems that you fall into the same problem of traversing the infinite. If the latter, then you have to ask: -- what came before His appearance? And then back again we go into the infinite.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


Trashcan man, No, no, no...it's "I think, therefore I am...I think...." LOL BTW weren't you in the movie "The Stand"? Bumpetee bump... =)

-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), January 10, 2000.

Interested Spectator,

My post above was only in response to your post that included the math analogy. Then I noticed more by you and others. I'll try my best to keep up, but I have other things I've got to get to, so please have patience -- my responses may start to come slower now for a day or two. But I'd love to keep this up -- so don't give up on me.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


The Bible teaches that God did not come into being at all. The reason for that is that He has always existed. God is eternal, unmade and uncreated, having no beginning and no end. The Bible assumes the existence of God... "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

Here are some Biblical references which illustrate this truth:

Psalms 90:2 says "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."

Psalms 93:2 "Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting."

Psalms 102:24-27 "I said, 'O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years are throughout all generations. Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, all of them will grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end.' "

Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

The truth of the eternal, infinite nature of God can be illustrated by what we call the principle of the First Cause. Here's how that principle is stated: everything that we observe around us has an origin. The chair I sit in was made in a factory. The metal used to make it was fashioned in a foundry, after having been mined. The mine was discovered by geologists. The geologists knew how to measure such things because of their education and instruments. The school from which they received their education was started by men and women with vision. They built their school with lots of hard work, money, and help from others. And it goes on and on.

The point is that everything is somehow dependent upon something else. Each and every thing has a cause; the cause of each and every thing has its own cause, and it just keeps going backwards. There must be a Being which was not caused at all, who is the ultimate "Cause" for all things. That Being is God Himself.

Consider these additional references to Jesus Christ:

John 1:1-3,14 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made... and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

Colossians 1:16-17 "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist."

God is eternal. He exists eternally in three persons... God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He made us, and we are to live in worship and service to Him. He is worthy to be praised!

I hope that helps.

Miranda

-- Miranda (miranda@noe-mail.thanks), January 10, 2000.


Eve:

As you long as you are looking for the creator of God you have not understood the essence of my recursion argument.

We exist, correct?

Then by definition the infite regress *has* to stop somewhere. It has to stop at something that is not created and hence outside of the universe and outside of the cause and effect relationship and not subject to the concept of creating things. There is *no* other option if we exist because *only* once the recursion stops *can* each subsequent cause and effect begin which finally results in you and I being here. If the regression continues infitely backwards as you suggest, then you and I can not exist. Your very own existence is the proof that the recursion stopped somewhere.

This is the nature of God, and if you truely believe in God then you should now be begining to fathom the True reality, His reality, which is outside of this universe. Any other concept you may hold about Him denies this fundemental fact and betrays that although you wish to believe in God, your "modern" secular upbringing has so conditioned your mind that even the mathematical fact that recursions must end, and hence God does exist since we exist can not be grasped by you. Perhaps it is that you are really afraid that the mantra of the aeithiest is that God can not be proven to exist can be shown to be false with this arguement and you finally once and for all now can know with absolute certainty God does exist.

This is one of the remarkable precepts of Islam. It has no contradiction between science and religion. It views both as mirrors to the same reality. Christianity has for thousands of years conditioned the people that the two are at odds with each other and that is why you are having trouble accepting that mathematically God can be proven to exist. This goes against everything you have been taught through out your whole life about science and religion being the antithesis of each other.

Consider carefully all of my posts in this thread again.

Miranda:

With all due respect, you contradict yourself. You say he is infite and then you say he exists as 3 persons. Something that is infinite is not divisible. If it is divisible then it loses is attribute of infiniteness as there then needs to exist a realm between the 3 entities to separate the entities so more than one entity must exist. Thus with respect to God, it would mean that this realm is a place where God does not exist if he was divided into 3 entities.

God is indivisible. He is One.

To divide him is to diminish his True nature make him subject to the laws of the universe where the concept of dividing things exist. He is outside the universe as I explained in my first post.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


Miranda:

Further to my last comment to you, trying to prove or explaining God's nature from the Bible is like trying to define a word by using the word itself. Those who raise questions about God have already chosen to ignore what the Bible says and are looking for "independent" answers to their questions. Hence I never use the Bible to explain anything about the nature of God, as there is no need to. This is because God exists, not because the Bible says he does.

Your explainations require one to believe the bible first. As you notice Eve is Jewish, so you will not make any headway with her by quoting the Bible. Similarly you will make litte headway with others who have questions about religion but find the Bible unsatisfactory as it requires blind faith to accept its answers.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_rings.side), January 10, 2000.


Spectator,

Faith is what is all about. I can't respond from a Jewish point of view or an atheist point of view. I can only respond with what I believe and what I know. Unlike you, I do trust and believe in the bible and there are many bases there for my belief in the trinity, which is one God. I certainly respect those who do not share that belief, but I rely on the Bible as the Word of God and the complete Truth, and it is there that I find my answers, not from "independent" means. I was under the impression that Eve and others just wanted to know where folks came to their conclusions about God being non-created, etc. I certainly wasn't expecting her to believe me.

Take care, Miranda

-- Miranda (miranda@noe-mail.thanks), January 10, 2000.


Miranda:

You seem to feel that I am critisizing you for some reason. I am not and have no need to.

I am merely explaining and showing to those who do not believe in the Bible or have difficulty accepting its explainations that, with all due resepct, there is absolutely *no* reason to have "faith" or a "belief" that God exists. What I am showing is that one can *know* God exists as surely as one knows that if you let go of a ball it will drop to the ground.

Does it matter how one comes to realize that God exists as long as one realizes that he does exist?

The mantra of the aethiest and the "secular" person is that they require "evidence" that God exists, then they will "believe". You do not need to believe once you have evidence - you know. So here you are - the evidence you requested. Do you wish to continue with your "belief" that he does not exist.

Those who say what I state is false, must deny science, logic and mathematics and therefore deny the very foundation upon which they rely to state God does not exist. They do not provide arguement showing what I state is false. I would welcome such debate to uncover the Truth.

Until the "modern" era faith in the Bible was sufficient for the realization that God exists, now however that is not sufficient. To me this is progress as the same inquisitive nature that led the West out of the Dark Ages, that now will allows the thinking person (read scientists and the "secular" types) to *know* God exists rather than *believe* he exists.

Surely this can not be a bad thing for the world?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


Miranda,

I appreciate your contributions to our discussion. Although I don't share your belief that God is the God of the Bible, perhaps somehow our God really is ultimately the same.

With respect to the Trinity: This is one of the ideas that I just can't even come close to understanding. It seems like an internal contradiction. Perhaps it is something that cannot be explained and you just have to accept its truth on faith.

But your point about God somehow being the ultimate cause is something I can identify with, in a general way.

Interested Spectator:

You've posted a lot of interesting information lately. I'll try to do a separate reply soon.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


Interested Spectator:

I think I understand what you're trying to say. You begin with the fact that we exist. You then postulate that therefore an infinite regress using the laws of space and time is impossible; that we have to stop somewhere.

I agree that this makes sense so far.

But then it seems that you accept, almost on "faith", the idea of a "super-existence" (which contains God) that is not subject to the laws of space and time, at least as we know them. I agree that in order for your "no infinite regress" thesis to hold, an idea of this sort would appear to have to be a necessary part of it.

Even though your position has a sort of "logic" to it, I just can't shake the idea that this "super-existence" seems an arbitrary construct. And how could such a universe even be imagined, with no space and no time, at least the way we understand them? Can you even begin to get a picture of such a place? By the way, since the concept "picture" implies two or three dimensions, and since those dimensions are building blocks of space and time as we know them, I suppose a "picture" of this "super-existence" is impossible, in any case. Does that bother you?

Finally, how do you deal with the idea of this "super-existence" (and God within) itself being infinite? Would you not then have to come up with a "super-super-existence" containing another, even greater God within that? Then we get yet another infinite regress of another sort -- layers of super-universes (with their endlessly Greater Gods) piled atop one another with no end.

Please don't take offense at any of this -- I think this is the first time I've thought about a "super-existence" (containing God) in any real detail, although I'd certainly heard of the idea before; I'm just brainstorming here.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 10, 2000.


Perception is reality. That is true on an individual scale ("Wow, 25,000.00 a year is great money", as opposed to "$25,000.00 wont keep me in toilet paper!"). The same is true on a larger scale. What we perceive things to be are how they are. Many times, reality is created by self-fulfilling prophecies and by how we choose to intepret cerrtain events.

That simple. I see a computer glitch and say "no big deal", others see it and think the world is ending!

-- DAVID (tdavidc@arn.net), January 10, 2000.


Eve:

I can take no offence from one who questions what I say and you have nothing to appologize in advance for. On the contrary I respect that you wish to learn and perhaps come to a new understanding, and if you in any way find my explainations offensive it is I who have the obligation to appologize.

Answering your questions as you posed them (your statments in brackets):

[I agree that in order for your "no infinite regress" thesis to hold, an idea of this sort would appear to have to be a necessary part of it.

Even though your position has a sort of "logic" to it, I just can't shake the idea that this "super-existence" seems an arbitrary construct.]

It can not be arbitrary, it is an irrefutable fact of logic and mathematics. For a recursion to stop there must be something external to the recursion to make it stop. A recursion can not stop itself from within. This is an impossibility. To be able to do would result in contradiction as the recursion would stop immediatly (on the first iteration or step backwards to its begining) resulting in nothing, since we are the result of a recursion with visible results the recursion we exist in could not have stopped by itself.

To deny the existence of an external force to stop the recursion is to deny the cause and effect cycle of the universe and its foundation in mathematics, science and logic (the only constants in the universe). Philosphy is not equal to science, logic and mathematices as philosophy is merely opinion packaged under a different name.

To understand this from another perspective, *if* you already "beleive" in God, and are looking for "confirmation" to *know* God exists then by definition if you do not take God out of space and time, you have made him subject to its laws. He then is no longer omnipotent as he must conform to space and time. God is not and cannot be limited if he is God. To not accept that God is outside space and time is to say they existed before he did, and that "popped up inside it". Well then he didn't create the universe and what you call God is not God. Space and Time are created by God. Therefore he existed *before* they do. Which leads me to your next question:

[And how could such a universe even be imagined, with no space and no time, at least the way we understand them? Can you even begin to get a picture of such a place? By the way, since the concept "picture" implies two or three dimensions, and since those dimensions are building blocks of space and time as we know them, I suppose a "picture" of this "super-existence" is impossible, in any case. Does that bother you?]

Because you do not understand, do not assume it does not exist. It was that kind of thinking and arrogance (forgive my harsh tone here, but being a pubic forum I automatically direct this discussion to a wider audience and wish to be emphatic towards them) that plunged the West into the Dark Ages.

Some native tribes in the jungles of South America use drums to communicate with each other. They only understand what they physically can sense. They have no concept that going right *through* them are the radio waves of the entire world all around communicating with each other. They do not have any frame of refrence from which to understand this concept. And they never will until shown otherwise. *But* that does not deny the existence of the radio waves. The natives can choose to *believe* the radio don't exist (because that is within their comfort zone), and they are welcome to keep the illusion that only what they can sense exists. What they *believe* has no bearing on reality. Just as people may choose to *believe* God does not exist or *believe* that a reality without space and time can not exist, because these concepts are within their comfort zones, but their *beliefs* has no bearing on reality.

I am not asking you to believe in God. I am telling you to know that God exists. If you wish to believe that he exists or can only exist in some limited way that your mind can comprehend then I say that you have belittled God to your level and you are not searching the for the Truth. May I ask why do you assume you should be able to understand the nature of God? There is no contradiction in *knowing* something exists but not being able to understand it. Science is full of examples of phenomena that can be observed but can't be explained.

You are trying to describe God with physical means. How can you ever succeed in such a task since he created the means you try to measure or describe him by. If he can be "measured" by them then such concepts of measurement had to exist before he did.

Again you must understand that any attempt to quantify or measure God is to make him subject to the laws of the universe and bring him down to the same level as the Created.

As I said earlier this is the nature of God, and you should now be begining to fathom the True reality, His reality.

As the Muslims say: He is Everywhere. He is All. He is Indivisible. He is One. (capitals deliberate)

WRT to the super-super-existences they can not exist once you accept the irrefutable fact the infinite recursions stop with something outside the recursion.

-- Intersted Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


David:

Do you percieve 2+2=4 or do you know 2+2=4?

Know, I hope.

Do know God doesn't exist or believe God doesn't exist?

Believe, I hope.

Do you know that in mathematics a recursion must stop with an outside force or believe it?

Know, I hope (or will learn about recursions and then know it).

Can you explain to me how we can know recursions stop with an external force yet refuse to accept that they apply to the cause and effect relationship of the universe.

Seems to me that back in the Dark Ages, science was trampled on because the universe could not be explained by religion. Then someone said that's stupid the religion as explained contradicts the evidence of science and we emerged into an enlightend age. Now it seems that religion is trampled on because it can't be explained by science. One day people will realize that's stupid the religion if *understood properly* *does not in any way shape or form* contradict science and both are actually in perfect harmony with each other. For anyone who thinks this is not so, please explain to me *why* science and religion (correctly understood) *must* be *contradictory* on even *one* point. When people understand there are no contradictions between religion, science, logic and mathematics we will emerege into a more enlightened age. Until then seems like the dark ages mentality has gone anywhere, but is now just moved over into the scientist's brains.

I challange you to find me a contradiction between *religion understood correctly* and science. I guarantee if you study Islam and the Koran you'll find there is no contradiction between even one scientific discovery and Islam. Does this mean Islam is the only "relgiion understood correctly". No. All it means that Christianity and other religions are correct as long as they do not contradict science. The reason is because there can only be one God (if you'd like me to present a *proof* of this I'll be glad to do so) and therefore only One Reality, so therefore he will be the same for all religions. Similarly there can only be one science for us (which will encompass all discoveries made and yet to be made) and that will be the same for all religions. So if the religion is in contradiction with science then the interpreation of the precepts of the religion as laid down originally is incorrect, assuming the original precepts are not incontradiction with science.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


Spectator:

I am not real interested in getting into a long drawn out religous discussion. You probably know much more than I about that subject as i am not a particularly religous person. Not an atheist but not a bible thumper either.

All I was pointing out was that people have blinders on based on their particular point of reference. Be that a relgous point of reference, a technical point of reference or a point of reference that has conditioned them to be skeptical of what they are told.

How they interpret, react to and deal with a problem or perceived problem or predicted event is innevitabely going to have a lot to do with how serious they perceive that problem or predicted event to be.

That is on the indiviidual level. On a more global scale, if most don't perceive that something is a problem, it is generally not a problem. If they perceive that it is, it becomes that usually through their own making.

Example: Many of the people here are convinced the world is coming to an end because a computer in the XYZ mining company froze up on New Years day and it took three days to fix. Many will say it is the begining of the end. Further proof their position was right. Those who beleive similarly will start looking for rural properties, quitting jobs (if they haven;t already done so) and bunkering in.

If a significant percentage f the soceiety feel that way, then things will start to crumble.

Then there are the others who say "damn computer, better fix it" this is annoying but it is not a big problem. If a large percentage beleive this, then we go on down the road.

The perception of the problem creates the reality for the individual and in many cases, the masses.

That's all I was saying.

-- DAVID (tdavidc@arn.net), January 10, 2000.


I beleive it was FDR who said "We have nothing to fear but fear itself".

-- DAVID (tdavidc@arn.net), January 10, 2000.

David:

[All I was pointing out was that people have blinders on based on their particular point of reference. Be that a relgous point of reference, a technical point of reference or a point of reference that has conditioned them to be skeptical of what they are told.]

Correct and you'll get no argument from me.

[I am not real interested in getting into a long drawn out religous discussion. You probably know much more than I about that subject as i am not a particularly religous person. Not an atheist but not a bible thumper either.]

Just FYI, I regard debate as an exercise in logic not religion. The fact that logic proves God exists is merely a consequence.

Wheather or not one then changes one's life based on understanding this fact is really not of interest to me, although I find the mindset of those that deny what the logic proves as very similar to the few that still *believe* the world is flat, (evidence to the contrary).

However just as the reality is that the world is round (and this was only accepted once it was proven to be the case), and most now *know* that to be the case, I know that there will be a day when few who still *believe* God does not exist and most who will *know* that he does because that is simply the reality because this has been proven, although it has yet to be accepted, because of the prejudices held by most, just as you state.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 10, 2000.


Well ofcourse everything we receive via any media is chosen by someone to influence our opinion. That has never been the danger, given sufficient reporters with separate agendas. The situation becomes dangerous when a preponderance of reporters have the same agenda.

The task of controlling the press then is to ensure that all reporters have the same agenda. Now that agenda may be something as simple as not wishing to retract a story already published or as complicated as shared belief structure engendered by an educational failure somewhere in the system. It may be something as simple as a shared hero or as complicated as a social current against which swimming is undesirable.

so... try to get more than one independant source.

-- Michael Erskine (Osiris@urbanna.net), January 10, 2000.


Geez... you all are fast. This entire thread has developed this evening?!?

With repsonse to Eve's Paradox: "But I do wonder about the apparent contradiction between God as the beginning and God the infinite."

This can also be resolved by using the season metaphor. Each year has 4 seasons: spring, summer, winter and fall. The question of when the year begins and ends has been debated over the ages. Currently the begining is January 1st. Why not December 22nd, 25th, or even March 21st? Where ever the true begining of the year isn't really the issue at hand. The point is that most would assign a beginning and an ending to the year. this is a circular infinity. Like God, the year exists as well as a beginning and an end.

Interested Spec: Your really going tonight!

So you ask, "why did God create mankind?":

From an evolution-system viewpoint, one might consider God as the eternal system circular in nature, if you will, like the seasons of the year. As evolution of the universe unfolded, the system became more and more complex: new species of particles, atoms, molecules, organisms, planets, and stellar bodies evolved out of the ultimate-organism (god). Eventually, since the system is circular, that which evolved out of the system was identical to it's creator. ["God created man in the image of himself"] The complete circle was inevitable. Through the infinite complexity and depth of time, a mirror image of the "whole" formed. [Some theorists may say, "Out of chaos birthes order."] IMHO, this identical form birthed out of the system in the form of man, who christans call Jesus. So to answer your question from a pseudo-science viewpoint, Man was an inevitability, just as spring follows winter.

-- circle (loopy@z.z), January 10, 2000.


Geez... you all are fast. This entire thread has developed this evening?!?

With repsonse to Eve's Paradox: "But I do wonder about the apparent contradiction between God as the beginning and God the infinite."

This can also be resolved by using the season metaphor. Each year has 4 seasons: spring, summer, winter and fall. The question of when the year begins and ends has been debated over the ages. Currently the begining is January 1st. Why not December 22nd, 25th, or even March 21st? Where ever the true begining of the year isn't really the issue at hand. The point is that most would assign a beginning and an ending to the year. Like God, the year exists as well as a beginning and an end. This is a circular infinity.

Interested Spec: Your really going tonight!

So you ask, "why did God create mankind?":

From an evolution-system viewpoint, one might consider God as the eternal system circular in nature, and if you will, like the seasons of the year. As evolution of the universe unfolded, the system became more and more complex: new species of particles, atoms, molecules, organisms, planets, and stellar bodies evolved out of the ultimate-organism (god). Eventually, since the system is circular, that which evolved out of the system was identical to it's creator. ["God created man in the image of himself"] The complete circle was inevitable. Through the infinite complexity and depth of time, a mirror image of the "whole" formed. [Some theorists may say, "Out of chaos birthes order."] IMHO, this identical form birthed out of the system in the form of man, who christans call Jesus. So to answer your question from a pseudo-science viewpoint, Man was an inevitability, just as spring follows winter.

-- circle (loopy@z.z), January 10, 2000.


I was invited here this evening from a thread I posted on TB2000. I skimmed through most of these posts, but I apologize, it's late. Simple riddle for ya, maybe some of ya have heard this one...Joe, John and Harry are traveling to LA. They stop half way to get a hotel room. The guy at the desk says the room will be $30. They each chip in $10 and go on up to their room. About 20 minutes later, the desk clerk realizes that he overcharged the group $5 as they were having a special room rate promotion. He gives the bellhop $5 to take up to the room. On the way, the bellhop ponders.."I can't split $5 evenly between 3 people, so I'll keep give them each a dollar back and I'll keep $2 for myself." NOW, HERE'S THE RIDDLE....If each guy chipped in $10, and each got $1 back, and the bellhop kept $2, Where did the OTHER dollar go?????????????? $9 times 3 (Joe, John, Harry) = $27 + $2 (bellhop)= $29!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Vern (bacon17@ibm.net), January 11, 2000.

We are all TV CAMERAS connected to GOD. GOD imputs the reality in front of us, we record it, each through the UNIQUE LENS OF OUR SOUL. GOD scans our souls like we flick channels with a remote control. You've heard how at the end of our lives, our life flashes before our eyes...this is OUR MEMORY BEING DOWNLOADED. The best we can do for GOD is to MAKE MEMORIES!!! Happy LIVING!!!

-- INever (inevercheckmy@onebox.com), January 11, 2000.

The error is one of perception in the riddle, and is Int. Spect.s

At the point of discovery of the error in billing and the announced refund, each man had therefore then paid only $8.33i for the room. 3x8.33i=25+5=30, since the refund was due but no yet recompensed.

Upon refund each man had paid $9.33i for the room and the bellhop kept the 2 bucks for the t(r)ip! The facts are, that they had a room and a buck extra each,(that they didn't have when they left the office).

Therefore they were probably happy at their windfall, but had still been ripped off because they had paid (nearly) $28.00 for a $25.00 room and the bellhop is a thief. Just the facts.

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), January 11, 2000.


Circle:

I asked why did God create things they way they are? The issue of why man was created was one poster's reply. That is not my original question however, and I simply went on to explain that the poster's reason was not logical.

My question is provided with an answer and that is there can be no reason for why God created things the way they are, which I go onto explain why this is the case. I would be interested in your comments to my answer. (The question is re-phrased slightly differently later in my response to the poster about why god created man).

WRT to your own hypothesis, the universe can not exist as a circular event in and of itself. You must answer the question where did the circular system come from. Since it exists it is therefore the result of some action. You must explain this "first" action and this first action by defition can not be part of the circular system (for the reasons given above with respect to recursive systems requiring a force external to themseleves to stop the recursion). Although your system is ciruclar, its creation by an action by definition thus becomes part of a recursive system. To avoid the question of where did the ciruclar system (or any other type of universe for that matter) come from requires you to prove every action in the universe as not being governed by a cause and effect relationship which we currently observe in every aspect of Nature.

I don't believe you can and hence you require a begining that is outside of the cirular system to create the cirucular system. In finding what is the nature of this "begining" you will arive at my answer in my earlier posts above.

Since this is the case, the rest of your hypothesis can not hold. In particular your explaination of God as an evolving circular system no longer holds as God has to be the creator of the circular system (i.e. the "Begining" as I call it in the previous paragraph) and is outside of it.

Notwithstanding this, an evolving omnipotent God (he must be ominpotent to create the circular sytem to begin with) is a contradiction in itself. I could "pick" appart each element of your hypothesis (such as God created man in his image, and that what evolved was identical its creator) as being contradictory however, since your fundemental premise is contradictory, there is no need to because as you yourself say you are answering my question from a pseudo-science point of view. However if you would like me to show you the contradictions I would be pleased to do so tomorrow.

With all due respect, having to explain God's existence with pseudo-science (which is nothing more than opinion) belittles him to a level below man which requires his fellow man to explain himself with a respectable practice known as Science. This is becauset man wishes to in reality who he is and not some opinion of who he is. As I said above this is the kind of thinking that led the West into the Dark Ages, and it was reasoned, rational thought based on solid and sound Science, Logic and Mathematics that brought the West out of that period.

Just as I said above with respect to Bible, that God exists because he does, not becuase the Bible says he does. Similarly, God exists not because pseudo-science hypothesises that he exists. He exists because he does. And that existence should only be explained with Science. Nothing less. To do so is to bring to the 21st century the same flawed thinking and superstisous beliefs that existed during the Dark Ages.

I refer you to all my earlier posts for you to understand that what I say, namely the existence of God can be proven completely and logically without requirement of any faith what-so-ever (except that the logic, science, and mathematics that have been empircally proven as correct are indeed correct). And, furthermore that this universe was created by him and that he is not constrained by the laws of the universe.

One need not believe these to be true statements but know them as facts, just as surely as one knows a ball will fall if it is dropped. What you choose to do with these facts is upto you and of no interest to me. My only interest is in the debate. That the debate produces these facts as self evident is as interesting to me as had the converse been shown.

If however you have evidence to show what I state as incorrect (which I believe would require refuting logic, mathematics, and science) or that my reasoning is flawed, I would welcome your input as I my objective is to uncover the Truth.

Vern:

Welcome, thank you for the riddle. I'll think about it and post my answer here tomorrow.

Good night all for now (need some rest for the grey matter). I'll be back tomorrow morning and then in the evening (have some real work to do tomorrow :) ).



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 11, 2000.


Omigod, I want to respond to everything. but I just can't keep up!!!

Interested Spectator,

A couple of questions for you, then:

Since you postulate God as being somehow outside of existence, He is then outside of nature. If he has no nature (which would include a spiritual nature), He couldn't exist. What do you think?

I'm not clear yet (I could have missed something) -- Are you postulating God as being the beginning but not infinite Himself?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 11, 2000.


Hi, DAVID,

Thanks for your contributions.

Just take care that you do not assign consciousness as primary over existence/reality. The only ways reality can change are through natural occurrences or actions by living things. (I'm not referring to the belief that God can alter things, just for the moment)

Consciousness or perceptions alone cannot affect reality.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 11, 2000.


Hi, Circle,

Glad you could join us -- cool thread, eh? I think it started yesterday morning.

I don't see how your calendar example becomes an analogy, because the calendar is just a man-made convenient construct to track, organize, and mirror real physical changes. The beginning was probably an arbitrary choice, but they had to start somewhere. You could say it has no real beginning or end, but I don't think that matters -- the whole thing is self-contained, in any case.

But I can't make the jump from here to your assertion about God. Can you explain this further?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 11, 2000.


To all:

I need to let you know that I'll be really busy for the rest of the day and evening, so I may not be able to post much more until sometime tomorrow, but I'll try to sneak something in.

I love your interest in this, though -- keep 'em comin'!

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 11, 2000.


Interested Speculator:

Aristotle came to this paradox also. What was the original initiator? I must say that the entire eternal system was the original initiator, because it is eternal. By definition, eternal means lasting forever. This is ultimately a philosphical catch-22, something that happens along all lines of thought once you reach the edges. To answer paradoxes, I look to God. The answer can only solved by faith.

BTW, I used the lable pseudo-science, because I am taking a leap of faith in my model of the universe. Because I using "faith", my reasoning cannot be taken as pure science. And since science will never be able to solve paradoxes, your question is unsolvable. That's the nature of analytical practices, when you reach edges that continue to infinities, if those infinities don't connect a solution is never made. You must recurve your thought for the true answer. The end must curve back to the begining. The choice to recurve is faith. A leap of faith always must be taken to truly understand.

-- circle (loop@infinity.net), January 11, 2000.


Hey Eve,

Yeah, good thread!

About the year analogy. First, the year is not really a human construct, if you consider it simply as the earth's cycle around the sun. That cycle and its consequences, result in what we call seasons. They vary from place to place and from hemisphere to hemisphere. But if you take a seasonal cycle in a specific region, say Maine, you will find a non-arbitrary beginning and an ending to the cycle. Personally, I choose conception as a beginning which can be compared to the begining of winter when the new seeds and plants begin their incubation for spring birth. I agree this is slightly abitrary, because different species have different life cycles, etc. My main point is that God is the apha, the omega and everything inbetween. God is in us and in everything, was the origninal initiator and will be here in the end. This is faith and as I replied to Interested Speculator, cannot ever be fully recognized through science and reasoning, because reasoning ultimately takes one to a paradox. No paradoxes are solved without faith. Neither science nor reason will ever prove God, but analyzing nature's metaphors may allow those of us who are already overloaded with knowledge to reduce our leap of faith. That's why I look to God through nature for answers. God can be compared to, not equaled to, the yearly season, as well as any other metaphor. Another metaphor that can be applied could be the spectrum of light. Light comes in all wavelengths, from the most dense, blues, ultraviolets, gamma rays, etc; to the most broad, reds, infrareds, radiowaves, gravity?, etc. In this way, if we compare the spectrum of light to God, the wave (or particles) of the ultimate blue is the beginning point, because light starts out fast as a blue then loses energy over time due to interference with other waves or bombardment with other particles. The ending waves can be compared to the reds, radio waves, etc. (BTW, scientists have never and will never find the most dense, nor the most broad frequencies of light. Again, I believe this is due to the infinite nature of a circular system.) And on a note to Interested Spectator, just like the rainbow, one can see the colors of the rainbow, but you will never be able to prove that those "invisible" wavelengths exist. Today, our technologies can see and prove some of these wavelenghts but only to a limit. Thresholds exist in all sciences and all reasons. There will always be other parts of the spectrum that will be unknown. Only faith says that these frequncies exist.

-- circle (loop@infinite.net), January 11, 2000.


Eve:

You say: [I'm not clear yet (I could have missed something) -- Are you postulating God as being the beginning but not infinite Himself?]

WRT to your last question, I have explained in my response to your begining and infinte question God can not be limited by space and time since he created those things and therefore he existed before them and therefore is automatically inifinte and present in all time periods and aware of what has, is and will happen for all time periods.

Circle:

There is no paradox, so don't claim there is one. You may not understand there is no paradox. Philosophy and opinion are not needed and are what has confused generations of people into the concept that they must have "faith". You are entitled to keep such beliefs but your explaination why they are correct have not refuted my explainations. I have *shown* in my explainations that where yours reasoning is contradictory and provided an alternate explaination that covers all you wish to explain but is not contradictory. Therefore, until you do prove why my explaintion is false your explaination of the true reality is simply a theory proven wrong.

You say some parts of the spectrum can never be proven and we must only have faith that they exist. This is the mantra of those who hold relgion above science. It was the mantra of the people and clergy that put the West in the dark ages, rephrased it says if we can't explain it, it must be "magic" and can't be explained and therefore never sought to query and learn and push the boundaries forward. Obviously the more things change the more they stay the same. Science has renedered such beliefs obsolete a thousand times over as it has explained time and time again beliefs thought to be unexplainable. It will continue to do so for the spectrum you call unexplainable.

I do not hold religion correctly understood as "superior" or above to science nor science as "superior" or above to relgion correctly understood. I view them as identical equals. They are both mirrors of the same reality; they are equal. I have never seen any proof to establish either as "superior" or different from the other. Please explain to me why they should ever contradict each other, or why they are even different. Just as an example I see no conflict or contraditiction between religion and evolution and Creation of the Universe and would be glad to explain you why this is the case.

What I have shown is that He must exist using simple logic. No opinions or belief needed. The beliefs exist on the part of those who do not *know* he exists (because they do not understand the proof) and therefore *believe* he does not exist. Others do not understand the proof but *beleive* he does exist. Once you understand the proof you do not need to *believe* either, you *know* he exists.

Eve:

[Since you postulate God as being somehow outside of existence, He is then outside of nature. If he has no nature (which would include a spiritual nature), He couldn't exist. What do you think?]

You are missing the simple point here. Let me see if I can help with a series of questions and the answers you should feel yourself. If you do not agree with my answer, re-read this entire thread again. All the information needed is here now. There is set of questions for those whou *believe* God exists and want confirmation of his existence so you may know he exists.

Recursions are not an infinite regression? True. If they were, the recursion could never start as there would no begining.

To stop a recurssion from being and infite regression and a force external to the regression is needed? True. Otherwise the recurrsion will stop on the first step backwards and then immediatly come forward and only every have one step.

Firstly this establishes that WRT to the universe, something that existed but was not created needed to exist to create the universe.

If you can not agree that such a something exists outside Nature then I ask the following questions (and this is to address your question Eve).

Do you agree God is omnipotent? If you already believe in God, Yes. If you don't already believe then explain how the force that stopped the recursion above is not ominpotent when it created the universe (including all matter physically in it, space and time), but was not created itself.

Assuming you are now satisfied with a Yes answer to the previous question continue, therwise lets discuss about Gods' omnipotence a bit further to establish it as a fact as well.

Since God is omnipotent, the laws of Nature can not apply to him. If they do then he is restiricted and contained by them. Then he can't be ominipotent because he can do what he wants *as long as* he does not violate the Laws of Nature. This would mean the Laws of Nature existed before him and the contradicts the fact that he created them as we alrady established above.

Therefore he is an entitiy that exists outside of Nature. Re-read my analogy about the drummers and the South American native tribes. This is your dillema explained completely.

I repeat my earler comment again (slightly modified):

This is the nature of God, and if you truely believe in God (or now know God must exist) then you should now be begining to fathom the True reality. His reality. A reality which is outside of this universe. Any other concept you may hold about Him denies his fundemental nature and reduces him to the level of the created or subject to the laws of the universe and hence not ominipotent. Also any other concept you may hold about him betrays that although you wish to believe in God (or know that he exists), your "modern" secular upbringing has so conditioned your mind that even the mathematical fact that recursions must end with an external force, and hence God does exist and exist outside of the Universe since we exist can not be grasped by you. Perhaps it is that you are really afraid that the mantra of the aeithiest is that God can not be proven to exist can be shown to be false with this arguement and you finally once and for all now can know with absolute certainty God does exist. And that he exists how we who had first believed he exists. That is Ominipotent and outside of Nature.

As I said the Muslims say God is One.

When the say One the meaning is very signficant. It is not only the obvious meaning that there are not two gods (if that was all they would have said there is only one God). The One refers to Oneness in any sense you can possibly think of - indvisibility, infinitness, the one and only ultimate the reality, uniqueness (hence outside of nature where things are not unique -- hydrogen atoms are always hydyrogen attems), and so forth.

You need to re-read everything I have posted in this thread, and stop thinking that God must and can only exist in a way that you will understand him. You can not understand the nature of God with our brains as they are created by him along with the rest of the Universe and so our frame of reference is limited to the Universe, and he is outside the Universe. The fact that we can not *understand* him does not contradict that we can not *prove* he exists and must exist as I say. Do *not* confuse the issue of *understanding the nature* of god with the issue of *proving his existence*.

Look forward to your response.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 11, 2000.


Eve:

Re your comment to DAVID: Exactly.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 11, 2000.


Interested Spectator; I appreciate very much your additions to this thread, as well as everyone else's.

However, you wrote, "Christianity has for thousands of years conditioned the people that the two (faith and science) are at odds with each other and that is why you are having trouble accepting that mathematically God can be proven to exist. This goes against everything you have been taught through out your whole life about science and religion being the antithesis of each other. "

I think it is a hasty generalization to assume that *all* Christianity is at fault for separating faith and reason. It is true that in the history of certain branches of Christianity (after the middle ages), there has developed a certain trend to separate the two, so we arrive in the situation we are in today, where those who claim to be true scientists do not believe in God, and those who cling to their religion say that they will believe it no matter what science presents to the contrary. However the two actually go together very well. In fact, "deprived of reason, faith has stressed feeling and experience, and so runs the risk of no longer being a universal proposition. It is an illusion to think that faith, tied to weak reasoning, might be more penetrating; on the contrary, faith then runs the grave risk of withering into myth or superstition. By the same token, reason which is unrelated to an adult faith is not prompted to turn its gaze to the newness and radicality of being." --Pope John Paul II in "Fides et Ratio", (1998) The Catholic Church has always maintained that reason is not contrary to faith.

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that the light of reason and the light of faith both come from God, hence there can be no contradiction between them. St. Thomas lived from 1224 to 1274, long before the "Enlightenment." Here is also one of his proofs of God's existence by reason:

In the world of sense we find that there is an order of causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or one only. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

Circle, Your reasoning does not "work" as long as you make God a part of creation or even the whole of creation, because then you have to say that God created himself, which is impossible. God the Creator is totally separate from creation, he transcends the entire universe, and he has always existed. And, if he is omnipotent, he has to be One.

Aristotle actually had a proof for God's existence which was very similar to Interested Spectator's; he called this first cause the "Unmoved Mover"

-- BeerMan (frbeermanj@juno.com), January 11, 2000.


Vern:

Each person in the hotel room paid 9 dollars for a total of $27. Of that $27, 25 dollars go the the hotel and two to the bellhop. You cannot add the bellhop's amount again to the total 27 since it is already part of it.

-- BeerMan (frbeerman@juno.com), January 11, 2000.


Interested Spectator:

About paradoxes: Paradoxes are a result of reason. They only exist as a byproduct of science, math, logic and reason. God is real. Paradoxes are real too, but only in the Reason of Man.

I'm not saying that science is real, I'm just saying a leap of faith must be asserted if proof can be found. The leap for me is simply believing that when you reason your logic to the edges, the edges return to the same point: recursive or as I like to call it the Wrap-Back Factor. That is a leap of faith, unless you look at metaphor. I put my faith in metaphor, because I've reasoned too many times to the edges. I've dug a very deep hole only to have "faith" in what is beyond. Maybe I'm speaking too abstractly, but that what happens at the edge of reason, it becomes abstract ad infinitum, out of which only "faith" can resolve. This is okay in my eyes.

About science vs. religion: I believe all thought leads to the same basic ideas. There is an evolution to thought, science and reason. Science and religion are there for the same, as you state. But I still hold that Man's mind an technology has a threshold in its ability to reason. Therefore, man will never be able to reason all the way to the edges of science, philosophy, religion, etc. E.g. The more powerful the particle accelerator, the tinier the particle produced. The further we look into space, the more we find. But if you use Metaphor, which is not based in logical reason, you can find patterns. These patterns are sometime associated with science, but more so with art, poetry, and spirituality. I cannot prove that science and reason is unprovable, but this metaphorical circularity to God is where I place my faith. Say you were to prove God through simple logic as you state you can. But now what you are going to do is to put the cart before the horse by having faith that certain spiritual outcomes will occur. You are going to ask yourself to believe that eternity exists after you die. Even if you prove it, you know as well as I do that the Chaos Theory states that in chaotic systems you can never determine the outcome X distance in time, because the complex system finds self-arranges itself. Knowing this in science, you still must have "faith" that the chaotic system will take you to eternity instead of dumping you by the side of the road. So, even if you *prove* God, you still must have faith in this consequence. (This whole example is dependent on the belief that your logic proves that God is eternal and you are part of God and thus eternal also.)

...Good job BeerMan! I was tring to find both the Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas points, but my brain couldn't find them. Still, the problem with "proving" the unmoved mover concept is what if it goes to infinity in all directions. Then a unmoved mover doesn't need to exist, because a new cause can be found for each result, to infinity. (Personally, this is what I believe, but that is where the flaw in the logic.) We must put faith in even the unmoved-mover idea.

BeerMan and I. Spectator: Another way to explain my point is through the ecosystem metaphor. Begin with a lichen. A lichen is an organism that exists as a whole and is composed of algae and fungi communities. Lichens, plants, and animals are composed into forest ecosystems. Forests, grasslands, civilizations, rivers, and oceans are organized into the collective bioshpere. The bioshpere, atmoshere, and lithosphere are grouped into the collective Earth. Earth, the planets, astroids, comets, particles, waves and the Sun are collected into the Solar system. Our sun is organised into a stelar ecosystem within the Galaxy and so on. Each collection of parts makes a whole, until the ultimate collective organism can be distinguished as God. In this model, God is the whole and all that it contains (Would you consider your kidney a part of you?). And even if you were to start deleting parts of the universe, a galaxy here, a quasar there, God would still be the collective whole. In this model, and where I put my faith, is that even if all the parts of God were to be deleted, God would still exist, because something must come from something. And therefore that something, God, must have existed eternally (my faith) for this "logic" to be sound (BTW, this is the fundamental flaw with the Big Bang Theory, i.e. something comes from nothing).

As you can see, I use similar logic to each of you, only I have determined that I must make a tiny leap of faith: a) with respect to science, mathmatics and reason: infinity circles back on itself (the Wrap-Back Factor) b) with respect to spirituality: God is eternal.

Those are my leaps, without them the logic becomes paradoxical.

-- circle (loop@infinite.net), January 11, 2000.


What was the question again?

-- Squid (ItsDark@down.here), January 11, 2000.

Squid,

Obviously the original question has been ever so slightly obscured. If I recall correctly, the discussion moved quickly from socio-political deception to what is reality, to whether controlling forces exist, then to the validity of the existence of an ultimate controlling force, or God. From then on the question has been turned inside out in many ways: Is there a beginning or an ending to the universe as a function of time or space? Does God exist externally, internally, or both with respect to Nature? And Is God provable through science, logic, and reason?

Did I miss anything?

-- circle (loop@infinite.net), January 11, 2000.


The basic argument for the existence of God is based on two things:

1) You can't get something from nothing and a thing cannot be the cause of itself. Therefore everything that exists must have a cause.

2) There cannot be an infinite regress of causes because we would never get to the point where we are today: that this universe does in fact exist.

Thus, there has to be an uncaused cause that has created everything and is also outside of the system. There has to be something that started the whole thing in the first place. This is God.

We have a hard time thinking of infinity because we are finite. However, God exists outside of space and time because space and time are parts of this creation. So we can say that God is unchanging, everywhere, and in every time.

I do agree, Circle, that there are things that we can only know by faith and not by reason alone, such as "God is someone who loves" and "There are three persons in one God." The existence of God can be known by reason, but for most it is a matter of faith, because the proofs by reason are quite difficult. I'm not sure if I fully understand them myself.

-- BeerMan (frbeerman@juno.com), January 11, 2000.


To All Fine Minds on this Promising Board -

Clearly we are faced in some of this thread with a problem of semantics and conceptualization. Numbers and geometry have provided for centuries the easiest language for understanding Hypostatic degrees.

Absolute Reality, that which transcends and is immanent in all and everything, first hypostatic mode is for want of better words Beyond Being represented by the irreducible, simplest and most essential sign...the point no dimensions =zero.

Thus God (Supreme Being) is the first manifestation of Beyond Being (Godhead, to use an ancient term) the number one, the one and only God is the first manifestation of being.

The human degree or Son for the Christian is the 3rd degree of EXISTENCE.

1)Beyond Being - 2) Being - 3) Existence

Beyond Being is the NOTHINGNESS ( Nihilo ) which is precisely also (The All-Possibilities) or Plenum.

The Big Bang theory comes close to this metaphysical explanation and that is probably why science still resists it.

DESIGN is obvious and inexplicable in the cosmos, but this opens another line of exploration and will have to wait as will the supreme irrefutable miracle of the unicity of our subjectivity which clearly justifies the concept of humans being made in the divine image and likeness. One God reflected in the uniqueness of each creature he manifested ex-nihilo from the plenum.

The subject on this thread is far to deep and immense to be able to do it justice easily and penetrate the veils of various established concepts.

Peace and Goodness to All.

-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), January 11, 2000.


Arthur...

.....I have to ask, why does it say, "let Us make man in our image?"

-- Patrick (pmchenry@gradall.com), January 11, 2000.


The poor have it.
The rich need it.
It is more evil than the Devil.
It is greater than God.

What is it?

-- a (a@a.a), January 11, 2000.


The answer to your riddle 'aaa' is nuttin', zip, zilch, the null set, the distance between space, the 'r' in Washington, the logic in faith, the good outside God.

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), January 11, 2000.

Beerman-

Of the original $30.00, the bellhop steals 2 bucks, which then means that $28.00 has been paid out of pocket by the group. Agreed? Which means they each paid $9.33~. I would post the formula proving that .999~ equals 1, but I don't remember it, I couldn't conjure it on this format, and I still don't quiiiiite believe it, even after all these years. {g}

So many good *fuzzy logic* points in this expose, but, so many points have been missed in this thread , that it is difficult to arrange. It reminds me a bit of the arguments for/against dialectical thinking.

There seems to be a gigantic time warp in some of the discussion. For example, what is relationship, in the term of mans existence here as a sentient being, and the proposed age of the universe in terms of today's reckoning of time passage (why now?)?

With some trepidation, I would offer the following; At some distant point, a conflagration broke out between beings that we call angels. Through the 'sides'chosing process, fully 1/3 of all the legions of spiritual beings were set aside. This left an inharmonious state in the realm. The Godhead, saddened by the hole left in paradise, chose a plan by where the hole would be refilled by beings of spirit that had made a "CHOICE!". They will attain a place in the reformed PERFECT paradise through trial-by-temptation, and choice. Once that exact number of beings is reached, the call home will be announced, the chaff will be discarded, and the gate (chasm) sealed forever.

In my limited ability to rationalize the unfathomable logic of God, the reason of man's mind, and seemingly irrefutable facts (i.e; the age disparity of man to universe, and no, I don't think it exists because we think it does), this seems a most plausible explanation by me and for me.

In other words "THIS IS A TEST, ONLY A TEST, BUT ONE THAT I HAD BETTER NOT FAIL!!" Actually, I cannot fail, it is just who I am.

IS- 1 billion, 6 billion, or 1 ?illlion similar, but wrong answers, can not confuse the (b)rightness of Him! No theurgy meant here, only the reflections of one of Gods rillstones.

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), January 11, 2000.


Michael,

Each person paid 10 dollars for a total of $30.

of that 30 dollars: 25 went to the desk clerk 2 went to the bellhop 3 were returned to the hotel patrons.

In the end they paid a total of 27 dollars ($9 apiece) 2 dollars from that amount going to the bellhop.

Here's another one: There is a ship tied up in the harbor with a ladder going down the side into the water. Each rung on the ladder is a foot apart; the lower two rungs of the ladder are in the water. If the tide is coming in and the water level goes up at the rate of 6 inches per hour, how many rungs will be underwater after 4 hours?

-- BeerMan (frbeerman@juno.com), January 12, 2000.


To all, I've just now got free, so I will read and post my replies tomorrow.

Thanks for the many contributions.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 12, 2000.


I think I am, therefore I am -- I think (?).

-- Lois Knorr (knorr@attcanada.net), January 12, 2000.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

Why is a bicycle better than a Fararri?

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), January 12, 2000.


Hi all:

Well I've read through all the replies (I must say that this far more intelectually stimulating the endlessly debating why either a polly or doomer are stupid. Although the only reason I'm still on this board is to see what happens on Jan.31 may be we can morph the forum into something else when y2k dies down).

I am replying as I read the thread, so if I provide an answer to an issue that has already been given, please excuse me, as I don't know that as I draft by reading from top to bottom.

Beerman:

[I think it is a hasty generalization to assume that *all* Christianity is at fault for separating faith and reason.]

Point taken. When I made the statement I meant in general terms and was not as precise as I should have been to avoid misunderstanding, and you are correct.

[... where those who claim to be true scientists do not believe in God]

I always find these words interesting, in that although they portray a fundemental fact that the "secular" person states he does not believe in God because such beliefs are essentially irrational, fatalistic, ridculous etc. he nonetheless has a belief, and that is that God does not exist. He does not state he *knows* God does not exist. So although he accuses those of "believing" in God with faith (i.e. without proof) as irrational, he does exactly the same for his own belief as he as chosen it without proof as well. Lay that one on your "secular" friends the next time you have this debate with them.

[Pope John Paul II in "Fides et Ratio"]

Could you clarify what this quote means to you? I'd like to comment on it, but am afraid I may not have understood it correctly and would like to be sure first.

[The Catholic Church has always maintained that reason is not contrary to faith.] Then how does the Catholic Church reconcile the differences between science and many of the precepts of Christianity and passages in the Bible? Do you equate science with reason? Scientific discovery is the end result of systematic reasoning.

[St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that the light of reason and the light of faith both come from God, hence there can be no contradiction between them.] Ah, exactly as I know. Similar to what I said: both mirrors to the same reality. So tell me what did he do when scientific discoveries contradicted the Bible during his time? His proof of God's existence is essentially the same as what I state, in a nutshell because we are here, an analysis of the causes that led to us being here will always result in a first cause that required no cause before it.

I haven't studied Aristotle's philosophy too much. I find it far to complex for what is actually elegantly simple. Sort of like the old astronomers trying to use many convoluted circlular orbits to explain the very elegant and simple law Keppler, I believe, discovered.

Circle:

[I'm not saying that science is real, I'm just saying a leap of faith must be asserted if proof can be found.]

I disagree completely with both parts of this statement. Please explain to me in where in my proof a leap of faith is needed.

[The leap for me is simply believing that when you reason your logic to the edges, the edges return to the same point: recursive or as I like to call it the Wrap-Back Factor.}

Recursion does *not* wrap back. It is a mathematical concept that has as start and may or may not have an end. Get rid of your fixation to seeing everything in circles when examining information provided by others by polluting the argument with your own ideas. Examine the argument as presented and without adding novell elements of your own. This is completely out of line in debate. You require faith because your proof of God is contradictory. Your's is a theory like music of the spheres: it has merit until proven wrong. It is proven wrong because what I present, explains everything you attempt to and without contradiction and without faith.

[About science vs. religion: I believe all thought leads to the same basic ideas. There is an evolution to thought, science and reason. Science and religion are there for the same, as you state.]

I do not state they are are there for the same, I say they are not contradictory and are mirrors to the same reality. They have completely different purposes. Just as a beautiful painting and a beautiful mathematical formula have different purposes they are both beautiful.

[But I still hold that Man's mind an technology has a threshold in its ability to reason. Therefore, man will never be able to reason all the way to the edges of science, philosophy, religion, etc. ]

The first sentence is your opinion therefore you can not make the conclusion you do in the second sentance. The second sentence is also therefore your opinion.

As I have mentioned, I only discuss the issue here for the logic and reasoning in the debate. I choose specifically not to bring opinion into the debate so that we don't end up like the rest of TB2000, that is why I have not addressed, nor care about theology when proving God's existence or answering my original question "Why did God create things the way he did?" (which is a far more profound question than you can possibly imagine if you study it long enough on strictly logical grounds).

[But if you use Metaphor, which is not based in logical reason, you can find patterns. These patterns are sometime associated with science, but more so with art, poetry, and spirituality.]

You are confusing too many items. By definition a pattern is something that is regular and therefore can be explained with science and mathematics. No metaphors needed to understand patterns. There is no need to use metaphor. Metaphors are substiutions for reality. Why would you use metaphor to explain what is real (i.e. any item in the universe). You must Use the tools that explain reality. You may use metaphor to help those who don't understand the explaination without metaphor, but the true explaination that describe reality does not need metaphor to be able to be given.

[But now what you are going to do is to put the cart before the horse by having faith that certain spiritual outcomes will occur. You are going to ask yourself to believe that eternity exists after you die.]

You are stating that if I prove God exists then I'm going get other things mixed up (i.e. cart before the horse) and therefore I can't prove God exists. You now confuse theology with proof of God's existence. Why should I ask myself this question just because I prove God exists? The two are unrelated to each other and are independent of each. Just see: You may be curious about what happens when you die, but then again you might not. Please explain how my curiosity about the afterlife invalidates my proof about God's existence.

[Even if you prove it, you know as well as I do that the Chaos Theory states that in chaotic systems you can never determine the outcome X distance in time, because the complex system finds self-arranges itself.]

Excuse me, but please explain to me how you have come to determine that simple recursion is a a chaotic system?

[This whole example is dependent on the belief that your logic proves that God is eternal and you are part of God and thus eternal also.]

I don't follow, your example or my proof?

[BeerMan and I. Spectator: Another way to explain my point is through the ecosystem metaphor. Begin with a lichen. A li...]

Instead of giving us so many varieties of your theory, why don't you explain to us where I am wrong in my explaination and explain to us how your whole circle came into being to begin with? You must answer these questions with out any contradictions if your theory is to have any possibility of validity.

[... In this model, and where I put my faith, is...]

Also explain to me where my theory where faith is needed, and if you don't find any, explain to me which do accept in life, what is proven or what you think you'd just like to believe for the sake of it?

[God would still exist, because something must come from something]

Wrong, read this whole thread over, you're logic is flawed because you do not attempt to explain why something must come from something. You just state it as though it is fact. Please prove this. As I said my proof explains everything you choose to do without faith and only proven mathematics and logic. So I pose my question above again about what you do accept in life?

[BTW, this is the fundamental flaw with the Big Bang Theory, i.e. something comes from nothing].

Wrong. Who said the Big Bang said somthing came from nothing. It says there was a something that Banged and set the universe in motion. The question is where did the something that banged came from? That is where the scientists falter because the abandon their own tools of mathematics and logic simply because they don't like what the conclusion they provide. So they are scientists until their prejudices are manifest with their own tools, then they rant and rave like idiots about others having delusions.

[As you can see, I use similar logic to each of you, only I have determined that I must make a tiny leap of faith]

Sorry, but you're not using logic. Logic requires no faith. You use faith to show your arguements are correct.

With all due respect, I find your explaintions similar in vein to the astronomers of the past, that keep adding circle after circle to try and explain something very elegant and simple. I urge you to try and understand a very elegant proof that gives us everything, without contradiciton and without faith and thereby learn to go to the next level. By definition, logical proofs do not require faith or any leaps that are conviently added to overcome contradictions.

I urge to you consider what I have posted in this entire thread carefully. It may take many re-readings before you see the "light" but you will then see that the search for the True Reality must not be clouded in faith, for then many "reasonable" explaintions will be put forward all of which contradict each other but none of which explain the Truth since the Truth only requires one explaination and that explaination can not contain contradictions by defintion. In courts for example, when the truth of a matter is ascertained, all evidence is consistent with it and no matter what other explaintion or even false evidence is given, it will have to contradict the truth since the other exlainations are simply that other explainations, but not what actually happened.

None-the-less, although we disagree strongly on the issue, I respect you greatly for the thought you have put into these matters and obvious importance these issues are in your life. Such deliberations and thoughts in themselves, wheather right or wrong, are good as they reflect a desire to search for the Truth and just as all may not have success in this world, all may not find the Truth, but from a theological point of view, I know that the search itself is righteous and pure in the eyes of God.

Squid:

The original question is "Why did God create things the way he did?". Eve posed a dillema she had about how can God be both the begining and infinite. To explain that I needed to explain how God exists oustside space and time. This required a proof of Gods existence.

Beerman:

I agree with everything in your next post except the following statements:

[I do agree, Circle, that there are things that we can only know by faith and not by reason alone, such as "God is someone who loves" and "There are three persons in one God."]

There is no need for faith to know that God is someone who loves, or any other aspect of what is collectively known as "relgion". In fact faith never got most people to believe anything, it was the miracles performed by the Chosen Ones (i.e. the prophets, messengers and so forth) that convinced most people (which were the ones that believed nothing). These miracles were irrefutable to those who observed them. The people then *knew* God existed and what the chosen one said was true. This itself shows that even God expects you to *know* the things he wishes to teach you and the reason is simple, once you know something to be true, it can not be taken from you by anyone trying to convince you that you are incorrect or are misguided. Tell me just how many people are going to make any headway in convincing you that 2+2 is not equal to 4?

But just to answer your particular question, to know God loves you you have to prove that God exists, then you know he exists. The next step is to prove that his revelations are indeed his revelations and are unlatered or tampered with by man. You then only need to read them to *know* God is someone who loves.

WRT to There are three persons in one God, please see my earlier comments on this point.

Arthur:

You are providing opinion and theolgy to explain I am not sure what. I have nothing against either however I disagree with your comment:

[The subject on this thread is far to deep and immense to be able to do it justice easily and penetrate the veils of various established concepts.]

We engage in a very simple subject (although not my original one) and that is a logical proof that requires no faith that God exists. Not an attempt to explain his attributes or comphrend him, but just that he exists. This is a very simple task and was done in my first reply.

Patrick:

["Let Us make man in our image?"]

Do you believe in evolution? If so, what does "make" mean to you? And then, do you take "image" literally and to mean physical image?

Michael:

[IS- 1 billion, 6 billion, or 1 ?illlion similar, but wrong answers, can not confuse the (b)rightness of Him! No theurgy meant here, only the reflections of one of Gods rillstones.]

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this at all.

Eve:

You still here?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 12, 2000.


I think,therefore I am,I think?---Cardboard box Eddy While princes and the kings discuss what's real and what is not,it matters not inside the gates of Eden.--Robert Zimmerman

-- cardboard box eddy (struckdumb@suregettinheavy.com), January 12, 2000.

Interested Spectator:

Hi again!

Let's assume for the moment that you are able to prove mathematically through your recursion argument that there had to be a cause outside the known universe that caused the universe.

How do you get from that to a proof that that first cause is God? Even if you can show that the first cause was God, how can you prove that that God presently exists?

I do want to reassert that I believe in God in a very abstract way. I also want to state that I believe that the existence of God cannot possibly be proved through reason; to me belief in God is based on faith, although I conduct all of the rest of my life through the use of reason.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


To all:

To those who are not aware, we can continue the discussion after the thread drops off the end, through clicking on "New Answers" at the top, then scrolling down to this thread, etc.

We may not solve the existence and nature of God, the beginning and end of the universe, the infinite, the meaning of nature versus existence, the problems of time and cause and effect, and the truth of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and the other faiths in a hundred posts, but maybe we could do it in two hundred! So let's go for it! (but let me get some more coffee first)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


Hi, Patrick,

I believe you're referring to certain Old Testament references to God where He speaks of Himself in the plural. As I recall, the Christian response to this is that these are early indications of the Trinity.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


This discussion has a long history. William of Occam (aka Ockham) took it up in the 14th century and got himself into deep trouble with the Church.

In Joseph Campbell's Creative Mythology, (the last volume of his tetralogy, The Masks of God), he writes:

"...to imagine a creation (causality) and creator (First Cause) of the universe is only to project the categories of human experience and reason beyond their field; that is to say, to become in a rather refined way as guilty of anthropomorphism as any savage.

"And that exactly is what the Invincible Doctor, William of Occam, demonstrated in his own brilliant way in the early fourteenth century. By simply stating in so many words that there can be no abstractive cognition where there has not first been a perceptive cognition, Occam disqualified the application of concepts to the mystery called 'God.' Concepts are functions of the mind, i.e., of individual minds. They may be derived from and signify perceptions, perceptions of things in the field of space and time; or they may derive from and signify acts of the mind, the minds of thinking individuals; but in no case can they signify entities other than those in the mind or those perceived. The concept 'dog,' for example, is in the mind and signifies certain perceptions of creatures of a certain likeness outside. It cannot be assumed to signify some metaphysical quidditas, 'whatness,' or general substance DOG, as an idea in a 'divine' mind somewhere else, of which all the living and dead individuals classified by analogy as 'dog' are representations. 'Dragon,' 'angel,' and 'God,' on the other hand, find no referents outside of the mind. 'Essentia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem: Beings or essences are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.'"

More recently, the theoretical physicist David Bohm has written

"...if we regard our theories as 'direct descriptions of the world as it is', we will inevitably treat these differences and distinctions as divisions, implying separate existence of the various elementary terms appearing in the theory. We will thus be led to the illusion that the world is actually constituted of separate fragments, and...this will cause us to act in such a way that we do in fact produce the very fragmentation implied in our attitude to the theory." (in his Wholeness and the Implicate Order.)


-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), January 12, 2000.

"to be, or not to be, that is the question" ----- William Shakespear

-- hzlz (mph@netbox.org), January 12, 2000.

Tom,

Re William of Occam's comment: Absolutely beautiful!

Interested Spectator,

Can you reply directly to this?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


I am wondering if there is a confusion--existance therefor creation? Because there exists a singularity it therefor is the creator of all that follows?

-- John Q (hmmmmm@home.com), January 12, 2000.

Circle,

Thanks for your elaboration. You have an interesting perspective. I'm not able to go as far as you in explaining God, though. In any case, it appears we agree that the existence of God cannot be established through reason.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


BeerMan,

Hi, thanks for being a part of this. Since you seem to feel that the existence of God can be established at least partly by reason, can you take a stab at my last post to Interested Spectator? Thanks,

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


One would expect (though it is not logically certain) that the existence of 'God' or 'Creator' would deliver a universe whose patterns as discovered mathematically/scientifically would be compatible, AT LEAST, with inferring, if not proving the Creator's existence.

However, the sheer otherness of that Being (if only the distinction between things 'created' and things 'uncreated' -- and, otherwise, we are looking at infinite regress) or Cause raises millenia-long questions as to how anything certain beyond the mere inference of the Creator's existence can be made ... not to mention how useful such an inference is to created beings.

Biblical thought (Jewish, as well as Christian) posits that the only means (but the sufficient means) for the Creator to make Himself known to creatures is through specific revelation-communication of His nature and purposes to them through a series of authenticated documents and direct communications. These communications are accompanied be varying authentications (though, by the nature of the case, they are not scientifically verifiable).

As for the use of 'science' itself in this respect or, even to some degree, mathematics, these are human endeavors that are driven intensely by finiteness. It is not trivial in this respect to compare Einstein with Newton. True, much that is Newtonian appears still to be thoroughly validated, though extended and transformed by Einstein. In turn, Einsteinian thought and its experimental validations point to something 'real', even though quantum theory turns quite a bit of it inside-out. And so it goes.

The fundamental nut is not so much whether 'something' uncreated exists. A surprising number of scientists are noodling towards this, based on a fresh reading of cosmic design and related matters, including mathematical ones that I doubt anyone on this thread (and certainly not myself) really understand.

The fundamental nut is whether or not this 'Cause' has a specific intent and purpose for us and how we would discover that reliably (not completely or perfectly, but reliably).

Personally, I have found a sensitive understanding of the biblical position on that to be the most credible one and my personal experience has validated its position quite remarkably over 27 years.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 12, 2000.


Tom Carey, Interested Spectator et al. -

What a wonderful thread! This is why I keep coming back to TBY2K. So many excellent points to address, where to begin...

First, Tom Carey makes the excellent point that "Beings are not to be multiplied unnecessarily." However, in a very real sense, the existence of God is necessary. If God does not exist, then the Universe came into being through random and chaotic forces and man's apparent ability to reason was produced by these random forces. But if the forces that produce man's reasoning ability are random and chaotic, what guarentee do we have that the results of reasoned processes will not also be random and chaotic? We return to the original problem of how order could arise from disorder. To put it another way, if the universe has not been endowed with some inherent structure, then why should the movements in the mind of a confused ape correspond to reality? It seems to me that saying that God does not exist is tantamount to intellectual suicide. If I cannot say that reason corresponds to reality, then I have no way to think at all. So from a purely utilitarian standpoint I am forced to accept the existance of God.

Interested Spectator, I agree with your defense of the existance of God. However, your insistance on one God, indivisible, seems incorrect to me. IMO, the Christian Trinitarian view of God seems to be the most correct. Here's why.

The key is to understand God as a creator. Any creative act can be divided into 3 separate parts. First, the creator conceives of an idea. The idea as it exists in his head is perfect. Next, the creator attempts to execute his idea to the best of his ability in his chosen medium; be it paint, words, or even computer programming. Finally a spectator views the finished work and through the work comes to an understanding of the original idea.

Now, when you are reading a book, what is the book? Is it the original idea of the author? Or is it simply the words as they appear on the page? Or is it what you get out of the ideas as presented in the book? In reality, a book is all three things, hopelessly interwoven. You cannot separate the one from the others without losing (not loosing) the other things.

It is the same way with God. One God, but three distinct parts. The first is God the Father. He is the motive force, the planner, the source. The second is God the Son. He is the "the Word made flesh", the human incarnation of God. Finally, there is the Holy Spirit, who is the method whereby we communicate with God and come to a greater understanding of God.

Finally, there seems to be some great confusion as to the cause of the Dark Ages. There seems to be some idea that Christianity caused the misery and rejection of reason that occured during that period of time and that it was only with the reacceptance of reason and scientific methods that we were able to fight our way out of the Dark Ages into the modern world.

This is a wonderful story, its only drawback is that it simply isn't true. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, various barbarian and pagan tribes began to conquer all of Europe. Christianity declined in power and importance and was reduced to a few monastaries scattered throughout Europe, but concentrated mostly in Ireland. The monks of Ireland made copies of the ancient learning of civilization (Christian and non-Christian) and eventually spread it back to the whole world.

The Christians preserved the knowladge and culture of the world against the barbarians. It seems rather hard to say that Christianity wants to take us all back to the Dark Ages when its the only thing that got us out of them. Religion might exist without science, but it is a simple historical fact to say that science in its present form could not exist without religion.

On a final note, there seems to be an idea that science and religon are incompatible. Most of the arguments are of the type that science "proves the bible wrong".

Anyone who has read the Bible should be able to see how ridiculous this statement is; its like saying that science has proved Shakespeare wrong. eg when Shakespeare wrote that sleep "knits up the ravelled sleeve of care" he was not knowladgeable of the latest scientific advances which have demonstrated that "care" is a mental concept and has nothing to do with knitting. Many of the passages in the Bible are difficult and obscure. It is not always immediately obvious when the words are meant litarally or figuartively. Understanding the Bible is a humbling task and many intelligent people disagree about what it all means.

And when people say that science and religion are incompatible, I believe it is our duty to find and resolve those differences. There can be only one Truth, one reality. And on a more minor note it is my conviction that the Christian worldview most perfectly conforms to that reality.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 12, 2000.


"...to imagine a creation (causality) and creator (First Cause) of the universe is only to project the categories of human experience and reason beyond their field; that is to say, to become in a rather refined way as guilty of anthropomorphism as any savage."

What he said.

Interested Spectator, I find your recursion argument a variation on a well argued theme - one that stems from the human need to provide a "why" when there is only guaranteed a "how."

Science can increasingly describe how the universe was created. In the language of science, how == why. But most people seem to not see it that way, and that perception is based on the projection of their emotional motivations on the universe; "There must be a "why" the universe was created, because there is a "why" for almost everything I, myself, do." The recursion concept has been brought up many times before, in slightly different forms, simply to try to account for this missing "why".

It could be that the universe is ultimately just a closed system of increasing and decreasing entropic cycles. This system can be described very nicely in the languages of math and physics without needing a creator. When the "why" gets thrown in there, seductive and warm sounding as it is, things like your recursion theory start to make sense because the view of the universe becomes corrupted by our anthopormorphic projections based on our perceptions, our senses, and our emotional needs.

Now, that being said, we are very, very far from being able to describe in detail the entropic-cycle model of the universe I mention above. So you could maintain there is still a lot of room for God, as they say, in the details. Until the "how" is really described and mathematically proven, I'd say your recursion viewpoint is as valid as any other position I've seen.

On that note, one possibility that I find rather depressing is the speculation that the universe is not only more complex than we can currently describe, it is more complex than we can possibly ever describe. You cannot teach calculus to a chimp, no matter how hard you try - maybe we just don't have the wiring/intelligence to every be able to fully grog the universe from a scientific standpoint, at least without evolving or modifying ourselves physically over a great span of time. I think I first saw this idea proposed in Scientific American by a physical theorist, forget who, and it always bugged me. You'd like to think that we as a species might be close to some big answers, but there's always a possibility that's not in the cards.

Anyway, great thread, glad I stopped in here...

-- Bemused (glancing@the.absolute), January 12, 2000.


John,

Welcome!

The first section of your post on order versus randomness was beautifully put, and for the most part I agree.

However, your comment on the Trinity leaves me wondering: If Jesus was the human incarnation of God, who did he pray to at Gesthemane? And who did he cry out to on the cross? (I don't have a Bible with me, but it started, "Eloi, Eloi...")

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


Bemused,

Hi! Thanks for stopping in.

Please keep in mind that Interested Spectator's recursion argument, assuming it can be proved, only gets to a first cause -- I think you still have to make a leap of faith to get from there to God.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


Eve -- Whereas today's ambitious minds tend to enter technology or science fields, there were entire centuries where those minds focused on just these questions. After exhaustive (and exhausting) thought, the church generally decided that the trinitarian question could not be resolved rationalistically (which is not the same as reasonably).

They concluded that Christ's deity and humanity were both perfect- whole within him but distinct. Fundamentally, they tried most (all?) other possible solutions to the dilemma of denying/mixing/exalting either the divine and/or the human against each other and found all of them to be radically contradictory to the scriptural data.

Consequently, Jesus in the garden, acting truly (that is, not in a "seeming" way but actually) AS man on our behalf, and emptying Himself of His rightful claim (in that sense and respect) to divine power/being, prayed to His Father - God AS Father. This doesn't mean He stopped BEING God at that moment but that He acted distinctly as man.

Hidden in these declarations are millenia-long Jewish and Christian convictions about the independent integrity of the human with respect to the "divine" (boundaries: something Eastern thought disputes), though, of course, most Jewish thought finds trinitarianism idolatrous (along with Islam).

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 12, 2000.


Eve -

Glad to be here.

I had to go back and check the bit you are talking about in Mark. It says: Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

Who was he calling? In the next verse, it says that some people there think he was talking to Elijah. And if I understand your point, you're saying that it's ridiculous for God to talk to himself. It's just unnecessary, right?

Here's a traditional Christian understanding. When Christ was dying on the cross, he took on all of the sins of the world. When this transfer took place, Jesus, the perfect incarnation of God, became imperfect and separated from God. God rejected God. And in his pain and shock at the rejection by God, Jesus cried out. And, strangely enough, I believe that in that instant God knew what it was like to be an atheist. The knowledge that he was totally alone and that no divine being was out there to save him.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 12, 2000.


Hi all:

We seem to be attracting quite a crowd here and the volume of material is increasing greatly. The problem is that I only have a limited amount of time to dedicate to this board, so I will respond at the end of each day to all the posts between my own.

I have many comments to all that was provided since my post last night, so don't worry you'll get the replies you ask for.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 12, 2000.


John, that is not a traditional Christian understanding of Christ in Gethsemane whatsoever, not even a little bit.

You can disagree (that's different), but don't call it traditional.

The classic even-till-today orthodox Christian understanding (held by Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians alike) is that Jesus NEVER became "imperfect", even for a minute or "symbolically" or "spiritually" or any other such thing -- that is precisely what believers spent over a century trying to articulate, which they finally did with the teaching about the the trinity.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 12, 2000.


I am still wondering how so many people were decieved in this y2k plot and why? In down to earth simple answer.Where was the whisel bloweres?Maybe there will be more cases like this. I can't go along with we lucked out.Luck is what you make it.

-- still (wondering@2323.com), January 12, 2000.

Eve, Eve, Eve, what have you done (for those who don't know she invited the world to join us in aother thread)? :)

Well now that the cat's out of the bag, let me weigh in with some ground rules since I initiated the debate and also seem to be the one under primary attack here (from both camps: believers and non-believers - what was I thinking:)), as it appears I am the only one defending my position (that one can indeed proove God exists, and that such a proof exists and therefore one need not believe God exists but know that he exists) from all manner of quotes from time immemorial, rather than any new fresh thinking along these lines to re-examine the past statements and put them through a new lens of scrutiny, except possibly from Eve who asks questions rather then re-hash history, allow me to set down a few rules for the thread:

1. The thread's topic is can one proove that God exists?

Very closely related and almost identical (I don't want to committ that it is identical as I have not thought about it sufficiently to make a concrete statement) is the issue that one needs faith and not pure logic and science to know/believe that God exists.

2 We will not debate theology as that is not germane to the discussion, since it requires faith to begin with.

3. We will not debate the nature of God as that is not germane to the discussion. Being able to prove something exists is not dependent on understanding its nature. (Notwithstanding this, I'll not hesitate to take some jabs at the concept of the trinity :), although I'd much prefer to discuss that one issue in a separate thread)

4. Any who wish to weigh in, should provide arguments, and also answer questions directed to them by previous argument. Otherwise this is not a debate but a monologue, as previous issues are not addressed but ignored. The conclusion can only be that those to whom the question is posed choose not to answer under the assumption that they have been "check mated". I.E. "No comment" is not an acceptable response in debate.

I might add a couple of more ground rules, if they strike me.

I am also going to state that I am not asking for consensus on these, and *if* we find the thread's "noise" level, of every other debate that gets started by those who don't wish to follow these rules, gets out of hand those who wish to continue to debate with me the specific topic under discussion, are welcome to join me *in a new thread that we will start at that time*.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 12, 2000.


Just to clarify my last post, and to give appropriate credit where it is due so not to have people think I'm re-writing history, Snooze button started the original discussion about the media, but the current debate the thread is in was started by me.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 12, 2000.

One last clarification, Eve started a new thread to invite the world to join us *here*. :)

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 12, 2000.

BigDog -

I said _a_ traditional. I certainly don't pretend to know all of the various controversies and resolutions to the controversies. I've grown up Protestant and that was what I remember hearing. And as for Catholics holding not this view, I took the understanding pretty much straight from Orthodoxy< /a> by G. K. Chesterton, a Catholic apologist (among other things) in the early 1900's. (do a Ctrl+F search on Gethsemane and you'll find the part I'm talking about)

That being said, I don't disagree with you that Christ was all God and all man. However, I see very little way to reconcile what you say with Isaiah 53:6 or 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Oswald Chambers writes more about it here

I'm not trying to jump all over your beliefs here. As I said earlier, the Bible is a very difficult book to understand, and I don't pretend to know what it all means, that's just what these things seem to be saying.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 12, 2000.


Interested Spectator -

Sorry about that last bit, I'll follow the ground rules. BigDog, if you want to talk more about this, I'll join you on another thread.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 12, 2000.


John, Big Dog, et al,

Please don't leave us!

Interested Spectator,

I beg to differ.

First of all, I don't see one debate; I see many going on simultaneously. And I see no point in limiting it to anything narrower than philosophy and religion. People do seem to be doing a very good job of recognizing this and limiting the discussions to those areas. I see us as here to enjoy ourselves, not to have to conform to a tight debate structure.

Further, many sub-topics tend to tie in to each other in suble ways; so let us please keep it all in one spot.

I hope you understand.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


John,

I'll try to reply to your last post about the Trinity soon, but I need to tell you now that I do not in any way regard anything in this entire thread (other than intentional off-the-wall humor and other stuff) as ridiculous, including the Trinity. People have spent much time and thought into coming to their opinions, and the Bible can be interpreted in ways not obvious to me; I respect those things.

Please be more careful in rephrasing my (and others') comments!

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


Eve -

I didn't take what you said to be insulting, sorry if it came back that way. I was just using ridiculous rhetorically. Did I understand the question right though?

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 12, 2000.


Int. Spec. -

I agree with the point of your argument, but to play in a very real sense the devils advocate...Why should the universe conform to the rules of mathmatical regression? It is no answer to say that the universe has a fundamental order, because that presupposes design, and design presupposes God. Furthermore, even mathmatics itself is suspect since Godel showed that there is no way for mathamatics to demonstrate that it is non-contradictory.

Also, by your argument you have set up two possiblities for the existance of the universe. By saying that God is the source for all the universe, aren't you just a priori assuming what you set out to prove?

Finally, by what authority do you reason? Why should the movements of your mind correspond to any reality? If God does not exist then your mind was formed by random and chaotic forces. Garbage In, Garbage Out. The only reason for your logic to have validity is if the universe is logical. This presupposes a design etc. etc.

More if I can think of them.

Anyway, I have to say that I think belief in God is a reasonable and necessary thing, but it still requires faith. Faith can be reasonable and necessary though, like having faith that the car in the other lane, coming right for you, won't swerve across the double yellow line and hit you. You have faith, but reasonable faith in a common instinct for self-preservation, and in the certainties of experience.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 12, 2000.


John,

Thanks for clarifying your use of that word. Sorry, I didn't mean to rake you over the coals on it; I guess I'm sensitive about some things. And you seem to have gotten my point on the Trinity, but I can't respond yet, as I'm going to be busy for awhile now, today. I'll try to get back to you, and others, this evening if I can.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


Eve

Thanks for alerting some of us to this thread. Fascinating! unfortunately it is getting a bit bulky :o)

In all this "speculation" there is very little discussion on the noticeable observations on what the effects of "God" are in regards to the "logic' of there being a God. I for one do not need faith to believe in "God" (I prefer higher intelligence).

It appears that there is a "timescape" as well as a "landscape" identified by Chaos Theory. From whence does this "timescape" come from? These are even more important than whether there is a God or not. The idea is to get out of the box and look at the infinite, cause that is where you will find the "mind of God".

The trouble is that the "infinite" doesn't come easy in this JIT day and age.

Otherwise I thought that I would add a few comments on the above discussion.

Interested Spectator

Just a comment about Factorial, I noticed you used whole numbers which is common in Quantum Physics in describing properties of fundamental particles but in the case of Quarks, they are measured in fractions. A weird little universal oddity. Don't really know if the "Factorial" definition would apply to this.

 Chart Body Quarks

Interesting site and a pictorial view of Particle Physics

The Standard Model of Fundamental Particles and Interactions
 

As to where "God"  may "reside" one might want to consider a Black Hole, a condensed star that "falls" out of our universe and can't be measured or defined. If it is not in our universe where is it?

The Factorial representation seems to correspond to General Systems theory of processes in that the previous level (like light) is integral to the next level (quantum particles, atomic structure, molecular structure)

As far as the trinity goes it would be most commonly observed by looking at earth man and spirit. Earth - all the physical properties, Man - all life, Spirit - that which is universal and infinite.
 

While logic has its place I do believe it is limiting, as "God" is an artist (the creator) one must also view the discussion subjectively, concepts such as love can't be quantified (as many other concepts can't) once you move past the point of measurement, logic is only for Vulcan's.

If one views "God" as an artist and we are works of art then you have to apply conditions that are very subjective yet very real to humans. One would be to let your creation stand on its own, you don't "own" it or control the final outcome or the evolution of the creation will be unnatural.

To put this in another view, as an artist I have no control of my& nbsp; evolution, it controls and teaches me, as soon as I control it, my art will not involve the creation of myself. In some manner this may mean that as well as God creating ourselves we are also in the process of evolving "God" to a higher level.

Having been an artist for 23 years it would be hard to apply proof to this apparently subjective statement but it is reality in my world view.

The objective (logic) and the subjective (meaning) have to coexist, one can't really cancel the other out as they are both involved with the universal whole.

And to those folks that like to look at a deeper meaning and the edges of science check out

Welcome to the Online Course in Systems Theory, Self-Organization, and Constructivism! 
 

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 12, 2000.


"""To put this in another view, as an artist I have no control of my evolution, it controls and teaches me, as soon as I control it, my art will not involve the creation of myself."""

Just to modify this a tad,

""I have no control of my evolution, it controls and teaches""

Should read *I have no control of my evolution, it seeks to guide and teaches*

Hate to have folks think I am posessed by my art :o) Exactly the opposite, one has to be able to drop it without emotional considerations. That provides the starting point for the next "quantum leap".

This is getting OT sorry.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 12, 2000.


I would like to toss my two cents into the fray . FWIW. It seems that to get a better perspective you need to hear from the point of view of one who bases her belief in God, not founded in any religion organized or otherwise. Because I am not indoctrinated, I am also not jaded. I am, however, a born-again, surrendered Christian. Christian by the purest definition I accept Jesus as the resurrected Son of God and I strive daily to cultivate a personal relationship with Him and seek to live within His guidelines.

Without benefit of any established theology other than the Word as recorded in the Bible, I know God. And this is what I know. Firstly, and most importantly, He knows me. He is complex outside of human ability to comprehend and He cannot be chiseled down into something we can visualize. He is mystery and He intends for it to stay that way until He chooses to reveal all, formulas, theories and mathematics, notwithstanding. What folly it is for us to try to define Him. Sort of like sitting on the porch and trying to reach out and touch the moon. He is One and He is Three Soul, Flesh and Spirit. We dont have to understand. We are only asked to seek Him  not to understand Him. He created mankind (in His own image) because He desired to have children  children who if given the choice  would choose Him. He is both a jealous God and a forgiving Father full of Grace and Mercy.

If you lack peace in your life and you wrestle with the internal questions about why you exist  the answer is simple we were created to choose to serve God. Sorry it is that simple. We accomplish that by surrendering right to self and giving back our individual skills to His other children we share this planet with. This was the original plan and satan interfered. And though, I know, to some, this seems like agreeing to enslavement  it is exactly the opposite. It is the only true freedom that exists. This is part of the mystery of it all. And, what's more, you cannot earn it yourself  it was paid for by the sacrifice of the son of man - Emanuel  God with us, the only one worthy. If you survive in an artificially constructed peace void of Gods companionship  it is destined to crumble.

And just when science gives us something to work with intellectually  a miracle (or anomaly) comes and leaves us scratching our heads. I, for one, am grateful God knows me even if I dont have the ability to understand Him. Can I prove the existence of God? Yes. But Ill have to get back to you on this - after I die.

-- April (Alwzapril@home.com), January 12, 2000.


I believe you're referring to certain Old Testament references to God where He speaks of Himself in the plural. As I recall, the Christian response to this is that these are early indications of the Trinity.

eve...

.....Actually, eve, this is the stock answer. The truth is that the us referred to here is the "Elohim" that is being spoken of, or, in a sense, the "Godhead". In the Old Testament there are, I believe, 28 or so divine titles for God brought forth in the Hebrew, each referring to God in a different context. In this particular context, it is God, as creator. Other examples would be God as God as redeemer, as husbandman, etc.

-- Patrick (pmchenry@gradall.com), January 12, 2000.


Interested Spectator:

I think I am on your side in stating that we can demonstrate the existence of God solely by the use of reason (mathematics, science, logic) without the need to bring in faith. I think where the confusion comes in for many people is they think you are saying that this demonstration proves the existence of the God that we know by faith, which is a much greater picture since it includes his attributes and the Trinity etc. The proof only shows the existence an Uncreated cause of the universe, which we call God, and is indeed the same God we know by faith, except through faith we know a lot more about this God.

The quote by John Paul II is talking about the interconnectedness between faith and reason. If it is correct that faith and reason are two modes of knowing the truth, then they cannot be in contradiction to each other, since truth is one. This is assuming that truth=reality, i.e. for me to say that I know the truth is to say that what is in my mind is in conformity with what is real, with Being as it is outside of my mind. A big error that many people fall into today is thinking that they can create reality by their own mind, i.e. "Whatever I think, is what the truth is." for example, "I do not think there is a God, therefore there isn't one." Poor reasoning. Our real task is to discover what really is, and then to conform our mind to that reality. Then we will really know the truth. Agreed?

Pope John Paul II then, is saying that there is more to reality than can be known just by reason. That is where faith comes in because God reveals these things to us. They do not contradict what we know by reason, but they go beyond it. For example, the concept of the Trinity. It is not an irrational concept, it is one that goes beyond the ability of our mind to comprehend it. We could say that it is supra-rational. Using the analogy of the primitive natives, just because we don't understand something does not mean that it can't be true. If it *is* contradictory to reason, however, then it cannot be true.

John Paul says that when faith and reason are separated, faith tends to become more sentimental and caught up in myth and superstition, and reason by itself (without faith) falls short of knowing the *whole* truth.

The Trinity-- The Trinity is not saying that God is divided up into three parts, each possessing 1/3 of the Godhead. {God is *One*} It is not saying that there is one person God who acts in three different ways throughout history, first as the Creator (Father) then coming to earth (Son) then working through the Church (Holy Spirit). {There are three distinct persons and all three are at work at creation or anything outside of God} It is not saying that the Father and the Son are different beings {They are both one God} There is one nature to God=divine, and there are three persons in God. Nature answers the question "What is He?" and person answers the question "Who is he" There is absolutely no distinction between the Father and the Son except that the Son proceeds from the Father.

We can think of it this way. God has in his infinite mind a concept of himself. This concept is so perfect that it encompasses God completely including his act of existing. Thus this concept is another person, the Son (the Word or logos) . In addition to the act of knowing in God there is the act of loving. The love of the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father is so complete that it is identical to God. This is another person, the Holy Spirit. Each one of the three persons is God, though there is only one God.

You said, [Then how does the Catholic Church reconcile the differences between science and many of the precepts of Christianity and passages in the Bible? Do you equate science with reason? Scientific discovery is the end result of systematic reasoning. ]

For example?

The Bible must be understood in the sense that was intended by the author. The author of Genesis did not intend to give us an exact scientific description of the universe, rather to explain how God created the world. The author described this creation in terms that he knew.

You said, [I haven't studied Aristotle's philosophy too much. I find it far too complex for what is actually elegantly simple. Sort of like the old astronomers trying to use many convoluted circlular orbits to explain the very elegant and simple law Keppler, I believe, discovered. ]

Perhaps, you are talking about Aristotle's work on natural bodies, which I agree is deficient. His book on Physics is far more interesting and his Metaphysics--Wow!

You said, [This itself shows that even God expects you to *know* the things he wishes to teach you and the reason is simple, once you know something to be true, it can not be taken from you by anyone trying to convince you that you are incorrect or are misguided.]

I agree that faith is more certain knowledge than what we know by reason, because it is God who has revealed it to us, and he cannot deceive us. It's still a matter of faith in the sense that this knowledge cannot be arrived at solely by the use of reason.

-- BeerMan (frbeerman@juno.com), January 12, 2000.


Brian -- Of course, God is an artist. Only an artist would have profligately and wildly spun nebulae, on the one hand, and the tiniest cells, on the other, not to mention zebras. Let alone Andy (God in a cubist mood?)

This is not the universe of an engineer (or Newton's watchmaker)! Implicitly, you describe one of the difficulties in approaching this subject from any single angle in isolation ("science", "philosophy", "art").

Understanding, as you know, that I am a Christian, I do not believe that any serious trinitarian reality can be inferred backwards nor do the ones you suggest map at all to the one we believe has been divinely revealed and verified. Put more precisely, while scripture suggests that the bare existence of God can be known "reasonably", His self-presentation as Father, Son and Holy Spirit must be revealed from "outside-in".

Christ Jesus' right to do just this and His claim that only by right relationship to Him can humans receive such verification was a key reason why His nation decided He was a blasphemer who should be punished by dying the death.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 12, 2000.


Read Divine Encounters by Zecharia Sitchin.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), January 12, 2000.

April, You said, [Without benefit of any established theology other than the Word as recorded in the Bible, I know God.]

Isn't the Bible already the product of established theology? Where did the bible come from? It was not handed to us by God from the sky. How did *they* decide which books to put in the bible and who are *they*?

The Bible (New Testament) was not put together finallly until about 397 at the Council of Carthage. It was the Catholic Church that determined which books belonged to the Bible based on which ones agreed with the truth that had been handed down from Christ to the apostles and their successors.

-- BeerMan (frbeerman@juno.com), January 12, 2000.


Eve:

We have to draw the line somewhere as we can't have one thread discuss all of philosphy and religion. We can start other threads for those if needed.

Nevertheless I will continue until it becomes to unwieldly(? I can't spell worth a dime:)) and then we can move to a new threads to continue individual debates.

Ok?

(Sorry if this may get posted a few times--seems the servers are not repsonding to posts again)

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 12, 2000.


BD mentioned

""Brian -- Of course, God is an artist. Only an artist would have profligately and wildly spun nebulae, on the one hand, and the tiniest cells, on the other, not to mention zebras. Let alone Andy (God in a cubist mood?)"""

Polite chuckle :o)

"""This is not the universe of an engineer (or Newton's watchmaker)! Implicitly, you describe one of the difficulties in approaching this subject from any single angle in isolation ("science", "philosophy", "art")."""

IMHO when looking at mans understanding of "Gods" efforts, one has to see the beauty in the creation to feel awe of our place to view it. This has been repeated in Quantum Physics, where the elegance of theorys was an indication of there final success.

As far as anything Christain, IMHO (and it is always humble) Christ is within all of us, he is not a singular, it is up to the individual to realize this. Churches and religions are redundant, if this view is taken. We are all from the design of god and therefore "sons of God" so all it takes is to look within, sincerity, serenity and simplicity will be your conduct and awe in "Gods" creation will be your desire.

There maybe many religious beliefs but only one door.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 12, 2000.


interested spectator I agree with your belief that the recursion theory gives you a proof of god. My personal definition of god FWIW is that god is the limitations of an imperfection, which is ta say that we as imperfect creatures lack a complete understanding of our own existence. This is where god is found in the faith that there must be a greater understanding lurking out there somewhere. The recursion method stated above (if I understand it correctly) shows that there must be something outside of ourselves but fails to show the nature of god. Thoughout history people have attributed gods to things for which they have no ability to understand, such as the greeks believing lightning was the weopon of zeus controlled and understood by him. With the understanding of the world as we know it today this religion would seem absurd by educated people thus the fall of the belief in greek mythology over time as an understanding of god. Modern religion tends to deal with heavier abstract problems such as creation, and life after death, etc. Darwinism and atronomical studies of big bang has taken a big bite out of the abiltity of most to perceive god as the creator (save that we just figured out how god created) which keeps god in the realm of unkown the only place he can be percived. Philosophy is the search for truth, not the finding of truth, it is the search we find god, in the answers we find ouselves. And oddly enough most forms of religions define god in contradiciton such as "i am the alpha and the omega" it is in unraveling these mysteries that we find the meaning of god. My hope is that humanity can someday find this understanding the question is will god then be nonexistent or created again in our form.

and much thx to all posts enjoyed thread very much!!!

-- phil (phillipmorris@mindspring.com), January 12, 2000.


This has been a spectacular thread. Past centuries believed talk about "ultimate things" was THE key dialogue to have in the PUBLIC SPACE, not behind closed doors. There is something to the notion that serious religious debate is today's "dirty topic" (cf sex in the Victorian age).

Brian -- Let's agree to disagree, I'm sure you appreciate the distinction between your convictions and mine. As it stands, they can't be bridged.

Phil -- You have beautifully described what the apostle Paul discussed with the Athenians. It isn't a matter of how advanced we have become scientifically (Paul and the philosophers understood it profoundly). Our reason can, at most, determine an "unknown" God. If a REAL God/Creator cannot/will not reveal Himself TO us credibly and verifiably (not necessarily in a way that the Cartesians would like, btw), then we are left with "projecting" our images into that "truth". This is, of course, the charge that is made against Christians most of all! The fundamental issue is: if God so reveals Himself, how does He do so meaningfully (ie, so we can say "what" is known about Him) and verifiably?

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 12, 2000.


Beerman - sorry I didn't make my point clear which is - I was not raised in a particular interpretation of theology as determined by any specific religious denomination. I know all (or at least many) of the arguments that the Bible was written by men. I recall reading somewhere that the KJV was the result of a contest? However, given that God has the ultimate decision about how anything will evolve, I can sit down with my Bible, confident that whatever truth He wishes me to glean from the reading of it will be made clear for me. And the mysteries will be withheld. I have read it straight through many times and still each time I find small revelations that take my breath away. And usually, I had never noticed before -not because the words were written by righteous men, but because God willed it to be so. In short - men wrote it down - God makes it worthy to be read for those who approach it with open spirits.

-- April (Alwzapril@home.com), January 12, 2000.

BD OK I am real live and let live :o)

Everyone

I have taken the liberty of starting a thread to move on as it were from this thread.

Obviously there are some great thinkers, debaters on this board and I would like to encourage this further (with the sysops OK:o)

This is a most impressive thread and the "spirit" of it should not die forgoten in the mists in the land of lost electrons.

 *** OT The Great Deception - Where are we going with this folks??**

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 12, 2000.


Seeing and reading and thinking about all of these posts....as through a glass darkly.

Every individual has direct access through perception, emotion and meditation to ultimate reality, which is the Universe (and Nature).

The Universe creates us, preserves us, destroys us. It is deep and old beyond our ability to reach with our senses. It is beautiful beyong our abiliy to describe in words. It is complex beyond our ability to fully grasp in science. We must relate to the Universe with humility, awe, reverence, celebration and the search for deeper understanding - in other words, in many of the ways that believers relate to their God. Sci-Pan .. Scientific Pantheism

Do we know where God came from? I rather doubt we can or ever will....but as my friend Voltaire said, "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is a ridiculous one."

So I have to say "I just don't know .... to say otherwise is guessing or lying. I like to think of God as being everything...both inside and outside of this Universe. That makes me an infinitely small part of the Creator/Creation.

This Universe in which we live may be only one of an infinity of universes. They may all start from a singularity (big bang) and if the proper conditions exist they enlarge and expand into a universe. Energy/Matter pops into existance from nada (which is infinite and forever). Other universes may have other natural laws unlike our own but if they don't mesh they abort. BTW in the land of nada cause and effect do not exist. So as far as I know this is the best of all possible worlds (universes)!

1759 Candide by Voltaire
(snip)
Master Pangloss taught the metaphysico-theologo-cosmolonigology. He could prove to admiration that there is no effect without a cause; and, that in this best of all possible worlds, .............
It is demonstrable, said he, that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for all things have been created for some end, they must necessarly be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles. ........ :=)

And what does all of this have to do with Y2k?Not very much but I could see Y2k being related to Pascal's Wager. I didn't see a downside to a belief in preps and possible problems. I consider myself an agnostic who leaned toward surviving. As regards believing in an anthropomorphical deity, I do have mental converstions so maybe I have covered all of my bases.

-- tc (trashcan-man@webtv.net), January 12, 2000.


"Words, words, words" -- Hamlet

-- dinosaur (dinosaur@williams-net.com), January 12, 2000.

Every discussion of theology seems to infer a direct, strangely self- important link between mankind and its creator, that creator being some ultimate, unimaginable force.

What if there exists, in reality, a (possibly) infinite series of superior beings between mankind and the ultimate, unimaginable force we think of as God?. Then our god, the being that actually set in motion our existence, is not really "God" at all, but sort of subcontractor to God. In fact, we might be worshiping our "creator", yet not even aware of his creator.

What if the "real" God doesn't even approve of what this subcontractor-god does in his spare time, but is reluctant to stop him because he wishes his creation to act under "free moral agency", even though his creations have caused anguish to untold billions of lesser souls? What if by worshipping our "Creator god", we are actually angering the ultimate, true God?

In short, creation by a superior being, does not necessarily imply that that being is the supreme being, or does it?

-- Nathan (nospam@all.com), January 12, 2000.


Everyone,

Unbelievable!!

This thread is going in many directions, so if your post doesn't get a response, please feel free to bring up your point again, and perhaps address it to someone in particular.

From my perspective, I'd love to respond to everything; as it is, I'm having trouble keeping up with just the posts addressed to me. So, if you've addressed a post to me, and I haven't yet responded, please try to be patient. With my other responsibilities I'm doing the very best I can. Because of the sheer volume of stuff here, I could very well end up overlooking something addressed directly to me. If you think this has happened, please feel free to repost it. I never want to disregard something addressed directly to me.

Alas, tonight I'm still busy, but I'll try to get back into it as soon as I can. So John, Big Dog, Interested Spectator, et al, keep the "faith"!

Brian, I'm unclear as to the purpose of your new thread, as we'll have this one for a while yet.

Talk to y'all (and she's a Jewish girl from Michigan?! Oy vey!) soon!

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000.


;-)

Wow, quite a thread Snooze....am printing now!!

-- intersting (karlacalif@aol.com), January 12, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I'm looking for an answer to this question; Why did God create things the way he did? I have read a great number of postings but guess I missed the answer. I will assume the answer will be simple to understand once presented properly, as simple as the recursion explaination stating God does exist.

Thanks for your posts, I enjoyed them.

Bill

-- bill (bill@logic.com), January 12, 2000.


John Ainsworth writes
"Tom Carey makes the excellent point that "Beings are not to be multiplied unnecessarily."
Let's get the attributions right. Not I, but William of Occam said that, back in the 14th century. I quoted Campbell's summation of Occam's epistemological insight:
"...Occam disqualified the application of concepts to the mystery called 'God.' Concepts are functions of the mind, i.e., of individual minds. They may be derived from and signify perceptions, perceptions of things in the field of space and time; or they may derive from and signify acts of the mind, the minds of thinking individuals; but in no case can they signify entities other than those in the mind or those perceived. "
Campbell's own view is quite clear:
""...to imagine a creation (causality) and creator (First Cause) of the universe is only to project the categories of human experience and reason beyond their field; that is to say, to become in a rather refined way as guilty of anthropomorphism as any savage. "
As for my own half- penny's worth -- the only experience any one of us can possibly have is inside our head. All else is mutual agreement on what is "real" and what is not. This works well enough within its limits -- but "further deponent sayeth not."

In a large room along with a dozen other people I once watched a mature cat follow, with its gaze, something pass in the door, proceed slowly around the perimeter of the room, and out the door again, while none of us in the room could see anything but ourselves. I am convinced the cat was watching something actual, which was invisible to me and the others there, because the cat's perception was not limited by any human agreement on "reality," in contrast to our own.

Bemused writes

"one possibility that I find rather depressing is the speculation that the universe is not only more complex than we can currently describe, it is more complex than we can possibly ever describe. "
In my view this is not at all depressing, but tremendously exciting,, for it guarantees that we will always have more to learn. Struggling to learn, we will change and grow.

There seems to be general agreement here that the "Universe" is separate from "God" in some fundamental sense. And that we ourselves are somehow separate from both. In my experience this is not the case. Another apparent agreement is that the "Universe" had a beginning in time. This view is a product of our (deepseated, longstanding!) social consensus on the nature of time. "Mother Culture" (as Ishmael puts it) teaches us many things.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), January 13, 2000.


I feel a bit intimidated, but just have to get my 2 cents in! Throughout this entire,and extremely enjoyable thread, I have yet to see the word 'Supernatural'maybe I missed it. I don't know the biblical meaning exactly, but I believe it pertains to spiritual rather than physical.

In my humble opinion,physical science can only prove the existence of God by the mere fact that it ( physical science ) exists at all. I believe that the Word of God is fairly clear that after the time of miracles by Jesus, He wanted us to believe in Him by faith alone. And that faith should come from teachings of the Bible.

I am not a qualified student of the Bible and I have been a Christian for less than a year now. I once was rather smug about pointing out what I considered to be impossibilities and contradictions in the Bible. It made for many interesting and heated discussions. But somewhere inside of me I knew that I would either have to be an atheist because of what I felt intellectually, Or become a believer based on faith.

When I was babtised I wasn't overwhelmed with spiritual feelings.But have gradually become closer to God through prayer and reading the Bible. I am still very much a sinner and still have difficulty witnessing as I should, but I now find my faith is strengthened and I find myself thinking of God as real.

I realise that this discussion is more for philosophy than for 'feelings' but I can't see how you can have a detached conversation about religion. It would seem that if you are discussing faith it would be helpful to listen to those who feel that they have truly experienced it and reacted to it.

I too have many questions about this wonderful mystery and I will end with this short Bible verse that says it all for me 'God is love'

-- Kelly (Goldendust@inspace.com), January 13, 2000.


Testing replies are posting ok. My reply is comming next.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 13, 2000.

Hi all:

I have been trying to get work done, but can't help refreshing my browser page to take a peek at what's new here, and have been smiling all the time and I don't even know why. It just feels good.

Before I get into my answers, firstly, Eve, WRT keeping everyone here in this thread, although the thread is diverging (and I'll keep to my topic and respondng to posts on my topic) I'm actually beginning to like the energy shown by everybody being here, and acutally agree with you to keep everybody here (at like you suggeted until it becomes too unwieldy. Its like being at a good party where everybody has stimulating converstation and being able to wander if you choose or settle down in a corner with a few friends while still adding to the energy in the room, rather than in separate rooms having private conversations. I like the feeling of knowing there are others nearyby that I can "wander" over to another group for a mental break, and then come back. It's like chat but better as you don't have to be real time and there is a full record so you can join in when you have time, but not miss anything (also I don't think we'd do a good job of debating this in real time--the topic is deep and we all need time to think and articulate good responses to keep the quality of the debat high and therefore allow the thread to continue to be attractive and stimulating)

Secondly, Brian jokingly pointed out at the begining of second thread continuing the debate that:

[Of course there should be three things one should never mention in a social gathering god, politics, money, oh ya and Y2K :o)]

I don't know where that stupid idea ever came from WRT to God. If there is onething that has amazed me about this thread the *incredible* tollerance and civility shown by all to those they disagree with. I had expected this to turn into the stupid mudslinging that went on in the rest of TB2000 between the pollies and the doomers. I think we should all congradulate ourselves on this point and know that *this* is something to feel good about. (May be that was what I was smiling about--I'd like to believe that, but I have a sneaking suspicion that really I was just itching to give you my replies :) )

Lastly, I'd just like to really and sincerly thank everybody for joining in. I never expected in my wildest dreams people feel so passionatly about all this and would openly adimit to it and discuss it. I think there is hope for us all after all. I fully expected to be flamed off the board when I posted the first queistion.

I am firmly convinced that we are all enjoying this debate because of the civility and respect we have and are showing to each other, and I think we should all think twice before we get angry and flame somebody. Go and cool off and remember that we accomplished nothing in TB2000 with that approach and we are also dealing with and issue that is close to people's hearts and souls. Some may be hard and can take anything we toss at them if we try and shatter their beliefs and come out unfazed, others may not be so articulate or clear in their beliefs and may end up doubting themselves and their beliefs. To do that to a fellow human being is worst than killing him in my mind. We have no right to destroy someone else's beliefs as doing so will no doubt affect them for their whole lives, and probably affect their children and their projeny. For those who believe in the answerability of ones actions, that is something I'd rather not have to explain to God or anyone else.

I can easily see this debate being a pleasant way to spend a cold evening with a nice cup of hot cocoa for many months if we can keep the civility. I'd certainly hate to just loose all of you as friends and if this is a common interest we share then lets keep at it. Good friends don't need to be friends only for the first reason they met.

Also I wanted to post this in the new thread started by Brian, as although I have a dedicated 1.0mb DSL line and don't mind its size, I'm sure many of you are finding the 170k (+ my 30k of this reply) size of the original thread tiresome (however it will remain critical to keep it for continuity and new comers), but I found nothing much there yet and it seemed to go off onto something completely different. And for a sense of continuity since I have replied so much here, I decide to keep the post here. If you feel that this reply of mine is in some way a "break" at which point to move to Brian's thread (as I think it is), then say so here and I hope you'll all join me in his new thread.

Ok now to the fun stuff. As per my last post, I'm drafting this reply as I read the thread, so if give a response that has already been given to address an issue, I applogize (but, at least it will serve to let all know where I stand on an issue). My mind is a bit dizzy from all the posts (it feels like trying to play a dozen chess games at once and I find I have to go back to read where I'm going in each "sub-thread", so I'm going to restrict my responses to issues direclty relate to my topic (taking the odd potshot at the trinity concept when the topic arises). As before I put quotes from issues I'm replying in square brackets.

Eve:

[How do you get from that to a proof that that first cause is God? Even if you can show that the first cause was God, how can you prove that that God presently exists?]

Good questions. Lets tighten up our rather loose use of the the term "First Cause". I use/used it to convey the overall concept of their needing to be a start which did not require something before it. Therefore the term "First Cause" is really for me a term or synonym for God. As per my position God needs to exist to make things start at (for lack of a better term) Time=0. I actually prefer the words to describe how God does what he does as given by the Quran. God states there that he just has to say Be and it is. Remember my position here is not to debate the nature of God at all, but just to demonstrate that we can *know* he exists without faith.

How can I prove still exists? Well if doesn't still exist then something more powerful than him (a law, or another entity) made him dissapear. Then he could not have been God to begin with, as he was not omnipotent. If he is not ominpotent then he could not be the start. So essentially unless the Start still exists, it could not have been the Start. This is a new question that I have not thought about (thank you) and this is my first attempt at it. Intuitively I see what I explained as needing to be true, otherwise there would be a contradiction, however I may not have articulated my intuition fully and therefore there could be "holes" in this explaination so if this is the case I would welcome feedback, as it would help me flush out what I feel more precisely and rigorously.

Tom:

Very nice piece from William of Occam. (Is it he who came up with the philosphy that if all things are equal then the simplest explaination must be the correct one?)

I have not seen what you have posted before, so I qualify my remarks here with the previous paragarpah as well. But here's my best answer so far:

["...to imagine a creation (causality) and creator (First Cause) of the universe is only to project the categories of human experience and reason beyond their field"]

I don't agree. The reason was partly given by my explaination above WRT to what happens at Time=0. It would seem self evident that Time=0 would need to be part of creation, as it is a definte point in time and time is part of creation. So my recursion theory stops at Time=0 and did not project beyond Creation as I take "beyond their field" to mean. As I say and will keep saying do not confuse the debate about the Nature of God (i.e. how he goes about what he does--such as creatig the Universe-- and his attributes) with the debate about merely proving his existence. That is why I said I like the way the Quran's explaination of how God operates. He merely says be and it is.

I agree that we can not in general project huma experience and reason to God's realm, for the reasons I've stated (essentially in the end that would make him limited by the laws of the universe).

The rest of what Occam says is his arguement about why God doesn't exist and his reason (if I understand correclty) is that "that there can be no abstractive cognition where there has not first been a perceptive cognition". He is also explaining here not why God doesn't exist, but really he is explaining an attribute about God and furthermore did it by projecting human experience and reason (i.e. because he states that this is what he undertands to be cognition, and therefore it applies to God). This is flawed logic, it violates his own rules and since it is not germane to establishing God's existence, but rather God's attributes - in particular how he thinks cognitive processes must take place within God.

His words with respect to concepts, do not prove God does not exist or that God can not be proven to exist as I suggest. They merely talk to the attributes and nature of God. He even says as much in own example of the dog. "The concept 'dog,' for example, is in the mind and signifies certain perceptions of creatures of a certain likeness outside." You may hold a concept about what a dog is or is not, but those have no bearing as to weather the dog is or is not there.

He also states that "Occam disqualified the application of concepts to the mystery called 'God.'" This again to me talks of concepts of God, i.e. Gods nature, not as to his existence.

If Occam intended to show we can not contemplate God's nature, with his arguments, I am in total agreement. If he on-the-other-hand he intended his arguments to show that God does not exist, he never even addressed the issue and I can only assume that we will intreprete what he says as meaning that you can't prove God exists or God does not exist. His words are carefully chosen and at first blush it would seem that he is talking about God's existence, but he doesn't.

John Q:

[-existance therefor creation? Because there exists a singularity it therefor is the creator of all that follows?]

Please tell me where the singularity came from? The singularity is a part of this universe following the Laws of this Universe (though we may not fully understand them yet) and hence created.

Eve:

[In any case, it appears we agree that the existence of God cannot be established through reason. ]

Hey hey hey, one moment please: When was this fact established?

BigDog:

[Cause raises millenia-long questions as to how anything certain beyond the mere inference of the Creator's existence can be made]

Since existence is binary, it either is or is not I'll take the liberty of taking the meaning of "inference of existence" to mean proven of existence, for otherwise you can't have existence that doesn't exist (the only other option available for existence) and that is all I'm saying here.

[not to mention how useful such an inference is to created beings.]

True and that is a whole other discussion, but as you have distinguished (and as I maintain), differnent from the delibrations needed to esablish existence.

[Biblical thought (Jewish, as well as Christian) posits that the only means (but the sufficient means) for the Creator to make Himself known to creatures is through specific revelation-communication of His nature and purposes to them through a series of authenticated documents and direct communications.]

Just as I said earlier WRT to miracles. I take revelation-communication to include miracles as they are a form of revelation. I like your choice of the word *known* rather than "believed".

And here is a very key point in my argument only to *those who believe* in the miracles. Their purpose was to let the people, of that time who were present when they happened, to *know* God existed and not just belive and talk the miracle performer's word that God existed (although many were content with that). Now I ask you, why would God only wish the few at those time to *know* He existed (a bit of knowlege that would forever change a person) and by having that knowledge, as I stated, be in a unique position that nobody could ever change his mind (as would be possible if some one just had faith) and yet for all the rest of eternity (or at least until God ends the universe) leave humans to merely have faith. This I submit is an error in our understanding. Again, to those who *believe in the miracles* and in an accountability of ones actions in a here-after, since such judgement will be uniform for all humans across all time, we *must* for fairness have the same framework from which to be judged by, for otherwise the cry of those judged as having carried out poor actions will "But I did not have the knowledge those who went before me. I was dependent on the human fraility that allows me to be decieved, and you Sir (God that is) created that fraility in me so how can you judge me harshly. Again this line of argument is only for those who believe in the miracles and a judgement hereafter and the reason I bring this is in is that since your framework includes such concepts, they must be consistent with your premise that one can only *believe* God exists and not *know* he exists.

John:

[The key is to understand God as a creator. Any creative act can be divided into 3 separate parts.]

You know how to push my hot button, so like a moth drawn to a light bulb:

Firstly and most imporantly you now do exactly what Occam said not to do you are assuming creation by God would be undertaken the same was as by man. I submit creation by God would be far more sublime and magnficent than the pedentary apporach man has to take.

Secondly the concept of 3 was created by God, therefore it could not exist before God.

Thirdly what you are saying is that God like man must create in 3 distinct phases, then He is subject to a law that came before him and that is when he creates he must do it in 3 steps. That makes him dependent and not an omnipotent God to create how he chooses.

Fourthly if God requires 3 distinct phases in which to undertake creation he is not one then because he actions are not One (as in the Mulsim sense of God is One that I explained earlier) -- you have subtley introduced the concept of either sequencing or distinction by numbers or both into God's actions and made him dependent on that in order to create. Sequencing is a law of the Universe (an alternate way of describing time) that was created by God. He can not be subject to laws he creates as they must have otherwise existed before him, etc. Distinction in any form is an attribute of the universe. If distinction existed prior to the creation of the universe then it existed before God, hence God is then again subject to a law he did not created, etc.

WRT to the Dark Ages, I refer to the age prior to the Rennaisance when inquiry was surpressed by the Church, I may be using incorrect terminology.

[On a final note, there seems to be an idea that science and religon are incompatible. Most of the arguments are of the type that science "proves the bible wrong". Anyone who has read the Bible should be able to see how ridiculous this statement is...Many of the passages in the Bible are difficult and obscure. It is not always immediately obvious when the words are meant litarally or figuartively. Understanding the Bible is a humbling task and many intelligent people disagree about what it all means. ]

This is true, but the Bible makes many clear and unambigous statements that contradict science which are not allegorical. You can not use the excuse of allegory for every item where it makes a clear and unambigous statement about a given issue. It should either refrain from commenting on the issue, or make a statement that is consistent with known science, or make a statement that does not contradict science currently and as time unfolds, become consistent with science. It however in many cases does neither of these 3, but contradicts science. I refer you to the masterpiece "The Bible, The Qur'an and Science" by Maurice Baucaille, 1979, American Trust Publications, 10900 W. Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46231.

[And when people say that science and religion are incompatible, I believe it is our duty to find and resolve those differences.]

Agreed, that would mean that science when confronted with evidence of the existence of God, and using science's own tools, must not abandon its tools cavalierly and say "this is rubbish". Similarly when relgiion (as the whole of religion, not just the proof of God's existence as we are dealign with here) is confronted with evidence of its inadequacy either through contradiction within its precepts or through science, can not just say well "science is wrong". For both science or religion to deny evidence brought by the other side is to deny its own truth as both are from the Source, and therefore can not contradict each other. Or as I say, both are mirrors to the same Reality, of which there can be only one (the reason for which I have explained many times above).

Bemused:

I do not claim to be the first to present this argument. My position, which I don't know if it is new or not, is that one need not believe God exists, one may *know* this as a fact, just as one knows 2+2=4, and no amount of convincing will ever change your mind of this fact. I present arguements to explain why my position is what I believe, and try to refute those arguments that are presented to disprove my position. If my position is correct, it should be possible to refute all arguments against it.

[ "There must be a "why" the universe was created, because there is a "why" for almost everything I, myself, do." The recursion concept has been brought up many times before, in slightly different forms, simply to try to account for this missing "why".]

You are incorrect. I do not assume there must be a why. In fact if you go back to my very first post where I posed the question to Eve, I ask the very question "Why did God create things the way he did". I state my answer is that there is no reason. I re-post the same in reply to another post a few replies later. This is my very first issue and those that try to find a "why" will search in vain. There can be no reason as I explained the second time I posted this question.

My position with respect to proving Gods existence is not to establish any "whys" (why God did it, why the Bible, Qur'an etc. state we should do such and such things etc.) at all, but to merely establish that fact. The whys are the domain of theology.

The rest of your post deals with ability to describe the Nature of things, god, the unvierse, etc. There is no need to know how something works to know that it is. I refer you to my answer to Occam's dog examle above.

[On that note, one possibility that I find rather depressing is the speculation that the universe is not only more complex than we can currently describe, it is more complex than we can possibly ever describe]

You won't find that speculation from me. WRT to the nature of the universe, my belief is that it will prove to be infitely complex, I can not prove that so I must believe that, but perhaps those more versed some of the more esoteric sciences and mathematics can prove that. However, for those that prove it is *not* infitely complex, I ask you "how do you know you have found out all there is to know?".

BigDog:

[After exhaustive (and exhausting) thought, the church generally decided that the trinitarian question could not be resolved rationalistically (which is not the same as reasonably). ]

With all due respect to Christianity, by what authority to you claim to be correct and that what the Church as decided is correct, wheather or not the rest of the world accepts it?

[Fundamentally, they tried most (all?) other possible solutions to the dilemma of denying/mixing/exalting either the divine and/or the human against each other and found all of them to be radically contradictory to the scriptural data.]

Ah, very good, so Christianty accepts the postion that reason should not contradict the religion. I now submit to you that perhaps your intrepretation of the scriputal data is incorrect. As I explained above, the concept of the Trinity contradicts the Nature of God, which is in the scriptual data. This is an issue of theology, and therefore an area of the bible that is alegorical, and as was explained above, and alegories are open to interpretation.

What was that Sherlock Homes used to say about the only possible explaination is the "impossible" when all the "possibles" are accounted for? The only explaination left is the concept of the Trinity has been incorrectly interperted out of the scritpure.

John, BigDog:

I'd love to respond to the post you made to Eve about "Eloi, Eloi ... " and what happened to Jesus on the cross, but another time. I think Eve is handling that one well. As BigDog pointed out the concept of the Trinity, and incarnation of God as Man and such concepts are blasphemous to Judaism and Islam, which are consisent with my own thinking on this, so Eve being Jewish, I'll leave it in her capable hands for now (I'll step in eve if I feel you are faltering or John puts you in check :)).

John:

In answer to your "devil's advocate" questions:

[Why should the universe conform to the rules of mathmatical regression?]

Please explain to me that they don't and that time did not begin at some point.

[It is no answer to say that the universe has a fundamental order, because that presupposes design, and design presupposes God.]

Design does not presuppose God. God could have made the unvierse with out design. If there is no order then what do you call all the laws that scientists have found. Even chaos theory is an order, the Laws of Chaos theory attempt to explain chaos so it may be understood (ironically it won't be Chaos any more), i.e. a Law is order.

[Furthermore, even mathmatics itself is suspect since Godel showed that there is no way for mathamatics to demonstrate that it is non-contradictory.]

Fascinating, tell me more.

[Also, by your argument you have set up two possiblities for the existance of the universe. By saying that God is the source for all the universe, aren't you just a priori assuming what you set out to prove?]

No I did not say before I started God exists. I came to that as a conclusion. What is the second possibility?

[Finally, by what authority do you reason? Why should the movements of your mind correspond to any reality? If God does not exist then your mind was formed by random and chaotic forces.]

By the same authority that you question me. They may not and so let the movements of your mind show mine don't correspond to reality. I don't know what the conclusion would be if God does not exist, any more that I don't know what the conclusion would be if 2+2 equaled 5.

[More if I can think of them.]

Keem them comming.

Brian:

I used whole numbers because the suffice and allow others to grasp the concept of recursion.

Thanks for your links, I'll look them up.

[As to where "God" may "reside" one might want to consider a Black Hole, a condensed star that "falls" out of our universe and can't be measured or defined. If it is not in our universe where is it?]

I know where God exists, he is outside of the Universe. I don't know what your defitioin of "Unvierse" is but to me a blak hole does not fall out of our "universe", it may fall out of a realm defined by certain principles and laws, but falls into another realm that has its own laws. Lets say its all just part of Creation, and God is outside Creation, as per my position earlier. Just as newtion laws explain only so much, of the unvierse, the black hole drops out of what we can currently explain of the universe and it has just gone to a place we haven't explained yet, that does not mean it doesn't exist. Just as the unverse explained by Einstien existed in Newton's time, but Newton just didn't know about it during his time.

[While logic has its place I do believe it is limiting, as "God" is an artist (the creator)...]

I am using logic only to show God exists. I am not using it to describe his attributes or nature or what he "is" (artist, etc.)

[It seems that to get a better perspective you need to hear from the point of view of one who bases her belief in God, not founded in any religion organized or otherwise.]

In my response to Miranda I explained I do not wish to use existing religion to prove my point, as that would require belief in that relgion first. As I said, God exists. He does not exists becaus so and so religion say he does, therefore we do not need any parituclar religion to prove he exists.

I refer you to my replies to Miranda as answer to your post.

Beerman:

[I think I am on your side in stating that we can demonstrate the existence of God solely by the use of reason (mathematics, science, logic) without the need to bring in faith. I think where the confusion comes in for many people is they think you are saying that this demonstration proves the existence of the God that we know by faith, which is a much greater picture since it includes his attributes and the Trinity etc. The proof only shows the existence an Uncreated cause of the universe, which we call God, and is indeed the same God we know by faith, except through faith we know a lot more about this God.]

That is what I've been tring to say all along. Thank you for that nice piece of clarity.

Welcome to my army (its growing exponentionally, now there is, um lets see me and you (hey that's double of what I had before. If we have one more, we can call ourselves the three muskateers and take on the world :))

[Agreed?]

You are now promoted to the position of, Admiral, (is that the highest post in an army?)

[For example, the concept of the Trinity. It is not an irrational concept, it is one that goes beyond the ability of our mind to comprehend it.]

Buzz, wrong answer. Whatever Trinity is, it cannot contradict what we know about God. See my earlier explaination about it and the later reply to BigDog starting with "Ah, very good, so Christianty ..."

You explain the Trinity differently from others. Could you all please go away and come back with one explaination. Please. Then, I refer you to my 4 point reply to trinity above. (Point 4 may not apply depending on what you bring back).

[You said, [Then how does the Catholic Church reconcile the differences between science and many of the precepts of Christianity and passages in the Bible? Do you equate science with reason? Scientific discovery is the end result of systematic reasoning. ]

For example? ]

Does Christianity accept evolution? If it does, why did it change its mind from before? And does it accept it completely as science explains it?

[The author of Genesis did not intend to give us an exact scientific description of the universe, rather to explain how God created the world. The author described this creation in terms that he knew.]

You say the author "used terms that he knew". That means you then make the author a human being. To err is human. Excuse me, but the author has made mistakes. See the next reply to BeerMan.

The "author" of the Qur'an does what you state the author of the bible did, but the Qur'an "author" was illiterate. So how is it that he got no contradictions with science?

BeerMan:

[Isn't the Bible already the product of established theology? Where did the bible come from? **It was not handed to us by God from the sky.** How did *they* decide which books to put in the bible and who are *they*?]

Thank you. (double emphasis mine).

Phil:

Thanks for your support (do we have 3 muskateers now?).

[My personal definition of god FWIW is that god is the limitations of an imperfection, ]

I'd prefer to discuss if we can proove God exists, not what God is, although at another time, I'd love to discuss what I think God is.

[Darwinism and atronomical studies of big bang has taken a big bite out of the abiltity of most to perceive god as the creator (save that we just figured out how god created) which keeps god in the realm of unkown the only place he can be percived.]

You are stating what in is the general impression out there, correct> This is not your belief, correct as you agreed with me in your first sentence.

Brian:

[Our reason can, at most, determine an "unknown" God.]

I take it that you agree with me - see my reply to BigDog WRT existence being binary.

[If a REAL God/Creator cannot/will not reveal Himself TO us credibly and verifiably (not necessarily in a way that the Cartesians would like, btw), then we are left with "projecting" our images into that "truth".]

Do you wish him to reveal himself so we may know he exists or to know his nature? If to know he exists, don't you already know that from the first sentance of yours I just quoted?

tc:

[I like to think of God as being everything...both inside and outside of this Universe.]

Exactly, if we were to discuss the nature of God.

Continued ...

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 13, 2000.


Continuation ...

Nathan:

[What if there exists, in reality, a (possibly) infinite series of superior beings between mankind and the ultimate, unimaginable force we think of as God?.]

Variation of the "aliens violating the Star Trek non-interference directive" theory. Sorry but they are part of creation and therefore subject to its laws, and hence they came after the unverise was created, hence they are not god. We don't have many Gods. There can be only one reality and one God. As an aside, to have many God equally powerfull means they are mutually dependent on each other not to wipe each other out, therefore they are not independent and therefore neither is God.

Bill

[I'm looking for an answer to this question; Why did God create things the way he did?]

I replied near the top in my response to Preacherboy. There is only one reply to him.

Tom:

[There seems to be general agreement here that the "Universe" is separate from "God" in some fundamental sense.]

[And that we ourselves are somehow separate from both.]

You didn't hear your last sentance from me.

To All:

Enjoy and see you tomorrow.

PS. I hope this doesn't get posted multiple times if there are problems posting replies. (that's why I did the Test reply first).

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 13, 2000.


Hi Eve and Interest Spectator and everyone else.

I hesitated to post anything, but decided I would.

Nathan's idea was one I had early on in my life as well.

One of my "big questions" has been the same as Eve's and others. What is "behind" God? How can we even concieve of an "existence" pre-God?

The one thing we, as Man, experience is duality. Good-Bad, Light-Dark, Dead-Alive, Past-Future, Being - Non-being, etc. To frame existence then we have the opposite of that, which is Non-Existence. Can you really even concieve of Non-Existence? What part of "you" would even be aware in the field of Non-Existence? What would you be aware of? Almost by definition, "you" couldn't "Exist" in a world of Non-Existence.

Existence and Non-Existence are Opposites. Yet, even that apparently unsolvable idea, is a Duality. If God is the "creator of all", then he must exist in a realm BEYOND even Existence and Non-Existence. Yet can't we know him by what we CAN percieve, the part of our world that IS real to us, though we may understand that there are aspects to "God" that we truly can't wrap our brains around.

My latest thoughts on this subject have always lead me back to thinking of things in terms of Energy. Without getting to lengthy, I believe we can all see that everthing in the Universe is some form of Energy and is vibrating. Approaching things from this standpoint helps to cut past the theology surrounding this matter, and help understand things (Cause and Effect for ex.) in a much more cohesive and comprehensive way.

Enough of my thoughts though. I stumbled upon a book that I think begins to describe the situation very well and here is some of it. It was written in 1912, so forgive the language. All emphasis is in the book, not mine. It hard to type all this, but if you like it, I'll post a little more. Gregg __________________________________

Chapter IV. The All

"Under and back of, the Universe of Time, Space, and Change, is forever to be found The Substantial Reality - The Fundamental Truth." - The Kybalion.

"Substance" means: "that which underlies all outward manifestations; the essence; the essential reality; the thing in itself," etc. "Substantial" means:"actually existing; being the essential element; being real," etc. "Reality" means: "the state of being real; true, enduring; valid; fixed; permanent; actual," etc.

Under and beind all outward manifestations, there must always be a Substantial Reality. This is the Law. Man considering the Universe, of which he is a unit, sees nothing but change in matter, forces, and mental states. He sees that nothing really IS, but that everything is BECOMING and CHANGING. Nothing stands still - everything is being born, growing, dying - the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline - the law of rhythm is in constant operation - there is no reality, enduring quality, fixity, or substantiality in anything - nothing is permanent but CHANGE. He sees all things evolving from other things - a constant actiona nd reaction; inflow and outflow; building up and tearing down; creation and destruction; birth, growth and death. Nothing endures but CHANGE. And if he be a thinking man, he realizes that all these changing things must be but outward appearances or manifestations of some Underlying Power - some Subtantial Reality.

All thinkers, in all lands and in all times have assumed the necessity for postulating the existence of this Substantial Reality. All philosophies worthy of the name have been based upon this thought. Men have given to this Subtantial Reality many names - some have called it by the term of Deity (under many titles); others have called it "The Infinite and Eternal Energy"; others have tried to call it "Matter" - but all have aknowledged its existence. It is self-evident - it needs no argument.

IN these lessons we have followed the example of some of the world's greatest thinkers, both ancient and modern - the Hermetic Masters - and hve called this Underlying Power - this Substantial Reality - by the Hermetic name of "THE ALL", which term we consider to be the most comprehensive of tghe many terms applied ny Man to THAT which trancends names and terms.

We accept and teach the view of the great Hermetic thinkers of all times, as well as those of those illumined souls who have reached higher planes of being, both of whom assert that the inner nature of THE ALL is UNKNOWABLE. This must be so, for naught by THE ALL itself can comprehend its own nature and being.

The Hermetists believe and teach that THE ALL, "in itself," is and must ever be UNKNOWABLE. They regard all the theories, guesses and speculations of the theologians and metaphysicians regarding the inner nature of THE ALL, as but the childish efforts of mortal minds to grasp the secret of the Infinite. Such efforts have always failed and will always fail, from the very nature of the task. One pursuing such inquiries travels around and around in the labyrinth of thought, until he is lost to all sane reasoning, action or conduct, and is utterly unfitted for the work of life. He is like the squirrel which franticaly runs around and around the circling treadmill wheel of his cage, traveling ever and yet reaching nowhere - at the end a prisoner still, and standing just where he started.

And still more presumptuous are those who attempt to ascribe to THE ALL the personality, qualities, properties, characteristics and attributes of themselves, ascribing to THE ALL the human emotions, feeling, and characteristics, even down to the pettiest qualities of mankind, such as jealousy, susceptibility to flattery and praise, desire for offerings and worship, and all the other survivals from the days of the childhood of the race. Such ideas are not worthy of grown men and women, and are rapidly being discarded.

(At this point, it may be proper for me to state that we make a distinction between Religion and theology - between Philosophy and Metaphysics. Religion to us, means that the intuitional realization of the existence of THE ALL, and one;s relationship to it; while Theology means the attempts of men to ascribe personality, qualities, and characteristics to it; their theories regarding its affairs, will, desire, plans, and designs; and their assumption of the office of "middle-men" between THE ALL and the people. Philosophy, to us, means the inquiry after knowledge of things knowable and thinkable; while Metaphhysics means the attempt to carry the inquiry over and beyond the boundaries and into regions unknowable and unthinkable, and with the same tendency as that of Theology. And consequently, both Religion and Philosophy means to us things having their root in Reality, while Theology and Metaphysics seem like broken reeds, rooted in the quicksands of ignorance, and affording naught but the most insecure support for the mind or soul of Man. We do not insist upon students accepting these definitions - we mention them merely to show our position. At any rate, you shall hear very little about Theology and Metaphysics in these lessons.)

But while the essential nature of THE ALL is Unknowable, there are certain truths connecected with its existence which the human mind finsd itself compelled to accept. And examination of these reports form a proper subject of inquiry, particularly as they agree with the reports of the Illumined on higher planes. And to this inquiry we now invite you.

"In its Essence, THE ALL is UNKNOWABLE." - The Kybalion "But, the report of Reason must be hospitably received, and treated with respect." - The Kybalion

The human reason, whose reports we must accept so long as we think at all, informs us as follows regarding THE ALL, and that without attempting to remove the veil of the Unknowable: (1) THE ALL must be ALL that REALLY IS. There can be nothing existing outside of THE ALL, else THE ALL would not be THE ALL. (2) THE ALL must be INFINITE, for there is nothing else to define, confine, bound, limit or restrict THE ALL. It must be Infinite in Time, or ETERNAL, - it must have always continuously existed, for there is nothing else to have ever created it, and something can never evolve from nothing, and if it had never "not been", even for a moment, it would not "be" now, - it must continuously exist forever, for there is nothing to destroy it, and it can never "not-be", even for a moment, because something can never become nothing. It must be Infinite in Space - it must be Everywhere, for there is no place outside of THE ALL - it cannot be otherwise than continuous in Space, without break, cessation, separation, or interruption, for there is nothing to break, separate, or interrupt its continuity, and nothing with which to "fill in the gaps." It must be Infinite in Power, or Absolute, for there is nothing to limit, restrict, retrain, confine, disturb or condition it - it is subject to no other Power, for there is no other Power. (3) THE ALL must be IMMUTABLE, or not subject to change in its real nature, for there is nothing to work changes upon it; nothing into which it could change, nor from which it could have changed. It cannot be added to or subtracted from; increased nor diminished; nor become greater or lessor in any repect whatsoever. It must have always been, and must always remain, just what it is now - THE ALL - there has never been, is not now, and never will be, anything else into which it can change.

THE ALL being Infinite, Absolute, Eternal, and Unchangeable it must follow that anything finite, changeable, fleeting, and conditioned cannot be THE ALL. And, as there is nothing outside of THE ALL, in Reality, then any and all such finite things must be Nothing in Reality. Now do not become befogged, nor frightened - we are not trying to lead you into the Christian Science field under the cover of Hermetic Philosophy. There is reconciliation of this apparently contradictory state of affairs. Be patient, we will reach it in time.

We see around us that which is called "Matter", which forms the physical foundation for all forms. Is THE ALL merely Matter? Not at all! Matter cannot manifest Life or Mind, and as Life and Mind are manifested int the Universe, THE ALL cannot be Matter, for nothing rises higher than its own source - nothing is ever manifested in an effect that is not in the cause - nothing is evolved as a consequence that is not involved as an atecedent. And then Modern Science informs us that there is really no such thing as Matter - that what we call Matter is merely "interrupted energy or force", that is, energy or force at a low rate of vibration. As a recent wrtier has said, "Matter has melted into Mystery." Even Material Science has abandoned the theory of Matter, and now rest on the basis of "Energy".

Then is THE ALL mere Energy or Force? Not Energy or Force as the materialists use the terms, for their energy and forces are blind, mechanical things, devoid of Life or Mind. Life and Mind can nvere evolve from blind Energy or Force, for the reasons given a moment ago: "Nothing can rise higher than its source - nothing is evolved unless it is involved - nothing manifests in the effect, unless its is in the cause". And so THE ALL cannot be mere Envergy or Force, for, if ti were, then there would be no such things as Life and Mind in existence, and we know better than that, for we are Alive and using Mind to consider this very question, and so are those who claim Energy or Force is Everything.

What is there then higher than Mtter or Energy that we know to be existent in the Universe? LIFE AND MIND! Life and Mind in all their varying degrees of unfoldment! "Then", you ask, "do you mean to tell us that THE ALL is LIFE and MIND?" Yes! and No! is our answer. If you mean Life and Mind as we poor petty mortals know them, we say No! THE ALL is not that! "But what kind of Life and Mind do you mean?" you ask.

The answer is "LIVING MIND, as far above that which mortals know by those words, as Life and Mind are higher that mechanical forces, or matter - INFINITE LIVING MIND as compared to finite Life and Mind". We mean that which the illumined souls mean when they reverently pronounce the word: "SPIRIT!"

"THE ALL is Infinite Living Mind - the Illumined call it SPIRIT! _______________________________________________

I skip now to another chapter, towards the end, which addresses our discussions here or "What's it all for or about?" -Gregg __________________________________________________

There is one more matter of which we desire to speak in this lesson, and that comes very near to an invasion of the Metaphisical field of speculation, although our purpose is merely to show the futility of such speculation. We allude to the question which inevitably comes to the mind of all thinkers who have ventured to seek the Truth. The question is: "WHY does THE ALL create Universes?" The question may be asked in different forms, but the above is the jist of the inquiry.

Men have striven hard to answer this question, but still there is no answer worthy of the name. Some have imagined that THE ALL had something to gain by it, but this is absurd, for what could THE ALL gain that it did not already possess? Others have sought the answer in the idea that THE ALL "wished something to love;" and others that it created for pleasure, or amusement; or because it "was lonely"; or to manifest its power; - all puerile explanations and ideas, belonging to the childish period of thought.

Otheres have sought to exp[lain the mystery that THA ALL found itself "compelled" to create, by reason of its own "internal nature" - its "creative instinct". This idea is in advance of others, but its weak point lies in the idea of THE ALL being "compelled" ny anything, internal or external. If its "internal nature", or "creative instinct", compelled it to do anything, then the "internal nature" or "creative instinct" would be the Absolute, instead of THE ALL, and so accordingly that part of the proposition falls. And, yet, THE ALL does create and manifest, and seems to find dome kind of satisfaction in doing so. And it is difficult to escape the conclusion that in some infinite degree it must have what would correspond to an "inner nature", or "creative instinct", in man, with correspondingly infinite Desire and Will. It could not act unless it Willed to Act; and it would not Will to Act, unless it Desired to Act; and it would not Desire to Act unless it obtained some Satisfaction thereby. And all of these things would belong to an "Inner Nature", and might be postulated as existing according to the Law of Correspondence. But, still, we prefer to think of THE ALL as acting entirely FREE from any influence, internal as well as external. That is the probelm which lies at the root of difficulty - and the difficulty that lies at the root of the problem.

Stricly speaking, there cannot be said to be any "Reason" whatsoever for THE ALL to act, for a "reason", implies a "cause", and THE ALL is above Cause and Effect, except when it Wills to become a Cause, at which time the Priciple is set into motion. So, you see, the matter is Unthinkable, just as THE ALL is Unknowable. Just as we say THE ALL merelt "IS" - so we are compelled to say that "THE ALL ACTS BECAUSE IT ACTS." At the last, THE ALL is all Reason in Itself; All Law in Itself; All Action in Itself - and it may be said, truthfully, that THE ALL is Its OWN Reason; its own Law; its own Act - or still further, that THE ALL; Its Reason; Its Act; is Law; are ONE, all being names for the same thing.

In the opinion of those who are giving you these present lessons, the answer is locked up in INNER SELF of THE ALL, along with its Secret of Being. THe Law of Correspondence, in our opinion, reaches only to that aspect of THE ALL, which may be spoken of as "The Aspect of BECOMING." Back of that Aspect is "The Aspect of BEING", in which all Laws are lost in LAW; all Pricilples merge into PRINCIPLE - and THE ALL; PRINCIPLE; and BEING; are INDENTICAL, ONE AND THE SAME.

Therefore, Metaphysical speculation on this point is futile. We go into the matter here, merely to show that we recognize the question, and also the absurdity of the ordinary answers of metaphysics and theology.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 13, 2000.


My E-mail doesn't work since Dec. 30th for your information.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 13, 2000.

Interested spectator mentioned

Brian:(imager)

""I used whole numbers because the suffice and allow others to grasp the concept of recursion.""

I would be very interested in hearing more about numbers and the "Big Picture". Would you happen to have an Aribic origin in your "beliefs". If I remember right they were seriously into geometry when expressing themselves. You should dedicate a thread to the subject rather than "borrowing" snooze buttons thread :o) This is causing some confusion in the diologe. It is hard to have a theme in a thread when it didn't start that way. By the way, looking at fractions would be interesting also.

One of the reasons I started the other thread is this one is going to max out pretty soon and most folk don't have cable modems like I do ** VBG** Actually from the look of the comments several theads could be started on a multitude of topics. This one is topping 210 K as I type. Threads rarely grow this fast, even Deckers :o)

I.S. Thanks for your links, I'll look them up.

ME """[As to where "God" may "reside" one might want to consider a Black Hole, a condensed star that "falls" out of our universe and can't be measured or defined. If it is not in our universe where is it?]"""

IS ""I know where God exists, he is outside of the Universe.""

Ah so I stand corrected, if God doesn't live in time and space then God exists at the origin of time and space.

But when you are looking at the situation from a relitivistic angle this could be confusing. But also beyond the scope of what you are talking about.

Jung wrote about numbers and it was compiled in a book "Number and Time". Very interesting material.

Taoists also beleive in "nothing" as an origin and have developed sophisticated number systems starting with zero.

A quote

"""There is something, an undifferentiated whole, that was born before heaven and earth. It has only abstract images, no concrete form. It is deep dark silent, undefined, we do not hear its voice. Assigning a name to it, I call it the Way."""

Actually it could be expressed best in the Bible (King James:o)

"""The First Book of Moses: Called Genesis

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."""

No light means no change which means no time which means no space which means God is beyond time, space and anything to count.

Which could lead us to the questions on the actual sturcture of Numbers. If what Interested Spectator is suggesting, that numbers are pre existance, then they have a more structual meaning to the universal order than most folks realize.

Does logic exist beyond time? Does "God" have a choice? What are the choices? Those answers and more are going to have to wait till a more reasonable hour of the day.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 13, 2000.


In answer to the following:

-- Patrick (pmchenry@gradall.com), January 11, wrote:

 Arthur... .....I have to ask, why does it say, "let Us make man in our image?" __________________________

In response: The Pope speaks also in the plural as did many kings. Supreme being includes all hence the plural and the singular are both appropriate. I am the Lord Thy God.....etc.) ======================

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 12, 2000

 However, your comment on the Trinity leaves me wondering: If Jesus was the human incarnation of God, who did he pray to at Gesthemane? And who did he cry out to on the cross? (I don't have a Bible with me, but it started, "Eloi, Eloi...") _______________ In response: Christ was at once true man and true God...the man spoke in that case...just as in the case of the Pontifex infallible speech is uttered only EX-Cathedra, Christ spoke as God in his teachings. He was man when he mistook the tree, and when he stumbled carrying the cross...and so on.

Let us not forget that the same dichotomy is in each human being for we are all both human and divine at one and the same time. Are we not all made in the Image of God ?

.

========================

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 12,

GROUND RULES.  3. We will not debate the nature of God as that is not germane to the discussion. Being able to prove something exists is not dependent on understanding its nature. _______________________

We disagree, for without knowing the nature of the object we cannot prove anything about it, existence included.

Thomas Aquinas states: ...as soon as the wordGod, is understood it is at once seen that God exists. For by this word is signified that thing than which nothing greater can be conceived. But that which exists actually and in the intellect is greater than that which exists only in the intellect. Therefore as soon as the word God is understood it exists in the intellect it also follows hat it exists actually. Therefore the proposition God exists is self evident.

and

St Anselm proposed that if by the word God we mean the absolutely perfect then to deny His existence is the same as saying That which has all perfections lack the perfection of existence hence the proposition God does not exist is obviously false.

-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), January 13, 2000.


Well, someone at a thread above (snooze button - or was it Interseted Spectator?) asked for everyone's 2 cents. My contribution is very easy to understand. Yes, the existence of this world we find ourselves in is expressly created to deceive us, but ultimately for our own good. That ultimate good is to have our desire for union with God awaken. The deception is founded on the misunderstanding of our real identity. We are born into a particular family, nation, etc, and grown up identifying our body as our real self. The problem lies in the fact that our real identity is eternal in essence, but the finite body is very temporary. Therefore, there is an underlying fear and anxiety, because we, as naturally eternal beings, with an eternal relationship with God, are living in ignorance of our nature and God's nature. The resulting frustration is *designed* by the Supreme Will, to cause us to question our existence, and thus to seek out our real identity as sparks of God - eternally related to the Supreme Being, equal in spiritual essence, but always subordinate. In other words, a relationship of love and service, but at the present moment, forgotten. This is explained in detail in the Bhagavad Gita. The material nature which is deluding us is called "maya" - or, "that which is not." It is a reflection of reality; it is real, but only as a reflection on a lake is a real reflection. Pramada (been studying and practicing teachings of the Gita for 30 years)

-- pramada (pram108@yahoo.com), January 13, 2000.

To all,

Do you recall the scene from "Animal House" when Flounder and Boone are in the grocery store, and Boone starts to toss food at him? At first Flounder does a pretty good job of catching everything, but the stuff keeps coming faster and faster, until Flounder gets overwhelmed and starts dropping things, and finally kind of collapses?

That's how I feel right now.

All I can say is, if is seems like I passed over you, please remind me!

Once in a while my online service quits on me during the writing of my post; that's why I tend to split up my respnses into separate posts.

Be back soon.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Well, a colleague just reminded me to emphasize that I just felt like Flounder (actor Stephen Furst, I believe); that I didn't look like him. And after long condideration, she felt I was a little closer to Sela Ward in resemblance than Stephen Furst. I thanked her for her kindness; so please adjust your visuals.

Again, back soon.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Hi again, all,

John,

You said,

"When Christ was dying on the cross, he took on all of the sins of the world. When this transfer took place, Jesus, the perfect incarnation of God, became imperfect and separated from God. God rejected God. And in his pain and shock at the rejection by God, Jesus cried out. And strangely enough, I believe that in that instant God knew what it was like to be an athiest. The knowledge that he was totally alone and that no divine being was out there to save him."

You have an interesting view of the Trinity; I had never heard of this one before. I respect your faith in ths, but I find it impossible to follow logically. I guess we'll agree to disagree for now.

Big Dog,

You said, . "...Jesus never became imperfect..."

You view is the one I'm familiar with, although I'm not able to follow it either. Can you explain Jesus' prayers to God in this context?

Brian,

Thanks for your contribution. You have a fascinating take with God as artist. But I don't quite follow your "Black Hole" comment. Black Holes appear to be a part of the universe. Do you define the universe as being equal to existence? If so, you're putting God within existence, where He would seem to be subsidiary to such. Are you comfortable with that?

April,

Thanks for joining us. Since I don't identify God as being the God of the Bible, I'm not able to go along with you in your statements.

More to come soon. I'm pretty busy today, but I'll get things in as I can.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


When I cry out to my wife, "darling, why have you forsaken me," it's not because I have become an atheist about her! I'm speaking TO her because she is absent, not non-existent. An atheist believes God does not exist. John's view is simply wrong on the face of it and has been rightly considered erroneous by believers across the centuries.

I can only repeat without apology that the distinctness as well as the simultaneity of Christ as God and Man is indeed a "mystery" (that is, beyond our ability to "dissolve" or "analyze" rationalistically). That is, in effect, what John did above (erring on the human side). Others have done it on the divine side ("Jesus only seemed to suffer and die, but He didn't do so the way WE would because He is God").

It is simply not incongruous that a "man" would pray such a prayer. Jesus was fully man as well as fully God. Note that He says He had the authority to call legions of angels to end the affair of the Cross but chose not to do so.

His simultaneous existence as God-Man is an ontological category to itself. After all, you may well think it absurd (the apostle Paul judged that Christianity was absurd if NOT true), but the Christian claim is precisely that THIS man is "us" but NOT "us" (contra Buddha et al who are us divinized).

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 13, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Hi! Thanks for being such a big part of this fantastic thread.

First, I'd like to reply to your doubts about adversely affecting someone else's beliefs. I agonize over this. But I also believe strongly in the things I do, and feel a need to share those ideas with others. Perhaps someone could be affected in a positive way by what they hear. When I share these things, I try to get a feel as to how receptive someone might be to the subject. And I try as hard as I can to put my points across in a considerate, yet direct way, always on the alert as to whether I'm treading too far with respect to the other person. Of course, I don't always succeed, but I make the effort.

If you feel this thread could somehow reach its capacity soon, let's try to work out a way to switch threads.

Regarding my question: "How do you get from a first cause to God",

you replied that, "the term 'First Cause' really is really for me a term or synonym for God." Yet you also say that "we can know he exists without faith."

These two statements of yours seem to contradict each other. The former implies a leap of faith, while the latter denies this. Please elaborate.

with respect to My question, "How can you prove (through reason) God still exists?"

You said, in part, "Well, if he doesn't exist, then something more powerful than him (a law, or another entity) made him disappear. Then he could not have been God to begin with, as he was not omnipotent."

Do you believe that He, in some way, willed Himself into existence to begin with? If so, why couldn't He will himself back out? Even if he always existed, if He is truly omnipotent, why couldn't He will Himself out of existence, if He so chose? That would simply be one of His powers. In fact, you could argue that if He was unable to will Himself out of existence, then by that fact alone He is not omnipotent.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


in response to int. spec. When showing that science has figured out the process of creation through scientific means, and then coming up with the question, is this simply the method god used, was trying to show the possibilities of a lesser infinity towards god. {But I do wonder about the apparent contradiction between god as the begginning and god the infinite.}

Infinity can be looked at in two directions and I believe that lesser infinity is the key to understanding god as the beggining and infinite in BOTH directions. If a sheet of paper is torn in half forever u still have something left even if it goes outside our comprehension of existence and thus into god. While if you keep adding sheets of paper foever the number of sheets sooner or later gets out of man's ability to comprehend thus into god. Through this if god can be thought of as the original sheet of paper this is the beggining where infinite cycles shoot off in both directions.

-- phil (phillipmorris@mindspring.com), January 13, 2000.


bigdog well put it brings us back to plato's analogy of the old man coming back to lead us to the fire. If god were to reveal himself to us I propose that either god would cease to be god, or a much more interesting idea we would cease to be ourselves.

comments please enjoying this discussion!!

-- phill (phillipmorris@mindspring.com), January 13, 2000.


Phil -- in a real sense, the Christian claim is that when Jesus Christ reveals Himself to us and give us His uncreated, eternal life, we do "cease" to be ourselves (though there are many, many nuances to such a statement).

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 13, 2000.

Tom Carey -

"...Occam disqualified the application of concepts to the mystery called 'God.' Concepts are functions of the mind, i.e., of individual minds. They may be derived from and signify perceptions, perceptions of things in the field of space and time; or they may derive from and signify acts of the mind, the minds of thinking individuals; but in no case can they signify entities other than those in the mind or those perceived. "

Before the invention of microscopes, diseases could not be seen. It was impossible to observe the organisams, but it was possible to observe their effects. The disease could not be seen, but its existance could be determined by the effects. Now, is a disease just in the mind? Is it just a mental concept? Or is it a real positive thing that can be known by its symptoms?

Or as another example: quantum particles cannot be seen. Yet their existance can be known by observing their effects. I would submit that quantum particles are real things (not mental concepts) that cannot be seen. These things seem to show some subtle flaw in Occam's reasoning. Or maybe I just misunderstand his point.

Interested Spectator -

Excellent points. Let me see if I can elaborate my position a little more.

When I look at the world I notice that it is not chaotic, but well- ordered. From this I infer that God does not have a chaotic mind, but a well-ordered mind. As you [implicitly] point out though, if God is subordinate to a higher law of reason, then he is not really God. I would submit that God has defined the order and imposed it on himself. (Interesting question: if God is omnipotent, can he make a rock so heavy that even he can't lift it? I'll give the answer later if you're stumped)

So when I say that God acts in a reasonable manner, I am simply saying that God acts according to this self imposed law which I who am created in his image can dimly perceive. To reiterate an earlier point, the movements of my mind can and do correspond to reality. (Others on this thread seem less certain[not a slam! just an observation.]. I'll address that in a bit) Now if God acts in an unreasonable manner, I can never hope to discover it with reason. But in trying to understand God I'll follow reason as far as it seems to go.

Now for the next headsplitting question. When did God impose this order? Was it at the creation of the Universe, or was it just, like God, always there, outside of time? Infinity is tricky like that. Anyway, I take the position (arguable but probably unknowable) that this law was always there, self-imposed by God.

Now then, to address the problem of the trinity. First the concept of three. Now, as you said God created three. When? Or was it just always there with God? If it was eternal as God is eternal, then there is no problem with there being three of something in all eternity.

Now, the three steps of creation are, as you say, observations from human experience. Now, it seems that the mind of man is in a very real sense similar to the mind of God, due to our ability to perceive order and create. However, if there is some other way to create (and there may be) it is outside of reason, and I cannot know it. However, insofar as the mind of man is similar to the mind of God, and insofar as God chooses to follow his own rules, then the analogy holds.

Uff! Exhausting isn't it.

Also, by the Dark Ages being an age of the suppression of reason, I suppose you're refering to the trial of Galileo. Galileo was an arrogant jerk who made many powerful enemies through his personal attacks. His conviction and punishment was as much political as it was religiously motivated. And for suppression of reason, the Scholastics devoted themselves to it. They simply refused to recognize the need for experimentation. They thought they could do it all with reason alone.

In fact most of the really important institutions of our time, the newspaper, the university, the parliment, the constitutional government, were all invented during the Dark Ages during a period of the suppression of reason.

Finally, and most ironically, the Church's position, as laid out by St. Augustine, an early Christian bishop, has been that reason and faith are completely compatible, and that anyone who asserted in the face of demonstrated fact that it could not be so was a fool, and detrimental to the faith. Those who did suppress reason, out of their faith, were the heretics, not those who followed their reason.

Finally, a bit on reality. Tom Carey said that the only experience any of us can have is in our head and a sort of mutual agreement on what is real and what is not constitutes reality. It seems then that we are caught in a matrix then("The Matrix has you") Which brings this thread around to where it started.

This is very interesting idea and leads to all sort of Eastern philosophy type existance questions. What is the difference between reality and a dream? Am I a man dreaming I am a butterfly? Or a butterfly dreaming I'm a man? We cannot trust our senses because they merely perceive things, not all of which may be real. They may be a shared illusion. We cannot trust our mind because it is the source of the dream. Reality is simply a thing we accept because it is convenient. But, really though, there is no spoon.

Lets start again at the beginning. One of the first acts of the mind is this: that something is something. Put another way, ships are ships, shoes are shoes, and grass is grass. From there we move to the next act of the mind, the realization that something is not something else. Ships are not shoes. We also realize the principle of likeness. Grass is like grain because they have attributes in common. But grass is not grain.

But we hit the puzzle realized by most intelligent people. Things are constantly moving, changing, growing, dying. Nothing seems to stay the same everything is in a constant state of flux. It seems that reality is less real than it appears to be. And so they go back on their first impression, that something is something. This ultimately leads (I believe) to the negation of the mind, the intellectual suicide I spoke of earlier. After all, how can a person possibly think if there are no things to think about.

I prefer to rest on my first impression, that something is something. The reason things appear unreal is because we only see a part of their reality at a time. They are not less real then they appear to be, but rather more real than they appear to be. For example water may be ice, liquid, or steam. But these changes do not make it unreal or relative. They simply mean that it can only be one thing at a time. Things change because they are not complete, but their reality can only be explained by something that is complete. That thing is God.

I've missed a lot of issues, and I lot of things that I don't have the time to say. A few final notes for Interested Spectator. My short view on evolution and creation is that it doesn't matter much. An all- powerful God could create man quickly or slowly. More info on Godel can be found here

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 13, 2000.


Tom Carey writes:

"one possibility that I find rather depressing is the speculation that the universe is not only more complex than we can currently describe, it is more complex than we can possibly ever describe. " (by Bemused above)

: In my view this is not at all depressing, but tremendously : exciting,, for it guarantees that we will always have more to : learn. Struggling to learn, we will change and grow. (Tom)

Tom, the endless learning possibilities open to us because of this complexity are indeed extremely exiting, but what I was referring to was the possibility that, as stated in the Sci. Am. article (can't teach a chimp calculus no matter how hard you try, etc...), there is always the possibility that we're just not smart enough to be able to get to the real "good stuff," the real machinations of the physical universe. I think most people live under the impression that we will someday inevitably learn The Answer To Everything, the ultimate scientific description of the universe, and that article (and my post) brought up the possibility that we won't, because we *can't*, due to our intellectual limitations. The difference between us and chimps who can do simple arithmetic with oranges but never, ever will be able to do calculus is that we can at least fathom that we might be missing something enormously important. There's where the depressing aspect of that comes in.

At least the chimps can just shrug and eat the oranges, and be happy. Maybe we have our own equivalent of that, too.

-- Bemused (looking@the.absolute), January 13, 2000.


BigDog -

I wasn't trying to say that Christ became an atheist! I was trying to say that he experienced the atheist's loneliness in the universe, the knowledge that there was no God to save him. (What God can save God himself?). I was not trying to say that he ceased to believe that god existed. When he became separated from the Godhead on the cross, due to his assumption of all human sin.

Isaiah 53:6 ...the Lord has laid on him the iniquities of us all.

2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us.

This is not to say that Christ sinned. He simply assumed others sin.

Anyway...I apologize if I've blundered into a difficult issue or if I've messed up others understanding of God. That was not my intent at all.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 13, 2000.


John -- Thanks for clearing that up! If I have time, hope to respond to Spectator and your posts sometime soon.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.dom), January 13, 2000.

John,

If I might reply to your above post to Tom (in part):

The effects of the disease and of particles that cannot be seen, scientifically imply and confirm the existence of the underlying cause. So I see no problem in applying concepts to things unseen, if their existence is implied through other evidence. And this is fully consistent with William of Occam's comment. (re the impossibility of applying human concepts to God)

Of course, I personally chose to make one, and only one, exception: My acceptance of the existence of God purely through faith alone. The remainder of my entire life I try to conduct through the use of reason alone. BTW, this in no way excludes the essential role of emotion in life. (Oh, no! Reason vs. Emotion! What have I done? Another sub-topic!)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Aaahh! Another sub-topic! Run! Run! Get out while you still can! :)

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 13, 2000.

Bemused,

Can I also take a stab at your comment to Tom?

You said, in effect, that we could never learn a theory of everything, because we're too limited, intellectually.

Einstein, (as one of many), believed that we could, and spent the latter part of his life trying to discover this. He failed, but he saw the possibilities, the potential. And this is an essential part of the vision of all pioneers, inventors, entrepreneurs, as well as many others. It may seem impossible, but they see a spark of possibility and they probe and attack it from all possible directions. And this is the seed from which our greatest achievements are born.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Greetings!

I think that faith is a good thing (if you have it) but I believe it is also helpful to have a rational basis for one's belief in God. For example, the "design of nature" arguement: the universe contains laws and order, the universe has design; hence there must be a "designer." (If you found a watch in the forest, examining the watch would tell you something about its maker; if you examine the universe, the universe will speak of it's architect).

Reason vs. emotion. These need not be in conflict, they should go together; reason and emotion. Not everything can be perceived accurately via either alone, both are necessary.

-- No Polly (nopolly@hotmail.com), January 13, 2000.


It is unfortunate that post-moderns view "faith" as either "mental assent", "imagining something" or "something lesser that we do when reason won't work".

The scriptures quite radically assert that "faith" is at the HEART of the creation itself (though it might be a bit too radical to assert that God Himself called the universe into being through/by faith, it is very close to scriptural). Interestingly, even in the "ages to come", "faith" will remain a cornerstone of the "way" it all "works".

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 13, 2000.


Hi, Gregg!

Welcome to the party!

And what a really comprehensive contribution! I haven't nearly digested it all yet, but I think "THE ALL" seems to be not far from how I might view God, that is if I had thought it out to the degree as detailed in the book you quote.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


I believe there are but two avenues to the "understanding" of the nature of God. The first, is to contemplate the nature of God, to the limits of our collective imaginations. Perhaps at that point, if we're lucky, we will gather a mere glimpse of the divine. The other approach is faith - essentially tapping a power beyond our cognitive senses with the express goal of higher understanding. Neither approach is necessarily correct, nor exclusive of the other, yet neither approach will ever produce a definitive definition and understanding of what God is within our space-time continuum. For to "understand" God is to be God. If so, then perhaps, to try to understand God is to try to be like god.

In this regard, it distresses me to no end to see mere opinion in this matter cast about as divine revelation and alternate possibilities dismissed out-of-hand.

-- Nathan (nospam@all.com), January 13, 2000.


No Polly,

Hi!

To address your point: I do find the design argument powerful. But how then would you explain the existence of the greatest entity of all -- God Himself? Wouldn't He have to have a super-designer? And so on...

To all,

I do want to explain that My acceptance of God on faith, and without a Biblical basis, was by no means passive. I looked at the philosophical arguments (to find God from reason) and the Bible for years before coming to my conclusion. I'll be happy to share my reasons in detail if anyone asks.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Eve -

I'm curious. What are your reasons for believing in God. On this thread we've run through most of the major ones. You seem to get stuck on the question of where God came from, and that He just was doesn't seem to cut it. How did you find your way out of the dilemna?

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 13, 2000.


John,

I believe there is an underpinning, a beginning of sorts (not to exclude a beginning of an infinite nature, if that makes sense) to all of existence. But every time I tried to reason it out I came to a dead end. But that's part of the reason I'm here -- not just to share, but to learn from you. Maybe, after I study all of your comments and arguments further, I'll find a better answer for myself.

Also, I think I have a psychological need for God to exist, but I'm not clear yet if this plays a major role. At least right now I don't think it does. If I thought it played a major role, I'd like to think I'd want to eliminate that factor; not sure if I'd have the guts to, though.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


John,

Just to give you a bit of background, although Jewish by birth, my parents raised me in a secular household. My mom and dad are more or less agnostic, as far as I can tell (they don't seem to like to talk about it); and there was no mention of God, although we did celebrate the Jewish traditions. From various comments made over the years, I think the reason for the lack of religion in our home had to do with the Holocaust, although my parents have not offered to give reasons in detail, and I haven't pressed them on it.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Eve:

By *no* means did I mean to say that my position is that "we could never learn a theory of everything, because we're too limited, intellectually." I was merely presenting that as an idea I had run across that I found particularily depressing, and the idea of trying to teach a chimp calculus, was, to me, a very vivid and insightful image in support of that possibility.

I really don't find myself in that camp, though. Einstein did believe until his death that his theories of relativity (general and special) could be combined with the laws of thermodynamics and the newer theories of quantum physics into a Theory Of Everything. Stephen Hawking mentioned that again in an interview that was posted by someone in a TB2000 thread yesterday, BTW. I'm not a theoretical physicist, so past a certain point in their arguments I'll have to take their word for it, but it seems like things are looking very hopeful there. Especially with Hawking, who seems like he's not capable of being humbled by much.

Nathan:

Good post, and I thought your previous post regarding the possibility that *our* creator may not be *the* creator was interesting and brought up a great point (even though Int. Spectator pooh-poohed it :^). Hawking, Einstein and others have postulated that once we understand the Theory Of Everything, then it's not an inconceivable leap to then be able to simulate experimentally the creation of a universe ourselves. This isn't as crazy as it sounds - it doesn't need to mean much more than a quick pop inside a next generation particle accellerator. Little big bang, expansion, contraction or entropified fade out and the TOE is proven experimentally, and we just technically created a full-cycle universe in one nanosecond. Note that the term "universe" here is being used in the scientific, physical sense, but it is actually a real universe by definition, and this scenerio places ourselves outside of it and in the "intelligent creator" role, by definition.

As an on-topic aside, Carl Sagan, in his "Contact" novel, hinted at something that would serve as absolute proof to him that an intelligent creator (of our universe) exists or once existed. I mention this because I find it to be an utterly fascinating idea and do agree with him that it would be absolute proof:

Basically, in the book, humans get word to look deep into the decimal digits of pi (3.149265...), an irrational number. Irrational numbers can be mathematically proven to go on infinitely to the right of the decimal, one of those seems- practically-impossible-but-is-*mathematically*-provable-anyway concepts. Anyway, after cranking away on pi for a long, long time with supercomputers, way past the least-signifigant digit we've ever taken pi to before, they found a binary bitmap of a circle. A bitmap is simply a drawing, using ones as "dots" and zeros and "background".

So imbedded in a constant which is present in every circle in the universe was a picture of a circle. This wasn't a signal "from" anywhere, this was a signal *embedded in the universe*, which could only be put there by a creator able to define physical laws at the universes' creation, left to be found only by civilizations advanced enough to calculate pi to that decimal place (which was way, way in there but still relatively close to the decimal when you consider that pi is infinate, thus making the statistical possibility that the bitmap was there by chance beyond astronomically unlikely.) It was never decided in the book whether the "creator" was God or an incredibly advanced species outside our universe who had the TOE and were using it in theirs, nor was it decided why the creator felt the need to leave a message proving their existance. But it was a very neat idea. The movie sucked, though.

-- Bemused (looking@the.absolute), January 13, 2000.


Intersted Spectator,

Are you aware your posts are sprinkled with references to He.

You just limited the Divine of All-That-Is-And-Is-Not.

Just an observation in semantics.

(Was able to read only half the thread and skim the rest. Back later).

Diane, thinking in... circles, loops, spirals, triangles, squares, dodecahedrons, tetrahedrons, nested geometries, multiple layers, et. al.

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), January 13, 2000.


John,

To explain a point in my last post: When I was growing up, we would mention God during a tradition-related prayer or otherwise tied to a tradition (e.g., Hanukkah or Passover), but it was done in sort of a matter-of-fact way.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Bemused,

Thanks for clarifying your point, and giving us some interesting details on the theory.

Diane,

Re "He": Shhhhhhhh......I did the same thing! And I know I.S. is going to bring it up! (eve's beet-red right now). Although of course, given the context, I use He to mean He, She, or...?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Eve

I used the Black Hole illistration as a mental jump off point and not as a practical example. More to show that the universe is wierder than we can imagine.

Bemused

I read contact, one of Carls better books (it had heart). It is interesting that in the foundation of the universe there are to ways to look at numbers, fractions and decimal, there has to be some significance to this.

Diane

Jumping in eh! Better late than never :o)

To all

The main reason I am posting this note, this thread is likely going down in forum history as the longest thread, the most civil thread and the most OT thread :o) 262K as we speak, the size of a small paperback.

Correct me if I am wrong please.

Well done!

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 13, 2000.


WRT the Theory of Recursion....if we take literally the God of the OT and believe that there is a God (Father) and his Son (Jesus) and the Holy Ghost (3rd part of the Godhead), then what does that do to the theory?? Which is the First=Basis? Maybe that is not correct terminology....but I hope you understand what I mean (I think I do.)

It seems more simple - and that is what God wanted it to be, so all could understand - that He (not She or It) would direct the process of creating worlds, under the direction of his Son....with the ultimate goal, that we all try to live and learn as much as possible, to continue on to learn after we die in a process which is eternal. Did He also undergo that process? Debating is a form of teaching and learning, but we come to a point where we cannot prove, only accept with hope (faith?) that what we believe is true.

I am nowhere near the scholar that many of you are but I have done enough learning to believe that He was not using the Royal Plural in teaching us. I also think I read that until about 300 AD, the Christian church in whatever form it took also did not believe in a trinitarian tenet, but I could be wrong. This thread is like someone dropped a Timebomb and is exploding in all directions...but it is enjoyable.

-- Laurane (familyties@rttinc.com), January 13, 2000.


eve-

Re: The "design" argument. If I understand you correctly, the crux of your question on the existence of God centers around the origin of God. Something like, If God designed the universe, then who designed God? Perhaps this is the point where reason falls away and one must take the Kierkegaarian "leap of faith." Remember from your Old Testament (or even the Ten Commandments movie) when Moses asks God at the Burning Bush for his name, God says, "I am that I am." That is really a non-answer, but it is possibly the only way he could have replied in a way that could have been remotely understood.

It is mind-boggling to consider the infinite, like what is beyond the universe, and what is past that? Likewise, the idea of a God with no beginning is unknowable via reason alone.

In math, remember learning about "lines?" A line has no beginning and no end. The teacher used to write it on the board thus: <------------------> That is God. Man, on the other hand is a "ray." A Ray has a beginning, but no end: .----------------> If you believe such things, an animal or creature with no "soul" would be: .-----------. (beginning, life, end).

OK, that's my stab at explaining. I do enjoy the higher level that this thread has maintained. Cheers to all...

-- No Polly (Nopolly@hotmail.com), January 13, 2000.


Patrick,

Im so sorry I didn't reply to you. We had a very early, brief exchange on this thread, and I glossed over your post, saw "stock answer" and "Godhead", assumed you were not in disagreement, and promptly proceeded onwards to lose myself in the flood...

Anyway, I had said that there were certain Old Testament passages where God speaks of Himself in the plural, and that the Christian response to this is that these are early indications of the Trinity.

You replied,

"Actually, eve, this is the stock answer. The truth is that the "us" referred to here is the "Elohim" that is being spoken of, or, in a sense, the "Godhead." In the Old Testament, there are, I believe, 28 or so divine titles for God brought forth in the Hebrew, each referring to God in a different context. In this context it is God as creator. Other examples would be God as redeemer, as husbandman, etc."

Patrick, thanks for sharing this interesting observation!

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Eve -

I'm not sure I know what to tell you. We have generally in this thread been talking about the rational reasons for the existance of God, and his attributes if he exists. But there are certain limits to reason, and there is a point where reason stops and intuition and emotion start.

The great, possibly the greatest, Christian intellectual was St. Thomas Aquinas. In his book, the Summa Theologica he attempted to lay out every single rational argument for and against Christianity. His hope was to unite all of human knowledge and reason with Christianity. Yet, near the end of his life he stopped. When a good friend asked him why he said, "I have seen such visions that make all that I have written as straw. I can write no more." And so the Summa was unfinished.

Aquinas was an exceptionally logical man. Anyone who reads the Summa can see the effort that he expended to examine every possiblity and to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of the truth. But his mystical experience made him realize that his extraordinary mind could not adequately explain or demonstrate the mystery of the divine.

I guess this is what you meant by reason vs. emotion.

Anyway, I hope you find the answers you're looking for. I hope I've helped and I'm sure the other posters on this thread have helped as well. I think we've shown both the difficulty of proving the existance of God, as well as the excellent arguments in favor of His existance (Oh, and Diane, when I use the masculine pronoun, I mean it in the strictly gender neutral sense :))

I think admitting the existance of God is a kind of scary thing to many people though. Because if God exists, then the next question that comes is: How then should I live? This may require a radical lifestyle change, and most people don't want to change. This is (partially) I think why this question has been so hotly debated over the centuries.

I have personally chosen the Christian religion, because after careful examination, I believe it to be True. Not containing valuable truths, but rather a fundamental reflection of the way things are. If you talked to Interested Spectator I believe he would tell you the same thing about Islam. A rabbi would tell you the same thing about Judism etc.

Its really not the place of this thread to argue the correctness of any of these religions; we've got enough topics already. But I would suggest this. If God exists then at the very least, we owe him some sort of thanks. The world we live in is a wonderful place, full of beautiful sights and surprises. And we are extremely lucky to be able to experience it. I think this is the ultimate feeling at the heart of most religions. And being so close to the heart, it is I think, correct.

So, I'd encourage you to give thanks for the things God has given you. Be thankful to God for the sun because it keeps you warm and grows the food you eat. Be thankful to God for the rain because it brings you water to drink. And tell Him so.

I'll get off the soapbox now, but best of luck. I hope you find what you're looking for.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 13, 2000.


John,

You said,

"I'm not sure I know what to tell you."

Well, you did. Beautifully.

I would like to comment, though, on a couple of things.

I actually do say a silent "thank you" to God for all that we have, from time to time. I'll catch myself now and then, thinking, wondering, marveling, at the life my boys and I have been given. I've gone through some terrible times, but I have this desire to focus on the good things -- the things we're blessed with, rather than the things that are missing from our lives; and then I know, somehow, that God gave this to us, that He exists.

Maybe my prior posts implied that I recognize God intellectually, even if by faith, but that otherwise he's absent from my life. I've tried here to correct that impression; to show that there's really more to me than that.

And, when I mentioned reason and emotion, I was referring to my observation that they are really compatible in living a rational life. Emotion is an automatic response to something that has happened to us. You then use reason to introspect and attempt to discover the reasons for the emotional response. If you discover the sources of your emotions, and you believe them to be irrational, you try to correct your value "premises", so to speak, that your emotions are based on. Of course, many times this is much easier said than done. I think the context in which it came up was with respect to my belief in God as based on faith, as I contrasted with the remainder of my life as being based on reason (which accepts the importance of the role of emotion as a corollary).

I have what I believe to be a reasonable system of values, and I try to use rationality, honesty, compassion, and other virtues that I think are important in the conduct of my life. And I do my best to teach my boys these things, not only by word, but by example.

My values and virtues are derived from the nature of human beings, and I'll be glad to talk about them at length, but I didn't want to drag this post on too long.

Thanks for taking the time to help me out, John. At the end of your post you said, "I hope you find what you're looking for."

Well, you know that I think in a way your post already gave me a little something of what I'm looking for.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 13, 2000.


Interested Spectator: BTW Admiral serves in the Navy equivalent to a General in the army:-)

I am glad that we are in agreement on many things. One thing is that you mentioned you would comment on the quote by Pope John Paul if I elaborated on it. I did, so any comments? Also, concerning the Trinity: Is this the quote for your demonstration that you are referring to?

[Something that is infinite is not divisible. If it is divisible then it loses is attribute of infiniteness as there then needs to exist a realm between the 3 entities to separate the entities so more than one entity must exist. Thus with respect to God, it would mean that this realm is a place where God does not exist if he was divided into 3 entities. God is indivisible. He is One. To divide him is to diminish his True nature make him subject to the laws of the universe where the concept of dividing things exist. He is outside the universe as I explained in my first post. ]

If so, you are not answering to the way I described the Trinity. The other descriptions of the Trinity on this board, I agree do not jive with what is known about God. I agree that God is indivisible. There is only one God. That is a central tenet of Christian belief.

If we believe that God has a mind, we might ask, what is he thinking of? The answer of course, has to be: everything. Infinite perfection which is to say God himself. Aristotle, in his demonstration of the unmoved mover described this Entity as "thought thinking itself" If that is the case what is the difference between the concept in God's mind that he has of himself and God himself? Nothing. But there is a distinction of relation between these in the sense that one proceeds from the other. The concept proceeds from the reality (not in chronological time, but in notional priority). The difficulty you have with the Trinity is overcome by saying that this relation is the same as God's essence. That is to say, The Father is God and the Son is God, but the Son is not the Father. There is one undivided God.

Perhaps a better question to ask is, Do you accept that God can exist in some Trinitarian way that does not contradict reason nor the fact that he is indivisible, even if no one so far has succeeded in explaining how that can be? My point is that it is possible though it goes beyond the power of our minds to understand it. However that does not make it "irrational."

Eve: WRT God ceasing to exist, it is impossible, because God's essence is to exist. God cannot not exist. "I am who am" Everything else in creation is contingent in the sense that it depends on someone or something else for its existence. That means it also has the potential to not exist. God is self-existent. He was not created by someone else so he alone has "existence" as his essence.

Interested Spectator:

I disagree with you that all reality is divided up into being and nothingness. That is an insufficient explanation of nature. If there is only those two things, then how do we account for change, other than by saying it is just moving around of particles (bits of being)? That is not real change as we observe it.

I would contend that all reality is divided up into being and not-yet-being. (I won't include nothingness as part of reality since it doesnt' exist). For example, I have the potential (not-yet-actual) to play the accordion. After I practice for many ear-splitting hours, I now have the actual ability to play the accordion and I can play the Pennsylvania Polka or any other song. A dog, however, does not have any ability to play the acordion, actual or potential. So the potential that is there is real (it has being) but it is not actual (yet). With this explanation we can define God as someone who has no potential (He cannot be other than he is) and is pure Act (In other words he does not evolve!!!!!!!!! for all who wrote that.)

[Does Christianity accept evolution? If it does, why did it change its mind from before? And does it accept it completely as science explains it? ]

I don't know about other branches of Christianity, but the Catholic Church has stated that you are free to believe in evolution as long as certain things are acknowledged: God created the world, He is the direct source of the human soul, The human race came from two parents who were created in a state of original justice, but fell through an act of disobedience and pride.

The Church has always rejected those forms of evolution that describe the process as occurring by chance without any reference to God or Creator. Chance cannot be the cause of order, but is subordinate to it. God, however, can create through some kind of evolutionary process.

As far as how science explains evolution, it still seems to be a theory that changes over time and there may be a few kinks that still need to be worked out. Read "The Black Box" by Michael Behe, a scientist.

You said, [You say the author of the Bible"used terms that he knew". That means you then make the author a human being. To err is human. Excuse me, but the author has made mistakes] Normally, to err is human, but not in writing the Bible. The author uses figurative speech sometimes, and that is how it is to be understood. Where is there anything *in the Bible* that contradicts science? When he says the "floodgates opened" to describe rain, it is not be taken literally that there are actual floodgates in the sky.

To all;

The problem with William of Ockham, Anselm as quoted, Descartes and a few posters on this thread in proving God's existence is that they think a person can "force" God to exist by first having a thought about him. That is, "I think God exists, therefore he does" It is just as bad as saying "I think God does not exist, therefore he doesn't"

A demonstration such as Interested Spectator's is based on looking at reality and drawing the conclusion that there has to be an Uncaused source of this reality. In other words it's working back from the effects that we do observe to the necessary cause that we don't observe.

Laurane: The Christian Church had a belief in the triune God from the very beginning. Read John 16:12-15. Also the letter of St. Clement to the Corinthians written around 95 A.D. refers to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. BTW He also writes that the Roman Church with Peter as head is the center of Christian unity.

Eve, WRT the question of Jesus' cry from the cross. Many of the people gathered around would have known the Hebrew Scriptures very well, since they were mostly Jews. They would have also known that "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me" is the first line of Psalm 22. If you read this Psalm you will see an amazing description down to exact details of what Christ was undergoing at the time. Perhaps he said it to fulfill Scripture.



-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 14, 2000.


From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

Why is a bicycle better than a Fararri?

Nothing is better than a Fararri and a bicycle is better than nothing.

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), January 14, 2000.


Beerman and others:

I had guests over today (its very late 13.1.2000 right now) so I'll post my reply to all relevant posts since my last one tommorrow.

CIAO for now.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 14, 2000.


Patrick,

You know, I was so eager to make amends to you that I posted a reply before I had a real reply ready!

Anyway, a question:

Regardless of the Hebrew, the english translations do not reflect these variants when referring to God, right? In that context, it still seems reasonable, from an english (only) speaking/reading Christian's point of view, to see the plurals as early signs of the Trinity, and nothing more. Wouldn't you agree?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 14, 2000.


To all,

I'm going to be pretty busy for a while today. BeerMan, et al, I hear ya.

Back later on...

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 14, 2000.


Eve -

Aw shucks, twern't nuthin.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 14, 2000.


The triune concept of God may stem from mistranslation - we all know there are many of them in the bible and many missing scriptures which might explain others. The first members of Christ's church were moving away from his teachings even when Paul was alive (as in the instruction in Epistles to the "foreign" branches of the church).

It is much easier/logical/ for me to believe that they are all separate and to take the translation of "Us" as literal, in both physical and spiritual terms, the spirital referring to the unity of their cause. Just like a real Father and big Brother. But the Christian Church which became the Catholic Church years after Christ died founded itself on a scripture claiming Peter was the Rock, not the Rock of Revelation as I believe He meant....another interpretation which can only be evaluated and accepted or discarded.

But the Recursion Theory then changes if Jesus has a Father and the Father had a Father and so on and so on....

-- Laurane (familyties@rttinc.com), January 14, 2000.


Back for a little bit...

Hi, Laurane,

Thanks for joining in.

Check out 1 John 5:7 in the King James Version. This, I believe, is the only clear statement of the Trinity in the Bible. But you won't find it in any modern translation!!

There's a fascinating history behind this. It's known as the "Johannine comma" and I'm a little hazy on the background, but perhaps someone else can help out here.

Hi, Beer Man,

Re the existence of God: You state that since God was uncreated, "he alone has 'existence' as his essence." (This was in reply to a comment of mine that God, as omnipotent, could, arguably, will himself out of existence if He so chose). So, accordinlgy, "God cannot not exist."

An interesting point. Do you view your position on this as an act of faith?

And let's assume that He cannot will himself out of existence. Do you think He could will himself into, say, a temporary "eclipse", where he is effectively absent from everything, yet still in existence? BTW the eclipse of God idea is not my own -- I just can't remember which philosopher first brought this up.

For example, many Jews feel that God went into eclipse during the Holocaust.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 14, 2000.


Laurane (and others),

Re 1 John, 5:7, some things are starting to come back to me. Now, I'm still hazy on the facts, so help me out, all, where you can. I think Wycliffe (?), the principal writer/translator (?) for the King James Version, felt that this verse came from an inferior manuscript, and was going to omit it, but was under pressure (from the King?) to keep it in, as it was such a clear statement of the Trinity.

The translators of the modern versions kept it out, recognizing that the source material was very weak.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 14, 2000.


Eve -

Many modern translations offer very different translations of other parts of the Bible. Try Isaiah 45:7 in the King James and the NIV. A slight change of words but two very different meanings.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 14, 2000.


I believe many religions have some form of the Trinity. It is not original in Christianity. There is a statue in the Phillipines, (for Joseph Campbell fans) that has a 3 faces. One large face in the middle, with two other smaller faces on the left and right.

This represents God. The middle, large face, representing God in the Trancendent Space, existing without time or limits, and the two smaller faces represents God in the field of Time, as pairs of opposites.

The Hebrew of the bible was Letters that are Numbers. Names mean certain things as a result. I don't have my reference with me, but Yaweh meant 0, or Zero. The source from which all things come, that has no ending or begining, ever was, ever shall be, etc. 0 also means infinity - nothing, yet everything, infinite potential.

Another topic here is the Math problem. Again, I don't have my reference books with me, but there is a great "proof" in one that shows how the Great Pyramid is physical proof that God exists.

There are many examples of 3, 1, and 7, which all tie into each other mathamatically, and basically show that to have a Universe composed of Time, Space, and Energy, the one we have here is what you'd get everytime.

To have existence, you have to have "something". "Something" must have a dimension to exist at all. SPACE must therefore be concurrently created with SOMETHING, for there to be Existence. For it to be possible that SOMETHING existed, you would have to check back a moment later to see if it was still there - therefore, TIME must also be simultaneously created with SPACE and SOMETHING. The Trinity.

ONE force (God) did this. 3 + 1. From there I could talk about how this goes to the Pyramids, and Phi Ratios, and Fibanocci Numbers, and yes, recurrsion.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 14, 2000.


Numbers are indeed quite special throughout scripture and have fairly specific, verifiable symbolic meaning. It is not far-fetched to assume that "number" is structurally critical throughout creation, though the Pythagoreans and others made a near religion out of such, regrettably.

The recent research into ELS ("Bible Codes") is statistically provocative in this respect but uncertain.

In general, error results by taking fragments of scripture and building vast doctrinal edifices on them - to wit, the Trinity! Some use this as an argument weighing against the VAST emphasis that the church chose to place on this in her efforts to find EVIDENT error about the person of Christ (which is what drove most of the early trinitarian research). This one is a close call, IMO, but one can always wisely ask whether Christians are warranted in closing off the intense dynamism of scripture when scripture itself doesn't seem to do so.

Eve -- many do find hints of "plurality" in the Godhead through the Hebrew. The trick here is that "translation" or even how the "original" works is ALSO a terrible way to frame "doctrinal" truth, because the non-native speakers risk reifying language elements that are not actually germane to the spiritual issue involved.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 14, 2000.


John, Gregg, BigDog,

Well, I guess my day got busier than I had planned. I hope to get back to you guys sometime this evening. Hang in there!

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 14, 2000.


Hi all:

Well so far I haven't had much of a response to my replies to everybody, so either they have no answer (don't I wish), they haven't had a chance, or they're mind has moved on to something else.

Nevertheless here is my post for today. As before items I am responding to I quote in square brackets and the best way to follow my response is to read in a separate window, while moving down the thread in another. I only repsond to posts since my last post. I'm responding to issues addressed to me or that deal with proving the existence of God without the need for faith, a particular religion. However I have noticed a very common theme with almost all those who "get stuck" at some point in their reasoning and I am going to also address that, although I have done so peripherally before.

To all:

In almost every reply I notice that almost each and every person tries to understand or explain the Nature or attributes of God using analogies from the Created universe. And promptly runs into a paradox or a brick wall in their understanding.

There are several issues with respect to pursuing such a line of reasoning, not the least of which is that every attempt to do so will result invariably in a contradiction with some other attribute of God and therefore it is an attempt in futility, not to mention a move away from Reality. This is because by definition it is so. Here is why (in fact what makes all of these discussions and explainations so very easy for us "humans" is the very fact that we dealing with an Absolute, so that allows us to immediatly make conclusions about any thing postulated to ensure there is no contradiction: the cardinal rule is that one merely has to make sure that in no way do you limit God (now if you don't understand why God can not be limited and must be all powerful, go back and re-read all my earlier posts a few times and you'll see why this is the case)):

Firstly Creation is made by God can not be equal to God. Why? (Eve, I can see your next question in your mind--why couldn't he make creation equal if he is all powerful and I'll address that) Because then we have 2 Gods: The original and Creation. As per my reply to Nathan earlier, there can never be two Gods, equally powerful as then neither can be God as both are mutually dependent on each other to prevent anhialation and therefore neither is independent and hence not all powerful).

Now since Creation will never equal God, it therefore does not contain *in any form what-so-ever* (i.e. physical, thought, energy, language, contemplation, or anything else the pseudo-sciences can dream up) what is needed to *understand* God, *explain* God, or anything else about God. Now be carefull here, this has absolutly no bearing on knowing that God exists. Just because you don't understand something does not mean you can prove it exists. How many things do you not understand but know exist (quite a few I'd imagine. just look around your desk to start).

(For ease of reference I will refer to this fact as the Fundemental Observation #1 and those that try and those that run into the brickwall because they violate Fundemental Observation #1 as the fundemental failure #1.)

Secondly, since Creation is not God, then any attempt to try and use it to describe God's real attributes will limit him in some fashion. Even the concept that he has more than one attribute already ascribes to him the notion that he is composed of parts which already makes him subject to the laws of the universe and hence this is incorrect in and of itself. This applies equally to the Trinity concept and I'll address the response, by John, given to my last argument against the Trinity, that why could the concept of 3 could not exist within God to begin with (as the response is of the same ilk as this discussion of God having many attributes) shortly.

So by now I can already hear you all saying "But God has many attributes". However, as I just explained above, *by definition* it is not possible to ascribe nor use that from the created world to explain or understand God.

Fundemental to this entire discussion is the sublime and profound elegance embodied in the what Islam indicates when it statest the fact that "God is One". Any attempt to explain the Fundemental Truth (as I will refer to this from now on): God is One , will result in contradiction because such explaination will always limit God in some fashion (and therefore contradict the ultimate litmus test of any theory concerning God) and therefore render such explaination as false. As I have said before, the One refers to Oneness in any sense you can possibly think of - indvisibility, infinitness, the one and only ultimate the reality, uniqueness and some other profound senses I just realized such as: Homogoeniaty, Unity.

The Fundemental Truth must obviously hold even to the concept we try and project that he has attributes (plural). As I have explained many times it is *not possible* for God to have any form of attributes that institute divisions. Therefore he can not have attributes (plural).

My argument to Miranda (early on in the thread) explained why God can not have divisions of any nature what so ever (although I was responding to her about the Trinity), the argument is the same for any attempt to *enumarate* God in some fashion. I said then:

With all due respect, you contradict yourself. You say he is infite and then you say he exists as 3 persons. Something that is infinite is not divisible. If it is divisible then it loses is attribute of infiniteness as there then needs to exist a realm between the 3 entities to separate the entities so more than one entity must exist. Thus with respect to God, it would mean that this realm is a place where God does not exist if he was divided into 3 entities.

By entity, you can take any meaning you wish: thought, energy, action etc.

The following paragraphs from Gregg's book excerpt (Chapter IV, The All)

"And still more presumptious ..."; "But while the essential nature of THE ALL is Unknowable..." (although I do not agree with that God is not knowable for reasons I can explain to those at another time); "The human reason, whose ..."; "THE ALL being Infinite ...";

does a wonderful job of explaining the concept of God is One, even though it does miss a few proofs, and in some cases makes only claims about God being One, it will take you a long way down the path intuitevly. It contains most of the essential points from where the concept that God is not One can be attacked from and nails each one down magnificently if not with always with a proof, as I have said, but at least with an elegant explaination to appeal to the intuition for those at least wanting to get a "handle" on the issue. (You really must tell me the name of the book and who wrote it, John.)

Now let me respond to the issue of the Trinity again, and in particualar to John's response to my last 4 point argument against the Trinity (notwithstanding there is no consensus on what the purposes of the parts so the Trinity is from what I can read my arguement is unchanged, however each individual explaination of the Trinity brings with it additional contradictions unique to that explaination which I could elabarorate on if needed).

John said:

[Now then, to address the problem of the trinity. First the concept of three. Now, as you (that's me he's referring to) said God created three. When? Or was it just always there with God? If it was eternal as God is eternal, then there is no problem with there being three of something in all eternity.]

Nice question. However, the concept of 3 could not always have existed, because that means that God was always subject to the law that he has "3 elements" (of what ever nature you wish to contemplate them as). Therefore he could not be God because he has this inherent limition within him which, try as he may, he can't "shake off". As I have prooved, the Universe *must* have a creator. There is no other option. I have yet to see any argument here that can disprove this statement (correct me if I am mistaken and I will respond to such argument). That creator *must be independenent, unique, omnipitent* (really just differnt mirrors to the Fundemental Truth) *by definition* in order to be the creator of the universe (again I have yet to see any argument here that can disprove this statement). John, I address your next paragraph separatly below, as you do not offer argument, direct or via question, against my position the Trinity is untenable.

The closest that this thread has come to making the Recursion Theory false was in John's post:

[Furthermore, even mathmatics itself is suspect since Godel showed that there is no way for mathamatics to demonstrate that it is non-contradictory.]

You had me there for a while, but one night I realized, Godel's own statement was all I needed. You see if mathematics can not prove that it is non-contradictory, then it can also not prove that it *is* contradcitory, for proving one by definition will prove the other. Hence mathematics has no comment on its own contradictoryness. This does not invalidate the use of recursion from this perspective. Just because X has not been shown, it does not mean X is false.

In fact John you said as much yourself in one of your posts to explain the Trinity:

[... just because we don't understand something does not mean that it can't be true. If it *is* contradictory to reason, however, then it cannot be true.]

So although you said just prior to the "..." in the previous quote that:

[Trinity. It is not an irrational concept, it is one that goes beyond the ability of our mind to comprehend it.]

I have shown that the concept of the Trinity *is* contradictory to reason, and hence by your own logic it cannot be True. Please do not think I am trying to simply use your own logic against you lightly. I am doing it with the profound respect I have for you to understand (and I hope the courage to stand by this conviction) that although Reason may not be sufficient for everything that we call "Religion", it must take precidence to opinion and theory, for what it can show to be true.

Now as I said above (to help distinguish between what I said earlier in this particular reply, and what I have said earlier in the thread, I'll use "above" to mean earlier in this particular reply and "earlier" to mean earlier in the thread) every attempt to explain how God operates, his nature, his attributes etc. other than that He exists and is One will always result in contradicitons (Fundmental Observation #1) and I can go on and on demonstrating these contradictions about the Trinity, but that would serve little purpose as only one contradiction is needed to refute a theory and besides I have presented 4 or 5 already in the thread since I first commented on the Trinity.

There are those who have said many times that "Reason or logic is not sufficient" in one context or another, however I submit that Reason is the only way by which we can establish irrefutabley Truth from Falsehood, we have no other means. And we therefore have no other way to distinguish the charletons from those that say the Truth. That is why I say we can *know* God exists and not have to believe it. It is why John had no option but to state "If it *is* contradictory to reason, however, then it cannot be true".

So why do we make the fundemental flaw #1. Because we *think* we need understanding so we project the attributes our minds understand to try and *explain* Him. As I explained above, in Fundemental Observation #1, by definition we can not understand him, therefore there is no use in trying to understand him and I submit there is no need to understand Him. All you need to know is that he exists. Then if wish to *know* him (which is not understanding) then you need to *experience* him. There is no other way (because of Fundemental Observation #1). If you study Sufism, however you will see these masters in these matters put their minds to work to *expierence* the Reality, or as they call it, the "Haqiqath" (the Truth). They understand God is One and therefore can either experience him in his totality or not. They do not put their minds to explain or understand (as those, it just struck me, also require compartmentalization, i.e. enumeration, of the Truth) the Truth.

I have maintained and will continue to maintain that no religion is needed to *know* God exists, for 2 reasons. God exists because he does, not because any religion says he does. Secondly, using religion to prove God is like using a word to define itself as you must *believe* the religion before you can use it, and you can not know the religion is true, until you know God exists and revealed it. So using it is, really putting the cart before the horse.

Therefore, do not misunderstand my suggestion about studying Sufism. It is was made for you to know of an area that has put thought to the issues, but not contradicted the Fundemntal Observation #1, the Fundmental Truth, nor any other argument here. But you do *not* need to understand or believe Sufism to know what I am saying. My arguemnts stand by themselves without relying on any belief what so ever, which is as it should be, so each may come to *know* the truth of the matter with surity for himself.

Eve, I said above that I would answer one question I anticpate you would probably have (although there will no doubt be others), and that is "Why couldn't he make creation equal if he is all powerful".

For us to conclude that God does such a thing requires us to make Fundemental Flaw #1. One answer is because we are now ascribing creation as we are able to understand it (i.e. the making of something) and as it exists in the Unviverse to God's realm. That is we are saying that God must do something related to this Universe, to Create his equal. Now you're probably saying why doesn't he just do what he did to "create" us and "create" his equal (sort of re-phrasing the original question, but more precisely)? So we then come to a second answer. Well let him do that and since such an act can not in an way diminish him, he must still be infinte and all powerful and so his "clone" really is just him to begin with. Does that make him "limited" in that he "actaully" never created a clone because he can't. No because to say that is to agian make Fundemntal Flaw #1, and ascribe the concepts of duality or enmuration or "duplication" to describe or understand him and assume that is sufficient to explain what his "clone" should be. He is One. He is the Source. Any other concept is to assume He is less than what He is.

Each time I take one of these mental journies, I find myself more and more at awe with the sublime beauty of the truth in: God is One. There can be no refuation nor corruption of its inate elegance and simplicity by any form of though or concept. It holds true to every test that reason can muster against it simply because it is the Truth. It can not be by definition any other way. The beauty in the elegance of the logic that validates it as the Truth is as sublime as the finest poetry or the mathematical concepts once fully understood.

Continued ....



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 14, 2000.


Continuation ....

Now to responding to *some* (I'd end up writing a book if respondend to every statement) of the individual posts made since my last post.

Gregg:

Very nice piece. Why do I not disagree with most of what was there? Perhaps because I've been saying essentially the same thing from the begining. BTW, please, please could you give the name of the book and the author? However there are a some points that I don't agree with, *some* of which I just mention below, but have not elaborated for brevity's sake. As I said also many of the statments from the exerpts are true, but no proof was given. Those who require a proof for statements they *believe* to be false, for which no proof was given, I would be pleased to attempt them, (more for my own satisfaction than anything else) unless they are not statements I can show to be false.

[... both of whom assert that the inner nature of THE ALL is UNKNOWABLE]

I agree if "knowable" means using the "facilities" of Creation as per my Fundemental Observation #1, but I disagree if "knowable" means experiencing "The All" as "The All". Following this the book explains my Fundemental Observation #1 from a very passionate point of view, but offers no proof. I offer the proof above, at the start of this reply.

[(At this point, it may be proper for me to state that we make a distinction between Religion and theology -between Philosophy and Metaphysics. Religion to us, means that the intuitional realization of the existence of THE ALL, and one;s relationship to it; while Theology means the attempts of men to ascribe personality, qualities, and characteristics to it; their theories regarding its affairs, will, desire, plans, and designs; and their assumption of the office of "middle-men" between THE ALL and the people. Philosophy, to us, means the inquiry after knowledge of things knowable and thinkable; while Metaphhysics means the attempt to carry the inquiry over and beyond the boundaries and into regions unknowable and unthinkable, and with the same tendency as that of Theology. And consequently, both Religion and Philosophy means to us things having their root in Reality, while Theology and Metaphysics seem like broken reeds, rooted in the quicksands of ignorance, and affording naught but the most insecure support for the mind or soul of Man. We do not insist upon students accepting these definitions - we mention them merely to show our position. At any rate, you shall hear very little about Theology and Metaphysics in these lessons.)]

Brilliant. I can accept these defitions. Upto know I held philosophy as the *results* of those who strove to understand, but not the journy itself. (Where did you get this book and what is it?)

["WHY does THE ALL create Universes?" Men have striven hard to answer this question, but still there is no answer worthy of the name. ...]

Exactly the conclusion I came to. John, if you don't give me the name of the book, I'm going to track you down :)

[... And, yet, THE ALL does create and manifest, and seems to find dome kind of satisfaction in doing so. And it is difficult to escape the conclusion that in some infinite degree it must have what would correspond to an "inner nature", or "creative instinct", in man, with correspondingly infinite Desire and Will. It could not act unless it Willed to Act; and it would not Will to Act, unless it Desired to Act; and it would not Desire to Act unless it obtained some Satisfaction thereby.]

Amazing. Even though the author so firmly and passionatly believes (possibly proven to himself) in the supmremicy of reason and in the Fudemental Observation #1, and aslo firmly states THE ALL can have any need to create, does not benifit from crating, etc, etc. (read the text in John's post between the "..." in my last two quotes above) the author still can not prevent falling into the trap of making Fundemental Flaw #1 (resutling, as I say will happen: in paradox, which the author himself admits a few words later

[..That is the probelm which lies at the root of difficulty - and the difficulty that lies at the root of the problem.])

This is probably because the conlusion that there can be no reason for the question "WHY does THE ALL create Unvierses", similar but not the same meaning as Why did God create things the way they are", just goes against every grain in his body and every sensibility he holds dear. I say, as Obi-wan told Luke when first training him in Jedi techniques - "Let go of yourself, it can decieve you". Here we see it is doing just that.

But then finally sucombes to reason at the end:

[Stricly speaking, there cannot be said to be any "Reason" whatsoever for THE ALL to act, for a "reason", implies a "cause", and THE ALL is above Cause and Effect, except when it Wills to become a Cause, at which time the Priciple is set into motion. So, you see, the matter is Unthinkable, just as THE ALL is Unknowable. Just as we say THE ALL merelt "IS" - so we are compelled to say that "THE ALL ACTS BECAUSE IT ACTS." At the last, THE ALL is all Reason in Itself; All Law in Itself; All Action in Itself - and it may be said, truthfully, that THE ALL is Its OWN Reason; its own Law; its own Act - or still further, that THE ALL; Its Reason; Its Act; is Law; are ONE, all being names for the same thing.]

The argument about why there can be no reason is almost identical, though subtly differnt, to my own and also exactly correct.

Eve, do you now understand why there is no leap of faith in saying the First Cause is the same as God, and like I said they are just synonyms.

John, did I tell you, I need to know the book. :)

Brian:

WRT to my use of numbers in my proof:

[I would be very interested in hearing more about numbers and the "Big Picture". Would you happen to have an Aribic origin in your "beliefs". If I remember right they were seriously into geometry when expressing themselves. If I remember right they [the Arabs] were seriously into geometry when expressing themselves.]

Thank you for this question. I trust the following will be sufficient:

"The scientific achievements of the Muslim civiliation are truly stagering. Indeed, scientific method as generally understood today, was introduced by the great Muslim empiricists and experimeneters. In the lab reports (source documents) of al-Battani (d. 929), al-Baruni, (d.1048) and ibn Haytham (d.1039) we find this method described and used. The Muslims also turned mathematics into the language of science. With these two innovations there seemed no limite to their research and discoveries.

"The earliest breakthroughs took place in mathematics and astronomy. Al-Khwarizmi (d. 850) invented logarithms and alegbra which comes from the title of the book "Kitab al-jabr wa' muqabala" (The Book of Inheritcance). Through this book, 300 years later, the Western world would be introduced to zero and adopt Arabic numerals. In "The Shape of the Earth", al-Khwarizmi left no one in doubt. Abud Wafa (d 997/8) developed trigonometry and spherical geometry, came up with sinze and tangent tables, and discovered variations in the moon's motion. Omar Khayyam [mediocre poet, brilliant mathematician] (d.1123) solved third and fourth-degree equations by intersecting conics- the highest algebraic achievment of modern mathematics.

"So accruate were Muslim scientists that al-Battani, considered to be the greatest Islamic astronomoer, was out by 24 seconds from today's accepted value in his calculation of the length of the solar year. Al-Baruni's mearsurements of specific gravities of various metals and precious stones and of longtitude and latitudes of earth are correct to three decimal places.

"Five hundread years before Galileo, al-Baruni discussed the rotation of the earth on its axis; and al-Battani measured the circumference of the Earth.

"ibn al-Haytahm (d. 1039) was a trailblazer in optics. Experimenting with 27 different types of spherical lenses, he discovered the laws of reflection and refraction, explaiend the apparent increase in the size of the stars near the zenith, and discovered that the eye does not send out rays (as Euclid and Ptolemy beleived) but reflects them. His "Optical Thesaurus" is one of the most plagiarized texts in the history of science. Guilty parties include Roger Bacon, da Vinci, Kepler; even Newton is under scholarly suspicion [Remember he did say about his discoveries that "I stood on the shoulders of giants" in reference to the Muslims].

...

"Historians of science have noticed the similarity between the planetary models produced at Maraga and Damascus [both among the most famous of Muslim observatories] with those of Copernicus. A mere coincidence?

"Astronomy comes immediatley after religion as the most noble and perfect science. It adorns the mind and sharpens the intellect, it makes man recognize God's oneness - Al-Battani in Opus Astrononmicium. [Hmm, never knew that before I just typed it here--may be that's why I've been an ameteur astronomoer since I was 12]"

And the list goes on and on into Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, etc.

Above taken from Muhammed for Beginners (also known as Introducing Muhammed)

Arthur:

[GROUND RULES.  3. We will not debate the nature of God as that is not germane to the discussion.

Being able to prove something exists is not dependent on understanding its nature.

We disagree, for without knowing the nature of the object we cannot prove anything about it, existence included.

Thomas Aquinas states ...as soon as the wordGod, is understood it is at once seen that God exists. For by this word is signified that thing than which nothing greater can be conceived.]

Who is "we"?

You now use logic to explain why you think you are correct. If you wish to use logic to prove a point and do not quote Thomas Aquinas and his *opinion* (he offered no proof), but instead offer me a proof to what you say or demonstrate to me a contradiction in what I say.

Notwithstanding this, Thomas Aquinas's opinion is correct and you misunderstand him. My interpretation (as that is all we have since he offereed no proof) is that when he says to "understand" the word God it is the same as to understand "God is One" because he himself says (paraphrasing) "by this word is signfied nothing greater can be concieved" and at that point existence is proved. Understanding "God is One" results in the same once understood, and I have proved that this results in the existence of God.

St. Anslem's quote you provide

[That which has all perfections lack the perfection of existence]

is also just an opinion and is really says nothing.

BigDog:

I think you'll find your "God-Man" concept and others violate Fundemental Observaton #1 and lead to contradictions.

Eve:

WRT to affeting other beliefs. I agree with you that's why I am stating so forcefully my points as when done with respect to the other position it allows others to come to new understanding with destroying their existing understanding. However I believe without such respect, what I said can happen.

[Regarding my question: "How do you get from a first cause to God",

you replied that, "the term 'First Cause' really is really for me a term or synonym for God." Yet you also say that "we can know he exists without faith."

These two statements of yours seem to contradict each other. The former implies a leap of faith, while the latter denies this. Please elaborate. ]

Let me know if after reading everything I have written so far in this post so far still leaves you confused.

[ "How can you prove (through reason) God still exists?"

You said, in part, "Well, if he doesn't exist, then something more powerful than him (a law, or another entity) made him disappear. Then he could not have been God to begin with, as he was not omnipotent."

Do you believe that He, in some way, willed Himself into existence to begin with?]

This would be a contradiction to everything else I have proved so far.

[If so, why couldn't He will himself back out? Even if he always existed, if He is truly omnipotent, why couldn't He will Himself out of existence, if He so chose? That would simply be one of His powers. In fact, you could argue that if He was unable to will Himself out of existence, then by that fact alone He is not omnipotent.]

See the book John quoted. The answers was given very well there with respect to THE ALL. If that is still not sufficent let me know and I will explain further. However you are now guilty of the fundemntal flaw #1 and violate Fundemental Observation #1. You are assuming that the concept of "non-existence" as we are able to comprehend it applies to God.

Phil:

[When showing that science has figured out the process of creation through scientific means, and then coming up with the question, is this simply the method god used, was trying to show the possibilities of a lesser infinity towards god.]

Are you asking me a question here? I don't understand your point. Do you mean process the actual steps, or that just the event took place?

[{But I do wonder about the apparent contradiction between god as the begginning and god the infinite.}]

See my response near the begining of the thread to Eve, on this very point.

Your explaination about the piece of paper is fundemental flaw #1.

John:

[From this I infer that God does not have a chaotic mind, but a well-ordered mind.]

He is neither. He is One. You are making fundemental flaw #1. Re-read your book exerpt about understanding God's attributes.

[I would submit that God has defined the order and imposed it on himself.]

Not possible. That would imply he was at one point unordered, also means he underwent an "improvement process", implies time passed for him, etc. etc. Fundemental flaw #1.

[(if God is omnipotent, can he make a rock so heavy that even he can't lift it? I'll give the answer later if you're stumped)]

No need to. Leads to a contradiction.

[When did God impose this order? Was it at the creation of the Universe, or was it just, like God, always there, outside of time? Infinity is tricky like that.]

On himself? He never did. Fundemental flaw #1. See my reply a few lines earlier starting wiht "Not possible."

[Now then, to address the problem of the trinity. First the concept of three. Now, as you said God created three. When? Or was it just always there with God? If it was eternal as God is eternal, then there is no problem with there being three of something in all eternity.]

Ok with the answer at the begining of this post?

Nathan:

[I believe there are but two avenues to the "understanding" of the nature of God...]

Fairly close to what the Muslims believe. But your statement:

[For to "understand" God is to be God.]

is exactly correct, alternatively as the Sufis explain it "experience" rather than "be", but "be" is also correct. There is a interesgint story of a Muslim who claimed "I am the Truth". This was a bit much for some, and he was behedded and cut into little pieces. Each little piece continued to say "I am the Truth".

Eve:

[But every time I tried to reason it out I came to a dead end.]

Fundemental flaw #1. Do you understand now, why you'll never get out of this dead end and you must move to "God is One" as that irrefutably is the Truth.

Bemused:

"it's not an inconceivable leap to then be able to simulate experimentally the creation of a universe ourselves."

Once you have your Theory of Everything - which encompasses the known sciences. How do you know you have everything. Also as you say they postulate there exists such a theory. They are welcome to such opinions and search for them. I submit, as I mentioned earlier, science will discover Creation is limitless.

Diane:

Another hot button with me.

With all due respect, the English language has genders in its expressive form. It is a rule of grammer in English that the use of the pronoun "he" in a sentance does not limit the sentance's meaning only to the masculine unless it referss specifically to a person. Some items in English are chosen to with a feminine gender (such as "She was a fine ship") and others masculine. The entire French language is based on splitting virtually everything into gender. Please explain to me how if you change the English language to remove all gender references you have changed how the people think. You'll need to change French, and every other such language. The only people who concern themselves which such petty matters are those who are insecure of themeselves with who they are. With all due respect if a ship is referred to as "She" is this supposed to make me fill offended in some way if I'm a man. If a lady is referred to as "woman" is this supposed to make me feel offended if I'm a lady because I don't have my "own" word to refer to me as a lady. I find that this whole issue has gone to the heigh of stupidty on the part of the population when the issue of Christmas and Easter vacations is brought up in schools. Here we are in Christian countrys, who have our own fighting to remove such references from these vacations and to instead refer to these vacations as "breaks" or "festive holidays" and other such nonsense simply because our own don't want to offend the "minorities". For crying out loud, these are vactions for sepcific reasons and the minorities themselves are amazed by this. Do you think in India, if you went and told them (let alone an Indian suggesting it themselves) to not call "Diwhali" (the most joyus holiday in Hindu culture) because a few Christians or Muslims would be offended you would be even given the time of day. I believe the answers would be well they are welcome to leave, this is a Hindu country. This only re-inforces my opinion that those concerned about Political Correctness are insecure about themselves, what they believe in and what they stand for. As they say if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything. I predict that mainstream America and Europe will do away with this within 2 generations.

As surely as *He* is my witness, I'll not make another comment on this, nor respond to any replies on this in this thread as I don't want to pollute it with an off topic issue. I only make this in response to the fact your comment was addressed to me particularly.

Eve:

[And I know I.S. is going to bring it up!]

Am I that predicable now? :) What a shame.

Laurane:

[WRT the Theory of Recursion....if we take literally the God of the OT and believe that there is a God (Father) and his Son (Jesus) and the Holy Ghost (3rd part of the Godhead), then what does that do to the theory?? ]

Answer: Nothing. You assume the Trinity is correct because it is stated as such. Ok, try this I state that 2+2=5. Now what does that do to the entire foundation on which Mathematics? Answer: Nothing, because I assume it is correct because I (in this case, alhtough it could have beens someone else) stated it is such.

No Polly:

[It is mind-boggling to consider the infinite, like what is beyond the universe, and what is past that? Likewise, the idea of a God with no beginning is unknowable via reason alone.]

If you truly seek the truth, then don't be fixated on what can't be done. Look at what has been done with the evidence I have given and if you find it incorrect, then demonstrate it as such, otherwise move onto "God is One".

John:

[Aquinas was an exceptionally logical man. Anyone who reads the Summa can see the effort that he expended to examine every possiblity and to leave no stone unturned in his pursuit of the truth. But his mystical experience made him realize that his extraordinary mind could not adequately explain or demonstrate the mystery of the divine.]

Seems to corroborate my interpreation of Arthur's quote from Aquinas. Aquinas and I are in agreement in his statement here.

John, you already know what to select as being correct, move to it and don't cling to concepts that can be demonstrated as false.

[I think admitting the existance of God is a kind of scary thing to many people though. Because if God exists, then the next question that comes is: How then should I live? This may require a radical lifestyle change, and most people don't want to change. This is (partially) I think why this question has been so hotly debated over the centuries.]

Exactly what I said to Eve, way back, when she got stuck on the recursion proof.

[I have personally chosen the Christian religion, because after careful examination, I believe it to be True. Not containing valuable truths, but rather a fundamental reflection of the way things are. If you talked to Interested Spectator I believe he would tell you the same thing about Islam. A rabbi would tell you the same thing about Judism etc.]

There can be only one Truth. The religions are inconsequential. I will quote whatever I find that has no contradictions and offers proofs for all the reasons I give. (Even one of my earlier replies were in response to a post that even Christianity had to resort to reason to try and resolve the issue of the Trinity, (wheater it did or did not actually resolve the issue is inconsequential)). John, I'd love to quote your you book, when I know it.

Jumping ahead to Beerman's post, where he asks of me:

[Perhaps a better question to ask is, Do you accept that God can exist in some Trinitarian way that does not contradict reason nor the fact that he is indivisible, even if no one so far has succeeded in explaining how that can be?]

A fair question, and the answer is: No. Why? Because no one will be able to succeed in that explaination as they will violoate Fundemental Observation #1. That is the remarkable thing about proofs, is they establish a fact for all time. 2+2=4. We do not just accept this becuase no body has shown it to be false so far. It can be proven to be so, and therefore we no longer need to waste time trying to prove it is not 4 any more as the proof that it is 4 demonstrates there never will be a proof showing it is not 4.

Let me ask you a question. You say "I have personally chosen teh Christian religion because after careful examination, I believe it to be True. Not containing valuable truths, but rather a fundamental reflection of the way things are." You also say "... just because we don't understand something does not mean that it can't be true. If it *is* contradictory to reason, however, then it cannot be true", referring in the abstract to any issue. Why do you believe in the Trinity when it contradicts reason?

Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and so forth are really names for a collection of tenents. They are simply a synonm to allow one to quickly understand how the person thinks and what they hold important or True, without having to go and explain everything about themselves. Unfortuneatly, most people don't realize this and the name of the religion rather than its purpose has become more important than the tenents. John are you a Christian because of the Trinity? I submit you are more a Muslim than a Christian, you just are unaware of what it fully means to be a Muslim, other than it is a different word than Christianity. Don't misunderstand me, I do not say you are a Christian or a Muslim, but closer to Islam than Christianity. You may call yourself a Christian, but God knows what you really are.

[I'll get off the soapbox now, but best of luck. I hope you find what you're looking for.]

After all this, and now you leave. No lets continue this debate, and see where we go. At least give me some response to the questions I answered that you asked of me.

Beerman:

WRT to the Trinity, that was the quote I believe, but I've elaborated more at the begining of this post and in the reply to John, just above.

[Interested Spectator:

I disagree with you that all reality is divided up into being and nothingness.]

Where did I say this?

[[Does Christianity accept evolution? If it does, why did it change its mind from before? And does it accept it completely as science explains it?]

...but the Catholic Church has stated that you are free to believe in evolution]

Sounds to me that the Catholic Church wants it both ways now. Since this was not always the case I ask again the key question: Why did it change its mind? How can one rely on a Religion that shifts with the tide. The faith can not be a foundation from which to weather storms of living if it can not dependend on to stay true to its teachings. This would give me more to be concerened about than anything else we have discussed so far.

[You said, [You say the author of the Bible"used terms that he knew". That means you then make the author a human being. To err is human. Excuse me, but the author has made mistakes] Normally, to err is human, but not in writing the Bible.]

You can not say that when writing the bible there will be no mistakes. It is a known fact it is not the word of God, but a collection of items put together long after Christ departed, and has been revised many times. Why does it get revised. The Qur'an was written at the time of Muhammad and has never been revised. This is a historical fact by scholars of all faiths.

Seem's like the volume is decreasing so I think I'll be able to reply as posts come in now.

CIAO for now.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 14, 2000.


John,

Yes, this (Isaiah 45:7) is a very interesting contrast, where God creates "evil" in the KJV, yet creates "calamity" in the NASB, and "disaster" in the NIV. Offhand, I'm not sure what the translation problems were, though. At first pass, it seems the modern versions were trying to tone it down.

Gregg,

Whoo -- alluring parallel -- time, space and "something" representing the Trinity. Can you expand on this? I'd also like to see you tie this in with the recursion theory.

The number theories are thought-provoking, but I have no experience with this. Feel free to elaborate, though -- I'm all ears.

BigDog,

Could one infer, from your last paragraph (re Biblical translation problems), that God perhaps never intended to communicate His word in any language but, say, Hebrew and Aramaic?

Now with a question like this last one, I move closer to fearing that I might be beginning to step on toes (maybe I had long before this!). Please, BigDog, or anyone else, if my questions upset you I need to know this. I never intend to offend; I really want to know these things.

Interested Spectator,

I just noticed that you've published a new book, and posted it here. I'll get to it as soon as I can.

To all,

Tomorrow I'll be very busy, but I'll try to get something in later in the day.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 14, 2000.


Beerman -

Of course the answer is two rungs, and this is the essential problem of perception that I/we came to in the first riddle. That the confusion comes in the presentation of the story, and we strain to solve it in terms or denominations that make the solution simple. The extra 1 (dollar) is delicti in it's oneness, as it is a function of the $.663i each has contributed to our errant bellhop. While we conclude equally, I was attempting to bring the misrepresentation of logic to light. Your answer is succinct and correct, but doesn't address the facts that cause the confusion to *most* that are presented with it. Why are most people fooled into adding the two dollars back into the equation? Because they have been led there! We look for the buck and forget the culprit. We search for the solution to God, but forget the reason we were separated in the first place.

Biblically, it is said that no one has ever seen God, and yet he lived with the Jewish nation in the desert for 40 years. In a cloud by day, and a fire by night. They were able to perceive presence, but not Him/Her. He fed them and clothed them and loved them, yet they ultimately rejected Him. Sad commentary on events then and now, IMHO. Why did they reject him, again? Because they were "LED" to! It is a fundamental flaw in our conscience universe. It would seem that everything has, and must have, its antithesis in this plane. It is through this fundamental that things such as antimatter, antigravity, black holes, etc. are *ever* conjured for proprosition-theorem-maxium gymnastics. Yet these things are ultimately proven out, and the here-and-now plane returns to a perceived harmonious balance once again. All the while we slip deeper and deeper into the pit of Hell. Through the arrogance of knowledge, we begin to consider the "logic" of God, faith, or responsibility. These things are not logical in an unshepherded flock. Remember the roots of the original fall of both Lucifer and Adam. Remember also the promises of rewards for those that pass the test. Waters of eternal life, fruit from the tree of knowledge, and lack of judicious rewards.

Today, while looking through some of my old papers from about 10 years ago, I came across this;

I looked for God, but I could not see

I searched for my soul, but it avoided me

I sought out my brother, and found all three

I am not sure exactly what spiritual quest I was on at the time I wrote these lines, but I do remember it as a very, very low point in my life. I believe I was in a hospital for depression at the time. I had had a terrible awakening about human nature. I lost all faith in reasonable treatment from homo erectus. Suicide was a constant companion, and the vortex that drew me inexorably down could not be quelled by anything prescribed by doctor, friend, or church. I truly thought my life was at end. Throughout it all, I refused to surrender a core need to help others. My thoughts were constantly consumed at the plight of those trapped in our 4th floor environs. Well, those three lines pretty much sum up that chapter of my life, albeit human nature has slipped even further during this, just past, decade, IMHO.

The solution to God is as simple as the riddle, but much harder to see. If only we had evolved an organ similar to corpus callosum, with which we could connect all facets of our being to our creator. But then that would sublate the purpose of the test, now wouldn't it?

Respectfully

Michael

Aside- IS, Do you know where Mohammed is buried? Why? Also consider if you will; If you recall, Jesus was called to ascend with Satan during his fasting (?also). Ascension should not be the singularly most valid reason to subscribe to dogma. How many passages, in written or spoken history, foretold of the coming of Mohammed?

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), January 14, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

My comment about your new "book" was made in fun -- not sarcastic. You had to see my cheshire cat smile!

I look forward to crossing swords (or maybe coming to terms!) with you again soon.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 14, 2000.


To All:

I just realized I've mixed up a few references to people. The main one seems to be referring to Gregg's book on THE ALL as John's book. Sorry John and Greg.

Also I ascribe the quote:

[just because we don't understand something does not mean that it can't be true. If it *is* contradictory to reason, however, then it cannot be true.]

to John but it was made by Beerman. Sorry Beerman.

John:

I don't know why I kept having your name in my head, so please accept my appologies, and I trust you will re-interprete or ignore my "challenges" to you appropriatly.

Not withstanding the incorrect references, my arguments still hold.

Once again, John, please accept my appologies.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 14, 2000.


To All:

I just realized I've mixed up a few references to people. The main one seems to be referring to Gregg's book on THE ALL as John's book. Sorry John and Greg.

Also I ascribe the quote:

[just because we don't understand something does not mean that it can't be true. If it *is* contradictory to reason, however, then it cannot be true.]

to John but it was made by Beerman. Sorry Beerman.

John:

I don't know why I kept having your name in my head, so please accept my appologies, and I trust you will re-interprete or ignore my "challenges" to you appropriatly.

Not withstanding the incorrect references, my arguments still hold.

Once again, John, please accept my appologies.

(Sorry, if this post shows up in duplicates--getting no response from the server again).

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 14, 2000.


"Patrick, You know, I was so eager to make amends to you that I posted a reply before I had a real reply ready!

Anyway, a question:

Regardless of the Hebrew, the english translations do not reflect these variants when referring to God, right? In that context, it still seems reasonable, from an english (only) speaking/reading Christian's point of view, to see the plurals as early signs of the Trinity, and nothing more. Wouldn't you agree?"

eve.....

.....Just a short answer; I'm of the mind that if a person studying the Scripture fails to compensate for the lack of proper translation, then it is truly impossible facilitate understanding. As an example, there are four different Hebrew words that were all transcribed into the English, "man." These are: Adam, Ish, Enosh and Geber; if the transliteration brought forth by King James' scribes only give one word, how then are we to understand which of these is used where, in what context? I believe in order to fully comprehend what the message is, then we must track these words back to the original manuscripts. I'm fortunate to have found a 1611 KJV, A.V. that includes some language "helps," that, in tandem with a Strong's Exhaustive Concordance provide all that is necessary for proper discernment.

.....Many other similar examples are present, some of them with far more than four words transcribed into one. I feel it is truly vital to use the languages for understanding Scripture.

-- Patrick (pmchenry@gradall.com), January 14, 2000.


"Your explainations require one to believe the bible first. As you notice Eve is Jewish, so you will not make any headway with her by quoting the Bible. Similarly you will make litte headway with others who have questions about religion but find the Bible unsatisfactory as it requires blind faith to accept its answers."

Hi Spectator, How does one who believes in the Trinity even begin to discuss it when the discussion does not allow for one to refer to the bible or their Christian faith as their reason for believing in it? Isn't that sort of a separate issue than believing in God, as no other faith believes in it? One doesn't need to be Christian to believe in a God, but one must be Christian to believe in the Trinity. Take care, Miranda

-- Miranda (dontemailme@thanks.com), January 15, 2000.


200

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200

200

200

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-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), January 15, 2000.


The reason is that the Trinity is explained by the Christians as an attribute of the Truth, hence, it can and should be discussed indepenedent of the Bible.

Are you saying the Trinity exists because the Bible says it does, or the Trinity exists regardless of what the bible says? It appears you are saying the former. In which case you have proved my point for me: the Trinity exists only because the Bible says so, but does not in reality.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 15, 2000.


All, The most important thing for Christians and others to know when confronted with the teachings of a false religion is the Truth.

God did all that is required to reconcile men to Himself. Christ bore our sin, died on the Cross shedding His Blood as a completely propitious sacrifice for sin, and He rose again bodily from the dead. Believing this testimony and wholly trusting Jesus Christ for salvation is all that is necessary to be saved.

The "gospel" of Islam is something quite different. Similar to many modern cults, Islam claims to revere the writings of all the prophets. Yet, Muslims unequivocally subjugate the Scriptures to the "prophecy" of Muhammad.

It is our responsibility to testify to the Truth, even as we cry out against the error of any false religion.

It is important for God's people to be aware of the fact that many so-called Christians are willing to compromise the Truth of God's Word in the interest of building bridges with various religions. Islam seems to be asserting itself in the area of religious dialogue, and men and women who claim to represent Christianity are quickly building the credibility of Islam as a true religion. Instead of witnessing, Christians are encouraged to discover common ground with Muslims. Rather than exposing its errors, Christians are told to search for the truth in Islam. Thus, Islam is gaining a respectability that is simply not deserved.

While "Christians" are manifesting their "open mindedness," Muslims are spreading their false religious propaganda under the cover of dialogue. Muslims believe that all mankind must be brought into subjection to the spurious teachings of the Qur'an in order to experience peace and blessing. They will not compromise that belief. Muslims believe that the doctrine of the Incarnation of God is blasphemy. They will not compromise that belief. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the prophet who fully revealed the final truth. They will not compromise that belief. Muslims are "devoted to their ideals,... and uncompromising with falsehood" ("Moral System of Islam"). Only the glorious, liberating light of the one true Gospel will be able to break through such darkness.

Although those who practice Islam profess "to respect all those who are faithful and God conscious people," it is their contention that the one true religion is Islam. Muslims trace the "true religion" from Abraham through Ishmael, but the Bible absolutely contradicts this notion. Genesis 17:15-21 makes it clear that God rejected Ishmael, confirming the covenant blessings--including the fulfillment of the true religion to Isaac alone. In chapter 21 Hagar and Ishmael are cast out of Abraham's house with the sanction of God, "Let it not be grievous in thy sight".

Galatians chapter three deals with this subject of the true religion and directly references the events of Genesis 17 and 2 1. Galatians 3:8 says, "And the scripture, farseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed." The promise of salvation for Jew and Gentile was prophesied to come through the seed of Abraham. Verse 16 clearly relates the true religion, the only Gospel, to the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 17:15-21: "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. [God] saith not, And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." The Gospel preached to Abraham was the Gospel of Christ delivered through Isaac, not the gospel of Islam delivered through Ishmael!

Islam claims to be a religion of peace and tolerance. It is, in fact, characterized by instability and religious bigotry. It is our duty to stand for the Gospel and against all other gospels. Islam has rejected the essential teachings of the Word of God. The "prophet" Muhammad brought a message from a false spirit that totally opposes the Gospel of grace. The message of Islam is a curse, not a blessing.

Islam is being presented as a practical, modern religion though it holds its adherents in spiritual bondage. Christians must be diligent to witness to-not dialogue with Muslims. This is God's way of presenting the glorious light of the Gospel. There is only one true religion. It was prophesied in the Garden of Eden, typified in the days of Noah, confirmed to Abraham and Isaac, and realized in Jesus Christ.

-- Ric (Ric@1234.com), January 15, 2000.


Michael:

[How many passages, in written or spoken history, foretold of the coming of Mohammed?]

The Gospel of St. Barnabas.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 15, 2000.


Interested Spectator -

Wow, you're extremely persistant, an excellent quality. Sorry to be gone from the argument for so long. Anyway, to continue.

I believe the source of our disagreement is the fundemental divergence in our first principles. I believe that the Universe, while certainly not equal to God, can provide clues to his attributes. Just as we can (sometimes) determine the character of an author from his creations, we can sometimes determine the character of God from his. I believe this to be correct because our mind, as created by God, is an imperfect mirror of His own. This is what allows us to learn and discover the mind of God. This provides the link between reality as created by God and our minds. After all, if our minds were differently ordered from Gods, how would we percieve this created order? Order to the unordered mind would appear to be choas.

Your fundamental observation is almost completely opposed. [Now since Creation will never equal God, it therefore does not contain *in any form what-so-ever* (i.e. physical, thought, energy, language, contemplation, or anything else the pseudo-sciences can dream up) what is needed to *understand* God, *explain* God, or anything else about God. Now be carefull here, this has absolutly no bearing on knowing that God exists.]

To restate: Creation is not equal to God. Therefore it does not contain any of the necessary attributes to understand God. We can only determine that God exists (from Creations existance, I assume). I agree with the first sentance, but I disagree with the second.

However, if we suppose that this statement is true, I still think your argument still has some problems.

Reason is a part of creation. You claim to be using it when you show that God is indivisible. But this contradicts your first position that creation does not contain any of the necessary attributes to understand God. After all, indivisibility is an attribute.

Next. You say that the concept of three could not exist because that would mean that God would have been subject to that law, negating his omnipotence. Not if God had always chosen to limit himself in that way. There is no need to suppose that an infinite God is constrained to the creation of the concept of three at some point in time of his existance. Time is a human concept to break things up into managable bits. We cannot perceive all things at once as God can. By assuming that God is subject to time you reduce his omnipotence and violate your own first principle, that the created universe does not contain anything that we can use to understand God, (including time).

Finally, by negating the things within creation as valid points for argument, you are also negating the existance of motion; which is fundamental to your proof.

The next problem with your proof from mathematics. When you say that mathamatics cannot prove that it is/is not contradictory, you undermine your own concept. If the thing is not definately true or definately false we are forces to assign it the third catagory in three valued logic of "maybe". We'll even use four valued logic and assign it the value of "maybe true". This still falls short of an absolute proof.

I think your problem here is is that you are trying to assign absolute truth to the existence of God, when you're own reason only derives its validity from its mirroring of God's mind. Your own ability to reason is dependant on God's existance, so you cannot use it to demonstrate God's existance. I admire (and share) your faith in the existance of God, but I don't think you can ever hope to prove it.

That being said, I move back to my first statement on the reasons for accepting the existance of God. Every time we use reason, we must begin with an axiom, a thing that is unprovable, but on which all else rests. However our own reason cannot have authority, unless there is something outside of reason which assures us of its authority. That thing is God. Thats why I said that all rejections of God ultimately end in the rejection of reason.

I'd be happy to move this discussion on to what we can know and discover about God through reason, but I can only do that if you remove or restate your fundamental observation. It is obviously just as limiting to you as it is to me. If it forbids me from assigning the property of the trinity to God, it also forbids you from assigning the property of indivisibility to God.

A small final note to Eve. The problem with the change in translation in Isaiah is that it raises some rather puzzling theological questions. It seems to imply that God is not completely good. After all, he "creates evil". This raises some rather troubling and difficult questions, that I will discuss later if you like, because its late and I'm tired and this thread is already very long.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 15, 2000.


Interested Spectator -

One more thing.

>[(if God is omnipotent, can he make a rock so heavy that even he can't lift it? I'll give the answer later if you're stumped)]

>No need to. Leads to a contradiction.

A *logical* contradiction? Isn't this just imposing reason as a higher law on God making him not omnipotent etc. etc.?

Sorry if it seems like I'm picking on you Interested Spectator, but you are the most vocal poster on this thread and the squeaky wheel tends to get the grease. :)

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 15, 2000.


Forgive me for being naive, but I've always doubted that the existence / non-existence of God could be ever be proved. You can justify God as a hypothesis, but that's a far as it gets.

The idea that everything must have a cause, therefore the Universe must have a cause, that cause is God, therefore God exists is very cute, but it only "proves" God in abstract terms. It does not validate the existence of God as detectable presence claimed to be felt by millions of religious believers all over the globe.

Cosmology has room for God, but I am not sure Biology does... it's no coincidence that most biologists are reductionist whereas most cosmologgists are prone to divine speculation.

I am aware that I might be disrupting the flow of this thread - feel free to skip this post and continue with whatever you were talking about if you want.

I am not making any deductions about God here; I am just describing what I see as a contradiction between religion and science - I don't believe that they naturally lead to same conclusion.

This is something I wrote on another forum:

The only way to shoehorn God into Darwinism is to redefine God as an interventionist as opposed to a creator. There is no Biblical evidence for this. God is described as having been in control from the very beginning; not as someone/something who intervened in a self- sustaining and completely random process (Darwinian evolution)and raised humanity to consciousness by a special act. You cannot successfully argue that God breathed a soul into the empty vessel that was created via evolution. Darwinian evolution is an essentially reductionist/materialist idea; we do not have souls as such, but rather ideas of souls/consciousness that originate from within our own minds and nowhere else. Everything that has evolved in the universe(including human consciousness) can be traced to a material source. Darwinian evolution challenges any attempt to define humanity in non-material terms, and that is why is presents problems for Christians(or anyone else who believes in a human "spirit").

In some respects I am more sympathetic to Christians who defend the literal interpretation of Genesis; at least they are presenting a coherent view of humanity (even though it is obvious that the universe is not 10'000 years old). Those that try to accomodate evolution into their faith are forced to explain away the reductionist/material threat that Darwinism presents to their cherished idea of human beings as unique created individuals with immortal souls. The reductionist aspects of Darwinism have not been invented by secular scientists hellbent on undermining the authority of the Church; they are the unavoidable implications of a theory that does not require a Creator.

I'd love to believe in the interventionist God; evolution and faith could live happily side by side then, but this is a fabrication. I can cope with fabrications, but they don't look good. The theories of Darwin have forced many people to re-evuluate their beliefs. One thing is certain though. If you "believe" in Darwinism then you have to change your concept of God and yourself. What worries me is that many Christians still think they can get away with believing two contradictory ideas. I know that I can't.

I'm not exactly convinced by Darwinism, but surely the existence of a _theory_ (based on observations of the present, and extrapolation into the past: a scientific theory) that is completely random and does not _need_ a creator/cause is a challenge to the notion that science and religion do not always come the same conclusions.

I'm no theologian, but surely saying that there is no contradiction between science and religion cannot be justified.

Creationism and Darwinism cannot both be correct.

-- - (Cr@sh.com), January 15, 2000.


Cr@sh-

That would depend on ones vision of the timelines involved. They could certainly coexist within the known/alleged age of the Universe and the brevity of our existence in it. There would merely have to be chapters missing, out of place, or unwritten, to explain your perceived dilemma.

TWIMC -

It would seem that all my experience proves out to a conclusion of the existence of a creator, and we are being drawn to that creator by example. I think the Trinity is such an example. It is basically summed up in the tertiary proposition "I was, I am, I will be" Using IS's postulate of recursion, I would have had to exist at some point before I became, I can not deny the reality that today I exist, and if the laws of physics apply to reality in this present plane, then I will be, since energy can neither be created or destroyed (by us anyway).

This would support the idea/example of the Trinity. God was (before we were), he came to rescue us, as Jehova/Jesus/Emmanuel, and he resides until fruition, as the Holy Ghost, for the sake of all. He/she was, is, and will always be! During Christ's tenure here, he accomplished all three.

This would also help explain the existence of realities such as mongoloid savant, genius, happiness, and love. I am far too limited to understand the existence of all things I perceive, but then most of those will not be on the quiz. Although you may perceive me to be two blocked by pragmatism, and bound by monotheism, the scroll upon which my life is written is smeared with ego, pride, and innumerous vain excursions. All of which have not added a single second to my life, but their failure has led ostensively to my future. (big smile)!

Respectfully

Michael

-- Michael (mikeymac@uswest.net), January 15, 2000.


Cr@sh -

The key to understanding this, I think, is that evolution does not necessarily have to be the result of random forces. We are confronted with a body of evidence that seems to show a pattern of change. Assuming that the change was random, is just that, an assumption. Saying that slow change over time was directed is just as justified by the evidence as saying that it was random. The reason many in science opposes the notion that the change might have been directed is that they dislike the implications of that theory. Which is not very scientific of them. God could obviously create slowly or quickly, if he so desired.

That being said there have been some excellent recent scientific challenges to evolution as a random process. May I especially recommend "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe. He argues that the scientific evidence points towards a designer rather then to random forces.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 15, 2000.


God is Love.

@}->-- 3~0 3~0 3~0 3~0 3~0 3~0 3~0 @}->-- 3~0 3~0 3~0

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), January 15, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Hi, again, I.S.! Thanks for all the work you're putting into this. First, you should know that if I had the time, I'd comment on almost everything, but, alas, there are only so many hours in the day (sigh)...

Also, forgive me if I reply in pieces. I can't get to your whole post (that is, the part addressed to me) at once. But let me know if you would prefer me to take it all on at once, and I'll be glad to do so.

Anyway, I'd like to start with a point that was not addressed directly to me:

(You said in effect that just because you don't understand something does not mean it doesn't exist.) -- regarding God. As I replied to John earlier in the thread (page 85 on my printout, many times the effects of things in the natural world that cannot be seen, scientifically imply and confirm the existence of the underlying cause. So I see no problem in applying concepts to things unseen, if their existence is implied by other evidence. Examples of this would be diseases before the invention of the microscope, and quantum particles. (The examples were provided by John).

I'm still pretty busy today and this evening, so please be patient (as you always seem to be anyway).

Talk to you soon, I.S.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 15, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I.S., I just looked at the remainder of your comments to me, and I guess I can reply now, because they really didn't directly address my questions. You made references to Gregg's post and your prior explanations, but I'm left wanting.

(Re my assertion that even if the recursion argument led to a First Cause, you still need a leap of faith to get from there to God)

Gregg's book was impressive, but all I can see are lots of really majestic assertions, but no clear refutation of my faith claim. Your responses to him, as well as other posts you may be referring to did not clear this up for me. Could you lay it out for me in your own words, and in direct response to my specific questions?

With respect to my other question about God's ability to will Himself out of existence: Same problems as above.

But can I add here a question as to what you might think of the idea of God's willing Himself into "eclipse"; thereby, effectively removing Himself from everything? As I mentioned in another post, many Jews felt he did just this during the Holocaust.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 15, 2000.


Hi, Patrick,

Thanks for your reply.

Are you familiar with Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus? These were not discovered until the mid-19th century, are more complete, said to be more reliable, and date back much further than any of the manuscripts used in the KJV. These form the basis for many of the changes from the KJV to the modern versions.

Also, what do you think of 1 John 5:7 ? It's the clearest statement of the Trinity in the KJV, but absent from all modern versions. In an earlier post, I talked about it a bit; it has a very interesting history.

Also, what do you think of the possibility of God intentionally not directly communicating His word in English, etc.?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 15, 2000.


Miranda,

I'm very interested in discussing the Trinity with you, from a Biblical perspective. I've studied the New Testament, and this subject fascinates me.

And stay in the thread; don't get discouraged. I'll bet there are a lot of us who are interested in what you have to say.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 15, 2000.


Hi, Ric,

Thanks for joining in.

You said,

"God did all that is required to reconcile men to Himself. Christ bore our sin, died on the Cross shedding His Blood as a completely propitious sacrifice for sin, and He rose again bodily from the dead. Believing this testimony and wholly trusting Jesus Christ for salvation is all that is necessary to be saved."

Ric, how do you reconcile this with the book of James 2:14-26, which says you must have works as well, to be saved?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 15, 2000.


Hi, Ric,

Thanks for joining in the discussion.

You said,

"God did all that is required to reconcile men to Himself. Christ bore our sin, died on the Cross shedding His Blood as a completely propitious sacrifice for sin, and He rose again bodily from the dead. Believing this testimony and wholly trusting Jesus Christ for salvation is all that is necessary to be saved."

Ric, how do you reconcile this with the book of James 2:14-26, which says you must have works as well, to be saved?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 15, 2000.


John,

You're referring to,

Isaiah 45:7 in the KJV, which says,

"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

John, I'd very much like to talk about this verse. I find it disturbing. BTW, the New King James Version (sic!), as well as all the other modern versions that I'm aware of, changes "evil" to "calamity"!

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 15, 2000.


Eve -

Do you mind if I comment on your question: Does God 'eclipse' Himself?

It can seen sometimes like He does, that he is not there. You can see this occuring in many of the writings of the Bible where the author feels like God has left him to his own devices. Psalms and Job come to mind as examples.

Or in a situation like the Holocaust, it seems impossible for God to exist, to be good, and to allow something like that to happen. The standard answer is that God allows evil to exist, but causes good to come from evil.

This sounds like pretty cold comfort, but I think it is demonstrated by experience. For example, if the Holocaust had not occured, then Isreal would probably not be under Jewish control, as it currently is. Secondly, since the beginning of recorded history, the Jewish race has been persecuted. Hopefully, the enormity of this event was enough to make sure that that sort of thing never happens again. I don't know, but I hope so.

This reminds me of the question that Joan of Arc's inquisitors asked her when she was on trial. They asked her why God would support the French instead of the English. After all, didn't God love the English just as much as the French? She replied that certainly God loved the English, but perhaps he just didn't want them in France. Sometimes God does things that are contrary to what we want or even think is right. But again that's pretty cold comfort when you are an English soldier getting your butt kicked out of France. Or a Polish Jew starving to death in a concentration camp.

Which also reminds me that I should recommend an excellent book to all of you. It's called "Army of Angels" and it's by Pamela Marcantel. It is a historically accurate retelling of the story of Joan of Arc. A wonderful story, one of the best I've ever read.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 15, 2000.


Patrick,

I should have clarified that the Codices I referred to above don't affect the Old Testament.

Ric,

Sorry for the double post -- I didn't think the first one went through.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 15, 2000.


IS, The book I'm qouting from is called "The Kybalion", published in 1912, by three unnamed "inititates" of Hermetic Philosphy.

It's really just a "primer" in which many of the maxims, axioms, and precepts of the Kybalion are accompanied by explanations 'which we deem likely to render the teachings more easily comprehended by the modern student, particularly as the original text is purposely veiled in obscure terms'.

It's my understanding, that many ancient texts, including the Bible, were purposely written so that not everyone could obtain the "keys" to understanding. Many people are not ready for the true responsibility it requires to be "enlightened". It seems most people want to "have someone else" do it for them, or be responsible for them.

"If I say these things, and act this way, then my salvation will be taken care of", that kind of thing. I'm not trying to offend anyone, but I feel that as with anything, great knowledge or power can be used wisely or destructively. Also, many ancients seem to feel that a person had to be prepared and "ready" to recieve the higher truths, or there was a true physical danger of exposing someone to something they were not ready for.

As I get older I'm more and more startled by the idea that GOD cares what happens to us, that he has some vested interest in the outcome of our personal events. Isn't it clear, that if GOD created EVERYTHING, then he created what we call "bad" as well?

Is it "bad" for a volcano to erupt? Or is it good, because minerals from beneath the surface will be brought up and in a few million years provide fertile soil for plants? Is it "bad" for a forest fire to burn the thick, choking brush, or good, since later the forest will grow with renewed vigor?

The only people that think it's bad or good is US. Why do we feel that GOD is gone when we something we think is bad is occuring? The "bad" is as much a part of GOD as the "good".

Another silly but absolutely pertinent example is two football teams each praying to GOD for victory. Do you think HE/SHE/IT (for Eve) cares? Hasn't it struck anyone, that believing GOD is "watching" or concerned about us, Humans, on a tiny planet in a galaxy with 100 billion stars, which is part of a Universe with 100's of billion of galaxys, is just a bit self-centered? Wouldn't it be more likely that HE is "concerned" about EVERYTHING? After all, HE created EVERYTHING.

We live, again, in a world of Duality. Everthing is "bad" for someone. But it is dual for us, not GOD.

I'm rambling, but this notion of the Trinity also escapes me as to why it's important. Many cultures have various "Gods" that they recognize, so as to make the experience of the "Divine Presence in Everything" more tangible and so one can feel they are in accord with GOD in the various activities of Life. Why does that matter? There is a terrific amount of symbolism in all these beliefs, and that's about where it MUST stay - for we are really talking about a subject that can't be KNOWN or even adequetely NAMED when we say GOD. The Symbol has one foot in the hear and now, and one foot in the Trancendent, and is a reference for what really is UNIMAGINABLE.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 15, 2000.


John:

You say:

[To restate: Creation is not equal to God. Therefore it does not contain any of the necessary attributes to understand God. We can only determine that God exists (from Creations existance, I assume). I agree with the first sentance, but I disagree with the second.]

Allow me to clarify. I actually said:

[Now since Creation will never equal God, it therefore does not contain *in any form what-so-ever* (i.e. physical, thought, energy, language, contemplation, or anything else the pseudo-sciences can dream up) what is needed to *understand* God, *explain* God, or anything else about God.]

The last part ("or anyting else about God") is sloppy and I should not have included it. That is not even my own position so I don't know where I got it from. My position is that we cannot truely explain or understand God, which is why I expressed the words as *understand* and *explain*. For greater clarity I should have also added the words "truly and fully" to the sentence.

Therefore this should clear up the point you made and I think your issue of motion, although I don't see how that was fundemental to my proof to begin with (perhaps you could elaborate if you still think it is fundemental, otherwise if the point is cleared away, we can move past it-regarldess of its applicability prior to my correction in my statement above).

Now it would seem to me that we are in agreement that there are really 2 issues under discussion here:

The first issue is that if God can be proven to exist? The answer can be conclusively answered if either a proof is be provided which demonstrates as a conclusion God exists, or a proof that such a task is an impossibility.

My position that once proven certain Truths will be also proven: that a) he is the creator of the universe and its laws (Creation), that b) he is omnipotent (that is the laws of nature do not apply to him and he can not be restricted by them), that c) he required no cause or creation on his part, that d) he is not subject to the laws of creation (similar but not exactly to b), that e) God is One and that he can not be enumerated into parts regardless of the form that those parts my be construed. That is to say the knowledge, concepts, ideas etc embodied by the word One (used with capital letters) will need to be true in every possible sense we can at least contemplate (and of course many more that can't contemplate, because should we be able to contemplate all of them then we would be able to fully understand God), that f) God is Infinite. (There may be other Truths and I do not claim this to be an exahustive list).

Notwithstanding if a proof of God's existance can or can not be found, the denial of God's existence by any given explaination will be able to be disproved as it will result in contradiction (which even you accept as being satisfactory to establish a fact or absense of fact regarding God as you use it to explain why the Trinity concept can be correct). Such contradiciton therefore merely establish that particular explaination can be true.

Basically until a proof can be provided that demonstrates God exists we can not say in the tautoligcal sense a if b and b if a, or to put it another way a if and only if b. You say the recursion theory doesn't apply because of Godel says reason is not reliable, but as I point out below you use reason yourself for your own arguments, so your claim that reason and logic can not beuse because of Godel is not valid. Nevertheless we are able to disprove every explaination that attempts to say God does not exist and show that it leads to contradiction.

Notwithstanding whether a proof is given as to God's existence that is satisfactory to all, since you and I at the very least both believe God exists, we can as you put it:

[happy to move this discussion on to what we can know and discover about God through reason]

as indeed we have been dong with respect to the Trinity.

Our second issue, would then appear to stiplate some of these Truths (lets call these the Axioms) and forgoe their proofs as both of accept them, and debate the remainder and see if they can be established as Truths by reason, (or at the very least to see if each explaination why they can not hold can be shown to be false, thereby at least showing intuitively, but not proving the Truth must be able to be true).

Now, with respect to the above Truths, any explaination given why a particular Truth can not hold, again will result in contradiction and therefore render such explaination false. However, it can also be proven that God must have such attributes in order to be God otherwise we would have contradictions within the stipulated Truths, or Axioms.

For clarification, I'd just like to state that indivisibility, as you put it, is no more an attribute than the fact that unity is an attribute. However just as Unity, or Oneness or a combination of words expressing such concepts of singularness are not sufficient to explain the fully concept that God is One (and it never will because that would be tantamount to explaining God fully), neither is the word "indivisibility" as you use it, since you specifically use it with the meaning it has in Creation, and then apply it God. I would explain this as making Fundemental Flaw #1, and its no wonder you then said there is a paradox. Of course there would be as I also say as much. (Just as an aside does creation actually even have the attribute of indivisibility in its truest sense? I have seen that each time science has thinks its found the smallest, it finds smaller still and therefore everything is divisible).

That being said, I'll breifly address your latest response concerning the trinity.

[Next. You say that the concept of three could not exist because that would mean that God would have been subject to that law, negating his omnipotence.]

That is correct and that was in response to your early comment on the trinity that:

"Or was it just always there with God? If it was eternal as God is eternal, then there is no problem with there being three of something in all eternity."

You then go on to say in your latest response that:

[Not if God had always chosen to limit himself in that way. There is no need to suppose that an infinite God is constrained to the creation of the concept of three at some point in time of his existance. Time is a human concept to break things up into managable bits. We cannot perceive all things at once as God can.]

You then make the conclusion that:

[By assuming that God is subject to time you reduce his omnipotence and violate your own first principle, that the created universe does not contain anything that we can use to understand God, (including time).]

Firstly I have said over and over that God is not subject to Time for exactly the reason you say. Secondly I have not assumed God is subject to time. You said that he "always had" the attribute of threeness, I said then this is limitation and so that could not be the case because he has a limition of having to abide by a law of threeness, no reference to time at all and no implication of a reference to it.

Now you say, well what if he chose to make himself 3 (so he's not subject to a law), and he does it right away (preempting an *anticpated* response from me with respect to time)?

It seems that the concept of how 3 can exist is a moving target. First it was 3 as we understand, then it was 3 as an inate property of God, now it is 3 as his choice.

Well, nevertheless then I ask you now that God does not exists as 3 because he always existed as 3 because instead he chose to, lets examine these new type of 3 parts that he willed himself into:

Are these 3 parts of him equal? Lets say yes. Then we have 3 Gods, and that we can see is contradictory as I have explained none can be a god as all are dependent on each other. There are many other arguments to show why you can't have 3 gods I'd be glad to provide. Lets say no, then we can assume one is more powerfull than the others and hence we really only have one God. If all are equally powerfull, but neither is complete so none can individual claim to be the God, each depending on the other to "complete" itself, then none is a god as none is free to act independently as it needs the cooperation of the others.

Do each of these 3 parts have their individual volition to do as they please? Lets say no, then none is God. Lets say yes, then if God chose to make himself 3, how will he make himself one (as he should be able to do that to), if one or two of the three parts says they'd rather not do that. That makes the him (or the part that wants to become one god again) not God as it doesn't have the power to re-constitute itself. If the three can be re-constitued then one part had to be more powerfull than the others so the others and the others had to listen to that one and do things His way, that makes that one part God (And did it my way--as Sinatra would say) and God was never not One to begin with.

However you wish to construe the 3 parts, only one can be God and hence God is never divided because he is One. To try and enumrate him is make as I say fundemental flaw #1. When I say he is One, it is as I said earlier a concept that includes and is beyond the concept of one as we understand it and with all those ideas about oneness God still exists. But to have god as 3 or enumerated in any fashion, God himself can't exist because of the contradictions.

Also I have given twice (see my first response to Miranda) my arguments about 3 parts (regardless of how you want to say they came into being) as requiring a realm between the three to allow the three to be distinguished (else they are all still one). That means this realm is where God does not exist since he can't be between the three parts and be the three parts and still be the three parts (he'd end up as one again). It is not possible for there to be a realm where God does not exist as that doesn't make him God.

Notwithstanding any of the "logical" arguments given above and what can and can't be inferred from them, the following quote of Miaranda's is itself independent proof that the Trinity is untennable is possible, and one that does not depend on the finer arguments of attributes of God or Creation.

[How does one who believes in the Trinity even begin to discuss it when the discussion does not allow for one to refer to the bible or their Christian faith as their reason for believing in it? ... One doesn't need to be Christian to believe in a God, but one must be Christian to believe in the Trinity.]

My response to her was and still is:

The reason is that the Trinity is explained by the Christians as an attribute of the Truth, hence, it can and should be discussed indepenedent of the Bible.

Are you saying the Trinity exists because the Bible says it does, or the Trinity exists regardless of what the Bible says? It appears you are saying the former. In which case you have proved my point for me: the Trinity exists only because the Bible says so, but does not in reality.

And furtheremore I would to my response, we know that the Bible is not without error.

As a weaker (and therefore may not hold upto very close scrutiny, but if nothing else appeals to the intuitition that there is a contradiction each time you bring a new explaination of why 3 "should" work) and secondary argument you may try (but not succeed) and say that I am ascribing a attribute from the physical world to Him, or even if we just assume it is so for argument's sake, at least it doesn't introduce contradictions that result in him not being able to exist, and is therefore mainatins validity.

As I mentioned abvoe with the respect to the Truths, they can be proven to be True in which case all other explainations to try and explain why the Truth is not true, can be known to be wrong, or at the very least every explaination brought forward can individually proven to be contradictory and not a valid reason.

I have proven earlier why the Truth God is One must be true (and if you provide me with your stipluated Truths from the list - i.e. our "Axioms" as I mentioned above) I can prove God is One to you based on those. I have also shown every explaination so far brought forward using the variations of the trunity, that God is One is not true, aslo to be false.

[I'd be happy to move this discussion on to what we can know and discover about God through reason, but I can only do that if you remove or restate your fundamental observation. It is obviously just as limiting to you as it is to me. If it forbids me from assigning the property of the trinity to God, it also forbids you from assigning the property of indivisibility to God.]

I think this "obsticale" is now cleared up with the omission of words I never intened to put in my fundemental observation as explained above (again I have no idea why I added them as they are not my position, probably day dreaming while typing) and is not an issue.

However the trinity concept is still untenable, from many, many independent points of view as I just explained, of which I've given at least half a dozen by now.

Now to deal with your "can't-use-logic-and-reason-because-Godel-says-they-can-never-prove-a nything-about-anything" concept.

[However our own reason cannot have authority, unless there is something outside of reason which assures us of its authority. That thing is God. Thats why I said that all rejections of God ultimately end in the rejection of reason.]

If you think your reason has no authority, why do you say you wish to use it as you state above "what we can know and discover about God through reason", a not so subtle hit that you'd like to pursue proving the Trinity concept as rational and logical. You are picking and choosing when reason can be used in the debate. You use it to bolster your own arguments but then say reason can't be used when arguments against you are presented, as you say that because of Godel, logic can't be relied upon and then go furhter by saying that because of Godel, the proofs fall into the "maybe category". Why does Godel not apply to your "reasoned" approach to justify the Trinity and not put your justification into the "maybe cateogry" rather than as one of the fundemental Truths about Christianity (and by implication of the Universe and God and therefore should be independent of Christianity)?

You say "I have personally chosen teh Christian religion because after careful examination, I believe it to be True. Not containing valuable truths, but rather a fundamental reflection of the way things are."

So you collected concepts and ideas to examine and then used logic and reason or a dart board to come to a conclusion that Christianity contains a "fundemental reflection of the way things are"? If you used logic, please explain why you can use it to come to your conclusion that Christiantity contains fundemental reflections of the way things are when according to you I can't use logic to prove God exists because of Godel? (BTW I'd love dual with you about the "reality" of some of these fundemental reflections, if you'd like to begin to use reason again). If you used a dartboard to come to your conclusion that Christianity contains a fundemental reflection of the way things are, how did the dart board to that?

Is the Trinity not one of the fundmental reflections of the way things are that you refer to, or instead just "something" Christianity "has", and thereofore not part of the reason you are a Christian? As I asked before, are you a Christian becuase of the Trinity?

Given this double standard of yours of when to use logic and reason how can that lend any credibility to anything you say.

I say we use reason all the time because that is the only yard stick we have to determine what is right and wrong, and therefore the only yardstick to know what is the Truth in a matter (notice I don't say understand the Truth).

Do you have another yardstick to know what is the truth in a matter; any matter? Lets use it then. Explain to me how it works, prove to me that it works where reason doesn't and prove to me that Godel doesn't apply to it so we can even use it to reach a conclusion.

I presume you've got another "reasoned" explaination based on logic to try and refute the above and that Godel, of course doesn't apply to your use of logic and reason, notwithstanding the crux your claim is that because of Godel nothing can be explained using logic and reason.

Notwitstanding your dual position about Godel and the use of logic I'm of the opinion that Godel's theorm may itself be the proof of God. For example it is interesting that Godel's theorm does establish to have a complete and consistent system there must be an infinite number of axioms (or Truths). Now since we know (and can prove) that the God as creator of the Universe must be infinite and is all that can be truely infinite. So it doesn't contradict God's existence and on the contrary confirms God's infinite nature.

Furthermore, Godel's theory points out that my Fundemental Observation #1 as stated above is correct, as what I have stated is often referred to as the self-referential paradox.

It would be interesting question to see if his theorm can only exist if there was a complete and consistent system which allowed his theorm to exist and/or be articulated in some fashion to begin with.

BTW I notice you didn't answer my question about evolution:

Since you state the Catholic church allows one to believe in evolution, its obviously changed its position. Why did it change its mind from before?

Cr@sh.com:

[I'm no theologian, but surely saying that there is no contradiction between science and religion cannot be justified.

Creationism and Darwinism cannot both be correct.]

You equate all religion with Creationsim in the sense that it states that evolution was not the cause of man's rise. There will be contradiction between science any religion that supports Creationism. Not all religions support Creationism as the explaination for man's existence and instead support evolution.

It appears according to John, that the Catholic church has succombed to logic and reason and changed its mind to allow you to believe what you want as long as God created something along with a few more privsos and qualifications:

[...but the Catholic Church has stated that you are free to believe in evolution as long as certain things are acknowledged: God created the world, He is the direct source of the human soul, The human race came from two parents who were created in a state of original justice, but fell through an act of disobedience and pride.

The Church has always rejected those forms of evolution that describe the process as occurring by chance without any reference to God or Creator. Chance cannot be the cause of order, but is subordinate to it. God, however, can create through some kind of evolutionary process.]

Just FYI -

I have noticed Islam has a very simple point of view: In the begining God created the universe, knowing full well what he wanted to happen when he created it, namely that upto this point in time would result in man and whatever else we see around us. So very simply he created man because he knew that's what he wanted when he got the ball rolling. Now the narration of all this in the Qur'an is identical to all current theories of formation of stars, planets and evolution of man (not to the same detail as Steven Hawking would have liked, mind you) but nothing stated in it contradicts what science has discovered, i.e. its sort of like an abbridged version of the current explaination about this issue.

Well that's all for today.

John, Eve, BigDog, Brian, Beerman and other "regulars" to this thread:

Judging from when I saw your post, John, you must have been up pretty late putting that together. And this reply has taken me a few hours today. We all are obviously getting to issues that are probably best thought out for a few days before posting a reply and I don't know if I can keep dedicating this kind of time to the thread to try and post quickly. So if it's ok with you I'd like to continue, but not with the expectation that we respond to each other as soon as possible. What we could do is at least drop a short post to let each other know we're working on a reply, but if for whatever reason, decide not to do one or leave the thread, at least say so, so the other fellow is not waiting indefineatly. This ok with all of you?

Also I don't think we should start a new thread, because I think discussion has value in being in one place and not fragmented and lost. (Also I think the size is keeping a lot of the "looky-loos" away so only the dedicated "regulars" are posting without too much noise.

Eve and the rest.

Just saw your posts after A&L's and will try for a response for you tomorrow. Time, time, time - why are we limited by it and typing speed, and , and , and ....

(Why are things they way they are? hmm, heard that question before somewhere :) )

However eve, WRT to:

[Re my assertion that even if the recursion argument led to a First Cause, you still need a leap of faith to get from there to God]

[Gregg's book was impressive, but all I can see are lots of really majestic assertions, but no clear refutation of my faith claim. Your responses to him, as well as other posts you may be referring to did not clear this up for me. Could you lay it out for me in your own words, and in direct response to my specific questions?]

Don't take First Cause litterally as being some action. First Cause is just a word to describe that there needs to be a concept of a Begining. No different from God being the Beginning. Its just language. To create God then says "Be" and it is and for creation that was Time=0.

Re-read a few times all my posts upto where you first post the point about a Leap of faith and my first reply after that. This concept if it doesn't hit you right away its one that you will "see" over time and one day you'll say "Oh, I get it". Like complex mathematics concepts.



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 15, 2000.


Interested Spectator -

I'm drowning under a river of words. If this is God's simplicity, then I would hate to consider His complexity :)

I think that it might be helpful if I restate my posistion more concisely. This will serve as a helpful reference point for both of us, and will allow me to address your charge that I am allowing reason to be valid or invalid wherever it suits my argument.

To begin: Reason is not sufficient to prove itself reasonable. We cannot hope to demonstrate its absolute authority if our only tool to show it is reason itself. We must have recourse to something outside of reason both unproven and unprovable to be sure of reason's authority. That thing is God, who created our reason.

(Now that we have a secure authority to base our reason on we may consider any topic under the sun.)

Once we accept God as the source of our authority to think we may then consider the attributes of God. My reasons for doing so are as follows. We perceive patterns within reality. We would not perceive these patterns unless our minds were similarly ordered to that of the pattern-maker. An unordered mind would view the design and see only chaos. Secondly, just as we may learn something about a writer from reading his book; we may learn something about the creator from viewing his creation. So, by taking clues from finite things around us we can learn some useful things about the infinite nature of God.

When ever a person creates something, there are three distinct and separate parts to their creative effort. First, they conceive the idea of that thing they wish to create. Secondly, they bring that thing into being. Finally, that thing is experienced by another mind bringing the viewer back into original contact with the mind of the creator. Whenever we use the term creator we can only mean it to describe these three separate things. There may be other ways to create things, but if they exist then they are not known to us.

Now, when we consider a book we do not say there are three separate books, one book that is the idea, one book that is the writing on the page, and one book that is the ideas communicated to the reader. Rather they are all mixed up into one thing that we call a book.

It is the same way with God. One God, but three distinct parts, each sharing all aspects of God. The first is God the Father. He is the motive force, the planner, the source. The second is God the Son. He is the "the Word made flesh", the human incarnation of God. Finally, there is the Holy Spirit, who is the method whereby we communicate with God and come to a greater understanding of God.

That being said, on to the points addressed in your last post.

I still think your fundamental point undermines your own argument. Lets take a look at the clarified version.

[Now since Creation will never equal God, it therefore does not contain *in any form what-so-ever* (i.e. physical, thought, energy, language, contemplation, or anything else the pseudo-sciences can dream up) what is needed to *understand* God, *explain* God...fully and truely.]

Your "proof" for the existance of God is a simple variation on Aristotle's original proof, the argument from motion. To summarize: Things move. Every motion has a cause, nothing moves that is not moved by something else. Either things were always in motion, or they were first moved by something that is not itself moved. Saying that things always moved fails to provide a sufficient cause for motion. Therefore there was a first mover which all men know to be God.

Creation contains motion (or any other sort of cause and effect relation you can name) But by your own first priciple, creation does not contain *in any form whatsoever* what is needed to *understand* God, *explain* God fully and truely. Yet by motion and cause and effect you attempt to understand or explain God's existance.

To put it another way, you say that we cannot deduce the nature of the infinite from the finite. But your own proof depends on deducing the infinite from the finite.

Secondly, you maintain that God is indivisible. Indivisibility is obviously a concept that exists in Creation. If it does not then from whence came this idea of indivisibility? But Creation cannot contain what is needed to understand God. So we cannot say that God is indivisible. You explain that this is not so in your reply, but I'm not sure I understand your point.

I would seriously advise you not to continue in your insistence on this fundamental observation. Any argument about God will be ultimately negated by it, because any reason you give must have its root in creation (unless you have experienced something outside of creation). Even your own reason is a created thing and subject to this rule.

As for your proof from Godel's Theorem, it is fallacious. You presuppose God as the source of the infinite number of axioms and then deduce the existance of God from this presupposition. You cannot presuppose the existance of the thing you set out to prove.

The point of Godel's theorem is that there is no way to show that all of mathematics must be absolutely true. The point of a proof is to show that a thing must be absolutely true. Your argument depends on mathematics. If there is no way to show that mathematics must be absolutely true, then there is no way to show that your argument is absolutely true. Therefore it is not a proof.

To look a Godel from another angle. Godel says that mathematics cannot prove itself true and remain non-contradictory. This statement is dependant on mathematics. If it is true then it may contain contradictions and be false. But if it is false, mathematics is non- contradictory but cannot prove itself true. So we are stuck in a circle unless we can appeal to something outside of mathematics to show that it is non-contradictory. At this point I am not saying that reason and logic are useless, simply they have hit an end and cannot be explained except by something outside themselves. That thing is God. Once we accept the existance of God we may use reason and logic without fear.

Also, you seem to have a problem with God eternally following rules of his own devising. If I limit myself from entering a certain room, I am not limited in the strictest sense. I may enter the room whenever I choose. I simply choose not to. I am not subject to a rule higher then myself, because I myself made the rule. Please don't tell me at this point that I am violating the first fundamental assumption because I am deriving an attribute of God from my own experience. I know I am! When we try to understand the nature of God we have nothing else to work with.

From reading your post, I'm not quite sure you understand the nature of the Trinity. To (badly) sum up, there is only one God, with three parts. Each part participates equally in the Divine. But there are not three gods, there is only one God. All three are united in purpose, power, and aim.

To argue by analogy: A triangle has three separate distinct parts, but there is only one triangle. Not three triangles. Each part of the triangle is equally necessary, and each part participates equally in the "triangleness" of the object. All parts are equally necessary because if you remove a side, then you don't have a triangle anymore. Similarly, if you remove any of the attributes discussed at the beginning of this thread, then you don't have a creator.

As for my position on evolution, I've posted it in response to a thread above. I think in your reply you got me confused with someone else again. If you really want an answer, then you may have to repost your questions.

Also, when you responded to others I didn't always read your answers to them. I have my hands full with the things addressed solely to me!

I hope this clears up my position on the proper place of logic and reason and clarifies my position on the Trinity.

I look forward to your response. (Oh and as to posting over the course of several days, I probably won't do it. I'm a college student, all I have is time. However, I don't mind if you do)

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 16, 2000.


Response to The Great Deception - What if what we know was chosen deliberately to deceive us? ---

Interested Spectator mentioned

""""What we could do is at least drop a short post to let each other know we're working on a reply, but if for whatever reason, decide not to do one or leave the thread, at least say so, so the other fellow is not waiting indefineatly. This ok with all of you? """"

I.S. (may I call you that?)

Been following the discussion although I would be more interested in what the manifestations of a "Singular God" would appear like rather than what they are not.

More than that, an understanding of number and image in representing the primal form. Logic is not the be all and end all of timelessness. There has to be more, I find it hard to believe that heart comes from Logic.

Hard questions.

By the way you have:

(is@the_ring.side)

As you E message. Are you really looking for understanding or attention?

BTW if you look at "light" you will notice in physics it is indivisable and could be one singular field. If it has no "separateness" what could stop it from being the "unified" entity you are refering to. Not only is it a single "entity" it has the atribute of being timeless.

Just a bit of speculation

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 16, 2000.


Interested Spectator:

Here is where you said reality is divided up into being and nothingness:

[Since existence is binary, it either is or is not I'll take the liberty of taking the meaning of "inference of existence" to mean proven of existence, for otherwise you can't have existence that doesn't exist (the only other option available for existence) and that is all I'm saying here. ]

Love your response to the complaint of calling God "He". I'd like to use that with others, if I could.

In thinking about these concepts, I'd have to say that my understanding of God has improved to realize just how great He is and how powerful and so far above our thoughts. Thank you for that.

Laurane: If you say the church began to be corrupted "the first members of Christ's church were already moving away from his teaching" --which actually contradicts the words of Jesus, that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church-- then what is your source of knowing the "true" teachings of Christ. It can't be the Church for you, since you say it was corrupted. It can't be the bible, since that wasn't finally put together until around 390 A.D. and there were many other so-called "apostolic" books that were not included in the bible. It seems that the only source you trust is yourself. A little strange, don't you think?

Eve, Once you know that God exists, and the reason why (there has to be an uncaused Creator of the universe) then you know that he cannot not exist. Remember he is uncaused. His existence does not depend on anyone else. That means that God can never change, because to undergo change, you are being acted upon by something else. God cannot will himself out of existence, because the very definition of God is "He who is" It would be a logical contradiction, just like asking God to make a round circle. The reason it's not possible is not becuase God isn't powerful enough but because it involves a contradiction with the very terms you are using.

Also God cannot go into eclipse. Because we are contingent upon him, we depend upon him at each moment to sustain us in existence. If he ceased to think about us for one moment we would go out of existence. But that won't happen because it implies a change in God's mind which is not possible. The explanation for the Holocaust is a bit more difficult. God gave human beings the gift of freedom. Without freedom we would not be able to love. You probably wouldn't appreciate someone who loved you only because he was forced to. Unfortunately, with freedom also comes the possibility of not loving, of rejecting God and his will. And that can happen in a serious way, like the Holocaust. God chose to suffer with us, though, in his human nature in Jesus Christ. He endured more suffering than any other human being, yet was innocent.

Interested Specatator:

You said, [In almost every reply I notice that almost each and every person tries to understand or explain the Nature or attributes of God using analogies from the Created universe. And promptly runs into a paradox or a brick wall in their understanding. ]

That is exactly the point. The discussion of the Trinity is not concerning the Nature of God. The Nature of God is one and indvisible. The Trinity is more a discussion of the "interior life" of God. What is going on in the mind of God. That is something, that as you say, cannot be known or understood by reason. However, if God reveals that it is true then you have to admit that it is at least possible. I maintain that it is not irrational, only supra-rational. It is something that human reason cannot speak to one way or the other. It is not contradictory to your fundamental principle that God is one. I AGREE THAT GOD IS ONE. God does not have any attributes, because that woud be positing a division in God, between the substance (God himself) and the attribute. That's why we don't say that God loves, but that God IS love. He does not have the truth, He IS the truth. He is not wise, He IS wisdom, etc. These are all by way of analogy as well, since the imperfect thought in our mind is perfect in God.

In talking about the Trinity, you have to stop thinking that we're talking about three Gods or that God is divided up three ways, or that he has three parts.

You said, [Well let him (God) do that (create something equal to himself) and since such an act can not in an way diminish him, he must still be infinte and all powerful and so his "clone" really is just him to begin with.]

This is actually close to the belief of the Catholic Church on the Trinity, except that the Son was not created by the Father, but proceeds from him for all eternity (in God's mind, if you will). The Son is actually God himself though there can be a distinction of "relation" between the "Father" and the "Son" since one proceeds from the other, though in reality, they are one and the same.

WRT Jesus Christ. What exactly is contrary to reason in God taking on human nature? I have a better chance of responding if you spell it out.

WRT evolution, [Sounds to me that the Catholic Church wants it both ways now. Since this was not always the case I ask again the key question: Why did it change its mind? How can one rely on a Religion that shifts with the tide. The faith can not be a foundation from which to weather storms of living if it can not dependend on to stay true to its teachings. This would give me more to be concerened about than anything else we have discussed so far. ]

The Catholic Church has never changed its mind with regard to Magisterial teachings. There may have been a development but not an "about-face". Where did the Catholic Church ever condemn evolution outright? You may be confusing it with other Protestant religions, or the "opinions" of people *in* the Catholic Church, not the Church's teaching itself. Pope Pius XII wrote in 1950, "the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter--for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that *souls* are immediately created by God."

The Catholic Church does not allow you to "believe what you want" but insists that you believe the truth.

He also goes on to say that the first chapters in Genesis "in simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of a people but little cultured, both state the principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation, and also give a popular description of thte origin of the human race and the chosen people." (Humani Generis, no. 36-38)

You said about the bible, [ It is a known fact it is not the word of God, but a collection of items put together long after Christ departed, and has been revised many times]

No, you're mistaken. (What is freely asserted can be freely denied :-))

Re:"Not withstanding the incorrect references, my arguments still hold." But one thing remains unclear, is John really the Muslim or am I?

John: [ It seems to imply that God is not completely good. After all, he "creates evil"]

It is a problem if you think that evil is "something." If you know that evil is a privation, the lack of something good that should be there, then there is no problem. God allows evil to happen in order to draw a greater good from it. "O happy fault"etc.

Michael:

[ God was (before we were), he came to rescue us, as Jehova/Jesus/Emmanuel, and he resides until fruition, as the Holy Ghost, for the sake of all. He/she was, is, and will always be! During Christ's tenure here, he accomplished all three.] This is a condemned teaching called modal monarchianism because it says there is no real distinction between the three persons of the Trinity, only a distinction in our minds.

Likewise for John. [It is the same way with God. One God, but three distinct parts, each sharing all aspects of God. The first is God the Father. He is the motive force, the planner, the source. The second is God the Son. He is the "the Word made flesh", the human incarnation of God. Finally, there is the Holy Spirit, who is the method whereby we communicate with God and come to a greater understanding of God.]

Any action of God outside of himself is performed by all three persons of the Trinity. For example, God (Trinity) created the world, not just the Father. Why is this so? Because these actions outside of God are performed through his nature, which is one. For human beings there is a person that is distinct from his nature. i.e. You are John but your nature is human. You do not encompass all of human nature in yourself. For God, there is no separation between person and nature. The person *is* the nature. The Father *is* God, the Son *is* God, the Holy Spirit *is* God.

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 16, 2000.


John:

You say:

[To begin: Reason is not sufficient to prove itself reasonable. We cannot hope to demonstrate its absolute authority if our only tool to show it is reason itself. We must have recourse to something outside of reason both unproven and unprovable to be sure of reason's authority. That thing is God, who created our reason. ]

Your description is a re-wording of your original understanding of Godel's theorm and the self-describing paradox. This concept applies only if you are attempting to model the universe from within. Model the universe means *fully* explain the universe.

I am not doing fully explaining anthing here. For reason to prove itself reasonable, would be requiring reason to fully explain itself.

When you first brought up Godel you stated:

[Furthermore, even mathmatics itself is suspect since Godel showed that there is no way for mathamatics to demonstrate that it is non-contradictory.]

You compltely misapply Godel. Godel states than with any logical system there must exist a statement which proves to be both false and true and hence because such a statement exists the logical system is inconisistent and incomplete. And that is why logic and mathematics can never fully explain anything or everything or put another away it is why logic can't make every true statement. This is not the same as sayting that it can't make *any* true statements. You are interpreting that because logic is inconsistent and incomplete it can't expalain *anything*. The proof says it can't explain *everything*. I am not explaining everything. My statement is not of the form that is used by Godel that results in it being proven both true and false - i.e. the liars lie type statement. All Godel says is such a statement must be addressed and doing so will result it being both true and false, and hence incompleteness because that *one* or similar such statements could not be addressed yet do exist. But again I say, that is not the same as it not being able to address *any* statement.

In fact Godel is completley consistent with everything I have said. I would like to thank you for introducing his ideas. They are magnificent not only in their simplicity, but also in the fact such profound statements made by those who advance our intellectual understanding are in perfect correspondence with concepts such as God is One, and do not, because they can not, prove that God *does not* exist.

I do not reason to have aboslute authority as I am not trying to prove everything with it. I am proving only one fact with it.

You say then:

[(Now that we have a secure authority to base our reason on we may consider any topic under the sun.)]

If you agree with me then we now have a scope in which reason can be used.

[Once we accept God as the source of our authority to think we may then consider the attributes of God. ]

I have never said God is not, you have been reaching incorrect conclusions that I have substituted reason for this, however this should be clear to you now.

[We perceive patterns within reality. We would not perceive these patterns unless our minds were similarly ordered to that of the pattern-maker. An unordered mind would view the design and see only chaos. Secondly, just as we may learn something about a writer from reading his book; we may learn something about the creator from viewing his creation. So, by taking clues from finite things around us we can learn some useful things about the infinite nature of God.]

You only speculate the statements you state could be the case, and can not state them to be the case as you are assuming what an unordered mind would - you have no refernce point to make a comment of that. The moment you use the book analogy you make fundemental flaw #1.

[When ever a person creates something, there are three distinct and separate parts to their creative effort. First, they conceive the idea of that thing they wish to create. Secondly, they bring that thing into being. Finally, that thing is experienced by another mind bringing the viewer back into original contact with the mind of the creator. Whenever we use the term creator we can only mean it to describe these three separate things. There may be other ways to create things, but if they exist then they are not known to us.]

And again you are using analogy of the created world to speculate about the Nature of God.

[Now, when we consider a book we do not say there are three separate books, one book that is the idea, one book that is the writing on the page, and one book that is the ideas communicated to the reader. Rather they are all mixed up into one thing that we call a book.]

But we are still able to disnguish the the idea, the writing and ideas communicated.

[It is the same way with God. One God, but three distinct parts, each sharing all aspects of God.]

Fundemental flaw #1. God is not all "mixed" up into one thing. That already says he is made of many parts mixed togther and not one, as there will be a realm between the things mixed together where He is not.

What constitutes the 3 things is irrelevant.

[But by your own first priciple, creation does not contain *in any form whatsoever* what is needed to *understand* God, *explain* God fully and truely. Yet by motion and cause and effect you attempt to understand or explain God's existance.]

First sentence is correct. Your second is wrong. I do not wish to understand nor explain his existance, just that he exists. That is I don't want to understand why he exists, or what he would like to say about his existence or any thing else like that. Also as you quote I say "fully and truely". Does just showing that God exists explains everything that is infinitly knowable about him (i.e. explain or undertand him fully and truely)? It does not. I doing exactly what I say, you do not understand what I say and say I am doing more.

[To put it another way, you say that we cannot deduce the nature of the infinite from the finite. But your own proof depends on deducing the infinite from the finite. ]

I am not sure how many times I have stated in this entire thread that establishing something exists is not the same as understanding it. Secondly you mis quote me I state you can not deduce the nature of the infinite fully. Why do continue to missinterprete and misquote very clear words.

[Secondly, you maintain that God is indivisible. Indivisibility is obviously a concept that exists in Creation. If it does not then from whence came this idea of indivisibility? But Creation cannot contain what is needed to understand God. So we cannot say that God is indivisible. You explain that this is not so in your reply, but I'm not sure I understand your point.]

The concept of one exists in nature but that is not the attribute I solicit when I say God is One. As I have said God is One encompasses far more than the minimal understanding of one as we have in nature. So it is with the word indivisible and Indivisibility.

The crucial point here is that every concieveable notion that we can have of one as it exists in nature, when use to *try* and explain God, it never will fully for reasons we all agree on by now I think, it leads to *no* contradictions with the fundemental Truths (points a to f) about God I listed in my last reply.

[I would seriously advise you not to continue in your insistence on this fundamental observation. Any argument about God will be ultimately negated by it, because any reason you give must have its root in creation (unless you have experienced something outside of creation). Even your own reason is a created thing and subject to this rule.]

You restate your incorrect understanding of Godel's theorms. In the theorm's terms, you have assumed because the model is in the universe it can not make any statement about the universe. Godel states that because the model is in the universe it can not make *every* statement about the universe. Furtheremore, Godel applies to modeling the universe from within.

You then state:

[As for your proof from Godel's Theorem, it is fallacious. You presuppose God as the source of the infinite number of axioms and then deduce the existance of God from this presupposition. You cannot presuppose the existance of the thing you set out to prove.]

Firstly I said that Godel *may* prove God's existence. Here is my quote:

[Notwitstanding your dual position about Godel and the use of logic I'm of the opinion that Godel's theorm may itself be the proof of God.]

Again you read your own meanings into plain words and ignore what is actually said.

Secondly, all I said was that Godel does not contradict the Truth that God has an infinite number of axioms (as he must to be Creator). That is I say x if y but not necessarly y if x. You again take the meaning that I said x if y and y if x, that is x if and only if y. (I presume you are familiar with the difference in mathematics between "if" and "iff").

Here is my exact quote:

[For example it is interesting that Godel's theorm does establish to have a complete and consistent system there must be an infinite number of axioms (or Truths). Now since we know (and can prove [although you don't agree yet]) that the God as creator of the Universe must be infinite and is all that can be truely infinite. So it doesn't contradict God's existence and on the contrary confirms God's infinite nature.]

I say it does not contradict God's existence (as I said earlier in this reply about these profound theorms), that is not the same as proving something exists. Again you are assuming that a statement that says x if y means the same as y if x. It does not.

You then restate your false understanding of Godel:

[The point of Godel's theorem is that there is no way to show that all of mathematics must be absolutely true. The point of a proof is to show that a thing must be absolutely true. Your argument depends on mathematics. If there is no way to show that mathematics must be absolutely true, then there is no way to show that your argument is absolutely true. Therefore it is not a proof.]

and that is that because Godel shows that mathematics can't show everything that means it can't show anything. I need to show God exists, not everything about God or creation. Godel does not comment on the "trueness" of mathematics, he deals with incompeletness. These are different things.

And then you go on again to state that Godel says that because mathematics is incomplete it can not make *any true* statement, when Godel says that because mathematics is incomplete it can not make *every true* statement.

[Then you say At this point I am not saying that reason and logic are useless, simply they have hit an end and(sic) [that] cannot be explained except by something outside themselves.]

Now you yourself contradict your own explaination of Godel. You now say logic and reason are not useless, but you say Godel says they are for proving things. Furthermore, it is your opinion that they have reach this end, simply because you say Godel says so, but you misunderstand Godel, just as Tom Carey did with Occam. I showed that he misunderstood Occam (which you agreed with I infer from your comment to me about my points). Furtheremore, logic and mathematics do have limits as even I said and Godel says and I state in my Fundemental Observation #1, and that would be as Godel says, in trying to explan everything about God. I am simply tring to establish God exists. As I have said dozen's of times, I am not even trying to explain him with the proof. Just that he exists.

[Also, you seem to have a problem with God eternally following rules of his own devising. If I limit myself from entering a certain room, I am not limited in the strictest sense. I may enter the room whenever I choose. I simply choose not to.]

Firstly, yes you choose not to but then you are not in the room. Similarly when God choose to make himeself 3 (as this is where you're brining this analogy from I presume) he is no longer one.

I won't tell you you violate Fundemental Observation #1 because you know you are. Now I tell you that you make Fundemental Flaw #1 and that is trying to understand God with Creation's "tools". You then say:

[When we try to understand the nature of God we have nothing else to work with.]

You undertake a task that I do not and assume I do. You try to *understand* and *explain* the Nature of God. I do not as it is a waste of time. Why? Bbecause of Fundmental Observation #1 (I'll never get the job done). Because it will result in fundemental flaw #1 and a contradiciton so even starting down the path will get me no where. Because even Godel says I can't. Because if I wish to *understand* God, I'll only be able to do so fully or not at all. That is why its a waste of time. That is why I am content that God is. And I strive to experience Him, as the Sufis put it.

You then say:

[From reading your post, I'm not quite sure you understand the nature of the Trinity. To (badly) sum up, there is only one God, with three parts. Each part participates equally in the Divine. But there are not three gods, there is only one God. All three are united in purpose, power, and aim.]

I have given you many proofs about why any concept of threeness attributed to God can not be tenable as it results in contradictions in the Truths a-e I listed in my last reply. As explained above Oneness does not suffer from this problem.

You do not show why what I show in each of those items is not true, but come back with more and more explainations about what the trinity is. I have many immovable arguments about the trinity being contradictory to Truths about that even you hold true. I can use almost any one of them (particularly my first response to Miranda) to demsontrate that the trinity concept contradicts your own beliefs of God. I have a simple alternative that does not suffer from this problem.

You now give me even one more analogy of the trinity: that of a triangle. And prove my point for me:

[To argue by analogy: A triangle has three separate distinct parts, but there is only one triangle. Not three triangles. Each part of the triangle is equally necessary, and each part participates equally in the "triangleness" of the object. All parts are equally necessary because if you remove a side, then you don't have a triangle anymore. Similarly, if you remove any of the attributes discussed at the beginning of this thread, then you don't have a creator.]

"equally necessary" - then neither part is God by itself, as God is independent.

"all parts are equally necesary" - then neither part is God.by itself, as God is independent.

"if you remove a side, then you don't have a triangle any more" - you just made God have parts that can be removed but *shouldn't*.

If you insist the trinity is the Truth, then you must show that my proofs that the trinity results in contradictions about Truths about God (he is independent, infinite, etc.) are incorrect.

Restating trinity as a new version, as you keep doing actually acknowledges I am correct and you are makeing "corrections", each of which introduces new contradictions which I demonstrate to show that "particular" explaination of the trinity is false (as I did with the triangle above), but my fundemental proofs of the trinity being untenable, such as the first one I gave to Miranda and stated again in my last reply can be used with *any* explaination of the trinity quite satisfactorily on its own, simply because it is a proof.

All the attributes of God are equal to me, they are not enumrations of him. Oneness, Infinity, Independence, Indivisibility, First Cause are synonmyms for the same thing. They are not different. That is the crux of the explaination to eve when she gets stuck at "God" and "the First Cause". Any other interpretation of these (i.e. they are not synonms, or God is not One) results in the contradictions that I keep using aginst you with the trinity - i.e. we end up with a situation with one of these Fundemental Attributes can not hold.

Regarding evolution and my quote. I stand corrected. You did not make that statement, Beerman did. Thank you for pointing that out.

[I'm a college student, all I have is time]

You are lucky, enjoy your time. What do you study?

Brian:

By all means refer to me as IS or I.S. (use captials or periods or both so that I know you are referring to me and not using the word "is".)

Thank you for your interest in following my debate (I'm enjoying it very much, in particular as I say each time I make one of these journies I learn more about why there can not be a contradiction between science and religion. Godel was an almost sublime experience in this regard because it was mathematics commenting about itself for the first time in a fashion that does not contradict the existence of God.)

You ask:

[manifestations of a "Singular God" would appear like rather than what they are not.]

Very deep question. Elegantly simple and infintely complex.

Godel's theorm prevents and answer for this that I believe would be satisfactory to you.

The singular God would be "manifest" as "God is One" and I refer you to read *every* argument I have made so far regarding the Trinity, enumeration, and understand fundemental flaw #1 and why it is made.

[BTW if you look at "light" you will notice in physics it is indivisable and could be one singular field]

Are you saying science has discovered all there is to know about "light". Scientists who believe these have always been proven wrong, and now we know why. Its because of Godel.

[If it has no "separateness" what could stop it from being the "unified" entity you are refering to.]

You assume there is an "end" to God where so the unity can be enumerated (and potentially a new enumeration of something else can begin as per the trinity). You make fundemental flaw #1. Read my explaination above about indivisibility and the synonmys and that these are only our limited ways to understand God. I do not claim to explain everything about God with these few words, although you are trying to. I said so with my fundemental observation #1. Godel also says I can't.

[Just a bit of speculation]

Speculation is most sublime and noble.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 16, 2000.


Beerman:

Just saw your response after I posted. I'll try and post an answer soon.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 16, 2000.


John,

Hi, again.

I had offered up the issue of God possibly willing Himself into eclipse during the Holocaust. You responded that "God allows evil to exist, but causes good to come from evil." In direct response to the Holocaust problem, you stated that, "if the Holocaust had not occurred, then Israel would probably not be under Jewish control, as it currently is."

John, are you implying that God could have prevented the Holocaust, but didn't because He foresaw the Jewish state of Israel coming out of it?

Also, could you respond to the situation wherein a small child dies a protracted, painful death from cancer? What good could come of this that could be anywhere near countervailing a tragedy of this nature?

Thanks for the book suggestion. Sounds great!

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 16, 2000.


Gregg,

You've posted a lot of very interesting things; unfortunately, I have to pick and choose right now, as my time is very limited.

You stated, "This notion of the Trinity also escapes me as to why it's important."

Without my speaking to its truth or falsity, if the concept of the Trinity had not been adopted, the idea of Jesus as God would arguably be in violation of a couple of the 10 commandments: The ones about one God and idolatry. Read them in their entirety in Exodus 20 (I forget the exact verses).

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 16, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Wow! You've posted lots of impressive stuff. Where do you get the time?

I just have time right now for one point:

In one of your recent posts you speak of a Christian choosing Christianity as if it were a toss at a dartboard. But couldn't they use the same analogy about Islam? (I believe you're Islamic -- right?)

Your point about maybe responding less often (with more thorough responses)is well taken. I may or may not end up doing this myself. But in any case, I intend to stay with the thread indefinitely. Hey! Wait a minute! I see a possible new sub- topic -- is the possible number of posts on a thread infinite?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 16, 2000.


It seems that John and I.S. basically aggre that GOD is ONE. The semantics and time retraints on explaining all our terms may be the cause of mudding through this point. Perhaps this is a good time for another chapter from the Kybalion.

______________________________________________

Chapter V. - The Mental Universe.

THE ALL is SPIRIT! But what is Spirit? This question cannot be answered, for the reason that its definition is practically that of THE ALL, which cannot be explained or defined. Spirit is simple a name men give to the highest conception of Infinite Living Mind - it means "the Real Essence" - it means Living Mind, as much superior to Life and Mind as we know them, as the latter are superior to mechanical Envergy and Matter. Spirit trancends our understanding, and we use the term merely that we may think or speak of THE ALL. For the purposes of thought and understanding, we are justified in thinking of Spirit as Infinite Living Mind, at the same time acknowledging that we cannot understand it. We must either do this or stop thinking of the matter at all.

Let us now proceed to a consideration of the nature of the Universe, as a whole and in its parts. What is the Universe? We have seen that there can be nothing outside of THE ALL. Then is the Universe THE ALL? No, this cannot be, because the Universe seems to be made up of MANY, and is constantly changing, and in other ways it does not measure up to the ideas that we are compelled to accept regarding THE ALL, as stated in our last lesson. Then if the Universe be not THE ALL, then it must be Nothing - such is the inevitable conclusion of the mind at first thought. But this will not satisfy the question, for we are sensible of the existence of the Universe. Then if the Universe is neither THE ALL, nor Nothing, what can it be? Let us examine this question.

If the Universe exists at all, or seems to exist, it must proceed in some way from THE ALL - it must be a creation of THE ALL. But as something can never come from nothing, from what could THE ALL have created it? Some philosophers have answered this question by saying that THE ALL created the Universe from ITSELF - that is, from the being and substance of THE ALL. But this will not do, for THE ALL cannot be subtracted from, nor divided, as we have seen, and then again if this be so, would not each particle in the Universe be aware of its being THE ALL -THE ALL could not lose its knowlege of itself, nor actually BECOME an atom, or blind force, or lowly living thing. Some men, indeed, realizing that THE ALL is indeed ALL, and also recognizing that they, the men, existed, have jumped to the conclusdion that they and THE ALL were identical, and they have filled the air with shouts of "I AM GOD," to the amusement of the multitude and the sorrow of the sages. The claim of the corpuscle that: "I am Man!" would be modest in comparison.

But, what indeed is the Universe, if it be not THE ALL, not yet created by THE ALL having separated itself into fragments? What else can it be - of what else can it be made? This is the great question. Let us examine it carefully. We find here that the "Principle of Correspondence" (see lesson I.) comes to our aid here. The old Hermetic axiom, "As above so below," may be pressed into service at this point. Let us endeavor to get a glimpse of the workings on higher planes by examining those on our own. The Principle of Correspondence must apply to this as well as other problems.

Let us see! On his own plane of being, how does Man create? Well, first, he may create by making something out of outside materials. But this will not do, for there are no materials outside of THE ALL with which it may create. Well, then, secondly, Man pro-creates or reproduces his kind by the process of begetting, which is self-multiplication accomplished by transferring a protion of his substance to his offspring. But this will not do, because THE ALL cannot transfer or subtract a portion of itself, nor can it reproduce or mulitiply itself - in the first place there would be a taking away, and in the second case a multiplication or addtion to THE ALL, both thoughts being an absurdity. Is there no third way in which Man creates? Yes, there is - he CREATES MENTALLY! And in doing so he uses no outside materials, nor does he reproduce himself, and yet his Spirit pervades the Mental Creation.

Following the Principle of Correspondence, we are justified in considering that THE ALL creates the Universe MENTALLY, in a manner akin to the process wherby Man creates Mental Images. And, here is where the report of Reason tallies precisely with the report from the Illumined, as shown by their teachings and writings. Such are the teachings of the Wise Men. Such was the Teaching of Hermes.

THE ALL can create in no other way except mentally, without either using material (and there is none to use), or else reproducing itself (which is also impossible). There is no escape from this conclusion of Reason, which, as we have said, agrees with the highest teachings of the Illumined. Just as you, student, may create a Universe of your own in your mentality, so does THE ALL create Universes in its own Mentality. But your Universe is the mental creation of a Finite Mind, whereas that of THE ALL is the creation of an Infinite. The two are similar in kind, but infinitely different in degree. We shall examine more closely into the process of creation and manifestation, as we proceed. But this is the point to fix in your minds at this stage: THE UNIVERSE, AND ALL ITS CONTAINS, IS A MENTAL CREATION OF THE ALL. Verily, indeed, ALL IS MIND! _________________________________

Chapter VI. is The Divine Paradox.



-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 16, 2000.


Eve, Here's what I.S. said regarding the dartboard -

[So you collected concepts and ideas to examine and then used logic and reason or a dart board to come to a conclusion that Christianity contains a "fundemental reflection of the way things are"?]

I think you took his implication the wrong way. His selection of Islam, if that's what it is, certainly doesn't appear to be the result of a dartboard throw.

Arguing the Trinity may make many realize they never thought about it "right", and I don't want to debate the "correctness" of a particular religions beliefs. Clearly, with many denominations of Christianity, the debate can't be settled quickly. It's not like there is one belief system that is Christianity. People take the Bible literally in some cases, others see it metaphorically. Why argue?

The attempt to "prove" God's existence is fun, and by staying away from Religious slant, we cover more ground.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 16, 2000.


eve:

You say:

[In one of your recent posts you speak of a Christian choosing Christianity as if it were a toss at a dartboard. But couldn't they use the same analogy about Islam? (I believe you're Islamic -- right?)]

You misunderstand and take out of context my arguement. John was stated (parphrasing) that on the one hand reason and logic can't be used for anything useful because he (due to his misunderstanding of Godel) said Godel says they are contradictory so nothing true can come of them. Yet on the other hand he said that he carefully chose Christianity because it contained fundemental Truths. I sarcasticly suggested that if didn't use reason (since he can't use reason as nothing of value can come from it), to deterimne the things he studied resulted in his conclusion that Christianity has fundemental Truths, did he use a dart board?

I submit that he used reason and logic and that is why I said he had a double standard with respect to using logic and reason. Wheather his conclusions were correct is a different issue.

I have not stated I am Muslim. I have not stated I am Christian. I have not stated I am Jew. What I am can not be implied from anything I have put forward WRT to my ideas on God and Religion. I have supported concepts from Islam, and I have supported concepts from the Hermetics and I have supported concepts from Godel, Aquinas, Occam (all Christians I believe). I haven't had much input from you eve to say what I support from Judaism, although from what I know of it, there are many concepts from it that are close to what Islam holds true. In particulare and most fundemental, is an concept of a Trinity, partners or so forth associated with God (correct me if I am mistaken). I will support any concept that does not result in a contradiction with the fundemental Truths about God such as he is Independent, he is Infinite, and so forth as I have listed above, regardless from where it comes from.

I find that less contradictions to these Truths in the concepts put forward by Islam, because of its elegant concept of "God is One".

You asked a little while back:

[But can I add here a question as to what you might think of the idea of God's willing Himself into "eclipse"; thereby, effectively removing Himself from everything? As I mentioned in another post, many Jews felt he did just this during the Holocaust.]

Fundemental Flaw #1. (I'm glad I put those in, makes things so much easier). It would mean God was no longer infinite. Ergo not God. As he told Moses "I am because I am" (if I'm not mistaken).

Those who believe that assume that only good comes from God. He created everything and we have what is considered "good" and "evil".

Gregg:

[It seems that John and I.S. basically aggre that GOD is ONE.]

I'm sorry but this not the case at all. I am at a fundemental disagreement WRT to John on this issue because although he claims God is One, his insistence on the concept of trinity undermines his case that God is One compeltely. Unless he rejects this notion I can not agree with your statement that we are in agreement. I have given all the reasons why the trinity undermines this position.

This is not a semantic issue at all. The trinity doesn't allow the concept of "God is One" in its fullest and most complete fashion, for all the reasons I give, and anything less is to not stipulate "God is One" but merely say words God is One without the Truest meaning of such.

Thanks for the new chapter. I'll read it an post my commeents.

You said earlier:

[I'm rambling, but this notion of the Trinity also escapes me as to why it's important.]

Do you mean why its important to Christians or to me? To me it should be clear by now. It or any variation of it contradicits fundemental Truths about God. The book you are quoting does a maginficnet job of explaining many of the conepts of God is One. The trinity does not allow those God is One to hold true. I can't accept it because anything that prevents God is One to hold true can not be the True, and I'm not interested in it. However I will debate it as long as someone insists otherwise.

Beerman:

Haven't forgotten you. I'll get to your post soon.

(so are we close to setting some new records on TB2000 with this thread? :))

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 16, 2000.


Interested Spectator -

First of all, let me say I feel your frustration. When I was writing my response to you I felt much the same way. Like you I've been trying to explain myself in the clearest way I know how, and it doesn't seem to get through. I'm not trying to misquote or twist your ideas, if I do not understand, I apologize. I'm just trying to reply to your arguments as best I can. I haven't quoted you often because its just too much work to dredge up the relevant quotes. I'll try to do so a little more, if only to free myself from the charge of misquoting you.

That said, onward to the argument.

When you accuse me of violating fundamental assumption #1 you don't seem to realize that I reject fundamental assumption #1. It does you no good accuse me of violating it if I refuse to recognize its validity. You say we cannot learn anything about God from Creation, I say we can. It does you no good to call me for a double dribble if I'm playing football :)

Next I state my reasons for why we can know God from creation. [You only speculate the statements you state could be the case, and can not state them to be the case as you are assuming what an unordered mind would - you have no refernce point to make a comment of that. The moment you use the book analogy you make fundemental flaw #1. ]

But I do have a reference point, the existance of God. His existance ensures an order that can be grasped by reason. I'm not sure what you mean. I have offered a contrary observation above to fundamental observation #1, it does you no good to accuse me of violating it.

[And again you are using analogy of the created world to speculate about the Nature of God.]

Of course I am. I said as much at the beginning and gave you fair warning that that was my intent.

Moving along. I reject fundamental observation #1 for the reasons already stated. You do not. Assuming fundamental observation #1 to be true, I think, leads to problems in your argument.

[creation does not contain *in any form whatsoever* what is needed to *understand* God, *explain* God fully and truely][That is I don't want to understand why he exists, or what he would like to say about his existence or any thing else like that.] As I understand your proof, you are taking the existance of effects that you can observe in Creation, such as motion, and using them to deduce the existance of God. But you then make fundamental observation #1 saying the universe does not contain anything that can help us to understand anything about God, we can only know that he exists. Why the distinction? If we can use observable effects to deduce the existance of God, why can we not use them to understand other things about God? You seem to be saying that once you use these effects in Creation to prove the existance of God then no one else can use them for anything else. I am unclear as to your reasons for doing so.

As to my previous arguments for the difficulty of establishing indivisibility. You say [The concept of one exists in nature but that is not the attribute I solicit when I say God is One.] What attribute do you solicit then? If you are not appealing to something that exists within nature, how am I supposed to know what the heck you are talking about? The only way you can do this is by implicitly accepting my argument that we can use things in nature to determine the attributes of God.

As for who is misunderstanding Godel, I don't think the problem lies with me. You say: [For example it is interesting that Godel's theorm does establish to have a complete and consistent system there must be an infinite number of axioms (or Truths). ] Experts on Godel say: [Even if the axioms of arithmetic are augmented by an indefinite number of other true ones, there will always be further mathematical truths that are not formally derivable from the augmented set.]1 That is to say, even if we have an infinite number of axioms, we still do not have a complete and consistant system.

So according to Godel, your recursion argument is still suspect. To illustrate (I hope this formats right)

f() {

if("this statement is false" == true) return 42;

else return f(); }

Anyone who understands recursion should see what I am getting at here. The if or ending proposition is undecidible, so it is impossible to determine whether or not the function will ever return 42.

[logic can't make every true statement. This is not the same as saying that it can't make *any* true statements.] Godel says that it is impossible to establish the internal logical consistancy of any large deductive system.1 If a thing cannot be determined to be internally consistent, then it cannot be determined to be true. Your proof rests on the large deductive system of mathematics. Therefore it cannot be determined to be true.

Here's what I had to say about the Trinity. [To (badly) sum up, there is only one God, with three parts. Each part participates equally in the Divine. But there are not three gods, there is only one God. All three are united in purpose, power, and aim.]

In your proofs on a previous post you say: [Are these 3 parts of him equal? Lets say yes. Then we have 3 Gods] But I have clearly stated that the Trinity is not three Gods. Therefore your argument does not refer to the Trinity. [Lets say no, then we can assume one is more powerfull than the others and hence we really only have one God.] but I have very clearly said that the Trinity is equal, so you cannot be refering to the Trinity. And, to clear myself of the charge of creating the definition after your arguments were madeg, I can only refer you to various Christian documents on the Trinity. I think you will find that they say much the same thing.

And, to answer your question, I'm a computer science major here at Wake. I'm doing ROTC to pay for college and will enter the Army as a 2nd LT upon graduation.

Finally, looking back over this post, I see that I have been a little rude. I don't have time to change it all so let me apologize for that now. This thread has been fairly civil so far and I have no intention of messing that up.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 16, 2000.


Response to The Great Deception - What if what we know was chosen deliberately to deceive us? ---

Gregg

I liked that chapter you posted. So here is a bit more from a Taoist perspective. This is a most impressive book "Wen Tzu" attributed to Lao Tzu, who possibly also wrote the Tao Te Ching. History is vague as to his real identity and work so I am also Vague on this fact.

But one thing is clear, the Tao Te Ching is just a primer compared to Wen Tzu. And the Tao Te Ching is one of the worlds most read books.

I use the Tao for understanding as it has a natural focus unlike religions that have a more cultural bias. Also the imagery suits my nature.

So here are a few quotes that maybe will re-enforce the concept of a universal mentality. The quotes below are only a drop in the bucket compared to the wisdom in the Wen Tzu. If you are a student of the Tao or a serious thinker then this is a book to check out.

 Amazon.com: A Glance: Wen-Tzu : Understanding the Mysteries (Shambhala Dragon Editions)

Wen-Tzu : Understanding the Mysteries (Shambhala Dragon Editions) by Lao-Tzu, Thomas Cleary (Translator), Lao Tzu Paperback - 184 pages Reprint edition (October 1992)

Chapter 4 P. 6

The Way molds myriad beings but is ever formless. Silent and unmoving, it totally comprehends the undifferentiated unknown. No vastness is great enough to be outside it, no minuteness is small enough to be inside it. It has no house but gives birth to all the names of the existent and nonexistent.

Chapter 9 P.13

Therefore the unspoken Way is very great indeed, It changes customs and mores without any orders being given. It is only mental action, all things have results, but it only goes to the root, all affairs have consequences, but it only stays by the gate. Thereby it is possible to find the end of the of the endless and the ultimate of the infinite, to perceive things without being blinded and to respond echo like without minding.

Chapter 12 P. 19

Silent and voiceless, yet moving the world tremendously with a single word-such are those who move evolution by means of the celestial mind. thus when pure sincerity forms within, its energy moves heaven

Chapter 24 P. 29

So a way that can be articulated is not a permanent Way, and names that can be designated are not permanent labels. Whatever is written or inscribed and can be handed on to others is crude generalization........

 Chapter 72 P. 62

If you don't study sincerely, you won't listen to the Way deeply. Listening is to convey wisdom, to foster action, and to bring achievement and honor. If it is not sincere, it is not clear, not deep, not effective; so the highest learning involves listening with the spirit, middling learning involves listening with the mind, lower learning involves listening with the ear.

Chapter 86 P. 74

When the Way and virtue are present, there is vigilance and diligence, a constant alert for danger and destruction. when the way and virtue are absent, here is indulgence and sloth, so destruction can come at any time. The Way and Virtue are means of mutual life-giving and nurturing, means of mutual developing and maturing, means of mutual closeness and loving, means of mutual respect and honor. Even the ignorant do not harm those they love. If you could truly have all people in the world embosom a heart of human love, where would calamity come from?

Chapter 86 P. 74

The substance of the Way is nonbeing: you cannot see its form when you look at it, you cannot hear its sound when you listen for it. This is called the mysterious unknown. the "mysterious unknown" is a way of talking about the way, it is not the Way itself. The Way is gazing inward and returning to oneself. Therefore when people do not have small awareness, they do not have great delusion, when they do not have small wisdom, they do not have great folly.No one uses flowing water for a mirror, still water is used for a mirror. by keeping thus inwardly, you become still and are not scattered outwardly.

Chapter 116 P. 109 - 110

Be calm, and you will be equanimous, be empty, and you will get through. Perfect virtue is uncontrived, accommodating all things. The path of emptiness and calm is eternal as heaven and earth, its spiritual subtlety fills everywhere yet does not control things. The twelve months go through their cycle and then begin again. The powers of the elements overcome each other, but their courses depend on each other. Therefore extreme cold injures beings, but there cannot be no cold, extreme heat injures beings, but there cannot be no heat. Therefore the acceptable and the unacceptable are both acceptable, for this reason there is nothing that is unacceptable to the Great Way.

Chapter 117 P.110

The greatest simplicity is formless, the greatest Way is measureless. Thus the sky is round with out being set to a compass, the earth is square without being set to a ruler. The word universe refers to time and space, the Way is therein, but no one knows its location. So if people's vision does not see far, you cannot talk to them about something of immense scope, if people's knowledge is not broad, you cannot speak to them about what is finally ultimate.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 17, 2000.


Interested Spectator (and Gregg):

You're right -- I misread your dart board comment. I'm sorry; I'll try to be more careful in the future. Also, I really thought that on a very early thread you said you were Islamic. Again, I apologize for jumping the gun here.

Gregg,

I completely agree with your desire to concentrate on the bigger issues, staying away from religious slant. You make an excellent point here.

Although I've allowed myself to stray into many different areas, for the most part I try to avoid discussing aspects of specific religions. But I know now and then I've discussed specific issues in Christianity in this thread. For example, John was interested in discussing Isaiah 45:7. But I was interested in responding to it. What do we do in this case?

In general, Gregg, what do you think our approach should be if, for example, someone brings up a legitimate issue within Christianity? Should we not address it?

Beerman,

I did notice your post; I'm too tired to respond right now (does someone know how to type a tired face?); sometime tomorrow, ok?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 17, 2000.


Gregg,

To clarify my previous post: I do agree that we should concentrate on the bigger issues in this thread, yet I also enjoy discussing specific aspects of Judaism and Christianity.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 17, 2000.


Brian,

Thanks for that. Very nice indeed!

Eve, I don't care what we discuss, I just hope people at this point are seeing that we are all talking about and trying to bring into our lives, I guess, the same thing. If someone is helped or feels connected to this "GOD" through some secular belief, that's good right?

The Relgious part gets crazy when one kills the other because they have a different name for the same GOD. How amazing.

I.S. - can't John think of his Trinity as ONE God, whit 3 separate "faces" that helps him relate?

It's late. Goodnight.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 17, 2000.


John:

Before I get to my response, I'd also like to appologize if in any way I was disprectful to you, as I myself commented way back near the begining that it was the respect in this thread which is what I enjoyed about it, and the last thing I'd to is be guility of neglecting that issue. Also, I think although it appears we are deadlocked, we are making progress as the size of our responses are getting smaller as the issues we need to focus on are becoming clearer and therefore allows us to focus on them succinctly.

It seems to me that we have 3 points on the table.

First is with respect to Fundemental Observations #1 and what it means and related to this your inability to see how I can discuss Indivisibility given your understanding of what I mean in Fundemental Observation #1.

The Second is with respect to weather the existence of God can be proved using the Recursion Theory. What is exactly being proved. Godel's applicability to this issue.

The Third is with respect to the Trinity.

I am going to re-order the last two and deal with the Trinity second as it is indirectly related to Fundemental Observation #1, notwithstanding you refusal to accept it.

The Trinity issue is independent from the issue of can the existence of God be proven, because although he can be proven (although not all may agree), I do not deny his existence. So either by belief or by proof we both agree on God's existence and the Trinity issue is a matter of his "Nature" (that fact we even discuss his "nature" implies we agree he exists, one way or another).

FUNDEMENTAL OBSERVATION #1 and FUNDEMENTAL FLAW #1 (which I from now on refer to as #1b)

First I to requote it here for ease of reference for other readers and in slightly different format where I state each part separately so I can identify the parts I believe we are in agreement with (however, please correct me if I am wrong in that understanding). Further since our objective is increased understanding of each other's position I'll enhance my explaination of Fundmental Observation #1 into FUNDEMENTAL OBSERVATION #1B which includes more detail. If this leads you to say "well you never said that before" then I meant to and assumed it was understood given the context of my overall discussion, but if it was not then my explaiantion was inadequate and I'm sorry and hopefully we'll now be able to brake our dead lock.

Firstly Creation is made by God and therefore can not be equal to God.

--- I believe we are in agreement with this.

As a consequence of this I state:

Now since Creation will never equal God, it therefore does not contain *in any form what-so-ever* (i.e. physical, thought, energy, language, contemplation, or anything else the pseudo-sciences can dream up) what is needed to *understand* God, *explain* God, fully and truly.

--- I say here that we can not understand God **fully and truly**. I believe you also agree we can not understand God fully and truly from what exists creation alone as well. Do not misinterprete this to mean we can however understand a) a part of him completely or b) every part of him a little or c) partly understand a part of him because all of those interpretations of what I say imply God has parts of some kind. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I take your "rejection" Fundemental Observation #1 to mean that one of these 3 (a,b,or c) can be done and that is what you mean when you say is that we can understand some attributes of God from those in Creation.

As a further consequence of "Creation is made by God and can therefore not be equal to God" I state:

That Creation can therefore not be God.

--- I believe we are in agreement with this.

And as a consequnce of "Creation can therefore not be God, I state:

That although we cannot understand God **fully and truly** from the attributes in creation, we can by semantics (i.e. the use of language) use such attributes from Creation to try and appreciate or provide us with a crude inkling of the nature of God provided doing so does neither introduces directly nor by implication any contradictions with the semantic understanding of God's Fundemental Attributes because doing so implies a limitation of God in some fashion as the contradiction implies that one of His Fundemental Attributes no longer holds true. Therefore introducing directly or by implication a semantic contradiction with God's Fundemenal Attributes about while trying to increase understanding about God himself means we have made an contradictory and illogical conclusion about God and this I call Fundemental Flaw #1b.

For example to state God is finite contradicts Fundemental Attribute a) below at a semantic level and therefore can be true about God. It implies God can be enumerated. It states specifically God is not Infinite, and so forth.

It would appear therefore that anything we state about God is really a statement about a fundemental attribute of God, and any debate we have about God, is really about coming to agreement on a new fundemental attribute of God, perhaps articulated but not agreed upon by all. Therefore the basis described is merely to ensure that the new Fundemental Attribute debate does not contradict what we have already agreed is a Fundemental Attribute of God. Without this basis, we can not have a yardstick to ensure we are not "spewing out" explainations and theories and just saying "God is such and such" or "God is like such and such" which have can have no foundation in reality.

Essentially this all I am saying is that since we can't understand God **fully and truly** through creation (and in particular our langauge) anything new we say about God must not contradict rationally and logically what we already agree are Fundemental Truths about God. That is to say, anything we state about God must be consistent with the following Fundemental Attributes of God. Otherwise anybody can say God is anthing they choose because we have no guide from which to at least assess the statement as being valid. Also this does not limit how much we can try and explain about God using language and other items from creation, intuitively all I am saying is that it must all be consistent with the Fundmental Attributes for all reasons just given above,

--- I don't know if you are in agreement with this, but my guess is that you probably are with some of what I just stated, but I can't be sure if you are in agreement with all of it.

Although you stated you don't agree with Fundemental Observation #1 as stated earlier, I believe that you must agree that Fundemental Observation #1b must be agreed upon as it is really a basis and a framework from which to measure if what we are stating about God and rationalizing can be judged as logical and consistent with God's Fundemental Attributes. If you don't agree then if you say God is an apple, or has some essence of "appleness" I can't say you're wrong because you would not be accpting the Fundemental Attributes below and in addition you would not be letting me make sure that anything you say is consisent with them.

Now I state that some of Gods Fundemental Attributes are:

a) "God is One" and that is to say he can not be enumerated into parts regardless of the form that those parts my be construed. That is to say the knowledge, concepts, ideas etc embodied by the word One (used with capital letters) will need to be true in every possible sense we can at least contemplate such as Infinite, Unique, Singular, Indivisible, Homogenous, Uniform, Unity, Ultimate, First Cause, (and of course many more that can't contemplate, because should we be able to contemplate all of them then we would be able to fully understand God),

b) He is the creator of the universe and its laws (Creation),

c) He is omnipotent (that is the laws of nature do not apply to him and he can not be restricted by them), and He is ominipresent (he is everywhere),

d) He required no cause or creation on his part,

e) He is not subject to the laws of creation (similar but not exactly to b),

Just a matter of clarification, in the purest sense any one of these attributes can be used to fully understand God if the attribute is taken to its fullest and truest meaning and therefore all of these attributes are really synonyms to each other when taken to this ultimate meaning. However it is because of the limitation of language, which is our expressive means, we need to enumerate even the Fundemental Attributes simply because we have no word to convey all of these meanings that is univerally understood by everybody. This enumration itself does not imply God can be enumerated. Notwithstanding this, I use the phrase "God is One" to reflect all of the concepts embodied in Fundemental Attribute a) specifically when taken taken to its truest meaning so our minds can focus on the deepest meanings of the concept of Oneness that we can concieve of and try and understand God from that perspective. (Although all perspecitves (a-e) are equal, our minds will not be able to relate easily say attribute e to the concept of oneness simply because of the ingrained meanings of the words of our languages. This should help to provide us with a semantic basis from which to understand what I say in my explainations.

--- Are you in agreement with all of the Fundemental Attribtues and the clarification?

I'm going to assume you are in agreement with the above, just so I can continue with my response. As I stated I can't really see why you would not be in agreement with the above as it is really a framework for measuring the validity and consistency of what we hypothesise about God against what we both accpet about God (either through proof or belief if you do not accept the proof)

If you don't agree with FUNDEMENTAL OBSERVATION #1b as now stated and clarified, then I'd really like to take you to task on some of your past statements on the issues about what we can learn about God through reason, before we even disuss trinity or if God's existence can be proven. Furthermore this should also clear up your problems with discussing Indivisibility.

THE TRINITY ISSUE

If we have agreement on FUNDEMNTAL OBSERVATION #1b I can proceed to the trinity issue as I have basis from which to assess the concept and its implications, which we both agree to. I assume we have agreement and proceed with my response.

Firstly I have given many times (starting with my first response to Miranda) an absolute proof that shows using any notion of threeness (or any other quantity) to describe God in the fashion we agreed under Fundemental Observation #1b violates Fundmental Observation #1b and hence makes Fundemental Flaw #1b. That is to say it makes one of God's Fundemental Attributes not hold.

I restate the proof below for reference.

We agree a Fundemental Attribute of God is that He is Omnipresent. Something that is Omnipresent is not divisible in the sense that it is possible to distinguish differences or parts. If it is divisible then it loses is attribute of Omnipresence as there then needs to exist a realm between the divided entities to separate the entities so more than one entity can be distinguished. Thus with respect to God, it would mean that this realm is a place where God does not exist as he does elsewhere since he can't be between the parts and be the parts themselves and still be distinguishable as three parts as he'd end up as one again. This realm would need to be deficient in some aspect of God so that the parts can be distinguished. That means this realm is where God does not exist. It is not possible for there to be a realm where God does not exist as that doesn't make him Ominpresent.

Every explaination you have made of the trinity can not overcome this proof because of the essense of "threeness" is inherent in every explaination of the trinity and because the trinity is purported to be a fundemental attribute of God.

Furtheremore, because description of the trinity makes God dependent on it or two of its parts (the third being God) and hence violates the Fundemental Attribute already agreed upon that God is independent and depends on nothing.

If you claim the trinity is not a fundemental attribute of God, then make it completely and utterly in every sense possible subservient to God, just as every thing else that created by God is. And I will have no objection to this created trinity.

If you wish to have the concept of trinity considered as a Fundemental Attribute of God, then you must show why my proof with respect to threeness making God not omnipresent is false. And you must show that the trinity does not make God dependent, on the Trinity or any part of it while still being a Fundemental attribute. There can be no other way for you to make the trinity a Fundemental Attribute and hence Reality and not imagination or speculation.

From your "newest" description of the trinity from your last post:

[Here's what I had to say about the Trinity. [To (badly) sum up, there is only one God, with three parts. Each part participates equally in the Divine. But there are not three gods, there is only one God. All three are united in purpose, power, and aim.]

You say now "one God with three parts". Does this violate any of our Fundemental Attributes of God we have agreed upon? Yes. Here's why. What if I took away one part? We no longer have God. Therefore God was not One he has parts. Therefore God was dependent on the part I took and not independent. The part I took obviously contained essense of God not present in the other two parts, Therefore God was not omnipresent. The other way of stating the same argument is ask "Does God need all three parts to be God"? If not, then get rid of the extra ones and if only one is left then that was God to begin with and the others were not Fundemental Attributes of God. If yes, then he is not one, he is 3. He is not independent, he is dependent on the parts to be complete. He is not omnipresent as just explained.

CAN GOD BE PROVEN TO EXIST.

I have not seen anything you have said that would really change what I said about your use of Godel, and that is that Godel says because there will always exist statements similar to the liar's paradox (or the if statement in your program) that can be shown to be unproveable in any mathematical system, it does not mean that the mathematical system is not able to prove anything. Godel only says that such statements *must* exist, and therefore the mathematical system is incomplete because it can't prove *every* statment and it is inconsisent becaue *every* statement doesn't reduce to true or false. That is the definition of incompleteness and inconsistency. It does not imply in any shape what so ever that no statement can not be proven, which is what you say.

Your problem is that you misunderstand the meaning of incomplete and inconsisent as far as I can see.

Your program does not contain the recursion the God's existence proof contains. It contains a Liar's paradox. Godel says you can't prove that. I'm not trying to prove that and Godel doesn't say because that can't be proven, I can't prove anything else, it just that because the liar's paradox will always exist and therefore no mathematical system can prove everything.

You say:

[Experts on Godel say: [Even if the axioms of arithmetic are augmented by an indefinite number of other true ones, there will always be further mathematical truths that are not formally derivable from the augmented set.]1 That is to say, even if we have an infinite number of axioms, we still do not have a complete and consistant system.]

I can show other experts who say otherwise, so why bother with this issue. It is not relevant to the issue if God can be proven to exist or the applicability of Godel to the proof. I just made the comment in passing that Godel supports the notion that you need all Truths to be complete and consistent. Godel himself was a believer in an Absolute Truth himself.

Gregg:

[Arguing the Trinity may make many realize they never thought about it "right", and I don't want to debate the "correctness" of a particular religions beliefs. Clearly, with many denominations of Christianity, the debate can't be settled quickly. It's not like there is one belief system that is Christianity. People take the Bible literally in some cases, others see it metaphorically. Why argue?]

I think that the trinity issue is fundemental as it goes directly to what is Reality. No point holding beief in something that may not have any basis in reality. Might as well start beliving in anything you can come up with. Furthermore the trinity is a discussion in God's fundemental attributes so if it is a correct concept, it is has nothing to do with Christianity but is part of Reality and therefore as independent of any religion as the proof of God's existence is indepedent of any religion.

[The attempt to "prove" God's existence is fun, and by staying away from Religious slant, we cover more ground.]

I see this as less important than the trinity issue as regardless of what we do here, most people have their beliefs in God already and this is more an academic exerise. The issue of the Trinity brings one a step closer to understanding the Truth as false concepts are cast off and the Truth can come forth for all to see and this makes it one of the most noble endevour IMHO.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 17, 2000.


The Trinity is specifically a Christian issue.

The Messiah (Jesus Christ) reveals the existence, purpose and reality of the Trinity to His disciples and only to His disciples. Whether or not the Trinity has discernible echoes in other forms of reality is entirely separate and speculative.

Knowledge about the existence and nature of a triune God is not accessible to mathematics or created beings as such.

IS's position shows very neatly and precisely why Islam is not a true religion. Sorry not to use more "PC language". It is also why, as IS knows very well, Islam does not consider Christianity a true religion, though it has a specific place for its Founder, provided that the Founder (Christ) is not held to be God.

That is, if Christ ALSO God, Islam is false.

In the midst of posting, let's not forget why these ways are utterly different and spiritually opposed.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 17, 2000.


To all,

I havan't had a chance to go over many of the recent responses, and I think I'm going to be out of commission today. I hope to be back tonight. I'll tell you, though, it seems every time I tune in, my interest goes up even more! Wonderful stuff, guys!

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 17, 2000.


I am sorry that I will be gone on retreat this week until Thursday. I hope that there will still be some things to discuss when I get back, that it won't be all wrapped up! I'm still waiting for a response, so I'll check back later this week. For the Catholic Church, the Trinity was never a discussion about the nature of God, but rather a discussion of the person(s) of God; i.e. Who is God? rather than What is God? The problem is that we have trouble wrapping our mind around the idea that in God, the person encompasses the totality of the nature unlike in human beings, where the person is only one instantiation of the nature and does not encompass human nature totally. This is a mystery that cannot be totally understood this side of eternity (God cannot be *totally* comprehended in heaven either, for that matter.)

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 17, 2000.

Eve -

[John, are you implying that God could have prevented the Holocaust, but didn't because He foresaw the Jewish state of Israel coming out of it?]

I think it is a possiblity, but I can obviously not have any degree of certainty. Perhaps Isreal's existance will prevent some worse disaster. But I cannot know that, I can only speculate.

You asked: [Also, could you respond to the situation wherein a small child dies a protracted, painful death from cancer? What good could come of this that could be anywhere near countervailing a tragedy of this nature?]

Have you read "The Brother's Karamazov"? Ivan askes much the same question.

As best I can figure, the answer is this. When sin & evil entered the world through the Fall, there were two options before a good God. He could either forbid evil to exist and destroy all of creation, or he could allow creation to continue and see what good could come out of it.

So, the evil in the world is man's fault, not God's. Cancer, deformity, and pain are all a result of the fall. Man, not God is to blame.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 17, 2000.


BigDog:

You say:

Knowledge about the existence and nature of a triune God is not accessible to mathematics or created beings as such.

But then you use mathematics to make an absolute statement which therefore must be statement about the Truth and Reality when you say:

That is, if Christ ALSO God, Islam is false.

As John would say, if you're not playing basketball, you can't say someone has double dribbled, in other words, if your position is that can't use logic to truely understand reality, then you can not make an aboslute statement about Islam, or anything else.

By your logic then Judaism is also then not a true religion as it does not believe in a triune God. If John or you hold such beliefs and understand them that is not unsatisfactory. You may hold your beliefs about such things however and that is what respect is about. Why is it that when they are questioned and understanding sought, the we get slander very shortly thereafter? I'm sorry but it was the mutal respect that has been exhibited so far in this thread which kept my interest and I hope it can continue. Heated debate should not mean lack of respect.

What we debate is an intellecutal and challenging issue. I don't expect to conclude my debates here with any sense of finality to resolve anything, as it would be too presumptious that an issue that has been debated for a millenia or more is about to be resulved by us few here. However what Beerman put to in one of his comments addressed to me encourages me to believe that what we are doing is helping us all:

[In thinking about these concepts, I'd have to say that my understanding of God has improved to realize just how great He is and how powerful and so far above our thoughts. Thank you for that.]

Islam considers Christianity a True religion. However, just as you may have questions about the validity of certain issues of Islam, Islam has the same of Christianity. Even within Christianity and Islam there are issues and questions about what others question within their own religion. Does that mean you throw the "baby out with the bathwater" and claim both religions are therefore false?

Islam considers Christianity as taught by Christ as true as Judaism taught as taught by Moses as true as Islam as taught by Muhammad.

WRT to Christ revealing the Trinity, I think if you study the issue a little furhter, you will find otherwise. Don't forget that the concept of the Trinity came about and declared to be the orthodox Christian belief at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. In the first century after Jesus, those who followed him continued to affirm Divine Unity. This is illustrated by the fact that Shepherd of Hermas, written in 90 AD was regarded as a book of Revelation by the Church, which said:

"First of all, believe that God is One and that He created all things and organized them and out of what did not exists made all things to be. And he contains all things but alone is Himself uncontained."

There are many books that professed such concepts of Unity that were removed after the Council of Nicea. For example the Gospel of St. Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gosepel in the churches of Alexandria up until 325 AD.

All of these are not lost to us. For example a copy of the Gospel of St. Barnabas exists in: Hofbibliothek in Vienna.

The Gospel of Barnabas is the only known surviving Gospel written by a disciple of Jesus, that is by a man who spent most of his time in the actual company of Jesus during the three years in which he was deliveirng his message. He therefore had direct experience and knowledge of Jesus's teaching, unlike all the authors of the four accepted Gospels.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 17, 2000.


IS -- I'll answer some of your other points soon, time permitting. But you know very well that Islam believes the Christian claim that Jesus Christ is God is heretical and that Islam superseded Christianity. Many Westerners don't know that this is the orthodox teaching of Islam.

If you'd like to say that Jesus didn't claim to be God, etc., this has a long provenance among non-Christians. For now, I will just say this: Christians of all stripes from the earliest days of the faith (40 AD) have testified with one voice that Jesus Christ is fully (and, btw, contra Hinduism/Buddhism, uniquely) God as well as fully Man. That is the core of the Christian faith.

It's no big deal to say it's wrong -- after all, so say all other religions. But let's make sure we're not trying to slip subtle "pitches" in to the catcher while the umpire isn't looking.

Any discussion about the Trinity post-dates that earliest Christian confession though it certainly arises from the gospel conviction that Jesus IS God. That conviction can only be received by those to whom the Son of God has given it as divinely certified revelation - so says the same scriptures and so is the experience of hundreds of millions of Christians from all races and nations over two millenia.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 17, 2000.


Beerman:

Finally got some time for your post to me.

WRT existence being binary, I refer you to my post above WRT to Fundemental Observation #1B with respect to the use of semantics (since it is a piece of creation) its ability to provide us with a crude inklinking of Reality, but that it should contradict common meanings of the words (this is paraphrased from what I exactly said there, but I just wish to draw you to the correct concept in Fundemental Observation #1B to pay attention to).

This should answer your question.

[In thinking about these concepts, I'd have to say that my understanding of God has improved to realize just how great He is and how powerful and so far above our thoughts. Thank you for that.]

You are welcome, and I hope that my Fundemental Observation #1B allows you to understand even more of what I think to help you understand more about what you wish to learn.

You re-address me in your post with:

[The discussion of the Trinity is not concerning the Nature of God. The Nature of God is one and indvisible. The Trinity is more a discussion of the "interior life" of God. What is going on in the mind of God. That is something, that as you say, cannot be known or understood by reason.]

I can say nothing more but to refer you to my post to John which starts with Fundemental Observation #1B.

In that post I address the use of reason and what it should do with respect to maintaining consistency with accepted Fundemental Truths about God. For failure to maintain discussion about God consistent with Fundmental Truths mwe accept God means that then any concept we dream up can be said to be equivelent to God, and never be shown to be false, which allows no dissemination of information about God that is true to be distinguished from information about God that is false. Hence we need neither the Bible nor the Qur'an nor the Tora as these are merely dissemenations of information about God (and we can't tell which is True) and hence the trinity dissappears as it is an issue since it is only from the Bible. And therefore we go back to where we were at pagan times where just a few enlighed people are privilaged to learn about God properly while the rest wander aimlessly. (I rather like this concept I have just articulated and can see use for it many times for ease of reference I'm gonig to call it as the FUNDEMENTAL COMMUNICATION PRINCIPLE #1B).

Remember I can understand God with reason to the extent as explained in Fundemental Observation #1B. Since you do can not read my mind so you do not know or even reason that I can or can not but can only believe that I am not able to do that because you believe such an act can not be done. You can not even prove that if I can not do this, because that would be the same as using Logic and Reason to explain God, which it appears can not be done. However I do not state that because you do not use reason, you can not understand anything about God or for that matter more about God than I do. Because I do not say reason is the only way to understand God as releigion and faith are also ways to understand God and I use them both, so I have two "tools" which will help me get a greater understanding rather than just the use of one.

You ask:

[WRT Jesus Christ. What exactly is contrary to reason in God taking on human nature?]

It results in Fundemental Flaw #1.

WRT to evolution, just as there are many religions and I accepet only that from all which is follows FUNDEMENTAL COMMUNICATION PRINCIPLE #1B. Similarly I do the same form the various sects of Christianity and since I can never know even a fraction of usefull info about all of them, let this be your guide to what I accept and do not accpet from the various sects.

You say:

[No, you're mistaken. (What is freely asserted can be freely denied :-))]

And what is denied for the sake of deinal does not make it the Truth. The fact that there is controversy over the wording (due to translations and lack of source documents) itself shows the element of humanity has entered into its "original" form and therefore does not make it Divine. But you may not agree and that is fine with me, however read my last post to BigDog.

You ask:

[Re:"Not withstanding the incorrect references, my arguments still hold." But one thing remains unclear, is John really the Muslim or am I?]

I refer to you, but please re-read my comments carefuly. I did not say you are a Muslim. I say your thoughts about God (in particular when you said you are on my side about reason and I invited you to join my army) bring you closer to the Islam's concepts than Christianty. Also I said that the labels, Christian, Muslim, Jew are merely labels by which we tell the world quickly a lot about who we are. They are not abosolute as there are many shades of grey to them, which is why I said also you may call yourself a Christian, but God knows what you really are - i.e. where along the continum from complete falsehood to complete truth your belief puts you.

As I said do not take offence with what I said, and I applogize if you feel offended. I mean it in no disrespectful way, and it applies equally to me. I hope my last sentcence above regarding the shades of grey and the continum will make clear to you what I mean.



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 17, 2000.


BigDog:

You state:

[It's no big deal to say it [Trinity and its implications I presume] is wrong -- after all, so say all other religions. But let's make sure we're not trying to slip subtle "pitches" in to the catcher while the umpire isn't looking.]

Then make sure that you don't just slip in that Islam is not a "true" relgion by name, and conviently forget to mention that Judiasm is not as well. Make sure you stay consistent and slander all the religions *by name* as well. I'll be waiting for that statement from you.

[...so is the experience of hundreds of millions of Christians from all races and nations over two millenia.]

If you're going to use the force of numbers of believers to determine show what is true, I think you'll have to conceed defeat. More Muslims say that Christianity as taught by Jesus is correct, which excludes the trinity as currently explained to me so far than there are Christians that believe in trinity in any form.

[Islam believes the Christian claim that Jesus Christ is God is heretical and that Islam superseded Christianity. Westerners don't know that this is the orthodox teaching of Islam.]

And I would contend that many westerners and I dare say Christians (and therefore include a larger number of people) do not know that Islam doubled the number of people that believe in the Virgin Mary and the birth of Christ as an miracle of God.

I have tried to keep this discussion above these petty comparisons between religions as bringing the debate to that level, only results in salvos lobbed from all sides. Instead I am interested only to discuss issues of logic in order to have a debate about the issues we have been discussing by drawing from what can be found from all faiths that to be consisent with each other as a basis to evaluate the issues and new concepts (at least new to me if not to others). Rather than claiming such and such religion is false or such and such is "True" which can only reduct this intellecutal debate into one of bigotry and slander.

Such a debate is of no interest to me and I have no interest in proving if Islam is "True" or Judaism is "True" or Christianity is "True". My interest is in learning the "Truth".

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 17, 2000.


Well I just noticed we've reached about 495k on the down load and saving the thread is 509k on the disk, so I'll split the difference and say we've gone over 500k. :)

We've also got 200 responses according to the Recent Answers list.

An it also looks like the discussion has essentially come full circle back to the original topic in the title of this thread.

There must be a message of some kind to all of us in the convergence of these 3 fact.

Notwithstanding this observation have we set some records here on TB2000?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 17, 2000.


Beerman,

Hi, finally I'm getting a chance to get back to you. Thanks for being patient.

I had questioned whether God could will himself out of existence. And I also indicated that I thought that this power could actually be a manifestation of His omnipotence.

You replied as follows:

"Once you know that God exists, and the reason why (there has to be an uncaused creator of the universe) then you know that He cannot not exist. Remember He is uncaused. His existence does not depend on anyone else. That means that God can never change, because to undergo change, you are being acted upon by something else. God cannot will himself out of existence, because the very definition of God is, "He who is". It would be a logical contradiction, just like asking God to make a round circle. The reason it's not possible is not because God isn't powerful enough but because it involves a contradiction with the very terms you are using."

My questions/comments are:

You can undergo change without being acted upon by something else. An example would be your decision to stand up, followed by actually standing up. Unless the "actor" here is your decision.

Your "round circle" analogy is interesting, but could you not state that the Trinity itself is a round circle? That is, the Son was issued from God, but the Son is God and Not-God (ie, the Son, or God as man) at the same time and in the same place. To the extent that Trinitarians follow this description, this is the same type of contradiction as the round circle. I know we're not discussing Christianity in this exchange, but could you respond to this?

If you feel it was inappropriate of me to make this comparison, I'll understand and withdraw it.

Regarding my suggestion that God might have gone into "eclipse" during the Holocaust, you, in effect indicated that it was man's freedom that was of supreme importance here, and that freedom allows for evil.

Is it your position that God never, ever intervenes?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 17, 2000.


John,

I had posed the following: "Could you respond to the situation wherein a small child dies a protracted, painful death from cancer? What good could come of this that could be anywhere near countervailing a tragedy of this nature?"

You replied, in part, "When sin and evil entered the world through the Fall, there were two options before a good God. He could either forbid evil to exist and destroy all of creation, or He could allow creation to continue and see what good could come out of it. So the evil of the world is man's fault, not God's. Cancer, deformity, and pain are all a result of the fall. Man, not God is to blame."

I get lost when it gets to Original Sin. Untold billions die horrible deaths, and (according to some versions of Christianity) massive numbers will go to eternal torture, all because two people ate a piece of fruit. And with a close reading of Genesis 3:6, I could see how one could argue that they ate the fruit almost innocently -- in a carefree way, practically forgetting God's command. Maybe this is why the Jews saw no Original Sin.

Please don't be offended by this, John -- it's just my honest take at this point. Perhaps you could teach me something here.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 17, 2000.


There have appeared many words about the trinity on this refreshing thread. Here is a little story.

Thomas was walking on a beach reflecting on the trinity when he saw in the distance a little boy by the edge of the sea taking seawater with a shell and pouring it into a hole he had dug in the sand.

Thomas asked: What are you doing child? The child answered I am putting the ocean in this hole But that is impossible the ocean is far too big! exclaimed Thomas. The child looked up as answered: It is far easier than what you are trying to do and vanished.

-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), January 17, 2000.


John,

I had posed the following question: "Could you respond to the situation wherein a small child dies a protracted, painful death from cancer? What good could come of this that could be anywhere near countervailing a tragedy of this nature?"

You replied, in part, "When sin and evil entered the world through the Fall, there were two options before a good God. He could either forbid evil to exist and destroy all of creation, or He could allow creation to continue and see what good could come out of it. So the evil of the world is man's fault, not God's. Cancer, deformity, and pain are all a result of the fall. Man, not God is to blame."

I get lost when it gets to Original Sin. Untold billions die horrible deaths, and (according to some versions of Christianity) massive numbers will go to eternal torture, all because two people ate a piece of fruit. And with a close reading of Genesis 3:6, I could see how one could argue that they ate the fruit almost innocently -- in a carefree way, practically forgetting God's command. Maybe this is why the Jews saw no Original Sin.

Please don't be offended by this, John -- it's just my honest take at this point. Perhaps you could teach me something here.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 17, 2000.


Sorry about the double-post.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 17, 2000.

Beerman:

A brief question to you. I just re-read all of your posts as I had "lost" my mental image of your position after being so wrapped up with John for the past 2 days, and I find that we are in almost total agreement in a lot of fundemental issues, just as you stated near the begining when you said "you're on my side with respect to reason.

In particular I found two statements of yours that are exactly in correlation with mine:

Firstly to eve:

[Eve, Once you know that God exists, and the reason why (there has to be an uncaused Creator of the universe) then you know that he cannot not exist.]

and secondly to me:

[just because we don't understand something does not mean that it can't be true. If it *is* contradictory to reason, however, then it cannot be true]

And these are amongst the reasons I made the comment with respect to your concepts in relation to Islam and Christianity.

But there is just one thing I don't understand.

My explainations, WRT to the Trinity, showing that it is contradictory to reason have resulted in almost uniform agreement from those who believe in the Trinity that it is contradictory to reason and can not be understood by reason. You yourself state that the Trinity

[... is something, that as you say, cannot be known or understood by reason]

presumeably because it results in contradiction with reason.

However I can not reconcile that the trinity is contradictory with reason and your position that the trinity is contrdaictory with reason with your statement that:

[You say clearly that if something *is* contradictory to reason then it can not be true.]

because you still believe in the Trinity as something true.

Can you help me reconcile all these three positions of yours?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 17, 2000.


Beerman:

Having just read my response to you, I think you should just ignore the parapgraph that starts with "Remember I can understand ...". That doesn't apply to you. Now that I have "re-constituted my mental image" of your position after re-reading all your posts. It would however apply to those who don't agree with you and I WRT to the position we hold that contradiction to reason is the arbitrator of identifying what is false (as per my quote of you in my last post to you), which is fundemental to move towards the Truth but in no way states that reason can explain the Truth fully.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 17, 2000.


Interested Spectator -

Good response! Lets begin.

First, let me restate Fundamental Observation #1b, not to misquote you, but in hopes that we can arrive on some fundamental observation that we can both agree on.

Creation is not equal to God. Therefore it does not contain anything that can fully describe God. However, creation contains things which we may use to come to an understanding of God. For example, knowledge exists in creation. From our understanding of knowledge we can conceive of some being with perfect knowledge. That being is God. Perfect knowledge is an attribute of God, as you say, not a part.

A little distinction may be helpful here. If we say perfect knowledge is a part of God, we mean it is a quality or an attribute, contained in the essence of God. We don't imply divisions, but we do imply distinctions. Knowledge is a thing different from power. To say that God has both knowledge and power does not imply that there are two gods, one with the knowledge and one with the power.

[Here's what I had to say about the Trinity. [To (badly) sum up, there is only one God, with three parts. Each part participates equally in the Divine. But there are not three gods, there is only one God. All three are united in purpose, power, and aim.] Anyway, when I said part, I should have perhaps said attribute.

Now, one of the attributes of God that we agreed on was that he is the creator. Now, when a person creates something they conceive of the idea, instantiate the idea, and through the instantiation others are able to communicate with the original idea. When we use the word creator we cannot mean it in any other sense except as a description of this process.

Similarly, in the Trinity, the Father is the one who sent the Son, the Son is "the Word made flesh", and the Holy Spirit is the method by which believers communicate with the Father.

Now, these three things are distinct, that is to say that there is a difference between them. But to say there is a distinction is not to imply a division.

So, when we speak of an all-powerful being, we are speaking of God. Similarly, when we are speaking of God the Son, we are still speaking of God.

If you don't mind, I'd like to put the argument as to whether a proof can exist on hold for a minute and say a bit about my dislike of the idea for a proof of God. Saying that God can be proven to exist has always struck me as putting reason above God; God must exist because my reason says so. But reason is the created thing, it is secondary to God. So using reason to prove God's existance has always struck me as putting the cart before the horse. Obviously my personal likes and dislikes have no bearing on the validity of the proof, I'm just trying to show you my motivation.

Back at it. I found out why we were arguing about what Godel's Incompleteness Theorem meant. It turns out there were two of them, you were talking about one, I was talking about the other one. We found experts who disagreed. Can we consider the explanation offered here to be mutually acceptable? (You might want to bookmark the site as well, it is the most complete explanation of things mathematical on the web.) Anyway, it says this: [any formal system that is interesting enough to formulate its own consistency can prove its own consistency Iff it is inconsistent.]

Mathematics cannot prove that it is consistant, at least not without inconsistancy. Therefore, everything that mathamatics has proved, is in a sense, not completely proved. So mathamatics is incomplete in the sense that it cannot be completely proved.

Your proof rests on the mathamatical concept of recursion. But your proof is incomplete as mathamatics is incomplete. Ultimately it cannot be demonstrated to be absolutely true.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 17, 2000.


John:

Where is "here"? The link comes back to greenspun.

Thanks.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 17, 2000.


John, Yes, strictly speaking mathmatics is probably the most Symbolic language we have. No 2 apples ever equal 2 other, distinctly different apples. But it is useful. I'm not a mathmatician, but I find sertain concepts facinating.

You guys are probably aware of "Phi". A most interesting number, one that I believe has no fraction. And "Pi", also interesting. I forget if "E" is also, and infinite number, but those are examples of a Practical yet Infinite" concept, and still it can be applied to us in everyday life.

Phi, is to me the most interesting. The Golden Mean. The only place you can divide a line into three sections, and have those ratios.

It is 1 to 1.618.

The derivatives of Phi are in EVERYTHING, from your body, to plants, to the stock market, to matter distribution in the Universe. The recurrsive aspects of it are, that you get subsequently smaller "versions" when you divide by Phi, or the reverse, larger and larger versions. All "steps" have the same ratios.

From somewhere: [We see harmony expressed by those emotions, feelings, and characteristics present within ourselves. This harmony is viewed within nature as the Divine Proportion. The Divine Proportion ascribed to our collective state of observation has been expressed,

"For of three magnitudes, if the greatest (AB) is to the mean (CB) a the mean (CB) is to the least (AC), they therefore all shall be one." A__________C___________________B AB/CB = CB/AC = 1.618... ]

This concept of 3 in 1 is all over the place. From an earlier post of mine, I posited that Matter, Time and Space had to come into being simultaneously. Again, 3 in 1. And remember, 3 in 1 Oil. I used that a lot as a kid. (sorry)

I would like to suggest, that this aspect of proportion (1.618), and the fact that as soon as you come from ONE you get THREE, is the only one possible in the Material World.

Anybody interested in that?

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 17, 2000.


Eve -

I'm not offended at all by your question. Everything is up for discussion here.

You say: [Untold billions die horrible deaths, and (according to some versions of Christianity) massive numbers will go to eternal torture, all because two people ate a piece of fruit.] Yep, thats pretty much the size of it.

You see, the more I look at things, the more convinced I become that small things really matter. When the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed, starting WWI; he died because his driver broke a minor traffic law. A husband breaks a two word promise, and a family is destroyed. Sinful actions can have consequences beyond their initial seriousness.

Also, if billions have suffered, and died horrible deaths, billions have also lived, loved, watched a beautiful sunset, played, had friends, and had fun. The world we live in is a sad and terrible place, but it is also an exceptionally good place full of fine things and people.

If we as a race have been exceptionally miserable, we have also been exceptionally happy. As to whether the good outweighs the bad, who can say? I think it does though.

Hope this helps.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 17, 2000.


Link here

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/GoedelsIncompletenessTheorem.html

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 17, 2000.


Gregg -

Interesting stuff. My personal favorite equation is

e^(pi*i) + 1 = 0

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 18, 2000.


John, Do you take the Adam and Eve story literally?

Wouldn't this be a good place to get into "cause and effect"?

Can you see "the fall" metaphorically? Did you know the Eve is Hebrew for Love?

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 18, 2000.


IS -- Truth matters, as I think you would agree. It is not a light matter whether Christianity, Islam or Judaism (not to mention othe religions) are true or false. The primary deception of our day is the equivalence relation (essentially Hinduistic) that would wash this away.

Judaism is false. If you consider that slander, so be it.

Or, if you'd prefer, if Judaism is true, Christianity is false. Likewise, if Islam is correct, Christianity is false.

Unfortunately, while that SHOULD be trite, it appears that we have to repeat kindergarten truths at the beginnning of the new millenium.

Eve - As for the "fruit", I think you know that it was scarcely a matter of carboyhydrates but of explicit disobedience to the Creator.

One point that may be getting lost here is that Christianity (Islam, Judaism and, in its way, Hinduism for that matter) all argue that some truths must be revealed BY God to creatures and cannot be inferred or deduced. This seems to be the core debate on this thread.

Reason/math, etc, may be able to infer the existence of a Creator (for that matter, there are agnostic scientists now willing to consider that it might be possible to reasonably infer the existence of a Designer). However, it is impossible to say anything meaningful about the attributes, let along the purposes, of the Creator-Designer- God unless He chooses to reveal them directly to His creatures.

The Trinity is only one, but it is one, of those revelations.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), January 18, 2000.


Big Dog,

My understanding is that Adam and Eve had not yet eaten of the fruit (from the Tree of Knowledge), and we told not to eat it.

How could they evaluate God's position in relation to theirs? They had no frame of reference, they had no KNOWLEGDE. It was by their eating the fruit, that they then realized they were Man and Woman and were ashamed. Ashamed? Ashamed of being a creature of God?

Are we to believe, that GOD, Omnipotent (knows all things), created a creature without judgement (Man), told him not to do something, knew he would or could do it anyway, and then after he did, decides to punish these creatures and all his offspring?

Does God want to be obeyed that badly? If Man was supposedly given "Free Choice", but then is punished for Eternity because he exercises that choice, is it really a "choice".

If I hold a gun to your head and say you have a choice, but if you do "a", I'll kill you, but if you do "b" I won't, is that a "choice"? Were Adam and Eve just supposed to remain mindless and dim witted, doing everthing God said, like pets?

What kind of All Powerful God, demands that his tiny created creatures "love" him? If God were the head of a family, at best this would make him very co-dependent, and more likely, abusive.

This myth (which is not original with the Bible as Summerian texts pre-date Genesis), is much more elegant and makes sense, if it is taken symbolically or metaphorically. Understanding the words in their connotation rather than their dennotation.

Adam and Eve "fell" out of the mythological space of Eden (where God walked in the Garden in the cool of the night with them) by eating of The Tree of Knowledge (pairs of opposites), and became embroiled in the physical Universe. To exist as Man, and not be in the realm of Non-existence, i.e. Eden, he HAD to "fall". He had to start on the road of Consciousness - else he would constanly remain a myth himself.

Just my 2 cents.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 18, 2000.


Big Dog,

One thing that especially troubles me is the concept of justice with respect to original sin. One thing I was trying to emphasize was that, although Adam and Eve were the guilty parties, what sort of justice is it for the judge to sentence the whole courtroom?

Also, if the doctrine of Original Sin was of prime importance, why is it never mentioned in the Old Testament? In fact there is something in Deuteronomy (I forget the exact verse) that says the sons will not be punished for the sins of the fathers. How would you explain this?

As always, no offense intended.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 18, 2000.


Gregg,

At the end of your post you said, you said, "just my 2 cents" .

Well, you've just made some very good and interesting points, Gregg -- worth far more than that.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 18, 2000.


John,

Regarding your analogies about the Archduke Ferdinand's driver's traffic violation and the effect of the father's action upon his family:

Don't you feel, though, that an injustice or unfairness occurred, to the extent that innocent lives were adversely affected by someone else's actions?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 18, 2000.


To all:

Greg, very good. What you described is what I call the "protection-racket-theory" of God is. And it shows that concepts you explain to be false. But let me guess, you are about to get a response that says something like this "reason and logic can not be used to understand what God is.

And this exactly brings me to my next point which struck me last night after I posted my questions to Beerman (few posts above).

It seems to me that everybody on this board agrees:

a) That reason and Logic can not determine what God *is*. You need more than reason to understand God. I have said it in my Fundemental Observation #1B. Everybody who believes in the trinity says the trinity is to with what the nature of God is and therefore can't be explained and understood by reason. Godel says you won't be able to understand God, because every "logical" system can not prove *every* statement that it can formulate as true, (not that you can't prove *some*, you just can't prove them all) and to explain what God is you'd need to prove them all.

b) There is a set of Fundemental Attributes we each believe God has (some of them are listed in my post with Fundemental Observatoin #1B to John earlier--i.e. Ominipitence, Omnipresence, Unity, Singularity, Oneness, etc.). We don't all agree on the set and some include trinity and others do not. But that is not my point. My point is that we all have a framework of what we believe God is (regardless of prooving anything).

c) that this framework is used to help us separate what is True about God and what is false. BigDog used it to emphatically state that Islam, Judaism, etc are False because what they state about God is inconsisent with his framework. I use it to emphaticaly state the same about the trinity is the is inconsisent with my framework is can't be correct.

For example, if I was to say that God is an apple, in every sense of the meaning of God we understand, and he is here in my hand, we would get universal agreement that relative to each of our frameworks of what God is, I am wrong.

That is to say that, we use *all* use logic and reason to determine if an individual concept about God is True and False. Or to say this more profoundly and succintly, we do not use, and agree can not, logic and reason to determine what God *is* but all do use logic and reason to determine what God *is not*. These two uses of logic and reason are *not* the same in any shape way or form. We are in the position of the group of blind men feeling an elephant. None can say what it is they are touching definatevley, but they can say what it is not. That is it is not glassy smooth and so forth.

Therefore we all agree what ever God is, he is not inconsisent with what we already know about him. Therefore if we find something new about him (like he is an apple) before we can consider as a potential candidate of a new attribute that we can add to our framework for future evaluations of what God is not, the new thing about him must be consistent with the existing framework. This means that the existing framework of concept, about God, regardless of what it says about what God is must be consistent within itself, because we won't allow any new concept into the framework that is inconsisent with that framework.

So just to recap, we all agree we that we can not logic and reason can not be used to determine what the Fundemental Attributes of God *are*, that is to say what God *is*, but instead we all use logic and reason to determine what God *is not*, against our framework of what we believe God to be as that is how we know what is at least False about God, i.e what God is not, and that implies our framework (whatever we hold that to be) of what God is must be consistent within itself (otherwise I can say God is an apple and he is here in my hand, because we allow inconsistency in our frameworks).

Am I correct that we are all in agreement on this point?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 18, 2000.


Eve -

Yes, it is unfair. But I was trying to illustrate how sin often has consequences beyond the initial act. It seems to be part of its very nature to corrupt and destroy.

I can't really completely defend it, I can only give an impression. It seems possible to me that all happiness really could hang on a small condition.

Gregg -

As to whether or not the creation story is a myth, I have no real problem with either point of view. But as an explanation for why things are the way they are, it serves as well as anything else.

No matter how we interpret it, we are still left with the fact of sin. We see numerous examples of it throughout human history and whether or not man's soul can be made clean, there is no doubt that it needs washing. Whether or not Adam and Eve were truly the first to sin, it seems undeniable that someone had to be first.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 18, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I am at a loss as to how we can apply any attributes at all as to what God is or is not. The reason is that attributes are concepts that we only know from a human perspective, and would seem to have to lose much, if not all, of their meaning when applied to God -- or that their meaning would be expected to radically change -- but to what, exactly?

For example, what is really meant by God's love, or God's being love? Further, people even differ about oneness -- as many fully believe the Trinity to be one. Another example is that of God being perfectly just -- but when you apply that to Original Sin, you get a very different concept of justice than that which we are used to. And even outside of specific religions, it is not really clear (to me, anyway) what is meant by God's omnipotence, omniscience, etc.

I believe Tom Carey posted something from William of Occam in this regard very early in this thread.

What do you think of this?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 18, 2000.


Eve:

If you don't agree with what I said, that's fine, but explain to me how it is that if I say, God is in my hand in this apple, in every sense of what you believe God to be (wheather or not can articulate it, not) you would come to determine that and state that I am wrong. If you can not or say you can't say that I am wrong, then you must accept all pagan religions as possibly correct and that is fine with me as long as you are consistent in your position that you can't determine what is right or wrong about God. This is important and suble point because then you are able to convey your views consistently to others and through this process of conveyance and teaching (and as it was the process used by the Chosen Ones to pass on their messageso we have to agree it must a valid process for this topic of God) and others then learn what you say and understand it becuase it is not inconsistent.

I responded to Tom's piece starting with the paragraph "Very nice piece from William of Occam" ...

Even John seemed to agree with me when he commented on my response a few posts later with:

[Interested Spectator -

Excellent points.]

(Correct me if I'm wrong, John, and let me know what you were referring to so I know what you read that we did agree on)

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 18, 2000.


Gregg:

Just got around to reading Chapter V. Very nice thank-you.

Do you know if the book is generally availble today. If so you could provide a publisher or ISBN?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 18, 2000.


I.S. -

I agreed with you about the William of Occam post. Its part of the reason I was making such a big stink about FO #1a. You seemed to be saying that we couldn't use anything from creation to talk about God.

BTW, what do you mean we are all agreed on the Trinity? I thought I was still the last holdout for the Trinity as a reasonable concept.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 18, 2000.


John:

Hi again. Very quite today I must say.

[I agreed with you about the William of Occam post. Its part of the reason I was making such a big stink about FO #1a. You seemed to be saying that we couldn't use anything from creation to talk about God.]

Point taken and which is why I made FO #1B which I believe you like much better (I tried to be far more rigorous in FO #1B) so that started us getting down the road to something better than bashing our heads against each other.

I'm sure he felt better reading #1B just as I did reading your response to #1B.

I haven't yet directly responded to your response to the rest of my post which included FO #1B. And I intend to, but I think if we (you and I, and also the rest of the board) get some consensus on a few items it makes the discussion easier so we are all playing the same game and don't get into accusing each other of double dribbling while playing soccer. However WRT to your restated version of it, it took me a few screen fulls to get FO #1B to say what I intended to so, I'd rather not say yes to your "restated" FO #1b as I'm not sure if I'll be agreeing to something I didn't say in FO #1b, that'll come back to bite me later, so if it's all the same to you I'd rather stick with #1b as I wrote it. If not, then give me a little while to digest your restated #1b to see if it says what I want to with no hidden implications you or I may not have realized. Fair enough?

[BTW, what do you mean we are all agreed on the Trinity? I thought I was still the last holdout for the Trinity as a reasonable concept.]

I don't understand what you're saying here. If you are asking this in refrence to my post earlier today which starts with "It seems to me that everybody on this board agrees: "?

If so, I am not asking for anyone to say it is a reasonable or unreasonable concept. Please re-read what I asked. Based on what I have observed, its a question if we are all in agreement about for what we have all seemed to use logic and reason. Others may wish to use it for more (like myself) but everybody has used it the way I describe in my post, so I'm asking if we are in agreement. Eve doesn't seem to be in agreement, but then I've posed an alternative question to her and that would apply likewise to anybody who is not in agreement with what I asked.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 18, 2000.


I.S. -

It has been quiet today. As for my restatement of FO #1b, I'm not trying to trick you or anybody else. I just generally prefer simple formulations to complex ones. I was trying to just put down what I felt you were essentially saying. I may have missed some sublties, but I think we can now be mainly in agreement. First principles are usually a real bear, I'm glad we could work past that.

As for my other response, it was just the result of a quick read through your last post. Obviously a mistaken impression on my part.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 19, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I'm having trouble following your last reply to me. Are you saying that you can call God an apple, or say He's in an apple, I can say He's an orange, or in an orange, and, to the extent they do not contradict our respective frameworks, we're both right until proven otherwise?

Also, would you please repost your Fundamentals? I don't recall where you laid them out, and I'm having trouble following your posts. Thanks.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


Eve:

Let me put it another way. Lets assume I say that a pagan religion that belives in idol-worship is correct instead of God is an apple. Since your reply to my original question, (let me call it Fundemental Question #1) to all on the board for their agreement on how we have all used of logic and reason, was that:

[I am at a loss as to how we can apply any attributes at all as to what God is or is not.]

I am asking you in my reply that you don't understand "Would you say that I am wrong about the pagan religion?".

If you say I am wrong about the pagan religion then I'm asking you to explain to me how you would come to determine and state that I am wrong about the pagan religion being correct since you state you have stated you have no way of distinguishing anything about what God's attributes are or are not as you put it.

If, on the other hand, if you say that you can not say that I am wrong about the pagan religion, then you must accept all pagan religions as possibly correct. That is fine with me as long as you are consistent in your position that you can't determine what "God is or is not".

As I said, this is important and suble point because then you are able to convey your views consistently to others and through this process of conveyance and teaching (and as it was the process used by the Chosen Ones to pass on their message so we have to agree it must a valid process for this topic of God) and others then learn what you say and understand it becuase it is not inconsistent.

Notwithstanding your reply that you are

[at a loss as to how we can apply any attributes at all as to what God is or is not.]

I suggest your re-read my original question. You and everybody else on this board has been using logic and reason to explain what God is not (i.e. to explain or ratinalize why another point of view is incorrect). This requires a frame of reference about what God is by which we can all make that determination. It may be different for each of us, as some include the trinity and some do not. But that is not my point in Fundemental Question #1. My question there is that we have all been doing this and if follows therefore that the attributes of God we have in our frame of reference must be consistent with themselves and hold up to the logic and reason to the same extent that all we use it to determine what God is *not*.

WRT to *my* fundementals, search the thread for "Fundemental Observation #1B", they are in that post of mine. I'd rather not repost them here and confuse any one, becuase as I just said I'm not asking for agreement on any particular set (because we can't as some include the trinity and others don't) I am asking for agreement on what I just wrote in the last paragraph and explain that in more detail in my original question to all on the board.

Does this make it clearer for you?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I'm sorry, but I'm not any closer yet to understanding just what you mean here.

First, I need to know precisely how you define "pagan religion." Secondly, and probably because I'm unclear on the definition, I really have no idea how you are tying paganism in with my statements on God's attributes.

You did say something about "idol-worship" with reference to paganism, and with reference to my statements, but I'm not an idol-worshiper. So this just confuses me even more.

I was trying to get across the point that when we talk about what God is or is not, we're using human concepts, like "loving", "just", "good", etc. And that by the very fact that these are human concepts, I am unable to apply them to God. For example, if God's justice includes Original Sin, that becomes completely unlike any form of human justice. It becomes, in essence, God will do what He will do -- a tautology.

Then we add what I would call semi-concepts, like "omniscience", "omnipotence", etc. I use the term "semi-concept" to mean something outside of all human experience, therefore giving rise to a different type of problem in understanding God.

I do very much appreciate your patience, though.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


Ok,

Let me ask you a simpler question. Why does it matter to you what I mean precisely by the apple or pagan religion, etc.?

To me, it can only matter if you wish to move closer to the Truth about the whole issue of Religion/God/Creator or what ever it is you wish to refer to the topic of God. Notice I do not say fully undertand, but just have a better understanding.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

It's absolutely in my quest for Truth.

But to assist us in achieving this lofty goal, we need to have avenues to discuss the issues. And to keep the discussion focused and effective, it's essential that the terms used in the discussions be as clear and precise as possible, and mutually understood in the same way.

I'm curious, though -- are you open as well to possibly changing your view as to what Truth really is?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


Eve:

Exactly what I had hoped you had answered. I would have been disspointed if all this was just an academic discussion for you.

Ok, lets say we have clear and precise terms, what do you plan to do with those terms: I presume discuss them. Discuss them in a vacume for the sake of discussion or discuss them to *reach some conclusions* to take you further down the path "in my quest for Truth" as you put it?

[I'm curious, though -- are you open as well to possibly changing your view as to what Truth really is?]

Your question is interesting. Firstly to answer its "obvious literal" meaning, absolutely. The issue is how do I, you or anybody else come to determine we now we have something that will actually *change* my, yours or anybody else's exsting view. That is why I laid down what I'm now calling Fundemental Question #1.

Secondly, to observe a implied meaning, how do you plan to change my existing point of view of what the Truth is?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Eve, I'm not sure I get your qestion to I.S., or his response, but let me try.

We can't use anything else, but logic and reason (our personal versions at least), to ascertain anything about anything. If we are not just doing what someone instructed us to do, or blindly following some set of mores or standards or beliefs.

The "unexamined Life is not wirth Living". We examine it with Logic and Reason (hopefully), to the best of our ability.

I think I.S. is saying, that by applying out reason and logic to the subject of GOD, we will come up with some Reasonable and Logical aspects of HIM. And other aspects that might be attributed to HIM, must not contradict what we've already established - as tested by Reason and Logic.

There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding the process that an individual might have, i.e. their own "cognitive" process about the world, and the process we are using collectively here - "Logic and Reason". Suffice to say, I agree that the only way we can attempt to speak about this with each other, is through some process that has some well defined borders, namely, Logic and Reason.

We all understand, that Logic and Reason will never permit us to fully understand what God truly is - but it's a good tool.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 19, 2000.


First of all, I have joined this thread late in the game.

Getting back to the original topics of reflecting on (1) "reality" as portrayed in the matrix; and (2) the concept of God as prime mover and infinity - I wish to contribute the following.

Although we receive information through our senses, no one receives exactly the same information from the physical world. We are not the same physically and not placed in the same physical relationship to an event to have the same experience. (Look at Modigliani - The "stretched" people he painted was later attributed to a vision disorder.)

All of us have cultural/educational/experiential filters through which we strain the raw data we are received for importance. (e.g. We block information we feel is insignificant. If we are a biologist, we might notice a squirrel's bushy tail, where we would filter out the information if we were not a biologist.)

All of us group or cluster information in sets that we have experienced before. (Wet drops, thunder, lightning are grouped as a storm.) Part of this clustering is structured through language. Language probably has more influence over how we cluster and how we view and understand the world than anything else. Language passes to each of us shared "constructs" through which we communicate with eachother our relationship with the physical world. (This does vary - for instance, the romance languages assign a sexuality to things like tables. The japanese language, I understand, has many many meanings for the same word.)

Consider that the concept of "time" in language (embodying progression - enabling a grasp of cause and effect) has a great impact on who we are. We not only communicate with a sense of time, we understand with one.

Now look at "God." Much of our understanding of a concept of God is "colored" or constrained by our language and our history. (Why do Christians call Jesus "Lord?" Why is the Christian sense of the "Trinity" similar to feudal relationships in a Catholic Europe?) [Ouch, ouch my hiney feels the flames!!....]

Anyway, is it possible that "all presence" and "all void" are the same thing - the "1" simply colored by human semantics? Is it possible that the fractualization of perception made possible by the sharing and communication of construct of "time" - a "before, a now, and a middle" enable individual existence? That without an agreed upon construct of time, all would collapse into itself - into the "1"?

******* Another comment. Others have mentioned the "relativity" of physical experience through vicarious sources such as film and how our stored memories may fail to differentiate between "real" and "fictional," particularly as time progresses. (Wow. Think about how MUCH stimulus people of our century have experienced in this manner compared to others. I am a "boomer," but my mind can recall a picture of Adolf Hitler at the podium. I have seen photos of the Civil War. I have seen things there that no one person in the War could have seen. But the viewing is without the emotional involvement or "physical stakes" of one in the trenches with the bodies.)

Another facet of this is the "emotional" experience encapsulated in our memories. Emotional memories are more those of our relationship with all else. Let me put forth the concept that our brain really doesn't differentiate well between the real and the fictional emotional memory (insofar as categorization by the type of source.)

When we cried because of something that happened to a character with whom we identified in a book or a film, was it any less an emotional reality than if we cried because of something that happened to us in real life?

I bring this up because I believe that many of us on this forum went through a traumatic emotional reality together. We faced what we thought was a dramatic shift coming up in the future; dealt with our fears, made preparations, looked at ourselves and relationships to others and how this might change. The "before" and the "now" were the same emotional reality as if the "yet" many of us feared would happen did happen. It was a true experience. Just because the "yet" we feared has not materialized, does not invalidate the emotional reality of our experience.

We are a porthole of perception of a "now." We are like the doctor who climbs into the safe suit in the "Andromena Strain," spiritually interacting on the physical plane through a single "skin." Our constructs enable us to "be" because we perceive ourselves as "separate." We insist upon it. Yet, behind it all, we are one in the light.

Sorry - rambling..............

-- anon (anon@anon.calm), January 19, 2000.


"wirth Living" is said with a texas accent.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 19, 2000.

Gregg:

Thank you for your response, but I was hoping that eve would come to that understanding herself. A fundemental aspect of human nature is that it is easier to accept another point of view if you come to the conclusion yourself rather than being told it. That was at the heart of my question to her in reponse to her question if I would change my point of view.

Notwithstanding this, you generalize the issue into very broad strokes that will get us right back to where we started. There are those on this board who will not agree you can use logic and reason to determine things we can say about what God is, but *everybody* does use logic and reason to say what God is not. I was hoping that every body will agree with this (as that is what is happening), and the fact that agreeing to this means the rest of the points b) and c) in my Fundemental Question #1 are must aslo be true and therefore agreed upon. This sets down a foundation, about the discussion, but not change anybody's point of view.

Do not misunderstand I'm not angry with you, I'd just hoped eve would have realized this herself.

eve:

Notwithstanding Greggs post, my questions in my last post to you still stand and I hope you will answer them, as I think the answers to them will help you more than anything else on this board in your quest for the Truth.

annon:

I think you would benifit from reading what has been said over the past 9 days. It will help you understand that we have some very profound issues under discussion, such as the current one I am having with eve right now.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Annon:

Just to clarify, a little further. You say:

[Why is the Christian sense of the "Trinity"similar to feudal relationships in a Catholic Europe?) [Ouch, ouch my hiney feels the flames!!....]]

We are not here to troll for the flame wars that exist elsewhere on TB2000. Its precisely because we are having an intelecutal debate here and not they petty polly and doomer bashing elsewhere on TB2000.

To the rest of the "regulars" to this thread, would that be a fair comment, and reflect our view?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Gregg,

Yes, we must try to use logic and reason. But those are broad abstractions. For example, logic can be broken down into narrower ideas which include deduction, induction, etc. Those terms are further dissected into propositions, premises, conclusions,, etc. And those propositions, etc, are yet further reduced to concepts -- usually individual words that signify two or more concrete things or ideas about the world, people, etc. -- but in your mind you temporarily remove their (the concretes, that is) measurements, which is an aid in understanding the concept.

As an example, in thinking of "table", we have gathered together all tables and possible tables that could exist. But in order to somehow visualize this without overload, the concept without individual table measurements (size, shape, color, etc.) remains in our mind.

And now we come full circle to my need for understanding the concepts we're using.

Gregg, I appreciate you joining in here. See my note to I.S. below, re this.

I.S.;

I'll reply to you soon. By the way, I like the fact that Gregg responded. We really should encourage as much participation as possible, and he has a lot of very interesting things to say, in any case. The conversations in no way need to be limited to dialogues. I understand your intent, but my opinions are quite strong in many instances, and I'm not that easily influenced by someone else's. I hope you understand.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


I, for one, would like to say thanks to anon for the very interesting aside (if "aside" should be a description of a response to the original posters' query:^) Of late I had been worrying that this wonderful thread would float off into the clouds of sophistry, which would be a shame.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@people.org), January 19, 2000.

eve:

Please do not missunderstand, I am not trying to limit dialogues in any way. I have said as much as he has about logic being the only yardstick that we can rely on to distinguish truth from falsehood. I was trying to help your understanding of my original questions from a different tack, since you said you didn't understand it.

If Gregg has helped you answer it that we must use logic and reason in this debate (:)), that's good enough for me and I ask again, do you (and everybody else here) at least agree it must be used to help comment on what God is *not* (as we all are using it in this way) if we can't all agree that it that it can't be used to say definietelvy what God *is* for all the reasons I gave in Fundemental Question #1.

WRT to annon:

I welcome his input, by all means. I just may have been a bit hasty in jumping to the conclusion he was just trying to troll for a response for the sake of it. That I think we all agree on will result in mudslinging and lack of respect which is the one thing that has distinguished this thread from most of tb2000 and I think is on reason why we are still here for 9 days now ( :) ) and we just must all be vigilent against mudslinging and disprectfulness. I brought this issue up first and still believe it is true.

That said, annon, welcome to our little corner of TB2000 and we lookforward to your input.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


anon,

Please stay with us. I haven't had time to think about your post, but it looks very interesting.

Interested Spectator,

What is your problem with anon? I, for one, value new views here, especially if they're thoughtful and civil, which anon's is. Personally, I wouldn't mind at all discussing anon's ideas, once I had a chance to ponder them.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


Hi, Bemused,

And welcome! Please feel completely free to jump in at any time. And you can certainly start on a whole new topic if you'd like.

To all,

My time is going to be much more limited through this evening and much of tomorrow. But I'll sneak in a few licks as time permits.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


eve:

I think we cross posted. My last post should clear up I have no problem with annon being here and welcome him here.

BTW I meant to ask in my last post to you WRT to you being open to changing your views as you asked me about mine. In your post you said:

[... but my opinions are quite strong in many instances, and I'm not that easily influenced by someone else's.]

I'm curious what how it is you progrss down this journey to the Truth so although you are not "easily influenced", you are at least influenced so you have progress from where you are seek to go? For me I've only found one way and that is to dismiss anything that contradicts what I already hold True about God, and to make sure that what I hold True about God is not contradictory in itself. I do not ask the question lightly, but am curious to know how others make this journey and conclude they have learned something to make them take a step forward from where they are on the journey, just so that they are moving and have not stopped.

I think more than anything else this is the more profound of all issues we have debated so far as it goes right to the heart of how do we separate what is true and what is false? Once we have the answer to this, the journey becomes much ligher, faster, and easier as we have learned how to progress.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Bemused:

Welcome back, thought we'd lost you a while back when you stopped posting. We obviously have many lurkers to this thread, which is great and I hope some of them jump in.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Bemused,

I'm sorry, I guess I'd forgotten that you were in this thread before! And you probably wouldn't buy the old "but this thread is a mile long" excuse...

anon

I'd like to respond to you, hopefully by sometime this evening.

I.S.

I'll try to get back to you by then as well. And re others joining in -- ok, we're cool.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


Yes, everyone's welcome. I.S., you have a wonderful way of constructing complex sentences that is rare. The thought you're trying to get across is sometimes "suspended" for quite a while, and I think it's challenging for other's to follow exactly what you mean. This in no way takes away from what you are saying, or the validity of it.

How 'bout we get to an obvious Logical, yet inconcievable concept? Some say GOD always was - that nothing created HIM - HE is eternal.

That very concept, I say, is impossible to truly comprehend. It may make sense Logically, but if you spend some time contemplating that, or trying, it's just not possible to do.

Or, some say GOD created everything, and I believe one of Eve's first questions was - "so who created GOD?" Again, it's (I say) impossible to conceive of a "nothingness" that either became GOD, or that GOD came out of "nothingness" and then created everything and GOD is now eternal.

The eternal part is less difficult, than the "came from nothing" part.

Where exactly is this "nothing" that GOD or everything else "came" from? Yet, if that's not the case, then everthing had to have always been. I think this is the dilemma that EVERYONE sooner or later reaches, and there truly can be nothing definitive said about it, as both concepts are about equally unimaginable.

My 3 cents worth.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 19, 2000.


I.S/eve, Been here all along, just didn't feel that I had anything of value to contribute to the current main topic between you two, John Ainsworth, Beerman, Gregg, etc. It's been interesting reading, though!

-- Bemused (and_amazed@people.org), January 19, 2000.

Gregg:

Thanks for the compliment. Your last post goes right back to my position at the beginign that one can establish a something as true, but not necessarily understand what you established. That is we can prove God exists, but not necessarily understand what is God. The recursion theory shows that "Gotd can not not exist", as somebody put it earlier in the thread, and as you say now, trying understand what we just established must exist, is another whole issue in itself and is at the heart of my Fundemental Observation #1B and Fundemental Question #1.

I guess the track I'm on now is that how do people decide it's time to make a step on their journey towards the Truth, and not just stay put with where they are? This to me is the foundation of finding the Truth as it lays down how we'll move towards it. Once that is understood, then the journey, weather it leads down my path or others is easy to make.

The book you quote refers to the teachings of the Hermetics. Are these the same as those who followed Hermas, and is the book a derviation of "The Shepard" written by Hermas between 88 and 97?

Do you have and ISBN or publisher's contact for the book?

Laurane:

If you are still lurking here, I noticed on re-reading the earlier part of this thread you made references to the Trinity being introduced later and not part of the early Christian doctrine. Do you have more information on this that you can share with us? Can we take it then that you think differently about the Trinity than others here (I am assuming that you are a Christian, with that question so please correct me if I am wrong)?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


I.S.,

The Kybalion is published by the Yogi Publication Society. I got a new copy last summer. I haven't heard of "The Shepard", but this book is written by three unnamed initiates. Inside it says " To Hermes Trismegistus Known by the ancient egyptians as "THE GREAT GREAT" and "MASTER OF MASTERS"

The second paragraph says:

"The purpose of this work is not the enunciation of any special philosophy or doctrine, but rather is to give to the student a atatement of the Truth that will serve to reconcile the many bits of occult knowledge that they may have acquired, but which are apparently opposed to each other and often which serve to discourage and disgust the beginner in the study. Our intent is not to erect a new Temple of Knowledge, but rather to place in the hands of the student a Master-Key with which he may open the many inner doors in the Temple of Mystery through the main portals he has already entered."

I'd also like to hear what others say, and I would be very interested in talking about Phi and numbers regarding all this. I should read the beginning of this thread, as there was some mention of recurrsion by Brian I believe, and the significance of numbers.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 19, 2000.


I.S., A clarification should be made on a point I submitted so long (7, 8 days?) ago:

>>Bemused: >> "it's not an inconceivable leap to then be able to simulate >> experimentally the creation of a universe ourselves." (-bemused) >> >>Once you have your Theory of Everything - which encompasses the >>known sciences. How do you know you have everything. Also as you >>say they postulate there exists such a theory. They are welcome to >>such opinions and search for them. I submit, as I mentioned >>earlier, science will discover Creation is limitless. (-I.S.)

The "Theory of Everything" I and others mentioned here is sort of a lazy term for the Unified Field Theory, (which really doesn't need to have anything to do with religeon or "cosmology"), combined with newer things like chaos theory, quantum physics, and some other areas. The UFT was Einstein's prediction; he thought we'd come up with a theory that would encompass his general and special theories of relativity and the more familiar laws of thermodynamics.

Hawking agreed that we would eventually achieve this, and I've seen him use the term "Theory of Everything" to represent this and new permutations of it, which is why I've used it. It does not mean that we will know everything about the universe once this theory is hashed out and accepted, it just suggests that we'll then have the means at our disposal to experiment with the theory in the attempt to prove it physically, and then once we do this, through the proof and the benefits of our labor, begin to know the *real* way the universe was created.

You keep stating that understanding the nature of God is not the same thing as proving he exists (relying on a theory involving recursion which I find still requires a leap of faith,) but I propose that understanding the nature of God gets us closer, incrementally, to the "Truth" than anything else. I'm also suggesting that there's a reason why people like Einstein and Hawking feel that their studies are bringing us closer to the "mind of God".

-- Bemused (looking@the.absolute), January 19, 2000.


Beumused:

[It does not mean that we will know everything about the universe once this theory is hashed out and accepted]

Ok, that's fine. You might wish to be a little more carefull about absolute statements, particularly in this thread :).

WRT:

[You keep stating that understanding the nature of God is not the same thing as proving he exists (relying on a theory involving recursion which I find still requires a leap of faith,) but I propose that understanding the nature of God gets us closer, incrementally, to the "Truth" than anything else. I'm also suggesting that there's a reason why people like Einstein and Hawking feel that their studies are bringing us closer to the "mind of God".]

I couldn't agree with you more. The reason I make the distinction because there are those on this thread who state that because you can't understand the nature of God (partially or fully, it makes no difference) you can't prove he exists. So I just make the distinction for them, but in no way suggest that we should not contemplate the Nature of God.

I have said many times that I view science and religion as mirrors to the same Reality. So I use them both as tools to enhance my understanding of that Reality rather depending on one or the other. And that is the premise behind my Fundemental Observation #1B and my insistence that reason and logic be one of the tools used in this journey to find the Truth. (John banged me on the head hard :) when I wrote FO#1 because I accidently included some words there that are completely contradictory to what you just said and I am saying here which threw everything into a tizzy for a while).

From one of my earlier posts:

[Each time I take one of these mental journies, I find myself more and more at awe with the sublime beauty of the truth in: God is One. There can be no refuation nor corruption of its inate elegance and simplicity by any form of though or concept. It holds true to every test that reason can muster against it simply because it is the Truth. It can not be by definition any other way. The beauty in the elegance of the logic that validates it as the Truth is as sublime as the finest poetry or the mathematical concepts once fully understood.]

I have no doubt that others in the sciences find such beauty as they dig deep into the depths of the particular corner of nature they study.

Gregg:

I presented the Recursion Theory and only used numbers as an example for those not versed in recursion. For me any attempt to use numbers in any fashion to understand God would be as contradictory to me as the concept of the trinity. Numbers are part of creation, God can not be subject to them. The concept behind God is One is not numerical but a statement about the entire nature of God and I have explained what this sentance means in great detail in my post with Fundemental Observation #1B. Our languages and the semantics we need to use for communications are just insufficient to express the nature of God sufficiently in any other totally satisfactory manner.

A discussion of phi and other numbers would therefore be an exercise in mathematics and the laws of nature for me, unless such discussions can lead to a proof of God's existence (the way the mathematical concept of recursion does for me) which as I contend is quite different from a discussion from God's nature.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

You said,

"How do you plan to change my existing point of view of what the truth is?"

I don't have any such plans. First I would like to learn why you and others believe the way you do. Once I learn this, to the extent it made sense to me, maybe I would be the one to change.

You noted that I said I was not easily influenced. Then you asked how I might then progress to accepting new truths.

My answer to this, in detail, would literally take quite a while to put down in writing. I hope it will suffice for now for me just to say that I would at all times attempt to stay objective, understand the concepts and principles, continually check my premises, use reason and logic, and otherwise keep an open mind and a willingness to give up long-held beliefs if after using the above methods I find my premises were in error.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

You asked if I agreed that reason and logic must be used to help comment on what God is not, if we all can't agree that it can be used to say definitively what God is.

I don't know what the difference is. For example, if we say God is not evil then we're indirectly saying God is good. It simply seems we're faced with exactly the same difficulty, only from the opposite direction.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


anon,

Very nice piece. I look forward to more from you, perhaps expanding on some of the ideas.

I'm not sure I agree with you on one of your points about language, though. You said, "Language passes to each of us shared 'constructs'..." Unless I misunderstand you, this formulation makes it seem as if we are passive receptors; whereas my view is that we actively form concepts from two or more concretes in reality, but with their measurements removed. The concept is then given a symbol for practical purposes -- a word. And from there we form phrases, propositions, ideas, etc. And in another direction the concepts themselves are combined to form greater abstractions (e.g., table, chair, etc. to the greater abstraction of furniture). I know that I'm introducing an enormously complex area in epistemology; I just wanted to show a contrast for now. If you're interested, we can explore this further.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 19, 2000.


eve:

WRT to your first answer. I would have been dissapointed if you had replied otherwise. I expect you to reply no-less or more.

The reason I suspected that you had a plan to change your existing point of view (under the appropriate circumstances as you stated of course) was that you responded earlier that:

[... my quest for Truth.]

which implied you have not got it yet, so you obviously will need to change from where you are to where you want to go (unless you of course find out where you is the Truth, but I dare say none of us have that yet, because if we had, we would know that and would not be here looking for answers, but that is another topic in itself)

WRT to your second post about if we say something is not x it means the opposite.

The best analogy I can think of is a group of blind people touching an elephant. They don't know what it is and can never know everything about what it is. For example, if they can't move it they can only say it is not lightweight. That could mean that it is movable but heavy or not movable at all. They will never know as both are possible from their point of view and so can not make a definitive statement about the movability of the thing they are touching.

That is why when we say something does not have a particular attribute it does not necessarily mean the opposite is true. In the case of the elephant saying the opposite (i.e. the item is heavy) would be true. If on the other hand the were feeling a tree the item is heave would not be true. But from a disadvantaged vantage point, you can't make a definite conclusion so all you can make is your observation that what ever it is you are evaluating, it does not have such and such property.

So then this should help you understand the question in my post from last night which begins with:

"It seems to me that everybody on this board agrees: "

that started our discussion last night, about what I meant about pagan religions and the apple and so forth.

My point is that some say you can't use logic and reason to say what God is, but *everybody* is using logic and reason to say what God is not (i.e. BigDog says what Islam and Judaism say about God is incorrect WRT to the Trinity. I say what Christianity says about the trinity is incorrect). We are all using logic in this fashion even if we don't reach the same conclusions. We are able to do that becase we are evaluating a new hypothesis against what we hold to be True about God, which may be different from each other, but none-the-less, we use our knowledge to determine some statement about God is false. This requires each of us to presuppose that what we know about God not to be contradictory as we don't allow contradictory information in the knowledge we hold true about God.

(Sorry Gregg another long sentence :))

So my question is that do we all agree that we all can use logic and reason to state what God is not and that doing so means that each bit of knowledge we *each* hold about God to be True individually must not be contradictory with any other knowledge we hold about God to be True? This is my Fundemental Question #1 that I posted last night in more detail.

(The reason is that that the knowledge can not be contradictory is that if we do hold contradictory knowledge about God to be True then we can't say a statement about God is false because we allow in knowledege they hold true about God, statements that are true and false with respect to each other. That is what we believe about God can be contradictory.)

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 19, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Hi; I'll be pretty busy today again; I'll try to get back to you by this evening.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 20, 2000.


eve:

No hurry. Its just been very quiet and I hope everybody hasn't left. Perhaps they could just check in, like you did, after they've been away for a bit so, if they're still tied up with life, we know this thread hasn't died unceremoniously, as that would be a shame.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 20, 2000.


Having a job sucks. When they pay me to post I'll be a happy man. Anyway, I'm still here, and I bet there's a lot of folks in the lurker sections of the stadium.

-- Bemused (looking@the.absolute), January 20, 2000.

Sorry 'bout that pretentious email handle. I4m not a philosopher - can4t seem to hold my breath long enough. But anyway, still here, lurking and fascinated.

-- christopher (christopher@philosophers.net), January 20, 2000.

Response to The Great Deception - What if what we know was chosen deliberately to deceive us? ---

wow coming up to 600 k.

Still checking in to see where this is going :o) Unfortunately Logic is not one of my strong points, but then in my mind the fundemental question(s) was never in doubt.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), January 20, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I've finally got a few moments tonight...

Now it seems you're saying that we can, through reason and logic, discern what God is not, as long as it fits into our framework -- do I have this right?

You go on to state, "we are evaluating a new hypotheses against what we hold to be True about God..."

Well, this is exactly what I had wanted to address in the first place: "what we hold to be true about God". I'm much less interested in the "new hypotheses." In other words, how do we arrive at our initial "framework" in the first place?

Now, I'm not talking about the recursion theory (i.e., that something from outside of existence had to start the chain of cause and effect within existence) -- In fact, let's accept that for now, at least so that we have a platform. I assume we can agree that this at least gets us to a First Cause? Even though you may not be comfortable with this term, can we use it temporarily for lack of a better one? If this is ok, then next we attempt to get from the First Cause to God.

What I'm attempting to do is to tie this problem (replacing the First Cause with God) in with the issue of God's attributes. In fact, I would argue that these two problems are actually one and the same. In other words, to reach the concept of God, one would have to show attributes of God which would clearly distinguish God from a First Cause. And these attributes (e.g., perfect goodness, omnipotence, oneness, omniscience, etc.) are the "concepts" that I feel we have to define and then assign to God, in order to arrive at God as existent.

So my question to you now is: How do you go about doing this?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 20, 2000.


You know since it was rather quiet in here today, I spent my time in TB2000 and my god, after being in here for, what are we upto 9 days I think, it was like being transported into another world. I didn't care for the mood or temprament at all compared to what we have going in here.

Lets not loose this wonderful little environment we've got--we've got lots of ground to cover still, after all the world's been debating our topics for over 2000 years so I know we can't be finished yet!

So I've got a question on the table for everybody. I've got one for Laurane if she's still here, otherwise any one else who'd care to take it up is welcome to, and I'm sure many of you regular posters in this thread have unfinished debates.

So now that we've had a bit of a break, lets get back to the fun, as I'm sure the lurkers are wondering where we went for the last day or so.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 20, 2000.


I just got back from retreat today, and I've had a lot of time to reflect on these things, so here goes!

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 20, 2000.

Beerman:

Welcome back, I've got a few questions for you. Seems like everybody took a break for a day or so. Now why do I get the feeling your mind was not at the retreat? :)

Eve:

You have a number of points which I think we should separate out. You said:

[Well, this is exactly what I had wanted to address in the first place: "what we hold to be true about God". I'm much less interested in the "new hypotheses." In other words, how do we arrive at our initial "framework" in the first place?]

Well this is a very good question. My question pre-supposed that we have basic framework that we hold true (not necessarily the same for each of us, but a framework none-the-less) as my issue was to determine how we move forward from each of our respective frameworks to learn more about God. I assumed that we each got our framework either by our beliefs or what has been proven about God that we accept or both.

If I understand you correctly you want to understand what is "between" God and the First Cause, and for sake of disucssion lets say the First Cause is what got us to Time = 0. For me there can be nothing between the two, because that would imply a sequence and hence something before what was Time = 0, so Time = 0 is really not Time = 0 but a little earlier. If there is anything between Time = 0 and God, that would imply God was undertaking some sort creative process - that implies time. God doesn't take on creative processes.

Now I caution you, that what you would like to know is to understand how God does what he does, and again my point is that we can never know that, but we can using reason and logic come to an understanding of what God does not do, as just did showing that He can't be using processes.

Gregg's latest exerpt, Chapter V came to the same conlusion (and used reason and logic) as I did and explained this quite well, although his book takes the bolder position that it has deteremined what God has done.

If we really wish to know how God does what he does, we'll need to have him tell us. In looking at what Islam's says God has revealed it also takes the postion that Chapter V does and that God is that He says "Be and it is".

So both of these points of view, about how God goes about what he's doing, along with my own reasoning, imply God creation is done purely by will and with no sense of process.

Does that help?

You say:

[And these attributes (e.g., perfect goodness, omnipotence, oneness, omniscience, etc.) are the "concepts" that I feel we have to define and then assign to God, in order to arrive at God as existent.]

If I understand what you imply here, it would mean that we can only state he exists once we understand him. If you mean exists as not just the recursion theory showing there is a something at the begining, but the exists as in God (as we understand what this term represents) exists, then that is different. I think there are certain attributes that may be able to be proven as necessary in order for him to exist and be the beginning of the Recursion Theory. One in particular is the Oneness aspect of him I think is one of these attributes. (Now be carefull here. I use the term not to say he has parts (as implied by the word "aspect") but I use the word "aspect" because of the semantic limitations we have in language as explained when I posted Fundemental Observation #1B earlier).

How does this work for you now?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 20, 2000.


Just to clarify one sentence, before you jump on me John. I said:

[Now I caution you, that what you would like to know is to understand how God does what he does, and again my point is that we can never know that, ...]

It should read:

[Now I caution you, that what you would like to know is to understand how God does what he does, and again my point is that we can never know that completely and fully, ...]

or to put a little differently and not as well (I prefer the words "completely and fully")

[Now I caution you, that what you would like to know is to understand how God does what he does, and again my point is that we can only have a crude inkling about what he can guess he "does" ...]

---------

Perhaps another way to look at this, that struck me is you could think of what Islam says God does, i.e. "Be and it is" and the "Be" is the first cause. i.e. the First Cause analagous to a thought where when you have it, the thought exists as you have it. Very close to what Chapter V of Gregg's book says.

Wonderfull book, Gregg.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 20, 2000.


I.S.-

Who me? Jump all over you? Seriously, though I ran across a quote from Aristotle today (You know Aristotle was the first person to make the First Cause argument don't you?) Anyway, it says:

It is the mark of the instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of a subject admits, and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 20, 2000.


I just got back from retreat today, and I've had a lot of time to reflect on these things, so here goes!

First of all, please don't argue with me on the question of whether our reason is trustworthy/whether we can really "know" anything/whether truth is just relative to each person. These are all classified under the category of "relativism" and are pointless arguments as far as I'm concerned. If a person tries to tell me that we can't really know the truth or that there is no absolute truth that is the same for everyone, my response can only be, "Then, keep quiet because by your own theory you have nothing to say to me." It is unbelievable that there are those who hold this viewpoint and have tenured positions at universities in our country.

In other words, I maintain that we CAN know the truth and that it IS the same for anyone who chooses to look at it, because it is nothing other than reality. Given that, I reiterate my earlier statement that what we are told about God cannot contradict what we know by reason about Him. However, I do think that our reason is limited and that there are many things out there that are "knowable" in themselves but not knowable to us. For example the complete comprehension of the nature of God. The nature of God is something that is supremely reasonable, yet it is beyond the power of our minds to grasp it. IS, you assume that because something goes beyond our reason or that our reason cannot understand it, then it must *contradict* reason. There is another possibility, it can be reasonable, but not knowable by us because of our limited minds. I did not mean to say that *you* cannot understand it, but that *one* cannot understand it.

[Just a matter of clarification, in the purest sense any one of these attributes can be used to fully understand God if the attribute is taken to its fullest and truest meaning and therefore all of these attributes are really synonyms to each other when taken to this ultimate meaning.]

Good analysis of how we can speak about God. Obviously any term we use, such as good, holy, true, one, simple, etc. about God is going to be in an imperfect sense because God is infinite and cannot be encompassed with a finite word or concept. However, that is not to say that we can't say *anything* about God. We can speak by way of analogy. That is, we know when something is "good", so that tells us a little about God when we say that he is Good, only he us much more than that.

Interested Spectator:

I agree with all the fundamental attributes of God as you state them. These all apply to the NATURE of God. The nature of God is that he is one.

Here is my point, there are fundamental attributes to God that are not dealing with his NATURE but rather his PERSON. "Nature" is defining what a thing is. such as human nature, dog nature, divine nature. Person is talking about an individual substance of a rational nature, or "who" it is. With God there is one nature--divine, and it includes all the attributes as you said, and these are really one in essence. God's nature is to exist. Now, if we look at human beings, we see that there is one human nature, but each person is a substantiation of that nature. Each person does not encompass the totality of human nature in himself. For example, Nancy (or whoever) does not encompass all that it means to be human--tall, short, smart, beautiful, homely, male, female, red, white, etc. That is because human nature is composed of parts and is partly material, so it can be different things at different times. With God, that is not the case. The divine nature has no potential to be anything else and is not composed of parts in any way. So if there is a divine PERSON we would have to say that that Person totally encompasses the divine nature. In this case the person is the nature. God is "He who is"

Now, the Christians start with the premise that Jesus is God and that he has drawn a distinction between himself and God the Father. (John 17:5) Yet in other places, he says, "the Father and I are one." (John 10:30). See also John 5:26, "For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself" (God is self-existent.) There is also a reference to the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26) So their statements about God must include the Trinity in some way while still maintaining the unity of God's nature. It is this: there are three persons that are distinct from each other but each of them is God. The Father is the exact same God that the Son is. God is one.

Why 3 persons? Because it is considering God under the aspect of having a mind and a will. If he is indeed a personal God and not just an impersonal force then this must be the case. Of course, remembering that the terms "mind" and "will" are imperfect when speaking of God because he doesn't "have" anything. So his mind and will are actually equivalent to God's nature itself. (here's where we start reaching the limit of the human mind to understand) In God's mind he has a concept of himself that is so complete that it is actually the reality of God himself. This we call the "Son". But the Son is really God himself. Also in his will there is a love between the Father and the Son, which is also so perfect that it is a real person, but is actually God himself, this we call the Holy Spirit. The ONLY distinction between these three persons is that the Son flows from the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from both. Otherwise, they are one and the same God.

[Islam considers Christianity as taught by Christ as true]

If a Muslim believes this, then he must accept that Christ is either the Lord God or a big liar or crazy, based on what claims Jesus made about himself. I do not believe in the Trinity only because the bible says so. I believe it because Jesus said so; the bible is only a record of what Jesus said.

[ Don't forget that the concept of the Trinity came about and declared to be the orthodox Christian belief at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. In the first century after Jesus, those who followed him continued to affirm Divine Unity. This is illustrated by the fact that Shepherd of Hermas, written in 90 AD was regarded as a book of Revelation by the Church, which said:

"First of all, believe that God is One and that He created all things and organized them and out of what did not exists made all things to be. And he contains all things but alone is Himself uncontained."]

First of all, the author of the Muratorian Fragment mentions that the Shepherd of Hermas was written in Rome by Hermas while his brother, Pius was bishop, placing the date of composition around 140-155 A.D. Secondly this work mentions there being more than one person in God "God planted the vineyard, that is, He created the people, and gave them over to His Son. And the Son appointed the angels to guard over them; and He himself cleansed them of their sins, laboring much and undergoing much toil." Thirdly, there are many references before the Shepherd of Hermas to the existence of a Trinitarian God. For example, St. Clement (80 A.D.), the Didache, (c. 120 ), St. Ignatius of Antioch (110 A.D.) I can give you the quotes if you want them.

The belief about the Trinity was always true, it was only declared as the "true faith" at the Council of Nicaea against the heretic Arius, who said that Jesus was not the same substance as God the Father.

The "Gospel of Barnabas" also professes a distinction between God the Son and God the Father; " Moreover, my brethren, if the Lord endured suffering for our souls although He is the Lord of the whole world, to whom God said before the foundation of the world, 'Let Us make man in Our image and likeness' how, then, did He endure suffering at the hands of men?"

So whether you look at the Bible, the early Church Fathers, or whomever, there is a constant teaching in the Unity of God (nature) with a Trinity of persons. By the way the Council of Nicea also affirms divine unity, that there is only one God.

[Such a debate is of no interest to me and I have no interest in proving if Islam is "True" or Judaism is "True" or Christianity is "True". My interest is in learning the "Truth".] Well said, I agree wholeheartedly. We sometimes run the danger of holding something *because* someone said it rather than because it is true.

eve:

[You can undergo change without being acted upon by something else. An example would be your decision to stand up, followed by actually standing up. Unless the "actor" here is your decision.

Your "round circle" analogy is interesting]

I am so sorry. I meant a round square. God cannot create a round square because it involves a contradiction in the very terms used. Once we understand that "God" means "He who is" then it is impossible for him to not exist.

WRT the example of undergoing change without being acted upon by another. I act upon myself in standing up, but it really is one part of me (my mind or brain) acting upon another. In God there is no parts, so he cannot change.

[Is it your position that God never, ever intervenes?] No, but it is a mystery as to why he does or does not choose to intervene. We will certainly see the wisdom in his providence at the end of the world, when it has all been played out. One analogy someone once told me is the example of a work of embroidery. If you look at the back all you can see is knots, loose strings, and mixed up colors, but if you turn it around and look at the front, you see the beautiful image made of many threads woven together. When we are looking at events in history and in particular places, we are limited in our view, whereas God sees the "whole picture" from above and it is beautiful to him. The people who gave up their lives for the sake of their faith can be nothing but very dear to God.

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 21, 2000.


Gregg and Eve:

WRT original sin.

[How could they evaluate God's position in relation to theirs? They had no frame of reference, they had no KNOWLEGDE. It was by their eating the fruit, that they then realized they were Man and Woman and were ashamed. Ashamed? Ashamed of being a creature of God?

If I hold a gun to your head and say you have a choice, but if you do "a", I'll kill you, but if you do "b" I won't, is that a "choice"? Were Adam and Eve just supposed to remain mindless and dim witted, doing everthing God said, like pets? ]

We have to be careful to interpret the Bible in the same sense as that understood by its author, which means understanding the cultural context, and reading it together with the whole bible, since God is the one author of it. The serpent in this story is a symbol of the devil or Satan as is made clear in Revelation 12:9 and Wisdom 2:24. So to affirm that the eating of this "fruit" was a good thing is to side with the devil, who tempted them to do it.

The Lord first of all said that Adam and Eve were free to eat from any tree in the garden except one: the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:16) It was not the tree of KNOWLEDGE but the knowledge of good and evil, so presumably they already possessed knowledge. Then notice that they are both naked yet feel no shame (Gen 2:25).

The first temptation of the devil is to distort the words of God and make it seem that he has said something worse that he really did, "Did God tell you that you can't eat from *any* tree in the garden?" As if to say, "Boy, God won't let you do anything. He won't let you have any fun." Not true, he said there is only one tree that they can't eat, or the moment they eat of it, they will be surely doomed to die.

Now, what is this tree exactly? The second temptation is the devil suggesting that the Lord is keeping them in the dark. They have to turn to him to find out what is good and evil, they can't decide for themselves. The temptation to eat this fruit is to say "I will be the one to decide what is good and evil, not God. God won't tell me what to do anymore, I'll be a god myself. Why is he treating us like little children? let's be like mature adults, who can decide for ourselves what is good and evil." As a result, they reject God and no longer want to be his beloved children. The devil's temptation is really a lie. Who else would know what is good for human beings but God, who created them and loves them?

Since the first parents decided to take upon themselves the ability to decide what is good and evil, they begin to make mistakes, because the human mind is limited. Rather than listening to God, they begin to listen to the devil and to their own disordered emotions, one of which is lust. Now they realize they are naked and are ashamed. When are we ashamed when we are naked? Not in our rooms alone, but when other people are around. That is, we do not want them to look at us with lust. It is degrading to a person to ignore the beauty of his or her soul and only desire him or her for his or her flesh or body.

Since these two are now in a wounded state of existence, death is actually a mercy shown to them by God. We would not want to live forever in the condition that we are in now, with sadness, disease, etc. We look forward to a much better life after death.

Also, since these two are the first parents of the whole human race, the gifts they had at creation (close relationship to God, knowledge, freedom from sickness and death, ordered emotions) are now lost. As a result, they cannot pass these gifts on to their children since you can't give what you don't have. Original sin that we all are born into is not a fault that we have committed so much as a condition of weakness we are in.

Finally, the Lord promises a Redeemer already in the book of Genesis 3:15. Who is the one who strikes at the head of the devil? Jesus.

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 21, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

First, let me correct an impression: I spoke earlier about "the concepts that I feel we have to define and then assign to God, in order to arrive at God as existent." Since I believe in God through pure faith (He has Oneness to me, but this is about all I can get to), this comment really doesn't apply to me. I'm just looking for input on how you and others can get to God through reason or reasonableness. So far, I'm unable to understand this.

You state,

"I assumed that we each got our framework either by our beliefs or what has been proven about God that we accept or both."

What was "proven about God" to you, and how did this occur?

You said,

"...what you would like to know is to understand how God does what he does..."

No, I'm not to that point yet. I would like to know how we get to describing what he is.

You said,

"I think there are certain attributes that may be able to be proven as necessary in order for him to exist..."

Can you show me how?

Beerman,

Thanks for your post; I'll try to get back to you sometime today. For now, you should know the "round circle" thing made me beet-red! I couldn't see myself, but I sure felt it. I had accepted it without even thinking about the words used, as I knew (and I knew that you knew) the point you were trying to get across.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 21, 2000.


Hey.take a break from your "DEEP" thoughts and ponder this scenario:

There was a group of scientists and they were all sitting around discussing which one of them was going to go to God and tell Him that they didn't need him anymore. Finally, one of the scientists volunteered and went to go tell God he was no longer needed..

So the scientist says to God: "God, you know, a bunch of us have been thinking and I've come to tell you that we really don't need you anymore. I mean, we've been coming up with great theories and ideas, we've cloned sheep, and we're on the verge of cloning humans. So as you can see, we really don't need you."

God nods understandingly and says: "I see. Well, no hard feelings. But before you go let's have a contest. What d'ya think?"

The scientist says: "Sure Im all for it. What kind of contest?"

God: " A man-making contest."

The scientist: "Sure! No problem" The scientist bends down and picks up a handful of dirt and says: "Okay, I'm ready!"

And God says: "NO, no. You go get your own dirt!"

--------------------------------------------------

PS...I realize that you folks have expended quite a bit of mental energy on this topic. Unfortunately for all of you "thinkers", God cannot be God if He couldn't be understood by the most simple-minded of men...and that's why God cannot be comprehended on the basis of intelligence. God is comprehended by FAITH.

-- TM (mercier7@pdnt.com), January 21, 2000.


Beerman,

There is much in your post that I would like to comment on, but for now, may I ask the following:

What is your opinion on the assumption that God could have intervened, therefore limiting the punishment to Adam and Eve alone? Do you feel that it would have been more just (or fair) for him to have done so? This way billions of innocents would not have had to automatically take on the adverse effects of Adam and Eve's actions.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 21, 2000.


Hi, TM,

Welcome.

That's a good joke. But please be careful when tossing off terms like "thinkers" (you had put it in quotes). Some people might see this as a little sarcastic. Do you mean no one should do anything to try to understand Him better?

And, re your faith -- is it Biblically-based? Could you elaborate?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 21, 2000.


I COR 3:18-20(KJV)If this applies to anyone in this thread, please don't flame me. I didn't write it.

-- Kyle (fordtbonly@aol.com), January 21, 2000.

Eve:

If God had prevented the effects of Adam and Eve's sin from taking place, what would have happened next? Who's to say that the next generation would not have also sinned? Would he then stop those effects, etc? We cannot have real freedom if we're only allowed to choose for God because we never suffer the real consequences of choosing against God.

Secondly, the whole Old Testament is a record of God trying to call his people back to follow his will. He says, I will be your God and you will be my people. He wants to call them back to this original state of holiness, but they can't be forced into it. They must choose God out of love, rather than any sense of force or duty.

Finally, the Church has a saying about the original sin that calls it a "happy fault" since it merited for us so great a Redeemer. If Adam and Eve had not sinned perhaps God would not have entered the world, redeemed us, and made it possible to share his very life in heaven. The good that comes from Christ is even greater than the good that Adam and Eve had in the first place. They were in the garden of paradise, but not yet in heaven, since they could not see God face to face.

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 21, 2000.


Beerman, Eve:

I've got guests over tonight so I won't be able to reply you today, but will get to them tommorrow.

TM:

Fabulous Joke. Loved it. Thanks.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 21, 2000.


Kyle,

How would you reconcile your quote with 1 Thess. 5:21, where Paul advises that one should, "Prove all things..." (KJV)?

Beerman,

I was really trying to focus on how you can find justice in the punishment of innocents. I didn't see in your last post where you specifically addressed that point.

In you second paragraph, you say that people must choose God out of love. But don't most choose Jesus, not out of love, but so that they would be saved?

In your third paragraph you speak of a Redeemer. But why would people who are born innocent and lead a good life need a Redeemer?

Interested Spectator,

You haven't responded to my last post. Are you still out there?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 21, 2000.


There is no spoon......

-- Kansas (knss@mailcity.om), January 22, 2000.

Eve:

Thanks for the responses. I can tell that you do have a desire for the truth, not to mention that you know Scripture pretty well! You are also helping me to discover the truth.

There is no real good answer for why bad things happen to those who are "innocent." But if we put it in the context of eternal life of happiness, there can be a certain justice. That is, what is a few years of suffering compared to all eternity? Secondly, no one is truly innocent, because of original sin, we were all in a state of separation from God, but He did not leave us there. By the coming of Jesus and him sharing his LIFE with us, (which is the very life of God) we have a totally different possibility opened up to us. The amazing thing about this is that when we share God's life that means that the Trinity, the entire God comes to dwell in your soul in a mystical way. (John 14:23). Thirdly, if anyone was innocent, it was Jesus, yet he suffered more than anyone else ever could. So there has to be something that is even greater than physical comfort and earthly life, namely heaven.

We need a redeemer because we have wandered astray from God, remembering that God is not just a rule giver, but the one who created us, and he is truth itself. By not living according to who we are, we also contradict our Creator. Once there is a separation between us and God, it is not possible for us to span the distance between us, because it is infinite. Only someone who is infinite himself can span that distance, so the redeemer needs to be God. But he has to redeem *us* so the redeemer also has to be a man, so at the same time that God spans that distance, man does as well. The Christians would say when Jesus ascended to heaven he returned to the Father but brought his humanity with him. Thus for the first time, there is a human being in heaven, closely united to God. See John 3:13.

Colossians 1:24 we can actually join in Christ's suffering to bring salvation to the world.

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 22, 2000.


BeerMan; :) Nice handle. You left a riddle way up on the thread. I am sure it has been answered but... boats float with the tide.

Why do bad things happen to good people? The thread is about perception and reality. My grandfather died today. He was born in 1910. He had an eighth grade education. He could sit a horse like he was born in a saddle. He was the best man I ever knew. My image of 'grandpa' is this man with hands the size of hams, this strong man who once picked up a concrete sink and walked off with it, sitting in his recliner beside the fire, with his Bible in his lap. He did that every night for as long as I knew him. I am nearly fifty.

Well grandpa died, the question is was it bad? I don't think it was bad for grandpa. If any man ever was forgiven, he was forgiven. He is in a place we all dream of being. They called me and asked me to tell my mother. She grieved. Something bad happened to mom and grandma, but not to grandpa. Mom and grandma lost a dear friend today and they are hurting because they will miss him. I don't think they understand what a wonderfull thing happend to grandpa today. I won't be the one to tell them either, they will figure it out in their own time.

Some folks ask, "Why would a loving God, let this happen?", in times of trouble. If we look back at Job, we see that the evils Job suffered were not at the hand of God but at the hand of the evil one.

Once as I lay crying on my couch (years ago). I was asking God how it was that he could love such as are human. How can he love us for we seek evil? It is our nature to seek out ways to fail, to hurt, to insult. How can he love us? In my prayer it was very clear to me. He spoke so plainly. I was sobbing and asking the question and he said, "Michael, If you walked into the kitchen and your child was sobbing and crying and trying to get his hand unstuck from the cookie jar, the very same jar that you had told him only this morning not to get into, how would you feel toward that child? What would you say to him? Would you scold him because he was too foolish to simply let go of a couple of the cookies so that his fist would pass through the mouth of the jar?"

My troubles are like that before my God. They exist because I give them existance because I allow them to impact me. My troubles are MY troubles for my God is always there to comfort even when I am not willing to let go of the cookies... I do think he gets a laugh out of it once in a while though...

We are IN the world and not OF it. What does that imply? It implys that the world happens around us and mostly not to us.

We are instructed to BE content, what does that imply? It implys that contentment is available to us anytime we choose to BE it.

We are gifted with FREE will, what does that imply? In the context of emotion and suffering, it implys that we are free to choose how we feel. We are not the servants of our emotions, they are our servants.

1) You get to decide what you believe. 2) You get to decide how you feel. 3) You get to decide what you will do about all of that.

God has graced us with a thing most powerful, the ability to choose for ourselves what we believe. Used wisely, it is the most powerful force on earth. Used foolishly, it is the most powerful force on the earth.

Scary, huh?

-- Michael Erskine (Osiris@urbanna.net), January 22, 2000.


Beerman,

Thank you so much for your kind words. I think comments like these are among the things that I'll remember the most about the forum.

I'm kind of busy today, but I'll try to get back to you by this evening.

Michael,

Don't you dare go away after dropping that one on us. Beautiful stuff. I'll try to respond to you by this evening too -- hopefully.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 22, 2000.


Hi, Beerman,

You know, your responses show that you've really made some great efforts to understand some very difficult issues. And you're always civil. So I really feel lucky to have the opportunity to discuss these points with you.

In your second paragraph, you addressed the issue of bad things happening to good people. You made some interesting points. Can you tell me, though, why everyone else had to bear the effects of the disobedience of Adam and Eve? Maybe in a way you already did and I just missed it.

You said, "no one is truly innocent, because of original sin...". If the descendants of Adam and Eve are not innocent, then they must be guilty -- right? Is it just or fair to be declared guilty of a wrong (Original Sin) you never committed?

Later, you said that "By not living according to who we are, we also contradict our Creator."

Could you explain what you mean by this?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 22, 2000.


I'm sorry, but I have to raise a few questions. It is nice to have an idea or story that seems to fit together to explain things well - and to realize it's a story. It's quite another to take that story, and start recanting it as an actual account of history.

I repost a comment from the Kybalion:

[And still more presumptuous are those who attempt to ascribe to THE ALL the personality, qualities, properties, characteristics and attributes of themselves, ascribing to THE ALL the human emotions, feeling, and characteristics, even down to the pettiest qualities of mankind, such as jealousy, susceptibility to flattery and praise, desire for offerings and worship, and all the other survivals from the days of the childhood of the race. Such ideas are not worthy of grown men and women, and are rapidly being discarded.]

We are all born with the capacity to do good, and to do bad. What's bad and good are defined in most cases, by ones family or society. Obviously religious beliefs come into play as well.

The "choice" we all have, is to be conscious of our actions, and how they affect others, or not.

In discussing Adam and Eve, and whether GOD sent Jesus to redeem us, because he had to "reach-out" to us - Why did he wait so long? Man has been in his present state of Homo Sapiens for about 100,000 years. Why wait 98,000 years to give us a way "out", "back", or your favorite term?

Who was there scribing down the conversations between Eve and the Snake, and GOD and Adam, or any body else that is supposed to have said anything? The Old Testament was an ORAL tradition, handed down from Rabi to Rabi, and they decided what was to be in the Bible.

Why did they decide they liked the Sumerian version of Creation?

Again, projecting on to GOD our "father- figure" personality and behaviors is just hard to swallow. We are talking about the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE, not the man who played "Father Know's Best".

A man who has an open heart, who lives decently and with honor, and who doesn't try to take advantage of the unfortunate, will always be welcome in "Heaven", no matter his Religion.

By the way, it sounds like the goal of Life is to get to Heaven so we can spend Eternity with GOD or Jesus. What in the world are you going to do for an ETERNITY? Sit on a cloud forever? Does that sound fun? Is Life here so horrible ( and parts are ), that the real goal is to ESCAPE? Isn't it rather childish, and in a sense unfair to those in your life now, to sort of be putting things on "hold", until you can really enjoy yourself in Heaven?

One more comment. It seems to me an extreme case of EGO, for Man to think of the Creator as some of the Biblical references do.

Just my opinion, and I guess I may ruffle a few feathers, but stand back from things and think about it.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 22, 2000.


Gregg, my guess is that you'll ruffle very few feathers here... I gotta leave, I really think this thread has become a christian bible study. It coulda been so much more. Contenders! Ya coulda been contendas!!!

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), January 23, 2000.

Bemused,

Please don't leave -- just jump in yourself with a new topic or a refocusing on something we has already covered. I'm sure I'd respond to it, and others probably would too.

To all,

I'm going to be focusing a little more on some other threads for a while, so my response time will be slowed up somewhat. But I'm as interested as ever in keeping this thread alive, so don't y'all go anywhere!

Michael, Gregg,

I'd like to respond to you -- but for the above reason and the fact that I'll be pretty busy again today, I may not get around to it for awhile. But hang in there.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 23, 2000.


Greg; Humanism and relativism. Who will then establish the criteria to judge good from evil? Will you tell me each man in his own heart? Then I choose to believe it is good to kill and take what I want.

Are there absolutes in your belief system? What are they and from whence do they spring?

I ascribe to my God those traits I have been taught to ascribe to him. It is part and parcel of my belief structure. I CHOOSE it. Whether your realize it or not, you are doing precisely the same thing. You are entitled. Like I said, the power of choice is the one thing we all have. Your opinion, like mine, rests in faith.

Gregg; if you want to continue this line of thinking. Start a different thread. I am not going to spend three minutes downloading the thread everytime I want to read an answer.

Dianne; this thread is getting to where it takes 200 seconds to download... you might want to consider splitting it (if possible).

-- Michael Erskine (Osiris@urbanna.net), January 23, 2000.


To all:

Well folks I have a dilemma (Fundemental Dilemma #1) with what has been presented here and it is that:

I'm on this search for the Truth. If I'm on the wrong path there are those (Christianity) who tell me that the Trinity is the truth and there are those (Judaism and Islam) that the Trinity is false. Now there are also many others who claim that their "religions" are the Truth and tell me about many gods, and re-incarnation, and so forth.

So I think to myself, ok this is very nice but how do *I* know who is has the Truth to tell? I do not wish to *believe* who holds the Truth because that is tantamount to me saying I am able to distinguish the truth from all the statements just because I'm some how inately able to do that, and if that was the case I'd already know the Truth and would not be in the dilemma. Since I know I am not inately able to tell the truth, belief is not good enough to find the path to the Truth (although more than reason alone will be needed to understand the Truth fully and completely).

So I say, well let me at least see how Moses and Jesus, for example, got people to *believe* that they have the Truth. So I look into the matter and I find that these two did more than just *say* believe them; they gave the people a *reason* to believe them. They did these pretty amazing things that appealed to the peoples' sense of reason. They said, well take a look at these things (parting of the Red Sea, curing sick people, and such) and ask yourself if you believe your own eyes that you did *see* these things did happen. That is to say, Moses and Jesus appealed to the peoples' inate sense of rationality that comes with knowing that what one's senses show you must indeed be true, at least in-so-far with the types of "miracles" Moses and Jesus did.

So I come back and say, ok Moses and Jesus didn't expect anybody to believe them because they said they had the Truth, but instead Moses and Jesus faced the same difficulty with the population then that I have now, and that is, nobody was just going to believe them because they said so, they'd better *prove* something. Wheather or not they proved anything (or as some will say, ET helped them out and so forth) is irrelevant. The fact is they had no expectations that because they said something it was going to be accepted, they had to resort to reason and proof to help the people accept what they said.

So I think, well then I should not do any less now, for to do so would mean that I must merely accept what some person tells me. Since that person can't show me a miracle or something to make me believe what they are saying is true, I'll need to resort to using reason and proof to see if what they are saying is true. I can not accept that God allowed a few fortunate people to be proven the truth (i.e. those who witnessed first hand the miracles of Moses and Jesus) only to allow the rest of humanity for all time to remain shackled by the vanity and opinions of men to find the Truth, simply because they came after Moses and Jesus.

For example, lets look at the issue of the trinity. Dispite every attempt to explain the trinity, I present my argument why it can't be true and finally it is told to me, "well you must simply believe the trinity as true" you can not use reason to show it can be True.

Well I say to you who tell me this, well why, and if that is the case, why should I not just believe what this other fellow over here says about God being in this doll he has?

I also say, that Jesus and Moses never expected their people to just believe them, they offered proof to their people, so why do you expect that I should just "believe" you about the trinity, for example?

And I ask you one more question: if you are also on a search for the Truth, how do you come know that you must make a step in such and such direction so you move closer to the Truth? That is, how do you distinguish between the information given to you, what is True and what is false so you can progress in your search? Or do you not search the Truth because you have found it? If you have found the Truth, then show it to me as Jesus and Moses were able to (i.e. give me a miracle or two) to prove to me that you have it the way they did to their people, I would be most greatful.

Your "proof" that it is written in the Bible is not satisfactory since that is the same as having the students mark their own exams. If the trinity is the Truth why do we need the Bible, as it would be the Reality and must surely be able to stand any scrutiny on its own and not need any other item to provide its defense.

Surely you are not saying that something as trivial as reason and logic can bring down the Truth if that's what the trinity is? For me the Truth, to be the Truth must stand there bare and naked and be able to counter any conceiveable challenge to its authenticity, including those brought by reason, otherwise it is deficient and flawed and therefore not the Truth.

I have said I search for and proceed down the path to the Truth with reason. That is my guide to tell me when to take a step forward. I only have to keep learning and adjusting my course when something new is introduced that makes sense with what I have already learned (as I did in my comments on Gregg's book, in my comments on Godel (sorry John, I've read a lot more and see nothing to support your last position and I'll address that below in detial), in my comments on William of Occam, in my comments about Aquinas, and so forth.

There can be no other way, for that would mean I must just accept something as the truth because so and so says it is so. And, as I said, then what am I to do when two people tell me contradcitory information and both say "believe it because we tell it is the truth" since both parties cannot be correct?

I do not try to *understand* the Truth completely and fully soley with reason however. I may never find the ultimate truth before I die, but my search alone will hold me in good stead after I die.

I have to agree with Bemused at this point, and that is that this thread is more and more a discussion on Christianity rather than being more. I ask the questions above not in jest, but seriously. I lay out how I search for the truth, and I am most interested in knowing the answers to them. It seems that most on this board are bent on proving the trinity is true, rather than being open to other possibilities. I am open to the possibility that the trinity is true, but ask you why should I just believe it to be so because it is said to be so. It must be shown to be true by proving it so. The people at the time of Jesus and Moses expected no less of Jesus and Moses, and Jesus and Moses were pleased to oblige with a few miracles. Why do you expect me to accept less than a proof and specifically say "believe it -- there can be no rational proof"?

So unless I see an openness to follow the method of identifying the truth amongst the false, that is in alignment with Jesus' and Moses' own expectations, i.e. proof - either empircal or through logic and reason (either will be satisfactory), I can not see how I can contribute anything more to this discussion, nor as I have stated, is there any reasonable way for me learn anything in my search for the Truth in this discussion as this means I must accept what you say for no reason other than for the sake of it and therefore can never be sure if I am on the path to the Truth as those at the time of Moses and Jesus were able to know.

Once we admit just one item, no matter how small or insiginficant strictly on belief because it is contradictory, we open all other contradictory statements to be acceptable and have no anchor on which to stay the true course.

I'm afraid those who do not accept this have gone back to the pagan times where men believed something simply because somebody said so as they have no concept of how to determine what is True and false. Moses and Jesus showed that not to have an irrefuatable anchor (independent of its own claims of Truth) to distinguish Truth and False is not the correct way to search for the truth. They demonstrated this to be the case by showing that everybody who had not had an irrefutable anchor from which to judge things resulted in pagan religious beliefs far away from the Truth which they had. They provided miracles to the people so they could see they had the Truth for themselves and apply their own intellect, reason and logic to understand what they had just been shown and therefore to *know* it is the truth. And in this way the people did not just have to believe that Moses and Jesus were not just 2 more people claiming to have the truth. I can not see why I should not use any less a rigrous manner to distinguish truth from falsehood today. Therefore as I said, I'll only accept what logic and reason show not to be contradictory to what I already know to be True.

Therefore I'm afraid that I probably won't be posting anything new here, though I'll lurk just to see if the change I just mentioned comes about.

I found the following that may help explain in a clearer manner, my approach. Although this is written by Gary Miller, Phd, Mathematics but from Islam's point of view, I use the article to support what I say, just as I used Gregg's book, Aquinas, Occam and so forth because of the approach: namely the use of Reason. Just as it says "If he [the Christian] will probe no deeper than this, the Christian-Muslim dialogue is finished." I would say, regardless of my denomination, that is essentially my position now.

A Concise Reply to Christianity

I've learned a lot from the debate and in particular I'd like to say that strenous objections to my positions WRT to the trinity have only re-inforced my conviction against it rather than help me understand it, for the reasons just explained.

God bless and I hope you all find what you search for. If there any lurkers out there who found what I have had to say has helped them in their search for the Truth or understand why religion and science are not and can not be contradictory, that pleases me.

And now I'd just like to end by responding to the few issues some of you still have open with me:

For the Record prior to this post of mine:

There are 338 occurances of the word "January" and 337 occurances of "2000" so we can assume that is close to how many responses we have.

The download size is 613k and the saved size on disk 628k, so we can say it is about 620k

Sysops:

I hope you don't split this thread up, and simply start a new one to continue the debates in. It would be sad to loose this small book if it gets split. There is something appealing about having everything in one page that can be referenced, printed etc. and not able to be "broken" and "lost".

Eve:

Way back, you had a problem with the concept of God being both the Infinite and the Beginning. That led to my Recursion Proof to show there must be a Begining, that is a "One" that Is before all else, and the explaination of the "One" being outside space and time and therefore not bound by these and therefore infinite.

You had a problem of making the conceptual leap from the Begining (First cause for lack of a better word) to God. I explained that when you first brought it up, and again when you brought it up later with an explaination to Gregg's book and then again just recently, and in my last post explaining how the concept in Islam's explaiantion "Be and it is" (as God says in the Qur'an he "creates" WRT to Jesus' miraculous birth) and therefore the relationship between the First Cause and God. You don't say if these are satisfactory or if they are not so I don't know if any of these explainations have satisfied you, but I hope you'll find what you are looking for in them.

You also had a question WRT to understanding how my Fundamental Question #1, and using logic and reason to say what God is not, automatically means we are stating what God is. I have given you an explanation in the example of the blind men, the elephant and the tree why this is not the case. You don't say if this question of yours has now been cleared up but have new questions. I can't answer your new questions without building on what I have already explained. If I don't know if what I have explained is acceptable, then I'm building a house of cards where when I reach the top, you'll say but "I don't understand this bottom card". If you still do not accept what I have said in Fundamental Question #1, then I can't go forward as I'll depend on it to explain anything more and you should explain to why you don't accept my explanation about the blind men, the tree and the elephant.

WRT to your new questions:

["I assumed that we each got our framework either by our beliefs or what has been proven about God that we accept or both."

What was "proven about God" to you, and how did this occur?]

I didn't say anything was proven, I am making a statement on which to set down a position and that statement is that it makes no difference how we come to accept what we hold True about God or what it even is that we do hold True.

I did comment that I do believe the Oneness of God in the "unity" sense can be demonstrated by logic in that logic and reason can show that this can not, *not* be the case. All my explainations WRT to trinity provide the proof if you really want the proofs.

Anything else I am taught must not contradict this fundemental aspect of God. Anything explained to me that does contradict this can not be the Truth. This is how future information is evaluated by me. My intro to this post explains in detail why there can be no other way to find the Truth. As I said, once we admit just one item, no matter how small or insignificant strictly on belief because it is contradictory, we open all other contradictory statements to be acceptable and have no anchor on which to stay the true course.

John:

WRT to Godel, I am aware there are 2 theorums, you need both to make the statements that mathematics is inconsistent and incomplete. Some refer to them as his "theorums" collectively some distinguish them as two. In either event you still confuse the precise meaning of inconsistent and incomplete given by mathematics and the common semantic meanings. I stand by my previous response.

WRT to trinity. I stand by my previous response when I gave Fundemental Observation #1b. You explain trinity again, but you do not explain why what I say is wrong. Furthermore, to accept the trinity, I submit requires me to lower the standard set by Moses and Jesus of how to distinguish what is True from what is false, as explained at the beginning of this reply and therefore undermines the trinity's credibility.

Beerman:

WRT to distinguishing the Nature of God from his "person", that is the first step down the path to the trinity. I refer you to my arguments WRT to the trinity given in my post which contained Fundmental Observataion #1B and replace "3" for the trinity with "2". I also refer you to Fundemental Dilemma #1 above and the threshold set by Jesus and Moses to distinguish what is True from what is false.

You state:

[[Islam considers Christianity as taught by Christ as true]

If a Muslim believes this, then he must accept that Christ is either the Lord God or a big liar or crazy, based on what claims Jesus made about himself. I do not believe in the Trinity only because the bible says so. I believe it because Jesus said so; the bible is only a record of what Jesus said.]

Allow me to appologize for my terseness and the implied meanings you take as a result. I refer you to the above link for a more complete explaination of Islam's position on this matter.

WRT to the history about the trinity and how it came about, you make my point of Fundemental Dilemma #1 exactly. I can bring my experts and you can bring yours and we can debate this for another 2 millennia, unless we resort to the original method of distinguishing Truth from false as used by Moses and Jesus, as I explained in the beginning part of this post.

However, WRT

[The "Gospel of Barnabas" also professes a distinction between God the Son and God the Father;]

I disagree, and suggest you examine the copy of the Gospel, if you can find one.

As you no doubt are aware for some very curious reason after translating the "accepted" gospels into Greek and after the Council of Nicea made its decrees WRT to the trinity, all original Hebrew and Aramic manuscripts were destroyed (and Christianity was only left with what the Council at Nicea decreed it should be left with and then only translations, and not the source material), including the Gospel of St. Barnabus. In fact, an edict issued at this Council of Nicea in 325 AD decreed that anybody in possession of an unauthorized Gospels would be put to death. Why? (Because they wanted to just *say* what is the truth rather than leave the original manuscriots for all to see and read and reason as to what is the Truth. Nevertheless, one copy of the Gospel of Barnabas survived (very likely in the secret Vatican library) and was translated into Italian. This Italian translation was "taken" from the private libary of Pope Sextus (1589-1590) by Fra Marino and the copy subsequently found its way to the Hofbibliothek in Vienna where I believe it still exists.

John Toland, a noteable historian of the early Church had access to the manuscript and refers to it in his work "Miscellanous Works". He said of the Gosepl "This is in scritpture style to a hair" and that "the story of Jesus is very differently told in many things from the recieved Gospels, but much more fully... Some would make a prejudice in favour of it; because, as all things are best known just after they happen, so everything diminishes the further it proceeds from the original".

And just why should the Gospel of St. Barnabas be considered at all. Very simple because it is the only known surviving Gospel written by a disciple of Jesus, that is by a man who spent most of his time in the actual company of Jesus during the three years he was delivering his message. He therefore had direct experience and knowledge of Jesus's teaching, unlike all of the authors of the four accepted Gospels. But I am sure you are aware of this fact about the other authors of the "accepted Gospels".

But as I said, I can bring "my experts" and you can bring "your experts" and we can keep debating, so I resort to logic and reason as Moses and Jesus expect us to do (as I explain above) when trying to distinguish the Truth from the false.

Nevertheless, if you can't find a copy of the Gospel I suggest you read the following which is based on 30 years of research and well referenced sources (Christian primarly). You can use it to support your existing position by showing it false with "your experts" or if you learn something you didn't know, you can use it to question "your experts":

Jesus : a prophet of Islam (amazon link - says out of print but this is not so)

Jesus : a prophet of Islam (barnes and noble link - says still available)



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 23, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I just want to say that I really appreciate the tremendous amount of time and labor you've put into this thread. I'll try to get in a reply to your latest post tomorrow.

To all,

I'm still having a tough time balancing priorities and keeping up with everything. And with ever more views and opinions coming in, I don't think I'll be able to address even half of the issues I would like. I hope to get back into it again by tomorrow.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 23, 2000.


I.S. -

Incomplete -A formal theory is said to be incomplete if it contains fewer theorems than would be possible while still retaining Consistency.

Consistency - The *absence of contradiction* (emphasis mine)(i.e., the ability to prove that a statement and its negative are both true) in an Axiomatic Theory is known as consistency.

You cannot demonstrate perfect consistency in math. You cannot prove that its statements are all true. Your proof rests on math therefore your proof cannot be demonstrated to be completely correct. Therefore it is not a proof in the strictest sense of the word.

You say that I've lessened the Trinity in my response. Actually, the classical formulation is: Three person's in one essence. Your arguments all claim (implicitly) that the Trinity imposes an unreasonable division in the Godhead. I am saying that there is a definate and positive distinction between the persons of God, but they are all contained within one being or essence which is God. These distinctions may be arbitrary, if you like, but they are not unreasonable.

You are correct in the sense that the essence is indivisible, but that is not to say that the persons are indistingushable.

-- John Ainsworth (ainsje00@wfu.edu), January 24, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I really thought that I couldn't possibly have been more clear in the questions I asked of you. And I thought you'd be able to answer them without referring me back to the thousands of words that you've already written here. But apparently, for the most part, you're unable to answer me directly -- maybe you would find it necessary to rewrite a lot of stuff, or you find the point too difficult to summarize and recap.

But that's ok -- we each have our own ways of presenting our case. I tried to help you shortcut things by accepting your recursion theory, but even that didn't seem to accomplish much.

My problem, really, is that I simply don't have the time or the energy to be continuallly referred back to your earlier posts, and to review what you may have said two hundred pages ago, or seventy-five pages ago. I did do this early on when it was easier to go back, but even then I was not always able to find an answer to my question. But, again -- maybe I would have if I'd spent even more time in thinking about what you were trying to get across -- I don't know.

So I guess we'll have to agree to disagree for now. Thanks again for your enormous efforts, though.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 24, 2000.


PREMISE: THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REASON AND INTELLECTUAL INTUITION much has been discussed on this thread about the existance of God and the question of the trinity. Reason and intellect are not the same thing. The following are a few rebuttals on the many entries. _____________ " We engage in a very simple subject (although not my original one) and that is a logical proof that requires no faith that God exists. Not an attempt to explain his attributes or comprend him, but just that he exists...

"... Being able to prove something exists is not dependent on understanding its nature. -- interested Spectator (I.S.) COMMENT: At risk of repetition, without knowing the nature of an object one cannot prove anything about it, existence included. --Arthur _________________ You now use logic to explain why you think you are correct. If you wish to use logic to prove a point and do not quote Thomas Aquinas and his *opinion* (he offered no proof), but instead offer me a proof to what you say or demonstrate to me a contradiction in what I say.

... St. Anslem's quote you provide That which has all perfections CANNOT lack the perfection of existence is also just an opinion and it really says nothing. -- I.S.

COMMENT: On the contrary, it says that to speak of that which lacks a perfection does not refer to GOD ie:That which has all perfections (Logic is not opinion any more than 2+2=4 can be called opinion--- if your god is an old man with a beard on a throne up in the clouds...then maybe you are correct)--Arthur _____________________ There can be only one Truth. The religions are inconsequential. I will quote whatever I find that has no contradictions and offers proofs for all the reasons I give. -- I.S.

this statement seems a bit egocentric... perhaps? The Religions are inconsequential? Perhaps so to you but certainly not to humanity...please peruse 5000 years of history --Arthur ______________________

May I especially recommend "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe. He argues that the scientific evidence points towards a designer rather then to random forces.

-- John Ainsworth

COMMENT: Excellent reccomandation, John, Michael J.Behe is a first class scientist and his biochemical challenge to evolution is hard for any scientists to refute --- thats why scientists are quite silent about his work. -- Arthur ____________________ God is Love. -- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia

E LAmor che move il sole e laltre stelle "this Love that moves the Sun and the other stars" DANTE

Thank You --Arthur ___________________

It seems that the concept of how 3 can exist is a moving target. First it was 3 as we understand, then it was 3 as an inate property of God, now it is 3 as his choice. Well, nevertheless then I ask you now that God does not exists as 3 because he always existed as 3 because instead he chose to, lets examine these new type of 3 parts that he willed himself into:

Are these 3 parts of him equal? Lets say yes. Then we have 3 Gods, and that we can see is contradictory as I have explained none can....etc.etc.etc.etc.etc.-- I.S.

COMMENT: What tiresome, inapplicable verbiage! The concept of the Trinity does not deal with "parts" it deals with a transcendent mistery of of Divine Infinite Possibilities. The Mistery of the Trinity can be glimnpsed not by logic but by intellectual intuition awakened by reflection on the of Divine presence in Its Immanence on the one hand and Its Transcendence on the other. -- Arthur ___________ FINALLY: We spoke of the 3 hypostatic dimensions of Beyond Being, Supreme Being, and Existence or Manifestation... the following may perhaps clarify.

When we say GOD we speak of the Supreme Principle which is Absolute Reality and Infinite Possibility. It contains All and Everything , notably the necessity for a Universal Manifestation. The closest definition of Trinity without violating oneness is: Absoluteness of the Real, Infinitude of the Possible, Perfection of the Good... these are the first THREE dimensions of the Divine Order....The Father...The Holy Spirit...The Son, Christ , Perfection of the Good.

Thus does the Absolute projects iteself into the relative wherein It is ever immanent and in relation to which it is ever Transcendent.(Another mistery)

The word " Existence" comes from Ex-stare -- to be outside--to be therefore manifested-- To say God Exists is to say Manifestation is manifest...existence exists...the inverse is equally self evident.

It is Truth that makes us free not the other way around...therefore be cautious with the use of free speech. Falsehoods have no rights among the free.



-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), January 24, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I just replied to some indirectly related concerns of yours on "The Greatest Thread Ever?" thread, over in New Answers.

See you,

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 24, 2000.


Arthur,

Forgive me sir, for this, but your comments concerning the Trinity, without definitions, were completely incomprehensible.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 24, 2000.


HOLY MOSES! I had no idea this was so complicated.

Seemed to me I was given an imagination with which to create reality ,the will to choose to or choose not to,and a body to experience the result.

A Christian is someone who knows they are one with GOD and I participate from the temple of LOVE.

Where did I go wrong?????

-- James (brkthru@cableone.net), January 24, 2000.


Aurthor and everyone else,

You said : [When we say GOD we speak of the Supreme Principle which is Absolute Reality and Infinite Possibility. It contains All and Everything , notably the necessity for a Universal Manifestation. The closest definition of Trinity without violating oneness is: Absoluteness of the Real, Infinitude of the Possible, Perfection of the Good... these are the first THREE dimensions of the Divine Order....The Father...The Holy Spirit...The Son, Christ , Perfection of the Good. ]

You are trying to explain, rationally, why what you are saying is correct. Yet, you expect us to accept "the first THREE dimensions of the Divine Order..", as if it were logically the actual construct of "the Divine Order" - whatever that is.

You say, "Intellectual Intuition". What is that?

Anyway, without getting to carried away, I wish those of you who want to keep this a "faith in the irrationalness of it all" thread, to just say so, and not try and explain logically why I, or I.S., should not try and reason through this. Everything else makes sense, or at least one can understand that they won't understand the "subject" until there are new discoveries.

GOD may be incomprehensible, but it will make sense as to WHY he's incomprehensible - WITHOUT RESORTING TO FAIRY TALES.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 25, 2000.


Eve and Gregg, heart greetings.

 

Eve, you kindly state:

 

"Forgive me sir, for this, but your comments concerning the Trinity, without definitions, were completely incomprehensible.

 

While Gregg you asks:

 

You say, "Intellectual Intuition". What is that?

 

A clarification is only fair to both. We begin with "intellectual intuition"

The human mind has multiple functions. Intelligence or intellect is not the same as reason. Intuition can be emotional or intellectual.

All of us have at times felt that something is wrong or that an event is about to happen but we cannot explain that feeling rationally. We may have felt a danger or a good thing coming. This is common gut feeling or emotional intuition. Many examples even historically could be given.

Galileo saying: "Eppur si move..." (Yet it moves ) referring to his intuition about earth's motion was definitely intellectual. Reason is only the secretary of the mind that works on the details. The intellect moves like lightning and states an intuited truth then it delegates the job of reducing a truth to definitions to "razio". (not always possible)

An intuition of the Divine existence engendered by the realization of cosmic order and design...is an intellectual intuition of a truth which one may be unable to define in rational detail simply because "definition" is a finite form which cannot ever apply to the Infinite or the Absolute.

The Hindu, for example say that the absolute of Brahman can only be referred to as "not this, not that" Equally we e might say the Infinite is "not finite" even if we may conceive of It as including finite things "ad infinitum"

Regarding the Trinity - we objected to the idea of "partitioning the Absolute into 3 pieces...which aroused I.S. into a lengthy rationalization that lead nowhere.

If it be true that we are made in God's image then we partake of the Trinity in ourselves. Though we are one individual we have three major aspects which we call Body,Soul and Spirit. Yet our subjectivity, being unique, reflects the Divine Oneness.

When we speak of Hypostatic degrees, we transcend theology and enter metaphysical dimensions. To say Absolute is to say Infinite. We may be able to rationalize any magnitude of numbers and define the size of a finite universe no matter how vast, but we cannot define the Absolute or the Infinite.

The Hindu also speak of a Trinity: Sat - Chit - Ananda to make this clearer so that the 3 in 1 cannot be seen as "parts" we can take the example of a major reality we all experience. The Sun. Its mass (SAT) is its being, Its light(Chit) is its consciousness of infinite mind that penetrates the whole of space, its heat is Ananda or its love that warms us all. Clearly this is an inadequate example but we can see that the Sun remains one and each of the aspects need the others in order to be THE ONE SUN.

Absolute is the Supreme ONE AND ONLY Reality, INFINITE is implicit in it and of necessity contains all possibilities "nothingness" which is why when the concept of manifestation is reduced to the theological "creatio ex nihilo" (creation from nothing) we are faced with the ancient concept (Meister Echart) ofThe Void is the Plenum - (or the fullness of all possibilities) The Holy Spirit. Supreme Love is the third projection or the manifestation of the Absolute in the contingent. The Divine Absolute and Infinite manifests the finite, enters actively into time, thus the Christ (light and fire in historical contingency) Supreme Love.

We will not enter into definitions that may be offensive to those who bound by faith accept verbal concepts as sufficient to their souls, for certain truth can only enter certain minds. All depends on the "forma mentis" (the form of the mind)

 

The fact that Absoluteness implies Infinitude and that these give rise to all possibilities can only be seen by a flash of intuition for no amount of logic could dissect such concepts any more that the ocean can be poured into a small hole in the sand by a little boy with a shell.

 

 

 



-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), January 25, 2000.

Arthur,

Can we take this in "coffee spoons"?

Do you think that the Son can be both God and Not-God at the same time?

(Not-God is something either more than or less than, or otherwise different from, God in at least one respect.)

(Arthur, with your handle and e-mail addy, somehow I'm only able to picture myself making a curtsy before you in anticipation of permission to speak --- "Permission to speak, m'Lord?") :^)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 25, 2000.


Eve:

I respond, smiling, between your lines first:

 

You write: " Can we take this in "coffee spoons"?

If this is in jest I can answer yes for "coffee spoons" like shells on a beach can transport the water of the ocean into the dark little hole in the sand of our sleep that is our mind. Unfortunately there may be a problem of time and space to effect full transfer of the ocean of the absolute into so little a container.

If you are serious, the answer is also "yes" provided you examine carefully the ipseity of your "coffee spoon" in light of the explanation below.

"Do you think that the Son can be both God and Not-God at the same time?"

Again, yes in light of the "all-possibilities" inherent in the Absolute. This defies our love of logic, however it is the same question as is posed by quantum mechanics "how can a particle be in two different places at the same time?" The explanation below, provided it is taken in a state of ego-effacement, may further illuminate your question and the answer.

Remember it behoves us all to put as much effort in preparing a question as we expect in the answer.

(Not-God is something either more than or less than, or otherwise different from, God in at least one respect.)

Nothing is "Not-God"...but then nothing does not exist other than being a vague concept, a word...and the "word was God" (logos).

 

(Arthur, with your handle and e-mail addy, somehow I'm only able to picture myself making a curtsy before you in anticipation of permission to speak --- "Permission to speak, m'Lord?") :^)

Permission Granted -for it pleases us that your handle also fits the Majesty of the Subjectmatter in this thread. "Eve" the primordial essential woman, the receptive holder of the seed of the Creative. The feminine is Divine Substance (Materia Prima) - the door of Existence for the Divine Essence.

 

Now the explanation.

 

The Absolute/Infinite is without beginning, unborn, indestructible. It is not green nor yellow nor red, not white or blue, neither long nor short, for it transcends all limits and definitions. It can be in your "spoon" and contain you at the same time. It is that which you see before you - as soon as you start reasoning about it you fall into error.

It is a boundless void which cannot be fathomed or defined. The Absolute/Infinite we call "God" but are unaware that there is no real separation between It and sentient beings. Sentient beings live in a sleep of illusion and are attached to forms they themselves project and so they seek God externally. By seeking with their mind they are perennially lost in illusions. They are using God to find God and do not perceive it. Using mind to grasp Mind. Even if you had as many years as there are grains of sand in the Sahara you will not attain the goal. It is like trying to jump over your own shadow.

 

"Be still and know that I am God" "I am that I am" Stop conceptual reasoning, forget anxiety and the Divine will manifest in every atom of your being.

God is not less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is It greater for being manifested in the Christ.

 

Heart Greetings

 



-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), January 26, 2000.

M'Lord (Arthur),

"thenne he drewe his swerd Excalibur, but it was so breyght in his enemyes eyen that it gaf light lyke thirty torchys."

Arthur, your prose shines beautifully, as Excalibur did.

My request to take the "coffee spoon" approach was just to simplify and segment our approach, so that I wouldn't get overwhelmed. There's really a great deal in what you said that interests me. But just for now...

Is your theology a merging of pantheism (I think that's where God is equal to and immanent in all of existence -- He's everything) with Christianity? If so, I find it fascinating -- I've never seen this before. How do you reconcile this to the God of the Bible, though? I find no hint of pantheism in the Bible.

I believe pantheism originated with Spinoza -- the "God-intoxicated" philosopher -- right? I see you as God-intoxicated (in the good way, of course) as well.

And thank you, Arthur, for your eloquent words about my name and namesake.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 26, 2000.


Eve,

It seems this thread is coming to an end.

You say:" Is your theology a merging of pantheism (I think that's where God is equal to and immanent in all of existence -- He's everything) with Christianity? If so, I find it fascinating -- I've never seen this before. How do you reconcile this to the God of the Bible, though? I find no hint of pantheism in the Bible.

===========

This deserves an extensive answer. If the thread continues I'll return in a few days after reflection with an answer. Let me just say that Theology deals with reason. The issues here often require an ascent beyond the snowline. Metaphysics transcends theology because it does not create new concepts, it simply endeavors to transmit on the rational plane what may be called direct realizations.

The arts often do the same. Pantheism projects the idea that God and the Universe are the same thing. Metaphysics attempts to go a step further by revealing Supreme being as the first manifestation of Beyond Being.

The Catholic "creatio ex nihilo" leaves us begging the question. Creation from nothing is a mental human projection...the male God on a throne by the magic of hie omnipotence wills the world into being from nothing but remains separate from it. Just as an artist and the art object.

Metaphysics envisions in the Absolute true-omnipotence but precludes absurdity as an illusory privation -- merely the possibility of the impossible.

The bible is a collection of books which nowhere claim to be the direct writing of God. Men more or less inspired wrote each book and later these were chosen to make up what we call THE BIBLE. Translations alone have mutated and introduced numerous errors in it.

The Bible has a metaphysical dimension also in many places. "The kingdom of heaven is within" Christ two laws - loving God - Loving one another - contain all the laws and all the profets.

..... more later on Pantheism and the Bible.

With warm greetings

Arthur

-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.grail), January 27, 2000.


To all,

Well, it looks like things have become relatively quiet here. I think I'll call it an interlude. I hope it's just an interlude.

What I'd like to do now is to reformulate a central question that is very important to me -- a question that I've had all along, but to which I can recall no adequate answer, other than to take the "leap of faith":

Is it possible to get from a First Cause (for lack of a better term) to God through the use of reason alone? If so, how can this be done?

I believe that this cannot be done, and that this is where faith comes in. So far, I can recall no persuasive argument to the contrary. It certainly could be buried above somewhere, and if so, would someone kindly repost it here?

I remember that Gregg and maybe I.S., I think, postulated a middle way, that is that the existence of God is reasonable, but I never understood this either. That seems like faith in sheep's clothing, if you will. So, if that is your position, I would like to know why.

Thanks all,

Arthur,

Thanks for your reply. I haven't read it thoroughly yet and I will await your more detailed reply before I respond. But if you'd like a response before then, please let me know.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 27, 2000.


Eve,

Something created the Universe. Whatever that is, is God. Reason shows that Matter cannot create Matter.

So, what's the matter? That requires no faith to see, and it's perfectly reasonable (rational).

Arthor - what?

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 27, 2000.


Gregg,

You know, in a way, what you say makes sense to me. But can I therefore say that my faith is reasonable? Or do you think that there is something contradictory in that sentence?

And you said,

"So, what's the matter?" I'm glad you took care in writing "matter" in the lower case, because if you had said, "So, what's the Matter?" we'd have opened up yet another sub-topic! (Cheshire cat grin)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 27, 2000.


Gregg,

I should add that it seems to me that once you postulate God as the First Cause, you then have to say something about His nature, otherwise He remains indistinguishable from a First Cause; He would just be the First Cause with a different name. But then you're faced with the problem of postulating a nature that's reasonable.

I postulate the First Cause as God, but I'm unable to describe His nature, other than a faith in His Oneness, a Mind (to create), and a power to create. That's about as far as I can go right now. Do you think this is reasonable enough?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 27, 2000.


Eve, Yes, that sounds good. What's wrong with having faith, even if it's rational or reasonable to have it? Is anyone claiming that "rational" invalidates faith?

Faith in what? That the "unexplainable Higher Power" is looking out for you? And by believing in IT, without reason, you are going to be helped, or looked kindly upon, by this Higher Power? Does blind illogic get rewarded in "the other world", and is that the prerequisite for "redemtion"?

Matter was discussed in the last post I did on THE ALL. It is "thoughts".

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 27, 2000.


Eve:

you say:

[I postulate the First Cause as God, but I'm unable to describe His nature, other than a faith in His Oneness, a Mind (to create), and a power to create. That's about as far as I can go right now. Do you think this is reasonable enough?]

Hallelujah!!

But no, it is not reasonable enough. Don't settle for "enough". It is more than reasonable. It is the Truth because it is not contradictory to anything you hold True about God. As I said in my last post, Moses and Jesus never expected their people have blind faith. Why should we. In fact as I explained they expected their people to *know* the truth. Knowing means rationalizing, not believing or guessing it

What you have said is what I have been trying to explain to you all along. I'm glad I think you've understood by yourself now.

If you remember in one of my posts I said with respect to the connection between the First Cause and God:

[In looking at what Islam's says God has revealed it also takes the postion that Chapter V does and that God is that He says "Be and it is".]

(i.e. Chapter V of Gregg's book)

Also, as you may recall, way back, in the begining, I said to you about this very topic when you first brought it up:

[This concept if it doesn't hit you right away its one that you will "see" over time and one day you'll say "Oh, I get it".]

Search the thread for the word "synonym", the phrase "Be and it is" and the phrase "Oh, I get it" for my explainations to you about this topic and what you have just come to accept.

WRT:

[But then you're faced with the problem of postulating a nature that's reasonable.]

Earlier I said:

[I think there are certain attributes that may be able to be proven as necessary in order for him to exist and be the beginning of the Recursion Theory. One in particular is the Oneness aspect of him I think is one of these attributes.]

(read the word "certain" with emphasis)

You then asked:

[What was "proven about God" to you...]

I replied in my last post

[I did comment that I do believe the Oneness of God in the "unity" sense can be demonstrated by logic in that logic and reason can show that this can not, *not* be the case. All my explainations WRT to trinity provide the proof if you really want the proofs]

(in particular the proof that was included in the post with Fundemental Observation #1B when used with Fundemental Question #1)

You have come to exactly this same realization yourself and you should feel pleased with yourself.

As you will recall I have always maintained we can never use reason to fully and completely understand God or even the fullest and truest meaning of the concept "God is One", but reason can give us a [crude inkling] (search for that term) about the nature of God and one of those "crude inklings" you now understand is why God is one in the numerical sense.

I think all I need to say to you on this topic has already been said in this thread and repeating it won't help you in your understanding. Time to reflect, on what I have already said in this thread, on the other hand will help you. So although you may not like digging, digging is how you find the truth, and its made a lot easier when someone tells you where to dig. I hope that your search for the Truth is important enough for you to put a little time to dig into this "small book" a few times.

P.S. use the search page command of your browser to find some of the words in the exerpts in square brackets to find the original posts in the thread.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 27, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Thank you for your kind, supportive words. And I'll try harder to do some diggin' If I must...

By the way, it's good to see you back -- I was afraid you'd gone away for good.

Talk to you soon,

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 27, 2000.


Gregg,

In your second paragraph above, are you implying that there's no point in having faith in God unless there's a purpose behind it?

You know, I think there may be a psychological aspect to my faith where in a vague sort of way, I'm hopeful that somehow I'm being looked after.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 27, 2000.


Eve, No, I'm saying that to "believe or have faith" blindly, is not the demarcation of correctness. In fact, the "purpose" doesn't really have anything to do with it.

But I think what you next said -

[You know, I think there may be a psychological aspect to my faith where in a vague sort of way, I'm hopeful that somehow I'm being looked after.]

- is probably behind most people's faith. It as simple as that. Looking to the sky for all the comforts of childhhod. Nothing wrong with that. But it does get wrapped around in some very sophisticated verbiage, while trying to put on a face of "superiority" when challenged with Reason.

As I said, or meant to say, why should "faith" be an irrational acceptance of folklore, that makes people kill others if they don't call the same God the same name? Why can't faith and reason be in the same room?

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), January 27, 2000.


Gregg,

You said,

"Why can't faith and reason be in the same room?"

Gregg, it seems to me that there is no direct way to rationally demonstrate how faith can arrive at knowledge. And if faith can't be shown to arrive at knowledge, and reason can (I assume it's ok to assume that reason can, for now), then all propositions of faith, because they cannot be rationally demonstrated, would have to conflict with reason. In other words, arguably, they could arrive at knowledge in their separate ways, but never together.

And faith could still be reasonable, such that we can see we exist, so that we must have been created, but this is an assumption that can't be proven through reason.

So, in the light of the above, could you elaborate on your statement? Also, Gregg, I know you've written a great deal above, so if you've answered this, could you restate it or point me to where it is on the thread?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 28, 2000.


To all,

Another open question: If God has existed for an infinite amount of time past, how could He ever have arrived at the specific point in time in order to create the universe? This is a variation on the theme of the impossibility of traversing an infinite path.

To anticipate those who would answer that the question is inapplicable because He is outside of time and existence, I would then ask:

When you say, "He is...", what do you mean by "is"? (ok, no Clinton jokes here!) "Is" implies "exists" which implies "existence" which implies "time" as the fourth dimension of existence.

Ok, all, first one to solve this baby before supper gets an extra piece of eve's apple crisp for dessert! :)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 28, 2000.


Gregg, Eve:

What do you mean by "faith"?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 28, 2000.


"I think I could turn and live with the animals they are so placid and self-contained.

They do not sweat and white about their condition. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God.

Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things. Not one kneels to another, nor to one of his kind that lived thousands of years ago." Walt Whitman

"You speak an infinite deal of nothing." Shakespeare

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), January 28, 2000.


Good one Gilda.

To me faith is believing in the things I know to be true, inspite of circumstances that may make me feel like abandoning what I know or stand for. To me it's seeing the biggest picture possible, and keeping that in mind while dealing with the mundane, which on a certain level, is actually not mundane at all.

That "big picture" is my foggy concept, of an Infinite capacity, that I see hints of in almost everything. Talking about GOD in terms of energy, or Absolute, or other similar terms, can seem depersonalizing. Yet, there is a thread of the "unbelievable" in the smallest of things, that somehow seems to resonate with me and I can feel in accord with the Universe as it is.

I don't really believe in any of the traditional stories about GOD, but I think they all serve as a beacon of a possible way for an individual to connect with the Trancendant.

My biggest thing I have "faith" in at the moment is : if things could be different, they would be. To change things, something, or you, must change. Change is very hard, even for people that want to, let alone those that don't. It seems crisis is what activates most people. When it is less comfortable to remain the same rather than change, then people will change. The old, "if it doesn't kill you it will heal you."

Just as a C chord played on the piano will always be C, unless one of the notes in the chord is tuned differently, so things are the way they can only be, unless one of the component parts changes its frequency.

Just some thoughts.

Eve,

I'm not sure what the problem is with faith or reason, I think you mean something different by it.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@string-point.com), January 28, 2000.


.....I have followed this thread with varying degrees of interest since its inception, at times with fascination, others times I may have even achieved incredulity at some of the respondents. I have finally found a hole in my schedule large enough to allow me to wade in, (yet again), even though I may only have time to get in up to the ankles for now.

IS...

.....There is certainly no question as to what faith is, or means, if you will. Hebrews 11:1 defines the term for the reader; Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. What, exactly, does this mean? Faith, in the NT, is in all but six instances referring to the word pistis in the Greek. This is the living, Divinely inspired principle, that refers to the discription above, yet is attached to the word peitho which means to persuade. This attachment signifies what is to be done with faith, once one is knowledgeable enough to have achieved it. I could further give a couple of paragraphs on this word alone, along with the root verb that it attaches to. The term evidence means proof, (Greek term , used only twice in Scripture).The term not expresses full negation, while the term seen is the Greek, blepo which implies more of a mental vision, as opposed to horao which speaks to the physical. I find it quite interesting that the term faith appears only twice in the OT. Should you truly need the other paragraphs, I would be only too happy to oblige.

eve...

.....Im going to take a shot at that apple crisp, does that come with the ice cream? ;o) Man saying that, He is will never achieve the emphatic degree with which it was spoken by God Himself, as is the case in Exodus 3:14; I AM THAT I AM, Hebrew ehyeh asher ehyeh. Now, allow me to quantify the following by saying plainly that this is my take on things. There are some things that man in the flesh, simply cannot comprehend concerning God, this will not change until the time spoken of in ICorinthians 15:50-53, whereupon we shall take off the corruptible and put on the incorruptible. I believe that this would also refer to the quickening of knowledge, (and body/soul), and this was mentioned in verse 45 of the same chapter, with regards to Adam, and hearkens back to John 5:21.

.....Revelations 10:6 states that that there should be time no longer. Im certain that there are differing opinions on what this means, but to me this implies that time, as a continuum, is an element of the earthly nature of man in the flesh, and will have no relevance in the realm that is to come. Im not certain what youre referring to with the comment regarding the fourth dimension, as it relates to the world as it is, I would appreciate it if you could find time to elaborate a bit on your meaning. In the world that I see, mankind has far too many troubles dealing with three, to be overly concerned with a fourth, (wry smile).

gilda...

.....Never mind.

-- Patrick (pmchenry@gradall.com), January 28, 2000.


.....Sorry, I evidently typed my "italics off" backward after the last one; Hope this gets it... If not, would someone please donate an ital-off for an HTML impaired?

-- Patrick (pmchenry@gradall.com), January 28, 2000.

Off?

-- Wilferd (WilferdW@aol.com), January 29, 2000.


Patrick, Interested Spectator, Gregg, Gilda,

Thanks for your posts...I'm going to be very busy this weekend; also, I've got to see my mom, who's in the hospital (she's ok -- some breathing problems), so I may not have too many chances to get a replies in. But I'll give it my best shot.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 29, 2000.


Gilda,

Welcome!

You said, through Walt Whitman,

"I think I could turn and live with the animals..."

In general, do you really dislike living with human beings?

You said, also through Walt Whitman,

"Not one is...demented with the mania of owning things..."

Do you mean like the clothes you're wearing, the computer that you're typing on, and the house that you're in? (I have made some assumptions here)

You said, through William Shakespeare,

"You speak an infinite deal of nothing."

Do you mean that you don't like to think, communicate, and wonder, and that you have contempt for those who do?

Gilda, if you choose to respond, would you please do it in your own words this time? I'm very interested in having a direct dialogue with you.

Thanks.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 30, 2000.


Wilferd,

Hi, thanks for contributing to the discussion!

You said, in a cryptic, yet strangely fascinating way,

"Off?"

Is this really a highly condensed summary of your wonder, and questioning, and/or expectations regarding what could happen at the end of time, existence and the infinite? :)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 30, 2000.


Wilferd,

Oops...too many "and"s and commas in my response. Alas...if I only had your ability to condense and summarize, I wouldn't have that problem... ;)

(And no...I'm not going to do another post lamenting my overuse of ellipses in this one...)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 30, 2000.


Gregg:

You said:

[I don't really believe in any of the traditional stories about GOD, but I think they all serve as a beacon of a possible way for an individual to connect with the Trancendant.]

I'm curious about 3 points in reference to this comment of yours:

1. What do you mean by "really"?

2. What do you mean by "traditional stories"?

3. Why do you not "really" believe in any of the traditional stories about God?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), January 30, 2000.


Eve,

You are reading far too much into my response. ;)

I was merely doing some housekeeping for a friend.

Interesting conversation, though.

-- Wilferd (WilferdW@aol.com), January 30, 2000.


Does anyone know how to turn off the blue background?

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 30, 2000.

Wilferd,

The girl can't help it! You see what this thread has done to me? I'm outta control now... :)

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 30, 2000.


Patrick,

You know, I thought long and hard, and I realized that asking someone to solve the questions of God, time, space and the infinite before suppertime of the same day I posed the question, was maybe being a little too unrealistic. So, I've decided to extend the deadline indefinitely...Wait a minute! Oh, no!! We've got a new sub- topic! What happens when the indefinite catches up with the infinite? Can it catch up at all? Or what?

Anyway, I had posed the problem of whether an infinite God can ever get to the point of creation. Or in other words, can any infinite being traverse an infinite path to get to a specific point on the path? If you keep in mind the path had no beginning, how is it possible that a being could cross it -- even to get to the day of creation?

You responded with the quote from Exodus 3:14, where God says, "I AM THAT I AM". But that is present tense only. I don't see how you can read more into that. Can you explain further?

Regarding time as the fourth dimension: Patrick, I believe Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity introduced the concept of space-time, time being the fourth dimension; in this sense time represents the measure of the relative changes taking place within the universe. As I recall, Hawking's book (A Short History of Time) explained it very well, but I'm kinda fuzzy on it right now.

Hey, Bemused! Are you out there? I think I recall you knowing this area pretty well; can you help out with this?

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 30, 2000.


Bemused,

In my appeal to you for help above I was specifically referring to the subject of time as the fourth dimension.

Thanks,

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 30, 2000.


Interested Spectator, Gregg,

I.S., you had asked me to define faith. And Gregg, you had asked for a clarification of my position on the relationship of faith and reason.

To do justice to this will take quite a while; I think I'll do it in pieces. I just ask for patience.

For now, I'll say that to define faith, I think you have to distinguish it from reason; so both should be defined simultaneously.

So, we start with attempting to get some idea of what it means to accept a belief on the basis of reason. Reason is the faculty that processes the information that comes to us through our five senses. We take concrete information (say, two specific tables that we see), and by omitting the measurements, we "abstract" the two actual tables into the mental concept "table". The concepts "table" and "chair" are again abstracted into the wider concept of "furniture". This is an example of how man acquires knowledge and thereby surpasses the ability of the lower life forms.

To be continued...

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 30, 2000.


Ok, all, here's a little more of my take on Faith versus Reason (Part II):

There are many different ideas of what faith is, and to give them all justice would take much more time than I have. In the religious arena, my idea of faith is that of an act of will in gaining hold of at least some sort of knowledge or belief about God, that cannot be obtained through the use of our faculty of reason. Our faculty of reason, on the other hand, would be utilized in rationally or scientifically demonstrating a belief such that the belief becomes knowledge.

Now, keep in mind that to rationally demonstrate a belief is not the same as claiming certainty for that belief. Depending on the circumstances, the nature and amount of evidence might warrant only that the belief is probable to a certain degree. Reason only requires that the degree of certainty of a belief must be in accord with the available evidence.

In this way it would seem to me that faith and reason are not compatible in arriving at knowledge or belief.

More to come...

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 30, 2000.


To all,

Regarding my take on Reason and Faith -- although I intend to write more on this, it's going to take me some time -- maybe a long time -- to think through it all and put it together. But I think the very bare essentials are pretty much in my first two posts on this, just above -- although this is very complicated and I could easily have missed some things. This is the very first time I've tried to put my thoughts on this in writing.

And, yes, I didn't come up with all the above ideas on my own. Some philosophers have had a pretty big influence on me. But I had to try to jell principles from their ideas with my personal beliefs. So, in an important way, I feel the end result really is my own, as it comes right from the heart.

Anyway, feel free to comment or question at any time.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 31, 2000.


To correct my prior post:

On re-reading my posts on Reason and Faith, I have to say that, actually, almost all of the ideas I wrote down so far ( in those two posts), in one form or another, have been passed down by others; I accepted these after much study and thought. What I do need to emphasize, though, is that, by the time I'm through, I'll have combined ideas from them, still others, and myself, in trying to come up with some decent positions on this.

-- eve (123@4567.com), January 31, 2000.


Off?

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), January 31, 2000.

Gregg:

Are you still here? I've got a few questions I posted a few replies earlier. I was hoping to get a reply from you as I have a new tack on the old issue of ratiionalizing faith I'd like to take up with you and eve, although it would be applicable to all who say faith can't be rationalized and also to those who say you must just "believe" God exists because his existence can't be proven, but need your reply first.

To All:

Anybody else left here? I hope so, as I think you'll all find the new tack I just referred, at the very least, thought provoking, but I think in all likelyhood, a lot more than that.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 01, 2000.


Hi Interested Spectator,

Been a little busy figuring out a new trading system - -

I mean "really" in that I think the many of the "Stories of Creation" are metaphorical, not literal. I do think it is possible to attain a state of enlightenment, much higher than mine. (not that I'm enlightened). I have meet a very few persons, who really did have a "different" view of the world. I think it is like finally seeing the classic "vase" as two faces. I have had only a glimpse of that perspective.

I forget your other question, but basically, it seems that "enlightened" ones who have been here on earth, have tried to show people how to connect with the "God" inside themselves. Religion, for the most part, seems to be a way to control people. The priest setting himself up as the go-between, between people and God. Yet, it seems that all religions recognize similar elements about this wispy subject, and have Truth in them, if one can separate the cultural and other influences.

Seen metaphorically, they all make sense to me, and are in a way, united.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 01, 2000.


Eve, Gregg and everybody else:

Firstly, eve you said:

[Gregg, it seems to me that there is no direct way to rationally demonstrate how faith can arrive at knowledge. And if faith can't be shown to arrive at knowledge, and reason can (I assume it's OK to assume that reason can, for now), then all propositions of faith, because they cannot be rationally demonstrated, would have to conflict with reason. In other words, arguably, they could arrive at knowledge in their separate ways, but never together.]

A interesting possible conclusion, however it's based on a couple of assumptions, which you imply you recognize with the words "it *seems* to me..." and "*if* faith ...", and since you can't say if all those assumptions may or may not be correct, you really can only make your conclusion if you qualify it from being a final conclusion which you implicitly do with the word "arguably".

Eve, you also said:

[Now, keep in mind that to rationally demonstrate a belief is not the same as claiming certainty for that belief. Depending on the circumstances, the nature and amount of evidence might warrant only that the belief is probable to a certain degree.]

Earlier I said WRT miracles, that people at the time of Jesus and Moses had an "advantage" in that those miracles, which appealed to the people's innate sense of rationality that comes with observing the types of things that Jesus and Moses did, allowed them to *know* rather than believe that Jesus and Moses had the Truth. As I said *knowing* means rationalizing as opposed to guessing, believing, or having faith about something. I also said it would seem illogical for God to provide evidence to only a select group of people out of all humanity and leave the remainder of us to only have the reports of what happened then and therefore be shackled to belief that the vanity and opinions of men are not corrupting the reports.

Earlier I asked you, eve:

[How do you plan to change my existing point of view of what the truth is?]

You replied:

[I don't have any such plans. First I would like to learn why you and others believe the way you do. Once I learn this, to the extent it made sense to me, maybe I would be the one to change.

You noted that I said I was not easily influenced. Then you asked how I might then progress to accepting new truths.

My answer to this, in detail, would literally take quite a while to put down in writing. I hope it will suffice for now for me just to say that I would at all times attempt to stay objective, understand the concepts and principles, continually check my premises, use reason and logic, and otherwise keep an open mind and a willingness to give up long-held beliefs if after using the above methods I find my premises were in error.]

And Gregg, you said earlier that:

[The attempt to "prove" God's existence is fun, and by staying away from Religious slant, we cover more ground.]

and also to eve you said:

[We can't use anything else, but logic and reason (our personal versions at least), to ascertain anything about anything. If we are not just doing what someone instructed us to do, or blindly following some set of mores or standards or beliefs.]

So keeping in mind what I've said about miracles and the advantages people in the past had when they witnessed them, and keeping in mind both yours and eve's replies with respect to using reason, and to all the people who said on this thread that God's existence can't be proven with logic and reason, who believe they are following the Truth nonetheless and necessarily therefore without any proof (save that what they have been told they hope is true), and to those who deny God exists, I address each of you individually and wonder:

Would an irrefutable miracle you could witness yourself be sufficient for you to "rationalize" your belief that God exists? That is, you would no longer need to *believe* that God exists (or not exist) but *know* it exists (like you know 2+2=4). And if so, what would the parameters be for such a miracle for you to be satisfied that it was a miracle which would allow you to then *know* God exists rather than believe it? For example, parting the Red Sea was not sufficient for Pharaoh.

That is, the miracle would, by its very nature, eliminate any possibility of subjective interpretation which could otherwise "explain it away". Perhaps a few prophecies shown to be true? Perhaps irrefutable new scientific knowledge not known before? Perhaps a challenge that has been unmet for over a thousand years? Perhaps an event for which the entire Christian Church (probably Jewish "clergy" as well) claims that is unable to explain? Perhaps a set of logical arguments for which there are no counter arguments, that is an item of perfect consistency? Perhaps something mind-boggling along the lines of Carl Sagan's pi example, in his book "Contact", that Bemused posted earlier, where something is "embedded" in creation or some part of creation that is so far fetched so as to be beyond all probability that it could have occurred randomly, and therefore such an anomaly can only serve to be the "signature" of the Creator? How about all of these, and more, all at once and thereby demonstrating an otherwise impossible simultaneous mastery over a set of abilities?

If such a "super" miracle were to happen, which you could witness and verify for yourself, would that satisfy you so that you may "rationalize" your belief in God? That is, you would *have* to submit that such acts as demonstrated in the miracle could not have happened without a Divine source as by their very nature, eliminate any possibility of subjective interpretation of them.

I submit, if not, then you it makes no difference what you are shown or rationalize as you've already decided, in the core and fabric of your being, that even such Evidence is not sufficient for you to resolve this dilemma of "rationalizing" belief that God exists. This may because you have already decided to *believe* that you would never witness such a miracle because "those things just don't happen to me, (i.e. even if it does *I* won't see it so I'm not going to know it really happened)" (probably due to years and years and years of ingrained teachings betray that in the very core and fabric of your being where you have chosen to have system of checks and balances based ultimately on a set *beliefs* and opinions rather than Truth and Evidence), and so by default it is safe to assume, and therefore incorrectly *believe*, almost to the limit of 100% assurance, that faith can never be rationalized, or God can't be proven to exist or God does not exist. (sorry Gregg another long sentence).

If, on-the-other-hand, you can answer that such a miracle, if you witnessed it, would be sufficient for you to "rationalize" belief that God exists, then making such a search for one would not be a waste of time. So I am saying that it is important that you lay down in your own mind first what is "sufficient proof", as bemused mentioned Carl Sagan did in the exert of his book "Contact" posted earlier in this thread WRT to pi.

Once you have decided if such a miracle would be sufficient, then what I am really asking you, eve, Gregg and the others (as explained below) is: Would you really be able to hold true to how you say you would go about accepting new Truths if you were *really* put to the test? I.E:

[I would at all times attempt to stay objective, understand the concepts and principles, continually check my premises, use reason and logic, and otherwise keep an open mind and a willingness to give up long-held beliefs if after using the above methods I find my premises were in error] - Eve

[We can't use anything else, but logic and reason (our personal versions at least), to ascertain anything about anything. If we are not just doing what someone instructed us to do, or blindly following some set of mores or standards or beliefs.] - Gregg

And for the others who say God can't be proven to exist, but believe in God because of reports of miracles from bygone days, reported down through the millennia, which they have never witnessed first hand, would such a miracle convince you that the source of that miracle has the Truth, even if the source is not what you expected it to be, and therefore, if you truly seek the Truth, you would look to this new source as your compass for Guidance in your life? That is, what I am really asking, would you really be able to hold true to how you have come to accept God (that is believing in miralces), if God revealed to you a miracle, and thereby follow the source of the miracle as the Truth, since it would now be proven to you where the Truth is and you would no longer have to hope that what you have been told and currently hold true upto now is the Truth?

And for those who say God doesn't exist but say that such a miracle would be sufficient to change your minds about God, would you be able to be wise enough and hold true to your conviction that such a miracle was sufficient and hence forth believe God exists?

And for those who say God doesn't exist and say no miracle would be sufficient for you to change your mind, what would you say if you saw such a miracle and satisfied yourself (from irrefutable evidence) that it could have no other source but God? How would you be affected by such a revelation?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 01, 2000.


To all,

As you're probably aware, I've decided to take a little time off to rest from an exhausting experience I've been through on some other threads. But I'll be back, probably in a few days or so.

Thanks for keeping this beautiful thread alive, guys.

Talk to you soon,

-- eve (123@4567.com), February 01, 2000.


 

Eve,

Some further thoughts about "pantheism" vis a vi Christian metaphysics.


Creatio Ex Nihilo

The theological formula Creatio Ex Nihilo suggests an extra-divine source and thereby a dualism. However that amounts to playing with words and taking too seriously the small fatalities of language.

Obviously, creation "comes from" - that is the meaning of the world ex - an origin; not from a cosmic substance, but from nihilo - a non-reality pertaining to the first hypostatic degree - Beyond Being, and therefore it can be said that creation proceeds from the Godhead. The potential is situated in the HOLY Absolute - First Cause - then Supreme Being's ontological immanence: whereby everything "participates" in Being - on pain of being non-existent -; the divine "substance" is ipso facto manifested existance (ex-stare) a priori, since God is Reality as such. " the visible tangible container or cosmos"

Things are envisaged "outside God" - sacred Scriptures attest to this - in respect of the concrete phenomena of the world; the Sovereign Good could not be the content of privative existence - or of that abyss of contingency - which is evil.

The ontological or "neutral" structure of evil is "in God," but not evil as such; and it is there only insofar as it testifies to Being and thereby to All-Possibility, for evil negative content, paradoxically signifies non-existence or the impossible, hence the absurd.

It may be objected that by situating a dimension of the world outside God we postulate an irreducible dualism; that is in fact what we do, but it is on the plane of universal Relativity - the cosmic Mâyâ - which by definition coincides with duality. The absurdity of "two realities" is precisely the mystery of Relativity; it is the possibility of an "other than God"; to say that there are things which are "outside God" means that they are "in the Mother" (Materia Prima) To suppress this "outside God" - by maintaining that "everything is in God" in every respect - is to suppress the feminine mystery of Infinitude and to deny "divine paradox."

Resolving the problem of evil, what can be said is that the Divinity allows privative manifestations only in connection with positive manifestations that compensate for them; thus evil is a provisional factor in view of the ultimate good, "victory of the Truth"; vincit omnia Veritas.

At the supreme degree of Reality - Beyond Being - neither "is" or "exists"; the question of dualities, of opposition, of good and evil, consequently does not arise. At the degree of the metacosmic Mother, complementary oppositions are affirmed - God is at once Rigor and Gentleness, Justice and Mercy, Power and Beauty - but contingency, and with it, evil, are absent; it is only at the degree of cosmic manifestation - this moving fabric of circumstances and antinomies - that the "existential vices" can be produced, at one and the same time "in God" and "outside God": "in God," in the sense that every possibility necessarily pertains to All-Possibility, and "outside God" because the Sovereign Good projects archetypal possibilities, which by definition are positive since they describe the potentialities of pure Being.

* * *

There are two "ontological regions," the Absolute and the Relative; the first consists of Beyond-Being, and the second, of both Being and Existence, of the Creator and Creation. But there is also another possible distribution of the same realities; in other words, we may envisage two other "regions," namely the Principial and the Manifested; the first category comprises Beyond-Being and Being - this is the "divine Order" - and the second, Existence, the Universe, the world. This means that Being does not coincide with the "pure Absolute"; it pertains to a divine Order inasmuch as it is a direct reflection of the Absolute in the Relative, and consequently it is what may be termed paradoxically the "relatively absolute." If the personal God were the Absolute as such, He could not be an interlocutor for man.

In saying that "God alone is good," Christ did not intend that the angels and the blessed were deprived of goodness, but that only the Principial order - hence the non-manifested - is situated beyond the possibility of imperfection.

"Our Father who art in Heaven," Christ said, thereby indicating the two poles of the divine Order, namely the God-Person and the celestial world. "Hallowed be Thy Name," and "Thy Kingdom come"; the first of these sayings evokes the ascent of man towards God; and the second, the descent of God towards man; this is also expressed - by the Patristic formula: "God became man so that man might become God." The Essence limited Itself by form so that the form might be liberated by the Essence: the reason for being of the finite is, not only the differenciated and innumerable manifestation of the Infinite, but also this perfection, or this happiness, which is the return to It.

 

 



-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), February 02, 2000.

Arthur, for your consideration:

I appreciate your prowess with HTML, however I think rather than have myself and others, who can do the same, engage into a competition with each other to see who can attract more attention to their messages with louder and louder formatting, would it not be better to let the playing field be level for all and let our words do the talking? After all if you have the Truth does it matter how you format it. It will shine through with its own Brilliance, so there's no need to draw attention to it as really that only detracts from its own innate Light.

I hope you'll agree, but you're of-course free to do as you wish.

WRT to your post:

The author is obviously someone who enjoys speculating.

WRT to my last post:

Any comments or response?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 02, 2000.


eve,

Sorry for not responding here, I sort of wrote this thread off as becoming a interperative debate on the bible. Good to see it came back from the dead... Very Easter-like. Anyway, re the 4th dimension as being "time"; Yes, that has been a very good description from our viewpoint.

Picture an X-axis (1 dimension,) a Y axis (2 dimensions,) and a Z axis (3rd dimension,) like the corner of a wire-frame drawing of a cube. Now picture a point (dot) within this wire frame. The dot has a measurable X dimension (straight ahead), a Y dimension (to the right or left,) and a Z dimension (up), so it hovers in space, plottable.

Now, imagine a time dimension, so this dot exists at 1 inch X, 2 inches Y, 2.5 inches Z, and at 10:00am Thursday. These are the 4 dimensions visible to us. (for an applicability sanity check, think: moving object at point x,y,z at time y.)

Why that 4th dimension is signifigant and plottable within the same frame is very, very nicely hinted at in flatland, an old novella by "A^2", (A-squared.) In this book, among other things that are pointed out is that in 1 dimensional space, (a line), occupants would see things in 0 dimensions (points, dots.) In 2 dimensional space, occupants would see in 1 dimension (a line - think of living as a flat piece of paper on a flat piece of paper (2 dimensions) where all you would see in front of you is a line.) In 3 dimensions, you see, really, only 2 dimensions. In our case, we can use tricks to see in 3, like perspective, shadow, but these same tricks can be reproduced on a canvas or in a film, which means that what we actually see is as valid as that only.

In the novel, the sentient 3-dimensional sphere visits the 2nd dimension by passing through it. To the 2 dimensional circle character, the sphere would appear as a small, growing, and then shrinking line (think about a bubble passing through a flat soap bubble barrier being observed by a film on that barrier.)

Anyway, it's been suggested that we should atually consider ourselves 4th dimensional creatures; Able to exist and see in 3 dimensions, but also able to grasp a moving object as it "moves through our universe" much like a sphere moved through the 2 dimensional universe in that book.

Hawking goes way further, but this is a good start.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 02, 2000.


Sorry italics off.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 02, 2000.

Sorry, really off this time... See what WYSIWYG has brought us!?!!!?

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 02, 2000.

italics off

Bemused:

[I sort of wrote this thread off as becoming a interperative debate on the bible. Good to see it came back from the dead... Very Easter-like]

Good to see you back :) and nice joke. I think the thread is about to take sharp left turn (across 3 lanes of on comming traffic) away from that topic, but I get the feeling I'm talking to myself here. I think *you* in particular are going to one who'll really enjoy the new direction, but first would you care to comment on my post from Feb 1 above.

Anbody else here besides us recent posters still? John, Beerman, BigDog, Brian, Cr@sh, Michael, Ric, Nathan, Laurane, No Polly, Patrick, Tom Carey, pramada, Kelly, Bill, intrsting, dinosaur, April, gilda, April, Dianne, John Q, hziz, squid, Circle, DAVID, Miranda, Preacherboy, any lurkers?

Come on everybody indulge me. Search your soul, take a momeent and give an *honest* response to my post.

I think it will make for a very intersting debate.

BTW the down load is 706k and the html file is 726k, so I think we can say we're over 700k now :)

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 02, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Yes, I've realized that "proof" situation is a moving target. Personally, I don't think "seeing a Miracle" would be reason enough to jump to the conclusion there is a GOD. Many things can and have been explained that were once thought to be miraculous.

To me, the very fact I am here, on Earth, conscious of my world, able to think, and feel the wind on my face, is astounding. Perhaps more than any of the other miracles I've ever heard about. So, that wouldn't be my criteria for thinking about GOD.

Simply seeing that we ARE, is enough to make anyone who thinks about it, realize that we are part of SOMETHING. SOMETHING beyond ourselves. And it is this source, this SOURCE of the SOMETHING, that is GOD.

I'm confused, about what all the concern about faith being rational or not, is. Clearly, people have vagarities in their thinking, but whether they belive God exists because of their acceptance of a "proof" that they consider worthy, is beside the point. The fact that they are continuing to breath into the next moment of this "wonderful opera" is more of a miracle to me.

Arthor,

Does all that seem clear to you?

Nice metaphors though.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 02, 2000.


Bemused...

.....Thanks for the description, as an artist, I can readily relate to the way you've put it.

eve...

.....I was familiar with the fourth dimension as far as time goes, it just seemeed that you were referencing something with more meaning that I wasn't quite getting. I intend to address your question in the reply you gave above, but I'm going to have to get back to it a little later. I'll thank you in advance for your patience.

-- Patrick (pmchenry@gradall.com), February 02, 2000.


 

I.S.

Benevolently amused by your - "appreciation" of our alleged "prowess" with htlm , we note your warning, that you and "others" can do the same to "compete" to see who can attract more attention to their messages with "louder and louder" formatting .-

To this remarkable intrusion on our freedom of expression we offer the following for your reflection.

HTML - helps among other things to better separate writer and quotes by the use of numerous devices which make reading less laborious.

Your post is extraordinary in that it offers perfect transparency of personal feelings on a thread which should be intellectually free and philosophically detached.

You may have noticed in your studies that all great traditions give great attention to the vehicle carrying words about the Sacred. Especially in Islam, which appears to be your primary perspective. One may write a letter in common unembellished form however it is proper to give special care to publications strictly dealing with sacred content.

The poems of Ib'n Al Arabi may not merit the same illuminated calligraphy as the Holy Koran nor do we find editions of "I Fioretti" of Saint Francis in the same illuminated splendor as some of the ancient Gospels". However to honor such with minimal quality has never been cause for regret.

Html provides an easy way to create pleasing and readable, format.

However, if my selective use of form (which, as you may know, has been limited to a few text) seriously troubles you to the point of imputing that our esthetic intent is deliberate competition, I am sadly astonished.

You seem to display a proprietary attitude about this thread in a number of your posts and appear to want a measure of control. Is that the case? For if that be so a new and freer thread should be started.

You then add:

"After all if you have the Truth does it matter how you format it. It will shine through with its own Brilliance, so there's no need to draw attention to it as really that only detracts from its own innate Light. I hope you'll agree, but you're of-course free to do as you wish:

This transparently ironic lines confirm the appropriateness of an uncompromising response. Thank you, We will retain what is left of our right to a free press and freedom of speech.

You then add intellectual snobbery with the following comment:

"WRT to your post: The author is obviously someone who enjoys speculating."

To which We answer- : "To one who never tasted sweetness, a million words could not describe the taste of sugar. Thus you are compelled to say that what escapes your forma mentis due to a self evident lack of intellectual intuition must be mere unfounded "speculation."

Your final question:

" WRT to my last post: Any comments or response?"

Response: - Your post is repetitious. It took you more than 1600 words for what you could have asked with 13 thus: "Would witnessing an irrefutable miracle be sufficient to achieve certainty that God exists?"

There seems to be no answer yet.

May our minimal HTML be not too disturbing to your spiritual work.

 

 

 

 

 



-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), February 03, 2000.

Arthur,

Hey look. I didn't comment on your "forma mentis" and "intellectual intuition" much, but let's cut the crap. If you want to imply that some people are not going to see the wonderful view that you have, then just say so. Spiritual arrogance is not a unique quality, most Aquarians display it often.

"Intellectual intuition" is not legitimized by surrounding it with definitions that are even more vague.

To imply that because someone doesn't understand or even agree with the gobbbledegook you posted doesn't mean they can't or don't understand or have a sense of the Transcendent.

The point of this discussion has seemed to be to remove some of the dogma surrounding this subject. To make it clearer, to make it real and accessible.

How many of you are there anyway?

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 03, 2000.


Arthur:

Thank you for your response. WRT to your synopsis of my post:

["Would witnessing an irrefutable miracle be sufficient to achieve certainty that God exists?"]

I was actually saying more than that. I was asking for people to think about what would be "satisfactory" miracle for themselves. For example, in the exerpt of "Contact" bemused quoted earlier, Sagan suggested what would be satisfactory for him: a signature, i.e. an anomaly, in creation that whose only possible reason would be to inform us that the Creator existed. But your response is fine. I do not wish to impose my will on your interpretation, but just clarify what I was asking. I take it from your response:

[There seems to be no answer yet.]

that the Bible is not a miracle. I assume because of what you stated earlier:

[The bible is a collection of books which nowhere claim to be the direct writing of God. Men more or less inspired wrote each book and later these were chosen to make up what we call THE BIBLE. Translations alone have mutated and introduced numerous errors in it.]

WRT to HTML, I don't want to side track this discussion so I'll just make one comment and leave the topic. You said:

[You may have noticed in your studies that all great traditions give great attention to the vehicle carrying words about the Sacred.]

I agree, but in any book on comparative religion, philosophy, and so forth, as far as I remember the format of the book remains the same from beginning to end, and no one particular point of view is stated "louder" than another so as to draw attention to it. Formatting can obviously be used however used to enhance understanding, without drawing attention to our messages, as many, including myself use italics for example. Now I know this is not a book and so perhaps I have to still come to understand why the "unstated" rules of the written world, which have developed over the millenia, for some reason suddelnly change on the Internet because there is no "controlling" editor.

I am reminded of a Star Trek NG episode when Picard picks up a ship with a few 20th century people who were in suspendend animation. After they are revived and waiting in a lounge, one fellow gets impatient and begins demanding over the ship's communications system for Picard to come and meet them. After Picard does so, and as he is leaving, Picard turns around and adivses the fellow not to use the communication system as it is only for ship's business. The fellow responds "Well why aren't there any locks or security systems to control that?". Picard replies (paraphrasing to the best of my memory) we have come to have a measure of self control and are not in any need of them for such matters.

But nevertheless, feel free to use what every formatting you deem necessary. As I said in my original post, my comments were just for your consideration and thank you for clarifying your position.



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 03, 2000.


The question has been asked, "Are their any lurkers here". I'm here! This thread has been a long journey. I think all have agreed God exist by reason alone. My concern is for those, who having arrived at TRUTH, do not exercise their power of reason and allow FAITH to reveal the presence of God within. If one does not seek Him in a close personal relationship, we end up living in spiritual shallowness.

Jesus said, "But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away" (Luke 8:13)

Do we not remain shallow if we arrive by reason alone that God truly exist? "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". (Heb. 11:1)What about having simplistic and naive views about the things of God? Is there anything wrong with never seeing beneath the obvious, always lingering on the surface of the things of God?

Jesus addressed this matter in His parable about the Sower-a parable delivered to "a great multitude". Unwilling to guess at the meaning of the veiled saying, His disciples asked, "What does this parable mean?" Our Lord then explained it, telling them "the seed is the Word of God". Several different kinds of people are said to be exposed to that word. Those lacking depth (shallowness) are one type.

This type of person is described as "rock" (not A rock), but rock. It is like a layer of rock that has a little bit of dirt on the top- shallow soil. People like this never get beyond the surface. They can shout, clap, sing, and use the powers of their intellectual reasoning- but they never really see the issues. They can start well, but they cannot finish. When they hear the Word, they "receive the word with joy." Matthews says, such "immediately receives it with joy" (Matt 13:20) The trouble is, they do not see far enough. Jesus continues, "these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away." They fall as quickly as they received the Word, because "they had no root in themselves" (Mk 4:17) Their faith was on the surface.

Why do people "fall away?" Why are they "offended?" Why are they unable to bear "persecution. It is because they have no "depth", no "root in themselves." The WORD never got down into their heart, where their thoughts and motives are found.

What is the answer to all this debate? "Let these words sink down into yours ears" (Lk 9:44) Decide against shallow living. Have Depth! He has reveiled Himself throughout the ages.

Tommy

-- Tommy Rogers (trbsgb@msinets.com), February 03, 2000.


Interested Spectator:

I think there is one question that we should ask;

why is it so bad to believe what someone else has told us?

There are a lot of things that you know not because you have experienced it yourself but because someone else has told you:

1. That you were born on the day you say you were.

2. That there is such a place as Ougadougou (if you haven't been there)

3. That there really was a man named Abraham Lincoln and he wrote the Gettysburg Address.

Ad Infinitum

It seems to me that the real task is to decide who is trustworthy in determining whether it is reasonable to believe what they say, since obviously we should not believe everything that others tell us.

eve:

I do not think that knowledge gained by faith must contradict knowledge gained by reason. If it is knowledge of the truth, it must be *reasonable*. However faith knowledge is just something that cannot be demonstrated by reason alone. Faith is real knowledge that we do not come to by our own use of reason, but is told to us by God himself. Thus it is even more certain than what we can know by reason since God can never deceive us, whereas our reason can make mistakes.

Arthur:

the true test of intellectual greatness is to be able to convey profound concepts in a way that can be understood by others.

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), February 04, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

To answer your 2/1 post:

 ...
 Would an irrefutable miracle you could witness yourself be 
 sufficient for you to "rationalize" your belief that God exists? 
 That is, you would no longer need to *believe* that God exists (or 
 not exist) but *know* it exists (like you know 2+2=4). And if so, 
 what would the parameters be for such a miracle for you to be 
 satisfied that it was a miracle which would allow you to then *know* 
 God exists rather than believe it? For example, parting the Red Sea 
 was not sufficient for Pharaoh.
 ... 

You then went on to give a series of possible miracular parameters and example miracles, which included my re-telling of the pi example given in carl Sagan's book. I'm going to paste that below so people don't have to search:

 Basically, in the book, humans get word to look deep into the 
 decimal digits of pi (3.149265...), an irrational number. Irrational 
 numbers can be mathematically proven to go on infinitely to the 
 right of the decimal, one of those seems-practically-impossible-but-
 is-*mathematically*-provable-anyway concepts. Anyway, after cranking 
 away on pi for a long, long time with supercomputers, way past the 
 least-signifigant digit we've ever taken pi to before, they found a 
 binary bitmap of a circle. A bitmap is simply a drawing, using ones 
 as "dots" and zeros and "background".
 So imbedded in a constant which is present in every circle in the 
 universe was a picture of a circle. This wasn't a signal "from" 
 anywhere, this was a signal *embedded in the universe*, which could 
 only be put there by a creator able to define physical laws at the 
 universes' creation, left to be found only by civilizations advanced 
 enough to calculate pi to that decimal place (which was way, way in 
 there but still relatively close to the decimal when you consider 
 that pi is infinate, thus making the statistical possibility that 
 the bitmap was there by chance beyond astronomically unlikely.) It 
 was never decided in the book whether the "creator" was God or an 
 incredibly advanced species outside our universe who had the TOE  
 and were using it in theirs, nor was it decided why the creator felt 
 the need to leave a message proving their existance. But it was a 
 very neat idea. The movie sucked, though. 

This is basically the only type of "miracle" I think I can accept that would prove the existance of an intelligent creator, something discoverable in nature, that is imbedded in nature, could only have been put there at the universes' creation, and could not happen by purely natural causes. I think it would need to be something non-transitory, provable, and easily comprehendable once discovered, because if it wasn't, then we'd still need to have faith to believe it was valid or important. Because of these parameters, it would probably need to be a discovery in the areas of math or hard science.

It doesn't include visions of burning bushes or the like, even if they are witnessed by many people, because things like that, even if "real" and not illusionary, wouldn't necessarily need to be evidence of a creator, they could just be evidence of an advanced species, not supernatural at all - in other words, they might be cool, but how do you prove your *creator* provided the miracle? In the pi example, it could have been an advanced species, but only the species that created the universe, because that could only have been put there at creation. So then you have to decide if "creator" really equals God, but that's another sub-sub thread.

Of course, if I really did witness the traditional definition of a miracle, emotion may take over and I may "convince" myself that what I saw was enough to prove to me that God exists. This wouldn't be a rational reaction, but if I saw (for example,) a huge figure appear in the sky zapping lightning bolts from his fingers I may figure my own rationality just went out the window anyway, so what the heck, pass those bibles over. This probably would be a pretty common reaction if the miracle was scary enough. :^) It would be hard to predict just how you would react in that type of situation, but from my standpoint now, I think I still would react rationaly and question it.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 04, 2000.


Bemused,

Yes, I like that, and think of things that way as well. Again, I mention Phi as having the same properties. It is one of the "signature" aspects to Matter and structure.

It seems as if that is the only way the physical universe can be composed. Designed or not, it still must have an originator, i.e., what we would call GOD.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 04, 2000.


Monotype ended?

-- HTML Fixer (Fixing_the_HTML@HTML.COM), February 05, 2000.

Hi, all,

Oh, it's so good to be back!

My online service had, at times, been cutting me off in the midst of typing a post, so, for now, I may have to keep each post from going on too long. But If I felt I needed to continue on with a long comment or answer or essay, I would just do so in the next post, etc.

Interested Spectator, in the second paragraph of your February 1st answer, you responded with a comment I had made to Gregg regarding my reasons why faith and reason could never arrive at knowledge together.

(By the way, if I should be quoting the passages, let me know. I don't want this to be too hard to follow)

Anyway, my answer to you is that I really do believe this, so maybe I should have worded it more strongly. So, if you remove the "it seems to me", "arguably", etc. -- do you agree with the substance of my position or not? If not, why not?

Regarding your response to me in the same post of yours on my explanation as to why rationally demonstrating a belief is not the same as claiming certainty for that belief...I agree, with the following caveat: I need a definition of your term "rationalizing". Also, that word has connotations that I'm pretty sure you do not intend, so I think you should consider using a different term here. More soon...

-- eve (123@4567.com), February 05, 2000.


Thanks HTML Fixer,

That was REALLY starting to bother me. I thought for a moment we we caught in Camelot!

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 05, 2000.


No offense Arthur, (s), ('ss??)

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 05, 2000.

Interested Spectator, (and Bemused, Gregg, Beerman, et al)

Miracles! Thanks, I.S., for throwing this one in...

First, we should agree on a clear definition of what is a miracle. Now, the way I think of it, it's any event that can't be answered by appealing to natural laws.

Well, consider this, guys -- it's crucial: The very claim that a given occurrence falls outside of the realm of natural law would require omniscience! All that you could say is that an event couldn't be explained with reference to presently known laws, but this doesn't mean that the event can't be explained by principles yet unknown. No person can claim to be omniscient, and no person can claim to know the complete nature and extent of all physical laws. You could certainly assert that something is presently unexplained, but once you conclude that something is absolutely unexplainable, you're claiming omniscience.

-- eve (123@4567.com), February 05, 2000.


Arthur,

With all due respect, I must tell you that your trying to converse with anyone here will be practically impossible unless you define the terms and concepts that you use.

As you are probably aware, even different philosophers, in many cases use the same term in different ways.

So, please, for starters, define the following (all from your Feb. 2 post):

Dualism, cosmic substance, first hypostatic degree, Beyond Being, ontological immanence, Being, manifested existence, visible tangible container or cosmos, Soverign Good, All-Possibility, Relativity, universal Relativity, the cosmic Maya, the feminine mystery of infinitude, divine paradox, metacosmic, metacosmic Mother, pure Being, the Absolute, Beyond-Being, Existence, the Principial, the Essence, divine Order, the Infinite, and the Absolute in the Relative.

Thank you,

-- eve (123@4567.com), February 05, 2000.


Sorry, Gregg, once again my carelessness with closing tags allowed an unwanted font to spill over into new territory.

Interested Spectator did warn us about the sin of pride as expressed in the medium of HTML, maybe he knew all along. Imagine if one of Arthur's crazy fonts got loose on this thread!! :^)

eve: I don't know if my (originally Sagans) definition of a miracle fits with yours exactly, because mine wouldn't need the observer to be omniescient in order to recognize it as unexplainable. And also, it isn't really something that "can't be answered by appealing to natural laws," because it's embedded in observable natural laws.

This is why I picked these parameters as a requirement for recognizing a miracle, they are airtight, simple, and at the same time, mind blowing enough to convert the most adamant agnostic-slash- passive atheist (in other words, me & my kind.)

This discussion probably will evolve in such a way that we decide that our definitions of miracles differ.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 05, 2000.


Eve:

A miracle doesn't necessary need one to be omniscient to know that it will not be explained by other laws undiscovered.

I would have to agree with Bemused in his answer to you about Sagan's definition:

[it isn't really something that "can't be answered by appealing to natural laws," because it's embedded in observable natural laws.]

For example, the very fact that I am responding to you with intelligence indicates that there are no "natural laws" at work determining my words as I compose them for no law would have known what you were going to write and what I am writing in response, or that I would even respond at all. Does this constitute a miracle? No, but it does show that we can observe deliberate phenomenon outside of the natural laws, not be omniscient, and still make *definite* conclusions about those thinge. Therefore there are things that we can comprehend that we know are not going to be controlled by laws not yet discovered, which is contrary to your claim that we need to be omniscient to make any definitive statement about something outside the natural laws. That is, if there is we uncover a Sagan type "message in the madness", and if the message is such that it can be seen to be deliberate, as my words are in response to yours (i.e. they are not random gibberish), then we can make some definitive observations about the message's creator.

With this in mind I have to with bemused that:

[Sagan's definition of a miracle fits with yours exactly, because mine wouldn't need the observer to be omniscient in order to recognize it as unexplainable.]

Also what about somebody who is able to *consistently* make prophesies accurately? This would require the person to be able to obtain knowledge about the future before it has happened. Such a task is completely outside the natural laws because there aren't any that can't be used to deduce what, for I example which words I was going to use in this sentence, let alone events people who will be born a thousand years hence are going to make. The concept of "time travel" doesn't work as we get into the paradox that if the future is revealed to the past, the future changes so the future in reality is never known.

So to all here, would these arguments overcome eve's very good hypothesis?

Tommy:

Welcome to the discussion. You said:

[I think all have agreed God exist by reason alone.]

I don't think that's the case. I think there are many in this thread who have not made that determination.

[Do we not remain shallow if we arrive by reason alone that God truly exist? "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". (Heb. 11:1) What about having simplistic and naive views about the things of God? Is there anything wrong with never seeing beneath the obvious, always lingering on the surface of the things of God?]

WRT to Heb 11:1 you quote, I would reply that when one verifies a matter using reason from several paths, assurance and certainty that truth has been found increases. Thus both one's confidence and one's conviction in the matter also increases. Reason can never reduce either, and therefore it can never be at odds with religion but infact only increase one's conviction in the matter, and hence those who dismiss reason from religious understanding are mistaken. That does not mean that one needs reason to find the Truth, as there are many paths, but the paths at least can not contradict reason because reason is one of the paths. Hence there is nothing wrong with having simplistic and naive views about the things of God as long they are *correct*. WRT to your last question, one can not understand answer that as unless one has not gone "below" the surface one will never understand the answer. It's like trying to describe the almost sublime taste of certain mangoes to someone who has never tasted fruit, let alone any mango. However to at least read of description of the "mango", I suggest you read some of the treatise by the Sufis, particularly the Rumi.

Beerman:

You asked:

[Why is it so bad to believe what someone else has told us?]

I am preparing a small "essay" in which the answer to this question gets dealt with in detail. So you'll see my answer shortly.

WRT to HTML, you could always first save your response in a text file with an HTML suffix and view the file in your browser to see if it is formatting ok before posting it here.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 05, 2000.


Beerman:

Just to clarify my last statement:

[I am preparing a small "essay" in which the answer to this question gets dealt with in detail.]

The "essay" is on a different topic, and your question gets answered during along the way.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 05, 2000.


As an additional qualification to a Sagan type miracle and the implications bemused gave above, I would add that the phenonmena or message should be accessible to all and be easily verifiable as anamolous in nature by individuals on their own so they can know the truth for themselves and not need to depend on "experts" to do the work for them. Otherwise we get right back to the original title of this thread and Greggs question [Why is it so bad to believe what someone else has told us?] and all the corruption that could follow from such a situation.

Therefore, for me Sagan's particular "message", (i.e. the pi computation) is very close to being satisfactory. Although it does depend on having an expert right a program to compute pi, the source could be published and verified by many. The real problem with Sagan's pi "message" is the need for vast amounts of computing power which only a select few have and hence we are dependent on the "word" from the select few.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 05, 2000.


Several things;

1.I didn't say:

[[Why is it so bad to believe what someone else has told us?]]

2. I was kidding around about the HTML.

3. Phi is simple like Interested Spectator recommends. It can be drawn using 2 squares.

4. I won't even get into whether or not tomorrow's events might be predictable, but suffice to say, everything effect has its cause, and every cause has its effect.

-- gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 06, 2000.


Bemused,

Thanks for your help with the time issue. And I haven't had a chance to get to your other recent post yet, but soon...

Tommy,

Welcome to our "little" part of the TB2K world. I hope you stick around as a contributor. Anyway, you said, that people could, "...exercise their power of reason and allow faith to reveal the presence of God within."

Could you explain what you mean by "power of reason" in this context? In what way can that lead to faith? Also, how do you know the presence within is God?

Gregg,

When Arthur refers to himself in the plural, he's using what's called the "royal we" -- but it's probably just him; one person. Sovereigns, high-ranking officials, etc. sometimes use the "royal we" in referring to themselves in formal speech. He's presenting himself as King Arthur.

Beerman,

There's a huge difference in having faith in real-world things, versus supernatural or fantastic claims. For example, if I say to you, "There's a Coca-Cola factory on Pluto that's staffed by gremlins", you'd have a more difficult time accepting this on faith than you would the real-world claims you listed -- and rightly so.

Interested Spectator,

I'll respond to you as soon as I can...

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 06, 2000.


Please go to a new thread! This one crashes my computer, and I find this discussion fascinating. I'll start one called "Deception 2" for you.

-- lurker (anon@y.mous), February 06, 2000.

Link to thread continuation

-- Mikey2k (mikey2k@he.wont.eat.it), February 06, 2000.

Lurker:

You might want to check your computer. Sadly the "OT to STEVE MEYERS only, on HEMP" thread has overtaken our thread's size in since its very recent start (its about 912k to download vs our 840k at this time) and seems to be going strong.

As an asside, and I really don't want to pollute our thread (may be Deception 2 can be used for a few of these off topic points), but the fact that a discussion about drugs attracted more interest than a discussion to search for the Truth says a lot about the world and in particular our country (since from the thread it appears most posters are discussion the topic from an American context).

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 06, 2000.


Oops, ours is 743k not 840k.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 06, 2000.

Bemused and Interested Spectator,

A short response (so far) on miracles:

Bemused, you said,

"...(my definition of miracles) wouldn't need the observer to be omniscient in order to recognize it as unexplainable."

But the phrase "recognize it as unexplainable" implies omniscience in itself -- doesn't this phrase seem self-contradictory?

And we need to distinguish between something that is unexplained and unexplainable (i.e., a miracle). In your and Sagan's examples, Bemused and I.S., you're referring to the unexplained -- not the unexplainable.

Also, in my mentioning "natural law", I used it in a broad sense to subsume all phenomena of the natural world, including laws yet undiscovered -- laws which might cover your examples. What do you think so far?

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 06, 2000.


Eve:

You said that:

[But the phrase "recognize it as unexplainable" implies omniscience in itself -- doesn't this phrase seem self-contradictory?]

You also said:

[Also, in my mentioning "natural law", I used it in a broad sense to subsume all phenomena of the natural world, including laws yet undiscovered -- laws which might cover your examples.]

I think you need to re-read my response starting with:

[For example, the very fact that I am responding to you with intelligence...]

I show and state clearly with that paragraph that there are things that we humans can comprehend that we *know are not going to be controlled by laws not yet discovered*, which is contrary to your claim that we need to be omniscient to make *any definitive* statement about something outside the natural laws, that you have repated in your last response. You don't respond to my point which completely answers your objections, but instead you have restated your objection.

WRT the use of the word "unexplainable", I think you are trying to read more into the words than there is. bemused use of the word is plain and straightforward and just restates what I did with different words.

So if you don't like his words then use mine and please explain to me why what I say in that paragraph is not true if you still hold to your premise.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 06, 2000.


Bemused,

You know, I'm really glad you joined us again. That Sagan thing was riveting. Was the pi thing tested in other environments, revealing the same result?

Interested Spectator,

To expand a bit on my prior post, and in referring to your example, how do you know that all possible responses from a person could not eventually be explained or predicted in some way, given a certain physiology, psychology, etc.? After all, all possible human responses are finite, are they not? And if science progresses for another million years, who's to say what could not be discovered about the human enigma?

Regarding persons able to prophesize: Well, take the stock market. If you have hundreds of thousands of predictions every day, naturally, a very few will almost certainly come out with consistently high predictions, say, over a specified period of time -- maybe even over a very long period of time, depending on how you set up the test. And these are the ones who make the news.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 06, 2000.


Gregg,

Your Feb. 2 post was beautifully put, and it's hard to disagree with it. This is the argument from design, which I find very powerful.

Beerman,

In your Feb. 4 post, you said,

"Faith is real knowledge that we do not come to by our own use of reason, but is told to us by God himself."

How do you know that God has told you something?

Bemused and Interested Spectator,

Do you feel that the pi "miracle" is not really much different than a fifth century person looking at the possibility of flight as a "miracle"? I see them as very similar.

In connection with this, could you guys give specific definitions of what you think a miracle is? Maybe you have and I missed it.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 06, 2000.


Eve:

You said:

[how do you know that all possible responses from a person could not eventually be explained or predicted in some way, given a certain physiology, psychology, etc.?]

Are you suggesting that humans do not have cognitive processes everything they do is actually predetermined by "instinct"?

[If you have hundreds of thousands of predictions every day, naturally, a very few will almost certainly come out with consistently high predictions]

You limited the range of prophesies to one area of human activity and then made your observation. I did not say that the area of prophesies should be limited to one area and then person judged.

[Do you feel that the pi "miracle" is not really much different than a fifth century person looking at the possibility of flight as a "miracle"? I see them as very similar.]

They are completely different. The pi is a message a communication from one intelligence to another, just as my words to you are. They are not part of a "law", unless of course you are suggesting that everybody works on instinct and don't think for themseleves, as I mentioned at the beginning of this reply, and therefore even communication between me and you is determined by law. That is there is natural law (that we have yet to discover) that predicts what you were going to write and what I am writing and what you are going to write etc. That would mean that once we discover it, theoritcally I can create a mechanism that could emulate that law and therefore model your thinking (and the thinking processes of everybody else too). If you study Godel a little more, you will learn that one of the cardinal facts that fall out from his theories is that this is mathematically not possible (due to the self referential paradox) and was actually a stunning revelation for those working in the artificial intelligence community. So your supposition I quoted at the top of this reply therefore can not hold, so my original response to you stands for you to refute again. :)

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 06, 2000.


Eve:

BTW, notwithstanding that I believe I have shown your premise to be incorrect, but irreseptive of your premise, do you not believe that if God were to provide us with a mircale for this day and age, he would at least be able to make sure that it would could not be abel to be explained away by reasoning such as yours or any other explaination? I mean if he couldn't do at least do that, one would have to really question his capabilities as we would be left with the result that human reason out-smarted God himself!!

So given that could not be the case, can you concieve of any parameters for a miracle that would "do the job"?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 06, 2000.


I must be missing something. To me, a person that needs a "miracle" -whatever that might be - to conclude that there is a GOD, is not looking around. The joke about the scientists getting "their own dirt" points out the obvious. EVERYTHING came from SOMEWHERE.

You can't create it. I can't create it. (Barring a discussion on whether in actuality the Universe is composed entirely of THOUGHT.) So, whatever the Universe's SOURCE is, is GOD.

Somebody sees a miracle. He decides there is a GOD because it's immpossible to explain, and always will be impossible to explain. Somebody else sees a miracle, but decides that is not evidence of GOD's existence.

Both people are living in a world that they didn't create, and neither did any other human. Even if we are in a "box" on someone's desk, that desk is part of a larger Universe that SOMETHING created.

That something is GOD. A person realizing this, again, wouldn't need a miracle. He may need a shoeshine.

To take the idea of the Universe being composed of THOUGHT a little further, aren't the most recent Physics studies showing that the newest sub-atomic particles behave in only a manner that best describes how "thoughts" behave? Hasn't it been shown, that the mere OBSERVATION of these experiments, changes their results?

IT is true that we live mostly in a world of SPACE filled in with a tiny bit of MATTER, and that even that MATTER, apparently solid, is so full of SPACE that it's unbelievable. (As for miracles, there is one in front of our noses constantly. I should be able to slam my hand through my desk like butter. Except for ONE thing. The VIBRATION rate of the desk I'm trying to slam through. So, taking this further, we see that EVERYTHING VIBRATES, and it is the rate, or frequency, which determines its qualities. And isn't it true, that all matter is basically condensed ENERGY? And yet, in examining this "energy", or sub-atomic particles, scientists are discovering that this "energy" behaves like thoughts.

Now, I don't know how to show that thoughts have a higher frequency than matter, but I'd bet that this is or will be the case. Which then brings us to the obvious conclusion that all MATTER is composed of THOUGHTS, and to the next question, "Who's thoughts are these?"

(Please, no schitzophrenic (SP) jokes.)

Could this idea of MAYA, the Illusion of the World, is so close to the mark and obvious, as to be silly?

Guess that's enough for a Sunday evening.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 07, 2000.


I can't believe my post got erased from the cache before I could send it. I will try to recap.

I must be missing something. To me, a person that requires a miracle to prove God's existence is not looking around.

Someone sees a "miracle" and decides there is a GOD. Someone else sees a "miracle", but it's not enought to convince him there is a GOD. The joke about,"get your own dirt", points out that, neither person can create their own dirt, I can't create dirt, and neither can you. So, that SOURCE that did create the World we all find ourselves in, is GOD. (Barring a discussion on whether or not the Universe is composed of THOUGHT.) Though we might be in a cube on someone's desk, a la Star Trek, that desk is still part of a larger Universe, that has a SOURCE.

As far as a design, I don't think the discovery of a "signature" like that of PI or PHI, necessarily is evidence of GOD, at least rating higher than our very existence itself, as I believe that these "signature" aspects are merely the elements that have to be present for there to be a world at all, i.e. have the composition of ENERGY, SPACE and TIME. Just as energy, space, and time are essential elements to have our dimentional world, so are these "signatures" essential to energy, space, and time.

To take the idea that the Universe is composed of THOUGHT further, isn't it true that physics today describes some of the smallest sub-atomic particles behaving in a manner most resembling thought? And isn't it true that the act of OBSERVING the experiment, changes its results?

And what are these scientists observing? MATTER. I should be able to slam my hand through my desk like hot butter, because even this apprently solid matter, is mostly composed of SPACE. The reason I can't is because of the frequency, of VIBRATION of the MATTER.

Everything has a rate, or frequency of VIBRATION. Matter vibrating faster can penetrate my desk easily.

I don't know how to measure whether THOUGHT is a higher frequency than matter, but if so - - -

- - If the scientists are observing particles of Matter (which is condensed Energy), and describing the particles' behavior in terms of thought - - then matter (or Energy) is THOUGHT. Which brings the next question of "Whose thoughts are these, we are observing?"

(No schizophrenic jokes!)

Perhaps the idea of MAYA, the Illusion of the World, is closer to the mark than we realize.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 07, 2000.


Well I'm sorry. I guess my first answer did go through. I liked it better anyway.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 07, 2000.

Gregg:

I agree with you, everything has to come from somewhere - that is the essense of the recursion theory. It proves the existence of God rationally.

However, I'm trying to understand those who say that God's existence or much of religion iteself can't be based on rationality, i.e. via the recursion theory or any other theory that is rational to explain any other aspect of their theologies. Since they base their belief on miracles (as there must have been one at foundation of their religion which was rationlized as such and allowed the religion to start, otherwise their whole religion is based on someone's imagination), and obviously the miracle shown in the recursion theory is not sufficient (obviously too abstract), I'm trying to see what would be the parmaeters would be for a miracle that's a little more "concrete" that these folks need.

I have a few potentials I'll toss out shortly for debate to see what others think. Even if you fully accept the recursion theory, having a miracle, not based on one's rationalization as the recursion theory is, but based on something tangible, such as Sagan's pi example, is something that would make the most blind faith believer or the most die hard atheist sit back and do a little serious soul searching.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 07, 2000.


Ask a thoughtful Christian why he is a Christian, and he will usually reply, "The miracle of the Resurrection." The basis for his belief being that about two thousand years ago a man died and he was raised from the dead. That is his miracle, his 'touchstone', because all else depends on that.

Ask a Muslim, "Well, what is your miracle? Why are you a Muslim? Where is your miracle?" and the Muslim can go over and take his miracle off the shelf and hand it to you because he'll tell you his miracle is still with us today. It is the Qur'an; it is his 'touchstone'.

While all the Prophets have their signs, Moses had the competition with the magicians and the Pharaoh, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead and so on, one Sign was given to the last of the prophets. According to the Muslims, this is the Qur'an. And this one Sign is still with us. Does not that after all seem fair, that if prophethood is to end with Prophet Muhammed, as the Muslims say is the case, that the last prophet should bring something that stays with us so that in fact, a Muslim who takes his religion seriously suffers no disadvantage to Muslims who lived fourteen centuries ago? Those people who kept company with the Prophet had access to no more of the necessary information than Muslims have today. They had the Qur'an. That was the sign for them. It is still a sign to Muslims today, the same miracle according to the Muslims.

So without trying to prove if the Qur'an is or is not a miracle, it would seem to be reasonable to first just take a look at what the Qur'an is, with an open mind, and see if it is even worthy of further examination to establish it as a miracle or not, and that's what I'd like to do in this post. Now some of you are probably thinking that you know very little about the Qur'an so you would not be in a position to comment on whether or not the Qur'an is a miracle, but I think you'll be quite surprised to see that you only need to bring your ability reason to the discussion. But in any event I don't intend to get into the proof of the Qur'an here, but just examine it to see if it at least appears worthy of further consideration.

Besides having the objective just stated, and only as a secondary objective, since there has been little, if anything, quoted from or stated about the Qur'an in this thread, and much from other scriptures, accompanied with vigorous debate, I thought it would be appropriate to balance the information in this thread for the benefit of all. From the lack of references to the Qur'an, (by which we can assume there are no Muslims contributing to this thread) I can assume that most of you have had little or no exposure to the Qur'an and I hope you will enjoy learning more both about and from the Qur'an, just as I and others have enjoyed learning from the Hermetics, Occam, Aquinas, Godel, and so forth. But as I just stated, my real objective is to look at what the Qur'an is with an open mind and see if it is even worthy of further examination to see if it can be established as a miracle or not.

Mankind and modern day miracles

This is the age of science and reason. We consider ourselves intelligent beings who do not accept ideas which cannot be proven. On the other hand, we accept on faith many notions that defy common sense. We are proud of ourselves because we know more about science and technology than our parents and ancestors. We readily accept what is better and more advanced than what our parents have had. Yet, many of us do not hesitate to follow our parents blindly in religion, even if it means doing something we do not fully believe in. However, it is impossible for an intelligent person to accept the existence of God or the divine origin of any religion solely on blind faith. At some point he needs proof from God Himself, even if it only a report of an incident from 2,000 years ago. And if He is really what He tells us He is, namely omniscient and omnipotent, He should be able to give us ample proof.

For many questions about the definitive irrefutable existence of God would be resolved if they witnessed a miracle from God, just as miracles performed by Moses or Jesus that we read about in the scriptures answered the questions of those who witnessed them. We may also think that it is not really "fair" to our generation that God does not send down miracles any more. Yet, let us be serious. With all the scientific and technological advancements that we have today, who would believe in the ancient type of miracles such as healing the sick, or reviving the dead? It would be more logical for God to send down a miracle that is more compatible for the minds and the life styles of the people in this day and age. Since we almost "worship" information in this day and age, it certainly does seem fitting that if He did send us a miracle that it would be in the form of a book.

The lack of a modern miracle superficially contradicts the idea that God is the Most Wise. It also gives the impression that God is not adaptable to our higher levels of thinking. Is God only capable of miracles for simpler, more ancient minds? Did God deliver His miracles to a few small generations, while our generation is greater in number, and there are even larger generations to come who will just have base their worship in God on the hope that miracles reported 2,000 years ago actually happened?

The existing scriptures as miracles

There are many "scriptures" in existence today. The Torah of the Jews, the Bible of the Christians, the Gita of Hindus to name a few. However, it is a fact that the original Torah of the prophets of Israel is lost, and we do not have the Gospel of Jesus, but that of his followers, nor do we have the original scriptures of the Hindus or the Buddhists. What we have now are the writings of humans who profess to know the original scripture. Furthermore, a closer look at what we have today also brings to light very clearly the fact that all the writings we have today are just translations of the original writings. In particular with respect to the Bible, Bart Ehrman in his "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture" states on pp. 27:

"In any event, none of [the original manuscripts of the books of the Bible] now survive. What do survive are copies made over the course of centuries, or more accurately, copies of the copies of the copies [mostly small fragments], some 5,366 of them in the Greek language alone, that date from the second century down to the sixteenth. Strikingly, with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two of these copies are exactly alike in their particulars. No one knows how many differences, or variant readings, occur among the surviving witnesses, but they must number in the hundreds of thousands."

Dr. Lobegott Friedrich Konstantin Von Tischendorf, one of history's most adamant conservative Christians and the man who single-handedly discovered one of the two most ancient copies of the NT available today. He himself was driven to admit after his study of these most ancient copies of the Bible available today that:

"[the New Testament had] in many passages undergone such serious modification of meaning as to leave us in painful uncertainty as to what the Apostles had actually written" Secrets of Mount Sinai, James Bentley, p. 117

In all, Tischendorf uncovered over 14,800 "corrections" to just one ancient manuscript of the Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus (one of the two most ancient copies of the Bible available to Christianity today), by nine (some say ten) separate "correctors," which had been applied to this one manuscript over a period from 400AD to about 1200AD. Tischendorf strove in his dealings with his holy texts themselves to be as honest and sincere as humanly possible. For this reason he could not understand how the scribes could have so continuously and so callously,

"allow themselves to bring in here and there changes, which were not simple verbal ones, but materially affected the meaning"

or why they

"did not shrink from cutting out a passage or inserting one."

In the introduction of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible by Oxford press we read:

"Occasionally it is evident that the text has suffered in the transmission and that none of the versions provides a satisfactory restoration. Here we can only follow the best judgment of competent scholars as to the most probable reconstruction of the original text"

These are just a few voices in a long list of biblical scholars, "official" and independent, that hold the same or similar opinions about the accuracy of the Bible, although most nevertheless still continue to base their convictions on these scriptures. Debating whether or not these scholars are entirely correct is not my intention. Suffice it to say that there is even acceptance of this issue amongst the most learned and conservative of Christendom is sufficient that we have to assume that *some* element of human interference has entered into the original words of the Apostles as we now have them.

According to the Muslims, the only scripture in existence which is still intact in its original language of revelation is the Qur'an. Whether we like it or not, notwithstanding the Muslim claim, this is a fact. In the Qur'an God says:

"We have without doubt sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)" (15:9)

Today, the Muslims state, if we compare the 114 chapters in every copy of the Qur'an with each other, we will find they match perfectly word for word - from the oldest copies made (1350+ years ago, of which at least 2 copies (although reportedly upto 20 more in private hands) are still in existence today in Istanbul and Tashkent, Uzbekistan) to the ones printed just a few hours ago.

The Arabic word "Qur'an" means "recitation". Reciting the Qur'an is part of a Muslim's daily prayer. In *addition* to careful writing of the Qur'an during its revelation, there has always been this double checking of its contents. Furthermore, there are has always been a tradition, since the first verse was revealed, to memorize the entire Qur'an. Many did so during its revelation and many still do today in special schools traditionally dedicated to this task.

Understanding why the Muslims hold the Qur'an with such unwavering esteem helps us to consider if there is merit to further examining to see if it is a miracle. So I'd like to make a brief diversion just to provide some context to help you understand the Muslims' view of the Qur'an and Islam. Again the theology of what I present is not to start debate but just to provide context from which to help with the task I set out for this post.

For the Muslims, the very words of the Qur'an are the message of the Qur'an. The speaker is Allah not His spokesman (Muhammed) recasting matters in his own words. Islam was not founded by Muhammed and Islam is not a competitor among religions: it is a continuation and confirmation of what was revealed before. The Qur'an states that in ancient times every nation had its messengers of God. Many peoples possessed the truth, but have to varying degrees added to this knowledge with unsupported claims (as even we know and can be seen from Ehrman's quote above). So the Muslim believes that virtually any of the "old religions" stripped of their current excesses points any thoughtful person towards Islam as again explained Qur'an. A Muslim is simply one who submits to God, the one and only God, unequivocally and without any reservations or qualifications.

"Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered." (2:136)

"And strive for Allah with the endeavor which is His right. He hath chosen you and hath not laid upon you in religion any hardship; the faith of your father Abraham (is yours). He hath named you Muslims of old time and in this (Scripture), that the messenger may be a witness against you, and that ye may be witnesses against mankind. So establish worship, pay the poor due, and hold fast to Allah. He is your Protecting Friend. A blessed Patron and a blessed Helper!" (22:78)

"When before this there was the Scripture of Moses, an example and a mercy; and this is a confirming Scripture in the Arabic language, that it may warn those who do wrong and bring good tidings for the righteous." (46:12)

"None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten but We substitute something better or similar; knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?" (2:106)

"When We substitute one revelation for another and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages) they say "Thou art but a forger": but most of them understand not." (16:101)

Now back to the discussion about the Qur'an's itself.

Christianity's position on the Qur'an

There exists a very interesting reference concerning the source of the Qur'an in the New Catholic Encyclopedia (bearing the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, indicating official Church approval). In an article under the subject of the Qur'an, the Catholic Church states:

"Over the centuries, many theories have been offered as to the origin of the Qur'an... Today no sensible man accepts any of these theories. This leaves the Christian in some difficulty...".

Now here is the age-old Catholic Church, which has been around for so many centuries, denying these futile attempts to explain away the Qur'an. Indeed, the Qur'an is a problem for the Catholic Church. It states that it is a revelation, so they study it. Certainly, they would love to find proof that it is not, but they cannot. They cannot find a viable explanation. But at least they are honest in their research and do not accept the first unsubstantiated interpretation which comes along. The Church states that in fourteen centuries it has not yet been presented a sensible explanation. At least it admits that the Qur'an is not an easy subject to dismiss.

Of course, such a statement by the Catholic Church does leave the everyday Christian in some difficulty. It just may be that he has his own ideas as to the origin of the Qur'an, but in essence, if the Catholic Church as a whole is saying, "Do not listen to these unconfirmed reports about the Qur'an," then what can be said about the Islamic point of view about the Qur'an? Even non-Muslims are admitting that there is something to the Qur'an - something that has to be acknowledged - then it makes no sense to be stubborn and defensive and hostile, as most non-Muslims are with respect to the Qur'an, when Muslims advance the very same theory? This is certainly something for those with mind a to contemplate - something to ponder for those of understanding!

Now it has been said, just because one cannot explain something does not mean that one has to accept someone else's explanation. However, the person's refusal of other explanations reverts the burden of proof back on himself to find a feasible answer. This general theory applies to numerous concepts in life, but fits most wonderfully with the Qur'anic challenge, for it creates a difficulty for one who says, "I do not believe it." At the onset of refusal one immediately has an obligation to find an explanation himself if he feels others' answers are inadequate.

So in the 1980's the Canadian Council of the Study of Religion, unlike the New Catholic Encyclopedia, wanted there to be no misunderstanding about its opinion on the Qur'an's source. After the Council came into possession of a certain piece of information about the Qur'an, the Council declared, in their Quarterly Review, that this information was "an authenticating proof of the Divine origin of the Qur'an". Bold words indeed.

Calling the Qur'an amazing is, therefore, not something done only by Muslims, who have an appreciation for the book and who are pleased with it; it has been labeled amazing by non-Muslims as well. In fact, even people who hate Islam very much have still called it amazing.

The nature of the Qur'an

One thing which surprises non-Muslims who examine the book closely is that the Qur'an does not appear to them to be what they expected. What they assume is that they have an old book which came fourteen centuries ago from the Arabian desert; and they expect that the book should look something like that - an old book from the desert. And then they find out that it does not resemble what they expected at all. Additionally, one of the first things that some people assume is that because it is an old book which comes from the desert, it should talk about the desert.

Another interesting attitude that exists in the Qur'an repeatedly deals with its advice to the reader. The Qur'an informs that reader about different facts and then gives the advice: "If you want to know more about this or that, or if you doubt what is said, then you should ask those who have knowledge." This is a surprising attitude. It is not usual to have a book that comes from someone without training in geography, botany, biology, etc., who discusses these subjects accurately and then advises the reader to ask men of knowledge if he doubts anything.

There is another aspect to the Qur'an that surprises most new readers. Consider the following verse for example:

"Oh mankind, there has come to you an admonition [the Qur'an] from your Lord and a healing for what is in the hearts - and guidance and mercy for the believers." (10:57)

At first glance, this statement appears vague, but the meaning of this verse becomes clear when one thinks about it. Basically, it says one is healed of his "delusions" by reading the Qur'an. In essence, it is a therapy. It literally claims to cure "deluded" people by confronting them with facts. A prevalent attitude throughout the Qur'an is one which says, "Oh mankind, you say such and such about this; but what about such and such? How can you say this when you know that?" And so forth. It forces one to consider what is relevant and what matters while simultaneously healing one of the "delusions" that mankind's own ideas and speculations about the true nature of things and religion can easily be explained away as flimsy theories and excuses. It is this very sort of thing - confronting people with facts - that has captured the attention of many non-Muslims.

A truly scientific approach to the Qur'an is possible because the Qur'an offers something that is not offered by other religious scriptures, in particular, and other religions, in general. It has what scientists demand: a falsification test. Today there are many people who have ideas and theories about how the universe works. These people are all over the place, but the scientific community does not even bother to listen to them. This is because within the last century the scientific community has demanded a test of falsification. They say, "If you have theory, do not bother us with it unless you bring with that theory a way for us to prove whether you are wrong or not."

Such a test was exactly why the scientific community listened to Einstein towards the beginning of the century. He came with a new theory and said, "I believe the universe works like this; and here are three ways to prove whether I am wrong! [i.e. I predict these three things based on my theory]". So the scientific community subjected his theory to the tests, and within six years it passed all three. Of course, this does not prove that he was great, but it proves that he deserved to be listened to because he said, "This is my idea; and if you want to try to prove me wrong, do this or try that." This is exactly what the Qur'an has - falsification tests.

A good suggestion would be that the next time you get into dispute with someone about religion and he claims that he has the truth and that you are in darkness, you leave all other arguments at first and ask him, "Is there any falsification test in your religion? Is there anything in your religion that would prove you are wrong if I could prove to you that it exists - anything?" Well, it is obvious that the people will not have anything - no test, no proof, nothing! This is because they do not carry around the idea that they should not only present what they believe but should also offer others a chance to prove they're wrong. However, Islam does that, and is quite unique in that respect. A perfect example of how Islam provides man with a chance to verify it authenticity and "prove it wrong" occurs in the 4th chapter. And quiet honestly, it is surprising to most, as it was to me, when you first discover this challenge. It states:

"Have they not considered the Qur'an, if it came, other than Allah, surely they will find in it many inconsistencies."(4:82)

Here is a challenge to the reader. Basically, it invites him to find a mistake. If you think you have an explanation where this book came from, have another look at the book. Surely you will be able to uncover some inconsistencies to support your case.

As a matter of fact, the seriousness and difficulty of the challenge aside, the actual presentation of such a challenge in the first place is not even in human nature and is inconsistent with man's personality. One doesn't take an exam in school after finishing the exam, write a note to the instructor at the end saying, "This exam is perfect. There are no mistakes in it. Find one if you can!". One just doesn't do that. The teacher would not sleep until he found a mistake! It is not the way human beings speak. They do not offer challenges like that. But here we have it in the Qur'an, a direct challenge saying: "If you have a better idea as to where this book came from, here's all you need to do. Find some inconsistencies.". As God probably anticipated, there has been no shortage of scholars who have taken up the challenge over the past 1400 years, yet not one has succeeded. Hence, as stated above, the Catholic Church's official position that no serious person accepts any of the explanations made over the past 1400 years as to the Qur'an's origin.

Some people may like to find any number of things in the Qur'an, but an honest method in examining this book, looking for evidence of the Divine origin, is to take things at their value, to look for things that are clear and to look in those places where we are invited to look. For example the Qur'an will state: "Have not the disbelieves seen..." In fact this a common phrase of the Qur'an: "O Man, Have you not seen..." The invitation is to examine the evidence and in these places. We are doing the sensible thing if we examine the words used to look for the depth of meaning and to find evidence of the Divine origin.

So just where did the book come from?

Those who have not really examined the Qur'an usually dismissed it as being, they say, a collection of proverbs or aphorisms, saying that one man used to announce from time to time. They imagined that there was a man who, from time to time during the day, will think of some witty little saying and spit it out and those around him will quickly write it down and eventually these were all collected and became the Qur'an.

Those who read the Qur'an will find that it is not anything like that at all. The collection of things said by the Prophet is the subject and the content of the Hadith. But the subjects and contents of the Qur'an are all in a form of a composition and explanation. I site as an example the chapter, Yusuf, which is an entire story in great detail about one particular episode of one portion of the life of one man. It is a composition.

It is for this reason that virtually all those who have actually examined the Qur'an then change tack and begin refer to it as being the product of the authorship as attributed to Muhammed and his 'co-adjudicators'. These were supposed to be people who would sit with him and composed the Qur'an. You see they imagined that the Qur'an was composed by a committee.

They acknowledged that there was too much information and it was too well composed for one man to have assembled. So, they imagined that a committee of men used to meet regularly, brought their various sources of information, composed something and then handed to this man and told him, "Go to the people tomorrow, this is your revelation." In other words, it was a fraud concocted by a group of people. But what do we know about fraud? The Qur'an reminds us as it says:

"Say, now the truth has come, and falsehood neither invents anything nor restores anything." (34:49)

I have been told it is hard to translate this verse into English precisely, but what this verse is telling us is that falsehood is not the source of a new thing. A new and truthful thing cannot come from falsehood and falsehood does not restore, to our minds, the facts. Truth is in agreement with facts. Falsehood is something else. So falsehood is empty. If something is born fraud, it will never bring us new information. It will never endure; it will only collapse over a period of time -- its statements will eventually shown to be false and therefore it would have brought nothing new.

Has God given mankind a clear path to Him?

In essence, every rational reader would like to know if they can trust the authenticity of the Qur'an. It is perfectly natural to feel that way; after all, this is the outcome of our God-given gift of reason. However, our own skeptical minds are the keys here: the Qur'an, according to God, is addressed to people who think, pure and simple.

"...In this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think." (39:42)

"Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who use their reason." (30:28)

According to the Qur'an no one can make a human being believe in the Truth of the Qur'an, but that human being has to read it with an open mind, applying his powers of reason.

"And if thy Lord willed, all who are in the earth would have believed together. Wouldst thou (Muhammed) compel men until they are believers?" (10:99)

"It is not for any soul to believe save by the permission of Allah. He hath set uncleanness upon those who have no sense." (10:100)

Those people who do search for the Truth with an open mind and heart may find that the Qur'an, while vast, is surprisingly clear.

"Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages self-evident in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge - and none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves]." (29:49)

"This divine writ - let there be no doubt about it - is a guidance for all the God-conscious..." (2:2)

"[O men!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind: will you not, then, use your reason?" (21:10)

Why does the Qur'an make the use of reason so critically important for Islam? When one verifies a matter using reason from several paths, assurance and certainty that truth has been found increases. Thus both one's confidence and one's conviction in the matter also increases. Reason can never reduce either, and therefore it can never be at odds with religion. Without reason we have no way of separating the true from the false. In every other activity of man, one has, if one chooses to, the ability to use reason to verify what is being said. Why should the same not apply to religion? At some point "each" religion must have had some original proof or evidence to substantiate doctrine the religion espouses (if not then the whole religion is based on some person's imagination). If we assume that reason should not apply to religion, then we are left only with the opinions of men to "guide" us to the Truth. We can only *hope* they are guiding us and are not in fact misled themselves, regardless of their sincerity in the matter, as neither *they nor you* can confirm the path being taken is correct or that the map you follow has not been corrupted over time. What sense does it make to say "No you can't use reason to *even try* and verify the map" (as is insisted by some religions for the more esoteric doctrines), even though there were supposedly originally hard facts upon which the map was drafted against which it could be checked? Whether or not the information needed to actually verify the map is still available is a separate issue. Furthermore, history is replete with incidents of abused trusts for greed and power, particularly when there was no system of accountability for those vested with trust.

continued ...



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 07, 2000.


... continuation

You will never find a sunrise by looking west, regardless of the reasons given why you should look west, and regardless of the sincerity of those advising you to look west. Without any way to confirm or check the advice, you will *never* see the sunrise. But a bit of reasoning will slice through the false opinions and contradictions, like a hot knife through butter, and let you *know* you must look east for the sunrise. So it is with the search for the Truth. It is far too important a thing to be left to wishful thinking and hoping. When you are on a journey you *must be able* to check and *know how* to check your compass to see if it is faulty or if you are drifting off course. Only then can you make course corrections to know and ensure that you will indeed reach your destination.

From a different perspective, perhaps the question to ask, is why should the search for Truth *not* be based on reason? Has God ever said any where that the search for Truth should not be based on reason, or is this just an innovation of man? No doubt one can see that the Qur'an's emphasis on reason makes it unique amongst *all* of the scriptures and theologies espoused today. It is no wonder that for many it is a refreshing change to learn that there is even a religion of 1.2B people which insists so adamantly on the use of reason to identify the path to the Truth. And it is precisely this emphasis on reason which attracts many non-Muslims to examine the Qur'an closer.

The Qur'an also states that our understanding and study of the amazing beauty and intricacy of the natural world around (that is the pure sciences, where the objective is to separate fact from opinion) both outwardly to the edge of the universe and inwardly within ourselves to the smallest particles, our consciences and souls, will ultimately lead us to Him. This the source of the unique perspective of Islam that science and religion can not be at odds with each other. Both are inexorably intertwined to remain in perfect harmony with each other.

"In time, We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them this [revelation] is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?" (41:53)

Indeed when prominent scientists examine the accuracy of vast scientific information, that could not have been known 1400 years ago, stated within the Qur'an, they are left dumbfounded and in awe. The Qur'an repeatedly makes scientific statements and saying that that these are signs for those who understand or who have knowledge, that is the scientists.

"And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit.".(21:33)

"Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens (of His sovereignty) for men of understanding,"(3:190)

"He it is who appointed the sun a splendor and the moon a light, and measured for her stages, that ye might know the number of the years, and the reckoning. Allah created not (all) that save in truth. He detaileth the revelations for people who have knowledge." (10:5)

"And those who were given knowledge see that which was sent down upon you by your Lord is the truth and guides to the path of the 'Exalted' (in Might) the 'Worthy of All Praise'." (34:6)

And almost as if to tease us into a making a fantastic journey of discovery and learning, the Qur'an says:

"Those who disbelieve say: This is naught but a lie that he hath invented, and other folk have helped him with it, so that they have produced a slander and a lie." (25:4)

"And they say: Fables of the men of old which he hath had written down so that they are dictated to him morn and evening." (25:5)

"Say (unto them, O Muhammed): He Who knoweth the secret of the heavens and the earth hath revealed it. Lo! He ever is Forgiving, Merciful." (25:6)

Note the use of the singular in the reference to *a* secret, i.e. one secret and not the secrets in general, that applies to both the heavens and the earth.

Is it not also amazing that within just a few short years after the Qur'an's revelation began a Muslim domination of virtually all fields of science and mathematics that lasted over 600 years? And this feat is made all the more incredulous when one considers that a few short years previously these same people had been engaged for eons in tribal blood revenges, idol worship and the like, with little if any significant intellectual work. One can not now fail to begin to recognize the Qur'an as the source of such unimaginable enlightenment and change in a culture.

As I said at the beginning, my purpose in this post was not to establish the Qur'an as a miracle or prove anything about it, but to merely establish it as something that, on the surface, at least appears worthy of closer examination. I think any objective person would have to agree from the above that the Qur'an does at least seem to be a worthy place to start looking for a modern day miracle. That is, as the Qur'an does indeed have messages : "... for people who think". Furthermore, our task is made easier as it even claims: "No 'believing' needed, just use your reason" and you'll see it's a miracle.

Besides, we really don't seem to have much else that at least *claims* to be a miracle *and* demands to be verified by science, logic, mathematics and reason *and* uses reason in its own defense as a miracle, as can be seen from the verses sited above (34:49, 39:42, 30:28, 21:10), which in this day and age would almost seem to be requirement of any miracle if it is to be taken seriously enough for study.

So, let us test the Qur'an and see if it has the Truth to the extent that our limited abilities using logic and see where it leads us.

Although it would seem that we would need to be great scholars to "test" it, this is not entirely the case as that would contradict the concept that God wishes all to know the Truth, and also because, as we have seen, in the Qur'an He tells us that He wishes us to know the Truth by using our reason. Therefore, our limited abilities should be able to at least accomplish *something* of value, even if it turns out they are not able to show it is a miracle but instead only manage to show that the Qur'an to be something unique in the world. Even accomplishing this would be, at the very least, sufficient for us to sit up and view the Qur'an under a fresh and new perspective and consider what it has to say in our search for the Truth.

Qur'anic "vital statistics"

Here are a few "vital statistics" about the Qur'an to give it a "physical context" for your mind:

The Qur'an was revealed over a 23 year period starting in 610CE and ending in 632CE (Christian Era the Christian calendar is referred to by Muslims) and covers many topics, including, and importantly as we will see later, advice to Prophet Muhammed on how to manage issues and situations as he faced them during the Qur'an's revelation to mankind. The Qur'an was recorded as it was revealed-in fragments which were separated in both time and place, and positioned like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into the final scripture. Since the order of revelation is different from the order of final position, two consecutive verses may be separated by as much as two years and 300 miles according to their chronological revelation. This is an important point and the reason will become startling clear in a later post.

The Qur'an consists of 114 suras (chapters) and its original text is in Arabic. The shortest chapter contains three ayats (verses), whereas the longest chapter has 286 verses (a reference such as 34:49 indicates the 34th sura and 49th ayat within the sura). The early chapters are longer in length, with the exception of the opening chapter. The chapters generally get shorter towards the end of the book. In total there are 6346 verses (6234 numbered verses and 112 un-numbered verses at the start of 112 of the 114 suras) .

An English translation without commentary (tasfeer) to help explain historical context or clarify the real meaning of an Arabic word is about the size of a 650 page hardback. A copy including Arabic and commentary runs between 1800-2000 pages. If you choose to read the Qur'an ensure that you have one with commentary that has been accepted as scholarly, otherwise you will miss much of the meaning of the verses. Since translations and commentary are interpreted, these will differ depending on the translator's choice of words and so forth. Therefore, although translations are of course necessary, one must remember that a translation is *never* accepted as a substitute for the original Arabic, and the *true* meaning of the Qur'an can *only* be taken from the Arabic writing. This is also why, logically, there can be no "authorized" translations of the Qur'an, notwithstanding the claim by some translators about their translations.

In fact, anticipating this very situation, the Qur'an itself comments:

"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical seeking discord and searching for its hidden meanings but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord"; and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding." (3:7)

Those who have tried to translate the Qur'an from its Arabic original have found it impossible to express the same wealth of ideas with a limited number of words in the new language (just as the Greek was insufficient when the Gospels were translated from Aramaic and Hebrew). Comparing any translation with the original Arabic is like comparing a thumbnail sketch with the natural view of a splendid landscape rich in color, light and shade, and sonorous in melody. Scanty knowledge of classical Arabic would deprive anyone from appreciating the different shades of meaning rendered by the occasionally slightly different declensions of Arabic words.

It has been said: "No man has ever played on that deep-toned instrument with such power, such boldness and such range of emotional effects" and "To anyone who has not heard the sonorous majesty of an Arab reciting the Qur'an, it is impossible to convey what the Book lacks in English, French or German."

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 07, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

The sheer volume of your output is incredible! Lots of juicy stuff, too. Please have patience if I have trouble keeping up; I'll do my best.

You say,,

"I show and state clearly...that there are things that we humans can comprehend that we know are not going to be controlled by laws not yet discovered..."

Before I read this post of yours, I cross-posted an answer to your prior post that i'm hopeful at least partially clarified my position here. But I will add that even if there are "laws" governing our responses (I know this sounds fantastic, but bear with me), it doesn't have to mean that we're necessarily controlled by those laws -- just that the laws would be able to predict outcomes. And I do take issue with your claim that "we know...(this)" (from above quote). How can we know that we know this?

By "unexplainable" I mean that which can only be explained by appealing to the supernatural. I'm sorry that I hadn't clarified this before -- maybe it's still not clear -- let me know.

More soon...

Arthur,

Thank you so much for your definitions. I haven't had a chance to go over them yet, but I appreciate your efforts.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 07, 2000.


Arthur,

I need to add that I'm very much aware of many of the more common terms you used that I listed. The reason that I included them is that the context in which you used them raised a question in my mind as to whether the commonly understood meaning was really operative in your posts.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 07, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

I had stated,

"How do you know that all possible responses from a person could not eventually be explained or predicted in some way, given a certain physiology, psychology, etc.?"

You replied,

"Are you suggesting that humans do not have cognitive processes (therefore that) everything they do is actually predetermined by instinct?"

Not at all. Can you show that my question and my belief that humans have cognitive processes are in some way contradictory?

I had said,

"If you have hundreds of thousands of predictions every day, naturally, a fery few will almost certainly come out with consistently high predictions..." (I had given the stock market as an example)

You replied,

"You limited the range of prophesies to one area of human activity and then made your observation. I did not say that the area of prophesies should be limited to one area and that person judged."

I only offered the stock market predictions as an example. I expected you to extrapolate from that to all other areas.

In the last part of your post, we discuss the "pi" issue. You stated that,

"The pi...message is a communication from one intelligence to another, just as my words to you are."

Yes, it could certainly be. But, given my definition of "miracle" (answered only by appealing to the supernatural), the "pi" example, while absolutely fascinating, may or may not meet this standard. We can't know.

Later in that paragraph, you imply that if our communication is governed by law, our thoughts and actions are necessarily predetermined. If by "governed" you mean "predictable", as I mentioned above, I don't see what the problem is...why couldn't our cognitive processes co-exist with the laws predicting them? The laws would not operate until we're intellectually or emotionally stimulated by something. Then both the laws and our cognitive processes would swing into action simultaneously.

Regarding you reference to Godel's "self referential paradox" -- I'm not familiar with it. Could you quote it or explain it here?

More soon...

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 07, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

You pose a very interesting question in your next post.

You state,

"Do you not believe that if God were to provide us with a miracle for this day and age, he would at least be able to make sure that it would (or) could not be able to be explained away by reasoning such as yours or any other explanation?"

Are you saying that He would make sure we knew absolutely that it was a pure miracle fro Him? And that there would be no question about it?

Then you ask,

"...can you conceive of any parameters for a miracle that would "do the job"? Parameters -- no. But manifestations...maybe. Now I understand that my admitting "maybe" potentially highlights a weakness in my argument. In other words, when I say "maybe" I'm saying I could imagine certain things happening that I would think couldn't possibly be explained away by natural laws. But, then again, I have no knowledge of proof them ever occurring, nor expectations that they they'll ever occur. I still believe in God, though...I just don't see anything that would evince that He has intervened (other than my faith in creation, which I don't think is a proof, in any case), or will intervene, in nature in any way.

But, I.S., (or anyone) can you return the favor, by answering the following question, which, if not the reverse of what you asked me, seems to me to be pretty close:

What would have to occur to constitute a disproof for you of the love of, or the existence of, God?

Arthur,

I absolutely intend to get back to you on you pantheism/Christianity position, but, as I have to go through your definitions, then digest your other material, it may take a little time...

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 07, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Now I haven't read your posts on the Qur'an yet, so forgive me if I misconstrue what you're attempting to do.

I thought we were going to try to keep specific religious refrences to a minimum, and keep the discussion on a purely philosophical/theological plane as much as possible. If at all possible, I would like to continue along that path.

Having said this, I know I asked Arthur to explain his position on pantheism and Christianity, but that was because the pantheism half is pure philosophy/theology; for that reason, I thought it would be ok. Now, absolutely no offense intended...but what do you think? :)

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 07, 2000.


Eve:

Read the post on the Qur'an first to see my primary explaination why I made the post, then reconsider your question. But as a secondary reason consider that we have alread had long and strenous debate on the trinity and the Bible, input from the Hermetics, Godel and mathematics, and so forth, all of which provided us with help in our search for the Truth. Is there any reason not to therefore have any input from Islam and the Qur'an and see how it may help us in the search? Should we not use every part of human knowledge to help us in our search? If you still feel the same way, I'll post a further answer.

You said:

[What would have to occur to constitute a disproof for you of the love of, or the existence of, God?]

One can not prove a negative. That would be like saying, prove to me there are no pink elephants on earth. The only way to do that would be to go through every corner of the earth and ensure there aren't any -- and at the same time make sure all searched parts are sealed off so the elephants don't move around if there are any? In your context it would mean that every phenomena in the universe would have to be first explained away first, i.e. a proof by exhastive elimination of all possibilities. Hence as I said the pi example is a communication to us, so we would not have to take that approach. Hence my question about don't you think God could provide a miracle that would be such that it could not be "explained" away with logic such as yours or other similar ideas.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 07, 2000.


Arthur,

In reference to this post of yours:

{The ontological or "neutral" structure of evil is "in God," but not evil as such; and it is there only insofar as it testifies to Being and thereby to All-Possibility, for evil negative content, paradoxically signifies non-existence or the impossible, hence the absurd.

It may be objected that by situating a dimension of the world outside God we postulate an irreducible dualism; that is in fact what we do, but it is on the plane of universal Relativity - the cosmic Mbyb - which by definition coincides with duality. The absurdity of "two realities" is precisely the mystery of Relativity; it is the possibility of an "other than God"; to say that there are things which are "outside God" means that they are "in the Mother" (Materia Prima) To suppress this "outside God" - by maintaining that "everything is in God" in every respect - is to suppress the feminine mystery of Infinitude and to deny "divine paradox."

Resolving the problem of evil, what can be said is that the Divinity allows privative manifestations only in connection with positive manifestations that compensate for them; thus evil is a provisional factor in view of the ultimate good, "victory of the Truth"; vincit omnia Veritas.

At the supreme degree of Reality - Beyond Being - neither "is" or "exists"; the question of dualities, of opposition, of good and evil, consequently does not arise. At the degree of the metacosmic Mother, complementary oppositions are affirmed - God is at once Rigor and Gentleness, Justice and Mercy, Power and Beauty - but contingency, and with it, evil, are absent; it is only at the degree of cosmic manifestation - this moving fabric of circumstances and antinomies - that the "existential vices" can be produced, at one and the same time "in God" and "outside God": "in God," in the sense that every possibility necessarily pertains to All-Possibility, and "outside God" because the Sovereign Good projects archetypal possibilities, which by definition are positive since they describe the potentialities of pure Being.}

- it seems to be discussing the very nature of being, in that, as we try to talk about an alternative to existence and arrive at non-existence, we are caught in the same trap of duality that we are trying to reach beyond. The Yang, or raw energy, is nothing without a form, Yin. Thus, everything contains both.

For God in the first hypostatic degree, all is good and all is evil, that realm being the place of all possibility. Our problem is trying to even think about that condition, let alone describe it in words.

It is not clear what, of what you've posted, is your opinion, or whether you are relaying various texts for discussions' sake. Nontheless, the principles you've touched on seem to be the stopping point of Man's ability to fathom.

I believe it was about the 6th century BC, when the philosphical debate in Buddism was, "Is it possible to have a Universe of all Light?" It was decided that it was impossible. You need shadow or darkness to see the light.

I believe what you posted above, also agrees, that "evil" is part of there being a world at all. A necessary component.

Eve,

Yes, read IS's post. To me, he's simply familiarizing us with an aspect of the Qur'an (sp) that is particularly poignant, that being the marriage of reason and religion. I haven't read it, and do find it refreshing that it asks to be challenged, and not blindy accepted. Knowing the history of its origin and construction is nice too. I don't even know what they (Muslems) believe in, but the principle of a "test" is rather unique.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 07, 2000.


Interested Spectator and Gregg,

Re the Qur'an,

That's fine; points well taken. I'll read the materials and keep an open mind about it. But it looks very lengthy and substantive, so it may be a while before I can comment in it.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 07, 2000.


To all (and Hi, Lurker, if you're able to read this -- hope your troubles aren't too limiting),

Regarding the comment from Lurker, above:

Do you think a lot of people may be having trouble downloading this thread? That would be a shame, as it could be limiting participation as well as lurking. I'd like as many people as possible to see this stuff, although I'm not yet comfortable with the idea of continuing this on another thread.

Also, I'm curious: Does Lurker mean that his online service would time him out in the middle of downloading? And what are the future implications and limitations regarding downloading as well as posting here that we might prepare for -- if anything?

Thanks,

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 07, 2000.


Eve:

The Godel's theorms have been used to demonstrate that computers can never be as smart as human beings, since their programming can only be based on a certain, predefined, set of rules. Computers are thus incapable of making the leaps of logic, or of faith, that human brains seem capable of, i.e. computers are incapable of being clever, nor can they demonstrate imagination. The same argument has been adapted to infer that humans can never fully understand the inner workings of their own minds, "since your mind, like any other closed system, can only be sure of what it knows about itself by relying on what it knows about itself (i.e. the self referential paradox). The statement that our minds are a "closed" system is of course a speculation by those making the statement. Weather intuition can be considered closed is a whole debate in itself, and one I'd rather not get into. (Got enough going in this one already :) )

As a concrete example that our thought procesesses can not be goverened by laws, which would otherwise make them predictable and deterministic and hence able to be emulated. Consider that it has been mathematically proven that we can, but computers can not be programmed to do certain things. From the Encyclopedia Britannica, for example:

...it is now possible to prove not only that certain classes of problems are mechanically solvable ... but also that certain others are mechanically unsolvable (or absolutely unsolvable). The most notable example of such unsolvability is the discovery, made in 1970, that there is no algorithm, or rule of repetitive procedure, for determining which Diophantine equations (i.e., polynomial equations of which the coefficients are whole numbers) have integer solutions.

So there is no law (algorithim) to solve these things, but we still can solve them:

Diophantine equation

equation involving only addition, multiplication, or taking powers in which all the constants are natural numbers or their negatives and the only solutions of interest are natural numbers or their negatives. Named in honour of the 3rd-century Greek mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria, these equations were not systematically solved until the 7th century by the Hindus.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 07, 2000.


-- Gregg on, February 07, you posted: " It is not clear what, of what you've posted, is your opinion, or whether you are relaying various texts for discussions' sake. Nonetheless, the principles you've touched on seem to be the stopping point of Man's ability to fathom.

I believe it was about the 6th century BC, when the philosophical debate in Buddhism was, "Is it possible to have a Universe of all Light?" It was decided that it was impossible. You need shadow or darkness to see the light.

I believe what you posted above, also agrees, that "evil" is part of there being a world at all. A necessary component. " ___________________

Yes You are correct, Gregg. A discussion on the "existence of God" inevitably leads to "the stopping point of Man's ability to fathom. "

Your Buddhist reference is on target and so is your conclusion:that "evil" is part of there being a world at all. A necessary component. "

Whether what I have posted is opinion or a composite from various texts can only be answered thus. Our opinions are irrelevant. Knowledge alone is valuable. There is no such thing as false knowledge. There is either Knowledge or error. That in our posts the formulations of countless sages are paraphrased cannot be denied, nor can we deny that we do not own a single thought as generated by our single mind alone. It is true, as this thread demonstrates, that what is truly Universal is not "The Mind" but "The Nature of The Mind."

With Warm Regards

Arthur

-- Arthur (ArthurRex@Camelot.Grail), February 07, 2000.


Did God create the devil?

Why?

(Your arguments make no sense.)

-- (just@asking.now), February 07, 2000.


eve:

That Sagan thing was riveting. Was the pi thing tested in other environments, revealing the same result?

I don't have the book here, and I don't remember how he had the verification played out, but in reality it would be very easy to verify; pi is simply the ratio of any circle's circumference to it's diameter. Once the findings were announced, every university would throw together a computer cluster powerful enough to compute pi to that decimal place within an acceptable time and dedicate it to the that. It wouldn't need to be something that could only be done on huge government supercomputers - right now universities are capable of building specialized clusters out of many regular PC's running the Linux OS and Beowulf libraries. The program to break up the problem can be pretty simple, too. In fact, computing pi is often used as an excersize to teach recursive programming methods to undergraduates, something Int. Spec. may get a kick out of :^)

Do you feel that the pi "miracle" is not really much different than a fifth century person looking at the possibility of flight as a "miracle"? I see them as very similar.

In connection with this, could you guys give specific definitions of what you think a miracle is? Maybe you have and I missed it.

It's not similar at all, but your statement helps to flesh out and clarify why "traditional" miracles will always be insufficient proof (to me, while I'm in a rational state) of a Creator/God. In a nutshell: how would you know your "supernatural" event is not the equivalent of your "5th century person looking at the possibility of flight" example above? It may be unexplained, and we may not be able to explain it using known natural laws, but how do jump from that to proof of a creator? Maybe we would be just too backwards at that point to explain that particular miracle.

The reason Sagan's pi example is different is because there's no mystery to how pi is calculated, but there, right embedded deep within the number itself is a bitmap picture. What's more, it's not just any picture, it's a picture of a circle, inside the one number that represents every circle in the universe - a statistical impossibility. A bitmap of anything has no mathematical reason to be anywhere, they don't just happen - they are created for representation/recognition only.

I think there's a saying Arther Conan Doyle had Sherlock Holmes say, something like "If you eliminate the impossible, whatever's left, however improbable, must be the truth." This is what scientists would be faced with after a discovery like that - either accept a statistical impossibility, or accept that intelligent design went into pi. And pi was created when the universe was, it is an unchangable constant that exists in the description of every perfect circle (hope that's self evident.)

I'll try to "draw" a bitmap below, if the description is getting lost. Here's how pi would look:

    3.14159265....(trillions of digits later)..00000000000000...

The zeros are the start of the bitmap. There are ones in the bitmap also - if the patterns are sectioned every X digits and layed on top of each other in a block (we'll use 21 for "X" for our example) you would see:

    000000000000000000000
    000000000110000000000
    000000011001100000000
    000000110000110000000
    000001100000011000000
    000001100000011000000
    000000110000110000000
    000000011001100000000
    000000000110000000000
    000000000000000000000    

Obviously not a perfect circle with only 21 for "X", but I hope you get the picture.

I took the time to try to explain that again because it's the closest thing to a description of an intelligent design-proving "miracle" that I will accept, which kind of answers the second part of your question (my definition of a miracle.) It wouldn't have to be exactly bitmaps embedded in transcedendant numbers like pi, but something similar that would follow the same parameters I outlined in my previous post.

Interested Spectator, thanks for the info on the Qur'an, that's the most I've ever read about it. I started to post some comments and questions, but I want to re-read it a bit more here.

There are some other people I want to question/respond to also, it's getting hard to keep on track with this!



-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 07, 2000.


Just Asking,

I'm not sure what makes no sense, but yes, God created the "Devil" since God created everything. It would be more accurate to say that Man created the "Devil". Zarathustra's philosophy of a "God of Light" and a "God of Darkness" caught on with King David when they were being held captive in Babylon. (4th Century BC) The word satan used to mean 'an obstacle in ones' path'.

Clearly, by saying 'If you don't do what I say, the Devil's gonna get ya!" has a lot of impact on people, and makes them obey and easier to control. That is one of Religions' functions. Also, the idea of passing the buck for your own "bad" actions off onto the Devil, is just the reverse of passing the buck to Jesus for saving you. Where is personal responsibility? We all have the darkest dark, and lightest light. It is up to us to live decently.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 07, 2000.


Just Asking,

The devil is not just an idea in someone's mind but a spiritual being with a superior intellect and will. At the first moment of his existence he chose to not serve God but rather wanted to be his own god.

Gregg, if it's possible that God exists, one who is a spiritual being with a mind and a will, why not a spiritual being who is created by God who is limited but still very intelligent nonetheless? I agree that the devil doesn't "get" anyone. We choose to do what we do, but we can also choose to be persuaded by others.

Interested Spectator,

If the Quran does not have any inconsistencies, it does not prove that it was written by God, it could have just been written by a very smart person. That particular "falsification theory" seems to be begging the question.

Also, I maybe wasn't as astute as I should have been, but I had difficulty picking out from the essay your answer to my earlier question, "Why is it so bad to believe what someone else says?" If the discovery of the truth must be based only on strict human logic and reason then only a very few will ever be sure of it because there are many who lack the intellect necessary to find it out.

Arthur, my humble apologies. Thanks for your clarifications. Whether I agree with you or not is another matter.

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), February 08, 2000.


Beerman,

You say:

[The devil is not just an idea in someone's mind but a spiritual being with a superior intellect and will. At the first moment of his existence he chose to not serve God but rather wanted to be his own god.]

I guess he's infinite like GOD, which we are having a hard time "proving" exists, but, how do you know he chose not to serve GOD at the moment of his creation? Another story is, Satan was "head Angel". and obeyed God's first commandment, which was to love and serve GOD.

Then GOD said to the angels; "Now I want you to love Man."

And Satan, loving GOD so much and not wanting to disobey GOD, upheld his first commandment, and wouldn't love and serve Man. GOD banished Satan to hell, where he sustains himself on the echo of GOD's voice telling him to 'go to hell'.

You say: [Gregg, if it's possible that God exists, one who is a spiritual being with a mind and a will, why not a spiritual being who is created by God who is limited but still very intelligent nonetheless? I agree that the devil doesn't "get" anyone. We choose to do what we do, but we can also choose to be persuaded by others.]

You automatically are assuming that Satan is the antithesis of GOD. If Satan is as intelligent as you give him credit, then he would obviously realize that since he was created by GOD, and was limited, as you say, then he (Satan) could NEVER BECOME GOD. It is an immpossibility, for all the reasons that GOD is GOD! If Satan could become GOD, then Satan would be GOD, which means the GOD he supplanted, was NEVER the REAL GOD in the first place!

Yes, we choose what we do.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 08, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Beerman raised an important point when he said (to you),

"If the Qu'ran does not have any inconsistencies, it does not prove that it was written by God, it could have just been written by a very smart person. That particular "falsification theory" seems to be begging the question."

I would like to expand on that point a bit. Just because a system, theory or religion is internally consistent in no way qualifies it as necessarily truthful. Two examples immediately come to mind -- astrology and Freudian psychology.

To be more specific, I'll take the Freudian psychology example.

In Freudian psychology we are presented with a syndrome called the Oedipus complex. This is supposed to represent positive libidinal feelings that a child develops toward the parent of the opposite sex and that is said to be a source of adult personality disorder when unresolved -- and I believe it's looked at as universal.

Well, it just so happens that (accorting to the Freudian "rules") if the child doesn't exhibit those feelings he's "repressing" them, and if he exhibits the opposite, he's experiencing a "reaction formation".

So here we have a whole world that is internally consistent, yet large portions of Freudian psychology have been more or less "debunked" by many modern-day expert psychologists as not realistic. Now, I'm not trying to say who's right -- all I'm saying is that here we have a whole system that could be simply what I might term a "floating abstraction" -- internally consistent, but not necessarily tied to reality.

And I'm not taking the position (not yet, anyway) that the Qu'ran is false -- just that your very limited falsification test does not support its alleged truth.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 08, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

You use reason quite a bit in your essay on the Qu'ran. Do you have a definition?

Also, at the end of your essay you emphasize the inferiority of the english translations. But don't you think that this argues against Allah's desire (I assume) to communicate his word to everyone? Do you think it's possible that the Qu'ran therefore was meant for the Arabic-speaking people alone?

I.S., I don't mean to come off as overly critical -- but I have to ask these questions if I were ever to accept something like this as the truth.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 08, 2000.


Eve,

I'm sure I.S. will answer himself, but the point I got from the Qur'an is 'challenge this work, and if you can prove it false, fine, don't use it or believe it."

When you say: [" all I'm saying is that here we have a whole system that could be simply what I might term a "floating abstraction" -- internally consistent, but not necessarily tied to reality."]

- that's the point. If the Qur'an isn't tied to reality, throw it out. Being internally consistent is not what would demark the Truth of something, as you point out, but being put under the scrutiny of Reason or Science would.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 08, 2000.


I.S.:

One of the first questions I had regarding the Qur'an was about that falsification test, but it looks like beerman and eve asked it before I could get back! (How does the Qur'an's consistancy prove "Truth" or divine origin.)

Gregg:

Are you referring to the falsification test in your last post (that's the point. If the Qur'an isn't tied to reality, throw it out...), or to the statement in the Qur'an to consult experts to verify points made in it? If you're referring to the falsification test, I don't understand your response. The falsification test, as I.S. has it presented there, is simply a test of consistancy only, not of reason or science. The verification of scientific points made was another part of it, seperate from the falsification test in definition.

The falsification test would have to include testing the consistancy of the science and logic, but it hinged on the consistancy itself only (as presented by I.S.) Thus eve's floating abstraction point is right on, I think.

I.S., can you comment on these few issues to start with?

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 08, 2000.


To all:

Got your questions. Good questions and don't worry there are good answers. I am working on responses, but I want to do it as well as I can. Remember I am at some what of an advantage at this point as you have only been exposed to about two dozen of over 6000 verses, so I need to obviously provide you with more of what is actually in the Qur'an. As I do that I think you'll begin quickly to move your questions to a new level. So don't go away while I do the responses and hope you'll bear with me. I'm on my own and it takes time to bring together the appropriate information in just the right way. I should be posting my replies in a day or so however.

Just one point I'd like to answer to eve here rather than my main response as it is a small issue:

Eve asked if I could I give a defintion for the word "reason" that I used in the essay.

The word "reason" has been used 451 times and variants of it have been used an additional 135 times in this thread. By asking for a definition from me, you seem to imply that either I am using the word in a different manner from the ordinary meaning as used in the rest of the thread, or that after almost 300 pages of discussion you are stating that don't know the common meaning of the word (which I don't think is the case). There should be nothing in what I have said that should lead you to conclude that I am using it any different from the rest of this thread. So the definition is what ever you have taken the meaning of the word in the previous 300 pages.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 08, 2000.


Here's the falsification test for Christianity: If you can find Jesus' body or the remains of it, then he didn't rise from the dead. The apostles saw him after the resurrection and gave their life for this truth.

James the Great-decapitated, Matthias-stoning, Nathanael-flaying and crucifixion, James the Less-stoning, Paul-beheaded, Peter-crucified upside-down, Andrew-crucified, Thomas-stabbed, Simon-mutilation, Thaddaeus-impalement, Matthew-sawed in two, Philip-crucifixion, John- survived being boiled alive in oil and was exiled. These can be historically verified, Do you think they would die for a "hoax"?

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), February 08, 2000.


Beerman,

You said that the devil has a superior intellect, and he chose not to serve God. Well, that doesn't make sense to me either.

If God is all powerful why didnt' s/he create perfect people? What's the point of making flawed superior intellect?

Are people some kind of sick test, or game to God?

Thanks

-- (Just@askin.now), February 09, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

On Feb. 7 you posted a response to the following question I had posed: "What would have to occur to constitute a disproof for you of the love of, or the existence of, God?"

Your reply assumed I was asking for an objective proof that God does not exist. Rather, I was trying to ask you what would have to occur that would cause you to abandon your belief in God. By the way, this question was posed at the end of a very brief essay by Professor Antony Flew in 1950 ("Theology and Falsification") that caused a minor earthquake in the theological world -- it was discussed in theological circles, including essays in response, for years afterwards. It's made it into many anthologies on the philosophy of religion.

And thanks for your write-up on Godel's theorems. I'd love to explore this one further, but alas, there are only so many hours in the day...I do intend to get to it, though.

Just Asking:

Thanks for joining us.

You said,

"Did God create the devil? Why?...(and) If God is all powerful why didn't s/he create perfect people?...(etc.)"

I think your point is dead-on and unanswerable. I've asked my Christian friends this for years and have received nothing more than the "devil had free-will" response, which is really irrelevant. I can't blame them, though, for not being able to answer it, because I think it's one of those unresolvable contradictions.

But I'm keeping an open mind here -- can anyone answer this one?

Bemused,

Thanks so much for your elaboration on the "pi" issue. Now I just heard from a friend that there is a relatively recent book on "pi" that doesn't mention the bitmap experience. Are you aware of a book such as this?

Arthur,

I haven't forgotten about you...

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 09, 2000.


eve :

Now I just heard from a friend that there is a relatively recent book on "pi" that doesn't mention the bitmap experience. Are you aware of a book such as this?

The bitmap embedded in pi was taken from a novel by Carl Sagan called "Contact". It's not real. Sorry, I thought this was clear from my original post and my follow up post, although it may not have been apparent in the last post. Anyway, Sagan gave it as an important plot device for the story and also as an example of what it would take to make the scientific community fully accept intelligent design. I gave it as my answer to I.S.'s "what would constitute a miracle" query.

If it were real, after it came out you probably wouldn't be able to find an athiest anywhere, or at least a rational one!

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 09, 2000.


Bemused,

Whoops -- I guess I missed the part you wrote that the "pi" thing was from a novel. No wonder I was "riveted" and "absolutely fascinated" by it. I mean , don't get me wrong, in a way I still am, but somewhat less so; -- would you buy "kinda riveted" and "sorta absolutely fascinated"? :)

Well, with regard to everything I wrote here where I inferred and assumed its reality -- in the words of the late Gilda Radner's character, Emily Latella..."never mind". :)

-- eve (eve_Rebekah@yahoo.com), February 09, 2000.


Off topic... Wrote a quickie program to compile some posting stats: IfYI:

As of Wed Feb  9 12:41:34 CST 2000 :

# Lines: # Posts: Name: ---------------- ------------ ------------------------ 5435 (38.0%) 86 (18.9%) interested spectator 2225 (15.5%) 132 (28.9%) eve 1087 ( 7.6%) 34 ( 7.5%) gregg 944 ( 6.6%) 29 ( 6.4%) john ainsworth 845 ( 5.9%) 22 ( 4.8%) beerman 607 ( 4.2%) 11 ( 2.4%) arthur 487 ( 3.4%) 16 ( 3.5%) bemused 330 ( 2.3%) 15 ( 3.3%) bigdog 326 ( 2.3%) 9 ( 2.0%) brian 209 ( 1.5%) 6 ( 1.3%) circle 156 ( 1.1%) 5 ( 1.1%) michael 127 ( 0.9%) 7 ( 1.5%) patrick 96 ( 0.7%) 4 ( 0.9%) michael erskine 88 ( 0.6%) 2 ( 0.4%) tom carey 83 ( 0.6%) 3 ( 0.7%) miranda 82 ( 0.6%) 1 ( 0.2%) intersted spectator 73 ( 0.5%) 1 ( 0.2%) anon 69 ( 0.5%) 4 ( 0.9%) tc 68 ( 0.5%) 1 ( 0.2%) ric 64 ( 0.4%) 1 ( 0.2%) snooze button 62 ( 0.4%) 1 ( 0.2%) - 60 ( 0.4%) 2 ( 0.4%) april 52 ( 0.4%) 3 ( 0.7%) david 48 ( 0.3%) 2 ( 0.4%) phil 44 ( 0.3%) 1 ( 0.2%) tommy rogers 42 ( 0.3%) 2 ( 0.4%) laurane 39 ( 0.3%) 2 ( 0.4%) no polly 38 ( 0.3%) 2 ( 0.4%) nathan 31 ( 0.2%) 1 ( 0.2%) kelly 30 ( 0.2%) 2 ( 0.4%) spider 29 ( 0.2%) 3 ( 0.7%) 28 ( 0.2%) 1 ( 0.2%) tm 25 ( 0.2%) 1 ( 0.2%) pramada 23 ( 0.2%) 3 ( 0.7%) dee 20 ( 0.1%) 2 ( 0.4%) gilda 18 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) vern 15 ( 0.1%) 2 ( 0.4%) wilferd 15 ( 0.1%) 2 ( 0.4%) evelyn 15 ( 0.1%) 2 ( 0.4%) dancr 15 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) preacherboy 13 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) donna 12 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) diane j. squire 12 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) bill 12 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) andy 11 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) james 11 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) inever 11 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) david l 11 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) a 10 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) phill 9 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) still 9 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) amnesia 8 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) mara 8 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) ishkabibble 8 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) html fixer 8 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) christopher 8 ( 0.1%) 1 ( 0.2%) cardboard box eddy 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) normally@ease 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) lurker 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) kyle 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) johno 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) john q 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) intersting 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) huh? 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) h.h. 7 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) ashton & leska in cascadia 6 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) squid 6 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) mikey2k 6 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) lois knorr 6 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) kansas 6 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) hzlz 6 ( 0.0%) 1 ( 0.2%) dinosaur



-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 09, 2000.

Arthur,

Well, finally, I'm getting to your materials...

Before I get to your positions I need to make sure I understand your definitions (re your 2/7 post).

To start with I have some questions on your definitions of "Beyond Being" and "first hypostatic degree":

You defined "Beyond Being" as follows:

"Existence is subject to Being - Being in turn is subject to the unfathomable 'Beyond-Being' a metaphysical term (synonym: Eckart's Godhead) Gottheit (That which transcends even GOD)- The first Hypostasis is the Godhead, the second is Supreme Being, i.e., God the creator - Absolute Master of the Creation. The third is the Creation, i.e., the Divine Cosmic Manifestation."

With respect to your definition of "first hypostatic degree" you write,

"Hypostasis...the substance or essential nature of an individual...Therefore the "First hypostatic degree" refers to the highest nature of the person such as the Father in the case of the Trinity."

My questions:

1) You later state "Being" as being defined in Webster's, but there is no "Being" (with a capital "B") in my Webster's Collegiate. So, would you define "Being", and clearly distinguish it from "Existence"?

2) You say "Beyond-Being" is unfathomable. If it's unfathomable, why do you accept it?

3) How can the Godhead be separate from God the creator? Which person of the Trinity, if any, is "God the creator"?

4) What do you mean by "highest nature"?

5) What do you mean by the Godhead transcending even God?

6) I see metaphysics as the fundamental study of reality and being. You only apply it to "Beyond-Being". Why?

7) Why couldn't "Beyond-Being" (whatever that is) itself be subject to a "Beyond-Beyond-Being", ad infinitum?

8) And why couldn't someone postulate a fourth hypostatic degree, etc., ad infinitum?

9) You say that "the First hypostatic degree refers to...the Father." Yet later you say that "The first Hypostasis is the Godhead..." This sounds like a contradiction to me. Is it?

10) Is the "Divine Cosmic manifestation" simply another term for "Existence"?

11) When you state that "Beyond-Being" is a synonym for "Godhead" is this in effect your declaration of Pantheism (where God is everything)?

Thanks,

-- eve (eve_rebekah @yahoo.com), February 09, 2000.


Bemused,

Thanks for the stats...really fascinating.

(from now on I'm going to try to reserve "absolutely fascinating" for wondrous scientific events that could qualify as miracles) :)

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 09, 2000.


Eve:

You asked:

[I was trying to ask you what would have to occur that would cause you to abandon your belief in God.]

Firstly you assume I "believe" in God. I don't, just like I don't "believe" 2=2=4. I know it. So I guess the answer to your question would be what would make me abandon what I know? Nothing. Why do I not have to "believe" in God? Because of what the Qur'an says:

"Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages self-evident in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge - and none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves]." (29:49)

"In time, We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them this [revelation] is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?" (41:53)

"Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who use their reason." (30:28)

You just do not yet know the information that would let you know and not believe. Reflect on the title of this thread. I intend to provide you that information so you can judge for yourself. But the Truth is not in any hurry and is not going anywhere. So I ask you to bear with me while I take you down this journey, it'll still be there at the end.

Just asking (and eve):

You are asking "why are things the way they are". That was the question in my very first post in this thread. It is not an unswayable question, as eve suggests. My answer was given a few posts later in reply to preacherboy (he had replied things are the way they are because of Man's free will). I repost my reply here for reference:

[So I ask you again, why did he create man? He has no reason to create man or make anything the way it is.

Infact the very concept of there needing to be a reason for anything is a concept created by God and therefore he could not be subject to that conecpt. If there was a reason, that compelled him to do what he did, then I submit that He would not be God as he had to capitulate and act as he did due to an external force namely the reason which he could not choose to ignore the reason and act independently as God is able to do.

Hence, I re-ask "Why did God create things they way they are?". The answer there is no reason. 2+2=4 because he chose it to be. It could have been equal to 5 had he chosen that, and the world would still be in perfect harmony.]

Later, Gregg's first exert on the book about The All, said as much:

[Stricly speaking, there cannot be said to be any "Reason" whatsoever for THE ALL to act, for a "reason", implies a "cause", and THE ALL is above Cause and Effect, except when it Wills to become a Cause, at which time the Priciple is set into motion.]

Bemused:

Re statistics: :) I've only just started. See my reply to eve a few lines above. Sagan's pi was fascinating fiction but not the concept. Eve, I was surprised you thought the pi story was real and yet you still weren't convinced -- may be it is because as I said, when I asked what miracle would be sufficient, people have already decided not to believe anything (they're looking for the sunrise in the west and you're not going to convince them otherwise, even if they are shown it is in the east -- they'll still say something -- it's a trick or aliens etc.).

Bemused, you say:

[If it were real, after it came out you probably wouldn't be able to find an athiest anywhere, or at least a rational one!]

Thank you for this bit of clarity: Amazing how reason would win out in the end. Although pi didn't do to it for eve initially it seems that she's coming round as she says in her last post:

[(from now on I'm going to try to reserve "absolutely fascinating" for wondrous scientific events that could qualify as miracles) :)]

Behold the power of Reason. (I say that in that fashion beause I wish to give the observation the utmost respect).

Bemused, I have been waiting for your statement to appear here. Anybody else have any argument with Bemused's statement?



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 09, 2000.


Oops, that supposed to be 2+2=4.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 09, 2000.

Just for clarification, if the Qur'an or anything else can be substantiated by Reason or Logic or Science, great. If using Reason, Logic, Common Sense, or Science (which I realize is a broad field and not a God unto itself) causes the Qur'an or anything else to be exposed as not having or being the Truth, then there you go.

Perhaps I should elaborate on Truth. I think that there are certain principles or conditions/states, that are srot of like the "DNA" of the Universe, and all it comprises. Some may regard a "truth" as being true, and while it may not encompass the entire gamit of existence, it may be true in it's limited context. But ultimately, even those "truths" are subserviant or must follow the "Truth", which would be those facts or conditions or principles that order all things, and encompass every eventuality. As to whether or not those Truths are discoverable, or discernable is the debate and quest, it seems.

Again, I believe many religious stories are symbolic and/or metaphorical, and do makes sense and speak of or hint at the Truth, when viewed in that manner.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 09, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

You said,

"Eve, I was surprised you thought the pi story was real and yet you still weren't convinced - maybe it is because I said, when I asked what miracle would be sufficient, people have already decided not to believe anything..."

The pi story, if it had been true, would not necessarily have shown a proof of God to me. But that doesn't mean nothing would be sufficient for me. As I mentioned in a prior post, I can imagine some fantastic things happening that would practically convince me. So, I'm not completely closed off to it. It's simply that I don't think God intervenes, so I don't ever expect to see those things.

When I said,

"from now on I'm going to try to reserve 'absolutely fascinating' for wondrous scientific events that could qualify as miracles" was said tongue-in-cheek, and was a reference to a prior remark I made about the pi story when I thought it was true.

But let's assume the pi story was true -- if it had been some sort of alien communication, how would this be a "miracle"? Or, it could have been God, or a number of other things. The point is, there would be no way to know without some sort of corroborating evidence. And don't forget, I believe in God -- I just don't think He communicates to us through miracles.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 09, 2000.


eve:

Could you explain to me how some one other than the Creator of the universe could have made pi do what Sagan describes? You must be aware that pi is a unversal constant, created at the time the universe was created. There was nobody around before then to tinker with it except God.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 09, 2000.


justasking,

I humbly request that you not belittle God when you have trouble understanding a certain point.

A preface to those who are offended by apparently Christian discussions: I am only answering a question that was raised to me, but there's nothing particularly Christian in the response because it uses reason primarily.

I think that in order to understand how the devil can choose evil, we have to first discuss what "evil" really is. We can say that it is the opposite of good, so that leads us to ask what "good" really is. I think goodness is what is found in someone or something that has actualized its full potential. For example, what makes a good dancer? One who has practiced much and developed the ability to dance to near perfection. So goodness has something to do with being. The more being that is actualized the more we can say it is good. Essentially we can say that goodness=being. Evil really has no being itself but is rather a lack of something that should be there. A *good* tree is fully grown and well-formed with no disease or stunted growths. A *bad* tree is one that departs from that in any way. We are obviously not speaking in moral terms here. When we add free choice to the equation we enter the realm of moral good and evil. Evil is a lack of what should be there. If God is the fullness of being (infinite) then he must be all-good. There is no possibility of God doing anything evil because that would involve him choosing something less than fullness of being. God has no potential in him, he is pure act. Anything created, however, is not infinite and is therefore limited. Anything created has some potential, including even spiritual beings. God did not create evil beings, he created good ones. However, they had free choice and could choose evil (lack of being) as a result. The devil did not want to be subject to God, (knowing full well what that rejection would entail, but preferring it anyway) and as a result, he fell. He wanted to be his own master. Now, we have to look at how that can be since the devil did not have emotions that could confuse him, nor did he have any bad habits that would lead him astray, and he had certain knowledge of what he was doing. This had to occur in the first moment of his existence, because not having a body, a spiritual being is incapable of changing one's mind. Thus these beings either chose to serve God (angels) or not (devils). The solution seems to lie in the understanding of the nature of the devil. Since he is a created being, he consists of a mixture of potentiality with act. This is due to the fact that all creatures are made out of nothing. The error lies in the will rather than the reason, and so it is an act of malice above all. The devil, rather than moving toward actualized being, chooses to move in the direction of the nothingness and as a result chooses evil since evil is in reality nothing (lack of being).

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), February 10, 2000.


Gregg,

I didn't intend to ignore your response to me regarding Interested Spectator's falsification issue -- I just assumed Bemused clarified my problem with this for you. But if you still want to discuss this, let me know.

Interested Spectator,

You said,

"Could you explain to me how someone other than the Creator of the universe could have made pi do what Sagan describes? You must be aware that pi is a universal constant, created at the time the universe was created. There was nobody around before then to tinker with it except God."

Well, if I were ever to accept a miracle as proof of God's existence, it would be the existence of human minds behind the discovery of the mathematics and super-computers that made this discovery at all possible -- less so the bitmap. I think you need a leap of faith to get from the bitmap to a communication from the Creator of the universe. And even if the bitmap pointed to a Creator of the universe, I think you need another leap of faith to get from the Creator to God. Perhaps you could clarify these connections for me.

Referring back to my first sentence, I think Gregg put this beautifully when he said (I don't have his post in front of me, so I'm pretty sure this isn't verbatim), in essence, that the greastest miracle to him was the realization that he was alive, able to think, to feel the wind on his face, etc.

You know, in a way, I think I've already accepted this (Existence/Creation) as a miracle, which has led me to my leap of faith. I still don't see this "miracle" as proof, though -- or even attempt to look at it as proof -- because once you start down this path, e.g., attempting to sort the issue out logically, you're then obligated to go one step deeper and ask who created the even greater "miracle" of God Himself -- leading to an infinite succession of Gods. This is why I don't think you can ever get to God through reason alone; and maybe not through reason at all.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 10, 2000.


Beerman,

Thanks for your elaboration on the question of evil.

You went as far as discussing the devil's decision, e.g.,

"...wanted to be his own master..." "...chooses to move in the direction of the nothingness..."

But, unless I missed it, you do not explain why he made that decision. And I couldn't see from your post why God would have created someone who would rebel.

Could you explain further?

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 10, 2000.


Beerman,

You say:

[ A *bad* tree is one that departs from that in (perfection) any way. We are obviously not speaking in moral terms here. ]

Without thinking too much about it, a "bad" tree, say, that dies prematurely or is too small to catch enough light, could provide food for insects (by rotting) that would otherwise harm the "good" trees, therefore the "bad" ones might be essential to there being that kind of tree at all.

Another example is that of handicapped, but brilliant people, who have made wonderful contributions to our world, Hawking, R.L. Stephens, - - -ad infinitum.

Then you go one to say:

[ When we add free choice to the equation we enter the realm of moral good and evil. Evil is a lack of what should be there. If God is the fullness of being (infinite) then he must be all-good. There is no possibility of God doing anything evil because that would involve him choosing something less than fullness of being. God has no potential in him, he is pure act. ]

This is just a lot of assumptions that really are strangely combined. First, free choice does not necessarily lead to a "moral" realm. Who is deciding whether something is morally good? If it's someone else, like GOD, and I choose to disobey him, but will knowingly suffer a consequence that could be considered punishment, then it's really not a choice.

When I offer you a cookie, and say, "You can choose between these two, but if you pick the Green one, I'll punish you forever, . " that to me is NOT a choice. A choice to me implys that I really may choose, and suffer no ill consequence as a result.

Second, you assume that God being "full" means he must be all-good. What does that mean? Good or Bad don't really apply to God since he isn't subserviant to anything. He could be whatever He chose. (Unless he has the same deal with himself that he does with Man. Which gets into a whole other topic of, "If God created an imperfect Man, what was he THINKING? For creating an imperfect being, what is God's punishment?)

You say God has no potential in Him. How in the world can you know what God's limitations are? After all, this is what/who CREATED the ENTIRE UNIVERSE.

Then you say :

[The devil did not want to be subject to God, (knowing full well what that rejection would entail, but preferring it anyway) and as a result, he fell. He wanted to be his own master. . . . . This had to occur in the first moment of his existence, because not having a body, a spiritual being is incapable of changing one's mind. . . . . .The devil, rather than moving toward actualized being, chooses to move in the direction of the nothingness and as a result chooses evil since evil is in reality nothing (lack of being). ]

If a spritual being ( and you say the devil is one) is incapable of changings one's mind, then obviously it's not the Devil's fault he is the way he is. God made him that way. And since you say that he is moving in the direction of nothingness, then soon , I guess, he'll be gone and won't ever be a problem again for anyone.

I'm not meaning to pick on you, but some of these ideas are repeated as if they are obvious accepted facts, when it seems to me they are interesting speculations that have many parts that don't mesh.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 10, 2000.


eve:

I think you need a leap of faith to get from the bitmap to a communication from the Creator of the universe.

It technically would still require a leap of faith, but only a very, very miniscule leap. :^) Here's a quick analogy for the pi example: Say you're walking in a deep, remote woods, and you're wondering if any person has ever walked there before you. Then you spot an old carving in a tree: "kilroy was here." Now, it's possible that carving is a freakish tree growth, or was somehow accidentally scratched into the tree by an animal. It isn't absolute proof that someone was there before you, but you probably would take a leap of faith that someone was because it's so statistically unlikely that the carving was an accident.

Finding a bitmap of a circle in pi would be similarily unlikely, and require about as much of a leap of faith as believing that carving meant someone was there before you - not much of a leap at all.

And even if the bitmap pointed to a Creator of the universe, I think you need another leap of faith to get from the Creator to God. Perhaps you could clarify these connections for me.

It is true that this would only be proof of intelligent design of the universe. Whether or not the designer of our universe is "God", well, guess it depends on how you want to define things, and what your personal requirements are for God. Nathan posted a question way up there asking about the possibility that our creator may have had a creator also - and if so, is our creator then still "God"? In other words, are we so important that only the One And Only, End Of Recursion God could have created us directly? Later I posted on the speculation that once (if) we achieve the Unified Field Theory/Theory Of Everything, we may be able to simulate pieces of the big bang in next generation accellerators. Would this put us in a sort of intelligent creator role for the several nanosecond lifetime of a mini universe?

This isn't quite as pie-in-the-sky as it may sound at first - if major physical laws that define the universe are ever resolved, experimention with those laws in order to prove them is guaranteed to follow. It doesn't mean we'll be gods creating life and parting little Red Seas for people or anything, but by definition, we could possibly add "created universes" to our species' collective resume!

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 10, 2000.


Bemused:

You said:

[Would this put us in a sort of intelligent creator role for the several nanosecond lifetime of a mini universe?

...we could possibly add "created universes" to our species' collective resume!]

Not quite bemused. If you want the Creator title behind your name, you need to create a real universe. One that works like the one we're in. Oh and by the way, as the joke earlier up mentioned, "get your own dirt"

:)

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 10, 2000.


I think it might help to clear up Eve's confusion if we referred to our proof of God's existence by reason, not as a proof but as a demonstration. A proof sounds like God has to exist because of some process in our mind and is therefore dependent on us. A demonstration is more like pointing to God as the cause that must necessarily exist because we do know that the effect, creation, does exist (based on the principle of recursion and the impossibility of traversing the infinite, which we need not repeat here).

A demonstration would be like seeing shadows and light on the ground and saying, there must be a light source somewhere up above. Lift up your head and you will see the sun. We didn't make the sun, but we know there has to be one, based on the observable effects that we see.

We don't create God, but we know there has to be one, based on the observable effects which could not exist without an uncaused cause, who must himself be infinite and outside of time.

-- Beerman (frbeerman@juno.com), February 10, 2000.


Bemused,

In answer to my statement about needing a leap of faith to get from the bitmap to a Creator of the universe you presented the analogy of the carving of some words on a tree, and concluded that the leap of faith would therefore be minuscule.

You know, after thinking about this a bit, I agree that this scenario is very powerful and might very well qualify as a true "miracle" for me in that it could come from no other than the Creator. At first I thought there would be no way to show that it could not have come from a highly advanced species, but the more I pondered this, the more inadequate that possibility seemed. Leap of faith? Still yes, but, as you say, "minuscule."

Regarding your second paragraph (on getting from the Creator to God):

In a few posts above, I discuss the problem I have with this -- that when I try to use reason and logic to follow the chain, I can't avoid thinking about an infinite succession of ever more powerful gods, somehow each in his own separate spatial domain and in his own unique realm of "non-time", if you will. About at that point my thought processes break down.

And when you talk about creation of universes on our species' resume -- I started to imagine that if such a level of progress were to be achieved, and I found a position as an assistant to the scientists experimenting with this -- well, I could put "assisted in creation of universes" on my own resume! Now that would have to impress a potential employer! :)

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 11, 2000.


I.S.:

[...we could possibly add "created universes" to our species' collective resume!]

Not quite bemused. If you want the Creator title behind your name, you need to create a real universe. One that works like the one we're in. Oh and by the way, as the joke earlier up mentioned, "get your own dirt"

True, our created universe wouldn't look like much more than a quick pop in an accellerator, and we'd need to consult experimental data for days afterwards to verify and confirm that it even happened. Maybe it would be enough to still put on the resume, making sure to keep the "c" lower-case!

Also, whose to say our direct Creator had his own "dirt"? If not, this would mean that your recursion theory is not resolved at our direct Creator.

BTW, are you writing a book or something there, when aren't we getting our Qur'an answers? :^)

eve:

At first I thought there would be no way to show that it could not have come from a highly advanced species...

It could. The pi example does not (can not) rule that out - the only caveat being that this "species" created the universe, because the bitmap can not be placed there after the fact - only at this universe's creation. This is where you have to decide if Creator == God. I think I.S. may say it does, but I maintain that it doesn't necessarily have to. But if you take the viewpoint that our Creator had an active role in human creation, and especially if you think he continues to play an active role in our affairs, then it would be hard to seperate the two definitions.

Beerman, I like the demonstration approach, that works fairly well and is in line with accepting statistical impossibilities as arguments in the debate. Also, you said "to those who are offended by apparently Christian discussions...", I'm not in any way offended and I'm sorry for my rude "I'm leaving this thread because it's becoming a bible study" comment up there a ways. I've just seen too many debates where "because the bible says this" becomes a stock answer.

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 11, 2000.


eve:

...well, I could put "assisted in creation of universes" on my own resume! Now that would have to impress a potential employer! :)

Either that or get you escorted down to the main entrance where polite men in white uniforms would be waiting to give you a nice "bus ride."

Unless you were interviewing at Lawrence Livermore or someplace like that, then the reaction would probably be more like "well, yes, created universes... haven't we all?" :^)

-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 11, 2000.


Beerman,

Your most recent post is very succinct and nicely laid out. In a way, I agree with it. Although I'm a little uncomfortable with using "real-world" analogies to argue for the supernatural (e.g., God), you supplement the point I had been trying to make, which is that I believe that, if we're to speak of miracles, the great miracle -- the only miracle -- would be that of Creation itself. And Creation, in turn, indirectly demonstrates the existence of a Creator -- that which we call God.

Further, we differ somewhat in that your argument seems to be based more on cause and effect; my position focuses somewhat more on the beauty and complexity of the "Creation" -- the "argument from design."

And, you know, we still have to be careful here. The sheer act of naming existence "Creation" instead of simply "existence" could be said to be begging the question. In other words, with the former term, we're building into the proposition the necessity of a creator. The latter term is more neutral and allows for the possibility of simply an eternal existence with no creator.

And it's because of complications like these, as well as others that I brought up previously, that my belief is based on a leap of faith.

Finally -- forgive me for bringing a Bible verse into this -- but Romans 1:20, if I recall correctly, really stuck with me; it said something to the effect that we will know Him by what He has made...

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 11, 2000.


Bemused:

[BTW, are you writing a book or something there, when aren't we getting our Qur'an answers? :^)]

Just a small one :) (Please don't run your stats after. :) )

Answers will be posted tonight. Sorry for the delay, but I need to get it just right. The issues are very important. I think you'll be find the result fascinating.

[Also, whose to say our direct Creator had his own "dirt"? If not, this would mean that your recursion theory is not resolved at our direct Creator.]

Then our direct "Creator" is not The Creator but a creator (lower case) and the recursion theory still holds.

But nevertheless, I'll deal with God=The Creator in a little while (need some more foundation from the Qur'an to be laid down first).

[But if you take the viewpoint that our Creator had an active role in human creation, and especially if you think he continues to play an active role in our affairs, then it would be hard to seperate the two definitions.]

Hold that thought.

[... is in line with accepting statistical impossibilities as arguments in the debate.]

Hold that thought.

Eve:

You said a while back:

[I postulate the First Cause as God, but I'm unable to describe His nature, other than a faith in His Oneness, a Mind (to create), and a power to create. That's about as far as I can go right now. Do you think this is reasonable enough?]

Any reason now why you have the opinion that the pi creator would not be The Creator, i.e. God?

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 11, 2000.


To all:

Thank you for your patience with me while I develop my responses to your questions. I will endeavor to be as accurate and complete as my limited knowledge allows me to be in representing Islam. I pray that my humble efforts to explain what I know are guided by God, so that what I tell you is correct, and if I have unintentionally misrepresented Islam in some fashion and I ask forgiveness from God and the Islamic world for that. Your minds may be greater than mine, and my answers may not ultimately be sufficient for you, and if that is the case I hope you will not then come to think that "aha I.S. couldn't answer this so what s/he's saying can't be true" and therefore dismiss my central message. For if you were to think that then I have committed a great error, as I would have caused you to go from your current position WRT to Islam to one further away from it.

My response is lengthy because I am in the unfortunate position of having to educate first about Islam and the Qur'an (which I must say I have found far more enjoyable than I would have thought) as well as provide my responses.

As bemused said: [thanks for the info on the Qur'an, that's the most I've ever read about it]. I know, bemused.

Unfortunately the average Western mind has been steered away from true knowledge and understanding of the Qur'an and Islam for over a millennia. In its place have been substituted fiction and fantasy. Those with an inclination for independent discovery and confidence that they do not need to be herded like sheep and fed, took on themselves the task to learn what it is about the Qur'an that captures the attention of not only 1.67B people (as per the latest figures for 1998; the U.N. also currently shows as of 1994/5 a 6.4% annual growth for Islam), but more importantly, also the world's most preeminent scientists. That is, individuals who have been literally trained to be the most skeptical breed of man there is: those who believe *everything* can be explained with science and believe nothing until it is proven, absolutely. Hence, I decided to make this post as it is and not water it down.

A very large part of this post is dedicated to a variety of scientific research that, will make you view the Qur'an in a new light. I thought about linking in the sources, but decided against it. We have a wonderful thread here with no real links outside. It is self contained and can be saved in its entirety to disk for off-line reading, or to give to others. So I thought I'd continue in the same vain, as the information in this reply valuable, for those who have never seen it before.

So let us continue with the test I suggested. As I said in my first essay about the Qur'an, you'll only need to bring your ability to reason to the discussion. I think after reading this post, you would have to agree that the Qur'an, at the very least, is something unique in the world. I am sure this post will make for some stimulating Sunday morning brunch reading. You'll need to digest this over a few days and reread it a few times. So reflect on it, have another cup of coffee, and while you do I'll take a short break.

"Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best who have strayed from His Path and who receive guidance." (16:125)

"But if any reject Faith let not his rejection grieve thee: to Us is their return and We shall tell them the truth of their deeds: for Allah knows well all that is in (men's) hearts." (31:23)

The Questions

Beerman, eve and Gregg posed excellent questions from my first essay on the Qur'an. In order to "simplify" my response I'm going to repost the questions as I understand them (please correct me if I understood them incorrectly) first, and then respond to them afterwards.

1) The falsification test doesn't necessary prove anything because the Qur'an may be correct and still be written by a smart person.

2) Why is it so bad to believe what someone else says? That is, it's obvious that we can never know everything and must rely on what others discover in order to make progress. And therefore, Beerman, as you stated when you first posed this question, it would appear "... that the real task is to decide who is trustworthy in determining whether it is reasonable to believe what they say, since obviously we should not believe everything that others tell us."

3) If the discovery of the truth must be based only on strict human logic and reason, then only a very few will ever be sure of it because there are many who lack the intellect necessary to find it out. Don't you think that this argues against Allah's desire (we would assume) to communicate his word to everyone?

4) Just because a system, theory or religion, is internally consistent, that in no way qualifies it as necessarily truthful. That is, just because something is internally consistent, it does not necessarily mean its tied to the real world and will "collapse" or fail *at least once* when tested in the real world (as is shown with Freud and astrology).

5) Because of the inherent differences in translations of the Qur'an, due to the human element introduced, the only true meaning can only be obtained from the original Arabic. Therefore, does this not imply that the Qur'an was meant for the Arabic-speaking people alone, contradicting the expectation that a message from God would be universal, and only Arabic speaking people will ever have the true message?

The Answers

I'm sure that you all must recognize that your questions are fairly obvious and, therefore, must have been asked by someone in the last 1400 years. You will recall the following official statement from the Catholic church from my first essay:

"Over the centuries, many theories have been offered as to the origin of the Qur'an... Today no sensible man accepts any of these theories"

I am sure that we can all appreciate that the Catholic church has a vested interest in establishing the Qur'an as not from God and necessarily would have put their finest minds to work at this task. Therefore, I think we can be reasonably sure that they must have studied all of the "obvious" suggestions about the Qur'an's origin, as well as many other more imaginative suggestions as to its origin. Yet, the result of these 1400 years of deliberations has failed to produce the result they so hope for. This in itself is not a proof of anything, but certainly a point for "those who use their reason" to reflect on.

Nevertheless, since you are at a disadvantage having only been exposed to a dozen or so of 6,000 ayats from the Qur'an, which would otherwise let you answer many of these questions yourselves, I assume you are curious about the answers to see if the Qur'an can withstand questions from one who has just been exposed to the Qur'an. Unless you are of the opinion that in less than 7 days of exposure to the Qur'an, you have discovered an argument that has eluded the finest minds on this task during the last 1400 years. In either event, I completely respect your questions, as evidenced by the effort taken to compose this response, and I endeavor to provide the best answers I can.

Answer to question 4

I will answer this question first as it is the simplest. Greg responded very well and I can not do much better than to quote him and add a few additional comments.

... the point I got from the Qur'an is "challenge this work, and if you can prove it false, fine, don't use it or believe it."

When you say: [" all I'm saying is that here we have a whole system that could be simply what I might term a "floating abstraction" -- internally consistent, but not necessarily tied to reality."]

- that's the point. If the Qur'an isn't tied to reality, throw it out. Being internally consistent is not what would demark the Truth of something, as you point out, but being put under the scrutiny of Reason or Science would.

As you state, eve, science threw out Freud's theories when they didn't hold up. The Qur'an does not ask to be tested as some "floating abstraction" not tied to reality. It *demands* to be tested under the cold hard light of the real world's scientific methods. No less. Anything less, it would not even consider a satisfactory test, and in fact an affront to it.

An interesting characteristic of the Qur'an is how it deals with surprising phenomena which relate not only to the past but to modern times as well. In essence, the Qur'an is not an old problem. It is still a problem even today - a problem to the non-Muslims that is. For everyday, every week, every year brings more and more evidence that the Qur'an is a force to be contended with, that its authenticity is no longer challenged by those even opposed to it. To help you gain some perspective on the type of information contained within the Qur'an, you will see later in this reply, a section titled the "Qur'an and Science" showing the results of the investigations, by some of the most learned in the scientific community, into the scientific statements in the Qur'an. I think that section should, without any doubt, take the Qur'an firmly out of eve's "floating abstraction".

Answer to question 1

After studying the section titled the "Qur'an and Science", I think you will come to realize that it does not matter how "smart" the person who authored the Qur'an was. The Qur'an is making statements about science and nature that are not only so eerily and piercingly accurate, but made centuries, if not millennia, before science had the wherewithal to actually establish the statements as true. That is, the scientific facts in the Qur'an are so clear, as to leave no ambiguity in interpretation, and in many cases, science has only recently come to make the discoveries that show these statements to be true. This does not even consider the prophesies made in the Qur'an. Therefore "smartness" is not an issue, and instead the issue is how did Prophet Muhammed get the information?

Answer to question 2

Question 2 and 3 are very closely related because they both are concerned with the issue of verification of information.

Question 2 asks:

["Why is it so bad to believe what someone else says?"]

This is *the most fundamental* issue of all and I am glad you are still pressing it. It goes to the heart of being able to distinguish what is true from what is false. Allow me to give you a tip, do not leave this issue until you are convinced by the answers.

The issue is not that it is "bad" to believe what someone else says, the issue is really about making sure that you have the *ability to verify* what you have been told *if you choose to do so*. How you come to verify the matter is irrelevant. You can do it by reason or by examining the source evidence, or both (as they must be in concordance with each other). But, if you choose to, you *must be allowed* to verify what you have been told and, when it comes to the search for the path to the Truth, you *must also actually be able* to verify it. If you can not do both, then, as I have said, you can neither be sure that you are following a path (map) that leads to the Truth nor that the guide who leads you is not misled himself, as neither of you can verify what you are doing.

Surely we can see it is common sense that when esoteric theological doctrines (read complex and convoluted doctrines understood by a few, if any at all) are promoted, and then wrap themselves behind a cloak, insisting they can not and should not be verified, is when we must *be most vigilent* in unequivocally demanding verification of the doctrine. Failure to do so is to invite, wholly unchecked, the innovations of man to enter into and corrupt the original teachings of God. This is where superstitions gain their foundation and foothold. And as we know superstitions have absolutely nothing to do with the Truth, but merely masquerade as impostors for the Truth to the ignorant.

"(O man), follow not that whereof thou hast no knowledge. Lo! the hearing and the sight and the heart--of each of these it will be asked (on the Day of Reckoning)." (17:36)

I suggest you keep the above in mind and reread the section from my original essay titled "Has God given mankind a clear path to Him?" and, from that section in particular, the paragraph before and the two paragraphs after the "break" in the two posts that make up the essay. Even if I do say so myself, I don't think what I wrote there, with the above, can be much improved upon to answer your question.

I presume that this question was not raised as an academic issue, but because of a fundamental concern.

I am reminded of the plight of Trueman in movie "The Trueman Show"; it was his use of reason that let him find the truth of his predicament. I am also reminded of a Star Trek NG episode in which Star Fleet had established a hidden observation post to study a pre-industrial Vulcan (or Vulcan offshoot) society. The shields hiding the observation post failed, one thing led to another, and eventually a native, while being treated for injuries aboard the Enterprise, gained consciousness in the sickbay. Well it didn't take long for him to make the connection that God was "The Picard". It was only through reasoning was Picard able to make one lady see the truth and get rid of the superstition.

Answer to question 3

This is a far more profound question than you may realize. I'll restate it here for ease of discussion:

[If the discovery of the truth must be based only on strict human logic and reason then only a very few will ever be sure of it because there are many who lack the intellect necessary to find it out. Don't you think that this argues against Allah's desire (I assume) to communicate his word to everyone?]

As with question 2, it is at the heart of Islam. Right at the very core. It's about verification, as in question 2, but more specifically, how *any* individual can obtain that verification for himself.

Although you may not believe in an accountability in front of God for the effect your actions have had on others (all of which you will not even be aware of), Islam maintains this as one of its principle tenants. So if it doesn't provide a good answer to this question it creates a dilemma for itself. You see if what is implied in this question is true, then a lot of people could tell God "Well, you know, finding the path to you was so complex I really couldn't understand it, and so I depended on what so and so told me, because I trusted him, and now you're telling me he was wrong. So really, if you hadn't made it so complex to begin with, then I wouldn't be in this mess." Now I don't think that God has not anticipated this and, therefore, I am sure he is going to have a very good rebuttal for you when you get there. It would, therefore, seem to be a good idea to make sure you are not misguided in thinking your excuse is going to work before "he calls you up to ask you a few questions".

Lets keep in mind the important points so we don't loose the forest for the trees: God doesn't say this is an exam, and that if you use a certain level of reason, you get more marks. The objective is the same for all amounts of reason used: to identify which is the correct path (the map) to the Truth, *not to show you have a "better" way to find the path*. He is looking for you to make the search with your reason so you can decide for yourself. That is because he has given you free will and wants you to choose as you wish. It is also why you have been given intelligence, so you can not tell him "well I couldn't figure out who to believe". If you were expected to find it with any other way, then you would have any number of valid other excuses to give to God when he "calls you up for a few questions". Also, there is no qualification in Islam about how much reason you must use, or how far you must go with your reason. He just wants you to use your reason. Also, if you are using reason to search for the path to Truth, He will guide you further along that search and the path. He never said He wouldn't help you and you're on your own. In fact you're not going to find the Truth without His help, regardless of how much reason you use. There is nothing irrational about this. In fact the "excuse" given above is itself premised on the fact that you went to so and so for help. Well God says "Use your reason and I'll help; I know better". Sounds like a good arrangement. It makes sense. What else could be better? What else would you want? This is the crux of Islam's message: blindingly and elegantly simple for anyone to understand.

So let's take what I just explained piece by piece. Firstly let us make absolutely sure that God does intends us to use our reason:

"Verily, the vilest of all creatures in the sight of God are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason." (8:22)

Now that's about as clear as you can get. The issue is: just how complex are the things we have to reason out that would make it so difficult for a person not given to deep bouts of rationalization to do?. As far as I can see he has just one thing he has to do: He just has to use his reason to *start* to separate fact from fiction so he can find the true path (map). Now to me that would be the simplest thing of all to do. But he must use his reason with a certain disposition:

"Verily in this is a Message for any that has a heart and understanding or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses (the truth)." (50:37)

Once you start using your reason, you must use it with *sincerity* and openness. That is, no matter where the search leads you, you have the courage to stay the course. If you are open and are willing to use your reason to cast off superstitions, then He'll come to help you. Now I think its obvious if He's helping you, you're not going to have much difficulty in the matter. The key is to get His help. And to get it, He wants you to use your reason while being *sincere* in your search for the path.

Does it make sense that God would work this way? Do you think this would even make sense even to someone who is not given to deep reasoning? I think so. And if the person was to ask "why should we use reason?" The answer, as I gave earlier, is surely it is common sense that if you are told something which you can't understand and the person advising you even says to you that nobody can understand it, then there is no way for you to know if what he is telling you is the truth. So why would you follow him? In other words, does it make any sense that God would say "To find the true path to me, follow those who say things you can not check and who can't understand what they say themselves?" Of course not. Do you do such a foolish thing with any other aspect of your life? Do you think this would be too complex a concept for some one not given to complex reasoning to understand? I don't think so. I think he'd answer "No, it makes no sense for God to tell us that that is how to reach him. What would be the point of having our intelligence? We might as well be animals; at least they have instinct not to act so stupidly". And hence, this person *has already begun* to use his reason to identify the true path to God. Now he has to bring a true heart and open mind to the task, and God will help him.

Now lets just see what God has to say about who will get His help.

Allah increaseth in right guidance those who walk aright, and the good deeds which endure are better in thy Lord's sight for reward, and better for resort. (19:76)

"It is those who believe and confuse not their beliefs with wrong that are (truly) in security for they are on (right) guidance." (6:82)

Those who listen to the Word and follow the best (meaning) in it: those are the ones whom Allah has guided and those are the ones endued with understanding. (39:18)

"But it is clear revelations in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge, and none deny our revelations save wrongdoers." (29:49)

Well obviously, as we have just seen, you must use some reason and be sincere, or He's not going have much of an opinion of you and you aren't going to get very far, as He's not going to even bother to help you. In fact God says:

"As to those who reject Faith it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. (2:6)

"Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur)." (2:7)

Think of the analogy I gave about looking for the sunrise in the west; it's the same thing. If you met somebody who tells you that each day he looks for the sunrise in the west because he was told to by so and so, and he complains he never sees it, you'd probably say "well you're looking in the wrong place and here's why". Now if the person still says well "I don't believe you", you'll probably say "well you don't have to, just come over here and look for yourself, or think about what I've said and you'll see it makes sense". If he persists in his stubbornness, saying "this is a trick the sun hasn't risen there, I don't believe you" you're probably going to say, well you're on your own, there's nothing much I can do for you.

It is precisely because Islam is very simple, without the complex theologies of other religions, many of which have been described in this thread and which only a few, if any, can really understand, that a person with limited reasoning abilities can understand Islam fully, and use his reason to find the path. One's own common sense would tell you that it makes no sense for God to make things so complex that the people who try and explain it to you can't even do that, and finally in frustration, tell you to just "believe it". Islam's simplicity helps the any person choose amongst the various "Believe me, I have the Truth" messages out there, as he can focus in on what makes sense. Then, he needs to *verify* the "Believe me, I have the Truth" messages he has "short-listed". If he only has one "believe me" message left on his list, the rest having made no sense for one reason or another, his job is done, even though he is not given to deep reasoning.

"And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?" (54:17)

As I said there is no stipulation about "how" much reason to use. There are no *extra marks* for using more "powerful" reasoning. Remember the objective is the same for all amounts of reason used: to identify the correct path to the Truth. The objective is not to show you have a *better way* to find the path.

Islam allows the person with the simplest reasoning capabilities to find the path. But it also allows the most diehard skeptic to plunge to the limits of human reasoning capabilities and do the same. What we find is an continuum which allows each person to find the truth with their own level of reason. Since you are free to use any amount of reasoning and the destination is the same, those who only use a little reason *cannot* contradict those who use a lot of reason. Hence there is nothing wrong with having *only* simple views about the things of God as long they are *correct*.

So if the person has more than one "believe me message" left on his "short-list", he merely has to check them against what others, who have used more reason, have determined or ask someone to explain him why each "believe me message" left on his list does or does not make sense. There is no stipulation that one must reason out everything oneself. It is a far easier thing for you to understand why something does or does not follow reason when it is explained to you than it is to discover that by yourself. Hence, you will still be able to use your reason, though limited, to evaluate what is being explained to you to help you in your determination amongst which of the "believe me messages" are correct. You will quickly find it is not difficult to eliminate from your "short-list" of "believe me messages" those which make no sense for one reason or another. You will be left with only one path to the truth and you are done.

The key is that a person who is honest with himself and is sincere in his search for the path will be able to continue to use his reason till he is **satsified**. Either he will not arrive at any new counter arguments, or he'll uncover one fact, just one piece of evidence, which evaluated with reason, will be sufficient to satisfy him. Of course it may be that many such facts may be needed, as given in the section below titled the Qur'an and Science. But whatever the case, if he is true to himself, i.e. sincere, he will finally say "this has to be the correct path to the Truth, *because* of so and so". Otherwise he is not sincere, and he is as the person who is looking west for the sunrise, even after being shown the sunrise in the east. There are such people, and one must guard oneself from being such a person, if for no other reason than to stop oneself from potentially being delusional about anything.

So let me give a story about how one person was satisfied with the "simple" approach and needed just one fact:

Some years ago, a man who was in the merchant marine and made his living on the sea. A Muslim gave him a translation of the Qur'an to read. The merchant marine knew nothing about the history of Islam but was interested in reading the Qur'an. When he finished reading it, he brought it back to the Muslim and asked, "This Muhammad, was he a sailor?" He was impressed at how accurately the Qur'an describes a storm on a sea. When he was told, "No as a matter of fact, Muhammad lived in the desert," that was enough for him. He embraced Islam on the spot.

Continued in part 2 ...

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 12, 2000.


Continued from part 1 ...

He was so impressed with the Qur'an's description because he had been in a storm at sea, and he knew that whoever had written that description had also been in a storm at sea.

"Or (the unbelievers state) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by (dark) clouds: Depths of darkness, one above another: If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! For any to whom Allah does not give light, there is no light." (24:40).

The description of "a wave, over it a wave, over it clouds" was not what someone *imagining* a storm on a sea to be like would have written; rather, it was written by someone who knew what a storm on the sea was like.

Now others would say Muhammed may have been out on a boat in a storm, but I think there was something in the particular choice of words used by the Qur'an that made an impression to this sailor. In any event, for the sailor his reasoning led to his satisfaction and the verification of the message was also the verification that God exists.

Each one of us is an expert on something. One does not have to have a degree in a particular subject to decide that now, "I can take my expertise to the Qur'an and see what I can find." We all now something from our own experience and life.

Now as I said, there are others who are inclined to a deeper discussion of logic, such as those in this thread--scientists, mathematicians and so forth--and who also search for the Truth. They prefer something a little more "substantial", than what satisfied the sailor; that is, something a little more definitive, since they are not limited by how much reason they wish to bring to bear to the task. I wish to address these people as well, even though they are not the issue of Question 3 as stated, because the answer to Question 3 is really an admission that since each person is different, there is continuum of the amount of reason needed for each person to be "satisfied" that he has found the path. However before I do that, I'd just like to take a diversion at this point to answer question 5, and then in the section "Qur'an and Science - Satisfying the more skeptical mind" I'll come back to resume the current the current topic.

Answer to question 5

This question is about the Arabic people being favored since the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic and the true meaning from the Qur'an can only be had from its original Arabic writing.

Let me say at the outset, I do not speak Arabic. I only speak English. I wish with my heart that I knew Arabic and I fully intend to learn it. And there is nothing from stopping you from learning it too. Many have. However, as we have seen from the above, Arabic is not a prerequisite to being able to *find the path* to the truth. That is absolutely fundamental.

Now to understand more of about the Qur'an and Islam, there is no shortage of outstanding material in English and other languages (particularly French and German), that will let you delve almost as deep as you wish. Just knowing Arabic is not going to let you "understand" the Qur'an. You need knowledge, insight, reason, understanding, intuition, humility, patience, and sincerity. There are many who know Arabic and have read the Qur'an and have no idea of what it really offers. Yet there are others who have never read it in its native Arabic, and understand far more about what it says and what it means than those who speak Arabic. God does not say you need Arabic to understand:

And that those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Qur'an) is the Truth from thy Lord and that they may believe therein and their hearts may be may be made humbly (open) to it: for verily Allah is the Guide of those who believe to the Straight Way. (22:54)

Actually, the very fact that there is no "authorized" translation of the Qur'an allows many to bring their insights in many translations and you are free and encouraged to study them all -- even if you know Arabic. There is now software on CD that allows you to read 5 or 6 translations of the Qur'an, complete with commentry, simultaneously so that you can examine different perspectives. You, therefore, may even be at an advantage over the average Arabic speaking person to some extent.

However that being said, if you plunge deep into the depths of one particular aspect of Islam, (no person is an expert on it all) and exhaust all the English materials on that topic, you will need to go to the Arabic Qur'an if your thirst for an answer has not been satisfied. I would say if you were at that point, there would be very little that would be able to hold you back from learning Arabic. The yearning in your heart to *know* your answer by then will have overwhelmed any inhibitions you may have about learning Arabic.

"Nothing is said to thee (O, Muhammed) that was not said to the apostles before thee: That thy Lord has at His command (all) Forgiveness as well as a most Grievous Penalty" (41:43)

"Had We sent this as a Qur'an (in a language) other than Arabic they would have said: "Why are not its verses explained in detail? What! (a Book) not in Arabic and (a Messenger) an Arab?" Say: "It is a guide and a healing to those who believe; and for those who believe not there is a deafness in their ears and it is blindness in their (eyes); they are (as it were) being called from a place far distant!" " (41:44)

But besides what I have explained, how else can one present information about the Qur'an to satisfy those who do not speak the language of the Arabs or know anything about the inimitable eloquence of the Qur'an? Is the only way for them to learn Arabic? The answer, of course, is no. God has sent to all generations evidence in a language understandable by all mankind, irrespective of their different races, languages, and times: The language of Science.

Qur'an and Science - Satisfying the more skeptical mind

As you read the remainder of this post, keep the following in mind:

"Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages self-evident in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge - and none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves]." (29:49)

"In time, We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them this [revelation] is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?" (41:53)

"Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who use their reason." (30:28)

"Verily in this is a Message for any that has a heart and understanding or who gives ear and earnestly witnesses (the truth)." (50:37)

"As to those who reject Faith it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe. (2:6)

"Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur)." (2:7)

That is, keep in mind, as explained in the answer to question 3, both sincerity and rationality are critical. There is nothing irrational about requiring these. These are the foundations of impartial scientific methods and discovery. How can one expect to find the truth if one is not sincere or true to oneself; rejecting discovery arbitrarily just because it doesn't suit our preconceived notions of what form it should take? How can one expect to find the truth if one is not rational?

Setting Standards

As I have said there is no stipulation about "how" much reason to use or bring to bear in the search for the path to the Truth. There are no *extra points* for using more "powerful" reasoning. Remember the objective is the same: to find the true path. The objective is not to show you have a *better way* to find the path.

As I mentioned the issue of verification is really an admission that because each person is different, there is continuum of the amount of reason needed for each to be *satisfied* that he has found the path. So even with the skeptical there are various degrees along the way. I showed above how those not given to using deep reason can, with just limited use of reason, know that they have found the path to Truth. Now lets see how to satisfy a person who is a little more skeptical. The following it makes enough sense for most to be *satisfactory*. Some will only be satisfied with a Sagan type "pi" discovery. Some, will not be satisfied even then (they are like the person insisting that he must look west for the sunrise). And others, such as eve, believe God exists but assume that there is no evidence which would allow a person to use reason to satisfy himself that he has found the true path to God. So in effect they say God wishes us to know him, but has not provided a way to know if the Christian path to God is correct or the Buddhist one or the Muslim one or the ones used by tribes worshipping idols.

(What I now present to the end of this post is a compilation from many sources and lectures--actually I should mention that my original essay on the Qur'an was a mixture of my own writing on the key topic mixed with context and foundation from many sources. I have changed the grammar below to suit the current discourse.)

The key to avoiding this endless dissatisfaction is for each of us to satisfy ourselves about the standards first; to satisfy ourselves that such and such are a list of criteria that constitute proof, satisfying proof, and then we test the subjects that we examine.

Everyone must be committed to something. You have to put your foot down some place. It is impossible to be neutral at all times. There has to be a point of reference in the life of any thinking individual. You have to take a stand somewhere. The question, of course, is to put your foot down in the right place. Since there is no such thing as a proof of a proof and so on, in order to find the right place to put one's foot down, to take a stand, we have to search and find that place and it is by a method that I hope to illustrate here.

It is a question of finding a point of convergence. You see, we search for truth in many places and we begin to know that we are succeeding in finding the truth if all our different paths start to converge; they start to come together at the same point.

If we are examining a book, looking for evidence of divine origin, and we are led to Islam, this is one path. If at the same time, we examining the words of all those who were called prophets and we find ourselves led to Islam (which I'll leave for another time), we have a firmly grounded basis for belief. We started looking for truth in two different places and found ourselves going down the path headed for the same destination.

The point is, in order to take a stand and to be sure it is in the right place, we want to examine all the evidence around us and see where does it lead us and anticipate this point of convergence; to say it looks like all things are pointing to this place. We go to that place and then look at the data around us to see if it fits into place. Does it now make sense? Are we standing in the right place?

Let us start, through more of our examination of the Qur'an, see if we can find this point of convergence.

Ask Those Who Have Knowledge

An interesting attitude that exists in the Qur'an repeatedly deals with its advice to the reader. The Qur'an informs the reader about different facts and then gives the advice: "If you want to know more about this or that, or if you doubt what is said, then you should ask those who have knowledge." This too is a surprising attitude. It is not usual to have a book that comes from someone without training in geography, botany, biology, etc., who discusses these subjects and then advises the reader to ask men of knowledge if he doubts anything. Yet in every age there have been Muslims who have followed the advice of the Qur'an and made surprising discoveries. If one looks to the works of Muslim scientists of many centuries ago, one will find them full of quotations from the Qur'an. These works state that they did research in such a place, looking for something. And they affirm that the reason they looked in such and such a place was that the Qur'an pointed them in that direction.

For example, the Qur'an mentions man's origin and then tells the reader, "Research it!" It gives the reader a hint where to look and then states that one should find out more about it. This is the kind of thing that Muslims today largely seem to overlook - but not always, as illustrated in the following examples.

As you read the following you will start speculating on many ideas about how Muhammed came to have this information, so keep in mind the following official statement from the Catholic church from my first essay, and know that I have still only provided a *tiny* fraction of the information that had at their disposal, but which is also available to you:

"Over the centuries, many theories have been offered as to the origin of the Qur'an... Today no sensible man accepts any of these theories"

I now take the Qur'an out of its "floating abstraction", as eve describes. As Gregg said:

[being internally consistent is not what would demark the Truth of something, as you (eve) point out, but being put under the scrutiny of Reason or Science would].

Gregg, I hope the following provides you with a start of what you are looking for. I have not presented "research papers", as I don't want to loose you, but instead present synopsis with enough detail to convince and provide credibility. These examples are just a small fraction of what can be presented.

Embryology

Dr. Keith L. Moore is a Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. He is a world renowned scientist and a distinguished researcher in the fields of anatomy and embryology, he has published more than 150 research articles, chapters and books in this field. He is the author of several medical textbooks, such as the widely used and acclaimed "The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology" (now in its fifth edition, translated into eight different languages, and the standard textbook on this science in many countries), "Before We Are Born" and "Clinically Oriented Anatomy." He has also recently co-authored "Qur'an and Modern Science, Correlation Studies." Dr. Moore is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including, in 1984, the J.C.B. Grant Award, which is the highest honor granted by the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He has served in many academic and administrative positions, including the President of the Canadian Association of Anatomists, 1968-1970.

Let us see what Dr. Moore's opinion is on the scientific statements regarding embryology to be found in the Qur'an:

Dr. Moore was contacted by a Muslim scholar by the name of Abdul-Majeed Azzindani. He was asked to participate in a three-year study of around twenty-five verses of the Qur'an and the Sunnah (sayings of Muhammad) which speak about embryology, and to determine the degree of their correspondence to modern scientific discoveries. Dr. Moore's conclusion regarding this matter was:

"For the past three years, I have worked with the Embryology Committee of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, helping them to interpret the many statements in the Qur'an and the Sunnah referring to human reproduction and prenatal development. At first I was astonished by the accuracy of the statements that were recorded in the seventh century AD, before the science of embryology was established. Although I was aware of the glorious history of Muslim scientists in the 10th century AD, and of some of their contributions to Medicine, I new nothing about the religious facts and beliefs contained in the Qur'an and Sunnah. It is important for Islamic and other students to understand the meaning of these Qur'anic statements about human development, based on current scientific knowledge. The interpretations of the "verses" in the Qur'an and the Sunnah, translated by Shaikh Azzindani, are to the best of my knowledge accurate."

The Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad provide a very detailed description of the microscopic development of the human embryo from a mere sperm drop up to the stage of a completely formed human being. It is well known that microscopes were not developed until the sixteenth century AD, and even at that were very crude in design. Zacharias Janssen is credited with having invented the compound microscope in about 1590. With it, remarkable scientific discoveries were made in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Dutch naturalist Anthony van Leeuwenhoek produced lenses powerful enough to prove that many tiny creatures are not spontaneously generated but come from eggs.

Before this period, theories on human reproduction ran rampant. Some scientist believed that the menstrual blood itself developed into the fetus. Later on, a new theory was developed wherein the sperm drop was popularly believed to contain a completely developed miniature human (homunculus) which later grew to the size of a baby. The science of embryology as we know it today did not discover many of the detailed aspects of human development which are taken for granted today until only about twenty years ago, or 1972 to be precise.

Now we must ask the question: where did prophet Muhammad get such detailed knowledge of the microscopic development of the human embryo in the 6th century AD without a microscope, technical training, or a laboratory of any kind?

Prof. Moore has since given numerous lectures on the topic of embryology in the Qur'an. He is quoted in one of these lectures as saying:

"It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, or Allah, because most of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been a messenger of God, or Allah."

Prof. Moore was so impressed with the Qur'anic classification of the stages of development of the human embryo, that he suggested the adoption of the Qur'anic system in place of the system currently in use by scientists today. Prof. Moore said:

"Because the staging of the human embryo is complex owing to the continuous process of change during development. It is therefore suggested that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge."

When Dr. Moore first presented his findings in Toronto it caused quite a stir throughout Canada. It was on the front pages of some of the newspapers across Canada. One newspaper reporter asked Professor Moore,

"Don't you think that maybe the Arabs might have known about these things - the description of the embryo, its appearance and how it changes and grows? Maybe there were not scientists, but maybe they did some crude dissections on their own - carved up people and examined these things."

Professor Moore immediately pointed out to him, however, that he had missed a very important point. All of the slides of the embryo that Dr. Moore had based his study upon had come from pictures taken through a microscope. He said,

"It does not matter if someone had tried to discover embryology fourteen centuries ago, they could not have seen it!." Dr. Moore taunted, "Maybe fourteen centuries ago someone secretly had a microscope and did this research, making no mistakes anywhere. Then he somehow taught Muhammad and convinced him to put this information in his book. Then he destroyed his equipment and kept it a secret forever?. Do you believe that? You really should not unless you bring some proof because it is such a ridiculous theory."

When he was asked "How do you explain this information in the Qur'an?" Dr. Moore's reply was, "It could only have been divinely revealed."

Prof. Keith Moore is not the only scholar who has been presented with such verses of the Qur'an. Many other scholars from all over the world have been presented with similar statements from the Qur'an in their field of expertise. Only a few of these people are:

1) Dr. E. Marshall Johnson, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, and the Director of the Daniel Baugh Institute, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA. Author of over 200 publications. Former President of the Teratology Society among other accomplishments. After studying the verses of the Qur'an he came to the following conclusion:

"The Qur'an describes not only the development of external form but emphasizes also the internal stages - the stages inside the embryo of its creation and development, emphasizing major events recognized by contemporary science... If I was to transpose myself into that era, knowing what I do today and describing things, I could not describe the things that were described... I see no evidence to refute the concept that this individual Muhammad had to be developing this information from some place... so I see nothing in conflict with the concept that divine intervention was involved..."

2) Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson. Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor Collage of Medicine, Houston, Texas. He is the President of the American Fertility Society, and has served in many other professional, national, and international organizations. He has received numerous awards including Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology Public Recognition Award in 1992. He has published more than 400 chapters and articles in journals and books. He says:

"... these Hadeeths (sayings of Muhammad) could not have been obtained on the basis of the scientific knowledge that was available at the time of the writer'... It follows that not only is there no conflict between genetics and religion (Islam) but in fact religion (Islam) may guide science by adding revelation to some of the traditional scientific approaches... There exist statements in the Qur'an shown centuries later to be valid which support knowledge in the Qur'an having been derived from God."

3) Dr. T.V.N. Persaud. Professor and Head of the Department of Anatomy, Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health, and Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is the author and editor of 25 books, has contributed 31 chapters to publications, and has published over 180 scientific papers. In 1991 he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He says:

"Muhammad was a very ordinary man, he couldn't read, didn't know how to write, in fact he was an illiterate... we're talking about 1400 years ago, you have some illiterate person making profound statements that are amazingly accurate, of a scientific nature... I personally can't see how this could be mere chance, there are too many accuracies and like Dr. Moore, I have no difficulty in my mind reconciling that this is a divine inspiration or revelation which lead him to these statements."

4) After a study which lasted ten years, the famous French physician Dr. Maurice Bucaille addressed the French Academy of Medicine in 1976 and expressed the complete agreement of the Qur'an and established findings of modern science. He presented his study on the existence in the Qur'an of certain statements concerning physiology and reproduction. His reason for doing that was that:

Continued in part 3 ...

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 12, 2000.


Continued from part 2 ...

"our knowledge of these disciplines is such, that it is impossible to explain how a text produced at the time of the Qur'an could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times."

Based upon his extensive study of these issues over many years, Dr. Bucaille later converted to Islam.

5) Dr. Tejatet Tejasen, Head of the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chiang Mai, Thailand. After his study on the Qur'an passages dealing with embryology:

"From my studies and what I have learnt at this conference I believe that everything that has been recorded in the Qur'an 1400 years ago must be true. That can be proved the scientific way."

On the sensory characteristic of the skin

Professor Tejatat Tejasen is Chairman of the Department of Anatomy at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. He was previously the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the same university.

Professor Tejasen was presented some Qur'anic verses and Prophetic Hadeeth which deal with his specialization in the field of anatomy. He was also given a written copy of the lecture by Professor Keith Moore (see above) about the compatibility of modern embryology with what is contained in the Qur'an and the Sunnah, and upon being asked if he knew of Professor Keith Moore, replied that he knew him of course, adding that Professor Moore was one of the most world-renowned scientists in that field.

Dr. Tejasen was also asked to review the following verse of the Qur'an:

"Those who reject our signs, We shall soon cast into the fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Truly Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise." (4:56)

The skin is the center of sensitivity to burns. Thus, if the skin is completely burnt by fire, it looses its sensitivity. It is for this reason that Allah gave the similitude of eternal punishment by stating that he would return to them their skins, time after time, so they would continue to feel and endure the pain, as in the ayat (verse) 4:56 given above.

Professor Tejasen concluded that this knowledge that if the skin is completely burnt by fire, it looses its sensitivity could never have come from any human source 1400 years ago. Then at the Eighth Saudi Medical Conference held in Riyadh, Professor Tejasen attended a series of lectures on Medical signs in the Qur'an and Sunnah and after spending four days with several scholars, Muslims and non-Muslims, talking about this phenomenon in the Qur'an and the Sunnah, Professor Tejasen said:

"In the last three years I became interested in the Qur'an, which Shaykh Abdul-Majeed Az-Zindani gave me. Last year, I got Professor Keith Moore's latest script. From my studies and from what I have learned throughout this conference, I believe that everything that has been recorded in the Qur'an 1400 years ago must be the truth, and can be proven by scientific means. Since the Prophet Muhammad could neither read nor write, Muhammad must be a messenger who relayed this truth which was revealed to him as an enlightenment by the One Who is an eligible Creator. This Creator must be Allah, or God. Therefore, I think this is the time to say 'Laa ilaaha illallah', That there is no God to worship except Allah, 'Muhammad Rasool Allah', Muhammad is the messenger of Allah". And with that Professor Tejasen publicly declared he is now a Muslim.

"Those who have been given knowledge see that what is revealed unto thee from thy Lord is the truth and leadeth unto the path of the Mighty, the Owner of Praise." (34:6)

Deep Seas and Oceans

Professor Dorja Rao, a specialist in Marine Geology, currently teaches at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah. He was presented with a number of Qur'anic verses that surprised and astonished him, including the following:

"Or (the unbelievers state) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by (dark) clouds: Depths of darkness, one above another: If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! For any to whom Allah does not give light, there is no light." (24:40).

As Professor Rao confirmed, scientists now know, since the advent of submarines, that there exist layers of darkness in the ocean depths.

Those who dive for pearls do so in shallow waters and can not dive any deeper than this. Human beings can not survive in the deep dark part of the oceans, such as at a depth of 200 meters. But this verse speaks about a phenomenon found in very deep oceans; therefore, the verse does not refer to just any sea, because not every sea can be described as having accumulated darkness layered one over another.

The layered darkness in deep seas is the result of the successive absorption of the light spectrum as light rays travel deeper into the ocean. A light ray is composed of colors, and when it hits water, it is refracted into these colors (just like a rainbow).

lightrelect.JPG (10397 bytes)

In the figure we see a ray of light going through the depth of the ocean. The upper layer has absorbed the red color in the first 10 meters. If a diver would dive to a depth of 30 meters and gets wounded there, he would not be able to see his blood, because red does not reach this depth. In the same way, as we see in this picture, orange rays are absorbed next. Then at the depth of 50 meters yellow rays are absorbed. At the depth of 100 meters green rays are absorbed. At depths beyond 200 meters, blue rays are absorbed, and so on. From this, we can see that the ocean becomes progressively darker, and it gets darker in layers.

Professor Rao's conclusion was that "It is difficult to imagine that this type of knowledge existed 1400 years ago. Maybe some of the things there were simple ideas about such, but to describe this phenomenon in great detail and accuracy would have been very difficult. So, this is definitely not simple human knowledge. A normal human being cannot explain this phenomenon in that much detail. So I thought the information must have come from a supernatural source."

Geological Information in the Qur'an

Professor Palmer is one of the foremost geologists in the US. He headed a committee which organized the Centennial Anniversary of the American Geological Society. When informed that the following verse in the Qur'an

"Alif Laam Meem, the Romans have been defeated, in the lowest part of the land, but after defeat they will soon be victorious." (30:1-3)

mentions the lowest part of the earth is near Jerusalem, where a battle took place between the Persians and the Romans, Professor Palmer contested saying that there were many other areas which are lower than the one referred to in the Qur'anic verse, citing examples and names of other areas in Europe and in the United States. However when he turned his globe and focused on the area near Jerusalem, he found to his astonishment, there was a small arrow sticking out towards that area with words: "the lowest part on the face of the earth". The lowest part of the earth was exactly the same spot that witnessed the battle in which the Romans were defeated.

Professor Palmer was even more astonished when he found that the Qur'an accurately describes how creation first began, how the earth and heavens were created, how the water gushed forth from the depth of the earth, how the mountains were anchored on land, and how vegetation first began.

Like many other scientists, Professor Palmer was hesitant at first, but later he was forthcoming with his opinions. In Cairo, he presented a research paper dealing with the aspects of geological knowledge contained in the Qur'an. He said that he did not know what was the state of the art in the field of science during the days of the Prophet Muhammad. But from what we know about the scanty knowledge and means at that time, we can undoubtedly conclude that the Qur'an is a light of divine knowledge revealed to Muhammad.

The list of scientists continues to grow

The response of these scholars when presented with verses of the Qur'an in their field of specialization, varied. One thing however was always constant. They all confirmed the accuracy of the scientific statements made in the Qur'an, and they all could not explain how Muhammad could have known with such accuracy, the scientific claims to be found in the Qur'an so many centuries before mankind discovered them to be scientific truths. These people represent mankind's finest skeptic: The Scientist. These are real people in the real world. Some are amongst the creme of the scientific community with reputations to match and protect. Yet all are finding a new reality. One that they were steered away from.

"... He detaileth the revelations for people who have knowledge." (10:5)

A short list of some of the many, many, other non-Muslim scientists recognizing the accuracy of scientific knowledge present in the Qur'an prior to discovery by modern scientists include:

1) Dr. Gerald C. Goeringer. Professor and Coordinator of Medical Embryology in the Department of Cell Biology in the Georgetown University school of Medicine. Washington, D.C. He has published numerous articles dealing mainly with the study of teratogenesis.

2) Dr. Alfred Kroner, Professor of Geology, Germany.

3) Dr. Yoshiodi Kozan, Director of the observatory of Tokyo, Japan.

4) Dr. William Hay, Professor of Oceanography, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

5) Dr. Pete Palmer, Professor of Geology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

6) Dr. Sayawida, Professor of Marine Geology, Japan.

7) Dr. Armstrong, Professor of Astronomy, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.

8) Dr. Draga Persaud Rauw, Professor of Marine Geology, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

9) Dr. Schroeder, Professor of Oceanography, Germany.

The Smallest Matter

As another example, there is a word used in the Qur'an, Zarrah, which is usually translated as "atom" and it is thought of in Arabic as being the smallest item available at one time. Perhaps, the Arabs thought it was an ant or a grain of dust. Today, the word is usually translated as "atom".

Those who would outsmart the author of the Qur'an have insisted that, well, the atom is not after all the smallest piece of matter because in this century it has been discovered that even the atom is made of still smaller pieces of matter. Is it then possible to outsmart the author who chose to use this word? Well, there is an interesting verse, in chapter 10, verse 61, which speaks of items the size of a zarrah, (atom) *or smaller*. There is no possibility that on this subject someone is going to say a new discovery has outdated the words of the Qur'an on the issue of the size of matter or the ultimate particles. The verse talks about items the size of a zarrah (atom) or smaller. Hence, it IS written in the Qur'an that an atom IS NOT the smallest particle!

"And not an atom's weight in the earth or in the sky escapeth your Lord, nor what is less than that or greater than that, but it is (written) in a clear Book." (10:61)

Astronomy

The Qur'an discusses the sun and the manner in which it travels through space. When the sun moves through space, there are two options: it can travel just as a stone would travel if one threw it, or it can move of its own accord. The Qur'an states the latter - that it moves as a result of its own motion.

"And He it is who created the night and the day, the sun and the moon. Each one traveling in an orbit with its own motion" (21:33)

To do so, the Qur'an uses a form of the word "sabaha" to describe the sun's movement through space, and in order to properly provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the implications of this Arabic verb, the following example is given.

If a man is in water and the verb "sabaha" is applied in reference to his movement, it can be understood that he is swimming, moving of his own accord and not as a result of a direct force applied to him. Thus, when this verb is used in reference to the sun's movement through space, it in no way implies that the sun is flying uncontrollably through space as a result of being hurled or the like. It simply means that the sun is moving under its own motion as it travels in its orbit. Now, this is what the Qur'an affirms, but was it an easy thing to discover? Can any common man tell that the sun is turning? Only in modern times was the equipment made available to project the image of the sun onto a tabletop so that one could look at it without being blinded. And through this process it was discovered that not only are there spots on the sun but that these spots move once every 25 days. This movement is referred to as the rotation of the sun around its axis and conclusively proves that, as the Qur'an stated 1400 years ago, the sun does, indeed, turn as it travels through space. Furthermore, the sun does orbit the center of the galaxy, something learned less than a 100 years ago. How would anybody know 1400 years ago that the sun does indeed have an orbit of its own.

One of the most interesting aspects of the authenticity of the Final Book is the quantity of scientifically accurate statements related to astronomy and the earth using concepts not even dreamed of 1400 years ago. A sample of these includes the following:

- the initial smokey (nebulous) nature of the skies (41:11)

- the expansion of the universe (51:41)

- the presence of a huge amount of time before mankind appeared (76:1)

- the existence of sun and moon orbits (21:33)

- the finite sun and moon lifetimes (13:2)

- the final destination of the sun (Solar Apex) (36:38)

- the origin of all life based in water (21:30)

- a large explosion marking the start of creation (supporting the Big Bang theory, although that theory is yet to be firmly established by science) (21:30)

The City of Iram

The Qur'an mentions a city by the name of Iram (89:7). The city of Iram has been unknown to History, so unknown that even Muslim commentators, out of embarrassment or feeling apologetic for their religion, have commented on this mention of the city in the Qur'an as being perhaps figurative, that Iram was possibly a man and not a city.

In 1973, the excavation in Syria at the site of the ancient city of Eblus uncovered the largest collection of cuneiform writings on clay tablets ever assembled. In fact, the library discovered in Eblus contains more clay tablets that are more than four thousand years old than all the other tablets combined from all other sites.

Interestingly enough, you will find the details in the National Geographic in 1978 which confirms that in those tablets the city of Iram is mentioned. The people of Eblus used to do business with the people of Iram. So here in 1973, comes confirmation of the fact that, after all, there really was an ancient city by that name, wherever it was. How did it find its way into the Qur'an, we might ask?

Those Muslims who may have offered their comments, trying to explain away this reference that they were uncomfortable with, were outsmarted by the author of the Qur'an. They were those who would attempt to outsmart the author of the Qur'an. Primarily, their activity would involve trying to produce the evidence that the author of this book had a primitive understanding of the world around us.

Predictions

In fact, the Qur'an confidently predicted a number of things only a few years before they came to pass. The fall of the Persian Empire, for example, was predicted in spite of the fact that it had just had a major victory over the Romans. The evidence was all to the contrary. But in the chapter entitled Rom, the fall of the Persian Empire, was predicted.

When all the Muslims in the world could meet in one room, the revelations were already discussing their future successes. In confidence, they were planning for the day when they would be in charge of the city where they were forced at that time to hide for their very lives.

Predicting Forgiveness

Speaking of outsmarting the author of the Qur'an, the Islamic point of view is that when a man embraces Islam, his past is forgiven from the very beginning. This has been the invitation to Islam: come to Islam and all is forgiven from the past.

But consider this. There is only one enemy of Muhammad, peace be upon him, who is mentioned by name in the Qur'an: one Abu Lahab, the uncle of Muhammed. This man hated Islam to such an extent, he used to follow Muhammed around in order to discredit him. In a short chapter of the Qur'an. Abu Lahab is condemned to punishment for his sins.

As it happens, Abu Lahab was alive for many years after this revelation. He could therefore have caused the end of Islam very easily. He needed only to go to the Muslims to announce his conversion. They had in their hands the revelation which said that this man is doomed to punishment. He could have gone to Muslims and say: "I accept Islam, am I forgiven or not?"

He could have confused them so much as to end this small movement because he would have been pointing out to them that they were now in confusion. The policy was instant forgiveness of the past, but their own revealed scripture announced that he was not forgiven. As it was, Abu Lahab died without accepting Islam.

Use and Mention of Words

There is a verse in the Qur'an which says:

"This a scripture whose verses are perfected and then expounded." (11:1)

This tells us that there are no wasted words in the Qur'an; that each verse is perfected and then it is explained. It could not be in a better form. One could not use fewer words to say the same thing or if one uses more words one would only be adding superfluous information.

This directed a mathematician's attention to a particular mathematical subject, a logical subject, and he examined the Qur'an to see if he could find something of what he knew to be the case.

A revolution in logic has occurred in the last one hundred years, primarily over the difference between use and mention of words. A structure of logic seemed to be in danger of collapsing about a hundred years ago because it came to the attention of the people who studied these matters that the structure was not quite sound. The issue involved 'self-reference' and the use and the mention of words explained briefly below.

Aristotle's law of the 'excluded middle' was the statement that every statement is either true false. About a hundred years ago, somebody pointed out that the law of the excluded middle is a statement and is therefore not a law after all. It could just as well be false as well as true.

This was a tangled knot for the logicians to untie until they came to understand the difference between the use and the mention of a word.

When we use a word, we consider its meaning. When we mention a word we are discussing the word itself. If I said Toronto is a large city, I mean Toronto, that place, is a large city. If I say Toronto has seven letters, I am talking about the word 'Toronto'. In the first case I used the word and in the second I mentioned the word. You see the distinction.

Jesus and Adam

Connecting these ideas and the idea that the Qur'an is composed of verses that are perfected and then expounded for us, consider the verse which says:

"The likeness of Jesus before Allah is as the likeness of Adam." (3:59)

It is very clear that what we have in the statement is an equation. This verse goes on to explain how that is true because they both came under unusual circumstances rather than having a mother and a father in the usual human reproductive way. But more than that, our mathematician got to consider the use of the mention of words.

The words are used clearly enough. Jesus is like Adam and by Jesus and Adam, we mean those two men. But what about the mention of the words? Was the author aware of the fact that if we were considering the words as words themselves, this sentence also read that 'Jesus' is something like 'Adam'. Well, they are not spelt with the same letters, how can they be alike in this revelation? The only answer came fairly quickly from the index of the Qur'an.

The index of the Qur'an has been made available only since 1945. This book was the result of years of work by a man and his students who assembled a book which lists every word in the Qur'an and where it can be found.

So, when we look up the word Isa (Jesus), we find it in the Qur'an twenty-five times. When we look up Adam, we find it in the Qur'an twenty-five times. The point is that they are very much alike in this book. They are equated. So, following up on this idea, the mathematician continued to examine the index looking for every case where something was set up as an equation, where the likeness of something was said to be the likeness of some other thing. And in every case, it works. For example a verse reads:

"The likeness of this who reject our signs is as the likeness of the dog." (7:176)

Well, the phrase is Arabic for 'the people who reject our signs' could be found in the Qur'an exactly five times. And so is the Arabic word for 'the dog' (al-kalb). And there are several instances of exactly the same type of occurrence.

Some months after the mathematician found this, a friend of his, who was assisting with this investigation, suggested that there are also some places in the Qur'an where one thing is said to be unlike another.

As soon as this was mentioned, they both went for the index and had a quick look at several places where one thing is said to be unlike another and counted their occurrences in the Qur'an. They were surprised, and maybe should not have been, to find that, after all, they did not match up. But an interesting thing does happen. For example, the Qur'an makes it very clear in the verse that trade is not like interest. The two words will be found six times for one and seven for the other. And so it is in every other case.

When one thing is said to be not like another, they occur with a difference of one time, i.e. five of one and four of the other, or seven of one and eight of another, etc.

Occurrence of Words

A favorite difficulty, or supposed difficulty, which critics like to cite concerning the Qur'an is that the author of this book was ignorant because he advised Muslims to follow the lunar new year instead of the solar year.

The critics say the author was unaware of the differences in the length of years, that if one follows the twelve lunar months, one loses eleven days every year. However, the author was well aware of the distinction between the length of the solar year and lunar year.

"So they stayed in their Cave three hundred years and (some) add nine (more)." (18:25)

As it happens, 300 solar years are equal to 309 lunar years.

The Arabic word for "month", shahar, will be found 12 times in the Qur'an. There are 12 months in a year. If we find twelve months, how many days should we expect to find? "Day" in Arabic is yaum, and as it happens you will find that yaum occurs 365 times in the Qur'an.

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-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 12, 2000.


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Most people are also unaware of the perfect correlation between the Julian and the Lunar calendar: 235 lunar months correspond exactly to 19 Julian years, of 365.25 days. The length of our year of 365 days is not perfect because it has to be rectified every four years. With the lunar calendar, the correction must be made every 19 years (Julian). Knowing this, and that Islam records time using the lunar calendar, if we check the number of times the Arabic word for "year", Sanah, occurs in the Qur'an, we find it occurs 19 times.

Best Explanation

We are told in the Qur'an that no questioner will come to the Muslims with the question for which a good answer has not been provided, and the best explanation for whatever his question. This verse says:

"For everything they say we are given something to go back to them and reply." (25:33)

Looking again to the index of the Qur'an and it was found the word, qalu (they say), is found three hundred and thirty-two times. Now, what would be the natural counterpart? The Arabic word, qul, which is the command 'say' and you will find at the index it also occurs three hundred and thirty-two times.

Perfect balance of Words

Now, what is the point of this perfect balance of words? It shows the author was well aware of the distinction between using words and mentioning words, a fine logical point. But more than that, it begins to point towards the preservation of this book.

The perfect balance of words in the Qur'an, has come to light only in this generation, anybody who would have lost the portion of this book, hidden some of it, or added some of their own would have been unaware of this carefully hidden code in the book. They would have destroyed this perfect balance.

Attributing the Qur'an to the devil

Our mathematician had the opportunity, on one occasion, of describing some of the contents in the Qur'an to a man who did not know which book he was being told about. This man was simply about a book, what it contained and that it was not the Bible. He concluded that the book was miraculous. However, as he was a minister in a Christian Church, he said, "Yes, that book could not possibly have originated with the man and therefore it must come from the devil, because it's not the Bible."

The Qur'an's comments on this suggestion, to those who would suggest that the book came from the devil, is:

"It would neither suit them nor would they be able (to produce it)." (26:211)

It points out that the Qur'an does not quite suit the devil, does it? Is this how a devil would mislead people: by telling them to worship none but the one true God--the Creator who created everything; by telling them that he, the devil, was created also by the Creator who is more powerful than himself!; by insisting that they fast; by telling them they practice charity; by telling them to be righteous and do good works; by instructing Muslims to seek refuge in God from the devil when reciting the Qur'an, and so on.

"And when thou recitest the Quran, seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast." (26:211)

Is this how the devil misleads people? It makes no sense. The devil would not accomplish very much. We'd have to assume he's a little smarter and shrewder than that or we really would have nothing to fear. If our limited brains could see through him this clearly, then we surely would have a better world than we have now, since he would have little or no effect on the actions of people.

Similar arguments expose any other third party who is could be considered as a "fraudulent or substitute author" or "fraudulent or substitute 'Creator' " in place of God.

There is nothing more to say to one whose final excuse against the Qur'an is to irrationally state that "It originated with the devil", except perhaps:

"The devils did not bring it down." (26:210)

And just for good measure God again challenges those who believe the Qur'an did not come from God with an opportunity to show otherwise:

"This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it and a fuller explanation of the Book wherein there is no doubt from the Lord of the Worlds." (10:37)

"Or do they say "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah if it be ye speak the truth!" "(10:38)

"Nay they charge with falsehood that whose knowledge they cannot compass even before the elucidation thereof hath reached them: thus did those before them make charges of falsehood: but see what was the end of those who did wrong!" (10:39)

"Or they may say "He forged it." Say "Bring ye then ten Surahs forged like unto it and call (to your aid) whomsoever ye can other than Allah if ye speak the truth!" (11:13)

"Say: "If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an they could not produce the like thereof even if they backed up each other with help and support." (10:88)

The Female Bee

In the 16th chapter (Surah an-Nahl 16:68-69) the Qur'an mentions that the female bee leaves its home to gather food. Now, a person might guess about that, saying, "The bee that you see flying around - it could be male, or it could be female. I think I will guess female." Certainly, he has a one in two chance of being right. So it happens that the Qur'an is right. But it also happens that that was not what most people believed at the time when the Qur'an was revealed. Can you tell the difference between a male and a female bee? Well, it takes a specialist to do that, but it has been discovered that the male bee never leaves his home to gather food. However, in Shakespeare's play, Henry the Fourth, some of the characters discuss bees and mention that the bees are soldiers and have a king. That is what people thought in Shakespeare's time - that the bees that one sees flying around are male bees and that they go home and answer to a king. However, that is not true at all. The fact is that they are females, and they answer to a queen. Yet it took modern scientific investigations in the last 300 years to discover that this is the case.

A Mathematical Approach - The Odds

Some of the examples given so far concerning the various angles from which one can approach the Qur'an have undoubtedly been subjective in nature; however, there does exist another angle, among others, which is objective and whose basis is mathematical.

It is surprising how authentic the Qur'an becomes when one assembles what might be referred to as a list of good guesses. Mathematically, it can be explained using guessing and prediction examples. For instance, if a person has two choices (i.e., one is right, and one is wrong), and he closes his eyes and makes a choice, then half of the time (i.e., one time out of two) he will be right. Basically, he has a one in two chance, for he could pick the wrong choice, or he could pick the right choice.

Now if the same person has two situations like that (i.e., he could be right or wrong about situation number one, and he could be right or wrong about situation number two), and he closes his eyes and guesses, then he will only be right one-fourth of the time (i.e., one time out of four). He now has a one in four chance because now there are three ways for him to be wrong and only one way for him to be right. The odds of his guessing completely correctly have decreased because the number of situations for him to guess in have increased; and the mathematical equation representing such a scenario is ½ x ½.

Continuing on with the example, if the same person now has three situations in which to make blind guesses, then he will only be right one-eighth of the time (i.e., one time out of eight or ½ x ½ x ½ ). Again, the odds of choosing the correct choice in all three situations have decreased his chances of being completely correct to only one time in eight. It must be understood that as the number of situations increase, the chances of being right decrease, for the two phenomena are inversely proportional.

Now, most of the situations listed in the Qur'an don't have just two choices, they have many, many choices. For example there are dozens of ways to describe the developmental stages of the microscopic human embryo. Lets say there are 10. Then the chances of guessing the correct description is one time out of 10. Following this line of reasoning with 3 situations each having 10 choices, we arrive at the probability of blindly guessing the correct choice for each of the three situations as one time in 1,000.

If one draws up a list of all of the subjects about which the Qur'an has made correct statements, it becomes very clear that it is highly unlikely that they were all just correct blind guesses. Indeed, the subjects discussed in the Qur'an are numerous, and thus the odds of someone just making lucky guesses about all of them become practically nil. What no one can deny is the following: the odds that Muhammad, an illiterate, guessed correctly about thousands and thousands of subjects, never once making a mistake, are so high that any theory of his, or any assistants helping, with the authorship of the Qur'an must be completely dismissed - even by the most hostile enemies of Islam! There are a million ways for the Qur'an to be wrong, yet each time it is right, so it is unlikely that someone was guessing--let alone guessing about scientific knowledge that didn't exist for centuries, even millennia, after the Qur'an was revealed.

Conclusions

The Qur'an states it is perfect, flawless. We can assume God would only send a perfect revelation (a whole lot of contradictions fall into place if we assume he wouldn't do that) and only God would be capable of such a task, therefore the challenge: "If it is not from God then there *will* be a mistake in it. Find it and show it". You are free to test any aspect of it that you wish, including the statement that it came from God.

Now given the *vast* amount of statements made on such a variety of topics in the Qur'an surely the task is made easier. For the more information one provides the more likely there will be a mistake.

The real problem lies in that one must establish some proof of the source the Qur'an's information. Not just the scientific information, which is a formidable task in itself, but *all* the information, including the prophecies made which have come to pass.

An essential fact that cannot be reiterated enough concerning the authenticity of the Qur'an is that one's inability to explain a phenomenon himself does not require his acceptance of the phenomenon's existence or another person's explanation of it. Specifically, just because one cannot explain something does not mean that one has to accept someone else's explanation.

However, the person's refusal of other explanations reverts the burden of proof back on himself to find a feasible answer. At the onset of refusal one immediately has an obligation to find an explanation himself if he feels others' answers are inadequate.

If the book is not a revelation, then it is a deception; and if it is a deception, one must ask, "What is its origin? And where does it deceive us?" Indeed, the true answers to these questions shed light on the Qur'an's authenticity.

Certainly, if people are going to insist that the Qur'an is a deception, then they must bring forth evidence to support such a claim. The burden of proof is on them. One is never supposed to advance a theory without sufficient corroborating facts; so it would be said to them, "Show me one deception. Show me where the Qur'an deceives me."

Indeed, the Qur'an expects this kind of challenge. Undoubtedly, if one said to someone upon entering a foreign land, "I know your father. I have met him," probably the man from that land would doubt the newcomer's word, saying, "You have just come here. How could you know my father?" As a result, he would question him, "Tell me, is my father tall, short, dark, fair? What is he like?" Of course, if the visitor continued answering all of the questions correctly, the skeptic would have no choice but to say, "I guess you do know my father. I don't know how you know him, but I guess you do!"

The situation is the same with the Qur'an. It states that it originates from the One who created everything. So everyone has the right to say, "Convince me! If the author of this book really originated life and everything in the heavens and on the earth, then He should know about this, about that, and so on." And inevitably, after researching the Qur'an, everyone will discover the same truths. Additionally, we all know something for sure: we do not all have to be experts to verify what the Qur'an affirms. One's conviction in the matter grows as one continues to check and confirm the truths contained in the Qur'an. And one is supposed to do so all of his life.

I hope by now you are beginning to feel the elegance, purity, and simplicity of Islam and the Qur'an. They resonate with a singularly unique unwavering conviction and confidence, which radiate no fear that they can not respond to any test. They have a quality of boldness to make absolute statements that is not in the nature of man, even a fraudulent man. This in itself is enough to make one pause and think.

"Alif. Lam. Ra. (This is) a Scripture the revelations whereof are perfected and then expounded. (It cometh) from One Wise, Informed" (11:1)

This has been said to mean that there are no wasted words in the Qur'an: that each verse is perfected and then it is explained. It could not be in a better form. One could not use fewer words to say the same thing or if one uses more words one would only be adding superfluous information.

(The verse starts with three letters from the Arabic alphabet. Many chapters start with what appear to be random choices of letters, the significance of which have been a mystery since the Qur'an was revealed).

"... Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? ... " (39:9)

"Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah. ..." (47:19).

Next up...well, you'll just have to wait and see. But it'll be short and sweet but very thought provoking; like Sagan's 'pi' was.



-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 12, 2000.


Thanks Interested Spectator,

That was very interesting. I am startled at my lack of even hearing about the Qur'an in any way, other than it's the text that Muslims use.

The end part of probabilities is astonishing to think about.

More later.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 12, 2000.


Interested Spectator,

Thank you for the tremendous amount of effort you're putting into this. It may be a while before I'm able to digest all your materials, but I just wanted to mention one thing up front regarding something I noticed that appears to have resulted from a miscommunication:

You seem to think that I referred to the Qur'an as a "floating abstraction". In no way did I intentionally communicate this. When I spoke of the floating abstractions I was referring to Freudian psycology, astrology, and other systems that seem to have this characteristic.

My opinion is still out on the Qur'an, and, given the wealth of material there that I'm as of yet unfamiliar with, it would be very premature of me to include that system in with the others. I was only trying to show the inadequacy of using merely an internal consistency argument in attempting to establish the truth of a system.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 12, 2000.


Bemused,

Hey, LOL re your response to me yesterday on the results of my including "assisted in creation of universes" on my resume. I can even picture myself ending up in a straitjacket and being force-fed my medications by a Miss Ratched type...arrrggghhh...:) And you know, if the creator of the universe wasn't God, he could have gone through just that -- only on a bigger scale! :))

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 12, 2000.


I.S., re the Qur'an, very fascinating. Thanks for the amazing effort you put in there to bring that to us, also.

I have a few questions and comments to start with. They may seem a little "debunkish", but they're honest and I'm presenting them with an open mind...

WRT embryology: Why does it seem more likely that the fetal development information was divine in origin, vs. experimental? You don't show very many actual verses that deal with this, and I'd be especially interested in any that would "prove" that a microscope was required. It is also not out of the realm of possibility that microscopes, in some form, were being used back then - the level of scientific sophistication in the muslim world at that time was incredible. Also, just the nature of that sort of research may have been taboo, for good reason, and it's possible suppression understandable, which is why the knowledge of optics/microscopes had to be "rediscovered" in the west 1000 years later. The history of science is full of examples like that - knowledge getting lost either through repression or simply through lack of use, and then getting rediscovered by another culture later.

You give the quotations by Moore, a co-worker of his, and several others in support of the divine origins of this knowledge, but the world of science is filled with Christian scientists, Muslim scientists, Hindi scientists, etc, who try to find divinity in their own fields, a way to tie things they work with to the absolute. It's nothing new, and if that scientist is able to seperate scientific methods and conclusions from their beliefs successfully enough, they maintain credibility. If they can't, they sometimes lose a measure of it, as the suspicion grows that their research is tainted by a religeous agenda.

You don't show viewpoints from the field of embryology in opposition to the divine explanation, but I'd bet there are many - in fact, probably the geat majority.

WRT the sensory characteristics of the skin: This confuses me, as it seems especially suspect - anyone who has ever been burned knows how the burn will numb the skin. It even happens temporarily with minor burns, as the epidermis heals, and permanently with major burns. No divine knowledge needed here...

WRT deep seas and oceans: I've snorkled in Mexico and Belize. At the depths I can get to myself, with no air tank (snorkling here, not scuba, maybe about 50 feet) I can see that the sea is a little darker, and can especially see that colors are less bright. If I peer down into very deep water, and I can't see the bottom because of darkness down there, I would conclude that it gets, well, dark down there. No divinity here, either...

WRT geological information: Is it possible that "the lowest point in the land" is just a observational description of the battle area, where anyone who had any knowledge of the general area would conclude that it was indeed lower than the surrounding area for miles around?

WRT astronomy: There are some interesting observations here, at the very least. I would have liked to see a few more verses regarding astronomy. Also, does the word "orbit" translate directly from Arabic? I ask because many cultures and tribes describe how the sun, moon and stars travel in an arc across the sky at night, which can be observed easily. Could "orbit", as it is used, be derived from this?

The city of Iram: The bible, the books of Homer, many ancient writings provide historical data that is discovered to be accurate after confirmation by archeological diggings. Why does the memory of an ancient city, recorded in the Qur'an, need to be divine?

I have some other questions and comments, but will leave it at these for now. Please know that in spite of my apparent scepticism, I mean no disrespect for your beliefs and find what you've posted so far to be a real eye-opener.



-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 14, 2000.


Bemused,

Very good questions. You've echoed some of my concerns as well.

Interested Spectator,

Again, thank you for your efforts.

I have a couple of additional concerns right now. First, with regard to the following verse you quoted:

"Those who reject our signs, We shall soon cast into the fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Truly Allah is exalted in power, Wise." (4:56)

For a religion that seems to appeal to and venerate reason (therefore appearing to value the underlying freedom that encourages reason to thrive), it seems inconsistent for it to simultaneously rely on coercion (actually an indirect form of force) to obtain adherents. Can you explain this apparent inconsistency?

Regarding predictions: Were there any failed predictions? Were there any where it was unclear whether the prediction came to pass? If so, could you post them?

I hope I've shown no disrespect to Islam by asking these questions; I've tried to ask them in the most civil way that I could.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 14, 2000.


Bemused and Eve,

I'm don't know if the Qur'an was Divinely inspired, or if it is God talking, but I think it certainly bears further investigation.

Your questions are not good ones, for these reasons.

You say:

[WRT embryology: Why does it seem more likely that the fetal development information was divine in origin, vs. experimental? You don't show very many actual verses that deal with this, and I'd be especially interested in any that would "prove" that a microscope was required. ]

Observing changes on a cellular level would require better eyes than mine. Perhaps the unreported use of microscopes is a possibility as you suggest, but from the sound of I.S.'s report, it is more detailed than current science, or at least complete enough as to render a model for naming the various stages. From where, or how did Mohammed (sp) get this information? It seemed that Moore simple had no other explanation than to say it was from divine origin, since not even modern science had been as complete and thorough.

[You don't show viewpoints from the field of embryology in opposition to the divine explanation, but I'd bet there are many - in fact, probably the geat majority. ]

You could be right about that, yet, if Moore and the others concur, I mean, how many stages could there be, once you are able to see them occur in front of your eyes?

My take on the burned skin was, nobody ever survived being totally burned, so of course no one would know what it felt like except someone who was burned and then died.

You said: [WRT deep seas and oceans: I've snorkled in Mexico and Belize. At the depths I can get to myself, with no air tank (snorkling here, not scuba, maybe about 50 feet) I can see that the sea is a little darker, and can especially see that colors are less bright.....]

Yes obviously, but you're missing the point about layers. You can't have been deep enough to get past the first layer of refraction. I.S.'s chart was great to show the scale at which this occurs, and perhaps this could have been estimated if the ancients had prisms, but to absolutely say that this occurs in the ocean, and then be right about it, would either require going that deep to see for yourself, or Divine knowlege. (Which I'm defining as "couldn't have been a Man that knew that".) You say: [WRT geological information: Is it possible that "the lowest point in the land" is just a observational description of the battle area, where anyone who had any knowledge of the general area would conclude that it was indeed lower than the surrounding area for miles around? ]

The point here is, it IS the lowest point! Not just locally! How would anyone back then have known that???????

Your other comments are about whether the information is of divine origin. I don't think that everything in the Qur'an is unheard of. That's why (my interpretation) it says to 'ask men who know if you don't believe what this says'. Clearly it is advice about many topics. The fact that there is knowledge of specialities, common to Man's endeavors, doesn't discount the parts that seem to be unexplainable.

But at the very least, with so little knowledge of the Qur'an and it's contents, we all are at a deficit when it comes to evaluating it.

-- Gregg (g.abbott@starting-point.com), February 15, 2000.


Gregg,

Observing changes on a cellular level would require better eyes than mine. Perhaps the unreported use of microscopes is a possibility as you suggest, but from the sound of I.S.'s report, it is more detailed than current science, or at least complete enough as to render a model for naming the various stages. From where, or how did Mohammed (sp) get this information? It seemed that Moore simple had no other explanation than to say it was from divine origin, since not even modern science had been as complete and thorough.

If there are verses in the Qur'an that prove knowledge of embryonic development at the cellular level, I.S. did not post them - he only alluded to them. Let's see the verses in question, or better yet, the actual verses followed by Moore's direct take on them.

My take on the burned skin was, nobody ever survived being totally burned, so of course no one would know what it felt like except someone who was burned and then died.

This viewpoint perplexes me - here's the actual verse in question:

"Those who reject our signs, We shall soon cast into the fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Truly Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise." (4:56)

Are you really stating that the above is impossible for someone with even a little bit of imagination to come up with? That it must be proof of divine knowledge?

WRT the darkness in the ocean:

You can't have been deep enough to get past the first layer of refraction. I.S.'s chart was great to show the scale at which this occurs, and perhaps this could have been estimated if the ancients had prisms, but to absolutely say that this occurs in the ocean, and then be right about it, would either require going that deep to see for yourself, or Divine knowlege.

Here's the verse that was given as proof of this divine knowledge:

"Or (the unbelievers state) is like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped by (dark) clouds: Depths of darkness, one above another: If a man stretches out his hand, he can hardly see it! For any to whom Allah does not give light, there is no light." (24:40).

"depths of darkness, one above another" - evocative, but definate proof of knowledge of refraction? Don't you see how that could be called "a stretch", given that verse? Even if refraction was known about, to some degree, why does it have to be divine knowledge? Take a seashell and drop it into a great depth, and watch it's colors fade until it dissappears in darkness, or take a seashell from the floor of a lagoon and see how much brighter it is in direct sunlight - there are many different ways a wise observer would choose to phrase that verse like that.

WRT to "the lowest point in the land":

The point here is, it IS the lowest point! Not just locally! How would anyone back then have known that???????

Here's the verse in question:

"Alif Laam Meem, the Romans have been defeated, in the lowest part of the land, but after defeat they will soon be victorious." (30:1-3)

Where in that verse does it say that it's the "lowest part on the face of the earth"? Couldn't the "lowest part of the land" be interperated as "low point in the geographic area"? In hindsight, it presents a wonderful coincidence, but again, just a huge stretch to consider this proof of divine knowledge.

But at the very least, with so little knowledge of the Qur'an and it's contents, we all are at a deficit when it comes to evaluating it.

That's for sure! I was just tring to respond to the specific verses and speculations I.S. was kind enough to give. I actually stopped over to the local downtown Barnes and Noble here after lunch yesterday and started looking at the Qur'an, but didn't have enough time then to find much regarding the above.

It is a fascinating work, and even if you choose to not take proof of divinity from it, it does seem like the product of a culture that gave thought and great respect to science and reason.



-- Bemused (and_amazed@you.people), February 15, 2000.


Hi all:

Good to see your questions. I'm putting together a response and will have it posted by the weekend (more sunday brunch reading :) ).

bemused: Don't appologize for being skeptical. God wouldn't have it any other way :) and I think you'll be impressed with the answers.

Gregg: What can I say, except that I was stunned and respect and admire your impartiality. You hit on some of the answers very well with just the limited knowledge so far, and hint to new perspectives I'll bring to nail the answers down fully.

eve: I'm so glad you asked about coercion. I think you'll like the response.

Gregg you said:

[But at the very least, with so little knowledge of the Qur'an and it's contents, we all are at a deficit when it comes to evaluating it.]

bemused you replied:

[That's for sure! I was just tring to respond to the specific verses and speculations I.S. was kind enough to give...

It is a fascinating work, and even if you choose to not take proof of divinity from it, it does seem like the product of a culture that gave thought and great respect to science and reason.]

I think you'll find my replies *even more* fascinating and will start to eliminate your deficit quickly. As an aside, I think if the little research we do here accomplishes nothing else but provide all with a new appreciation and respect of Islam and the Muslim world, which cuts through the fiction and fantasy that is perprtated about Islam, at least for ourselves, we have certainly much to congratulate ourselves for.

I am sure that Islam would want to thank you for your kind comments, so allow me do that on their behalf.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 17, 2000.


Italics off.

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 17, 2000.

Interested Spectator,

Hi. I just wanted you to know that you should feel free to take as much time as you need to answer any questions. It's ok if you don't get a chance to finish this weekend. I'm speaking from firsthand experience, as sometimes I push myself to answer or ask something relatively quickly, when I know I should be taking as much time as I need.

Arthur,

Are you still out there? I posted some questions for you several days ago but I haven't heard back. If you're still working on them, that's fine, though. As I said above, take your time. I just wanted to make sure that you were still with us.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), February 19, 2000.


To all:

It was interesting to see that, with the exception of one of eve's questions, all of the other questions were directed towards the section "Qur'an and Science - Satisfying the more skeptical mind" and the other "challenges" to Islam I answered were not raised again. Perhaps I should have expected that, but nevertheless, you will see from the historical information in this post the explanations postulated by bemused become untenable. (Not to pick on you, bemused, but yours were the only questions posted, and they *were* reasonable based on what you knew. This is not a "one shot wonder" topic, but it is useful for those new to the topic to digest it in chunks, so your minds can dwell on the questions and answers).

And for your consideration, besides answering the questions on my last essay, I've thrown in a few new bits of information from the Qur'an for you all to ponder over. These new facts serve to simply further reduce "The Odds", of the Qur'an being a fluke, as I talked about in my last essay. As you will recall, I have only presented a small fraction of the information contained in the Qur'an so far, even with the new information below.

Eve, I'm *very* glad you asked your question about coercion and I think that you, and the others, will find the answer here interesting and satisfying. The issue you raise is actually applicable to all of the monotheistic religions, not just Islam, and is essentially the same the "contradiction" which many see in these religions because they espouse the concept of eternal punishment for not following the tenets, yet at the same time take the position that we have freewill to choose as we wish. Gregg has raised this issue before and I hope my answer resolves for you the "apparent inconsistency", as you put it, that many, many have thought no doubt about, but never had satisfactorily explained. Your question forced me to put down the answer into words, and in so doing I had rationalize, even for myself, the explanation fully and so I'd like to thank you for that.

Again my post is large, (what I suggested I'll be posting next at the end of my last post will have to wait for my next post while I answer your questions first) but primarily because of what Gregg said:

[But at the very least, with so little knowledge of the Qur'an and it's contents, we all are at a deficit when it comes to evaluating it.]

I've included information in this post from other sites (and appropriate statements required for educational and fair use can be assumed to be hereby made) so the thread can be self contained, but have also started linking in good sites with additional information for those who want to start exploring further.

Once you are provided with certain level of information, (history, background, etc.) you'll see you don't need to be an expert to understand what the Qur'an is and the "simple" explanations to try and dismiss it quickly become nonsensical. So with that in mind I've included a lot from history this time so we understand exactly what was developed when, and what happened to the discoveries.

Also I took my cue from what bemused said:

[It is a fascinating work, and even if you choose to not take proof of divinity from it, it does seem like the product of a culture that gave thought and great respect to science and reason.]

and thought that if you're enjoying this new knowledge, then lets do it right, and I should bring your knowledge level up as fast as I can, so you can begin contemplating the Qur'an's at an even higher level. The more you know, the more you'll understand the Catholic Church's official position with respect to the Qur'an.

With respect to the above statement you made bemused, I think your comment is very telling from a number of points. I think the Muslim world would thank you for your kind comments. They mean more than those coming from the distinguished and accomplished, as your comments show that individuals are able to discover the truth for themselves when they are provided with facts and evidence, rather than fiction and fantasy, and then use their reason. I can not help but recall the following verse from my first essay on the Qur'an:

"Oh mankind, there has come to you an admonition [the Qur'an] from your Lord and a healing for what is in the hearts - and guidance and mercy for the believers." (10:57)

As I said, at first glance, this statement appears vague, but the meaning of this verse becomes clear when one thinks about it. Basically, it says one is healed of his "delusions" by reading the Qur'an. In essence, it is a therapy. It literally claims to cure "deluded" people by confronting them with facts. The Qur'an forces one to consider and acknowledge what is relevant and what matters, thereby healing one of his "delusions". One quickly comes to realize that mankind's own ideas and speculations about the true nature of things and religion can easily be explained away as flimsy theories not tied to reality. It is this very sort of thing - confronting people with facts - that has captured the attention of many non-Muslims.

Is it not remarkable that the Qur'an stated, no *predicted*, that it will remove misconceptions (without qualification or limitation as to the nature of them), and that misconceptions about Islam and Muslims, perpetrated for eons, are also swept away from you with only the *few* words about the Qur'an I have posted so far, whether or not you accept the Qur'an for what it is claimed to be! And, in that spirit of removing misconceptions and improving understanding, I think you'll all find the following link another "eye-opening" (as bemused says) read:

Tolerance in Islam

On a separate topic, bemused you also said:

[Please know that in spite of my apparent scepticism, I mean no disrespect for your beliefs and find what you've posted so far to be a real eye-opener.]

Please be skeptical. I urge you to be skeptical. Everything I have quoted from the Qur'an urges you to be skeptical also. From everything I have posted you have seen that God would not have it any other way. But by the same token, be true to yourself, so you can find the path to the Truth, and be skeptical of very "Believe me, I have the truth" message out there, for all the reasons I gave in my answer to Question 2 and in my first essay in the section titled "Has God given mankind a clear path to Him?". And, as I suggested in my last essay, set yourself a Standard of Satisfaction so you may bring true rationality to your search and peace to your mind because you know that you are not going to be one that searches endlessly for the sunrise in the west. This will allow you to see the forest for the trees; that is, allow you to have a point of convergence as I suggested. If 100 facts point you in one direction, and *if* one fact that points you in the opposite direction, then true scientific minds would take another look at the *one* fact again to understand why it points in the wrong direction, and if it is due to human error.

I would like to make small one comment, which I hope you'll agree with me on. The word "debunk" has come to have represent a lot of negative connotations and sentiments in TB2000, so perhaps it would be best to use an alternative word that doesn't evoke those sentiments and emotions and attract the wrong attitude both from you the questioners and from me the responder.

Before I answer the questions I would just like to make a few observations that will help you put things in perspective and a provide you with few more scientific facts from the Qur'an for you to let your mind ponder over while you go over the answers, so you'll find the questions and answers a little lower in this post.

The History of Muslim Science

There are many avenues to use to demonstrate that knowledge in the Qur'an was not known at the time of its revelation. Studying the history of science, and in particular the Muslim scientists along with what they discovered and when, would quickly expose as false any claim that the knowledge was already known at the time of the Qur'an's revelation. There is just so much recorded history on this topic from so many sources, along with most of the entire history of scientific discovery being so well documented (because discovery is a building process, where each builds on the previous, so the previous is always acknowledged as the starting point), that the last 1400 years of the history of science would have to be completely re-explained. So let's start with some select examples to see what we're talking about. In the section following this, you will find a few biographies of Muslim scientists who made the primary discoveries in mathematics upon which everything else stands, and also the primary discoveries in optics and refraction.

Remember, as I said in my first essay:

[Is it not also amazing that within just a few short years after the Qur'an's revelation began a Muslim domination of virtually all fields of science and mathematics that lasted over 600 years? And this feat is made all the more incredulous when one considers that a few short years previously these same people had been engaged for eons in tribal blood revenges, idol worship and the like, with little if any significant intellectual work. One can not now fail to begin to recognize the Qur'an as the source of such unimaginable enlightenment and change in a culture.]

The Arabs had accomplished nothing of value prior to the revelation of the Qur'an. They accomplished nothing of any scientific consequence during its revelation, as most people still had not embraced Islam since it was in its infancy. Islam began its real discoveries in science about 100 years after the Qur'an was revealed.

As I said, if you study the history of science and what was discovered by the Muslims, which is very well documented, with much source material still available, it is clear that we observe the progress of discovery and therefore know that there weren't any "hidden secret labs". Furthermore, again if you study the history of science, you'll know that nothing from the Muslim world was "'rediscovered' in the west 1000 years later". The foundations of optics, physics, astronomy, algebra, medicine (Moore himself acknowledge that) and so forth were never lost.

So, here are just a few quotes from Western historians of science to validate that Muslim scientific knowledge was not lost and "'rediscovered' in the west 1000 years later" as you suggest, bemused:

George Sarton's Tribute to Muslim Scientists in the "Introduction to the History of Science," I

"It will suffice here to evoke a few glorious names without contemporary equivalents in the West: Jabir ibn Haiyan, al-Kindi, al-Khwarizmi, al-Fargani, al-Razi, Thabit ibn Qurra, al-Battani, Hunain ibn Ishaq, al-Farabi, Ibrahim ibn Sinan, al-Masudi, al-Tabari, Abul Wafa, 'Ali ibn Abbas, Abul Qasim, Ibn al-Jazzar, al-Biruni, Ibn Sina, Ibn Yunus, al-Kashi, Ibn al-Haitham, 'Ali Ibn 'Isa al-Ghazali, al-zarqab, Omar Khayyam. A magnificent array of names which it would not be difficult to extend. If anyone tells you that the Middle Ages were scientifically sterile, just quote these men to him, all of whom flourished within a short period, 750 to 1100 A.D."

Robert Briffault in the "Making of Humanity"

"It was under the influence of the Arabs and Moorish revival of culture and not in the 15th century, that a real renaissance took place. Spain, not Italy, was the cradle of the rebirth of Europe. After steadily sinking lower and lower into barbarism, it had reached the darkest depths of ignorance and degradation when cities of the Saracenic world, Baghdad, Cairo, Cordova, and Toledo, were growing centers of civilization and intellectual activity. It was there that the new life arose which was to grow into new phase of human evolution. From the time when the influence of their culture made itself felt, began the stirring of new life.

"It was under their successors at Oxford School (that is, successors to the Muslims of Spain) that Roger Bacon learned Arabic and Arabic Sciences. Neither Roger Bacon nor later namesake has any title to be credited with having introduced the experimental method. Roger Bacon was no more than one of apostles of Muslim Science and Method to Christian Europe; and he never wearied of declaring that knowledge of Arabic and Arabic Sciences was for his contemporaries the only way to true knowledge. Discussion as to who was the originator of the experimental method....are part of the colossal misinterpretation of the origins of European civilization. The experimental method of Arabs was by Bacon's time widespread and eagerly cultivated throughout Europe.

"Science is the most momentous contribution of Arab civilization to the modern world; but its fruits were slow in ripening. Not until long after Moorish culture had sunk back into darkness did the giant, which it had given birth to, rise in his might. It was not science only which brought Europe back to life. Other and manifold influence from the civilization of Islam communicated its first glow to European Life.

"For although there is not a single aspect of European growth in which the decisive influence of Islamic Culture is not traceable, nowhere is it so clear and momentous as in the genesis of that power which constitutes the permanent distinctive force of the modern world, and the supreme source of its victory, natural science and the scientific spirit.

"The debt of our science to that of the Arabs does not consist in startling discoveries or revolutionary theories, science owes a great deal more to Arab culture, it owes its existence. The Astronomy and Mathematics of the Greeks were a foreign importation never thoroughly acclimatized in Greek culture. The Greeks systematized, generalized and theorized, but the patient ways of investigation, the accumulation of positive knowledge, the minute method of science, detailed and prolonged observation and experimental inquiry were altogether alien to the Greek temperament. Only in Hellenistic Alexandria was any approach to scientific work conducted in the ancient classical world. What we call science arose in Europe as a result of new spirit of inquiry, of new methods of experiment, observation, measurement, of the development of mathematics, in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs.

"It is highly probable that but for the Arabs, modern European civilization would never have arisen at all; it is absolutely certain that but for them, it would not have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend all previous phases of evolution."

George Sarton in the "Introduction to the History of Science"

"The Muslim ideal was, it goes without saying, not visual beauty but God in His plentitude; that is God with all his manifestations, the stars and the heavens, the earth and all nature. The Muslim ideal is thus infinite. But in dealing with the infinite as conceived by the Muslims, we cannot limit ourselves to the space alone, but must equally consider time.

"The first mathematical step from the Greek conception of a static universe to the Islamic one of a dynamic universe was made by Al-Khwarizmi (780-850), the founder of modern Algebra. He enhanced the purely arithmetical character of numbers as finite magnitudes by demonstrating their possibilities as elements of infinite manipulations and investigations of properties and relations.

"In Greek mathematics, the numbers could expand only by the laborious process of addition and multiplication. Khwarizmi's algebraic symbols for numbers contain within themselves the potentialities of the infinite. So we might say that the advance from arithmetic to algebra implies a step from being to 'becoming' from the Greek universe to the living universe of Islam. The importance of Khwarizmi's algebra was recognized, in the twelfth century, by the West, - when Girard of Cremona translated his theses into Latin. Until the sixteenth century this version was used in European universities as the principal mathematical text book. But Khwarizmi's influence reached far beyond the universities. We find it reflected in the mathematical works of Leonardo Fibinacci of Pissa, Master Jacob of Florence, and even of Leonardo da Vinci."

"One of the most famous exponents of Muslim universalism and an eminent figure in Islamic learning was Ibn Sina, known in the West as Avicenna (981-1037). For a thousand years he has retained his original renown as one of the greatest thinkers and medical scholars in history. His most important medical works are the Qanun (Canon) and a treatise on Cardiac drugs. The 'Qanun fi-l-Tibb' is an immense encyclopedia of medicine. It contains some of the most illuminating thoughts pertaining to distinction of mediastinitis from pleurisy; contagious nature of phthisis; distribution of diseases by water and soil; careful description of skin troubles; of sexual diseases and perversions; of nervous ailments."

"We have reason to believe that when, during the crusades, Europe at last began to establish hospitals, they were inspired by the Arabs of near East....The first hospital in Paris, Les Quinze-vingt, was founded by Louis IX after his return from the crusade 1254-1260."

Ibn Haytham's writings reveal his fine development of the experimental faculty. His tables of corresponding angles of incidence and refraction of light passing from one medium to another show how closely he had approached discovering the law of constancy of ratio of sines, later attributed to Snell. He accounted correctly for twilight as due to atmospheric refraction, estimating the sun's depression to be 19 degrees below the horizon, at the commencement of the phenomenon in the mornings or at its termination in the evenings."

"The weight of venerable authority, for example that of Ptolemy, seldom intimidated them. They were always eager to put a theory to tests, and they never tired of experimentation. Though motivated and permeated by the spirit of their religion, they would not allow dogma as interpreted by the orthodox to stand in the way of their scientific research."

F.G. Alfalo in "Reguilding the Crescent"

"His (al-Khwarizmi) works in arithmetic and algebra were translated into Latin by the name of Algorithm (which should have been Algorism). His name is the origin of the word Logarithm."

Joseph Hell in the "Arab Civilization"

"In the domain of trigonometry, the theory of Sine, Cosine and tangent is an heirloom of the Arabs. The brilliant epochs of Peurbach, of Regiomontanus, of Copernicus, cannot be recalled without reminding us of the fundamental and preparatory labor of the Arab Mathematician (Al-Battani, 858-929 A.D.)."

"The adoption of the sign of 'Zero' (Arabic Sifr or Cipher) was a step of the highest importance, leading up to the so called arithmetic of positions. With the help of the Arab system of numbers, elementary methods of calculations were perfected; the doctrines of the properties of, and relations between, the equal and the unequal and prime numbers, squares and cubes, were elaborated; Algebra was enriched by the solution of the third degree and fourth degrees, with the help of geometry, and so on. About the year 820 A.D. the mathematician Al-Khawarizmi, wrote a text book of Algebra in examples, and his elementary treatise - translated into Latin - was used by Western scholars down to the sixteenth century."

John William Draper in the "Intellectual Development of Europe"

"I have to deplore the systematic manner in which the literature of Europe has continued to put out of sight our obligations to the Muhammadans [although I am sure William meant no disrespect, Muslims shudder at this term as could be taken to mean that Muslims worship Muhammed as Christians worship Christ, and that they find very offensive; refer instead to Islam or the Muslim world or the Muslims]. Surely they cannot be much longer hidden. Injustice founded on religious rancour and national conceit cannot be perpetuated forever. The Arab has left his intellectual impress on Europe. He has indelibly written it on the heavens as any one may see who reads the names of the stars on a common celestial globe."

French Orientalist Dr. Gustav Lebon

"It must be remembered that no science, either of chemistry or any other science, was discovered all of a sudden. The Arabs had established one thousand years ago their laboratories in which they used to make experiments and publish their discoveries without which Lavoisier (accredited by some as being the founder of chemistry) would not have been able to produce anything in this field. It can be said without the fear of contradiction that owing to the researches and experimentation of Muslim scientists modern chemistry came into being and that it produced great results in the form of great scientific inventions, viz, steam, the electricity, the telegraph, the telephone, the radio, the photography, the cinematography and so on."

Given the above remarks and the biographies that follow in the next section, and remembering that these are just 3 biographies of hundreds of such brilliant Muslim scientists who appeared over a course of their 600 year of domination of all the sciences, one must conclusively answer several very penetrating and revealing questions. If all the knowledge revealed in the Qur'an was already known, why do we read about these geniuses discovering this knowledge and, instead, why were these scientists not several hundred years further into the future with the work? The Muslim Scientific achievements began about 100 years after the Qur'an was revealed. Where did all the scientific knowledge go in that 100 years? How did it all just disappear? Why is there not *one* shred of evidence, direct or indirect, left to for us today to show such fantastic scientific progress had already been done when the Qur'an was revealed, yet there is no end of evidence, surviving to this day, documenting the Muslim scientific progress made starting *just* 100 years later? On the contrary, as I mentioned in my second essay, if one looks to the works of Muslim scientists of many centuries ago, one will find them full of quotations from the Qur'an. These works state that they did research in such a place, looking for something. *And they affirm that the reason they looked in such and such a place was that the Qur'an pointed them in that direction.*

As was mentioned by Dr. Gustav Lebon above this kind of knowledge has to be built up like a house. It is acknowledged by all the great early western scientists that they continued the work started by the Muslim scientists, as most of their work was translated. Newton himself said that his discoveries were possible because "he stood on the shoulders of giants". For example you need certain mathematical basis from which to build, yet even the Arabic numeral system we currently use, the use of zero and the development of algebra (al-jebra) were not even developed until al-Khwarizmi arrived on the scene, 150 years after the Qur'an was revealed. I have posted al-Khwarizmi's biography below.

So it would be very difficult to explain why all these scientists were busy making all these discoveries starting about 100 years after the Qur'an was revealed and if all this scientific knowledge was kept hidden in some secret lab (lets not even get into how the prophecies were done) staffed by Arabs who knew nothing of any consequence of science at that time. And then these secret scientists would then have to convince Muhammed, who was known singularly for his unwavering honesty (he was given the title Al-Amin - "The Trustworthy") and was respected throughout Mecca for this, to commit a fraud of unprecedented proportions and write all this in a book. And then convince Muhammed to take up the cause to for 23 years to reveal this book and to keep going on with this fraud in-spite of continuos and great life threatening dangers both to himself and his family and followers.

As the Catholic Church said:

"Over the centuries, many theories have been offered as to the origin of the Qur'an... Today no *sensible* man accepts any of these theories"

Biographies of a few Muslim scientists relevant to topics discussed in this post

This is an excellent site which I highly recommend for any body wishing to study the history of Islam and Science, and the biographies below are from it. I have included them in full here just so we can keep this thread "complete"

[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Muslim Scientists, Mathematicians And Astronomers Before European Renaissance, 700 - 1500 C.E.

MUHAMMED BIN MUSA AL-KHWARIZMI (ALGORIZM) (770 - 840 C.E.)

Abu Abdullah Muhammed Ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was born at Khwarizm (Kheva), a town south of river Oxus in present Uzbekistan. (Uzbekistan, a Muslim country for over a thousand years, was taken over by the Russians in 1873.) His parents migrated to a place south of Baghdad when he was a child. The exact date of his birth is not known. It has been established from his contributions that he flourished under Khalifah (Calif) Al-Mamun at Baghdad during 813 to 833 C.E. and died around 840 C.E. He is best known for introducing the mathematical concept Algorithm, which is so named after his last name.

Al-Khwarizmi was one of the greatest mathematicians ever lived. He was the founder of several branches and basic concepts of mathematics. He is also famous as an astronomer and geographer. Al-Khwarizmi influenced mathematical thought to a greater extent than any other medieval writer. He is recognized as the founder of Algebra, as he not only initiated the subject in a systematic form but also developed it to the extent of giving analytical solutions of linear and quadratic equations. The name Algebra is derived from his famous book Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah. He developed in detail trigonometric tables containing the sine functions, which were later extrapolated to tangent functions. Al-Khwarizmi also developed the calculus of two errors, which led him to the concept of differentiation. He also refined the geometric representation of conic sections

Continued in part 2 ...

-- Interested Spectator (is@the_ring.side), February 19, 2000.


Part 2

The influence of Al-Khwarizmi on the growth of mathematics, astronomy and geography is well established in history. His approach was systematic and logical, and not only did he bring together the then prevailing knowledge on various branches of science but also enriched it through his original contributions. He synthesized Greek and Hindu knowledge and also contained his own contribution of fundamental importance to mathematics and science. He adopted the use of zero, a numeral of fundamental importance, leading up to the so-called arithmetic of positions and the decimal system. His pioneering work on the system of numerals is well known as "Algorithm," or "Algorizm." In addition to introducing the Arabic numerals, he developed several arithmetical procedures, including operations on fractions.

In addition to an important treatise on Astronomy, Al-Khwarizmi wrote a book on astronomical tables. Several of his books were translated into Latin in the early l2th century by Adelard of Bath and Gerard of Cremona. The treatises on Arithmetic, Kitab al-Jam'a wal-Tafreeq bil Hisab al-Hindi, and the one on Algebra, Al-Maqala fi Hisab-al Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, are known only from Latin translations. It was this later translation which introduced the new science to the West "unknown till then." This book was used until the sixteenth century as the principal mathematical text book of European universities. His astronomical tables were also translated into European languages and, later, into Chinese.

The contribution of Al-Khwarizmi to geography is also outstanding. He not only revised Ptolemy's views on geography, but also corrected them in detail. Seventy geographers worked under Khwarizmi's leadership and they produced the first map of the globe (known world) in 830 C.E. He is also reported to have collaborated in the degree measurements ordered by khalifah (Caliph) Mamun al-Rashid were aimed at measuring of volume and circumference of the earth. His geography book entitled "Kitab Surat-al-Ard," including maps, was also translated. His other contributions include original work related to clocks, sundials and astrolabes. He also wrote Kitab al-Tarikh and Kitab al-Rukhmat (on sundial