[an error occurred while processing this directive]
About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Forward one pageLast Page


Post 100

Saturday, April 10 - 11:20amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

I would suggest, Ed, that if you were to ask you Christian friends if Jesus was the moral ideal they would, of course, say yes.

If you were to ask them to identify what Jesus looked like, they would point to a long-haired effete man of Anglo-Saxon appearance.

And if you were to ask them was Jesus' anger in the temple, rudeness to his mother, and despair on the cross a sign of his human nature, they would also say yes.

Do you want to affirm that according to Christian philosophy, Jesus was sacrificed because he was a morally ideal human? Or do you want to affirm that according to your opinion and, presumably, a survey of your friends, Jesus was morally perfect, and he was also sacrificed for us? There is a difference between these questions, although I do not believe that other than Jon Letendre, who seems to have stumbled on it without realizing it, any of the Randian infalliblists here have acknowledged it.






Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 101

Saturday, April 10 - 12:23pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
In hopes of bringing perspective and end silly circular comments...

I find Ted's argument provocative and plausible, so I hope for a conclusive end.  The arguments against Ted have not been especially convincing and are frequently eluding the distinctions Ted has claimed and could be read into either way.  No reference to Mormon theology will help, no reference to what your friends told you will help.  Orthodox Christianity has a very rigid scholarly history including authoritarian statements.  We ought to go settle this with authoritative passages.  We can reasonably suspect that even pastors' sermons are corrupted by liberalized takes of what christianity ought to be.

Ted's case rests on just a few points, I hope this will be easy.

The distinctness of sin from immoral.  This is an unfamiliar distinction to us, and supposedly to modern Christians.  But it could be settled by a clear etymological study.  I gave one in post 76 that says "moral wrongdoing".  Ted retorts with a link to something that might be more authoritive than mine, however the page he refers to is missing from the google book.  Ted, please provide useful reference.

In post 73, Ted searched the bible for how often the terms good, evil, grace, sin , and moral/immoral are mentioned.  While "good" returned roughly as many references as sin, he apparently also recognizes a distinction between "good" and "moral".  This one I do not believe has been explicitly explained.  In the new testament, Jesus says something to the effect that it is good to follow god's commandments.  Ted, please comment.

Way back in post 39, Ted links to the catholic encyclopedia on the doctrine of atonement.  This is way more than I care to read, but in some other post Ted says that no mention of "moral ideal" is uttered here.  This still does not explicitly say that had Jesus not been morally perfect, the atonement would still have worked.

In Howard Campbell's post he cites several passages that refer to sin in plural form and personalize them (our sins).  If Jesus' sacrifice was to atone for original sin, this doesn't make sense. 

Ted has said that the nature of Jesus was one of the hottest topics of the Nicene Creed, but I quote wiki in post 61 "The resulting Nicene Creed contains no detailed articulation of a doctrine of the atonement. "Redemption did not become a battle ground until the twelfth century.""  This calls into question the orthodoxy of the allegedly orthodox doctrine.

Other answers that will bring clarity to this conversation:

Ted, I believe you said that much of modern christianity favored the morally ideal christ.  Please give historical perspective to what you mean by orthodox vs modern.



One last thing:  Ted, I do not expect you to make full sense of a senseless religion.
(Edited by Doug Fischer on 4/10, 12:54pm)

(Edited by Doug Fischer on 4/10, 12:59pm)




Sanction: 29, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 29, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 29, No Sanction: 0
Post 102

Sunday, April 11 - 12:18amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Howard Campbell wrote,
Someone wrote: "... the sacrifice of Jesus was the sacrifice of the ideal to the non-. "

This is total nonsense.

But there's no need for me to make an argument, for the easiest thing to do is simply go to the source.
He then posted several Biblical citations stating that the purpose of the crucifixion was "redemption, sacrificial atonement, reconciliation with God, God's grace, purification and most importantly, salvation." True enough, but how does this contradict the fact that the crucifixion was also the sacrifice of the ideal for the sake of the non-ideal?

None of the quotes he cites disputes that Christ was viewed by Christians as morally perfect (since he was God), and none of them disputes the fact that Christ died for the sake of sinners -- for those who are morally imperfect. Quite the contrary in fact, as one of the Biblical quotes he cites validates it, i.e.: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

- Bill



Sanction: 39, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 39, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 39, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 39, No Sanction: 0
Post 103

Sunday, April 11 - 2:45pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I can't find the link, but I read a couple weeks ago some Christians who were arguing against any attempt to define Christianity.  If I remember, someone had attempted to write down a very minimal set of beliefs that would apply to all Christians.  Like believing in Jesus.  The Christian responders thought any such minimal list would unnecessarily exclude people.  I was chuckling over the idea that you should be able to call yourself a Christian if you don't believe that Jesus actually existed.

But this isn't exactly new.  A common argument atheists run into is that any argument they come up with is necessarily a strawman because the more enlightened Christians don't believe what the atheists are arguing against.  If you argue the absurdity of the earth being 6000 years old, they say of course nobody believes that.  If you argue the absurdity of the bible (or any element within), they argue that no "real" Christian believes that anyway.  If you argue against a disembodied consciousness, they argue that of course god is unknowable.  It turns out that the most enlightened Christans are those who don't believe in Christianity, but still call themselves Christians.  No surprise there.  Of course, those same people who claim god is unknowable to defend Christianity will then say that god hates abortion and gay marriage.  But they demand you address their best arguments, not their worst.

This totally makes sense from their perspective.  They're ideologically committed to doing whatever is necessary to defend Christianity, and their strongest position is no clear or concrete position at all.  You can't rebut what you can't identify.  And atheists are very good at taking even very abstract and vague hints at an identity, and showing how it's wrong.  So I totally expect that from them.  Who wouldn't?  And it serves a second purpose.  If they convince atheists to only argue against vague and poorly defined ideas, it appears as if the vast majority of ideas that Christian's actually believe are so solid, they can't even be argued against.

But why would any of us agree to argue on their terms?  Why should we ignore the fact that overwhelming majority of Christians do believe all of these things?  Why should we spend our time debating with those people who don't think a belief in Jesus is necessary to be a Christian (or who say they don't anyway), and ignore the hundreds of millions of people who do?

In this thread, there is debate over what is Christianity.  What do Christians believe?  Several ex-Christians say exactly what they believed.  Maybe that's not scientific enough.  Maybe there should be some polls or larger sampling.  But the theologically bent prefer to ignore what people actually believe, and focus on what the philosophy actually says.  Which philosophy?  The stated philosophy of the people who have reinterpreted the religion to be as defensible as they can make it.  This is not what Christians actually believe.

Which is more important?  What people actually believe? Or some concocted alternative (and there are many!) that is more easily defended?  I think what people actually believe is more important.  And I think if anyone is going to talk about what Christian's believe, they should talk about what Christians actually believe, not just what they should believe if they were doing their best to be vague and difficult to pin down.




Sanction: 15, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 15, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 15, No Sanction: 0
Post 104

Sunday, April 11 - 3:07pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
In response to this quote of mine:

"... the sacrifice of Jesus was the sacrifice of the ideal to the non-. "
 
Someone wrote:
This is total nonsense.

But there's no need for me to make an argument, for the easiest thing to do is simply go to the source.
This same someone proceeded to list Bible quotes, one of which which proves my quote (rather than disproving it):
"... For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. ..."
Here, the word "ungodly" approximates the word "non-ideal" -- so that the above can be reworded, without contradicting itself, to the following:

"... For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the [non-ideal]. ..."

Apparently, for this someone, it's the easiest thing to do -- you just have to go to the source. Problem is, you have to take your mind with you (to avoid the obvious contradiction that this someone couldn't see).

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 4/11, 3:37pm)




Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 105

Sunday, April 11 - 3:14pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Mike,

They take comfort in certainty. They are monumentally arrogant in their "humility" before God. Eric Hoffer explains quite well the phenomenon of "true believers" carrying their absolute certainty from one belief system to another. Nothing is more annoying, or stupid, as an Objectivist "true believer".
I take it that's directed toward me (as Howard's post was). I like the pot-shot you took at the end. It cuts both ways though, and I want to say how arrogantly humble (i.e., Tooheyesque) it is of you to just sit back and make use of the ambiguity of religion in order to take pot-shots at me or others here. You and your snide, I'm-better-than-Objectivists, attitude.

Ed




Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 12, No Sanction: 0
Post 106

Sunday, April 11 - 3:31pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ted,

Do you want to affirm that according to Christian philosophy, Jesus was sacrificed because he was a morally ideal human?
No, Ted. I don't need to. Rand doesn't either. Her quote was about what was actually done (the sacrifice of the ideal to the non-); not about what various religionists were thinking and still think about what was done. You are making the same argument as liberals do: Well, do you think Obama means harm?

It is a Primacy-of-Consciousness appeal to intentions, and it is a wrong way to argue.

Or do you want to affirm that according to your opinion and, presumably, a survey of your friends, Jesus was morally perfect, and he was also sacrificed for us? There is a difference between these questions, ... 
But, as is shown above, this "difference" doesn't make a difference (because intentions -- like in the liberals' 'oh-but-he-means-well!' defense of Obama -- are, themselves, irrelevant here).

...although I do not believe that other than Jon Letendre, who seems to have stumbled on it without realizing it, any of the Randian infalliblists here have acknowledged it.
Let me get this straight: The reason we disagree isn't because we can see we are right (and prove it) -- it's because we are hopelessly enamored with everything Rand said and did.

Even if we personally believed (i.e., were living examples) what Rand said was true of Christians like us before, we don't get to go along with what Rand said about it -- because that would be idolatry of Rand.

We can't argue about what our eyes saw -- because we are wearing special blinders that only allow for "Rand-friendly" facts to make it into our brain. So we are asked to forget what we used to believe about Jesus when we were Christians (or kindly evade the fact that we were Christians) and just take your word for it that -- even though it contradicts our direct experience -- that Rand was wrong.

This kind of lashing out at intellectual opposition (by referring to them as some kind of unthinking yes-men, enamored of their glorious leader, Rand) is just like the behavior of the liberals, who deliberately play the race card -- because they cannot win the argument before them. What terrible behavior.

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 4/11, 3:38pm)




Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 107

Sunday, April 11 - 4:13pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Which is more important?  What people actually believe? Or some concocted alternative (and there are many!) that is more easily defended?  I think what people actually believe is more important.  And I think if anyone is going to talk about what Christian's believe, they should talk about what Christians actually believe, not just what they should believe if they were doing their best to be vague and difficult to pin down.

I agree.




Post 108

Sunday, April 11 - 4:47pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Joe,

"But why would any of us agree to argue on their terms?"

The last I looked Christians outnumbered objectivists about 10,000/1. It is pointless to argue the worst Christian arguments. Equivalent to the straw man fallacy. Isn't the point of this website to spread objectivist ideas? Weak arguments and self congratulatory mocking of the majority culture might not be the best way to accomplish that goal.



Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 17, No Sanction: 0
Post 109

Sunday, April 11 - 5:47pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Equivalent to the straw man fallacy.
I don't think you know what "equivalent" means.

One of the defining characteristics of a straw man argument is pretending the other side believes something that they don't, and then arguing against it.  Usually people pick something that more easily refuted, for obvious reasons.  But you're actually arguing for doing the same thing with something that's less easily defeated.  And your claiming attacking their real positions is "equivalent" to a straw man? 

We could just all pretend that Christians don't have any mistaken beliefs.  Wouldn't that be even better?  How exactly would that spread Objectivist ideas?  Why would refusing to accept reality (the reality that they actually believe these bad ideas) work in this particular instance?

I think this idea that people should attack only the strongest ideas is misunderstood or misapplied here.  It doesn't mean we should ignore their actual arguments or positions.  Why would it?  It suggests we should focus on the strongest versions of their arguments.  In general, that's good practice because if you attack the weakest form, they'll simply retreat to the stronger form.  You haven't defeated the argument because you attacked a weak version of it.  It'd be like arguing against individual rights by arguing that there is no god to grant these rights.  Even if you make a perfectly compelling case, it doesn't convince anyone who thinks that rights are not just magic gifts bestowed by a supernatural entity.  It doesn't mean the compelling argument was wrong.  But all it would do is question the source of rights, not the existence or usefulness of them.  So there's merit to focusing on the stronger arguments.

But that's different from saying you should never rebut the simple stuff.  It only says you shouldn't stop there, since that's not going to be as persuasive if you don't deal with the more compelling stuff.  If a Christian believes that the world is too complicated not to have a designer, you can refute that argument no problem.  Maybe there are different forms of the argument, in which case you should tend to pick the one that's strongest.  But you're not wrong to point out that the specific argument they are using is also wrong, and why it is.  I don't think you're winning one for Objectivism or rationality by ignoring the biggest mistakes.

I also don't think some fake version of Christianity that's upheld as a shield against atheist criticism should be considered the strongest argument.  It may be the most defensible, simply because it's vague, convoluted, and lacks any concrete statements.  But that's not the same as saying it's the strongest argument.  If I were to defend Objectivism by saying only Ayn Rand truly knew what it was, and everyone else is just attacking their own personal interpretations, that might be a highly defensible position where I could reject any argument that came my way.  But it certainly wouldn't be an argument for Objectivism, or an argument about any concrete Objectivist belief.  Nor would anyone actually be obligated to take that as the "strongest argument".  If we told people that the only way they could criticize our views is by attacking that fake position, I would hope the world would mock us for it.  I certainly would not expect them to comply, or even believe that they should comply.

So why should we comply?  What is it about religion that requires us to ignore the facts?  Why are we wrong to point out the obvious problems?  Why are we wrong to focus on what they actually believe, instead of the straw man they'd prefer we waste our time on?

It's obvious why they'd prefer we play with their loaded dice.  They'd love the strongest critics to waste their lives arguing irrelevant minutia.  And they'd love to say that anyone who points out the obvious problems is somehow immoral for doing it.  They'd love to say that anyone can believe in Christianity without the most elementary background, but if you want to argue against it you must dedicate your lives studying esoteric theology for a lifetime.  They love the asymmetry there, where anyone is expert enough to believe, but nobody is expert enough to disagree.

What's in it for us?  I think if people want to argue for atheism or against Christianity, they should focus on the actual beliefs of people.  I think creating an imaginary belief system and refuting it doesn't work.  It's why straw man arguments don't work (because it is a straw man!).  Nobody cares what you do to that fake system, or how compelling your arguments.  They just don't apply.  It's not a stronger version of what normal Christians believe.  It's a distraction.

No thank you!




Post 110

Sunday, April 11 - 6:04pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Whoever wants to argue what a few billion individual Christians believe, such as in a blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus, is free to wallow in that swamp. Rand referred to Christian philosophy. I doubt Ed is friends with so very many Christian philosophers. Some of what Rand said about Christian philosophy is confused.

"Why would anyone want to argue on their terms?" Perhaps because stating what their beliefs are, accurately, even among ourselves, is arguing on our terms, fealty to reality.

I will answer your questions, Doug. They deserve full responses each.








Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 111

Sunday, April 11 - 6:11pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"I also don't think some fake version of Christianity that's upheld as a shield against atheist criticism should be considered the strongest argument."

Who is shielding Christianity from atheist criticism, Joe? Provide a quote please.

As it stands, saying that Jesus died because of his royal blood, not his scores on the moral SAT, hardly amounts to making Christianity look better.

It makes it look even more primitive.

In her own terms it was Rand who was giving Christianity a compliment it didn't deserve.



Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 112

Sunday, April 11 - 6:23pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Joe,

No, I'm not saying that. Attacking the story book beliefs of the average go to church on Sunday church member with a professional theologian would seem to him as attacking a straw man. The average church goer KNOWS he's not a theologian. Unless he already has a compelling personal reason to change his belief system he will not change. You have to attack the snake at the head. Kill the head, the rest of the snake dies. This is tiresome. Ted is one of the best contributors and best thinkers this forum has seen. He could be extraordinarily helpful if you would attacking him and try to understand what he is saying. Unless you're all happy with the status quo: backward progress for the rest of your natural lives. Maybe we'll live to see Obama crowned as emperor of the world. Boy, that'll teach'em, eh Steve? Oh, and let's just make sure we don't hurt anyone's feelings on THIS website. Happy, happy, happy, that's our goal.



Post 113

Sunday, April 11 - 7:10pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Whoever wants to argue what a few billion individual Christians believe, such as in a blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus

Well, no. The portraits of Jesus that have been painted vary considerably, generally reflecting the look of people in that culture. The most common portraits I've seen depict a straight-haired, dark-eyed man with light brown hair and caucasian features, such as most of the pictures here:

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&q=portraits+of+jesus&gbv=2&aq=0&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=portraits+of+jes&gs_rfai=

Basically, people seem to be projecting, making someone who looks like them so they can better identify with him.

The New Testament is completely silent about Jesus' physical appearance, other than hinting that he might be stouter than average in Matthew 11:19 ("The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber"). But even that description is doubtful, since it reflects the statements of people determined to mischaracterize Jesus in the most unfavorable light possible, the 1st century equivalent of a political hit piece. Most likely Jesus looked like a modern-day Palestinian or Jew, dark eyed with dark curly hair, but no one actually knows. For all we know, he might have looked like Jerry Seinfeld.

But the likely reason that the New Testament is silent about this is because IT DOESN'T MATTER what Jesus looked like. It is irrelevant to the radical theological philosophy he taught. So I don't know why Ted thinks it matters that a minority of portraits show a blond-haired blue-eyed Jesus.



Sanction: 28, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 28, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 28, No Sanction: 0
Post 114

Sunday, April 11 - 7:24pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Mike, the head is not the theologians who pretend nobody would be so stupid as to believe the Bible.  But if you think it's so important, why don't you and Ted go for it and leave everyone else alone to "waste their time" on the real believers.  I think you'd be wasting your time, but at least you wouldn't be spending all of it attacking atheists instead.

It may not be fair to pick on Ted right now, as I just move him to Dissent, but let me quickly answer his questions.  Who is shielding Christianity from atheist criticism?  The answer is Ted, or anyone else who gets offended people who deal with what Christians believe, instead of what a handful of professional Christians erect as a shield.  From day one, any criticism of Christianity is attacked consistently by Ted.  And his approach is the same as the theologians.  Pretend nobody actually believes things like the Bible, and insult anyone who dares attack anything except the fictitious distraction. 

I also think this last minute attempt to conclude that this defense of Christianity is actually a more thorough attack fails.  But going along with the theme, I'll now argue that banishing Ted to Dissent is actually proof that I respect and value his contributions.  See?  I must value his ability to keep us all honest! 

I can pretend things mean the opposite as well.




Post 115

Sunday, April 11 - 7:39pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The last I looked Christians outnumbered objectivists about 10,000/1.

I'd be inclined to say that estimate is off by perhaps an order of magnitude. If there are 2 billion or so Christians, your estimate would mean roughly 200,000 Objectivists scattered throughout the world. According to this quote, there have been perhaps 18 million readers of Atlas Shrugged:

(Link is here: http://aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com/2009/05/objectivisms-cultural-change-project_15.html)

"Atlas Shrugged's sales in the 50-odd years since it was published seem to be about 6,500,000, so (assuming these are mostly in the US) each copy should have about 3 readers. Seems possible enough, at least in a back-of-an-envelope way, so let's grant this research could be reliable.

But the key question is: of the 18,000,000 or so Americans that have read the book, how many have become Objectivists as a result?"

By contrast, there are currently almost 14 million Mormons worldwide, and perhaps double that number of Mormons who have ever lived since the Church was founded in 1830. So, perhaps 30 million total. Drop back down to 14 million to account for the half of Mormons who, like me, leave the faith. Googling, I found that about 120 million copies of the Book of Mormon have been printed total, a ratio of about 8 books per every active member. And this is for a book where a large number of copies get handed out by missionaries for free to people too polite to decline, who then chuck the book in the trash first chance they get.

Whereas, a large portion of the people who buy or check out a copy of Atlas Shrugged do so on their own because they are curious about it, rather than being given a hard sell by missionaries determined to meet a quota of books to give away.

So, my back of the envelope guess is that there might be one million or so people in America who hold Objectivist beliefs largely as a result of reading Atlas Shrugged, not even counting the number who found this philosophy by other means, or who live outside the U.S.
(Edited by Jim Henshaw on 4/11, 7:43pm)




Post 116

Monday, April 12 - 7:01amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Hmm - that would make a ratio of 320/1 in this country alone... no wonder the left are terrified and in a last ditch try...



Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 11, No Sanction: 0
Post 117

Monday, April 12 - 11:27amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Jim,

Does that mean we can organize an Objectivist "march-on-Washington D.C."? What will we call it, the: "Million-Man-qua-Man" March?

:-)

Jeezus, do I ever crack myself up sometimes.

Ed

p.s. Sorry for ruining your computer screen before, by making you spit orange juice all over the thing (with my dry and terribly-insensitive, way-faring, hardly-eloquent, and altogether sick, perverse and malfeasant sense of humor).

I'll try to tone it down from now on. [<----- lying]


(Edited by Ed Thompson on 4/12, 11:31am)




Post 118

Monday, April 12 - 1:15pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
No problem - now have Saran Wrap over it... ;-)



Post 119

Monday, April 12 - 3:21pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I'm mean, sheesh already, they made me the Director of Outreach, not the Director of Outpour!

:-)

Ed
[is thinking about keeping his day job]




Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Forward one pageLast Page
[an error occurred while processing this directive]


User ID Password or create a free account.