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Christopher CaseyjillybeanbethyadakatechoDunsworth Recent comment authors

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bethyada
Member

Degrees of certainty 100% (necessarily true) theism is true the law of non-contradiction (and identity) certain mathematical propositions close enough to 100% (absolutely certain) information cannot increase design implies designer (this is essentially the same as above) morality implies a lawgiver time can not be infinitely past we cannot go back in time the universe must be finite (logically) matter is created Christianity is the true worldview of the universe (I have come to this position and I think it more revelational than the others here but it would be above 99.99% for me now) very high (what most people… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

To your very high list I would add that any human system of perfectibility will fail as long as it is rooted in human nature. And that human nature cannot be driven out, even with a pitchfork, by natural means. I was thinking specifically of “girl” nature this morning when my daughter got a present in the mail from a young man who wants very much to take her out. It was a six-pack of DVDs on finding human contentment with the church of Scientology. Her great-grandparents would have known instinctually that flowers and candy would be a better bet!… Read more »

bethyada
Member

It seems to me that girls don’t mind bad pick up lines if they are sufficiently complimentary?

I have decided that human perfectibility is why left utopian systems inevitability become so evil. The idea that we can remove every last badness becomes a target that is ultimately destructive.

You are an enigma Jill. You write younger but you have said something about being in your sixties, and yet your snowflake sounds like she has barely started her twenties? I suppose.

Jill Smith
Member

I had her when I was 42! After years of failed fertility treatments, I quit my job, adopted some cats, and Bingo! (I am not attributing the advent of the Snowflake to the cats!) Her father and I were startled but delighted. It was not as difficult as one would have supposed. I was lucky that I got a girl who preferred reading to all else, and that her interests did not include organized sports. On the other hand, I have spent more hours than I care to count with my heart in my throat watching her ride horses, figure… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Ah!

Though those first cats should be dead by now so you must be replacing them!

Jill Smith
Member

They made it to 16 and 18, which is pretty good. Their replacements are 11 and 4, so I hope they will be with us for a while yet. But I must take exception to the word “dead.” They have passed away, fallen off the perch, joined the cat choir invisible, and are taking a very long nap on God’s bed. Canadians use the word “dead” fairly freely, and one of the cultural adjustments I had to make was expunging the word from my vocabulary. Perhaps this is a Californian trait, but saying that somebody died is the height of… Read more »

bethyada
Member

My emphasis wasn’t really on the word “dead”, more the word “replace”. Once a cat lady always a cat lady.

:)

Christopher
Member

Pining for the fjiords?

Jane
Member

There’s a whole genre of “bad Christian pickup lines” out there. Google it if you want a laugh. One of my favorites is: I was just reading the Book of Numbers, when I realized I didn’t have yours.

Jill Smith
Member

I love that! I must look them up.

Jill Smith
Member

“Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead.” Not so sure about the effectiveness of that one! I can think of better ones from the Song of Songs but they would be grossly improper.

When I was a pre-teen, my older brother and I used to beguile the tedium of church by passing Biblical verses back and forth. He always got me with, “We have a little sister at home who has no breasts.”

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Only God knows certainly, right? And he knows no other way. The closest we come to certainty is knowing him and that is through a glass darkly.

That’s not to say we don’t really know, only that we ought to be humble about it. Or something.

Jane
Member

It depends what you mean by certainty. There are things that I am certain of, yet I do not affirm that I am incapable of error concerning them. But within the bounds of what it means for a created being with God-given reasoning ability and the illumination of the Holy Spirit to be certain, I am certain of some things.

To make the kind of certainty God has the only certainty there is, leads to all sorts of problems, both spiritual and philosophical. Scripture speaks of certainty, as well.

But yes, humility, because we are not infallible.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Okay, maybe add a category above ordinary certainty: metaphysical certitude. Sounds like John McLaughlin!

God knows not because he perceives and cogitates but because he creates. There’s no real human equivalent but we might try the God:reality :: author:story analogy. Except there’s the whole matter of God knowing himself, which is so far beyond us I don’t even.

bethyada
Member

Will we doubt Jesus’ existence in glory? Is it possible to encounter him now in such a way to be absolutely certain he lives?

Jill Smith
Member

Yes, but not with the same type (not degree) of certainty that we attach to the multiplication table. Otherwise there would be no virtue in faith. I believe God intended us to to use the light of our minds to search for certainty. But I would agree with Rob that “I know that my Redeemer liveth” will not be reached by the light of unaided human reason. The old Pantheist of the Lake District was talking about neo-platonism, but I find this incredibly comforting in helping me understand the vast, shadowy region between what I know and what I believe:… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Jill, I think we differ on what we mean by faith, at least some of the time. I usually think of “faith” as synonymous to “trust”.

Jill Smith
Member

I think that is an important difference, and it’s one that I need to think over. I would have defined faith as an assent of the will to a set of theological propositions.

bethyada
Member

Abraham offered up Isaac knowing that God had promised Abraham’s posterity would be through Isaac. Yet Isaac had yet to have children. So Abraham reasoned that God would resurrect Isaac as that was the only way that Abraham could both kill Isaac and have Isaac father children. It was Abraham’s faith that God was able to do this that led him to obey. Abraham’s extremely strong faith was connected with his certainty in God’s ability. Although it was clearly a trust, it was connected to a knowledge of God. It was more than knowledge. But it wasn’t based on non-knowledge.

Jill Smith
Member

I haven’t heard this interpretation before. So when Abraham says “we will return to you” after he and Isaac have gone to worship, he understood that he might be returning with an Isaac brought back to life?

Many of the sermons I have heard about this passage either talk about its prefiguring Christ’s sacrifice or about its teaching that child sacrifice is wrong. I have not found the second one convincing. Isaac wasn’t a child, and if that were God’s intention, a commandment would have been clearer!

Jane
Member

It would also be a rather ridiculous way to teach the lesson. “Here, do what I say!” “No, that would have been wrong!” That strikes me as taking the “Because God says so” option of the Eurythphro, rather than taking (the correct) unstated option #3, “There is no distinction between what God calls wrong, and what is wrong, because rightness is of God’s nature.” By that interpretation of the Isaac incident, the only reason we shouldn’t sacrifice our children is because God *said* it was wrong, not because it *is* wrong, because God might just as well have said it… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I haven’t heard this interpretation before

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. —Hebrews 11

bethyada
Member

So when Abraham says “we will return to you” after he and Isaac have gone to worship, he understood that he might be returning with an Isaac brought back to life?

Exactly!

bethyada
Member

Child sacrifice is wrong!

Though, hypothetically, would child sacrifice be wring in a universe where the child sacrificed immediately acme back to life?

Jill Smith
Member

I would say it would be wrong if it caused pain and fear to the child.

Katecho
Member

Q: If trees could scream, would you still chop one down?
A: I would if it screamed all the time.

Jill Smith
Member

“Dad, am I adopted?” “Not yet, son.”

bethyada
Member

The pain and fear may be wrong, but the sacrifice itself would not be.

Jill Smith
Member

One thing that must trouble us is when severely deranged Christians kill their kids with the notion that God has commanded this sacrifice. We have had a couple of instances of this in the U.S. Now, of course, I understand that people kill their kids for all kinds of reasons, and that people who kill their kids for other than practical reasons like collecting insurance money are probably deranged. I also understand that a person of any religion under the sun might suffer from this kind of delusional belief. But I think every Christian should understand that, Abraham and Isaac… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Of course not. Such behaviour should be condemned. What I am pointing out is that child sacrifice was uniformly practiced. If Yahweh commanded a sacrifice that was to result in an immediate resurrection (as was his reasoning which we learn from Hebrews) then the death is not permanent. The reason child sacrifice is wrong is we have a universal commandment not to murder. This applies to all men at all times. But because Yahweh was creating a people for his purposes he was calling out Abraham. Thus he was doing something different. Has God ever asked anyone else to kill… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

No. I think one of the tragic parts of genuine mental derangement is that people don’t usually confide their intentions to the people around them. I, who seem to be incapable of having a thought without announcing it, wouldn’t suffer from that problem at any rate!

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote:

Yes, but not with the same type (not degree) of certainty that we attach to the multiplication table. Otherwise there would be no virtue in faith.

The virtue of faith is not in relation to its lack of certainty. These two things are not inversely related.

The areas where we have the most epistemological certainty are the same areas where we exercise the most faith. Consider that science is a realm which supposedly requires the least amount of faith, and yet notice that this feature renders all of its conclusions as the most tentative.

Jill Smith
Member

Could you help me understand that in terms of faith being the sum of things hoped for and not seen? I have trouble with the science analogy because all scientific findings are understood to be provisional–which is why scientists are typically careful to say “accept” rather than “believe.” I (and my intelligence, such as it is, is not at its best when it comes to science) “accept” the Big Bang theory, fully aware that it may be discarded tomorrow in the light of new evidence. But our faith in Christ is not provisional in that sense.

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote:

Could you help me understand that in terms of faith being the sum of things hoped for and not seen?

Sure. If we hope in God’s promises, does this mean that we are certain, or uncertain of their fulfillment? I should think that the more hope (confidence, with fide, with faith) we have in them, the more certain we are of them, not less.

So, again, faith is not to be understood as being inversely related to certainty. The virtue of faith is not in its lack of confidence or certainty.

bethyada
Member

Only God knows all things certainly. But there are some things that we can know certainly.

See my necessary truths. If man can know necessary truths are in fact necessary then he can know them absolutely certainly. I think it is possible for a person to come to knowledge beyond any doubt that God exists. That A cannot be not A in the same way at the same time. That 1 banana plus 2 bananas will always be 3 bananas.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

I think there’s a kind of certainty we aspire to but can’t reach, a kind of knowing that only God is capable of but that we somehow reached for anyway in the fall. It’s knowing as a generative act as opposed to a responsive one. It’s metaphysical certainty or maybe ontological certainty. Any knowing that depends on the meat between my ears is going to be sketchy by comparison. That’s not to say any of the truths you mention are not true, or that we can’t know that they’re true. It’s more a meditation on what we mean by knowledge… Read more »

bethyada
Member

We have been told repeatedly: that absolute certainty is unobtainable; at bottom there are axioms we must rely on by faith. I get this reasoning. But are we not created by God? Does he not put his reason in us? Does he not expect us to know? Are we not overly sceptical because of Hume and Descartes? Is it not blatantly obvious that the mind cannot come about by itself? Is not the fact of creation and the fact of the creator the most obvious fact? Humility may be a virtue, but stupidity certainly is not. I may be as… Read more »

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

You remind me of Chesterton’s

“What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition and settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.”

bethyada
Member

Good quote.

People rave about Chesterton. He is good in places. I don’t mind some of his writing, but I find him overrated.

Jill Smith
Member

If you had received a Catholic education, you might like him even less! I think he is sometimes turgid, but I can forgive him almost anything for the famous line in Father Brown:
‘I caught him’ (the thief) ‘with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread.'”

Jill Smith
Member

Oh my goodness, after years of patient waiting I get to tell my Descartes joke.

“Hey, Rene, is it going to rain?”
“I think not.” POUF!