Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fundamentalist Atheism

Strange Notions is a new Disqus site run by Brandon Vogt to try to discuss Rationality and Reason with Athiests.

He may well succeed with some, but there is one subset of atheism he will never succeed with. On Richard Dawkin's spectrum of theistic probability, those with a score 6 and above often fall into something I term fundamentalist atheism. Many of them come from fundamentalist Christian backgrounds, if not in their generation, then within three generations of their recent past.

Fundamentalist Atheism starts with the assumption that the supernatural doesn't exist and that the natural world is all there is, and runs with it, denying any data to the contrary.

I've always been one to consider the natural to be a subset of the supernatural- that is the only real difference between the natural and the supernatural to me is the line of the shared scientific knowledge of mankind. A scientist, therefore, if he is to learn anything new about the universe, needs to have his primary focus on the supernatural- those items which are currently *beyond* natural knowledge, in hopes of bringing them into natural knowledge. As a theist, I am not threatened by that- in fact I celebrate it, for such explanations make my job as an evangelist easier, not harder, for the most part.

But the fundamentalist atheist can never be a true scientist- for he denies there is anything beyond *current science*. Like the feminist biologist I recently met who truly thought the science and engineering behind premature birth survival rates hadn't advanced since 1989 (and thus, was going with a viability line of 26 weeks for her personal morality surrounding abortion!). Such opinions are not based in reason, they are based in political correctness and being even more ignorant of morality than a Westboro Baptist. The really scary part for them is a universal God implies a universal morality, and that, they cannot even let themselves consider.

For such denial of the existence of "non scientific evidence", I see no possible way to dialogue.

But there is hope for the site. I recently ran into two very interesting comments, one on the site, the other in an Amazon book review. Apparently, anti-Catholicism and anti-Atheism are the last two politically correct bigotries. Anything a famous atheist tweets, any moral pronouncement by the Catholic Church, will quickly be criticized by secular post-Christian, post-modern society.


Bill S said...

"Fundamentalist Atheism starts with the assumption that the supernatural doesn't exist and that the natural world is all there is, and runs with it, denying any data to the contrary."


I didn't realize you had your own blog. I'm a 6 on a scale of 1-7. Assuming that the supernatural does not exist is essential to maintaining my worldview. I don't consider yet unexplained natural occurrences to be supernatural. What I abhor are occurrences that are explained in great detail by believers as obviously being of supernatural origin. They are all hearsay, hoaxes and pious frauds.

An essential part of my worldview is the belief that being wrong isn't a spiritual death sentence. If I am wrong, I am wrong. No big deal. Look at how wrong believers are every time they are bamboozled into believing in parlor tricks like weeping statues and olive oil emanating from icons. What is the penalty for their being misled? So I don't believe in any of it and someday one of these so called miracles turns out to be real. What is the cost to me for not believing? Don't say my eternal soul, because that would be a way to force me to believe. There should be no need to force anyone to believe anything.

There is one strange mystery for which I am trying to find an explanation that has recently occurred. Being an atheist, I am OK with suicide and have developed a strategy for my own. Part of this is a letter to my wife which I finalized and printed. I put it by my chair in the kitchen with other reading material that I wouldn't expect my wife to look at. A box of chocolates that has been on the table since Mother's Day mysteriously disappeared and, in looking for it, my wife found the letter. We have discussed it and I have assured her that I have no immediate plans to implement my strategy. I have no idea what happened to the chocolates. It is an unsolved mystery for which an answer may never be found. Until one is, I have a miracle on my hands that would shoot down my entire theory.

Got to get going. I look forward to some interesting discussions.

Bill S.

Theodore Seeber said...

Blogspot isn't as nice as disqus, but it is free, and at least it doesn't use for advertising, so you'll never see your computer lock up trying to access here.

Given that you are a 6, that kind of frees us up. I have grave doubts that you can maintain a materialist worldview and actually evaluate evidence fairly, but on the other hand, that means I need to treat you the same way St. Ambrose treated St. Augustine- be firm in my own beliefs and trusting that Truth will find YOU- because it always does, eventually, if your mind is open to *changing your worldview based on observation*.
The trouble is, if you are wrong in a materialist worldview, you could well end up hurting a lot of people. Take the subject of suicide. I fully understand suicide under a materialist worldview- in my 20s I tried to kill myself several times due to an excessively materialist worldview combined with what I now know were autistic sensory overload migraines and frustration at not understanding neurotypical behavior. But it eventually came to me that if I did ever succeed, it would not be just myself that I am hurting- to switch from atheism/Catholicism to the occult for a second, the Crowley and Wicca Redes are wrong- Do what you Wilt/Do no Harm fails to take into account that we are social beings, and that as social beings- the penalty for being misled doesn't just harm ourselves, but everybody around us.
Back to St. Augustine, in City of God, he wrote that lodestone is miraculous. We now know that lodestone is just the application of lava to iron; the heat causes the particles of iron to align, which then arranges magnetically in the liquid lava, which when cools, becomes embedded in a rock that acts like a natural magnet. However, all the properties that led Augustine to call lodestone miraculous are still there- you can create a compass with it, you can use it for all the uses a magnet can be used for. The miracle isn't in the *cause*, the miracle is in the *effect*.

I fully believe you'll either find out that the box of chocolate was never actually brought home to begin with, or that some visitor to your house took it. Doesn't matter. The effect is still the same isn't it? To draw you out of your narcissism and have a very needed discussion with your wife that you were previously afraid to have?

Miracles aren't magic; but they ARE fortunate coincidences. An atheist taught me that- it is basically just a reformulation of Clarke's Law.

I close with asking you to pray with me- I realize that at this time in your life, keeping your first degree promise to pray the rosary may well be close to impossible. So I would ask you instead to take that same rosary that you were given, and say with me a decade of the Catholic Version of the Litany of Tarski, which is what you really need at this point in time:

Lord, help me to believe that which is Truth, to not believe that which isn't truth, and grant me the wisdom to be wrong without harming my family.

Bill S said...

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."


As an atheist, I can't explain what appears to be intelligent design. Its proponents would have more credibility if they would completely cut ties with creationists and stop trying to make the designer the Christian God. The fine tuning of the laws and constants and irreducible complexity and the DNA codes all point to a design and a design points to a designer. So maybe I am more like a 4 or 5 than a 6.

The whole point is that if ID is correct, it still does not lead to belief in the Christian God just because of all the stories made up about "Him".

Theodore Seeber said...

The latest official Catholic version (well, going back three Popes, but Benedict wasn't interested in the question, and Francis has yet to produce anything specifically intellectual or doctrinal) is that Intelligent Design is hokum. The official version is "theistic evolution" in which all current and future *truly scientific* discoveries are accepted, interpreted under the "God is the prime mover" theology (which is the irreducible complexity argument, not really of DNA, but of the Anthropological Universal Constants that create DNA).

I agree with you that theistic evolution only gets you as far as Deism- but all Orthodox Catholics in the Church Militant are between 2-4 on the theistic spectrum to begin with. You have to have gone through the Church Suffering into the Church Triumphant to be a 1 without committing the sin of presumption.

If you are more like a 4 or a 5, we have something worth talking about. I'd love your comments on the prayer I just wrote spurned on by both this conversation with you, goading from the Holy Spirit, and a number of Knights in my council whose children have fallen away from the Church. It is two posts further on in this blog; titled "The Chaplet of Tarski Fatima".

Bill S said...

I don't recite prayers anymore because they are a mild form of brainwashing. It gets worse with repetition like the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Jesus Prayer, etc.

I don't agree that ID is hokum. Those who represent the Church on scientific matters do not fully understand the concept. It appears the some things in life follow a certain design. Of that, there is very little doubt. The question is how did this apparent design come about?

Theodore Seeber said...

Yes they are, but so is reading the God Delusion by Dawkins, or any other form of input into your brain.

You can't escape brainwashing, you can only choose what brainwashing to use.

From that standpoint, the Litany of Tarski is probably the best form of brainwashing I can think of- because it prepares your brain to accept the fact you might be wrong.

Not all of ID is hokum- the basic idea of a designed universe is sound. Maybe even directed evolution of the form the Catholic Church teaches. Where ID falls down is in the denial of macroevolution based on a strange interpretation of the idea of species breeding true. Species breeding true (or true enough- that is, you can't get a bird from a dinosaur in ID, but you can in evolution) has been proven false.

I think that may be what you meant by ". Its proponents would have more credibility if they would completely cut ties with creationists" above. ID is far too close to creationism for any Catholic to be comfortable with it.

Which goes back to my point in the original article- the one thing that can save the conversation between atheists and Catholics, is the mutual trouble they have with Biblical Fundamentalists.

Theodore Seeber said...

P.S. If you can't pray the Catholic version, try the atheist version with this very topic:

If evolution is intelligently designed,
I desire to believe that evolution is intelligently designed;
If evolution is not intelligently designed,
I desire to believe that evolution is not intelligently designed;
Let me not become attached to beliefs I may not want.

Theodore Seeber said...

The atheist version is slower (have to change it for whatever belief you are having a problem with, one belief at a time) but it is at least more accurate.

Bill S said...

"You can't escape brainwashing, you can only choose what brainwashing to use."

Being taught, enlightened, informed, educated, trained, etc. is not the same as being brainwashed. Being brainwashed is putting aside all rationality to believe something on faith alone. Religious people are brainwashed. Dawkins does not inform people to keep saying something like "There is no God" over and over again. He presents logical arguments as to why it is highly improbable that God exists. One can accept or reject them without fear of the consequences.

Theodore Seeber said...

His logical arguments contain assumptions that are not logical is the problem. It is not logical to reject the supernatural world just because you are bigoted against it.

And that is where the brainwashing comes in- to the point that you are *afraid to be wrong*. If you were truly not afraid to be wrong, you would welcome the "brainwashing" of the Litany of Tarski (which, BTW, has an atheist origin: The Litany of Tarski article at the Less Wrong Wiki . If the atheist worldview is so fragile that it can't admit that not knowing is the normal for a species with a finite memory, then it is a very weak worldview indeed.

Bill S said...

"It is not logical to reject the supernatural world just because you are bigoted against it."

That's not bigotry. That's just making an informed decision. You know what true bigotry is.

Theodore Seeber said...

It is a lack of informed decision- it is rejecting evidence before even examining it.

That is bigotry- the prejudicial support of one's own conclusion (about ANYTHING).

I don't know another word for such an ignorant, illogical, and unscientific attitude. If I was on the Board of Directors of New College, Oxford, that attitude alone would have been reason enough to never grant him tenure, or maybe even hire him in the first place.

It isn't even honest intellectual doubt- it is truly the dishonest rejection of data in favor of one's favorite theory.

Bill S said...

But there never has been, as a result of true scientific research, any proof of the existence of the supernatural. It is safe to say that it doesn't exist. Once that is accepted as an indisputable fact, everything else falls into place resulting in daily scientific progress.

Theodore Seeber said...

"But there never has been, as a result of true scientific research, any proof of the existence of the supernatural."

Except of course for *every scientific discovery in the last 1700 years*. That is the point of Clarke's Law. It isn't an indisputable fact, and the supernatural is proven to be natural every day.

To ignore the supernatural, is just bigotry on your part. You have accepted a myth as fact.

Bill S said...

"Except of course for *every scientific discovery in the last 1700 years*. That is the point of Clarke's Law. It isn't an indisputable fact, and the supernatural is proven to be natural every day."

You are misunderstanding Arthur C. Clarke. Yes. The "supernatural" is pronen to be "natural" every day meaning that it is not supernatural. Your example of Lodestone is a perfect example. The more things turn out to be natural instead of supernatural the less likely it is that anything at all will ultimately turn out to be supernatural. Your trying to say that amazing natural events and phenomena serve as proof that the supernatural is a natural occurrence. But, if that is indeed the case, then they are not supernatural. Don't you see what you are doing. If everything is natural then there is no supernatural.

Theodore Seeber said...

I'm not the one claiming that we know everything, and therefore nothing outside of our knowledge exists.

Let's try this again. Are you familiar at all with mathematical set theory?

The natural is a set. The supernatural is a set. The line between them is human knowledge. If the supernatural doesn't exist- it is because we have learned all there is to learn. Since we clearly haven't, the supernatural still exists.

If I can, I'll produce a Venn Diagram and a new blog posting so we can get on the same page. As far as I'm concerned, as long as the New Atheists continue to deny the supernatural, they will NOT ever gain my respect, because they are refusing to think.

Bill S said...


Lets assume for the time being that there exists beyond our ability to comprehend what you would call the supernatural. How should we go about trying to understand it?

Would the Bible and the Catholic Church be our best source of information. If so, then the answer for all our questions can be found in a man born in the Middle East on the planet Earth two thousand years ago. Really?

Theodore Seeber said...

What a day, it's been crazy.

Existing beyond our ability to understand- that's 99.99% of the physical universe and nearly 100% of the spiritual, at this stage in the game. We know enough to know the enormity of what we don't know.

The Bible and Catholic Tradition is our best source on how to be human. It has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to say about the rest of the physical universe outside humanity; has a bit to say on the spiritual universe, and of course Catholics invented the scientific method, but beyond the limited magisterium of "faith and morals", divine revelation is largely silent.

The Bible isn't a textbook. I long ago coined the term "Biblical Atheist" for those who, in rejection of Biblical Fundamentalism, become Atheist without leaving behind the most objectionable part of Biblical Christian Fundamentalism: prooftexting out of context to make the Bible say more (and different) than what it really does.

So yes, I would reject the concept of the supernatural as being unknowable. Unknown, yes, but unknowable says that humans can't advance any further. Too many members of the Vatican's Pontifical Council on The Sciences to believe that one.

Bill S said...

Do you really believe that the Bible and Catholic Tradition are even useful let alone our best guide. I would take plain old common sense over either of them.

What about all of the rearing by our parents, education in schools, books by professions in every field, etc. I would choose any or all of those over the Bible and Catholic Tradition.

Theodore Seeber said...

Would help if I published your comment before replying.

In my 20s, I fell away from the Church. I wanted to find what I termed was "the original religion", that Truth of how to be happy built into our DNA. I didn't know back then that my autism was the cause of my unhappiness- that my inability to follow rules and fit in *was the primary problem*.

Taking advantage of my 1500WPM reading speed, I began a voracious study of comparative religion. Quickly, I found that new, was rarely wise. And that wise, was never new.

I quickly eliminated the true quack religions- Biblical Christian fundamentalism, the Redes of Wicca and Crowley, any Christian religion younger than 700 years, the insanity (though I returned to studying this after 9/11/2001) of Islam, the chaos of Hindu and Shinto, the localized religions of Africa and the Americas (that last not because they were too new, but because they were too localized- their religion is the original moral relativism shaped by several thousand years of learning how to live in one place).

In the end, only Zen Buddhism, Roman Catholicism (well, with our equally localized "Sister Churches"- the Syriac Catholic Church has a larger Bible than we do and it is still in Aramaic) and Atheism made sense.

But over and over again, common sense did *NOT* line up with Atheism- and Atheism's predictions were wrong. Suicide is not a sufficient answer to suffering- lack of attachment and compassion both are better answers to suffering than suicide. Compassion in Hospice, pioneered by Mother Theresa in the modern form, is a better answer to other people's suffering than Euthanasia. Detachment from Materialism, preached by the Sixth Patriarch in the Platform Sutra, is a better answer to the woes of capitalism than abortion is.

So that brought me down to Zen and Catholicism- and for a time, I called myself the Zen Catholic. There will always be a love of paradox in my heart- and learning how to make sense of paradox is a better answer to Christ than Aristotle's First Principle of Non-Contradiction.

Then I discovered the Didache, the first catechism of the Catholic Church, written by the Apostles themselves and *NOT IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BIBLE*. And I was amazed. The principles that I had to learn by trial and error, that I learned by mistake- were all there. If I had followed Catholicism from the beginning, I would have saved myself three suicide attempts, a lot of heartbreak, sexual gender confusion, and a lot of other traps I fell into trying to follow Atheism or Buddhism. The 16 chapters (really what we would call paragraphs) of the Didache contained more wisdom than everything else I had ever read- including the Bible, including the writings of the Buddha- and far beyond anything any atheist has ever written.

If all you want to live in is the material world- then I'd urge you to become a hermit. Hermits don't need to worry about their connections to other people, and can do whatever they want. It is the ultimate freedom to be free of other people- which is where we meet God. As soon as you have even one other human being in your life, well, there is much wisdom in "Where two or three are gathered in my name"- that is where we meet both God and the Devil.

So in the end result, I can't be atheist anymore because they aren't wise enough. I can't be Buddhist, because they deny the physical world. ONLY Catholicism combines both the wisdom of Common Sense, and a study of the physical world. There is a reason why science wasn't created in Egypt 9000 years ago.

Bill S said...

Well Ted,

I guess you have gotten a lot out of Catholicism. I haven't gotten that much out of it but it does make my wife a better person. So I shouldn't knock it.

Theodore Seeber said...

You and your wife really need to read this book TOGETHER:

Like the Knights of Columbus- you get out of Catholicism what you put in.

Bill S said...

The chocolates that I told you about we're found under a greeting card. So there was a natural cause for their disappearance that might have saved my life. I'm pretty sure that the Truth is not found in Catholicism but in Atheism. I am impressed by the coincidence resulting in my wife finding the note but I don't see it as being because she has faith.

Theodore Seeber said...

Thus proving my original point- once somebody has decided to ignore all the evidence of history before the Enlightenment, and decided, along with the atheist philosophers, to give up hope, then there is nothing anybody can say to break through that ignorance- not even God. Such a soul has already decided that their own intelligence is worth more than community with God and their own loved ones- and thus, have chosen Hell over becoming a "Mindless Praisebot".

Bill S said...

Such a soul has already decided that their own intelligence is worth more than community with a God that doesn't exist and thus, have chosen Truth over becoming a "Mindless Praisebot".

I have decided to continue to live for the sake of my loved ones. I don't need an imaginary God to do so.

Theodore Seeber said...

"I have decided to continue to live for the sake of my loved ones. I don't need an imaginary God to do so."- this oxymoronic statement is exactly what I'm talking about. You have decided that God is imaginary with NO evidence to the point (for what can be the evidence that something bigger than the universe whose existence encompasses the entire universe is imaginary? The universe exists, therefore God exists.) You have taken the most direct evidence we have as a personal God, the intervention in our lives that brings love to our lives and loved ones into our path, and utterly ignored it, merely because of your bigotry against the existence of God!

This is why hard atheists aren't rational, why their minds, while they claim them to be open, are snapped shut even worse than a Calvinist faced with the Epistle of James. There is no evidence I can bring to you to disprove Atheism, not because there isn't evidence that disproves Atheism, but because you refuse to even acknowledge the miracles that exist in your own life.

Such ignorance is invincible indeed!

Bill S said...

It could be that something does exist where I say nothing does, but, whatever it is, it would not be called God because that name is already taken by a fictional character. If you want to call it God then you need to acknowledge that a lot of things have been made up about it, including human characteristic and a male gender. I'm an atheist when it comes to that God and any other god thus far described by various cultures.

Theodore Seeber said...

You only claim he is fictional- because you WANT to claim he is fictional.

God only has poetic gender (and sometimes female- El Shaddai, the Jewish name for the Holy Spirit, means "God with Large Breasts" after all), but that poetic justice doesn't invalidate his existence and it makes atheists look to have low intelligence to say so.

Once again, look at EFFECTS, not CAUSES, and you will quickly find God- and quickly see that the only difference between the "any other god thus far described by various cultures" is only linguistic translation and poetry. But since you're afraid to even say the *atheist* version of the Litany of Tarski when it comes to God, all I can say is you have become attached to a false and non-falsifiable belief.

If God Exists, Let me Believe that God Exists. If God Does Not Exist, Let me Believe that God Does Not Exist. Let me not become attached to beliefs I do not want.

If you can't even pray that- then all this conversation has done is proven that you are as irrational as the theist on the other side who can't repeat these words (something similar is why I reject Atheism, the occult, and fundamentalism in general).

Bill S said...

I have no problem with reciting that litany. I just don't know who I would be reciting it to other than myself. At best, I could say that God exists if I came up with an acceptable definition of God. It wouldn't have any resemblance to the God of the Bible or of Catholic tradition. It would involve the Big Bang, fine tuning, intelligent design and the creation of life. I wouldn't rely on ancient texts and traditions. The more current the data the better.

Theodore Seeber said...

"I have no problem with reciting that litany. I just don't know who I would be reciting it to other than myself"

is in stark contrast to your earlier statement:

"I don't recite prayers anymore because they are a mild form of brainwashing. It gets worse with repetition like the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Jesus Prayer, etc. "

The primary power of prayer- of any sort- is that you are right, it is a mild form of brainwashing.

But apparently, contradiction is indeed your topic of the day, for:
" It wouldn't have any resemblance to the God of the Bible or of Catholic tradition. It would involve the Big Bang, fine tuning, intelligent design and the creation of life. "

But all of those are IN the God of the Catholic Tradition and the Bible- the writings of Fr. Robert Spitzer:

I'd suggest taking his Reason series, it is very well done.

Most of the "discoveries" behind those four were in the 1930s- and all four of them came from Catholic priests.

Theodore Seeber said...

And on the other hand, there's also this:
Jimmy Akin on why The Big Bang *might not be where to find God after all

Bill S said...

" But all of those are IN the God of the Catholic Tradition and the Bible". No. "Let there be light" is not the Big Bang or Fine Tuning. Making a man out of clay is not Intelligent Design or the creation of life. Please stop trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Religion is based on fables. Science is based on reality. They are not compatible with one another as some religious would try to have you believe.

Theodore Seeber said...

"Let there be light" can easily be interpreted as a solar accretion disk creating planets, and as the system coalesces, the star ignites.

You must know that "making a man out of clay" is pretty darn close to "the mud turned into DNA and after millions of years, man came along".

But what is much more curious to me is why you seem to interpret Genesis as a Sola Scriptura Protestant does rather than as a Catholic.

Hint: The Church only asks us to believe *four* items from Genesis, and none of them are in your list.

1. God Created the Universe. How? Well, here's some nice poetry for you but nobody thinks it is a science textbook.

2. At some point, at the begining of the Homo Sapiens species, there was an "Adam" (father of all human beings) and an "Eve" (Mother of all peoples). They might have even lived a couple of hundred thousand years apart.

3. There was originally a relationship between man and God.

4. At some point homo sapiens got smart enough to tell God "My will be done, not yours", and thus Original Sin (and in a way, atheism) was born.

HEY- I think we just accomplished something- atheism is proof that Original Sin Exists!

Bill S said...

3 and 4 cannot be correct. There was no original relationship between humans and a god. We evolved from apes. When would we have had a relationship with a diety?

Same goes for Original Sin. When would that have happened?

Theodore Seeber said...

3 & 4 are the result of being a parent. It is completely observable in every parent-child relationship that has existed in the past two million years, and possibly even before that (I wonder, do other primate species experience teenage rebellion?). If 1 is true, then so are 3 & 4.

Evolving from apes doesn't change the existence of original sin any more than the sexual revolution changed the existence of heartbreak.

I would suggest that you are playing the reverse game- you so much don't want 3 & 4 to be true, that you are searching for reasons to deny 1. But it just comes across as another teenage rebellion- since you've got good and evil so mixed up that you can't tell the difference, you don't want anybody else to come in and ruin your party by telling you the difference.

Bill S said...

"If 1 is true, then so are 3 & 4."

I don't see the logic of saying if God created the universe (1), then humans once had a relationship with God (3), but chose to do their own will instead of God's will which was the Original Sin (4). 1 can be true without 3 and 4 being true. Evolution rules out Genesis as far as historicity. There was no original relationship or original disobedience of God's will. Those are just ancient folklore that people have trumped up to be the word of God. I'm not being a rebellious teenager. I am being a realist.

Theodore Seeber said...

Genesis, when interpreted the Catholic way, is 100% compatible with evolution and always will be. Evolution is how our *bodies* got the way they are- how we became Homo Sapiens. Genesis (and stories like it, it is by no means unique) is about how we gained a form of soul that animals do not share- how we became Homo Sapiens Fides.

Part of 1 is that we are made in the image of God- which turns God into a parental figure. Once God became a parental figure, that implies 3, that he has a relationship with us. And 4- I don't know if you raised kids, but 4, Original Sin, is the most proven doctrine the Catholic Church has. It is completely universal- and in fact, this discussion proves that you have Original Sin in your own life.

Bill S said...

How you can find anything in Genesis that would be in any way compatible with evolution is beyond me. There isn't a single sentence that leaves open to interpretation that the writers had the slightest concept of evolution. You are living a delusion if you think the Bible and the Theory of Evolution have the slightes sliver of commonality.

And how can you even insinuate that Original Sin is a proven doctrine? We have evolved and keep becoming more civilized. There was no time in our past when we were any closer to a diety than we are now or when death had not entered the world and we were meant to be eternal beings. That's all folklore. Can't you see that? I'm not disputing what you are saying because I am a victim of Original Sin. I am disputing it because it is nonsense. Anyone can see that if they are not brainwashed by religion.

Theodore Seeber said...

The only thing I agree with in your comment is the first sentence: you do not understand. You think you do, but you do not. You are a creationist in how you are approaching the book of Genesis. I do not know where you are getting this interpretation from, but it is a false interpretation. And your claim to be perfect, is equally false because you are interpreting Genesis wrong.

This very conversation shows you lied to me above. You are so afraid to be wrong on the topic of original sin that you refuse to see your own sin. When you realize you do not understand, you prove the doctrine of Original sin to be correct: because that is the core of original sin. Not understanding.

Bill S said...

What I don't understand is your thinking that there is a way to interpret Genesis that makes it more than what it is. It's a story that someone made up about God, creation, the first humans, a flood and the beginning of the Jewish nation. I am not interpreting it any way other than the way it was intended to be read. You seem to have a way of interpreting it in ways that it was never meant to be understood.

The core of Original Sin is not understanding? I thought they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It's just a dumb myth, Ted. Face it. Your defending a myth.

Theodore Seeber said...

"What I don't understand is your thinking that there is a way to interpret Genesis that makes it more than what it is"

No, that's what you are doing. Genesis was never meant to be just history- or even history at all. It has nothing to do with the start of the Jewish Nation- which wouldn't occur for several million more years.

The knowledge of good and evil is faith. Original sin is ignorance. The text is as clear on that as it is on the preference for hunter gatherers like Abel over agriculturalists like Cain.

Bill S said...

" It has nothing to do with the start of the Jewish Nation- which wouldn't occur for several million more years."

I'm talking about Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation. I don't know where you come up with several million more years. Genesis ends with Joseph in Egypt. It doesn't really go back millions of years. The writers probably wouldn't have a concept of the true age of the universe and the planet. How sophisticated do you think the writers of the Old Testament were? Do you think they employed symbolism and deep philosophical concepts. They were telling stories around campfires and someone wrote them down. It's all folklore. Don't make it out to be more than it is.

Theodore Seeber said...

Abraham was the father of the Semitic tribes- including the Arabs. The Jewish Nation didn't start until the people got fed up with being ruled only by tribal elders (Judges) and elected their first king (Saul)- several thousand years after Abraham, and a couple of million years after Eve, maybe a little less after Adam.

Bill S said...

I mean the Jewish people. I'm not talking about a nation as in a country but as in a people or ethnicity. So, you are saying that Adam is the man from whom we all have descended and Eve is the woman and they were most likely not a couple. And they lived millions of years ago. Then the story in Genesis is meaningless. And what about the genealogy of Jesus that goes all the way back to Adam? That doesn't go back millions of years. How is Genesis even relevant? If it was not meant to be literally true, then what purpose does it serve and did the writers intend that purpose?

Theodore Seeber said...

Jewish people certainly does change the goalposts- a little bit. But not as much as you'd think.

Israelite is the term I think you are going for- that is only a few generations removed from Abraham and is still in the realm of the book of Genesis. Jewish people would be the Hebrews- which really doesn't start until they were freed from the Egyptians under Moses.

Theodore Seeber said...

The story in Genesis is allegory and metaphor, not a textbook. And even the Pharisees in Christ's day knew that- it took 19th century Protestants to say any different.

Bill S said...

"And even the Pharisees in Christ's day knew that"

And you know this how?

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