Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Filibuster: The Last Gasp of Relativism

Saturday night I spent some very valuable time with my Philosophy Professor: He is a Relativist disciple of Wittgenstein. He proceeded to divide the debaters of the world into rationalists, and empiricists. He sketched out a chart to help the "old man". Introducing me to knowledge “a priori” and “a posteriori". Once he explained the whole system of Rationalism and Empiricism and how one discovers A Priori knowledge by instinct but A Posteriori knowledge through scence experenct, he reduced the world of truth into analytical and synthetic logic, with premis leading to premis. I asked him to please tell me how understanding all this – which I did not pretend to do, would help me answer any of the important questions that I needed answers to. He demanded an example of such a question. “Is the war in Iraq just?” I asked ( I could have asked if Bush's judges should get a vote.) He asked me why I needed to know about the justice of the war. I explained that I needed to know if I should support it or not. “Then," he asked, “don’t you need to know if one should support just wars?" Here I told him that to me that knowledge was a priori. "What if someone disagreeded?" he demanded. I said, “Then they must be misguided.” But he explained that a priori knowledge didn’t need explaining, it was like 2 + 2 = 4. I reminded him of how he had really not always known that; that at one time a teacher had laid out the blocks and got him to remember that truth. I claimed that had he been asked the right questions he would have remembered that just wars must be fought. But I asked, "If that is not true how does your chart help me to understand that?" Then the argument started going round and round. We were in filibuster. Every time I asked if “the war was just” he would ask me to define justice. When I offered a definition he told me it was “not interesting.” I asked him for a definition and got a lot of talk about “cats on mats” and 2 + 2 = 4 and he wondered at the number of rocks on the top of a hypothetical mountain. My Professor then insisted that he knew “2 + 2= 4” instinctively but had had to be taught about justice; that in some other world justice might be something else than it is here. He told me that P and not P cannot be, but that my belief that “freedom was worth fighting for" depended on how I had been taught. I, of course, disagreed. He told me that I had read my Plato and falling in love, I told him he was enamored of his WSU professors and the writings of Kant. He said that no one had to prove to anyone that “p” and “not p” could not be; I told him that before anyone existed man had a right to be free. In the end the discussion stalled. He is still my dearest friend but tired of argument we said goodnight with no answer on the justice of the war. Thus when I had forced an end to the filibustered – when argument came to an end and I called for a vote, he took his balls and went home. The Democrats are similarly bound to circular agreements; as are relativists and the empiricists at all. . When absolutists, rationalists, seek to understand the justice of a war they are fighting, relativists want to talk of the nature of killing, when rational folk want to defend the life of the dieing, relativists want to redefine death, when believers in eternal truths try to deal with politics those who name truth as they see it want to quote Aristotle – and if "we" disagree with the quote and call of a vote, "they" take their balls and go.

By way of ilistration let me give an example. I had a very different sort argument with a friend the other day. He claimed that if he had known what Hitler was to become before he had come to power, he would have been justified in killing Hitler before he had committed any crime. This is a very different way to argue than charts and make believe mountain rocks. I told him I thought he was wrong about killing Hitler and then I told him why. He may or may not have been converted by the power of the arguments that followed; he may yet offer some counter ones to try to bring me round to his way of seeing things; but we will be debating the issue and in the end those who have listened will cast their vote by how they see the truth.

Here were my arguments against “prior restraint” even on Hitler. Until Hitler had done anything wrong, there was no justice in apprehending or killing him. What should have happened was preventing his rise to power in the first place. Once he had accomplished that, the world should have acted on his first violation of justice and removed him from power. Much could and should have been done beforehand to prevent “Hitler”. America should have followed Woodrow Wilson and “made the world safe for Democracy” at the first of the last century! There should have been no treaty of Versailles with the subsequent reparations, collapse of the German economy, and world-wide depression. Having said this, there was no excuse for the path Hitler chose. The time to stop Hitler was when he committed his first act of “illegal” aggression. When he began German rearmament, he should have been stopped, when he seized Austria, he should have been thrown out, when he demanded Czechoslovakia, he should have been brought to London in chains. Again – there is little point in re-fighting WWII but what we must realize is that before Hitler committed a crime he was innocent and could not be judged by any prophesy of the future. (You might consider watching a movie called “The Minority Report”.)

Now let’s apply our reasoning to our nation’s present problem. When Osama Bin Laden first murdered Americans, he should have been stopped. When the Saudi Princes offered him to Clinton, Clinton should have had the courage to take him down. When Saddam first violated the terms of his surrender in the First Gulf War, the United Nations should have brought him to justice. Under Clinton none of these things happened.

What if there had been no Churchill to face down Hitler? We can only speculate on what a continuance of the appeasement of Hitler would have wrought. What if Britain would have handed over Poland and France? What if the US would have stood by and allowed Stalin’s USSR to starve? What if on Pear Harbor Day, America would have handed the Japanese Hawaii and crawled back to the coast?

What if Clinton or Gore would have been in the White House when Osama came knocking? Perhaps confronted by such an atrocity even they would have acted, but I am not hopeful. Within weeks of 9/11 Clinton gave a speech blaming America for the attack, and Gore has claimed that the war on terror has been a betrayal of America. Even as the U.N. sank into its own refuse, Kerry wanted to hand it a veto over American action. Perhaps under such “leadership” the world would have seen the Islamic Super State from Spain to Indonesia. Would there now be the fanatic’s dream of a nuclear weapon armed monster whose purpose would be world wide domination and the extermination of all who do not bend the knee? We will never know. What we do know is that, at last, the free peoples of the world drew the lines and the armed forces of the US paid the price for our freedom. Now in thr “relative” safety of the world such sacrifice has preserved, those politicians who want power in the U.S. are willing to condemn as unnecessary the war which has kept them free. Here is a place for discussion, but leave the P’s and Q’s out of it.

So I await Rumpole’s reply, or perhaps some discussion from Shadow, or Silver Lining, Areas, Apollo, or some legal instruction from DannyBoy or Aeneas, some light from any anonymous, or any of you who so kindly read and post. Here in the Agora we call for debate and no mandatory 60% conscientious is needed before discussion can go on. To dodge the topic by name calling and “scholarly head wagging” will not serve, and refusing to participate does no one any good. Thus we see the tactics of the opposition reveled. When reason deserts them, when the truth calls for action, they can ether filibuster or go home.

38 comments:

A_Shadow said...

I wasn't originally going to post first. It puts me on the defensive immediately, usually, but you brought up the exact movie that I was going to. I figured you'd have seen it, and I would bring it up for being a quote and movie buff. So in this instance let me play a bit of devil's advocate.

In the movie the agent played by Tom Cruise rolls a ball along their displays. The FBI agent catches the ball.
"Why'd you do that?"
"It was going to fall."
"You know that?"
It's a very valid argument when talking about the thousands of things (if not millions upon billions) that even the tiniest event can change. I have some arguments for not stopping Hitler myself, but it's more along the lines of what he did for humanity, not what he might have done to it. But in the justice of the matter, you're right. You can't stop him before he's committed the act, or can you?

You brought up a similar topic in your class last year, one that you and I argued about for some length of time. If you KNOW that someone is going to start shooting people in the school, or where ever, do you have an obligation to stop them? And by what means?

It's a tough call. You've presented us with an argument in which we essentially have divine knowledge about the subject at hand. If America had gone and invaded Germany when Hitler first took power (in this scenario based off the intervention and meddling of some time traveling phenomenon) everyone in the world would have looked at us as though we were nuts, imperialistic, etc. If you tackle someone in the hall who, because you have some sort of insight, know is going to kill someone. Same scenario. Why is it wrong to tackle that person and stop them from shooting?

One more, we pre-emptively tackled Saddam Hussein and his regime. What's the world doing right now? Looking at us like we're nuts. I would argue in each case that we would need to do everything in our powers to stop that person, even if we can't prove what we know. It's a difficult question, and I doubt it will ever truly happen. But I think just as important as what you would do if you had that information, is what would you do if you were watching this unfold. If you were the gunman's target, what would you think having someone just run out at tackle a man screaming that he's going to shoot? Can you prove it? So ultimately, you would look as though you were not only a loon, but that you were the assailant, not the saviour.

You say that you wouldn't go back and stop Hitler from starting WWII. I would agree, but on reasons of causality more so than justice. More so than his being treated justly, I should clarify. Think of all of the things that have come out of that era. I suppose we need Blowhard to show up right about now and accuse me of "post hoc collateralization". I don't know that I can deny it. But I feel it is right. We were facing starvation as a world, not just a country, it's a difficult choice...

So many difficult questions. I know there's an answer, but I don't have very much hope in finding the answer to this particular question in my lifetime. There are too many angles, variables, and people to consider to just say that taking Hitler out, or leaving him, would be just. If the absolute is Thou Shalt Not Kill, what is become of those that sit idly by? "For evil to triumph good men need do nothing." On one hand we have Hitler's justice so that we may not take him out prior to any wrong doing, and on the other hand we have millions of lives and the greatest war that we have ever seen on this Earth. I believe Mormons have something about sins and by not taking steps to stop it, they are guilty as well. Not to through your religion at you. It's just a very delicate balance, good luck finding the fulcrum.

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

The filibuster you had with your friend is a great example of what I will refer to as the attempt of placing a "barrier to entry".

This term was introduced to me as an economic term but I think it has almost universal application.

Sometimes the barriers to entry may be necessary and good. Often, however, they are not. In forums where, position, status, money, or access to power have been established, the selfish attempt to raise barriers to protect from others that which has been aquired.

Examples of some of those barriers follow. Decide for yourself in each instance wether or not they are good. Doctors use barriers. You can't practice medicine without a license. Lawyers use barriers. You can't practice law if you don't pass the bar. Educators use barriers. Once you gain tenure, you have far greater protection under the guise of "academic freedom".

Businessmen use barriers. Create a product everyone wants, patent it, then name your price for its sale. Politicians most certainly use barriers. The seniority system in both Houses drives voters to re-elect their representatives so that local interests may be more likely to be served.

The effective use of this "barrier to entry" is critical to an "intellectual" liberal in a losing arguement.

Unfortunately, when we attempt to have a discussion with an "intellectual" liberal, we end up discussing the discussion rather than the topic at had. I believe that this stems from the liberal assumption that as a conservative we are just not smart enough to understand; otherwise, we wouldn't believe the things we believe.

That is why the "rules" of the discussion become so important. If you don't understand the "rules" (the barrier to entry of free thought) you certainly can't posess the ability to participate in the real discussion.

It is a great tact for any intellectual to avoid the potential of having to face the truth.

Dan Simpson said...

a-shadow you make a good point. But perhaps this distinction will help. You are of course aware of the charge of "attempted" (insert crime here). I think it is the same rationale. One has to go to a certain point and then they are no longer innocent.

For example, in your school shooting theory. If an individual has brought a gun into a school, then there is nothing wrong with tackling them to stop them, they have done wrong, even if they haven't shot anyone yet. Now, it would be wrong to shoot them in the head to stop them, it goes to how much force is necessary in comparison to the threat.

The same goes with Hitler. It would be force to stop his rise to power, but it would be a force that was comensurate with the threat.

One more thing, though people called it a preemptive war, Saddam had broken a signed legal treaty, as soon as he did that, action was justified, and cannot be considered preemptive.

I'm in a hurry or I would elaborate.

A_Shadow said...

Of course, but if you ask the man who sent our soldiers there, he doesn't use the justification that he broke a treaty (at least not that I've heard), he uses the freeing of an oppressed people.

Don't get me wrong, I think it was a good and just thing, and one of the first things that I bring up is that he violated things ratified by the same UN that wouldn't hold him to it. But the thing is that the primary reason for Bush until recently was a pre-emptive strike...

As for weapons in schools being a violation of rules... Rhyming not intended... I am inclined to take issue on that. Here in Utah I'm not sure where all the ban on concealed weapons is in effect. I really only know that it's in effect at courthouses. I don't think it's a problem at school (except for students) regardless of that, I see your point.

In response though if I had reason to believe that the school's officer was going to do something, he's entitled to have that weapon. I know it's a bit weak to change the scenario to something more extreme. But assuming it was the officer on duty who decided to do it, someone of authority other than a school aged punk (I'm thinking that the person of authority scenario fits a bit better with a Hitler analogy anyways, Hitler was hardly some poor punk in his country...) is it still justifiable to tackle the person to prevent them from that act even if they are allowed to have that weapon there?

Good points though and point well taken. This is always a tricky subject for me because I don't believe in killing in self defence (I'm confident in my own abilities to defend myself without that level of force, but it's just talk until it's tested) but I do believe in potentially killing to save another person. Still a tricky one... But my point in all that is I agree with tackling the person, much of that argument was present when we had this discussion in Lysis' class.

RealFruitBeverage said...

I think there is some clarity that needs to be addressed. You are really talking about two really diffrent issues. One you are talking about what is a justified action and two you are talking about the epistimilogical level of certianty you need in order to initiate an action and still consider it of moral worth. That is to say actions done without intent generally are not considered moral or immoral. An example of this is leaving bread at the orphange because you forgot it. There is not much morally commendable by such an action. Also if you accidently step on someone's foot there isn't much that is morally bankrupt in such an action. (these examples are simple and can be made more complex with details but I think they illistrate the point).

However there is an underling assumption that is being acted upon here that I think we are missing that is if you are considering the the effect of knowledge of futer events on your moral scheme then to some extent you are practicing a consequential system of morality. That is to say you are basicly going through the pains of utilitarianism, but instead of happiness you are replacing the word with X. When it comes to moral schemes I've become more and more uncomfortable accepting a consequential system. However I see myself becoming more and more consequenital in my thoughts and actions. This leads me to believe that I just might not give a care for academic debate regarding morality. But I'll hold off on this conclusion as I'm in a strange place and an odd mood.

The only other system that can really be accepted is a strange Kantian system or something more intuitional like Ross(sp I belive I got the name.) Both are rather cumbersome lines of thinking that would clog this blog way to much.

Back to the point. When deciding to do the act of war we've accepted certain things. We will kill people. People will die that don't need to. We are OK with all this so long as we win. Whatever winning is. The thing is under any system that would contemplate the justice of war based on consequences (looking into the future) anything really goes so longs as more good was accomplished. I really don't like that. Eventually you get to the corrilary that pre emptive war is ok. I really don't like that. Then again my gut says that's the thing to do. As is to maintain a "just" war some principle has to be violated. I think where we are comfortable drawing the lines of prinicple is the hard part. To me genocide is an instant justification for invasion. Sad thing is you have to wait for it to happen. There is a lot of evil in the world. Sometimes you have to let it happen to get rid of it. You just have to make sure you get rid of it. You know stay the course all that jazz.

Yes I was conviluded and yes my grammer and spelling was as that of a 4 year old, but I was so moved by a post marking my absence that I had to post. Oh that and we are currently locked out of our barracks with nothing to do for hours. But since I've phased to the next level of training I'll respond to all comers. Well except for Danny2 and Bryan because I'd rather insult them face to face.

Dan Simpson said...

RFB, I enjoyed your comments, and I continue to hope for all good things for you.

And I look forward to when you can insult me face to face again, you dang banana.

A_Shadow said...

That post just brought about all sorts of questions about your life, but I suppose they'll go unanswered...

I think this is one of the rare forums that most of the participants would WANT to see each other face to face. That tells me something.

Anyways, on to your subject matter. I've found the same things being true. When dealing with impossibilities like that, it's hard to choose which path. It's a "Damned if you do, damned if you don't." scenario. In one course of action (in the case we've been discussing) millions die. In another you invade pre-emptively, without any concrete proof and your world image suffers (sound familiar, not that I'm claiming our current person had some futuristic knowledge, it's just a parallel).

And this is where some of my values will always conflict. Just assuming that it could happen, I would probably leave things as they lie. I wouldn't hold my self any more responsible for what happens than I hold the Swiss responsible for not stopping it. The French, English and everyone else at that time should have stepped in long before Poland, somewhere about the invasion of the Rhine at least. But I just see that the most came out of it happening. There's no way to tell that having Hitler taken out early was a good thing. He could have been the reason for the ending of the Great Depression (I've argued this both ways, but have never seen any concrete evidence for anything). And it's possible that he was necessary in the long run.

But this is about the time that I point out that I don't really believe in time travel. Too many variables, and I have scientific, logical, and religious reasons for it. But being a science fiction buff I like to think about impossibilities like that. Their not always impossibilities. But the consequences of removing Hitler would be as vast as the consequences that he brought to the world...

Anyways, in effort to avoid drowning in the thought on this deep subject, I'm going to let someone else have the floor if they want it.

Rumpole said...

Though this in not the purpose of my comment today, I'll briefly try to add to the current discussion.

It seems to me that the whether or not it would have been just to remove Hitler before he committed atrocities lies in the question of agency. To what extent will God allow us to use our agency, for good or evil, before he intervines? And when he intervines, will he do so by requiring us to use that very agency?

Hitler imposed his will on millions. It appears that God did not intervine, even to the loss of life into the millions. When God did intervine (in the form of Churchill, Roosevelt, etc.), He did so by requiring men to resolve the problem with the exercise of their own agency.

I realize we could go on a tangent here and suggest that the Divine Intervention was not Churchill, et al, but I assume that. Humor me.

I have come to believe that agency is at the forefront on God's pecking order of rights to govern by. That is why I think he allows despots Hitler to impose their will on others even to mass murder. Men have the right to choose.

When the balance gets out of kilter to the point of a complete loss of that agency, He steps in. He does so with his own historical answer. Hitler had Churchill. Communisim had Regan. Saddam had Bush.

In each instance, however, God stepped in not by removing someone else's agency, but by promoting the use of the agency of another. This is why I ultimately agree with Shadow, that I don't know if we will ever figure out the answer. When is the timing right promote the use of agency to solve a problem?

Therefore, it appears to me that as a God fearing and agency protecting people the thing to do would be to step in immediately when the problem is manifest. Here I would agree with DannyBoy that the level of intervention ought to be commensurate with the injustice.

I think we waited to long to go to Iraq, but at least we did have the courage eventually to go in. Now for the real purpose of my post.

DannyBoy,

I know we are going backwards to an old discussion, but the Tribune headlined today (Saturday, April 30) with an article about finance trouble in Salt Lake County.

Apparently, at Randy Horiuchi's (Democrat) behest (see the article), Salt Lake County approved the diversion of $100,000 from the "Municipal Services" fund to go to the same boys and girls club that Nancy Workman sent $17,000 to (that is an $83,000 difference, but who is counting?) in a diversion from the "Health Department" fund.

First, let me point out some of my own ignorance, coupled with a rant against the local media. I never read the indictment against Workman, so I can't tell you what statute Yocum felt Workman violated. I do know that neither Workman nor her daughter personally profited from the deal.

As far as I know, the media never published the indictment. I should have done more research, but it is diffucult to find the time. I have a wife and four children.

I am amazed that the media doesn't publish such things. I feel the media's responsility is to inform, and then step back while we conclude. Seldom, however, does the media ever really inform.

It appears to me at this point (with my admitted lack of knowledge on the statue violation) that the only difference in the transaction is that Horiuchi pushed and got approved a diversion of funds to an organization that employed the former mayor's daughter.

I need my son here now to tell you that I'm going into sarcastic mode. I'm certain Horiuchi's intentions were completely honorable (note in the article that the process began in November 2003, before the blowup with Workman). Horiuchi would never have promoted such a diversion (which may be illeagal in and of itself) to try to curry political favor with anyone else's family.

Karl Hendrickson (Yocum's representative), chief deputy for the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office doesn't think so either. He said he didn't consider the transaction illeagal.

Still in sarcastic mode, I guess Workman should just have asked Horiuchi to push for the $17,000 transaction, then it would have been all right. Horiuchi's intention's are alway's honorable.

Now I am out of sarcastic mode. I'm interested to see how the D.A. Office procedes. Cinically, I don't think they will do anything. Horiuchi is on the same side of the fence as Yocum. I emphasize here that I don't know Yocum personally. I don't know his motives. But it doesn't look good from the outside looking in.

This is a great example of why I think it is imperative to question the motives of a prosecutor. In this situation he D.A.'s Office appears to be motivated politically rather than legally.

What a great illistration of Lysis' last post. Attack those whose political agenda may differ from yours. Selectivly apply the law for your own benefit. It happens locally as much as it happens nationally.

Lysis said...

I guess philosophers like to talk about hypotheticals. So do I; at times. But Shadow, please try to remember the context of our discussion on saving a life. This discussion often comes up when my class studies Calvin and predestination. I ask my students, if one knew that someone was going to kill their friend when that friend stepped into the hall, and one did nothing to stop that friend, would one be partially responsible for their death? We then discuss that “hell for eternity” would be worse than death, and ask, if God knew someone was going to hell, and did nothing to stop it – would He be responsible? The only reasonable answer is that God doesn’t know – That even God does not know! – therefore He does not preempt. Once you know, whether you are God or not, you must take responsibility.

There are those who seek the truth so they can shoulder the responsibilities that justice demands, there are those who don’t want to know the truth in order to protect themselves from having to act, and there are those who don’t want anyone to know the truth because they don’t want anyone to take responsibilities in a way that will weaken some political position.

It is not the unknowable futurity that should concern those who guide the world’s greatest nation, nor those that elect those leaders. It is with truth and justice that they should concern themselves. It should not be the “what if” of DeLay’s actions, but their actuality. It should not be the “what ifs” of Pelois’ lies, but their true motivation; not the legal or philosophical probabilities of Yocum’s accusations, but their truth and the true reasons that caused them.

Mr. Yocum seems to have a rare opportunity to demonstrate the truth of his claims and the justice of his accusations against Workman. We can soon see if there will be incitements against Horiuchi. We will soon see if the ethics committee meets again to deal with DeLay and the rest. It is the same with the judges; the will of the people be lost in the film of hypotheticals that is the filibuster of the relativists, or will we get the facts and the chance for a vote.

Dan Simpson said...

I'd say that that trib article is wanting at best. It seriously needs to give more info. It may be that that transaction was just as illegal as the Workman transaction was alleged to have been.

On the other hand, having gone through all the red tape (actually using the council to pass the transfer), may be enough to make it not illegal. The problem is that there just isn't enough info in this article.

A_Shadow said...

Sorry to divert again, now we have two conversations at least. I hope we can keep them straight, I only really have a response to Lysis' comments.

I find it interesting that you believe that God doesn't know the will of man. If that's really what you're saying there (it seems such to me, anyways). I've long held the belief that God was all-knowing and all-powerful, but it has run into problems many times in arguments. But he's the master of all, so why shouldn't he be all knowing and all powerful. You bring up the fact that he doesn't know. I think it's more that he doesn't interfere. Indeed I have come to terms with this as implicating that he is somewhat responsible every time someone goes to hell (or whatever your respective religion believes it to be) but I have to come back to Rumpole's allusion to free agency. I believe that God might indeed know, but more importantly is that he has absolute power over his creations and he thus has the power to make us slaves to his will (essentially). Knowing that, or believing that anyways, I would argue that knowing about it isn't so much a problem as is allowing it. He knows that something like that could happen, yet he allows it to daily. And in that I find difficulties lie.

I believe God is absolutely loving and absolutely just. Because of that belief I don't believe he will ever break his own statutes and laws, which I believe he has the power to do, but not the will to. Because of that I believe that he has issued that free agency (to use the term that I've actually used quite a bit this evening, and that Rumpole referenced) to mankind and thus won't take it away. Even if it is disasterous as Rumpole put forth.

It's actually Hitler's example that is the cornerstone of many of my beliefs about that and that he's not a smiteful god. If God found reason to smite people, to simply strike them down, then it is my opinion that Hitler was definately deserving of it. But I don't believe he'll break free agency and "thou shalt not kill" anymore than we should.

Sorry about the digression, but I was also pleasantly surprised to see so many additions to this thread since I last checked. Sorry to dump a lot of my belief system on you like that, I just feel that in these types of discussions it's important to understand why I believe what I do as much as what I believe. And the same goes for you as well. I think I can understand a little of what Lysis believes about these situations and God: That he doesn't know, there isn't a destiny, etc. Because if he did know, he'd be responsible of not stopping them. I hope I haven't misinterpreted it too greatly, or at all.

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

"If God knew someone was going to hell, and did nothing to stop it, would God be responsible? The only reasonable answer is that God doesn't know - that even God does not know! Once you know, whether you are God or not, you must take responsibility."

Why would it be unreasonable to suggest that God does know, but in the granting of agency he does not preempt?

Forgive me, but it appears to me that in your statement above you suggest that God promotes one of the most common and abhorrant misconceptions that current liberals foster among us today. That of personal responsibility.

In the granting of agency God made us responsible for our own actions. The conseqences that follow because we fail to follow principles of truth are not His responsibility, they are consequences. This is my claim.

I don't think it is unreasonable.

Is it a demonstration that God doesn't actually love us as those consequences unfold before us and are inflicted upon us due to our own actions? Is it up to God to prevent us from going to Hell?

It seems to me that God's love for us through His omniscience is enhanced rather than diminished by my claim. How difficult it must be to forsee the pain that man inflicts upon man and not prevent it. As difficult as that may be, however, the opportunity for the learning and growth that is created in the aftermath becomes infinite.

My 15 year old had a terrible English teacher. He wanted to transfer. I agreed with him that the teacher was terrible. But he's going to have to deal with people like that all his life. Better to learn to deal with the pain now and figure it out rather than to wait and have to solve a similar problem under far more critical circumstances.

The girl that got cut from the cheerleading squad at Farmington Jr. High is another great example. Her father (who I am certain loves her) feels he demonstrated his love by promoting the lawsuit that put her on the squad. As we discussed, what he has really done has only delayed and intensified the pain the girl will eventually experience.

Agency and responsibility are more highly regarded than the prevention and infliction of pain. That pain is merely a tool. Further, those who suffer that pain ought to move to right the wrong with proper and lawful exercise of their own agency.

Do we see that manifest daily by our own observation? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Evil men prosper. Good men suffer. The fact that we see both is reinforcement to me that God will not deny agency. That, however, is not due to his lack of love for us; rather, it demonstates an outpouring of His love to us.

Lysis said...

“I only know what is, I am also very big on what was – what hasn’t happened yet – I haven’t got a clue!” George Burns (God) to John Denver (Jerry) in the movie Oh God.

For God to be all knowing and all powerful He need’s to know everything that is and control everything that is something. What hasn’t happened yet even He doesn’t need to know! What doesn’t yet exist; not even He must control. There will be time For God to control and know it all when the TIME comes.

This is indeed one of the oldest discussions in man’s effort to “Understand” God. St. Augustine suggested that God existents everywhere in time as well as everywhere in space, simultaneously. I choose to believe in a liner progressive universe – which though it has no beginning and no end, only exists in the present.

I can only suggest what God would reasonably do based on what I would reasonably do. If I knew something was going to bring permanent evil on someone I loved, and I could prevent it, I would. My act would not rob them of their agency any more that pulling the baby from under the stampeding horses would rob him of his “right to die”.

It is not our personal responsibility that concerns me here – but God’s. If God could know and didn’t prevent He would be responsible, but since He doesn’t know He can allow us to take responsibilities for our actions and take the consequences of those actions. Of course the infinite mercy of God and the infinite power of the atonement lead me to believe in the universal exaltation of man. It is my belief that only those who choose to rebel against God will remove themselves from His presence. But that is a different discussion.

Rumpole:

I would answer your question “Is it up to God to prevent us from going to Hell?” YES – Hence the atonement! I maintain the neither English class or cheerleading squad fairly equate to an Eternity in Hell! Would you allow your fifteen year old to use drugs or play with a loaded gun, knowing these things would kill him? God does provide us with many learning experiences – even terrible suffering, “for our own good,” - but surely He would not knowingly send us to eternal damnation.

As for the cheerleader: I do not approve of dad’s suing to get their children onto teams or even to get them good grades – but when the school knows it has hired a child molester and places that monster in a position of power that will facilitate abuse of a child; then I say bring on the lawyers.

Pain and suffering may be well and good – may even be necessary for salvation – but eternal damnation is way beyond pain. What good does it do us to learn right from wrong and then spend eternity in Hell regretting we didn’t learn it sooner? If we can move ourselves out of Hell – then their might be some justice in letting us learn things the hard way – but eternal damnation sound like a waist of time to me. Let God give us agency until we learn the lessons and then let us go on – but don’t require Him to send us to Hell just to let us have our own way as. That is the demand of a spoiled child. Let’s be reasonable!

Dan Simpson said...

Lysis, there is something missing from your argument.

God can definitely do all that is in his power to keep us from hell, thus the atonement, as you say. But he cannot force our actions. God knows what the eternal consequences of actions will be. He cannot change this, as he lives by eternal law. He can prompt, try to guide, direct, or send others into our paths to try to help us on our way, but the fact is that some will choose to do other than they should.

To claim that after all of that we should not be punished if WE choose to make those choices that halt our progression is the actual request of a spoiled child.
To claim that we should not be punished for our deeds is the unreasonable conclusion. And to claim that the fact that some will make those choices that keep them from the presence of God for all eternity somehow negates God's omniscience, well, I would have to completely disagree.

Mercy cannot rob justice. And there are eternal consequences for our actions, if it were not so there would be no progression.

Aeneas said...

I also believe that there are certain truths that humans can instinctively know to be truth. The Founding Fathers identified several of such truths in the Declaration of Independence, one of which is "liberty" or freedom. Because liberty is a right that was bestowed upon mankind by our Creator, any act that would threaten this right is evil. Each of us must simply choose whether we will fight against evil or by doing nothing, condone it. There is no doubt in my mind that fighting against the evil that was Saddam Hussein and the evil that is terrorism was and is the right and just thing to do. This must be so, if we assume correctly, and I believe we do, that God has endowed all men the unalienable right of liberty.

As for rewriting history…I also believe it would be a very bad idea. If we had the ability to return to the past and stop Hitler, we would undoubtedly change the future in ways we could not imagine and I believe for the worst. Despite the evil Hitler brought to the world, his actions serve as an important lesson to humanity. Those of us living in the ‘future’, who might otherwise ignore the truth that good and evil exist, have a harder time making that argument because of Hitler. In addition, I also believe that the struggle the United States had to endure to defeat Hitler made us a vastly stronger country then before the war stated. Because of the struggle against Hitler’s fascism, the United States was became extremely sensitive to the need to fight against the evils of communism, thus helping to provide a national motivation to enter conflicts in Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam. The United States lost the war in Vietnam because our national will was severely wounded by moral relativism, a wound this country is still trying to heal from.

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

DannyBoy articulated well many of my own thoughts on this subject. However, if you will allow me the latitude to go a little further. . .

Directly as to God's responsibility - I believe God's responsibility is to protect the truth, not to protect us from the truth.

If I may, it appears that you feel it is also God's responsibility to insure that all succeed. I would suggest that God's responsibility is to provide us the opportunity to succeed through the exercise of our own agency.

If I could extend your example, I will differentiate between a baby, a 15 year old and an adult. The baby has not yet remembered the truth, and therefore must be protected.

The 15 year old is in the process of remembering. Everything in my power as a father must be done to prevent him from experimenting with the guns and the drugs.

But when he becomes 21 he will have remembered the truth and will the consequences and ramifications of his actions. He has become an angent to himself. I hope he doesn't make the bad choices. But he may.

It would destroy me. You never cease being a parent. But he has to have the latitiude to make the wrong choice and therefore suffer the consequences of his actions.

I, too, believe in a universal atonement. Men are saved by grace. But I also believe in a graded reward based upon men's adhereance to the truth.

How does that reward become graded?
I, too, believe in a linear universe. The current point of our existence on that line is based on our past decisions. The future of that line is base on the sum total of our past and present decions.

Agency creates deviation. That deviation may only be a separation of time, but it nonetheless a deviation to its natural end and reward.

I believe that God has the ability to view that plane as the sum total of our existence. Call it probability and outcome with a prediction rate of 100%.

Finally, I don't understand why you believe the exercise of agency to be "God sending us to Hell." God has laid forth a clear choice. If we exercise our agency to the end of following principles of truth we will not go to Hell. If we go, no one has SENT us, we have chosen.

The door is unlocked, in fact it is wide open, but we have to step accross the threshold. If this is not reasonable then I am eternally gratefull for an unreasonable God!

A_Shadow said...

I'm seeing a bit of an issue here with how God is seen as well. Despite what we may believe he was in the past, or is now, in the future he will be the ultimate judge.

I don't believe that a judge is responsible for the actions that he is judging. To simplify this into a mortal scale, let's take guns for a moment (hopefully it won't turn out all that weak of an argument). For this example let's assume that the judge in a murder (via a shooting) has created some gun. It is foolish to think that in this world that the gun will ONLY be used for peace, or hunting. I'm not blaiming evil on the gun, but it's likewise foolish to think that you won't smash your finger with a hammer. It's not the intent of the design, but it's inevitable useage.

Moving on with the example. I am hearing that basically, in Lysis' view, the judge wouldn't be responsible for someone being shot with a gun that he designed because he couldn't possibly have known that was going to be the end result with one of his designs. I don't believe that. I believe that he designed it with the hopes and desires that it would be used for gathering food, for sport (shooting targets for fun) or for keeping the peace. But invariably someone will twist something to make it evil. I don't think there's an example out there of something with a destructive force (even created for altruistic reasons) that hasn't been warped to hurt someone. But he knew that was a possibility in its design, but I also wouldn't hold him responsible for that.

To hone back down to the meaning in the argument, to head off any possible diminishings of it by my rambling, God created everything with a pure purpose but realized that he can't keep it perfect. If he gives man freedom, a freedom even from his own medling, it will fall apart. I likened it to a top. If you are there talking to God nothing's going to go wrong. But the instant that conversation is over, it's like you spin a top. It begins to wobble. And if someone's not there to catch it, after a while, it falls down. Free radicals in a society.

So yeah, God might be at fault for not dictating to the world what to do. For giving us the freedoms to do what we do, but I don't think that because something wicked comes out of it, it's bad. If horses trample a child, I don't see that as something inherrently bad. Tragic indeed, but there wasn't a malevolent will behind that.

Just one more thing. Something that I can agree with Lysis with. I don't believe that a just God would condemn you to damnation eternally. At least not for something you've done in your mortal life. I think that perhaps killing and causing someone else to fall (i.e. somehow contributing to the loss of someone's soul) might be enough for that, but other sins I would have doubts for. In that regard I look to Revelations and the second coming. According to that, God will create his kingdom on Earth for a millenium and will raise the dead. I spoke with someone last night and he said it was a free gift to all. I'll have to read Revelations for a fourth time to confirm that. But I don't think that a just and loving God would condemn someone eternally for something they did in the course of a hundred years. Something I'm hoping to find in my studying of the Bible. But I will agree with you there, I won't agree that he just can't know because he'd be responsible. I'm very sure that it hurts him gravely to see his will and gifts warped before him. But I think that he is the eternal judge and thus can't, and won't, force someone to behave.

Something I'll have to ponder a bit more for sure, I think you're the only person I've met that in this modern time has issued forth the idea that God isn't absolute. It's a possibility that would crush many of my ideas, I think. Anyways, I'll halt my rambling.

Ares said...

Hmm, well, this has been an interesting debate, I must say. Lysis, I must compliment you in being able to keep me thinking. I seem to remember you saying that doing just that was one of your main goals when I first came into your classroom.

I believe that God either has made laws or laws are there that He cannot or will not break. That being said, I don't think that He could step in and stop someone from choosing to do wrongly. In fact, I think that He konws each of us better than we know ourselves, and by so knowing, He knows who will and who won't be coming back to him. That is to say, He knows who will go out in direct opposition to him and who will stay on His side. Unfortunately, coming this late in the game, I can't say much that hasn't already been said by Shadow and Rumpole.

Also, I don't think that George Burns or John Denver are experts on what God does, doesn't or ever will know. Well, perhaps John Denver now, seeing as how he is dead. Hmm, something else to think about...

I'll be back when I'm done. I'll try not to hurt myself thinking so much.

-Ares

Lysis said...

I guess we are discussing religion. Well, OK – why not? But we need to remember that religious beliefs are opinions. Time will revile their truth.

My position is that, because God would not knowingly damn His children, He does not know the decisions they will make. I agree that we can only be held accountable for our own sins – not for any Adam’s transgressions. I did not argue that God will rob us of our agency in order to spare us suffering. This being said; I find Rumpole’s assertion incredible. I am the father of three children who have passed the age of twenty-one. I encourage, even facilitate, their participation in many difficult, even dangerous activities: climbing, sailing, trips to foreign lands, driving the freeway to University; but if I KNEW they were going to participate in an activity that would destroy their lives; I would do every thing in my power to stop them. As a Camp Director, I encourage scouts to participate in a host of potentially dangerous events, but if I knew they would die – or had a higher than zero probability of dieing, I would not let them exercise their agency!

Now let’s get to the foreknowledge and power of God and the nature of damnation. If it is true that it would “be better for the sinner never to have been born”, God, who as a loving father would do what is best for his children, would surely never let us be born into a situation where we would inevitably destroy our lives.

Now let me bring in DannyBoy and Rumpole: As to Dannyboy’s belief that God has a 100% knowledge of our choices – considering that most that are born never live to make a choice -it does seem rather trivial in terms of our progression. Anyway, I believe otherwise. I would argue that if either of you had an adult friend, or a spouse, let alone a child, bent on self-destruction, and that you, my friends, had the power to prevent their misery or death, you would intervene and justly too. If you removed their agency to save their life, they would have a life time to thank you – if you did not intervine in order to preserve their agency, you would have an eternity to regret. Such a courageous act of intervention would not be spoiling them, it would not be preventing their growth; it would be salvation!

Shadow – I do not think anything I do could force anyone to fail, or to lose their soul. If I murdered them “in their sins” surely God will figure out a way to save us both. I do believe God has absolute power over everything that is and complete knowledge of everything that is happening or has ever happened. However; what isn’t yet needs no controlling, what hasn’t happened yet can’t be known.

To sum up:

1. My original argument was that “Not even God knows the choices we will make before we make them.” Therefore we, not He, are responsible.
Here my friend Aenes references Dune by Frank Herbert. A “must read” for anyone wanting to understand the foreknowledge of God.

2. If God did know; He would prevent our being placed in a situation that would lead to damnation out of love and justice.

3. Since some of us will foolishly “go to Hell”, God has provided that all who choose his presence will obtain it.

These are my beliefs about religion – they seem reasonable to me. Since it is my reason that is God like, I have faith that it will not mislead me.

Lysis said...

Ares – I believe George Burns is dead too – or is he really God?!!! Anyway – one need not be an expert to be right!

Ares said...

Lysis,
I get the feeling that you are saying that those who say, "Naw, I don't want to be with God, I'll go over here to Hell" are the only ones who will not end up in His presence. But somehow I believe that you have said to me in class that "actions speak louder than words". I believe that Christ said, "Not everyone who saith unto me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven" (or something like that)
That being said, how can God be held responsible for our choices? If you saw me take a gun and shoot someone but you did nothing (providing of course that I was caught in the act) you surely would not be prosecuted for not stopping me. How is God any different? He knows what will happen, and He has known it before the beginning. Does that make Him responsible for the death of the dinosaurs too?

Anyway, I probably haven't made much sense here, I definitely need some sleep.

-Ares

Ares said...

Apollo,
We haven't heard from you in a while, hope to hear from you soon.

Apollo said...

Ares-
Sorry but I've been busy with Life Guarding classes and what not, ergo I have not been able to post. BircherBoy-
Welcome to the blog. I feel it my duty to welcome all newcomers to the wonderful world of blog.
Sorry to everybody, my schedule should be opening up pretty soon so I will be following and posting every now and agian, that is unless you don't want me to. Oh and on one final note, welcome back from the dead DannyBoy2. Good to hear from you again old friend.

Apollo

Rumpole said...

Lysis,

Sorry it has taken me so long to respond! With work, baseball, and family, the days all run into one.

As to your assertions, as usual you have stated them clearly and eloquently. Though they seem convincing, I still don't buy them. Allow me to state my objections one more time.

If you allow me the latitude of paraphasing some of your assertions, your premise suggests that love and agency are mutually exclusive, i.e. if I truely love someone I would never allow them to be in any position of imminent danger (for this arguement, imminent failure is a better description).

I belive the opposite to be true.
In fact, I believe that love and agency must co-exist for that love to be perfect. If I truely love you I will teach you all I know, I will do everything to help you understand, then I will let go and see if you will return to me.

But I still believe that love to be imperfect, and not perfected until that love is returned. It can't be returned by force. I don't think anyone would argue that love by force is no love at all.

Let me restate, because this is the part of this concept that is so beautiful and miraculous to me. God loves us so completely that he will provide everything for us, including risking that His love won't be fulfilled because someone else could choose it not to be so and not return it.

If we truely have agency, the possibility for that love to not be returned must exist.

Perfect love sent from and returned to God, therefore, requires the foreknowledge God.

Perhaps I have not been as articulate as Lysis. But this is my view. It makes sense to me. I live my life accordingly. When I am convinced I have not accepted the truth, my view and approach will change. At this point, however, I will continue with my present course.

Lysis said...

Rumpole,

You say I assert that Love and agency are mutually exclusive. I never meant to imply that. I do believe God wants us to have every opportunity to make choices and to suffer the consequences of those choices. I say again: Because God DOES NOT know what choice we will make He lets us take the chance, and as Rumpole points out; His love for us lets Him risk loosing us so that we might become like Him. We are free – God’s lack of a perfect knowledge of how we will act makes us so. To return to the original classroom discussion that Shadow referred to – if God knew what we were going to do then we would be PREDESTINED to do those things – neither we nor God would have any agency, Fate would rule the universe. All life would be like watching a rerun of a movie or rereading a never varying book. Achilles would always kill Hector; Rosencrance and Guildenstern would always be dead!!! I only offer my argument that God would not launch us into fated damnation, as further proof that He DOES NOT know.

Now let me paraphrase Rumpole. Rumpole says that once his son (let’s call him Jon) reaches twenty-one, Rumpole would not “interfere” with Jon’s decisions even if he could. Having given Jon every opportunity to learn what is right and good, Rumpole would feel compelled to let Jon go his own way.

Thus, in the not too distant future, when Jon has passed his twenty-first, the call comes in from Ms R. to Rumpole’s work phone. “Jon has a gun!” she screams, “He is going to commit suicide.” “Well,” Rumpole replies, “there is nothing I can do about it now; I’ll arrange for the funeral when I get home.” Rumpole loves Jon enough to let him die? Now consider that eternal damnation is by definition – eternal spiritual death, something infinitely worse than physical death, and you want me to believe that God loves us enough to let Fate take us inexorably toward that end in the name of Love? I hope you will think about that some more.

You give me no reason to believe that Love requires foreknowledge. You say so – but you give me no reason to believe so. I, on the other hand, feel I have given ample reason to demonstrate that Love requires No Knowledge of what we will choose. Hence we are free not Fated; hence we truly can make choices and are not Predestined to heaven or hell by any power we cannot at any time control.

Lysis said...

Let me revise Rumpole’s reply to his wife’s frantic cry for help to make it even more in keeping with Rumpole’s arguments.

To Ms R.’s request for help in saving Jon, Rumpole replies, “Oh, I knew he was going to committee suicide all along, there’s nothing I can do about it now: I’ll arrange the funeral when I get home.”

A_Shadow said...

That's a compelling argument, and much of it I do agree with. But I don't think we were debating that Love requires absolute knowledge. It has been brought up that most of us believe in an absolutely loving, just, and all knowing God. We, that hold that belief, are defending the fact that God can have all of the knowledge, all of the love, and all of the justice in the world at the same time.

I believe that it takes no knowledge for love. Or perhaps knowledge isn't as important as your faith in that person. Which I know from very painful experience can be wrongfully placed.

Moving forward. I don't believe in predestination, or in destiny. But I do believe that the plan is known. Here my examples are poorer, but they get the point across, I don't have anything but my own reason and faith to assert as evidence here, so bear with me.

But essentially I believe that the only way that an all knowing God can't dictate what is going to happen (i.e. provide for "free agency") is that he allows us to make those choices, yet knows what they are. I don't feel that these are contrary facts or ideas. I have a problem with him not knowing everything since he created everything. He created knowledge, he created you and me, and indirectly allowed our circumstances to take and make our lives.

How can someone who knows how many hairs are on your head not know what you're going to eat for breakfast? That simple of a decision?

It's a tough call to ask why he wouldn't step in for suicides, but it's a bit pretentious, I feel, that it be claimed that he not care. He has set in place the laws and truth that mankind is able (capable is too variable of a word in this context) to make its own decisions. He won't (I don't believe there's anything that he can't do, personally) interfere with that because he could basically destroy his own rules, laws and truths. Essentially it's like having your judges above the law, there is no justice unless the truths of the universe effect everyone equally.

In short, to head off further digression/rambling, I believe that he has allowed you to make your decisions. Whatever that means. But I also believe that he knows what those are. A lot of science fiction and fantasy ideas come to play here, but that's because no one can really know. In the Matrix it's chalked up to you have made the decisions, you just need to understand them. I don't really have a guess. But if we assume that God is all powerful, he basically is by default all knowing. And if we take the fact that he exists in all time (not a fact, sorry, but I do believe that this is something he has going for him as well). Then what is destiny? The belief of destiny is that something is pre-determined. I don't hold that view of destiny. For me destiny is knowing the path you've chosen before you start your travels. God let you pick that path, but because he exists in all time, he knows where you're going to stray or simply walk away.

Sorry for the extra convoluted post. Writing this stuff is more along the lines of stream of consciousness for me (so is my talking, sometimes), and I can't exactly track it all that well. There are a myriad of possibilities.

The thing that gets me the most, is that while reading the Bible and listening to these arguments issued from Lysis, the alternate to a just/loving/all knowing God is someone more Greek, more human. A God that's really a petty human being at heart, who'd just as soon be raged and wrathful than caring and loving. Read about Soddom and Ghamorra. Read about his "repent"ing at Sinai, and then tell me what it's saying. I'd really like to know.

Anyways, some deep thoughts going around. I'll let you have your peace now, again, sorry for the long rambling posting.

Ares said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ares said...

Lysis,

What if it was only that God knew each of us so well that he knew what steps we would take? I believe that he knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows that when we are faced with trials or whatever in life some of us will fall by the wayside and some of us will step up to it. I think that he knows who will end up in opposition to Him and who will try to follow Him.

For example, you, as a father know your children better than any other person (excluding themselves and your wife). You know that your son is an excellent basketball player. You know that he has a lot of talent. You also know that your daughter has no athletic talent whatsoever. But she idolizes your son and tries to be just like him. Your daughter wants to go to basketball camp. You know that she will never be a basketball player, but you send her anyway. You have to let her have the experience and find those things out for herself. That's the only way she can grow. And so you do it.

I think that although He knows what we will do in the situations placed in front of us, He has to let us learn for ourselves. That's the only way we can grow.

-Ares

Aeneas said...

Again, assuming, as I do in my faith, that God is "all knowing" I therefore believe that God knows all that there is to know. Thus, there is nothing that exists that God does not know. However, because the future does not exist, it cannot be known. If the future did exist, "it", like the truth, must be immutable...and if the future is immutable, we are destined to live it...and if we are destined to live "it", we must "act" accordingly. In this case, the difference between God and myself is that God knows I must act in a certain way in order for the future to be as he knows it will be and I don't know that I must act in a certain way to achieve the "immutable" future. Now, say that I am a prophet and God reveals to me the future; now I know that I must act in a certain way or the future will be destroyed. NEWS FLASH -- prophets are free to choose and to disobey God and have even done so, see Jonah. Jonah is a good case in point...When he finally decides to obey God and "prophesy" to the city of Ninevah, Jonah leaves the city to watch the destruction and fireworks. But, the city was not destroyed. What can explain this mystery of a prophet who got the future wrong? Perhaps Jonah was a false prophet!! No. Jonah's message was God's message and it reveals the nature of God's understanding of the future, i.e., that He knows all possibilities of a person's choices. Thus, the message, "repent or you will be destoyed." One possibility is that the city does not repent and it continues on its self destructive path logically leading to the destruction of the city. Another possibility is that the people of the city repent, thus saving themselves from destruction, which is what happened in the case of the city of Ninevah. Or, the inhabitants of the city could have left altogether and moved over the hill, thus saving themselves from destruction by delaying the comission of more sin until next week. The point is, whatever the people of Ninevah choose to do, God is not suprised, having already understood that which is knowable, i.e., all possible outcomes of a choice. God can show prophets visions of the future, but those visions are visions of what may be "if"...we keep the commandment...continue to sin...ignore God...go to the University of Utah rather than BYU, etc.

Lysis said...

My friend Aeneas - who is the Kwisatz Haderach - I am so glad you went to U of U!!!

A_Shadow said...

I was at a friend's funeral today and a very apt concept was brought to my attention: the faith of God. Basically does God have faith? Does he have faith that we will choose the right, when given the truth and a wrong...

To avoid poisoning, or tainting, your own thoughts that might bear their own unique ideas - I won't post my immediate follow ups to that question. But bear in mind that in a world without a seperation of variables, your answers will bring forth many new questions in this thought.

But please, those who believe in God's all-knowing nature or not, share your reasons why you feel that he must (or mustn't) have faith in things much the same as we do.

Dan Simpson said...

I believe that faith is the principle we adhere to until we know. Once we know a thing, we no longer need have faith in it. Example:

If you have faith that a friend of yours will come through and do something you have asked them to, and then they do it, you no longer have faith, you know.

Because I believe that God knows all things, I do not believe that he uses faith.

A_Shadow said...

Good call. That's the point that I'm dealing with, because faith and knowledge are defined by being mutually exclusive. It's actually a great point when addressing allegations of knowledge and faith in God. That's why I brought it up.

Because faith and knowledge are mutually exclusive, if God is all knowing, he won't have any faith. But if he is said to have faith, he can't be all knowing. Something for me to research.

But that's the answer that I was looking for, while hoping that someone would come forward with soemething else to think about.

TaZa said...

I was searching around on the web and I decided to see how orignal Lysis quote on the main page was. So I threw it into google and after searching around I found a good article on Relative and Absoulte Truth.

The actual PDF is at http://evidenceandanswers.com/articles/truth.pdf

and for anyone who dosen't have adobe http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:B0EaTuc0oagJ:evidenceandanswers.com/articles/truth.pdf

P.S.Unluckly I don't have enough time to read all the comments in the agora, and so if this post seems a little random my apologies.

TaZa said...

P.P.S. Lysis quote is original :)

A_Shadow said...

I hadn't actually ever doubted the validity of his claiming that quote, but since you brought it up I decided to run it through www.snopes.com to see if it had anything. And it didn't. More proof if there needs be some.

I thank you very much, TaZa for that article, I learned some from it. I just wish it had been more complete and used other examples. The author references the sciences in several examples, I feel it would have been better to show what passages in the Bible agree with what scientific speculation though. Otherwise the author just looks like a relativist with some documentation.

I've actually heard that self-defeatist argument before, but used against athiests. It's a rather nice tie in to Doaism, too. A neat school of philosophy if I do say so myself.

Thanks, again, though.

Medicine said...

By way of ilistration let me give an example. I had a very different sort argument with a friend the other day.