Hi all,

I wanted to start a discussion to listen to adherents and hear what they have to tell us based on some questions I'd like to pose to them. In other words, I want to sincerely play the role of a seeker and ask them how I would know that their god is The One, True God. The purpose is not to deconvert or convert, I just want to walk through a seeker conversation where I'm allowed to ask questions of adherents and see what they have to say ... to listen. I am willing to expand on what I mean by "The One, True God" if a reader asks for that, to the extent that I think the definition is sufficient for the discussion.

This is the adherent's golden opportunity to proselytize; to convert me.

In order to do this effectively I need to ask the adherent for their imprimatur on a rule by which I can do this without bogging it down so that I can never get my questions asked. So, here it is. I'll ask a question as a hypothetical. It may be that there are more assumptions to the hypothetical that one could add, but I'll ask for the sake of discussion that we allow only the assumptions of the hypothetical I offer. This way, I can at least get through a few questions. If someone thinks the assumptions are insufficient just state that with your answer and we'll accept that as your answer informed by the assumptions of the question.

So, here's my question. I'll ask it and see if I can get a useful answer, recalling that I am a lifelong atheist who has never believed and who is sincerely trying to sort out all the gods out there and figure out which one to follow:

How do I know that your god is The One, True God?

Tags: Evangelical, Socrates, adherents, atheism, atheists, conversion, debate, deconversion

Views: 1739

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Hey,

Isn't that a nonsensical question?

Probably. Which is what happens when we get off topic. ;-)

Based on the Utnapishtim narrative given (you have to read that first):

Is it more likely that belief in the Utnapishtim narrative is the result of Agenticity or that Utnapishtim is The One, True God?

Hey

btw - we can grant that a god exists for the purposes of the question.

- kk

I feel that this idea of agenticity - reading conscious agency into random events (?), ties in somewhat with this quote from "Zen and the Birds of Appetite" (Thomas Merton):

"Avidya, usually translated “ignorance”, is the root of all evil and suffering because it places man in an equivocal, in fact impossible position.  It is an invincible error concerning the very nature of reality and man himself.  It is a disposition to treat the ego as an absolute and central reality and to refer all things to it as objects of desire or of repulsion."

Hi all,

Sorry everyone, but I think we're back to the topic now:

Based on the Utnapishtim narrative given (you have to read that first):

Is it more likely that belief in the Utnapishtim narrative is the result of Agenticity or that Utnapishtim is The One, True God?

I think it is wrong to say that the monotheistic religions all worship different God. They do not, there is one God and what differers between the religions and the sects that comprise the religions is what to treat as revelation and what distinguishes good theology from bad theology. Christians believe in a triune God, who reveled himself though the life and works of Jesus Christ. Islam sees Jesus as a lesser prophet who was not actually crucified and did not die. This is clearly wrong. It is a historical fact that a teacher named Jesus was crucified. No serious scholar disputes this, atheist or adherent. So immediately we have a problem with Islam. It was clear that they needed to diminish the story of Jesus to make way for their prophet Mohammad. They believe that God revealed himself though Mohammad. However, we can see that there sacred scripture and the culture that is derived form it is not conducive to freedom or free thought.It is no coincidence that the cradle of Islam is so volatile and has been for such a long time. Europe was spared from the muslim advance only though two battles, both against all odds, Vienna and Lepanto. Islam converts by the sword and their treatment of the people of the book, Jews and Christians, seems to suggest that they as a people are not taking their order from a benevolent creator. Judaism is merely Christianity minus Jesus. The first christians regarded themselves as a jewish sect, not as a sperate religion. The Jews are still waiting for their messiah as they differ from the Christians in some interpretations of Old Testament prophecy. But I think that Jesus of Nazareth was enough of a singularity to suggest that they are waiting in vain. Even some Christians sects have bad theology. Predestination, which is a tenet of Calvinism is wrong, it is not logical therefore we can dismiss it as by theology. Mormons have dubious beginnings to their theology so it is safe to say that there theology is not true either. You should read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis or Pensees by Blaise Pascal if you are interested in knowing more on the topic. I think that in order to find the best theology, reason is required. I would stick to orthodox christianity, Conservative Episcopalianism or Anglicanism, Greek Orthodox, or Roman Catholicism. Those churches have the best works in apologetics and have the heftiest intellectual traditions. As for the eastern faiths, they are very much in decline. Buddhism isn't really concerned in solving the great metaphysical questions of mankind, instead of embracing the world and facing it's problems they choose to withdraw, so I do not see it as helpful and effective for the person who wishes a practical helpful faith. Hinduism, with its pantheon of deities who operate in this universe, is false. There is a difference between a first cause, omnipotent God who created the universe and reveals himself gradually and deliberately and a buch of strange creatures running around with mystical powers. Actually in India, the cradle of Hinduism, Christianity is on the rise and Hinduism is declining. Plus hinduism is responsable for the great  moral evil of the caste system.  

Jean-Baptiste - isn't it against the spirit of your religion to fight with the other religions?  If you're all worshipping the one God, why not bury your differences in the spirit of Jesus.  It seems petty to argue over these minor points.  This is why religion often looks bad, intolerant and backward. 

I thought that historically, in the Middle Ages, the Moslems have been lenient and merciful to the Christians and Jews whom they have conquered, whereas they have been massacred by Christians in return. 

Hey Simon,

This point about Muslims is one the current Western mindset will not abide. But there is truth in it.

- kk

Hey Jean-Baptiste

Why do I get the sense that isn't your real name? ;-) Welcome to the group and thanks for the significant effort put into that post.

I think it is wrong to say that the monotheistic religions all worship different God. They do not, there is one God and what differers between the religions and the sects that comprise the religions is what to treat as revelation and what distinguishes good theology from bad theology. Christians believe in a triune God, who reveled himself though the life and works of Jesus Christ. Islam sees Jesus as a lesser prophet who was not actually crucified and did not die.

I think I would compromise little by agreeing to this position and I don't see any issue there. But here's the problem and the real point behind the question:

Let us assume the above. Then we've identified one candidate for the role of The One, True God. But this doesn't answer my question because we still have hundreds of other gods to choose from.

Specifically, if we try to lay claim to all of these (montheistic) gods as The One, True God, the situation demotes to one in which we are left with a god undefined. And this is clear if you consider what would happen: in such a case the essence and identity of all these gods merge into an internally inconsistent whole by dint of the fact they all started with different defining characteristics. Perhaps there are similarities, but there are still differences. And that must be true because we couldn't identify them as gods, real or imagined, in the first place if we hadn't assumed that. In other words, to talk meaningfully about anything, you must have a definition in mind when you do it. So, what of all these hundreds of monotheistic gods out there?

So, even accepting this view, we still have not identified The One, True God, right?

It was clear that they [ Muslims ] needed to diminish the story of Jesus to make way for their prophet Mohammad. They believe that God revealed himself though Mohammad.

Which just accentuates the point above. No one shall enter my Father's House but by leave of me (The Christ), stated approximately, is an idea denied by the Shia but central to Christian theology. This is inconsistent, showing that even within the Abrahamic gods you have defining characteristics that are mutally inconsistent. So, I am not at all convinced you can so easily "merge" these gods into one. But I am certain you can't merge all monotheistic gods into one, right?

However, we can see that there sacred scripture and the culture that is derived form it is not conducive to freedom or free thought.It is no coincidence that the cradle of Islam is so volatile and has been for such a long time. Europe was spared from the muslim advance only though two battles, both against all odds, Vienna and Lepanto. Islam converts by the sword and their treatment of the people of the book, Jews and Christians, seems to suggest that they as a people are not taking their order from a benevolent creator. Judaism is merely Christianity minus Jesus. The first christians regarded themselves as a jewish sect, not as a sperate religion.

I think it was called at that time the "New Way", right?

The Jews are still waiting for their messiah as they differ from the Christians in some interpretations of Old Testament prophecy. But I think that Jesus of Nazareth was enough of a singularity to suggest that they are waiting in vain.

Another clear inconsistency that will damn all Jews by your estimation.  We clearly cannot merge these gods.

Even some Christians sects have bad theology. Predestination, which is a tenet of Calvinism is wrong, it is not logical therefore we can dismiss it as by theology. Mormons have dubious beginnings to their theology so it is safe to say that there theology is not true either.

Which shows that poor YHWH can't even be merged within his own Christian following!

You should read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis or Pensees by Blaise Pascal if you are interested in knowing more on the topic.

I've read both. C.S. Lewis is a great read generally.

Hinduism, with its pantheon of deities who operate in this universe, is false.

But how would I know that? How do I know that the Hindu gods don't constitute The One, True God?

There is a difference between a first cause, omnipotent God who created the universe and reveals himself gradually and deliberately and a buch of strange creatures running around with mystical powers.

First Causes is fallacious and I've disproven it here on TA but its not germane to this thread, so I'll leave that alone and just note this here.

I respect your belief system, but note that I am in strong disagreement on many of your comments there.

- kk

Great Reply Man

(Jean-Baptise is the pseudonym I used in French class) 

Something is true whether we believe in it or not, That is the point I am trying to make.Maybe Catholics are right, maybe the jews are right, hell maybe the deists are right it is a judgement we have to make considering the different theologies that exist. I think that the evidence points in one direction pretty heavily but again that is my conjecture. A false theology, such as predestination, which is being abandoned a lot of its adherents, does not mean that they are praying to the wrong God, it just means their idea of the nature of man and sin is not one that is generally accepted by mainstream Christians. Likewise, the Jews still pray the way Jesus and his apostles prayed, so it is safe to say they are praying to the same God. Its followers of the way, it is impressive that you know that, not many Christians know that. Anyway, I maintain that The God of the Jews and all the Christian sects are not different. YHWH is the same in any church that uses the Old Testament as part of their holy books. Jesus saying that only though me can you enter my father's house is does not mean that only Christians can attain salvation, it is a reference to the belief that it is though Jesus' sacrifice can people get into heaven. The Jews up to that point did not believe that people went to heaven to be with God, they believed that people either went to Sheol, or abraham's bosom, until the Resurrection at the end of all time. This was not a paradise, it was merely a place of passive spiritual existence, a celestial waiting room of sorts. With the exception of the Sadducees, who denied any resurrection, they adhered to the more ancient variety of Judaism, anyway Jesus saying that people could get into actual heaven was really remarkable considering the established theology, So that passage really means, Jesus though his sacrifice opened the gates of heaven to all that merited entering. Which brings me to another point. orthodox christians believe that anybody can enter into heaven and not just the christians. There is a warning to Christians in the letter to James that their faith is not enough to save them. The letter to James was  removed from the protestant bible by luther because it conflicted with his idea of sola fides, so it is safe say if he had to edit scripture then he could be mistaken. So the Jews are not Damned, This sort of begs the question why belong to the church at all? Well to answer that I would say that the church offers it's adherents means to grow spiritually and live a better life, And not all churches are created equally. I will concede that Islam is a little more challenging, really haven't studied the Koran enough to be able to speak with any authority. Maybe somebody else can help me out. When a referenced first cause, I was not talking about first cause a la William Lane Craig, who I am not really a big fan of and I bet most people on this site hate, I merely meant God as the creator, the author of all the physical laws that govern the universe. I would challenge you on the point that the monotheistic Gods are different. The big 3 monotheistic religions share a common beginning to scripture, what differs are the instances of specific revelation, here the groups differ. If I missed something tell me. Hinduism is all over the place, there are some forms that are actually monotheistic, but the variation is so immense that it would take ages to be able to deal with Hinduism in more detail. It is impressive that you can disprove the Kalam Cosmological Argument when so many big name atheists flopped in trying to do so in debate against WLC.

Hey Jean-Baptiste,

Thanks again for participating and responding.

There is a warning to Christians in the letter to James that their faith is not enough to save them. The letter to James was  removed from the protestant bible by luther because it conflicted with his idea of sola fides, so it is safe say if he had to edit scripture then he could be mistaken.

First, let me just say that in my heterodox opinion I believe this subject is grossly misunderstood by most Christians and if understood, would actually help you argument ... some. The Christian Canon, read literally and logically, tells us that one receives the blessing of The Christ by grace and that public works are merely the evidence that you are and have been willing to receive YHWH's grace. In this view, works worthy of divine merit are generated from grace. So, it isn't one or the other, as so many like to simplify it. It is simply two sides of the same coin.

Having cleared that up (in my mind anyway) I'd like now to address this incongruity we're talking about. This is a bit of a tangent, but I believe it drives my point home; the point with which you have some concern. Sola Scriptura was, to my understanding, largely a protestant creation. The Roman and Eastern Churches held that both scripture and tradition held equal standing as a divine authority. While I am of the opinion that the latter view is the only way in which to make doctrine internally consistent (it simply cannot be based solely on scripture alone - but that's another thread), my point is that these fundamental "axioms" if I can call it that are inconsistent one to the other. Even within the Christian faith, as I said earlier, YHWH cannot enjoy a consistent definition. If an Episcopal Church in the United States reaches a doctrinal conclusion (perhaps at the level of the Anglican Communion, but same point) based solely on scripture and the Roman Church faces the very same issue, which their Cardinals and Pope examine on the basis of scripture and tradition, the result is bound to be different. Now, maybe the Anglican Communion is a bad example as they are not really the best expositors of Sola Scriptura and do follow somewhat the Roman tradition. Having said that, you can see my point just in this reference you made regarding that famous letter to James. So, it seems, if I tried to merge the god YHWH in both the Roman and, let's say, the Presbyterian Church USA, I'd likely get different results from a single fount that is supposed to be ultimatley infallible. What gives? So, I'm not so convinced you can merge even the god of those branches of Christianity. They are, be definition, two different YHWHs. They may claim to be the same, but in practice they cannot be, for they reach opposing doctrinal conclusions.

The protestants insistence on Sola Scriptura has served as the greatest achilles heel o fthe Christain faith since the days of Luther himself.

In another conversation I traced the divine continuity of the Church of The Christ by labeling it initially as the "Q". The purpose of this exercise was to trace the path of the succession of the Holy Spirit from the hands of Jesus The Christ to the present. I would later come to realize that this succession also involved succession of the Word as informed by tradition. Here is an excerpt that speaks to this conversation:

On the Meaning of Schism, Communion and Doctrine. To understand the historical facts for what they really are and thus follow The Q through time we must first look at the history of schism. What we are effectively doing is running a historical trace on the seventh axiom (supra - not included in this excerpt) to locate which body of successors to the ‘body’ of Christos retains full communion with the Church of Jesus of Nazareth, that is, the body of Bishops which is in fact The Q we seek. What we are attempting to do here is to trace the history of the Church to find those fragments of it that have done neither of the following:

1.)   Broken communion with the Church of Jesus of Nazareth, The Q, as founded on the Rock of the Church, so named by Jesus as the Apostle Peter, by an explicit and stated assertion of the fact.

2.)   Broken communion with the Church of Jesus of Nazareth, The Q, as founded on the Rock of the Church, so named by Jesus as the Apostle Peter, by altering doctrine or behavior that places the two portions of the body in an incongruous state of doctrine.

The foregoing was an operational definition and the following is a principled one: that a collection of two or more entities fully share in The Q is a condition both necessary and sufficient for establishing full “communion” between them [definition 3.0]. We will have more to say about what constitutes doctrine, and what kinds of doctrine are mutable over time. The issues of mutable vs. immutable doctrine, Sacred Tradition and the Deposit of Faith (RCC) are some of the most misunderstood and distorted details of the Church. Thus we will be very careful to represent the Early Church’s true understanding of them at the immediate time preceding schism for each schism evaluated.

To the one who unilaterally alters doctrine or avers the option goes the title of Schismatic [see Note 1].

The flip-side of communion is the state of being excommunicated. It has the unsavory quality of ‘kicking an entity out’ of an organization. But there is a deeper meaning as well. When an entity excommunicates a sub-entity within itself it is equivalent to stating that “we are breaking communion with you”. But what is “you”? If entity A breaks communion with entity B, entity A is saying that there is something in the substance and being of B to which we no longer assert communion. For our purposes, the substance and being is simply that entity B is no longer, by virtue of it’s doctrine and/or beliefs, the Church of Jesus of Nazareth and The Q (or, if a person or movement, no longer ‘of’ the Church of Jesus of Nazareth).

Once we carefully examine what this term actually means it becomes clear that excommunication is a double-edged sword. It means much more than to just ‘kick someone out’. It means that we are stating that the opposing entity is not wholly of our substance. Put another way, we are saying that you do not belong to the same “body” that we do. So, when the Roman Church excommunicated the Eastern portions of itself, it was saying that the western portion is not of the same substance as the eastern portion. In other words, it was actually a declaration enhancing how the Roman Church defined itself, using the eastern portion as perspective.

We first examine the case in which entity A and B are doctrinally incongruous. When entity A excommunicates entity B, it is saying that its body of doctrine is distinct from the body of doctrine of entity B. Thus, if in turn, entity B excommunicates entity A, it conversely is saying that its body of doctrine is distinct from the body of doctrine of entity A. In the case of a doctrinal shift, this is clearly true and presents no controversy of fact. But on a deeper level, entity A is also saying that it is not of the same substance as entity B, and vice versa if B excommunicates A. But note that, in the excommunication, in and of itself, neither entity has proven that it is the substance of the Church of Jesus of Nazareth or The Q, only, possibly, that it is not the substance of the other and it has broken communion with the other substance.

The same is essentially true in the case where one entity, or both, do not explicitly excommunicate or anathematize the other but effect doctrine that is incongruous and un-reconciled (from hereon, we shall assume that incongruous implies un-reconciled by some later council or ecumenical doctrine unless otherwise stated). In this case, one or both entities has implicitly broken communion by stating, in deed, that their substance is not the same.

All of this seems rather unexciting so far. But the tricky part of understanding schism and broken communion occurs in the odd case where entity A excommunicates entity B, by word, deed or both, even though entity B has done nothing, in the technical-speak of word or deed, to break communion with A (recall how communion can be broken from above). In this case, entity A has stated that it is not of the same substance as B. But B is A! In other words, let us imagine for the moment, just suppose, that entity B, just prior to schism, is in full communion with the Church of Jesus of Nazareth; that is, it is The Q. If A excommunicates B, that is, if A breaks communion with B, A is breaking communion with The Q and is declaring that it is no longer of the same substance as the Church of Jesus of Nazareth.

Here, “substance” is a general euphemism for The Q and doctrine is the practicable objectification of the Q, usually in the form of writing or a behavior/s material to such a writing status quo ante. By objectification we here simply mean “communicated” in some way, that is, shared with another person (if one possesses knowledge that no one else possesses, or commits an act of which no else could have knowledge, it is, by definition, subjective). The reason for the use of the term “practicable” shall become clear in what follows.

In the search for The Q, we must keep this in mind if we come across such a case. In such cases a church or sect is extracting nothing of greater purity in their substance because nothing occurred to distinguish the substance of what it excommunicated from itself; to wit, the excommunicator has committed Schism of Ex Nihilo. Strictly speaking, the excommunication is logically invalid and is in error because, at the moment of schism, nothing in the true substance of the two entities actually changed! However there is one disturbing consequence of Schism of Ex Nihilo. The excommunicator has effectively declared that, from thence forward, they have broken communion with the “body” of Christos, that they are no longer The Q, while affirming status quo for the excommunicated, that is, that the excommunicated has retained The Q and the excommunicator has surrendered it to them! I shall show in what follows that there is only one known case in the history of Christianity in which this condition has been satisfied.

Communion, by definition, is an active affirmation of the fact that two or more entities are congruent on all material matters of substance. Excommunication, by definition, is the negative affirmation of the same. The material matter of substance we are concerned with here is the valid authority of teaching and continued succession of the Holy Spirit passed to a church, the “body”, from Jesus of Nazareth himself through Apostolic Succession. Note that Apostolic Succession itself is insufficient to guarantee congruent substance (communion) but that communion guarantees Apostolic Succession. For these reasons, excommunication must be exercised with extreme care lest a church inadvertently aver, and surrender in deed by such denial, that its own general authority of Apostolic Succession from Jesus of Nazareth shall no longer pass in succession, or, that they are surrendering The Q to one of their constituent parts. This is the proximate danger illuminated by Schism of Ex Nihilo. In other words, in a church’s attempt to extract greater purity by excommunication they also risk inadvertently losing the purity of what they once were.

So, retention of valid communion is essential within the subset of churches that have an established Apostolic Succession because it is the only means by which one can differentiate the natures of the churches in that subgroup.

Finally, doctrine was and still is carefully defined by the Roman Church and we defer to those definitions when examining them in that context. However, we must also examine the logical consistency of any definitions we apply hence the reason for devising our own definition (definition 3) derived solely of formal logic. One rule we will apply to any specific doctrine is that it must be objectively defined. This may seem obvious since if it were not objectively defined (i.e. written down somewhere) how would we know what the doctrine is? In order for any institution or person to claim a doctrine they must provide it in the context in which it is requested. We feel this is a fair request.

Why place such a high bar on ‘doctrine’ as a basis for communion (beyond the obvious reasons already stated)? There are two reasons for this. First, doctrine amounts to a written or otherwise universally communicable means to state in objective clarity what the whole of the Church accepts as God’s revealed Word. Truths known by discernment, revelation or simply by the existence of a given condition; but outside doctrine do indeed amount to a non-doctrinal element of The Q. But these traditions are by their very nature subjective if not enunciated. A church in France may not follow the same traditions as a church in Rome even though both are doctrinally consonant simply because:

  1. The      respective Episcopates don’t know that a difference exists between them      because it isn’t communicated; i.e. written.
  2. There      exists no written record by      which to compare the respective states of the two bodies of the Christian      community and for all to see. Therefore there is no objective way to prove or disprove, to know, that two differing traditions exist. Even if there were      a written record, it must be proclaimed in such a manner that it can be      reasonably expected to be known to all other bodies within the larger      church in order to be practicably      objectified. Doctrine is just such a formal, practicable means of objectification. Outside doctrine, and as      we shall see, dogma and Canon, there is only subjective bickering and debate amongst the Apostolic heirs      regarding what God has, up to that time, chosen to reveal (a history of      the theological differences between The Most Reverend Saint James      Bishopric Jerusalem and the Most Reverend Saint Paul Bishopric Rome      provides an excellent example).

A simple way of saying both is that God’s revelations, on basically logical grounds, must be communicated somehow if we are to know what they are and whether or not God actually revealed it. To abandon this view means that we, as Christians, or Bishops acting unilaterally, are free to interpret everything on our own; rewriting Scripture and doctrine however we see fit. This point ties into the Protestant Straw Man discussion: For some, especially in this culture of separatism and division, it is tempting to object to any kind of conciliar process because a self-determined doctrine conveniently obviates the need to commend the conscience to something greater than oneself. This abhorrence for consensus appears most strongly in the modern evangelical and charismatic traditions. All of this is possible only if we adopt Sola Scriptura, ignoring the historically ineluctable existence of The Q, and allow for our own interpretations of Scriptural Canon unguided or constrained by anyone else because, after all, in the minds of the individualists no other authority to discern the Word exists. The Q becomes an inconvenient detail worthy of one’s ignorance. But The Q is the Word incarnate; and doctrine, dogma and Canon the Word incarnate validated as such. Hence we now more clearly see the conundrum the Protestants are facing. Only by consensus fidelium within The Q; i.e. consensus fidelium of Bishops and fugitive tradition as they accept or delegate, can the truth of God’s will, to the extent God infallibly desires us to know it, be discerned. This is logical and historical fact.

Second, Sacred Traditions and doctrines of the early Roman Church argue for the same conclusion we logically reached above (save for the fact that a Papacy denies conciliar Apostolic authority). Therefore, we are simply logically affirming that view here. That is, it is through a body of valid Apostolic legates who as our premises hold possess a unique authority to convey durable tradition and interpret or otherwise utilize fugitive tradition that humanity may come to know God’s Word. This body of legates, this Magisterium must officially averin writing or in some objectively observable communication its interpretations if ‘we’ are to know any portion of the Word and be the benefactors of God’s revelations to humanity. It is not ‘our’ place to directly interpret fugitive tradition. Other than the fact that a Papacy (or any material Apostolic hierarchy) is logically invalid, to the Roman adherent there should be nothing alarming in this conclusion. That legitimacy of non-consensus of Jesus’ successors follows from the statement that the Apostle Peter shall be the “rock and foundation” of the church with the power to “loose and bind” is a non sequitir. Indeed, this kind of Roman thinking about ecclesial authority is merely the ‘flip-side’ of the separatism and division mentality that permeates the Reformation ideas.

Imagine for the moment that you are transported back to the days of early Christianity to a point, say, where no Church doctrine or Scriptural Canon existed. Who is the ‘Magisterium’? In other words, by what authority are traditions established - objectified? Our only frame of reference is scholarly research (and Scriptural Canon) which tells us that the 12 Apostles appointed by Jesus must confer in Ecumenical Council to act as such guardians of tradition. If we can accept that as a fact without too much epistemological worry, then it follows that all doctrine is to be produced either by the Apostles or their designated legatees in Ecumenical Council [see Note 2]. We shall see in what follows that this is exactly what the Church did for a very long time. The point is that the default body entrusted to establish tradition can only be the rightful legatees of the Apostles in Ecumenical Council unless they themselves delegate it (we shall see in what follows that the Bishops of what is now The Q did indeed delegate some of this authority – to a representative episcopate). So, finally, we can conclude that durable Sacred Tradition is known to us only after a consensus of Bishops, through whatever conciliar process they devise, state that it is so. It is the precise points in history in which such delegations occurred, the nature and validity of these delegations, and the continuity of communion that we feel is currently poorly understood, the source of the current mass confusion in Christianity, and what is the focus of this essay. Keep this in mind. For those who fear in this conclusion the well known corruption of the power of the church (and these lauded Bishops), bear with us as we will address that in what follows.

Summary. We can identify the true, modern-day Church of Jesus of Nazareth that speaks with the authority of Jesus of Nazareth and retains The Q God has willed to exist on earth and at present by tracing the body (church) through which both Apostolic Succession and the continuity of communion have passed to their modern-day ecclesiastic form. And that is what we will now do.

Now returning to your points.

So the Jews are not Damned,

Now we see the value in the lengthy discussion supra. Whether or not Jews are damned depends on one's interpretation of Scripture and Tradition, and the protestants have opened up that can of worms by insisting that the various denominations have no need to reference Tradition. This was a bad, bad mistake. And it was a mistake precisely because of what I'm saying: your argument that there is sufficient consonance within the Christian faith to identify a single god thereof I do not believe can sustain.

This sort of begs the question why belong to the church at all? Well to answer that I would say that the church offers it's adherents means to grow spiritually and live a better life, And not all churches are created equally. I will concede that Islam is a little more challenging, really haven't studied the Koran enough to be able to speak with any authority. Maybe somebody else can help me out.

I could but that would make for an even bigger tangent ;-)

When a referenced first cause, I was not talking about first cause a la William Lane Craig, who I am not really a big fan of and I bet most people on this site hate, I merely meant God as the creator, the author of all the physical laws that govern the universe. I would challenge you on the point that the monotheistic Gods are different.

This is the very difference I note in the argument I've laid presently. As for the first causes, I see what you mean now. I would only argue that, generally speaking, it is not possible to claim a cause which is itself not sufficiently well defined. There can be no first cause.

The big 3 monotheistic religions share a common beginning to scripture, what differs are the instances of specific revelation, here the groups differ. If I missed something tell me.

I will wax bold and claim that you have. As I've argued supra it just isn't that simple. It would be nice if it was, but the truth is that the doctrines of the various Christian sects and denominations are incongruent. Period. And its worse as we cross the Abrahamic spectrum: In Shia Islam, for example, the requirement to pray 5 (Sunni) or 3 (Shia condensed versionof 5 prayers) times per day. This is not small matter to Muslims. It is huge. There is not such doctrinal obligation in Christianity that I know of (of course, who knows, I'm sure there is a denomination out there that does require this, but that just makes my point all the more lucid).

In sum, loss of Communion and foregoing the Q results in different gods by definition. For this discussion I have played the role of Christian to make my point.

Now, having gone down that long, long bunny trail, and despite the noble and faithful witness you've provided, I'm not closer to answering my question, which is:

Is it more likely that belief in Helios occurred due to the Conjunction Fallacy or is it more likely belief in Helios occurred because Helios is The One, True God?

Is it more likely that belief in Utnapishtim occurred due to Agenticity or is it more likely belief in Utnapishtim occurred because Helios is The One, True God?

Thanks for a great post. The runway is yours

- kk

Hi all,

Sorry,

And its worse as we cross the Abrahamic spectrum: In Shia Islam, for example, the requirement to pray 5 (Sunni) or 3 (Shia condensed versionof 5 prayers) times per day.

Should have read:

And its worse as we cross the Abrahamic spectrum: In Islam, for example, the requirement to pray 5 (Sunni) or 3 (Shia condensed version of 5 prayers) times per day has no parallel in the Christian faith.

- kk

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