Here's a debate I havebeen having... I think it is particularly useful for both sides. I am Ben - firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy wrote, from http://www.redgooseshoes.com/board/:
Here's an issue I was discussing with some friends this morning. Prenatal medicine has gotten more and more predictive in an effort to warn expecting parents of birth defects. In the case of those that can threaten the life or quality of life of the baby, is it ever right/moral to terminate the pregnancy by abortion to prevent suffering?
Furthermore, let's say that some expecting parents are told by the doctor that their baby will be born without a diaphragm. They decide not to end the baby's life but to see what happens. The baby is born without a diaphragm and must be kept on life support indefinitely in order to survive. If this took place 50 years ago, the technology wouldn't have existed to either predict the birth defect or to sustain the life of the baby. Because the technology does exist today, how does it affect what is morally right in this situation?
some words need to be clarified here. When you use the word "moral" are you implying the word "ethical" as well? Are you operating with a distinction between morals and ethics, or are they the same in the case of this question
You can substitute ethical if you like. I want to see how people think about this issue. How does one differentiate what is right about abortion from one set of circumstances to another?
Now quit pussyfooting and answer the question!
Anyone who has studied the Holocaust knows it's not a stretch to link the motivations with abortion. Someone thinking they can/should master the innocent life of another. Now those crazy Aryans are at it again. Dutch doctors in the Netherlands are euthanizing -- "putting down" -- infants at an alarming rate, often without patient consent. Now they have decided to do so with children under 12 -- at will. Looking ahead, this is the same can of worms that America has opened up. We've begun to predict health concerns in utero and encourage abortions accordingly -- I guess so there will only be healthy people alive at any given time (whatever "healthy" means at the moment). Why stop once the baby is born?
The story: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/616jszlg.asp
This is where I jump in.
So, when babies die, they go to heaven 100% of the time.... When people live their long lives, the Bible says that Wiiiide is the path to destruction and narrow is the way to life.... So, if you live past sixteen, or so you only have a fifty-fifty chance of getting in... It's just a thought, but... Abortion is sending more people to heaven each year than evangelism ever could!
I know.... I know... That sounds so harsh.... but I can't help but make the comparison to the Christian stance on the Death Penalty.... Christians are historically avid supporters of the death penalty; they justify it with the typical eye for an eye argument... but..
But it seems to be a double standard... So we kill the guilty and rescue the innocent? But if we kept the mass murderers alive and just incarcerated them for life, we could maybe eventually, through psychoanalysis or medicine, determine what makes people murderers.... Wouldn't that alone be worth keeping them alive? And for sure, no one wrongfully accused would be electrocuted if there were no death penalty... That has happened before - more than once...
And abortion... Just think... if it were illegal....
Well, the percentage of women in college would probably drop in half, sending equality out the window again. The same irresponsible girls who irresponsibly got pregnant would now have to raise equally irresponsible kids... There would be a lot more women with criminal records for getting illegal abortions, deaths from back alley abortions, etc..
So we have to decide whether it's taking a life or not.... If it's taking a life, then is that ever justified? If it's justified in the death penalty, then why can't it be justified in other ways?
The criminals are guilty and the babies are innocent? Well, what if the criminal repents and becomes born-again? He is not the same person who killed... He is, in fact, forgiven... He is a clean person. Innocent in the eyes of God... Well, as innocent as the East is far from the West... I mean, his murder is removed from him and thrown into the Sea of Forgetfullness.
And are babies really innocent?... I mean, they haven't sinned yet, but the Bible clearly states that we are born into sin.... "..as the sparks fly upward..." Babies can't cook, clean, talk or drive cars.... They can't even walk... they just cry when they want something... and if God can forgive the murderer then he can also forgive the murdering mother.... So the sin of abortion may be a little more relative than one might think, insofar as God is concerned... I mean, sure, no one wishes they had aborted a child that has already been born... I mean, one who is loved by his family, which is probably most children.... Except for twelve year olds in The Netherlands... We can enact reasonable laws that protect twelve year olds and the choices of mothers not to have their babies aborted without their consent, but laws that protect a baby before it even thinks its first thought seem to be a bit presumptuous... I just don't know... I like to play Devil's advocate in the tough cases, just because these things need to be thought out from all angles...
It would send us back to a place... a time that was far more oppressive, to make abortion illegal again.... I don't think that abortion is as bad a thing as most evangelicals make it out to be; you know, those bloody posters of baby parts and all... Sure it's gross, but so it birthing a baby, surgery and bowel movements, but we just don't stick those pictures up on college campuses to make a point... It's just gross... Not shocking... Just gross...
I think that God views human death a little differently than we do.... We are so scared to death of death, that we hypersensationalize it on all fronts, most notably, the abortion front... To God, however, death is only a passageway, a moving from one vessel to another.... A great mystery to us, in our veilied existence, but to God, a sublime moment that he is fully in control of... No suprise to him that all these babies are coming back... It's always been that way.... God himself has been known to kill masses of people on a whim... Men, women and children.... These things are only tragic in the realm of the memories of those humans who cared about the slain... In reality, destiny has only been sped up a little. In the grand scheme, death is of insignificant consequence.
Of course, humans should value life... We should still care for the ill, etc. but, unless I'm wrong, we should probably kill unwanted babies that are in the first trimester or so undeveloped that they can't even think. We should value living, breathing people from the greatest to the least and we should value babies that are wanted and planned, etc. But we should not value babies that are not wanted and are unborn. This will make things a lot easier, a lot more convenient and generally people will be happier in the long run. And people like Christopher Reeve might live because of the benefits of stem-cell research from the aborted babies.
It is then that the moral choice is up to the woman.. Like smoking is legal and fast food is legal... If we smoke, we are killing ourselves (though probably not as fast as when we eat fast foods) It's murder... slooooow murder, but it's legal (for now.) It's also immoral... God says to not defile the temple of the holy Spirit.... Well, we all do... We just do... and we do it KNOWINGLY!! AND it's legal! But the burden is on the individual... It's my moral or immoral decision that I have a right to make. If I choose the immoral one, i also reap the consequences... Probably not Hades, if I murder myself with the slow murder of bad eating or smoking, or I murder someone else with my second hand smoke or by buying them fast foods, I think that God understands that I'm still a good person... I still love Him and I still can get a good parking space in Heaven. Murder is when my heart is dark and jealous or angry at someone and I take from them all that they know... Babies don't know anything... You really haven't taken from them all that much - except maybe a fifty-fifty chance of going to you-know-where...
I dunno, it's a tough topic...
Hello one30seven. Welcome to the discussion, and thanks for posting.
I'm glad to see that you have a familiarity with the Scripture. Paul told Timothy that all of the Scripture is useful to teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. It would be helpful to me if you could draw the connections between some of your points and some of the verses you referenced to demonstrate how you found the Scriptures "useful".
You began by stating kind of a univeral conclusion that all babies go to heaven when they die. Nobody wants to even entertain a thought contrary to that. It seems unconscionable. But later you quoted a useful Scripture which might suggest the opposite to be a possibility.
"Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward." -Job 5:7
At the end of your comments, you offered an opinion that God understands that you're a good person. How do you reconcile your personal hope about a dead baby's fate -- as well as your own personal justification before the only holy God -- with that passage from Job?
I'd like to continue discussing the balance of your thoughts, but I want to give you a chance to shed some light on those statements with the Scripture you quoted. See ya soon.
Hope everyone is doing well... Wow, it's really cool to get some feedback... There are so many complicated questions, you know?
I try to personify God... I know it's a half-mistake, but I can't help it... When I think of innocent little babies, my intellectualism goes out the window and I pre-suppose that they must, of course go straight into the loveing arms of their creator. Of course there are other facets of the Godhead that could suggest alternatives, (akin to the examples i gave of God's infamous sweeping hand of vengeance.)
I mean, it may be that it is infinitely just for God to send these aborted babies to The Devil (Man! Talk about unwanted!) I mean, Hades is, in the long run, annihilation. So, in the end, it's all relative... No harm done.
Sure, man is born into trouble... It's evident, even at birth, that babies are rotten to the core. Most of them don't change... And philosophically, they are equally depraved just by virtue of the fact that they are not God. Our very flesh is evidence of our guilt and seperation from God. There is none that do good, no one is worthy, etc. BUT is this a sin unto death? An important question. As Christians, we do not like to categorize sins, but while all sin falls under the same umbrella of consequence, i.e. seperation from God, All sin cannot be holistically equal, simply by virtue of the sheer number of various sins... It is a physical impossibility... We must ask if the God that demands from us compassion and love, even for our enemies, would send these babies across the river Styx (I know.) just for existing? God, I think, wants us to come to him as a child. In that, He understands that we aren't all Biblical Scholars... Neither the Scriptures, nor the Love of God is reserved only for the intelligent. It follows that we probably would do well to try to understand God much like a child understands his own parents. A child cannot reason that an innocent creature deserves annihilation. It should be safe to believe that innocence does not deserve punishment. It seems logical.
Well, what exactly did Jesus do? why did he die? So that we might have life. and because he loved everybody. The common saying is that God doesn't send anyone to Hades, they send themselves there. This makes a lot of sense to me. How is an aborted baby going to send himself anywhere? The Son of God became flesh, so that flesh could be acceptable to God. Jesus actually did something tangible here. Something that took a lot of burden off humanity. Perhaps more than we think, I mean, give God credit.... Why is Satan so upset about the ressurrection? Did Jesus not conquer H., Death and the Grave? I often stop and ask the question: "Are we still fighting what He already conquered?" [I'm wandering off the reservation a little, sorry]
My point is that just because we are born into trouble, doesn't mean we are going to that bad, bad place.
As far as my own justification - ...Faith. That's all, really. I've studied the Bible six times through and become increasingly intellectually overwhelmed with each reading... But each time, my heart yearns for God more. I've had no visions, no dreams, no epiphanies... Just an ever- present knowing, that I am well. Studying the scriptures is easier if you can see between the lines... I do. I see God peeking through and marvelling at his creation. God is in wonder of us, and if you look too carefully at the lines... If all you see are words on a page, you'll miss the whole point. You can make the scriptures say anything - and God understands this. It's that way for a reason. What we like to say, is that if you torture the data long enough, it'll confess.
Mine is an ongoing journey... So far, I cannot settle into a rigid theological framework. I am a theorist at heart. I don't think that it scares God that I try to find alternatives to heretofore, ironclas assumptions. Einstein stated it correctly when he said that the important thing is to not stop questioning. the moer I study, the more I learn, ..the more I realize I don't know... Just more questions. But I feel God. It's not a deceiving demon, it's not a chemical imbalance... It's God. And somehow, He is pleased.
Howdy all - thanks for inviting me to the dialog Randy. I've tried to follow your line of thought 1-30-7 and I think I know what you're saying but for the sake of clarity I've got a few questions.
I try to personify God... I know it's a half-mistake, but I can't help it
Here are some questions::
1. By the above quote do you mean, 'In order to understand God, I start with my understanding of personhood (maybe your own personhood) and from that understanding reason to God?'
2. What is the end result or goal of the process of personification?
a. Greater knowledge of God
b. Greater knowledge of self
d. Something else
3. What part of this process is a mistake and why?
a. How do you evaluate it as a mistake (is it an intuitive evaluation - bliblical - other)
b. What would be the consequences of such a mistake?
4. Is the reason you can't help doing this, the same reason no one can help but do it - in other words - do you think everyone does this wittingly or not?
There are many more questions I would like to ask but it seems to me that these are somewhat foundational. It's always good to find out where the watershed is as quickly as you can. Agreements that are founded on hidden category errors are pretty useless in building community. Disagreements that have their source in differences of language (or hidden category differences) are tedious and end up causing peopel to stumble unnecessarily. Before I agree and affirm someone's position I'd like to have some sense that we're saying the same thing. Before I disagree and attempt to persuade them to change, I'd like to know I'm addressing what they are actually saying and not some straw man I've erected. So thanks for helping me out!
Of Course! Thank you for your kind patience.
1. My half understanding of God was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Godhood/manhood question about God's substance.
The statement is an admission that humanity's tendency is to summon personal experience as the starting point to understanding. I'm not implying that God is understandable on this level.
The 'half mistake part' is directly pointed at the mystery of God's duality. The Man/God issue that continues to fascinate theologians. I believe that, as a man, I can relate to the man, Jesus. I believe that he was tempted in all areas like we are, etc. It's the other half that becomes a little more esoteric. My personification can only go so far; at least in my current understanding. Simply because I am not God.
3. The mistake part is that I cannot presume to understand the infinite qualities of the Godhead.
I confess, that I have been reading a lot of Camille Paglia lately and it is hilarious to me the way we men think about things. Man, she's right on about us, you know. Karl, I didn't have to see your name to know that a guy wrote your response. The linear processes in the male psyche are legendary! How desperately we want to make order! I know this could spur a Mars/Venus debate, and that is not my intention. Sometimes I see we men objectively and it is rather interesting, if not altogether funny!
Thanks for the reply. It prompts the next question in a big bag to come bubbling to the surface:
The mistake part is that I cannot presume to understand the infinite qualities of the Godhead.
When you say presume to understand do you mean:
a. Man cannot reason from creation to a God who has infinite qualities and who ought to be thanked, honored, and obeyed in the dictates of his conscience.
b. Man cannot reason from creation beyond knowing that there is a God with infinite qualities who ought to be thanked, honored, and obeyed in the dictates of his conscience.
c. Man cannot accurately or precisely know God.
d. Man can have accurate knowledge of God but cannot precisely (exhaustively) know God (by precision here I mean Cartesian precision or certainty).
e. None of the above- presumption qualifies the statement completely making the inability a function of man's presumption rather than God's choosing to reveal Himself.
I hadn't anticipated delving into the minutiae of the semantics. That realm of reasoning often teeters over the slippery slope of "endless genealogies and vain babblings." However, meat needs seasoning from time to time. To wit:
Whenever I presume to understand something it is always a mistake, simply by virtue of the probability factor that I am wrong. All presumption entails guesswork. Positing God's nature is unique among existential assertions. The quickest way to point out that uniqueness is to call attention to the fact that, onthe one hand, infering God's nature is like inferrring the real nature of certain nuclear particles or black holes, and in these cases we are concerned with the real nature of somethingcorresponding to a theoretical construct that we have formed in order to hold the object in mind. The entity in question is not directly observable by us. In both cases, Ockham's Rule (http://www.ida.liu.se/~rosgr/ockhamrazor.html) governs the inference.
We are not justified in positing a certain type of elementary particle unless asserting its nature or even its existence is indespensable for the explanation of experimentally observed phenomena. We are not justified in positing the nature of God, unless affirming God's nature is indespensable for the explanation of...of what?
That question calls attention at once to a fuindamental difference between inferring the existence or nature of a certain type of nuclear particle and inferring the nature of God. In the latter case, it is not experimentally observed phenomena that calls for explanation, but rather the existence and nature of individual things which are part of the cosmos or the very nature of the cosmos as a whole.
There are other differences as well. In nuclear physics, the point of departure is usually in some experimentally observed phenomenon that is novel. Its novelty calls for a new theoretical construct, devised to explain the theoretical data. If the explanation succeeds, scientists are justified in affirming the existence and nature in reality of entities corresponding to the class of objects they have in mind. In theology, we begin with the theoretical construct which is our definite description of God, and only then do we ask whether we have grounds fopr inferring that something corresponding to that theoretical consttruct exists in reality.
It is commonly held that only propositions that can be falsified by empirical evidence are empirical propositions. The proposition "God's nature is..." cannot be falsified by the discovery of any facts not already known to us. It is therefore, not an empirical proposition. The very nature of God, being ostensibly trans-dimensional is unfathomable within the strictures of our three-dimensional understanding. Not to say that God is restricted to dimensionality, only that our awareness that multidimensionality is a formulaic process by which we can grasp an otherwise arcane concept, gives humanity a guage to imagine the infinite qualities of the Godhead.
So, when I say that i presume to understand, I mean that I cannot humanly understand what it feels like to speak a word and matter appears. I cannot fathom what it must be like to fling stars into their place and to command time to reverse itself. The closest I can come is Jesus. I begin to understand him. He is the 'half' part I understand. I understand his being fully god and fully man, I use the 'half' as a lighthearted way of expressing my inadequacies of comprehension. The mistake part is a presumption. I think it would be a mistake to presume too much about something we can see only through such a dark glass.
If and when God chooses to reveal himself whether Logos or Rhema, It boils down to the intimacy - It's what it's all about, really. Every individual has his experience with God. God's revelation of Himself is by virtue of His word. His word is either a living, breathing thing, or a few commandments etched in stone. To accept the first, requires an individual-focused relationship between the will of God and mankind. It requires a greater faith when everyman is an evangelist and shoulders equal responsibility for his own actions. To accept the latter is a safe thing indeed... There it is, all laid out for us; why, we could build a church, nay, an institution with this! The latter relegates more control to the heirarchy. You have experts, etc. investigating the words - every jot and tittle. The formulas for salvation become more and more complex.
Everytime I read the Bible, the words are, of course, burned into my memory, but God seems to come from every atom of everything I see. The words i read act more like a catalyst than a magic formula (i.e. Theomatics, etc.) They only seem to confirm the things I see daily. As a human being, i naturally presume things about God. I presume many things based on what i read in the Bible, and i presume things based on my personal experiences - and in my experience with God and with the word of God, I can presume that God may be pro choice on the matter of abortion. I come to this understanding based on a complete reverence for the 1611 KJV Bible based on the Nestle's Text translation and my personal, intimate, philosophical and historical experiences with God and life.
I usually don't like this level of in-depth discussion... It makes people think you're a nerd! I'm just a college kid looking for answers in life. I have always believed that it's those simple epiphanies that convert our hearts on a given topic. I used to be a staunch Republican until i saw Phil Driscoll playing for the Democratic Presidential Convention two years in a row! It was that event that made me begin to research alternatives to what i had been instructed. Hmmm. To find out things on one's own!! What a concept! I'm not saying I'm a Democrat, just that there's no party that could possibly represent everything i believe, partly because my beliefs are constantly shifting in subtle ways as i grow older and (hopefully) wiser! I'm just a human, shot into this great world... this reality... Looking for answers and loving life along the way. I like to surf, too. Ocracoke Island calls me every Summer...
God Bless, Ben
1. So can man know God in a way that he can make predication about?
2. Is their such a thing as Truth (capital T, absolute, whatever) and what if anything of it can man know?
3. Is the Bible the Word of God and thus True?
4. Is their truth outside the Word of God?
5. Is postmodernity a good thing or a bad thing and why?
You could probably take a long time to answer each one. I won't be offended if you answer what it appears that I'm asking rather than what I might or might not be asking. I too am a fan of simple predication which is why I try to ask simple questions (I'm sure I'm not always successful). Out of the abundance of our hearts our mouths speak. If we're patient with one another I believe its possible to communicate with accuracy. The whole truth question is kind of a watershed for me which is why you may be sensing a direction in my questioning. I'll tip my cards by saying that the epistemological question is not primary, the ontological one is - which is why I think Ockham was wrong.
Ross Lee Graham wrote:
The principle use made by Ockham of the principle of economy was in the elimination of pseudo-explanatory entities. He expresses his criterion in his statement that nothing is to be assumed as necessary in accounting for any fact unless it is established by evident experience or evident reasoning or is required by the articles of faith
Questions for William:
1. Where does one find justification for such a rule?
2. Specifically, what justification is there for making ontological necessity an "or" function of senses, the mind, and the articles of faith?
3. Since when was knowledge divided into these three realms?
Thanks for your patience.
This is fun!
I'll answer your post as I read it.
But FIRST, I'll tell you, as far as metaphysics goes (ontology is a branch of metaphysics, some ppl use the terms interchangeably.), ultimately, I have no concrete assumptions regarding value, epistemology or metaphysics. The end of philosophy is a question for me. I like to approach God this way, ...and have, but The Philosophy of God remains elusive. I believe in goodness and value and i believe that one can treat value as something real, or one can give an account of our ascribing value to things that reduce value to something else, hence value reductivism. For me value is a matter of faith. Without sounding like a solipsist, I believe in the individual's judgments of value. Collective value is problematic for me...> I know this lends itself to fundamental metaphysical questions... regarding epistemology, Do our beliefs count as knowledge? Another difficult problem philosophically. Somehow, God is my JTB! I do not dispute the claim that belief, justification and truth are required for knowledge, but rather that these alone are not sufficient for knowledge, akin to Gettier's short thesis. Again, it is ultimately a matter of faith for me. And Metaphysics - How can I say if I am a brain in a vat (BIV) or not? For me, this is the ultimate faith...
Before i was born, I cannot remember anything about that. I have had no inclinations regarding past lives or a sustained existence... Suddenly and slowly, i became aware. I was born into a country, right smack in the middle of it's Bible Belt, and, consequently, was raised with a heavily Christian influence. I could have been born in India or in a Pygmy family, but here I am, a veritable product of my environment. I have studied the Bible six times through, I have also studied the various sects (Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Scientologists, Pentecostal, Baptist, AOG, United Pentecostal Church, Catholic) I have studied the Koran and the Upanishads, the Satanic Bible and various Buddhist writings - (For a while, I wanted to be a Christian Apologist)...
I don't consider myself an intellectual or even an expert.... I am simply an intellectually curious student who is fanatical about seeking God... The true, unfiltered, pure essence of what and who God is.... I will seek and fear him until the day i die. How can we do otherwise?
1. So can man know God in a way he can make a prediction about? Well, there were the prophets! I would have to say yes.... Yes, because God wants us to know him... Is God predictable? Oftentimes, not... On matters of his love for men, yes... On matters of how he responds or manifests that love? Sometimes. Do I know God in a way that I can make a prediction about him? Hmmm. Let's see... God is... love? The scriptures come to mind: Eye has not seen... Ear hath not heard... Neither has entered into the hearts of men the things God has prepared... the heart is deceitful ... who can know it? If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise..For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God...the Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise..that they are vain.... and in Corinthians 8: ...if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man loveth God, the same is known of him... Eph 3: And to know the love of Christ, which passes all knowledge... Col 2: Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men... the predictions I make about God are always careful ones and in the back of my mind, I’m always thinking: "Is that really God? or is there another option I haven't considered?"
2. Brings us back to the BIV theory which I will discard for the benefit of this discussion. Personally, I believe there is a truth with a capital "T." You should take a gander at the 137 theories in particle and theoretical physics... 137 is my namesake. It is what the eminent physicist, Leon Lederman called "The God Particle." It is associated with Planck's Constant (The inverse of the fine-structure constant).. It's a fascinating number that screams out for God... Do a search... type in 137 and "physics" or "particle physics" and you should find some really cool info. Especially useful for any would-be Christian apologist.
In my reality, I find it difficult to deny absolutism. My very breath contradicts the idea. The law of non-contradiction frames the likelihood nicely. It is tidy for me and sine people have a tendency to believe what they prefer to be true, i wholeheartedly concur with the idea of Truth.
3. According to John 1, in the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God. Jesus was the word of God who became flesh. the important part of that scripture: v.9, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. I believe in the value of the Bible (scriptures) but I also believe that there is a distinguishing between the scriptures and the word of God. In the Greek, there are different meanings of the word, "word." Logos, refers more to the written scriptures, but those that came from god, not men... Paul affirms several times in scripture that some of what he is writing is not necessarily in the spirit, but that it is his opinion, or written for some other benefit. I cannot say that those instances are Spiritually inspired, but intellectually or otherwise inspired... there is the rhema word, which is the spoken word of God... It is what the prophets listened for.. It is, in a lot of cases, what we call the conscience... Oftentimes, it comes in the form of an answered prayer... These instances are not found in the pages of the Bible... Yet, they come from God... God's word. Now, faith is another thing... I can have faith that everything in the scriptures is there for a reason.. A divinely inspired reason, and even if Paul or John was in or out of the spirit at the time, God redeems the scriptures and makes them the word of god by allowing the respective text to be usable for instruction for righteousness, etc. Now this is a fine distinction and this is where one denomination breaks with another... the fine print. When we disagree on matters, we go to the fine print... that's when God cries, i think. To know the heart of God is preferable to knowing the scriptures. Yes, one should know both, But the scriptures alone is rather a cop-out... And if the scriptures alone could solve these fine points, we would have had a unified world religion centuries ago. It has been my experience that God confounds. I galvanize an opinion about something and then pile up a plethora of scriptures in my defense only to have the whole edifice come tumbling down because of the statement of a child, or seeing Phil Driscoll playing for the Democratic National Convention, or a piece of trash on the sidewalk that flies in the face of my reason. Faith works when you can't see. I know where we are going with this, and I am up for the challenge, but a caveat: Let's not miss the proverbial forest for the trees. I am always aware in a debate that it can get so tedious that God ends up stepping aside... I get the feeling however, that you have no option but to refer the whole of the argument to scripture, which I understand; so I will concede that yes, the Bible is the Word of God and it is True and that there are no truths outside the Word of God. I believe that I can reason on that level. Randy Alcorn does.
I believe you mean, "postmodernism." Of course, I believe that postmodernism is a good thing.. I believe that it is a necessary thing as well... In literature, Modernism existed from 1914 to 1965... It refers not to a period of time, but rather a group of literary/artistic characteristics. Postmodernism is categorized from 1965 to the present. The term, interestingly, is a misnomer first used by the Catholic Church mistakenly applied to post-impressionism during the early part of the century. Basically, postmodernism takes some of the characteristics of modernism and exaggerates them even further. In art, much the same, with few differences... I think your question, however is in reference to the existential aspects of Postmodernism - deconstruction, chaos, psychic reality, etc. I still think it’s good. 1st. Nothing scares God. 2d. Eventually, everything becomes cliché. the postmodern movement opened up a whole new world of opportunity for the arts. Philosophy was affected, but not because of a "new" idea, (philosophy still has three main categories.) but because of the fashionability, the novelty. I believe that postmodernism has influenced the way i approach God and the scriptures. I dare to ask the scary questions... I even question God himself. The dialogue is refreshing to God, i think. I honestly believe that he laughs at me way more than he worries. I am simply honest... I tell him, God, I know your scriptures... I know what they say... But please! It's a book! It was written with the hands of men and then translated!!! I haven't had a personal visit from an angel or by you! Help me with this... God, what would you do in my place? There are a bunch of religions with a bunch of different beliefs about you and death and hell.... and what about people who never are introduced to you or ever hear the name, "Jesus." GOD, am I just a brain in a vat somewhere? ....
He just laughs at me... He laughs, because there ARE answers, and I am approaching the questions just the right way - helpless! Of course, I devour the Bible... But you know as well as i do that there are a lot of things that the Bible just does not make clear. It will seem clear in one sentence, but then will be seemingly contradicted in another… I can usually resolve these things with some measure of satisfaction within the scriptures, but not always.
My reference to Ockham was only to serve as a model for the reasoning I offered. That is, the observable qualities of the Godhead. That nature or existence of things is indispensable for the explanation of experimentally observed phenomena. It was kinda a moot point in the academic sense.
Man! I could write so much more, but I digress! I’m like a zombie and I have classes all day tomorrow!
Still, I look forward to your comments! It’s like, totally Christmas when I check this site.
I remain, Ben
Hey! You guys check out the other topics, too.... There's much to be discussed! Esp. the Christian vs. Secular music! Come on! Just jump in!
Just one more thing.
You've been cracking the whip and I've been doing all the plowing here, I was wondering if, perchance, you could address each point I bring up, so that I won't have to reiterate my points. I bring these things up with a lot of thought... I would love for the opportunity to defend my thoughts on these matters also.
Even though my position often skirts around the borders, if not outright delving into rhetoric (the philosophical sense), I believe that they are substantive.
Please, I beg.... If you want to discuss the finer philosophical points, that is fine with me... I love philosophy, but in addition, go the extra mile and post an additional reply that references the respective details that I bring out...
this dialogue is much needed for me.. I am so thirsty for intelligent conversation about these matters... My mind is always open to be changed... (I used to be die hard, pro-life.) I want my mind to be settled on these things.
Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important - they do not mean to do harm, they are simply absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves..
Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2004 5:42pm Post subject: Abortion
137, what you say makes sense. I have always thought abortion was wrong but i never really thought about why. I just thought that it was a christian thing to do; i mean i always believed that it was just wrong. I don't understand everything that you wrote but some of it really makes you think. I have always had a feeling that God is bigger than we make Him. your right, you cant just pin God down.
I still haven't made up my mind 100% about it, but for the first time, I can see a different side. I've never heard anybody say the things you said. Not to make your head swell or anything, but whatever your doing, keep it up. We should seek the truth for ourselves, not just be intimidated by the majority. keep seeking, brother.
PS I am a college student too. a freshman at UNCW.
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Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Location: Fuquay-Varina, NC Posted: Saturday, November 20, 2004 1:19am Post subject:
Welcome abord Gillian. Register for a username, and let us know how you found the site. I'd like to respond to your comment that we shouldn't be intimidated by the majority. On the topic of abortion, it seems like the majority would seem to openly embrace it as the "final solution" to the "unwanted child" problem (the poll on this topic notwithstanding). In my 27 years, I've never found a majority with the gumption to declare that the practice is wrong -- sin -- abhorrent. So, in agreement with your statement, yes, we must go beyond the wisdom of our generation and seek the truth.
The truth is, abortion would still be rightly, constitutionally illegal were it not for gross distortions of facts and figures by activist groups, willingly unresearched and overreported by the news media, and gently coercing public opinion on the need for legalized murder of the innocent. Read this article for a little more information: http://www.wnd.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30353
Another truth is that the two posters here who have embraced the practice of infanticide as acceptable (137 even calling it a godly practice) are both college students, and I must assume are not parents. The indwelling holy Spirit can change a sin-hardened heart on what is holy and loving (ie, godly) and what is sin. Seeing your own son bouncing around on your first ultrasound can seal the deal. In fact, the latter is what happened to the guy that started NARAL after he had sewn all his deceit and made the changes he sought. Both he and Jane Roe (as in, "v. Wade") have both solidly renounced their once-held positions that abortion is a good and right thing for human beings to practice on other human beings.
My wife gave birth to our third son last week. Holding Timothy, I realized there is no such thing as an unwanted child. There are only sin-rotten, selfish people who because of their refusal to accept responsibility, forfeit the opportunity to experience "want" for their child. "Wanted" doesn't even satisfy to describe a parent's own child. Any parent with half a heart will affirm that.
But there is Truth. A fetus is a person. Abortion murders people. Murder is sin. And even more unrefined that that, God is love. Refusal to care for the weak placed in your trust is hatred for your neighbor. Jesus said that the entire law and prophets can be summed up in two laws: Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Anyone who is in Christ has those laws written on their hearts. They should be inseparable from your existence.
137, I did okay in physics but I won't be able to carry on much of a conversation about particles and so forth. What I do know is that God has written His laws of love on my heart, and they could never permit me to hate my neighbor, much less my offspring. If what you are telling me is that you have found a way to distinguish between loving your neighbor and finding a form of murder acceptable, then you are welcomed to enlighten me. But I would be missing the point completely if I didn't warn you that your attempt to reconcile the Truth of the Bible with the violent and gruesome practice of abortion might be firing a flaregun to give us general location of your spiritual emergency.
137/Gillian: When your read the 1st Epistle of John, does it bring great encouragement or cause you to question which eternity your present actions are reflecting?
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Joined: 03 Nov 2004
Location: http://personal.ecu.edu/bpw0329/ Posted: Saturday, November 20, 2004 12:55pm Post subject:
Greetings, in Jesus' name,
This is a pretty cool place to hang out and chill for a while... It's nice to be free of "vitriolic aspersions" for a change.
David Kupelian is typical in his arguments. He has about 20% substance in his review and 80% rhetoric. I promise that this is not a personal cut to Mr. Kupelian, I'm sure he doesn't know any differently; there are endless rhetoricians on both sides of the issue of abortion (as well as most issues). Rhetoric is when your speech becomes propaganda. When the relevant facts become insignificant by virtue of the emotions being tugged at. Johnathan Swift wrote, in his Thoughts on Various Subjects:"Flowers of rhetoric, in sermons and serious discourses, are like the blue and red flowers in corn, pleasing to them who come only for amusement, but prejudicial to him who would reap profit."
Admittedly, I use rhetoric as well, but in the poetic sense. I use it to adorn my wares... I state my opinion or facts and then, I usually tell how these things move me, affect me, etc. Mr. Kupelian's entire premise is rhetoric. "Changing NARAL's Blood-Stained Name." He is taking advantage of the fact that nearly all his readers will be right-wing conservatives. I did take note that, as an aside, it was the blood-stained doorposts that got passed over in judgment... <--- See? I just used rhetoric!
Insincere words like, "Let's see," "Uh" and "But wait" are not the best tools for credibility. (Unless your 'congregation' is entirely brainwashed.) This belies an insecurity with understanding and reason.
He cites Gallup polls. First, no intelligent person should ever use polling data as evidence for anything. Data was designed to be skewed, outliers are ignored and there are a myriad of factors that should make polling data illegitimate. Their only use should be demographic, and severely limited at that.
Second, all the data shows is that there is a fifty-fifty split on the matter of abortion. Pollling questions are like this:
Q: Do you believe that it is morally right to tear the head off of a baby?
If the respondant answers "no," then the poll suggests that the respondant is pro-life! What a farce! <--- This is a slight exaggeration, but I have taken these polls and the questions are defininitely inadequate at honing in on what i believe.
He says, "If NARAL is trying to sell an extremist viewpoint through aggressive marketing and clever slogans, that would be, like changing its name, nothing new. In fact, it's what NARAL is all about." Come on, Dave, Both pro-life and pro-choice do the same thing! Now, I haven't made up my mind 100% on this issue, but I truly resent this type of rhetoric. It is highly insulting to think that I need to hear stuff like this to persuade me. NARAL, whatever they are - I'm sure, have core beliefs and values like everybody else. They are not just "all about" clever slogans. I would guess that they truly have convictions about their beliefs, that they are, in fact, human. They love, they hurt... Some are Christian, some not. NARAL truly believes that abortion rights is a cause worth fighting for.
As far as Nathanson's rant about lying to the public about abortion statistics... Well, that happens everyday... Practically every poll is a lie. The article says that instead of the 250 women who were dying from illegal abortions yearly, they told the press that it was 10,000! Well, the article then indicated that the public couldn't care less about 250 women, but they suddenly are moved when it's 10,000? That's very telling about the whole political process... Perhaps all legislation should be de-federalized and given over to the states so that smaller groups of people can be cared for.
None of these citings touches on the heart of the issue of abortion. It's all rhetoric. This rhetoric is continued: "In New York, the law outlawing abortion had been on the books for 140 years. "In two years of work, we at NARAL struck that law down," says Nathanson. "We lobbied the legislature, we captured the media, we spent money on public relations. … Our first year's budget was $7,500. Of that, $5,000 was allotted to a public-relations firm to persuade the media of the correctness of our position. That was in 1969."
So what? Slavery was also on the books, as well as a woman's inability to vote. All that came tumbling down... There are reasons for change.
The article continues about the transformation of Dr. Nathanson from pro-choice to pro-life. His change was not religious, but technological. He was now able to "see" what was going on in the womb. Doctors have always known what went on in the womb. But now, because they can see a human being tortured in the womb, they change their mind. I'm dubious about their motives when I read such things.
There is no doubt that abortion is taking a life. There is no doubt that when people see their baby on an ultrasound that they want to keep it. There is no doubt in my mind that when some people see horrible images of aborted babies, that they hurt deep inside for the poor little baby that had to endure that torture. Primarily, I refer to my earlier posts as defense of my reasoning on these points, but I am curious as to how some Christians reconcile their anti-murder stance - "But there is Truth. A fetus is a person. Abortion murders people. Murder is sin." - with their stance on capital punishment. Hypocrisy makes a mockery of reason.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I believe that God permits abortion just as he permits smoking, fast food and television. They all kill. They are all sin. You are making it a supreme action, based on the whirlwind of rhetoric that you embrace so tenderly. I have come here for reason, but no one has addressed one significant point I have made. There is a time for life and there is a time for death. There is a time for compassion, of which, you have a tainted concept. You'll shoot a dog who is wounded or a horse with a broken leg, but will not consider delivering a child from a wasteland and statistically hellish life, which when he is at the end of, will probably end up in Hell anyway.
You won't flinch when the lever is pulled on the electric chair but scream when a 2 week old human being who can't even think, or see, or murder - is about to be terminated. Now, just because you terminate a life, doesn't mean that you are fueled by hate... You can abort a baby and still love it... An executioner can pull the switch without having hate in his heart. But a christian who supports the death penalty because he wants justice or vengeance comes a lot closer to hating one's brother than a fourteen year old girl who gets raped by her uncle and gets pregnant with a mentally handicapped baby who has no ill-will but wants an abortion. She chooses compassion. It's a hard decision, but it is a righteous one.
1st John 2:4 "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." - Tell me, what are his commandments? Have you kept them? What have you done to deserve heaven?
1st John 3:8 "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning... Whosoever is born of God doth not committ sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Tell me, can you sin? Have you sinned, ever? Will you ever sin again? so, consequently, are you of the Devil?
Yes, 1st John brings to me great encouragement. You read those words with a seared bias. God never intended that. To people like you, many scriptures, like the ones I quoted above don't really mean what they say... To me, I can read scriptures like that and understand because of my predisposition of knowing that i am utterly helpless without God.. I am flawed, He is perfect... I am sin.. He is light.. I cannot do it... He already did. He accepts and loves me.. for what? Because i keep his commandments? No. because he made me. whether my life is 20 seconds or twenty years, my God knows my heart and that is where his assessment of me begins. My eternity is with God, even though I support abortion rights... Even though I eat at McDonalds, knowing that it takes years off my own life.... Even though I smoke an occasional cigarette or cigar... The Bible doesn't tell us to try to be perfect.. More than that, it tells us to BE PERFECT! now how do we do this? the bible says we can't... WE CAN"T! So there's the rub. faith. 1 John 5:4 "...this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
and later, in 1 John 5:16 - this curious scripture... If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17. All unrighteousness is a sin: and there is a sin not unto death."
Why shouldn't we let women have the right to sin? Why should we take that choice from them? why should we judge them as evil, when they are truly believing that they are doing the compassionate thing? Can God forgive them? Can you?
Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important - they do not mean to do harm, they are simply absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves..